Learning Update!

Writing:

This week in writing, we began Realistic Fiction. We started on Monday by making up a pretend character, thinking of a realistic first grade problem, and a solution to the character’s problem.

We want to make sure we are thinking of real problems like having a wiggly tooth, scrapping a knee on the playground, or getting a bee sting. Once we plan our story across our fingers, then we quickly sketch the story on our paper before we get to work writing the words.

We learned how to write a lead to our story by setting the scenetelling who, what, and where about our characters, and adding a detail to the first page. For example….
One sunny dayGretchen was sitting in Math SwitchShe heard Mrs. VanKoevering teaching about comparison bars.
 
We ended the week by learning about how we should end our stories. We need to make sure that we solve the problem in our story on the last page and to end our book with a lesson that was learned.
       Gretchen felt safe. She learned to go inside whenever there was a thunderstorm.

Reading:

We began a new reading unit this week as we set off on an ADVENTURE with the characters in our fiction books.  Our books can take us anywhere – the beach, the mountains, a treehouse, a tea party and so many more places.  We want our first graders to be excited about reading because of all the adventures they can go on and places their reading can take them!!

So we “packed up our suitcases” with some reading strategies and took off on our adventure!  As we were getting ready to go, we talked about one of our familiar strategies “take a sneak peek”.  We can learn so much about our book by studying the front cover, reading any information on the back, and checking out the chapter titles before we read.

As we read more and more of our books, we noticed that our characters often move to different places and the time changes too!!  We want to be aware of a change in setting, so we looked for clues in the pictures and words to help us stay right on track.

 

Finally, we worked on making predictions about what might happen next.  We had fun guessing the next action in some new books with our favorite characters!

We are excited to go dig deeper into our adventures next week!

Math:

This week, we transitioned to solving comparison stories. Our first graders learned a new strategy called: COMPARISON BARS. Comparison bars are a visual tool for solving stories in which two amounts are compared and the difference (magic number) is either known or unknown. Check out the examples below:Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 4.24.25 PM

Thank you (ahead of time) for helping your child on his or her homework pages this week. Be sure to check their work. This new strategy is tricky and sometimes our first graders are unsure about where the known information should go. (If the magic number or the difference is known, the information always goes inside the oval.) We will review more comparison stories next week and then we will wrap up Unit 6 with an assessment.

Looking Ahead…

What a great first week back!!!  Even though the weather wasn’t the best, we tried to get outside for many of our breaks.  We also started a new social studies unit:geography. The kids have loved studying maps and globes, reading about different places around the world, and practicing their home address too.  Make sure to check in with your child to see if he/she can recite their home address (including their zip code).

April 20 – Library Day

 

April 20 – Popcorn Day

Learning Update!

Reading:

This week, we worked on our reading fluency.  We listened to audiobooks and studied what other readers do to sound like a reading star!

Here is what we noticed:

We practiced our fluency with our reading partners and invited Ms. Hutchison’s class to come listen to our reading too.  It was so much fun to have the kindergartens come visit.  They were very impressed by our first grade skills!

Writing:

We were excited to write some small moment stories about the fun we had over spring break this week. Our first grade writers did a great job remembering some of the techniques that we used when writing stories way back in the fall: add a who, what, and where, add dialogue, add details, and add a special ending.

Our small moment story writing was excellent practice for our next genre of writing: realistic fiction. The kids are so excited to begin thinking up their own characters, problems, and solutions for the new stories we will write.

At the end of the week, we spent time writing a realistic fiction story together.  We brainstormed the characters, setting, problem, and solution and sketched out each part of our story. Then, we added the words and details.

The kids are so excited to try out their own realistic fiction story next week!

Math:

Before spring break, we created graphs and made comparisons during our math switch time.  As our expertise grew, so did our graphs! Instead of comparing just two groups of objects, most of our graphs now compare three categories of data, like the graph below:

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 8.41.37 PM

We are always trying to make comparisons between the data in each category (group) by finding the MAGIC NUMBER. With three groups it’s a little harder to find the difference especially when comparing the top category of data with the bottom category of data. If we use a pencil to cover up the extra information, finding the MAGIC NUMBER is a breeze.

Looking Ahead…

Welcome back!!!  I hope that your family enjoyed a lovely break.  It’s hard to believe, but we only have 9 short weeks left in first grade.  There is a whole lot of learning and fun to squeeze into our remaining days together.  This week we will start up our social studies unit that focuses on geography, show off our amazing reading fluency to a class of kindergarteners, and continue organizing and comparing data during math.

