Social Language
    Students read the book The Great Gracie Chase by Cynthia Rylant and made maps that had places with target sounds.  Students then practiced telling others different routes to follow on the maps to get more practice with their target sounds.  Other students made pop up books that had target sound characters.  Students then made up sentences to add to their books.  
    One of the trickier sounds that some students are working on is the /r/ sound.  This sound has many variations and the /r/ controlled vowel sounds can be difficult to get just right.  Our first graders have such a good work ethic as they move forward with these different sounds and are very willing to try out all different ways to elicit the sound.  
    There has been a lot of fun with language with first graders.  A common strategy that our friends have been learning is that of the Story Grammar Marker.  This strategy helps kids think about the elements in a story.  It can then help them answer questions and retell stories they have heard.  In addition, it is a great organizer for creating their own pieces.  First graders have read the stories, Its Not Fair, Hare, and Duck on a Bike.  Other students have used the iPad app StoryKit to show what they know about characters, setting and kick-offs.
    Listening continues to be a skill first graders need to practice.  Whole Body Listening Larry has been a big help, as has the Biscotti Kid.  Students learned...Eyes Watch, Ears Listen, Voice Quiet, Body Calm.
    Social Language:
    Within the classroom, first graders have been thinking about the sizes of problems and how to have expected reactions.  This led us into a discussion of how people have thoughts about us based on what we say and do.  After reading Rainbow Fish to the Rescue kids set goals for themselves as to what kind of friend they would want to be.  Examples were:  Friendly Talker, Includer of Others, Tone of Voice Master, Keeper of Bubble Thoughts, Flexible Thinker and Problem Solver.
    OCTOBER 2015
    Some 1st graders are working on different sounds this year.  
    Placement cue for /s/ and /z/:  Keep those front teeth together.  Keep that tongue inside.
    Placement cue for /l/:  Put the tip of your tongue right behind your top teeth.
    Placement cue for /er/:  Put the back of your tongue up (top teeth should rest gently on sides of tongue).  Keep tongue tight.  Sometimes we start with the "eee" sound and move gently to /er/.  Another tip is starting with the /k/ or /g/ sounds as they also get your tongue up in the back.
    1st graders are working on my different language skills, as well.
    To build sentences and short sequenced stories we are using different organizers and hands-on materials.  The structure of WHO-DID WHAT-WHERE-WHEN helps our friends learn to incorporate the important elements into a sentence (i.e.  The bird-flew to the tree-in the backyard-in the afternoon.)  After creating sentences, we then strung them together to make a short story using TRANSITION WORDS such as First, Then, Next, After that, Finally.  DID WHAT words have been irregular past-tense verbs so we can practice using these action words that don't follow the rules (See Resources Page).
    To organize our narratives, we are using the Story Grammar Marker model.  The children are sorting pictures into different story parts such as CHARACTERS, and SETTING (where and when).  We have also started talking about the KICK-OFF to the story (It was just a regular day until...).  Students use transition words to tell the events of the story, so they can share the beginning, middle and end of their piece (See Resources Page). 
    To describe and explain, some students are using the Expanding Expression Tool model.  Each section is practiced and then added to the list of strategies.  We have played a sorting game (group and do), talked about different objects (look like),  been on a scavenger hunt (what's it made of), and used Mr. Potato Head (parts) to learn the different strategies so far (See Resources Page).
    Social Language:
    Having conversations is not always easy to do.  1st graders are learning to stay on topic, and ask questions to show their friends that they care about what their friends are talking about (See Resources Page). 
    Sometimes our reactions don't always math the size of the problem.  1st graders have been working on matching different problems they might experience to the Problem Scale, and talking about ways to make something that seems really BIG into just a GLITCH (See Resources Page).
    1st graders are also learning that other people have thoughts about THEM.  Kids are learning about different colored thoughts.  We want people to have GREEN thoughts about us, definitely not RED thoughts.  Sometimes we have YELLOW thoughts too.  As we learn that people have thoughts about us, we can also learn how to change our behavior so that people might change their thoughts about us too (See Resources Page).
    All 1st graders continue to practice EXPECTED behavior, not UNEXPECTED behavior.