Learning Update!

Reading:

We spent time looking at different nonfiction books to see how nonfiction books work differently than fiction stories.  We noticed features that could help us to understand what we were reading better.

The kids have learned so much from our nonfiction books already and they just LOVE sharing what they learned with the class.

Math:

This week, we practiced our “Make a 10″ strategy using new green quilt cards. The cards are explained below:

The front side of our green cards shows an equation and the back side shows the answer along with the “Make a 10″ strategy. We wanted our first graders to try to “Make a 10″ before checking on the back side, so we taught them how to practice solving these equations using their fingers to represent the smaller partner. After borrowing from our fingers to make a ten, it was easy to find the teen total.

We ended the week studying our doubles facts. Many of our first graders know the first 5 doubles in a snap. The final 5 doubles were a little tougher.

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We will talk about how we can use what we know about doubles to help us solve other equations. We noticed that here is often a set of doubles that can be found hiding inside an equation. If we can find the hidden double, all we need to do is add one or subtract one to solve the equation.  For example:
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We will continue to work on our doubles facts, so our first graders can more easily use the Doubles +1 and Doubles -1 strategy. It would be wonderful if your child could practice their doubles facts at home too!! Practice makes permanent!!

Writing:

This week, we worked on brainstorming a list of different things we can teach other people to do. To help the kids think of more ideas, we broke our ideas up into different categories: DO, MAKE, PLAY, or COOK.

Then, the kids got to try writing their own how-to teaching stories. We focused on sketching out a plan of the tools/materials that we need and then the steps of a beginning, middle, and end.

Learning Update!

Writing:

We are just getting started with a new writing unit: How To! We noticed this week that How To writing teaches us how to do something

We then practiced writing a How To  as a whole class. We wrote How To wash your hands. As a class we thought of all the materials you would need and the steps in order. Before we wrote our steps, we drew a teaching picture for each step and then wrote our steps out.

We want to make sure that what we are writing about is something we know how to do before we start.  We need your help! This weekend, please brainstorm with your First Grader about some topics that they know how to do. Some ideas included might include…

-How to build a snowman

-How to jump rope

-How to play with your dog

-How to take care of your pet

-How to play tic, tac, toe

-How to brush your teeth

We will create a class list of ideas on Monday! I can’t wait to hear all the good ideas!

Reading:

We spent some time this week reviewing our read to self routines. The kids fell right back into the swing of our workshop.  We began a new unit of study focused on nonfiction books. The kids are so excited to dig into this section of our classroom library.  They have found books about animals, planets, weather, people, vehicles, and much more.

We talked about how important it is to warm up to their book before trying to read. Nonficition books are filled with new vocabulary words and if we take the time to look through the pictures, we often have a general idea of what is going on and can make better guesses as we tackle new words.  Encourage your first grader to warm up to new books before they read the words!

Math:

We began new math learning this past week!!  Our Unit 4 in math will focus on tens and teen numbers, place value to 100, and strategies for adding larger numbers.  So far, we’ve practiced counting groups of tens.

We studied the teen numbers (11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19) and noticed that every teen number has a 10 hiding inside along with some extra ones.  We also represented teen numbers using a ten stick and circles, and wrote an equation to match our work.

Finally, we introduced our first graders to a new addition strategy called “Make a 10″.  For the equation, 9 + 4 = ___, we can “count on” to find the total of 13.  Since the total, 13, is a teen number (which has a 10 hiding inside) we helped our students notice that 9 + 4 = 10 + 3.  Both of these equations produce the total 13, but solving 10 + 3 is quicker and more accurate.

We will spend much of our math time next week working with this new strategy as it is still very new and fragile.

Learning Update

Math:

This week, we took some time to review what the kids have learned since the beginning of first grade. We gave the kids an interim assessment that covers unit 1, 2, & 3. The kids have grown so much in their understanding of numbers, partners, and equations.

We will continue to move ahead with our next units of math that move into teen numbers and beyond (with equations and stories), but we plan to send home an overview of how each child performed on the interim assessment. Please look for that to come home and check to see if there are areas that your child might need to continue to get support. We will meet with any students who have not mastered any areas that were assessed and continue to practice with them. We appreciate any practice that you can do at home with your first grader. Thanks!

Reading:

As we wrap up our unit focused on characters, we talked about how good readers are thinking while they read.  One of the ways that we think is by making connections to what is happening to our characters. As we read, we stopped to think, ‘Would I feel the same way, if that had happened to me?’ or ‘Do I know of any other characters, from different books, who have felt this way before?’ Connections help us to understand how characters feel and why they are acting the way they are acting in different parts of a story.

Next week, we will focus our attention on fluency.  The kids will practice rereading over and over again.  We will encourage the kids to scoop their words into longer phrases, paying attention to punctuation, using a storyteller voice, and showing our feelings through our voice and facial expressions!

Writing:

This week, we continued to challenge the first graders to add all the parts of a good persuasive letter as they wrote each day. At the end of the week, we picked a few of their final letters to edit (to be a 5 star sentence) and revise (to make sure it has all the parts of a persuasive letter). Next week, we will celebrate the work that these kids have done in this unit and send off one final persuasive letter before break.

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Learning Update

Reading:

This past week in reading, we focused on looking closely at how our characters were feeling in the beginning, middle, and end of a book. Each day we read a story and stopped three different times to discuss the characters’ feelings.  We noticed that almost always our characters’ feelings do change!  Often the main character started off happy, in the middle something happened to make them feel scared, sad, or mad, but by the end the problem was resolved.  We compared the characters feelings in our books to a rollercoaster with lots of ups and downs.  We also noticed that when our characters’ feeling change they are learning an important lesson.

imagesThe kids also spent time sharing the feelings of the characters in their own books with their peanut butter and jelly partner.

