Week 14!

The snow is here!!!  Remember to send in your child’s boots, snow pants, gloves, hat, scarf, and coat labeled with their name.  It’s going to be a fun recess tomorrow!!!

December 5-16 – Candy Cane Sale

December 6– Penguin Patch Holiday Shoppe

We will head down to shop in the morning.  Please send your child’s shopping money enclosed in the Holiday Gift Shop envelope.  Make sure to fill out the information about who your child will be shopping for and how much to spend on each person!  Thank you!

December 6 & 7 – Jet’s Pizza Nights

December 7 – Library Day

The kids are now able to choose books from anywhere in the library!

 December 9 – Popcorn Day

December 9 – Math Assessment

December 9 – Spelling Assessment

This week I will be checking in with each child to see if he/she is able to recite their home address.  Please help your child practice saying all three lines of their address at home – even the zip code!

Math Update!

We continued to work on subtraction strategies, this week. The first graders performed very well with the strategy of writing the equations, labeling them TOTAL – PARTNER = PARTNER, and drawing the math mountain to go with the equation.  We are in the habit of checking to see if the number we solved for makes sense in the math mountain (the largest number always has to go at the top). If they make a mistake, the math mountain helps them to realize this.


Writing Update!

We jumped back into our Persuasive Writing Unit. One thing we noticed about persuasive letters was that the best letters had to do with things that were important to us and that helped make our home, neighborhood, or school a better place.

Next, we learned that persuasive letters try to make someone agree with our opinion. We stated our opinions in our letter using the “I think….” sentence starter. When we state our opinion, it becomes clear what we want the other person to think as well.

We then realized that it is important to think about our audience for our letters. If there is something we want to change in our home, then the best audience for our letter is probably someone at home, not at school.

Then, we talked about giving good reasons in our letters. Just saying that we really want something is not good enough! We need to share with our audience why it is important to us. We also discussed mini-moment reasons. These are little stories where we share a time when we saw the problem in our own lives. After our mini-moments, we also discussed how we need to add a solution to our letter. This is how we are going to help fix the problem.

We will continue to send home letters throughout the next week or so, you might receive a letter from your first grader. I encourage you to write them back! If you do, send it along with your child’s letter back to school. We would love to share responses we get with the class!

I also ask that if you receive a letter, make sure they are working for what they ask for! Don’t just let a “please please please” letter convince you. Look for a letter that gives good reasons and ideas before agreeing to what they ask for and a solution of how they can help make this happen. Don’t worry – I also warned them that it is likely that you might not agree with their request! :)

These letters are so fun to read – first graders sure are creative! Thank you for your help in making this process so fun for these first graders!

Reading Update!

This week, we continued to spend time thinking about our characters.  We paid close attention to how our characters were acting, what they were doing, and what they were saying. We asked, ‘How does the character feel?’ and then we backed up our thoughts with proof from the text.

 We noticed that we could tell a lot about how our characters were feeling just by listening to the words they said.  We used clues from the pictures and the characters bodies to help us figure out their feelings.

Week 13!

I hope that your Thanksgiving weekend was filled with family, fun, food, and a little relaxation too. Get ready – these next three and a half weeks will be jam-packed with holiday fun!!!

November 30 – Library Day

December 1 – Book Orders Due

December 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.)

Save the date for these activities happening soon:

December 6 @ 9:15 – Penguin Patch Holiday Shop

December 13 @ 6:30 – Holiday Program

Be sure to check out the updates about social studies and science.  Our class loved exploring matter, geography, and economics!  Also, look for some persuasive letters to come home in your child’s blue folder later this week.  If you are able, please write your child back and have him or her bring the letter to school.  The kids get SO excited and even more motivated when they receive a response!

Social Studies Update!


We spent the past couple weeks learning about Geography. We’ve learned that maps are made from a “bird’s eye view” or “aerial view”.  We talked about how when we look at things, we see them one way, but when we look at a map, it looks different.

