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!

Social Studies!

We spent the past couple weeks learning about Geography. We’ve learned that maps are made from a “bird’s eye view” or “aerial view”.  We talked about how when we look at things, we see them one way, but when we look at a map, it looks different.

We read a book called, “Me On the Map” and learned about maps and globes.  We learned that there are symbols on maps and globes in the Key to help us understand.  Where we see green or brown, that is land, and where we see blue, we know that is water.

We also talked about how each person has a special place on the Map. Our Special place is our address. We each practiced writing and saying our addresses at school. There are 3 lines that help make up our address:

First and Last Name

House Number and Street Name

City, State, and Zip Code

Please have your first grader practice saying his/her address at home.  I will be checking in with each child during the month of December see if they can remember all the parts of their home address (even the zip code).

Science Update

Before Thanksgiving, we took advantage of our short week and hit up some of our science concepts in full force!  We studied how objects can be sorted into different groups based on their properties (or attributes).  An attribute could be the size, shape, color, texture or thickness of an object.  Some objects can have the same attributes, other are very different.

After learning that all things can be sorted based on their attributes, we continued to study three additional scientific properties: the states of matter, magnetic/non-magnetic, and sink or float!

The kids learned that there are 3 different states of matter:  Solid, liquid, and gas.  We talked about the different attributes that go along with each state of matter:

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We also talked about changing matter from one state to another (solid ice cube to liquid water & liquid water to the gas water vapor).

Another attribute we studied was sinking or floating.  The kids really enjoyed investigating different objects and predicted what might happen when these things were placed in water.

We also studied magnets.  We explained that in order for an object to be magnetic, it needed to be made of a special kind of metal: iron, steel, nickel or cobalt.  We went around the classroom tested different items.

We also  talked about was how magnets have 2 poles, a north and a south.  The kids learned that opposites attract and the same poles repel, or push away from each other.  To understand this concept better, we turned into magnets!  One of our hands had a “N” and the other had a “S”.  We practiced a few times showing how we could “attract” to a partner by having a N and S together, or how we could repel from a partner if we both put up the same pole.  Once we got the hang of it, the kids moved around the room to music and when the music stopped they had to listen for their direction to either repel or attract the closest person to them.  We would continue and each time the music stopped- the kids stopped and thought about which hand to put up to show the proper magnetic response.  :)

It was an exciting day!  Our first grade scientists can’t wait to study more!!!

Learning Update

Reading:

This week, we started a new unit of reading all about CHARACTERS. We pulled out some of our favorite characters, Pete & David, and studied them as characters.  The kids had plenty of schema about both characters from other books, so they knew some of things the characters might do.  As we read the stories, we noticed that there were patterns to what happened in each story.  Patterns help teach us about characters and can even help us predict what might happen in a story.  We noticed that Pete stays calm and upbeat throughout his stories and we noticed that David has a hard time making good choices, but then always seems to turn it around in the end.

Weekly Update!

Writing:

We spent this week revising and editing our small moment stories in Writer’s Workshop this week. Each student had the chance to choose a favorite piece they had been working on, and then we worked to make it even better.

On our revising day, partners looked to add…

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On our editing day, partners checked for…
 

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After revising and editing, we added color to our pictures and a cover page with a title and author. Finally, at the end of the week, we got to celebrate our stories!  After reading and coloring, we shared compliments about what we’ve learned as writers and had our Hawaiian Punch toast! We had a great time wrapping up our second unit of writing. We hope you enjoy the stories that come home!

Math:

We kicked off Unit 3 this past week and introduced our first graders to a new strategy: math mountains.  A math mountain is a method for organizing the partners on bottom and the total on top.  If we aren’t sure of the total in a math mountain we can underline the greater partner and count ON.  If a partner is missing, we can underline the known partner and count UP to the total (drawing a circle for each number that we count).  The number of circles tells us the missing partner.

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Our first graders solved stories that were missing a partner instead of the total this week too.  This was our first time exploring ways to solve this kind of problem.  We found that our math mountain strategy helped us organize the numbers so we could count-on from the known partner to the total in order find the missing partner.  So, we worked hard to recognize the total and partner in each story so our math mountains made sense and our work was accurate.

Our math groups also learned how to turn our missing partner math mountains into missing partner equations.  Both of these methods are a great way to show proof when solving a missing partner story which is demonstrated below:

Joe saw 6 snakes in the grass.  4 of the snakes were green.  The rest of the snakes were orange.  How many snakes were orange?

Reading:

We started the week by reviewing the three groups of chunks that we have been focusing on (ED endings, R-Sisters, & H-Brothers). Then, we spent time immersing the students with books that model persuasive letter writing. We read some books featuring unhappy crayons who tried to persuade their owner to change how he used them. We also read some books about a little boy who is trying to persuade his parents to get him a pet iguana, a new bedroom, and to come home from vacation so he can leave his grandparents’ house. All these books are written with such humor, that they kept us laughing all week. We will use these books as a reference as we move into our persuasive letter writing unit in writing workshop, next week.

We have a Busy Week Ahead!

Wow!!  Is it really November?  We are loving these beautiful fall days out on the playground.  Looks like we have another gorgeous week ahead!

November 1 – 16 – P.E. C.A.R.E.S. Food Drive

November 7 – Book Fair Preview Day

We will head down to the book fair so your child can make a wish list of the books he or she would like to get.  You do not have to purchase these books.  This experience gets the kids excited about new books to read or look at!!

November 8 – Election Day

November 7, 9 & 10 – Parent-Teacher Conferences

November 9 – Book Fair Buy Day

This day, our class has the opportunity to visit the book fair to purchase books.  If your child would like to buy a book, please send his/her money to school on Wednesday in an envelope labeled with your child’s name and the phrase “Book Fair Money”.

November 11 – Spelling Assessment

November 11 – Writing Celebration

We will celebrate our amazing easy-to-read stories.  This celebration is just for students.  Parents will be invited to join us for a writing celebration at the end of the year.

November 11 – Popcorn Day

November 11 – First Grade Pajama Day

* We will not have our normal library time this week due to the Book Fair. *