Important Notes: Week 12

It was a pleasure to talk with all of you at conferences last week. I have loved getting to know your kiddos.  These first graders have been working hard since the beginning of the year.  Thank you so much for all of the support and encouragement that you provide your child at home working on math homework, take-home books, spelling word, handwriting, sight words, Raz-Kids and MobyMax.  Phew!!!  I can’t wait to see how these sweet little ones continue to grow!!!  If you have any questions or concerns as the year continues please let me know.

We had so much fun visiting the book fair this week!  THANK YOU so much to the PTC and the sweet families from our classroom that donated books.  We have tons of new stories that we can’t wait to read!!!

November 2-16 – P.E. C.A.R.E.S. Food Drive

November 13 – Library Day

November 15 – PTC Meeting @ 6:30

Brrrrr!!!! It has sure been cold outside!!!  Just a reminder to send your child to school with their cold weather gear – our lunchtime recess is a long one. We go outside everyday unless it is raining or the “feels like” temp is below zero. Also, don’t forget to label EVERYTHING in case a mitten, hat, or boot goes missing!

Our classroom has been a tad on the chilly side too.  Feel free to send your child to school with an extra sweatshirt or sweater to wear in the classroom.

Save the date…

November 21-25 – Thanksgiving Break: No School

December 13 – Holiday Music Program

Learning Update!!

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.

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-UP 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.

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 WALK IN THE HALL. 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:

This week, we started a new unit of reading focused on figuring out tricky words. Our classroom received a mystery envelope from the SUPER SECRET DETECTIVE AGENCY! 🙂 We’ve been busy on missions all week, to help us be the best word detectives we can be.

Each new mission has given us a new tool to help us carefully figure out new, tricky words. We’ll keep working on new missions as we grow as word detectives.

Important Notes: Week 11

We had a fabulous first writing celebration on Thursday!  The kids were so proud of their writing.  I kept this final piece at school and will be saving it to go in a special book that you will receive at the end of the year.  The rest of your child’s writing was sent home for you to enjoy!  Our next writing unit will focus on writing How-To Directions.  We are excited to get started!

THANK YOU so much to the many parents that volunteered in our classroom during the party and donated all of our supplies and treats. The kids LOVED dressing in their costumes, and had a blast making their toilet paper pumpkins, playing Halloween Memory, and eating TONS of yummy food. We are so thankful for all of you!!!

November 2 – 16 – P.E. C.A.R.E.S. Food Drive

Send in your nonperishable food items.

November 5 & 7 – Parent/Teacher Conferences

November 5 – 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 7 – Book Fair Buy Day

Today 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 8 – Jet’s Pizza Night

November 9 – Spelling Assessment

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

Learning Update!!

Reading:

When we read with our first graders, there are three areas that we look for growth throughout the year: comprehension, accuracy, and fluency.  This week, we introduced a tool to aid the students in strengthening their reading comprehension.

This tool helps guide the students in retelling the events of a story in order.  When we use this tool, we start by reading a story.  When we finish reading, before moving on to another story, we see if we can remember the events of the story.  The kids practiced retelling the events across their fingers.

Writing:

This past week we spent most of our writing time preparing a special story to share at our writing celebration! First, we picked out a story that we are very proud of to revise on our own and to check for all the parts of a good small moment story. Then, we edited our stories by making sure they were easy to read.  After that, we got a chance to use colored pencils to add some color to our stories. Finally, on Thursday, we celebrated!

During our celebration time, we had a chance to add a cover to our story and share a favorite part of our story with the whole class. I am so proud of how far these first graders have come as writers since the beginning of the year.

Important Notes: Week 10

We are excited for some fun Halloween/Harvest activities this week!!!

October 30 – Library Day

October 30 – Picture Retakes

Send back in your child’s picture folder and I will make sure they head down to smile.

October 31 – Halloween Party @ 12:45

Please send in any snack items ASAP this week unless you are planning to bring a food item to the party.

November 2 – 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.)

November 4 – Day Light Savings – Fall Back

Last week, I sent an e-mail with our fall conference schedule.  Please mark this date on your calendar.  If you have not sent me an e-mail to confirm your time, please do!  I am excited to be able to meet with you and share some of the amazing growth your first grader has made since the beginning of the year!

Learning Update!

Writing:

We focused on making our stories easy for other people to read, this week. We spent time focusing on neat handwriting, finger spaces, and spelling our word wall words correctly.

We spent time practicing putting capitals in the right places – we focused on making sure to capitalize the letter I when we talk about ourselves. We are encouraging our writers to be careful not to add capital letters to all their words (which is common for beginning writers). We will continue to build on where to add capitals and punctuation throughout the school year.

Math:

This week, we reviewed all the concepts that we covered in Unit 2. Unit 2 covered addition and subtraction strategies and provided the foundation for all of the math learning that will take place for the rest of this year and beyond. Look for the math assessment to come home soon and check over how your child performed. Any areas that are still NOT consistently solid, we will continue to practice in our lesson warm ups and small group intervention.  This week’s homework will be a review of writing addition equations (P + P = T) and subtraction equations (T – P = P).

Reading:

We talked about how good readers think about their books as they read.  We focused on how when they finish reading one book, before moving on to their next book, they can stop and think. This week, we focused on making connections to our books as we read. 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 infer why they are acting the way they are acting in different parts of a story. Making these connections will help your child to have a deeper understanding of story events and prepares them to be able to talk about character traits.

Important Notes: Week 9

Thank you also for supporting your first grade reader at home with their take home books.  Remember to return these books to school each day, so your child can bring home a new book to read to you!!!  I am getting excited to reassess each child’s reading level.  I know they have been growing and are getting very excited about many of the series books in our classroom!

