I am becoming more comfortable teaching my firsties, because I've finally gotten it into my head that I don't have to completely change my style of teaching just because I went up a grade level. We can still be hands on and have fun and be mostly worksheet free, even if we are in first grade now! I am much more relaxed and my firsties are too, which has cut down on some of our behavior woes. I reintroduced the clip chart after rereading Rick Morris' ebook about it and it is working! Now that I have students taking ownership of moving their clips up and down (before I was doing it!) it is a much better behavior tool.
I have started doing more small group rotations rather than so much whole group time and we are enjoying the change. My only problem is that my high group is very rambunctious so when they are not at my station they get loud very quickly. I am going to try to break them up tomorrow to see if we can remedy that. My favorite station this week is Play Dough! This morning we stamped subtraction equations and in the afternoon we stamped our spelling words. I try to keep my camera handy throughout the day for pictures, but especially during rotations. If my firsties think there's a chance of getting their picture snapped during the rotation they are much more likely to stay on task!
My happiest moment of the day? Our cute little construction paper pigs that we made this afternoon - less than 40 minutes from start through clean up! Great fine motor practice (because I have a bunch who need all the fine motor help they can get!) and clear evidence of who can follow directions and who can't. The great part was that they all turned out super cute, which was amazing since I didn't actually have a template or anything. I merely gave them 1/2 a sheet of construction paper for the body, 1/4 sheet for the head and then four 2 inch wide strips for the legs. We curled 1/2 a pink pipe cleaner around a pencil for the tail and used my glue gun to stick it on. We drew on the snout and mouth and used googly eyes. Since they were still drying I didn't get pictures, but I will share them later this week!