A Peek into the Classroom: Mrs. Brush's First Grade
Math is wrapping up and students are completing their work independently at their seats when Mrs. Brush announces it is time to move onto writing and to switch locations! Moving around the room is common in this first grade class at Conant Elementary. “I am setting the timer for two minutes. Find your paper, grab a clipboard from the bin, and a pencil from your desk and come sit on the rug,” requests Mrs. Brush. The visual timer located on the smartboard provides guidance for those who thrive on structure, and flexibility for students who need a bit more time. Mrs. Brush provides positive feedback to students who are following her expectations, and this creates a wave effect of students walking safely to the carpet. Phrases such as, “I see that Ava is ready for writing,” and, “Thank you, Conner, for sitting criss-cross applesauce,” encourage listening skills without negativity.
Using a document camera, Mrs. Brush reviews the two parts to a complete sentence: the naming part and the telling part, and then looks at the sentences the class wrote together during the previous lesson. Once again the timer is set, and students are on the move as the class is dismissed from the rug to work in partners around the room. As students get settled, Mrs. Brush walks around the room encouraging students to stay on task, use their time effectively, and provides feedback including, “be specific about that naming part,” and, “yep, now put the whole thing together.” More time is added after one walk around the classroom, “This is the first time we have written complete sentences in pairs. I can tell more time is needed,” explains Mrs. Brush. Time is up and students move back to the rug again for a whole group discussion. The students are asked to turn into listeners as “brave students” volunteer to share their complete sentences on the document camera.
The writing lesson concludes with a summary of how today's instruction will help with their writing tomorrow, as students will be checking their small moments stories to ensure they have complete sentences. Students are dismissed from the rug to put their writing materials away and get ready for spelling, but before spelling begins, more movement is incorporated into the morning with a fun go noodle dance! The students laugh, smile, and move about the room before the timer is set again in preparation for spelling.