Looking Ahead…

We had so much fun celebrating our realistic fiction writing this past week!  Mrs. Stutz’s class came to visit.  We loved showing off our writing and reading skills with a kindergarten buddy!

Thank you so much for reading our Friday Letters each week and writing letters back to your child.  We enjoyed looking back through all the letters in our books on Friday.  What a great artifact to hold on to from our year!  We hope you enjoy them too! 🙂

May 21 – Zoo Field Trip

We will leave school around 9:40 and meet our chaperones at the zoo @ 10:00ish.  Remember to dress your child for the outdoors, apply sunscreen, and send your child’s sack lunch to school (use a paper bag labeled with his/her name, if possible).  We will tour the zoo, eat our lunch, play on the playground, and head back to around 1:15ish.  We can’t wait!!!

May 22-25 – Realistic Fiction Writing Post Assessment

Our class will be writing our last realistic fiction book this week.  I will use this piece of writing to assess each child’s understanding of writing narrative books.  If you are able, before school on Tuesday, brainstorm with your child about a character, setting, and trouble they would like to imagine for their story and check in with your child about how their writing is going throughout the week.  I can’t wait to read these amazing books!!!

 

May 23 – Spelling Assessment

We will take one last spelling assessment over our 35 “no excuse” spelling words.

May 23 – Math Assessment

May 25 – LAST LIBRARY DAY!!!

Please send your child’s book back to school.  We will head down to the library to turn our books in and listen to one more story from Mrs. Vandenberg.

May 25 – Red, White, & Blue Day!!!

Wear your USA colors to school.

May 28 – No School: Memorial Day

We will be wrapping up with a lot of assessments this week and next week, it’s hard to pinpoint the date for each, but when I can I will add it to our schedule.  Make sure your child gets a good nights sleep, eats a yummy breakfast, and has two healthy snack to eat during our school day.

Learning Update!

Math:

We continued to study shapes during our math time this week.  We started the week combining triangles, rectangles and squares to form new shapes.  We learned about: rhombuses, trapezoids, parallelograms, and hexagons.  We also found that we could combine and transpose our shapes to create patterns.

Later in the week we began exploring with 3-dimensional shapes! We touched on the following shapes…

We learned about the attributes of each of these shapes.  We also briefly discussed how these 3-D shapes compare to the 2-D shapes. For example: the 3-D sphere is just like a 2-D circle and the 3-D rectangular prism is just like a 2-D rectangle.  We combined different shapes together to create new shapes and also tried to break large shapes apart into smaller ones.

Then, we moved into measurement. We discussed how in the old days before rulers were invented, people used to use their body parts to measure objects.  This kids couldn’t believe this was true and brought up a very big problem… our feet and fingers are different sizes!  We realized that when we use a common unit – like a paperclip – we all get the same results.  To test this theory, we used paperclips to measure various things in our math book and around the room.

Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 7.03.05 PM

We also introduced the word “length” and talked about how to line up measurement tools properly to get the most accurate measurement.  We compared lengths of objects from shortest to longest and longest to shortest (1, 2, 3).

Reading:

Our first grade readers continued to work on discovering the lessons that our characters can learn in some of our favorite picture books.

As we talked more and more about the “big ideas” from our stories, we noticed some similarities and differences between our books.  We tried to really dig deep and make connections between the same lesson and trouble.  Sometimes, our characters experienced the same trouble, but the lessons that they learned were different.

At the end of the week, we reorganized part of our classroom library and grouped many of our favorite books together by the lessons they teach: believe in yourself, speak up, be polite, stay with the group, etc.  Then, we were able to pick books to read from these piles already knowing the lessons the characters (and ourselves) were going to learn.  We can’t wait to read more books and learn more lessons from so many amazing characters!

Writing:

This was our final week of writing realistic fiction. We finished up any stories that were not done at the beginning of the week. Then we picked our very best piece that had everything from our checklist that we worked on last week. We spent some time rereading, editing, and looking at our punctuation to make sure we were ready to celebrate our stories. Finally, we each wrote an “About the Author” piece where first graders shared important and interesting facts about themselves with their readers. Once we created a cover for our stories, we celebrated by inviting a kindergarten class to come listen to our stories! We have had a blast creating realistic fiction stories. First graders are so creative and the voice and personality they add to their stories makes it so much fun. Next week, we will be writing our final writing assessment for the year! You can help your first grader brainstorm a real problem and solution for their story this week!

Bubbles and Chalk Day!!