We read a book called, “Me On the Map” and learned about maps and globes.  We learned that there are symbols on maps and globes in the Key to help us understand.  Where we see green or brown, that is land, and where we see blue, we know that is water.

We also talked about how each person has a special place on the Map. Our Special place is our address. We each practiced writing and saying our addresses at school. There are 3 lines that help make up our address:

First and Last Name

House Number and Street Name

City, State, and Zip Code

Please have your first grader practice saying his/her address at home.  I will be checking in with each child during the month of December see if they can remember all the parts of their home address (even the zip code).


 Before Thanksgiving Break we spent a portion of our day studying our first grade economics topics.  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 Christmas list.

The kids know that we have 5 needs:

food, water, shelter, clothes, air

Then I told the kids that I had some smarties and hershey kisses but not enough for everyone to have one of each.  Everyone was able to choose one piece to have. After they had chosen, I had the kids raise their hands if they weren’t able to get their first choice candy.  I used this example to explain the idea of scarcity to the kids, we talked about 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).

I then shared how some of the kids had two pieces of candy that they really wanted, but they could only have one.  We talked about how when you can’t have both, then you need to make a choice between the ones you like the best.  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!

I asked the kids what you could do if you ended up with a piece of candy that you didn’t want and they came up with the idea to trade.  I had the kids who ended up with candy that wasn’t their first choice come to the middle of our circle and see if they could trade with each other.  Some of them were able to and some were not.  We discussed how trading is a great solution, but how it only works if the other person wants what you have to trade.

It was a fun activity that spurred a great discussion.  There will be many moments of scarcity as the year continues at school.  Be sure to point out if scarcity ever happens at home too!

Science Update!

We took advantage of our short week and hit up some of our science concepts in full force!  We studied how objects can be sorted into different groups based on their properties (or attributes).  An attribute could be the size, shape, color, texture or thickness of an object.  Some objects can have the same attributes, other are very different.

After learning that all things can be sorted based on their attributes, we continued to study three additional scientific properties: the states of matter, magnetic/non-magnetic, and sink or float!

The kids learned that there are 3 different states of matter:  Solid, liquid, and gas.  We talked about the different attributes that go along with each state of matter:

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 9.12.01 PM

We also talked about changing matter from one state to another (solid ice cube to liquid water & liquid water to the gas water vapor).

Another attribute we studied was sinking or floating.  The kids really enjoyed investigating different objects and predicted what might happen when these things were placed in water.

We also studied magnets.  We explained that in order for an object to be magnetic, it needed to be made of a special kind of metal: iron, steel, nickel or cobalt.  We went around the classroom tested different items.

We also  talked about was how magnets have 2 poles, a north and a south.  The kids learned that opposites attract and the same poles repel, or push away from each other.

It was an exciting day!  Our first grade scientists can’t wait to study more!!!

Week 12!

We have a short, but very fun week ahead filled with science, social studies, and birthdays!

November 21 – Science Day

We will spend time studying the different properties of matter and sort objects based on these properties.

November 22 – Fort Day

November 22 – Social Studies Day

We will spend time studying economics and geography.

November 23-27 – Thanksgiving Break: NO SCHOOL

November 24 – Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Math Update!

We continued to study and solve stories with missing partners this week during our math switch.  We also introduced our yellow quilt cards which have trained the kids to find a missing partner by clapping and counting UP with their fingers until they get to the total.

Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 4.13.53 PM

We ended the week circling back to subtraction stories again which we first visited during our Unit 2.  Our number one strategy for solving these stories has been to use an equation or math mountain.  However, we encouraged our students to draw a circle drawing first if they weren’t sure how to create a subtraction equation for the story.  Here is an example of our methods for solving a subtraction story:

Sam had 6 cookies.  He ate 2 of them. 

How many cookies are there now?

Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 3.26.11 PM

We emphasized that a subtraction equation always begins with the total.  We have to make sure to put the GREATEST number first in our equation and at the top of our math mountain, so our answer make sense.