This week we focused on zooming in to the most important part of our small moment story. When we are writing our stories, it is easy to list off a bunch of things we did. We might end up with stories that sound like this….
“This weekend I went to the mall with my mom. We got some clothes. Then we went to Subway and got a sandwich. Next we went home and watched a movie. I hope we can do that again!”
We have been calling this a watermelon story. A watermelon story is a big story (many moments). In Writer’s Workshop, we want to write tiny seed stories. These stories are small, zoomed in stories. Like seeds in a watermelon, there are small stories inside of big stories.
Looking at the example story above, we could write a seed story of going to the mall. We could also write a story about getting our sandwich from Subway or watching a movie at home. We want to focus on one moment in time, and write lots of details about that one time.
At the end of the week, we emptied our writing folders and sent all their stories home. Check out some of the stories your first grader has been working on!
During our math time this week we reviewed breaking apart larger numbers into smaller partners. We also focused on using our knowledge of partners and patterns to practice addition (+0, +1, +2) and subtraction (-0, -1, -2) facts. This week in particular, we practiced adding and subtracting doubles partners (1+1, 2-1, 2+2, 4-2, 3+3, 6-3, etc.), and discovered that a number minus itself equals 0 (8-8 = 0). After reviewing these concepts, we took our Unit 1 math assessment. The kids performed very well.
After taking math assessments (quizzes or tests), your child will receive their assessment with a summary of the skills assessed and their score out of the total points available for each skill. Anyone that is not consistently showing mastery of a skill area, will get some form of intervention at school to strengthen that area. If you have any questions about any of the assessments that come home, please let me know.
We had a blast getting to use our iPads for the first time in first grade and in our STEAM special we also got to practice logging into our computers. These first graders are excited to use technology. Make sure to check our class photo stream to see pictures from all of our fun last week and coming up this week too.
September 17 – Constitution Day
September 20 – PTC Meeting @ 6:30
September 21 – Library Day
Don’t forget to send your child’s library book back to school today.
Upcoming Important Dates:
September 27 – School Picture Day
October 5 – Walkathon Day
We continued to work on building good habits for our reading workshop.
We talked about how important it is to TAKE A SNEAK PEEK before we read. We know to look at the pictures and think about what might happen in the story, but we also focused on thinking about what words would go along with the pictures that we saw in the book. The kids were able to predict words they thought they might see in the book. Then, when they went to read the story, they were able to read words that may have been tricky, but because they had predicted those words might be in the story, their brains were ready to read them.
Good readers take a sneak peek before they read, but they also DO SOMETHING after finishing. Readers can choose to reread a book, think of their favorite part of the story, or retell what happened in the book.
We also started directing our students toward books that might be closer to their just right level. We will have a chance to read with and assess each student’s reading level in the near future, but for now, we are using information that we have from the end of Kindergarten. We added a sticker to their book box that reminds them which books would be the best for them to read.
We continued to work on writing small moment stories.
We talked about how important it is to plan out a story before we start writing. This ensures that we don’t put all the details on the first page and then run out of things to say AND to make sure that we know what we want to share on each page, in case we don’t finish the story in one day and have to come back to it another day.
Then, we worked on revising stories to make them better by ADDING more to our stories. The students looked for pages that had blank lines and then brainstormed more details to add by thinking about WHO? WHAT? WHERE? WHEN? & HOW?
We ended the week by focusing on writing all the sounds we hear in words. We noticed that some words we could write in a snap! Some words had chunks inside of them that we already knew how to write. And, with words that we didn’t know, we practiced counting the sounds we heard as we stretched it out and then we wrote down the letters that matched each of the sounds we counted.
During our math time this week we continued to break apart larger numbers into smaller partners. We used whiteboards and markers, counters, stair steppers, and activities from our math workbook to visualize the partners, switch partners, and doubles partners for the numbers 6, 7, and 8. Challenging your first grader to write and show each set of partners in a variety of ways has helped to increase number sense and flexibility with these numbers.
We also continued to use our knowledge of partners and patterns to practice addition (+0, +1, +2) and subtraction (-0, -1, -2) facts. This week in particular, we practiced adding and subtracting doubles partners (1+1, 2-1, 2+2, 4-2, 3+3, 6-3, etc.), and discovered that a number minus itself equals 0 (8-8 = 0).
The cool temperatures this weekend definitely made it feel like fall. It was a nice break from the hot, hot weather we’ve been having. We were able to enjoy some fun outdoor fall activities – I hope your family did too!! Be sure to check out our class photo stream to see a glimpse of readers workshop time and some of the other fun activities/lessons/breaks we’ve enjoyed this week. Just send me an e-mail if you would like me to share the link with your family again. 🙂
September 13 – Jet’s Pizza Night
September 14 – Library Day**
September 14 – Stuffed Animal Day
We have been working very hard to follow our first grade rules and reached out first class goal. On Friday, your child may bring a stuffed animal to school. I will text a reminder Thursday night and share more details later this week!
September 14 – 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.
**The book that your child chooses from the library is a “just for fun” book. Right now, the kids may choose any picture book they would like. (Later in the year, they will be able to choose from nonfiction and chapter books too.) Library books are perfect for you to read aloud to your child as a part of your nightly reading routine. In a couple weeks, your child will begin bringing home a “take home book” at their “just right” reading level. These books will be excellent practice for your child to read aloud to you at home. Please feel free to send your child’s library book back to school as soon as you are finished reading it. We have a bin to collect them in, and I will make sure your child’s book makes it back to the library.**
We are off to a great start with our wonderful math program. During the first two weeks of school, we’ve been visualizing, representing, and breaking apart numbers using a variety of math tools: counters, stair steppers, and number cards. When we break apart a number, we take a larger number and split it into two smaller numbers. We call the two smaller numbers partners because when we add them together they equal the larger number. So far, we’ve discovered the partners (and switch partners) for 2, 3, 4, and 5. (Check out the chart below!) We have also used our knowledge about partners and patterns to solve addition (+0, +1, +2) and subtraction problems (-0, -1, -2).
During Writer’s Workshop, we have been writing small moment stories. A small moment story is personal narrative (a true story about you)!
We started by building a poster: How to Write a Story
We practiced thinking of an idea. We then planned it out by sketching a beginning, middle, and end. And then, we began writing the words to match out story. We wrote a few stories together first and then, last week, the kids got to try writing on their own. They have done such a great job of showing us what they know and it will be so fun to watch them grow as writers this year.