Important Notes: Week 35

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 14 – Library Day

Don’t forget… our Zoo Field Trip is happening next Monday, May 20.  Look for an e-mail later in the week for reminders about how to prepare for the day.

Learning Update!!

Reading:

This past week in reading, we revisited paying close attention to 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.

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Writing:

This week, we challenged the kids to produce as much writing as possible each day, adding lots of details to enhance their stories (endings, lessons, patterns, pop-out words, etc.). We, also, focused on writing 5 Star sentences, as we get ready for 2nd grade.

Most of the students have completed a handful of stories in their series and we plan to prepare for a celebration of their realistic fiction series next week. Ask your first grader how many adventure stories they wrote for their characters.

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).

Important Notes: Week 34

In STEAM, the kids have begun studying animal adaptations and environments where animals live.  We are going to have so much fun seeing so many of the animals they’ve been learning about at the zoo!

May 6 – Last Homework Packet Due

May 6 – 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.

May 7 – Library Day

 

May 9 – PTC Meeting @ 6:30

May 9 – Jet’s Pizza Night

 

May 10 – 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 Tuesday and Wednesday.  They will be taking the M-STEP test during the morning on these days.**

Learning Update!

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 character’s 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!!!

Writing:

This week, we started a new bend in writing and focused in on writing a series of books about the same characters. The students got to choose which characters they wanted to have in their series. Then, we noticed how in our favorite series books (like Mercy Watson), there is usually some information about the characters at the beginning of the book that’s reintroduced in each new book. So, we decided to write our books similarly.

We worked hard to fill our first page with lots of details, including: a lead sentence, a who, a what, a where, and details about our characters.

We will spend the next week filling in the rest of the pages of our books with details about the problem, dialogue between our characters, details about their feelings, and more! Our goal is to have a handful of books written about these same characters by the end of next week.

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.

On Wednesday, 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!

Social Studies:

This week and last week, we spent time studying economics.  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 wish list.

The kids know that we have 5 needs:

food, water, shelter, clothes, air

We talked about the idea of scarcity, 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). We talked about how when you can’t have everything, then you need to make a choice between the things you want the most.  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!

We also talked about the idea of trade and how sometimes if you don’t have money, we can use trade to get the things we want or need. We discussed how trading is a great solution, but how it only works if the other person wants what you have to trade. Be sure to point out if scarcity ever happens at home too!

Important Notes: Week 33

Thank you so much for filling out our Zoo Field Trip Survey!  We have so many volunteers that are able to join us!!!  Woohoo!!!  More information about our trip and answers to some of your questions will be coming soon.

April 29 & 30 – Math Assessment

April 30 – Library Day

May 3 – Spelling Assessment

Be sure to practice our spelling words ALL our spelling word from the year at home. Check out the homework packet for a reminder of our 35 no excuse words.

Homework Update!

This is the last week for Homework! Woohoo!! Please send back next week on Monday! We will continue Take Home Books for the next couple of weeks. We will wrap those up before Memorial Weekend!

Learning Update!!

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.

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.

Math:

This week, we practiced graphing and comparison bar stories all week! We will complete our assessment of Unit 6 early next week. From there, we move into telling time and some work with geometry.

Learning Update!

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!

Writing:

This week in writing, the first graders began writing Realistic Fiction stories. 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 scene, telling who, what, and where about our characters, and adding a detail to the first page. For example….
One sunny day, Gretchen was sitting in Math Switch. She 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.

 

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.

Important Notes: Week #31

What a great first week back, but can you believe the SNOW!!!  We got outside as much as possible at the beginning of the week to enjoy the warm spring weather – hopefully it will be back again soon!

This week, 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.  I have been checking in with your child to see if they can say the parts of their address. Look for strips of paper coming home with highlighted areas that your child needs to work on memorizing still.

April 16 – Library Day

Learning Update!

Reading:

Our focus during Readers Workshop has been UNDERSTANDING what we read. 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.

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.

Writing:

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:

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!).

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We can’t wait to learn more!

Important Notes: Week 30

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, work on understanding what we read, and begin organizing and comparing data during math. Please start practicing your address if you haven’t already!

April 9 – Library Day

 April 12 – Jet’s Pizza Night

April 12 – 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.