At the beginning of the school year we want the classroom environment to be a friendly and safe environment. What better way to work towards that than to get to know each other better? We have been getting to know each other verbally. Now we are going to create a book about ourselves so we have something to reference.
We brainstorm ways that we can learn about a person. If they do not mention to read a book about them I try to steer them in that direction.
For their independent practice I differentiated the activity. It is the beginning of the school year and the levels of my students vary. Beginning of the year assessments show that many of my students are well below grade level in reading and writing. I also have many ESL students in my class. Some of my students will complete this cute template that I found online. They will use the template because they need this extra scaffolding. They have trouble starting sentences on their own, composing sentences in the correct order, and coming up with ideas to write about. The template can be found in the resources section. The majority of my students will create their own book. They can choose which topics they would like to share with the class based on ideas we talked about when creating my book.
I walk around the room fielding questions while they complete their own books. I prepare for this in advance by having their birthdays on hand because most kids their age don't know them. They write their sentences first and color the pictures later.
I break the class into groups of 4. Each student takes a few minutes to share their book with their group. Tomorrow I will break them into different groups and have them share out again. They will also use these books to complete activities to compare and contrast themselves to others in the class.
Since this is the beginning of the year, and we are still learning etiquite for sharing in a group, I have students count to 4. The first 4 are one group and the number they said is the order they share in. I continue this until all my students are in a group. Each student reads their book to the group and when finished asks if there are any questions. After answering any questions the next person does the same thing. My assistant and I walk around and listen as students share their books, and answer any questions students have. Despite the students having written their books some do not know how to read the words they wrote.
Having students share in groups is one way we are working on Common Core Standards for Speaking and Listening. Having them share their ideas, taking turns, and asking questions to clear up any confusions are all part of the speaking and listening standards. Students are also practicing speaking in complete sentences which incorporates the speaking and listenings as well as the literacy standards that first graders should be working on.