April 12 – Jet’s Pizza Night

April 13 – Library Day

April 13 – 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.)

In the coming weeks, we will begin the important work of creating class lists for next year.  As a first grade team we will work very hard to ensure that your child will have a great year in second grade!  If you haven’t already, please consider filling out Mrs. Reagan’s parent survey: CLASS PLACEMENT PARENT SURVEY

Save the Date…

April 20Chasing Coral: Free Screening @ HHS

 

April  24Artist Reception Night & Culver’s Night

April 27 – Body Safety Presentation

(Presented by the Children’s Advocacy Center)

May 21  – Zoo Field Trip

Learning Update!

Reading:

Our focus during Readers Workshop the week before spring break was UNDERSTANDING what we read.  For the past few weeks, we have been working on using all kinds of “tools” when we are stuck on tricky words.  This week we learned about some “tools” that can help us if we become confused about what we are reading.

Our first “tool” to help us understand what we are reading is to check if we are “getting” what’s happening.  If we read a page and something doesn’t make sense, we can ALWAYS go back and reread slowly and think about what is going on.  We can even chat about what’s happening with our reading partners to make sure we’ve got it.

It is also important to make a movie in our minds as we read.  Our movie can fill in the little parts that might be missing from the words and pictures in our story.  It can also help us better understand what the characters are thinking about or feeling.  We closed our eyes and turned on our movie cameras to help us imagine our Zelda and Ivy book as a movie with music, dialogue, and lots of emotion.

As our books get longer, they often include a lot of character dialogue.  It’s important to stop and think about who is doing the talking.  Sometimes the word “said” will help us figure out the character that is speaking, but other times we have to infer.

Our character books will sometimes have new words, just like the nonfiction books we’ve been reading.  When we get to a new word we can say the word the best we can and think about what it might mean by describing it in many ways.

These first grader sure know how to be the boss of their reading and have learned many strategies to help them solve tricky words and fix up their understanding.  Way to go, first graders!!!

Writing:

Our first grader writers wrote one last nonfiction piece before spring break.  They had three days to go through our entire writing process of planning, drafting, revising, and editing on their own.  Each child picked a topic, organized their headings and got right to work.  Their writing and teaching pictures were AMAZING!!!  I can not believe how much these first graders have grown as writers this year!!!

On the Thursday before break, your child brought home a copy of the writing they completed.  I stapled a grading page to the top.  Let me know if you have any questions about how your child performed.

Our next unit of writing will focus on stories.  We will continue to work on the mechanics of our writing, using the correct sounds as we spell, and we’ll learn some new techniques to use as we write narratives.

Math:

We began our Unit 6 in math this past week.  Our first grade mathematicians are now sorting, organizing, and comparing data.  What a blast!!

To start things off, we learned how to take random data and record it on a chart or graph.  Crossing out each object as we add it to our graph helps us to be accurate in our representation.Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 10.29.37 PM

After graphing the information, we were able to notice many things about the data we were studying.  Which group had the most?  Which group had the fewest?  How many in all?  And, we were also able to make comparisons – how many more or how many fewer.  To compare our data, we drew matching pairs and then circled the magic number.Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 10.29.50 PM

The magic number represents the difference between the two groups being compared.  No matter if we are comparing how many more or how many fewer – the number is always the same (that’s why it’s magic!).Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 10.29.59 PM

We can’t wait to learn more!

Looking Ahead….

It’s a short week!!  We’re looking forward to some warmer weather too!!

March 26-28 – Nonfiction Writing Post Assessment

Our class will be writing our last nonfiction book this week.  I will use this piece of writing to assess each child’s understanding of writing nonfiction books.  If you are able, before school on Monday, brainstorm with your child about a topic they are an expert on that he or she might want to write about and check in with your child about how their writing is going throughout the week.  I can’t wait to read these amazing books!!!

March 30 – April 8 – Spring Break: No School

Have a wonderful spring break!!!  Enjoy lots of rest, relaxation, and hopefully sunshine and warm weather too!!!  I wish you safe travels if your family is vacationing somewhere outside of West Michigan.  See you soon!!!

Learning Update!

Math:

This week, we learned how to use the partners of 100 to solve equations that totaled 100. The partners of 100 are very similar to the partners of 10; however, we are working with tens instead of ones. This strategy came in handy for solving some of our two-digit equations as well.

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 10.08.47 PM

We also used our understanding of the relationship between addition and subtraction to solve equations. This strategy helped us to quickly find the missing partner in an addition equation once we solved the subtraction equation.

