Math Update!

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.

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Writing Update!

We started a new unit of writing this week, focusing on making our stories easy for other people to read. We spent time focusing on neat handwriting, finger spaces, and spelling our word wall words correctly. We spent time writing a shared writing piece. We chose to write about our first writing celebration and we have been working our way through the steps of writing a good small moment story, focusing on neat handwriting, finger spaces, and word wall words. We are seeing some huge growth in handwriting and finger spaces.

Reading Update!

This past week, we continued to focus on how to decode tricky words while we’re reading. We reviewed the strategies from last week and if we still need help, then when we come to a tricky word, we skip it (Skippy the Frog) and read the rest of the sentence. Once we have read to the end of the sentence, we try it again (Tryin’ Lion) from the beginning of the sentence and make a good guess for the tricky word (using the context clues from the sentence).

 

The kids have now met: Lips the Fish, Eagle Eye, Chunky Monkey, Stretchy the Snake, Flippy the Dolphin, Skippy the Frog, and Tryin’ Lion.  That is quite a list of strategies.  But, most importantly, when they have tried a strategy and have a good guess of what they think their tricky word is…they NEED to be careful.  Careful Caterpillar checks to make sure that their guess makes sense, looks right, and sounds right.  When the kids guess a tricky word, they need to ask themselves those three questions to self check and make sure that their word makes sense, looks right, and sounds right.  If it does, great! If it doesn’t, then good readers keep trying to figure it out!

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Week 8!

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 making our writing “easy to read” using neat handwriting, finger spaces, capital letters, punctuation, and spelling words correctly.  We are excited to get started!

October 16 – Culver’s Night from 5:00-8:00

Come have a yummy dinner or dessert and support our school!

October 16 – Library Day

Please help your first grader return his/her book.

Thank you so much to our parent volunteers who will begin supporting students with our sight word intervention this week. We are very excited to have your support!

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

Math Update!

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 Update!

You may have noticed that your first grader’s blue folder was bursting with small moment stories. We have finished our first unit in writing and we spent the week celebrating our writing. Part of the celebration is bringing home all of their stories so they can share them with you! They have worked so hard on these stories! Ask your first grader to share these stories with you! I hope you enjoy them!

This past week we spent most of our writing time preparing a special story to share at our writing celebration! First, we picked out two stories that we are very proud of to revise on our own. Next, we revised our stories together 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 Friday, we celebrated!

During our celebration time, we had a chance to share a favorite part of our story with the whole class. Next, we read our entire story to a partner. Once we were finished sharing, we came back together and had juice for our juice toast. I am so proud of how far these first graders have come as writers since the beginning of the year.

Reading Update!

Now that the kids have some solid reading time each workshop, we began introducing our accuracy strategies.  These strategies help our students decode tricky words while they are reading.  The first strategy that we talked about was Lips the Fish.  Get your lips ready and say the first few sounds of the word out loud. The next strategy is Eagle Eye.  Now that you have gotten your lips ready for the first sound, look at the pictures for something that starts with that sound.

 

Then, Chunky Monkey.  If the picture didn’t help you, look for a chunk of the word that you know (ing, at, it, sh, ch, and). And then, Stretchy the Snake. Zoom in on the tricky word, s-t-r-e-t-c-h out the sounds in the words slowly. Then, crash the sounds together to figure out the word.

 

We introduced the kids to the idea that vowels generally make three sounds (short, long, & schwa). We made a chart about what these sounds are and practiced making each sound. Flippy the Dolphin reminds us that when we are stretching out a word, to try the short vowel sound first and if that doesn’t work, FLIP IT and try the long vowel sound, and then the schwa sound.

Week 7!

What a fabulous fall week!!!  We worked hard at school and enjoyed some delicious POPCORN on Friday!!!  Thank you so much for your donations at the beginning of the year – we loved having this special treat and are looking forward to our next popcorn day!

October 9 – Super Switch Begins

This week we are beginning our Reading Super Switch, a highly focused reading program that will take place on Mondays-Thursdays.  All students in grades first through third will be grouped with readers of like strengths and needs.  We are excited about the learning that will take place with this program!

October 9 – Library Day

Please help your first grader return his/her book.

October 12 – Writing Celebration

We are excited to celebrate all that we’ve learned about great first grade writing!  Our celebration will be for first graders only. We’ll share our writing with the class and toast to the great writers we are becoming!!!

October 12 – Jet’s Pizza Night

October 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.

Our Halloween Party is coming together!!  Thank you so much to everyone who has volunteered materials and your time already!!  Remember our party will take place Friday, October 27 @ 12:45.  If you are planning to attend the party, please sign up to assist with the craft, game, or snack and fill out the background check form: BACKGROUND CHECK.

Mind Up Update!

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?”