Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.
In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.
When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I ask them, “What season is here?”
“Yes Rachel you are right it is fall.”
“Who remembers the scientific name for the season of fall?”
“Autumn is right Finnley. Can anyone give a reason as to why this season may also be called fall?”
“I agree with you Adam. The leaves are changing color and beginning to fall off the trees, so that is most likely the reason the season is called Fall.”
Now I stand up and open the screen on the SMARTBoard with a leaf sorting activity.
“Here is a pile of fall leaves that have blown into the classroom. We need to sort the leaves into piles. Looking at this pile of leaves who can tell me one way to sort the leaves?” Because the leaves on the screen are all the same size and type of leaves, the students usually tell me we can only sort by color. For the sake of time I agree with them simply because this is not the main focus of my lesson.
I use the Fair Sticks to select students to come up to the board to sort the leaves by color. There are more than enough leaves for my class and some students are able to come up a second time.
Once all the leaves have been sorted, I close out the screen and introduce the focus lesson book.
I use this activity to get my students thinking about leaves and the many different things that we can do with leaves.
“The book for today is called Fall Changes, by Ellen B. Senisi. Looking at the cover is there anything you can tell me about this book?”
Most of the students notice the children jumping in the pile of leaves. We discuss what the children are wearing and why they are dressed that way.
“Who here has jumped in a pile of leaves?”
“Awesome. I see that more than half of the class has had a chance to jump in some leaves. At recess we will take some rakes with us out onto the playground and try to rake a big enough pile of leaves for us to take turns jumping in the leaves.”
I begin to read the book to the students. During the reading we discuss words such as chilly, drizzle, twilight, scurry, etc. I like to discuss the words as we read because in this way the students increase their vocabulary through the context of what we are learning about.
When the book is over, I ask the students “So who can tell me one sign of fall?”
I use the fair sticks to select four or five students to respond to the question.
“Those were all great answers of different signs of fall. Do not worry if you did not get a chance to tell me a sign of fall because you will be able to tell me during integrated work time.”
“Today at integrated work time I would like you to tell me your favorite part of fall.”
Students need to develop the skill of being able to inform their audience about a given topic as this is part of being able to express an opinion. In this writing piece the students are simply telling the audience what they like to do. Later in the year they will have to support their choices with a rationalization.
“When you get to this station you will find the writing prompt, “I like fall because...” as well as pencils, crayons and the date stamp. What is the first thing you will need to do?”
“That’s right Simon you will write your name and then use the date stamp.”
“If I need assistance to write my sentence and Mrs. Clapp is busy helping another student, what could I be doing while I wait for her to help?”
“You got it Emily. I can draw my picture with clear details while I am waiting. What are the resources around the classroom I can use to help myself?”
“Well done Michael. I can use the book, I can use the word wall, I can use my nametag (the name tags have a phonetic alphabet on them) and I can ask a friend.”
Now I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;
“Table number one go have some fall writing fun.
Table number two, you know what to do.
Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and
Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”
When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”
Once everyone is seated on their spot I tell the students the “exit slip” for today is to tell me one change they notice during the fall. I use the fair sticks to select the order in which the students go. If a student is unable to give me a fall change they can do one of two things;
Once a student has given me a fall change they are able to use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack.
For this assignment I check over the students work using the I like fall writing prompt checklist to make sure the student met the objectives for the lesson. I attach the checklist to the student work and place the whole packet in the student’s working portfolio.
Looking at the student’s work with the checklist helps me to stay focused on the point that I am looking to see if a student can complete the sentence prompt so that it makes sense and does in fact inform the audience about their favorite thing to do in the fall. I check to see how the student chose to complete the sentence - did they request help to form the words, or did they use other methods (word wall, friends, adults, etc)? I also make comment on how neat and tidy the work is.
The checklist helps me because the work sample provides me with evidence of students learning as to whether the student met the objectives or not. The checklist helps to convey information to the student’s family as to how well they are doing in class, and finally it helps the student by letting him/her know how he/she did and if there are areas where he/she could improve.
Use small plastic leaves in inventory bags to reinforce accurate counting and recording practices.
Make a tissue paper leaf using warm colors. Glue tiny torn pieces of red, yellow, orange and light brown onto a leaf cut out. Discuss warm colors and why they are called warm colors. I usually hold up a picture of a brilliantly colored fall leaf and a picture of a large fire next o each together. We discuss the similarities in colors and hues. Students making tissue paper leaves