At the end of the week, we reviewed and took our unit assessment. The students performed very well. We are excited to move into our next unit of math that focuses on sorting, organizing, and comparing data.

Reading:

Our first grade readers added more “tools” for solving tricky words to their reading strategy tool box this week!  One of our new tools is to read our words part by part.  If we slowly say each part, a really long word with lots of syllables isn’t as tricky anymore.  (j – ump – ing = jumping)

We also practiced using words we know to help us figure out new words.  If we already know a word like will, we can use part of the word will to help us read a new word: thrilling.

We found that to figure out some words in our books, we need to try many different vowel and consonant sounds until the word makes sense, looks right, and sounds right!  Sometimes there are so many sounds to try, but we won’t give up!

Finally, we realized that there many words in our books that we know in a snap from practicing all our sight words this year.  We practiced reading familiar words quickly, instead of saying each sound, because we know them so well.

Our first graders have been loving the Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways book that we’ve been using to practice with all of our new reading tools.  If you are looking for a new series to read, definitely check these books out!

Writing:

This week we wrapped up our unit on Nonfiction Books. We began the week by finishing any books that were not done by adding more to the words and pictures. Once all of our books were finished, we went through our books carefully to edit each book. Check out our editing checklist to see what we were looking for in our finished books.
We ended the week by adding a cover to our book and finally getting to color the pictures we have been working so hard on the past several week. Then we joined with another First Grade Class to read them our Nonfiction Books. We had so much fun teaching other kids all about our topics! I loved hearing them use their teacher voice while they were reading their books. Way to go First Graders!

Looking Ahead…

Thank you so much for a wonderful week of parent-teacher conferences!!!  I am so proud of each and every first grader!!!  They are such a sweet group of kids and so kind to one another!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

The rest of our year is going to fly by at lightening speed.  We will be covering a lot of fun social studies curriculum topics after spring break and getting ready for our field trip to the zoo.  We can’t wait!!!

March 21 – Spelling Assessment

Be sure to practice our spelling words at home: one, by, not, had, or

March 22 – PTC Meeting @ 6:30

March 23 – Library Day

March 23 – Math Assessment

March 23 – Writing Celebration

We will celebrate our amazing nonfiction writing and share our work with another first grade class!

Enjoy the beautiful weather today!!!

Learning Update!

Math:

During our math time this past week, we spent time studying our 120 number grid.  We noticed patterns in the ones place and tens place going across the grid and down the grid.  We also used our number grid to find 10 more and 10 less than a number.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.20.54 PM

While our number grid can be very helpful, it’s not our only tool for adding ten more and ten less.  We can also use our ten sticks find the answer when adding and subtracting tens.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.42.56 PM

We will continue using our strategies next week to add and subtract two digit numbers!

Writing:

We started a new bend in writing this week. We are continuing on with our Informational Chapter Books but we added in researching our topics. We began the week by starting brand new chapter books. This time, we looked through nonfiction books in our classroom library to learn more about our topics. We focused on using a picture of photograph to add more information and researching our topics with books from the classroom to find more information that we could add to our own books. Check out the chart below to see all the things we know how to add to our books!

Next week we will be wrapping up Nonfictions writing and celebrating all the hard work that first graders have done! These kids have been working so hard and I love reading their books!

Reading:

This week our readers practiced some new strategies to help “triple check” that our words are correct.

We learned that readers are always thinking about the story.  Sometimes when we are stuck on a tricky word, thinking about what’s happening in the story will help us figure out a word makes sense, looks right, and sounds right.

We also learned that the words in our book should fit together like a puzzle and should “sound right” when we read them.  As we were solving tricky words together, we often asked, “What word fits in this sentence?”

Partner time is our favorite part of readers workshop!!!  We LOVE coaching our reading partners and figuring tricky words together each day.  Way to go, first graders!!!  Keep being the BOSS of your reading!!!

Looking Ahead…

We have a busy week coming up! Looking forward to meeting with all of you this week to talk about your sweet kiddos!

Our 3D rainbows sure make it feel like spring, even if the weather has decided to get real chilly again.  On these cold days, remember to send your child to school with hats and gloves and encourage your child to wear them at recess time too!!

March 12 & 14 – Parent/Teacher Conferences

March 12 – Book Fair Preview

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 and possibly buy!!

March 14 – 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”.  Remind your child to hand me the envelope when they get to school.

March 16 – Library Day

March 17 – Boys Day Out Event

March 17 –  St. Patrick’s Day

Wear GREEN to school on Friday.