Week 4!

It was a cool day for the Walk-a-thon this past Friday, but the breeze felt so good!!  We had a blast walking, running, and showing off our talents with some Olympic events.  Thank you so much for sending in your donations in support of our school and joining us to walk with your children.  Prize winners will be announced in the next month once all of the donations have been counted.

September 26 – Walk-a-thon Donations Due

September 27 – Math Assessment

September 28 – Library Day

Please help your first grader find their library book and send it back to school.

September 29 – Spelling Assessment

This week we will be using our laptops and iPads for the first time.  The kids have been so excited to put on their headphones and test out these devices.  At the end of the week, ask your child what apps they tried! :)

This week I will also begin putting together our sight word parent volunteer schedule.  This practice at school will start in a couple of weeks.  If you are interested in helping out in our classroom this year and have not already filled out this survey, please do!  If you have already filled out the survey, look for an e-mail to confirm your scheduled time next weekend.  Thank you! –> Parent Volunteer Survey

Mind Up Update!

You might hear your student talking about our MIND UP time during the day.  Mind Up is a curriculum that helps teach students about their brains and how their brains work in order to help them be more proactive in how they approach learning and social interactions.

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 So far, we have learned some key areas of the brain.  You may have heard your first grader talking about these three key parts of the brain: Prefrontal Cortex, Amygdala, and Hippocampus.  The prefrontal cortex is what we call our WISE LEADER, it is where our smart thinking happens (math, reading, etc.).  Our Hippocampus is where our memories are stored, we called is our MEMORY SAVER.  And the amygdala is the part of our brain the helps us stay safe when we are in danger, we call it our SECURITY GUARD.

Math Update!

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 8, 9, and 10. 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.

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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).

Writing Update!

We have been continuing our work on Small Moment stories this week.

We learned that good writers include the 3 W‘s in their writing:

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By including the 3 W’s on our first page, it helps the reader know what is going on in the story.

We also worked on sketching a quick plan of the beginning, middle, and end of our story before we even write the word, so that we can remember what we wanted each part of our story to include.

Reading Update!

The kids have gotten quite good at finding books around the room that are ‘just right’ books to keep in their book boxes.  As the kids were reading this week, we noticed that some kids finished all the books in their book boxes and needed to start all over reading their books again.  This lead us into discussions of how readers set goals for how many books they will read each day.  And we introduced a bookmark that they used to set a goal and then keep track with tally marks to see how many books they actually read that day.

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 Before each reading block, the kids would think about how they did the day before and think about the book choices they had in their book boxes and then set a goal for how many books they would read that day.  We tracked our goals for a few days to see if our numbers were growing in how many books we were able to read each day.  It also helped us notice if we actually had picked books that were ‘just right’ for us as readers.  All in all, they spent a ton of time reading this week and building their reading stamina!

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 Way to go first graders!

Week 3!

We are looking forward to some fun activities coming up this week and hoping for great weather on Friday!!!

September 17 – Constitution Day

September 21 – Library Day

Don’t forget to send your child’s library book back to school today,

September 22 – Picture Day

If you are ordering pictures, please send in your child’s picture envelope on or before Thursday.

September 23 – Olympic Walk-A-Thon

We are pumped up and excited to walk in support of our school!!!  Plan to wear RED, WHITE, & BLUE and comfy shoes on Friday.  The first graders will be walking on the track from 9:45-10:30.  Donation envelopes can be sent in on or before Monday, September 26.

This week your child will bring home some important reading homework.  On Monday, look for an envelope in your child’s blue folder containing sight words to practice.  Plan to keep this envelope in a safe place, so you and your child can practice these sight words quickly every night.  New sight words will be sent home when your child moves on to a new set at school.  Sometimes this will happen in just a couple of days.  Other times it may take a week or two before your child receives a new set.  Please save all of your child’s sight words, so you can go back and review some of the older ones periodically.  Knowing many words by sight will help to boost your child’s confidence and fluency as a reader.  Thank you so much for your support at home!

Finally, if you are interested in helping out in our classroom this year and have not already filled out this survey, please do!  It is okay for your younger children to come along with you when you help out with our sight word practice.

Sight Word Parent Volunteer Survey

Reading Update!

This week, we began readers’ workshop.  This is such a wonderful time in our classroom.  We have enjoyed reading some great stories together and we have started building the foundation of our independent reading time.  Readers get better at reading by practicing, so we focused this week on building their independence for reading by themselves (read to self time).  We are working together to figure out the best routines that will help us be successful during this time.  So far we have the following:

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  Just like great readers do, the kids have learned how to pick books that interest them and is  ‘Just Right’ for them.  We used the three strikes approach.  The students pick a book and then open to any page.  They read one page and every time they come to a word they don’t know, they would put one of their fingers up.  If they get to three fingers up, then that’s three strikes and that book is too tricky.  If they have fewer than three fingers up, then the book is ‘Just Right!’  It has also been fun to see their confidence and enthusiasm build with their independent reading time as we practice picking out and reading books each day.

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Writing Update!

During Writer’s Workshop, we have been writing small moment stories. A small moment story is a true story about you!

So far, we’ve learned that good small moment stories have a beginning, middle, and end. So, we’ve been writing across three page booklets and the kids have been doing a great job of stretching out their stories.

We also learned that good writers always keep working! We used the phrase “When you’re done – you’ve only just begun!”.  Good writers add details to their pictures and words, or they can start a new story.

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Remind your child that anything they do (soccer practice, reading a book together, play a game, visiting grandma and grandpa) can become a small moment story!!!

Math Update!

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, 5, and 6. (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).

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During our math routine, we have been hard at work practicing with our 120 number grid, money flip chart, number path (<–link), and secret code cards.  This routine involves a series of math activities that we will continue building on each day for the rest of the year to strengthen our students’ flexible with numbers.

Finally, thank you for helping your child complete the math homework that came home on Monday. We will continue to send home packets of work on Mondays and will give you a whole week to have your child complete them and return them to school the following Monday.