Every year, we look forward to celebrating the end of the year together outside with bubblessidewalk chalkpopsicles, and fun!  We are all stocked up on FUN, but…we would LOVE if you would add bubbles, LARGE bubble wands (Dollar Tree), or popsicles to one of your shopping lists in the next few weeks.  We hold our celebration on the Wednesday, June 6th, so if you are willing to help supply us, you can feel free to send in your goodies anytime before that day.

Looking Ahead…

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

I hope you had time to relax and enjoy those you love!!!  I also wanted to share how thankful that I am for all that you do each day to support your child as he/she grows in kindness, wisdom, and character.  We could not do what we do at school each day without your support, encouragement, and care!!  THANK YOU MOMS!!!

May 17 – PTC Meeting @ 6:30

May 18 – Library Day

*** Zoo field trip chaperones – check your e-mail for more information about the field trip tomorrow!! ***

Learning Update!

Writing:

This week in writing, we wrote a shared writing piece. We focused on all the things a good realistic fiction story should have and wrote a class story together. 
After we spent a couple days working on our shared writing, we challenged the first graders to write their own story and to make sure the story had all the right details. They had two days to write their stories and I collected them to read on Friday. I was so impressed with how hard they worked and how creative they have been with their stories. This coming week we will wrap up our writing unit and celebrate our stories by the end of the week!

Math:

During our math time this week we studied some familiar shapes: rectangles, squares, triangles and circles.  We learned that every shape has special attributes that are always true!!
Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 11.09.54 PMWe also learned that shapes can be divided into equal parts.  When a shape is broken into two equal parts we call these halves.  When a shape is broken into four equal parts we call these fourths.  It’s important to understand halves and fourths especially when we are trying to share something (like a pizza, cookie, or granola bar) equally.

Reading:

This week our readers worked on changing their voice to match their characters’ feelings.  We noticed a lot of little clues in the text that help us know when and how to change our voice like: ellipses, bold printitalics, CAPITAL LETTERS, quotation marks, and more.  The kids had so much fun looking for these clues in their own books!
We also learned to hold on to the lessons in our stories.  In our fiction books, our characters are always facing some sort of trouble and have to figure out ways to solve these big and small problems.  We can learn from our characters, and can even act the same way they do, when the same kind of trouble happens to us!

Looking Ahead…

May 10 – Jet’s Pizza Night

May 11 – Library Day

May 11 – Take Home Books Due

Please return all take home books to school by May 11.  We will no longer be sending books home each night.  Thank you so much for your support with this nightly practice!!!  Our first graders have made AMAZING progress as readers this year.

May 11 – Early Release Day

Students are dismissed from school at 12:15.  Sack lunches can be ordered through Food Service and will be sent home with your child.  Please make sure your child knows if he or she needs to order a sack lunch.  Feel free to send me an e-mail to let me know if a sack lunch is needed.

** This week we are switching our specials time with the 4th graders on TuesdayWednesday, and Thursday.  They will be taking the M-STEP test during the morning on these days.**

Learning Update!

Math:

This week, our mathematicians reviewed the two different kinds of clocks that we use in everyday life that are called an “analog” clock or a “digital” clock. We discussed that the shorter hand always points to the hours and the longer hand always points the minutes.

We spent lots of time reviewing and practicing drawing the time on an analog clock and on a digital clock!  The hardest part for the kids is to remember that when it is a half hour, the hour hand is half way past that hour (they often read it as the next hour ahead instead of the hour it is half past).

Writing:

In writing this week, we spent the whole week learning different ways to add details in our writing. We learned that good writers add movement and dialogue to their to stories so that the stories come to life. Another way we can add details is to make sure we tell the small steps. This helps our reader visualize exactly what is going on in our stories.

Finally, we focused on adding feelings in our writing. We can do this by telling how our character is feeling but it makes it even more real when we show how our character is feeling by using a Show, Not Tell. Instead of saying “She was so happy”, we could say, “She was grinning from ear to ear”. Instead of “He was embarrassed”, we could write “His face turned red”. This gives the reader a much better picture in their mind as they read our stories.

Reading:

This week our readers really got to know one of our favorite characters: Mr. Putter.

We learned that as we read fiction books we need to study the main character.  When we do, we can figure out what he likes, dislikes and how he acts.  In our book, Mr. Putter Drops the Ball, we learned that Mr. Putter really likes to nap and he’s worried he might be too old to play baseball!

We should pay attention to all the other characters too!  Each character is so different.  Understanding all the characters helps us to make better predictions about the story.  In our book, we also met Mrs. Teaberry, who is brave and confident.  She is sure that Mr. Putter is not too old to play ball.