October 22-26 – Be Nice * Be Safe Week

 

October 22 – Holiday Posters Due

***Optional coloring page sent home last week.***

October 23 – Library Day

Send your child’s book back to school.

October 23 – Math Assessment

October 23 – Turkey Trot

If your child would like to participate and you did not sign up already, late registration can be filled out at the race.  The races begin at 5:00.  Gates open at 4:30.  If your child signed-up for the race, Turkey Trot t-shirts/goodies were sent home on Thursday or Friday.

October 26 – Book Order Due

October 26 – Popcorn Day

Learning Update!!

Reading:

This week, the kids had fun sharing some of the books they’ve been reading on their own. We practiced giving book introductions where the kids share the WHOWHAT, & WHERE from their stories. This skill helps build our first graders’ ability to summarize, while also giving them a chance to share their excitement over a book with friends in the class.

We also talked about how good readers think about their books as they read.  We focused on how when they finish reading one book, before moving on to their next book, they can stop and think.

Math:

This week, we focused on subtraction equations and stories.  We continued to emphasize that a subtraction equation always begins with the total and worked hard to label all our equations so we knew which numbers to put where.

We also learned that we can use addition to help us solve subtraction.  If we know the partners for an addition equation, we can use this understanding to help us find the missing partner in a subtraction equation.

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 9.30.49 PM

Writing:

This week, we took time to remember all that we’ve learned about small moment narrative stories. We made a chart with the class to list all the things they should be adding to each of their stories to make their story the best small moment story they know how to write.

We challenged the class to see if they could start a new story and add all these things to their story. We collected the story and will send it home to share with you. When you see it come home, have your child read it to you and see if they can point out the different parts of the chart that they added to their own story!

Word Study:

Our first graders have been loving our Word Study portion of the school day! We spend this time of the day studying words, letters, sounds, syllables, etc. To guide us through our lessons, we have a class mascot named Rasheed helping us out.

Rasheed has been helping us build a routine of looking for certain word features every time we look at a new word.

These past two weeks, we’ve paid close attention to vowels and all the sounds a vowel can make. And most recently, we introduced the idea that two letters can blend themselves together (BLENDS = cl, st, dr, etc.) and two letters can work together to create a whole new sound (DIGRAPHS = th, sh, ch, wh, etc.).

Important Notes: Week 8!

Brrrrr!!!  The weather is sure starting to feel like fall. As your child begins to bring their cold weather gear to school, don’t forget to label everything.  Hats, gloves, and even boots frequently go missing and we want to make sure all these items get returned to the correct owner.

October 16 – Library Day

Please help your first grader return his/her book.

October 22 – Holiday Posters Due

Please feel free to begin sending in any Halloween party donations.  I can hold on to these items at school.

Learning Update!

Math:

We spent time studying a new math concept: SUBTRACTION!!!  When we solve stories that involve “taking something away” we use a minus sign (-) to represent what happened.  For example, when given the story:

There were 5 cookies.  I ate 3.  How many are left?

Our first graders learned to represent this thinking with circle drawing, break-apart stick, and minus sign right through the circles that were taken away:

We also emphasized that a subtraction equation always begins with the total.  Then we show the “minus” partner, which means that our answer is actually a missing partner (rather than a missing total like an addition equation).  Our first graders “trained their brains” to count up the total and write that number first to accurately represent a subtraction story or circle drawing with an equation.

With our introduction to subtraction still very fresh and new, please support your child on their homework pages as they learn to understand the strategies involved with solving and representing subtraction stories!!!!

Writing:

We continued to work on writing small moment stories during our writers workshop.  This week, we learned that great writers include the 3 W‘s in their writing:

By including the 3 W’s on our first page, our writing is clear, detailed, and paints a picture for the reader.  For example:

My family went for a bike ride around our neighborhood.

Our class ate two Oreos in the classroom.

We also focused on making our stories easier to read. We introduced the strategy of using a word wall to access frequently used words and spell them correctly in our stories.

Reading:

This week, we added to our collection of strategies to use when we encounter a tricky word.

 

We focused on checking to see if our guess makes sense within the context of the page we are reading. Then, we double check to see if the guess matches the letters/sounds of the word on the page. When we are stretching out the sounds in a tricky word, we can try more than one vowel sound to figure out the new word. We spent a lot of time talking about vowels and some of the different sounds they make.

Mind Up:

An idea we have been talking about in Mind Up is how attitude affects how well you can handle situations, especially solving problems.  We introduced the words: optimistic thinker and pessimistic thinker.  We talked about how optimistic thinkers think with happy thoughts and are more likely to solve problems successfully.  Pessimistic thinkers are often defensive and react with anger when problems arise. The kids spent a good deal of time role playing different problems and sharing how an optimistic thinker would react as opposed to a pessimistic thinker.

For example: If someone takes the seat that we want at lunch

Pessimistic Thinking: “That person is so mean, it’s not fair, I was going to sit there.”

OPTIMISTIC THINKING“I can find another friend to sit by, I can try to sit there tomorrow.”

We talked about how we can train our brain to get better at optimistic thinking by practicing. We agreed that we need to start practicing optimistic attitudes so that we can handle problems better on our own. We are going to practice taking a few deep breaths when a problem arises and thinking of the problem from a different point of view.  When these situations arise at home, remind your first grader to use optimistic thinking…ask them, “how can we think about this situation optimistically?”

We are going to focus in on kindness to help train our brains to be optimistic thinkers. We read a book that talked about treating people kindly and how to fill someone’s bucket with happy feelings. We talked about how to be “Bucket Fillers” and not “Bucket Dippers”.  We want to work hard to make sure everyone’s bucket is full and we can do that by saying or doing nice things to them.  The good news is… when we fill someone else’s bucket, we fill ours, too!