This week, our first graders started with brand new Math Switch groups and a new math unit on Halves and Doubles! We first started out sketching a whole number geometrically on our whiteboard grids. Next, we discussed what it might look like to “double” this number. We concluded that the word double also means 2 groups of something. Knowing this also helped our first graders to write equations to go along with doubles.
Next, we moved to “halves”. Our students were able to create a definition of their own for the quantity of half… To find half of a number, you split the total into two equal groups. And that is just what we practiced! The easiest way to solve doubles and halves is to draw a simple picture such as circles. For some it was easiest to use the “dealing method”. This helped our students to visually practice how to split the number into two equal groups by “dealing” one circle at a time to each of the two groups until they reach the total.
Next week our mathematicians will begin to work with time to the hour and half hour!
This week, we worked hard to add new chapters to our All About books. So far, the kids have learned the following pages: how-to, different kinds of, diagram (parts of), fun facts (list), and a teaching story. Then, later in the week, we tried some new kinds of writing. The kids used the list paper and turned it into quiz pages, where they asked questions from their All About books and then made an answer page to follow. And, we had other students who made graphing pages to build bar graphs to show facts related to their topics. They were all so willing to try new kinds of writing, I can’t wait to see these All About books all put together!
Our nonfiction group this week studied plants that eat animals, check out their slides:
This week in Readers’ Workshop, we went back and explored how to make text-to-world connections with the story Just A Dream. The story deals with issues of taking care of our world by recycling and planting trees. It was easy for the class to make connections to how they recycle and pick up litter off the ground.
We read lots of Earth Day related books. We read The Lorax and made lots of text to world connections about what happens to our world when we don’t take care of it. We also read a story about where our garbage goes after it leaves our dumpster. The students were fascinated to see what a landfill is and how it works. Hopefully we were able to inspire our students to think and act more GREEN!
We also used another Dr. Seuss book, The Sneetches, to make text-to-world connections. After reading about how the Sneetches with stars won’t let the Sneetches without stars do anything with them, the kids made connections to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights, but also to playground issues, and interacting with the kids in Mrs. Wert’s classroom across the hallway. They are so preceptive!
We also wrapped up our first skill focus groups this week. We had students sharing some of the new vocabulary words they learned in their books with the class. Some of our students introduced new Chunky Monkey accuracy tools to the class (W chunks: aw, ew, ow & Y chunks: ay, ey, oy, y). And, we even had some students that created some new MP3 files to add to our Listen to Reading MP3 players for next week. It was so exciting to see these kiddos focused on their goal for the past two weeks. The students will make a new goal to work on for the next two weeks.
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…let me explain. As one of our ‘reduce what we use’ conversations this week, we talked about electricity. I drew a diagram for the kids to see how some power plants are built on bodies of water. We talked about how these plants use the cold water from the lakes to cool down their machinery and then dump the hot water back into the lake. I explained how the hot water wasn’t good for the fishies and sometimes it killed them. So, we figured that, if we use less electricity and remember to shut off lights when we leave a room, the power plants won’t have to make as much electricity and we can save some fish! (It is easier for kids to worry about killing fish than about wasting electricity)
So, our first graders are now saying, “Save the fish!” every time they turn off the lights…are you smiling yet? 🙂