Writing:

Now that we’ve learned all of the parts of a persuasive letter, we challenged our first graders to be more productive during our writing time.  Our goal is for every child  to write a whole persuasive letter with all the important parts in one day.  The kids were excited to take on this challenge and truly blew us away.  We will be assessing and celebrating everything we’ve learned about persuasive letters this week!

Math:

Our first graders worked hard this week to prepare for our Unit 3 assessment.  We spent our math switch time solving missing totalmissing partner and subtraction stories using the great strategies that we’ve learned during this unit.

The kids were definitely ready for the assessment and performed very well.  Woohoo!!!  Still, they will be asked throughout the rest of this year to solve stories, and we don’t want your child to lose any of the great strategies that they’ve gained from our learning.

To support your child at home, please encourage him or her to always PROVE THEIR ANSWER when solving a story.  We have taught our first graders to listen to a story and make an EQUATION that matches the story.  Then we ask them to use a math mountain to solve the equation.  This is demonstrated below:

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We appreciate all the time that you take to encourage your child on their math homework.  Practice makes permanent and we don’t want our first graders to lose any of these wonderful strategies!!!

Next week, we will dive into our new learning in Unit 4 which focuses on teen numbers, place value and strategies for solving equations with larger numbers.  For this unit, we will stay in our own classrooms.  We will start math switch groups back up later in the year.  We look forward to helping your child grow even more as a mathematician!

Toys for Tots…Ends This Thursday!

One of our Georgetown students is collecting toys for Toys For Tots. Ainslee Tomaszewski has a goal of collecting 155 toys and we have received 62 as of Monday.  These toys will go to families who are having difficulty affording gifts this year. 

Please bring your unwrapped gift to school by Thursday, December 8!

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Learning Update

Reading:

This week, we continued to spend time thinking about our characters.  We paid close attention to how our characters were acting, what they were doing, and what they were saying. We asked, ‘How does the character feel?’ and then we backed up our thoughts with proof from the text.

 We noticed that we could tell a lot about how our characters were feeling just by listening to the words they said.  We used clues from the pictures and the characters bodies to help us figure out their feelings.

Writing:

We jumped back into our Persuasive Writing Unit. One thing we noticed about persuasive letters was that the best letters had to do with things that were important to us and that helped make our home, neighborhood, or school a better place.

Next, we learned that persuasive letters try to make someone agree with our opinion. We stated our opinions in our letter using the “I think….” sentence starter. When we state our opinion, it becomes clear what we want the other person to think as well.

We then realized that it is important to think about our audience for our letters. If there is something we want to change in our home, then the best audience for our letter is probably someone at home, not at school.

Then, we talked about giving good reasons in our letters. Just saying that we really want something is not good enough! We need to share with our audience why it is important to us. We also discussed mini-moment reasons. These are little stories where we share a time when we saw the problem in our own lives. After our mini-moments, we also discussed how we need to add a solution to our letter. This is how we are going to help fix the problem.

We will continue to send home letters throughout the next week or so, you might receive a letter from your first grader. I encourage you to write them back! If you do, send it along with your child’s letter back to school. We would love to share responses we get with the class!

I also ask that if you receive a letter, make sure they are working for what they ask for! Don’t just let a “please please please” letter convince you. Look for a letter that gives good reasons and ideas before agreeing to what they ask for and a solution of how they can help make this happen. Don’t worry – I also warned them that it is likely that you might not agree with their request! :)

These letters are so fun to read – first graders sure are creative! Thank you for your help in making this process so fun for these first graders!

Math:

We continued to work on subtraction strategies, this week. The first graders performed very well with the strategy of writing the equations, labeling them TOTAL – PARTNER = PARTNER, and drawing the math mountain to go with the equation.  We are in the habit of checking to see if the number we solved for makes sense in the math mountain (the largest number always has to go at the top). If they make a mistake, the math mountain helps them to realize this.

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Candy Cane Sale

The annual 5th grade Candy Cane sale is officially here!
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The annual candy cane sale has returned. Our 5th-grade classes will sell candy canes to help raise money for their end of year activities.
This year the sale runs from Monday, December 5 through Friday, December 16.    
The cost for each candy cane is $1.00 and they will be delivered the same day they are ordered.
Thank you for your support and Happy Holidays!

Social Studies Update!

Before Thanksgiving Break we spent a portion of our day studying our first grade economics topics.  We begin with a review of needs and wants.  A need is something we can’t live with out, a want is something that makes life more fun.  :)  We talked about different wants- things that we have asked for for our birthdays or things that were on our Christmas list.

The kids know that we have 5 needs:

food, water, shelter, clothes, air

Then I told the kids that I had some smarties and hershey kisses but not enough for everyone to have one of each.  Everyone was able to choose one piece to have. After they had chosen, I had the kids raise their hands if they weren’t able to get their first choice candy.  I used this example to explain the idea of scarcity to the kids, we talked about how there isn’t always enough of something for everyone to have it (or sometimes we don’t have enough money to buy everything we want).

I then shared how some of the kids had two pieces of candy that they really wanted, but they could only have one.  We talked about how when you can’t have both, then you need to make a choice between the ones you like the best.  I gave the kids the example of how I go shopping and see so many things at the store that I want, but I don’t have enough money to buy it all.  So, we have to make choices!

I asked the kids what you could do if you ended up with a piece of candy that you didn’t want and they came up with the idea to trade.  I had the kids who ended up with candy that wasn’t their first choice come to the middle of our circle and see if they could trade with each other.  Some of them were able to and some were not.  We discussed how trading is a great solution, but how it only works if the other person wants what you have to trade.

It was a fun activity that spurred a great discussion.  There will be many moments of scarcity as the year continues at school.  Be sure to point out if scarcity ever happens at home too!