Later in the week, we remembered how important it is to go back and reread.  When we reread, we usually notice something new about our characters that we may have missed during our first read.

Finally, we talked about noticing our characters feelings and when those feelings change.  If our character’s feelings change, we can “take action” and change the sound of our voice.  Our first graders are becoming such expressive readers!!!

Looking Ahead….

We have been enjoying the warmer weather and have been taking lots of breaks outside – we even spent time outside this past week studying the natural and man-made parts of our world as a part of our social studies curriculum!  It looks like next week’s weather will not disappoint. We are hoping the nice weather stays around for our zoo field trip too!

In preparation for our trip, I would love to have you fill out this short survey about sack lunches.  Each student will need a sack lunch on the day of our trip, Monday, May 21.  You can choose to pack your child’s lunch or you can purchase a sack lunch from school.  Please fill out the survey by this Friday.  Thank you!   FIELD TRIP SACK LUNCH SURVEY *

May 1 – Spelling Assessment

Be sure to practice our spelling words at home: but, all, what, were, when

May 4 – Popcorn Day

May 4 – Zoo Field Trip Survey Due

May 4 – Library Day

Learning Update!

Writing:

This week was exciting in Writer’s Workshop. We ended our first bend about realistic fiction with remembering to use sparkling words in our stories. We talked about how a sparkling word might not be easy to spell but it is precise and the best word to use in our story. A sparkling word makes our stories more exciting. For example, we might choose to write…

Gretchen hid behind the tree.
-however we can use a sparkling word instead-
Gretchen crouched behind the tree.
The word hid is easy to spell but when we stop and s-t-r-e-t-c-h out and count the sounds in the word crouched, its really not that hard to write!
We also ended the bend by setting a goal for our writing in the next couple weeks. Some kids thought they could be much better at adding details and dialoguewhile other kids thought they would work on the organization of their stories by making sure they have leads, endings, one small moment, and transition words. I was impressed by how first graders were able to decide what they need more practice on in their writing.
We ended the week by focusing on adding dialogue to our stories. We know that our characters in our books have realistic problems and when they have a problems, chances are they are going to be talking to other characters in their books. We need to make sure we add that dialogue into our stories to make it more exciting. Some ways we can add dialogue is through speech bubbles, in our words, and writing our characters having a conversation. We are having so much fun making up pretend characters with real life first grade problems!

Reading:

This week, we continued on our “reading adventure” and packed our suitcases full of strategies to help us understand our reading.

Earlier in the week, we remembered to retell the important parts of our stories.  We used sticky notes to mark the pages with the most important events and retold each part to our reading partner.

We also reviewed how important it is to reread our stories.  When we reread, we notice things in the pictures and words that we might have missed during our first read.  The more times we reread our books, the better we understand our stories.

Finally, we chatted about connections.  We learned about text-to-text connections and text-to-self connections earlier in the year, but this time around we noticed connections between different parts in the story.  The events on one page may show the trouble and another page shows the solution or one page might be the cause and another page shows the effect. We had fun discovering and sharing about the parts of our stories that go together… like a puzzle.

Next week, our first grade readers will be studying on of our favorite characters: Mr. Putter!!!

Math:

This week our mathematicians reviewed for and took our Unit 6 test.  This is one of our most challenging units of the year and our first graders performed very well.  Look for your child’s math test to come home next week!

On Friday, we begin studying clocks.  Our first graders learned that the two different kinds of clocks that we use in everyday life are called an “analog” clock or a “digital” clock. We discussed that the shorter hand always points to the hours and the longer hand always points the minutes.  We can’t wait to learn more about telling time next week!

Looking Ahead…

What a crazy weather week!!!  Even with the cold and snow, the kids loved running/walking laps on the track for Mileage Club and playing on the 2nd/3rd grade playground.  It was good practice for next year!!  🙂  I can’t believe these sweet first graders are going to be big second graders in only seven more weeks!!!

April 22 – Earth Day

April 24 – Art Show Reception @ 5:30-7:30

April 24 – Culver’s Night @ 5-8

Come have a yummy dinner or dessert and support our school!  Many of the Georgetown teachers and staff will be there to deliver the food to your table or car.

April 27 – Math Assessment

April 27 – Body Safety Presentation

(Presented by the Children’s Advocacy Center)

April 27 – Library Day

April 27 – Spelling Sentence Dictation

Be sure to practice our spelling words at home: what, were, when, all, but