Monday, January 26, 2009

First Grade Sleepover

Say the word "sleepover" to any first grader this week at Chets Creek and you will see their eyes light up! That is because one of our longest traditions is our First Grade Sleepover. You might be asking "Do they really let them spend the night?" No! But the kids don't care. Prior to the actual day, we begin by having the kids make a teddy bear at home. Yes, a stuffed teddy bear. Sure we have children who aren't able to make one due to family situations, but we have parents and teachers who will help them make one of their own. During this time, we begin reading fiction books about Sleepovers. Our favorite is Ira Sleeps Over. In Reader's Workshop we work on story mapping, comprehension strategies, and reader's responses. In Writer's Workshop, we review functional writing (how to make a teddy bear is always popular) and narrative writing. The students love to make up stories about sleepovers. We also love to do fun crafts during this time such as decorating paper pajamas or teddy bear glyphs. Finally the big Sleepover day arrives. Students and teachers come dressed in their pj's and slippers. We begin with our Teddy Bear Parade where we walk around the school showing off their bears that were made by the students. We end in our cafeteria with a pancake breakfast and a slide show of all the students. Then we have centers such as Bear Square Dancing, make book covers for their narrative stories, have a scavenger hunt, etc. During the afternoon, each class is invited into the media center for a "Sleepover Party". There we dance with the lights off, watch a movie and eat popcorn, and listen to great stories. It is the highlight of the day. Before we know it, the day is over and everyone is exhausted. For me, sleepover is more than just a fun day. It is a day of memories for both myself and my two children (Now 15 and 13). My kids still have the bears we made when they were in first grade and can even remember dancing at the "Sleepover Party". I only hope that these memories stay with all the kids who walk through our doors each day as they share in our traditions. Make sure you check back next week to see highlights from our First Grade Sleepover on Jan. 30th.

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