Monday, June 4, 2012

Blossoming

As I was thinking about my kids during the last week of school it was hard to think of them as anything but almost 2nd grade readers, writers, and mathematicians.  The truth is that's not the way they came to me back in August.  It's so hard to remember who they used to be and easy to take for granted how much they really do grow in nine months.  Fortunately, there's a little something I do with my kids that helps me remember how much they've blossomed.  (I didn't invent this idea, and I found it so many years ago on the internet that I've no idea who to give credit to.)

Asking kids to copy something from the board is basically against my religion, but I make an exception twice a year.  During the first week of school while they're still fresh out of kindergarten, I have the kids copy a poem.  Even though it's very teacher directed (I write a letter - they write the letter), it's not the easiest thing to pull off.  It takes a lot of energy, enthusiasm, cheerleading, and breaks all provided by me.  After we've all recovered, we also draw and color self-portraits.  This is very teacher directed as well.

Now fast-forward to the last week of school.  We do the whole thing over again, although it's pretty much painless at this point.  I glue the August version of the poem and self-portrait to the back of the May version and send them home to parents.  The difference between the two is night and day.  The growth in both their artistic and handwriting abilities is a reminder to parents, the kids, and myself of how much these little people have blossomed in the past nine months.  Of course there's a whole lot more to first grade than art and handwriting.  The ways they grow as readers, writers, and mathematicians are amazing, but this little exercise sure makes for a nice visual for us all.  See for yourself.

Before

After

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After

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After

(Click on the words for your own copy if you're interested in trying this out too.)
First grade is a challenging grade, but what a reward to see how much they learn from beginning to end.  I think I might deserve a summer vacation.


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23 comments:

  1. Love the idea!
    Sweet Times in First
    sweettimesinfirst@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you much Sandra. I love that you dropped by.

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  3. I love the poem Tammy. I do something like this with ABC's I have them write them and as many numbers as they can on the first day of class, and the last day. The growth (or lack of) is as plain as the writing on the paper. I think I'll add the poem this fall.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Tammy

    First Grade @ Klinger Cafe
    dtklinger@gmail.com

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    1. Tammy, you're very welcome. It's always good to be able to see where there's been growth from beginning to end.

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  4. Wow! What a big difference from the first day to the last. I looked at each one of them and they ALL really improved on their printing and artistic skills. You should be very proud...and yes, you do deserve a long relaxing break!!
    Connie:)
    www.welcometofirstgraderoom5.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you Connie for coming by and checking them out. They certainly did grow a lot. I think we all deserve a long, relaxing break!

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  5. Tammy, I just love this idea! The children (and I!) love to see all the growth they made in their writing. Your poems and portraits are priceless.

    Lori (luvyorkies@gmail.com)
    Teaching With Love and Laughter

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    1. Lori, the kids thought it was pretty funny the way they used to write and draw, so I'm glad they got to see how much they've grown.

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  6. You DO deserve a summer break! What wonderful progression! This is a super way of demonstrating to parents how much their child has grown through out the year. Congrats on all that growth!
    Lori
    Conversations in Literacy

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    1. Lori, thanks as always. I do hope this reminds parents how much their little one has grown.

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  7. That is a really neat project!! That's one of the things that I love the most about teaching first grade is the progression that the students make over the course of the year. It truly is amazing!

    Lisa
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

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    1. Thanks Lisa. First graders sure do grow a lot!

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  8. Luke is really proud of his! I loved seeing a few others too. Handwriting evolution is incredible! It is a long term keeper for the treasure box.

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    1. Melissa, I'm so glad that Luke is proud of his and that you're going to keep it for a long time! That was sure my hope.

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  9. Very cool! The change is amazing. Thanks, Tammy.
    Barbara
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers

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    1. Barbara, thank you. They do change quite a bit over 9 months, huh?

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    1. Thank you Michelle. Thanks for coming by!

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  11. Thank you so much for your kind comment. :) You have a wonderful blog, and I can't wait to delve deeper into your old posts! Yay!

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    1. Amanda, thank you for coming by.

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  12. I am going to do this with my first graders. I was just wondering, do you have the shoulders and the head on the paper ahead of time before they put the eyes, nose, etc... on the paper?

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    1. Michaelshoney, yes I do. Great question. Good luck. Remember, it's quite painful at the beginning of the year. :)

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