Monthly Archives: September 2012

Writing Update!

    This week we have focused on how writers organize their writing.  The students have created two piles of writing in their folders: writing they are done with and writing they want to keep working on.  They have started out each writing session by rereading their stories from the previous day to get their minds thinking about their three daily choices: add more to the pictures, add more to the words, or start a new story.  The writers have enjoyed stretching their stories out into three page books. We learned about how they can reread their old stories and tell new stories from their old ideas.  They also learned that they can use those old ideas in new ways, such as writing letters or lists.  You might have seen some writing samples come home this week while our writers were experimenting with using writing to help them do things throughout the day.   These writers are branching out in so many new ways!

Stuffed Animal Day

Room 104 has earned a stuffed animal day!!!  Our first graders have worked together as a class to earn 5 stars toward a special day.  This is part of our behavior management that encourages our students to work together.  Your first grader may bring one stuffed animal to school on Tuesday, Oct. 2.  The stuffed animal must be able to fit inside a backpack to travel to and from school.  Way to go Room 104!!!

A Surprise Visit!!!

Room 104 had some very special visitors today:

Mrs. Woodring, Oliver and Hatteras!!!

The students got a chance to visit with Mrs. Woodring and meet her sons Oliver and Hatteras. We got to play outside at the end of the day and share all of our first grade happenings with Mrs. Woodring.  It was so good to see her.  Mrs. Woodring was very happy to see her students too.  She is hoping to come back for another visit sometime in October.

Social Studies Update!

In Social Studies this week we have been talking about what it means to be a good citizen.  We know that one thing that a good citizen does is: follows the rules.  We talked about people we know that are good citizens.  The kids came up with… their grandparents, parents, the mailman, lunch ladies, teachers, and coaches.  We talked about why we have rules and why it’s important to follow them.  The kids did a great job connecting to George’s Rules or our classroom rules.  They talked about how if we didn’t follow rules it wouldn’t be safe.

We also talked about how a good citizen respects their leaders.  We have different kinds of leaders.  Leaders are people who have power to help them do their job. At school, the teacher’s job is to keep the students safe and to help them learn. We talked about how some people try to use power but it is not their job.  For example, a bully might try to get you to do something by using power- but it’s not their job.

We reviewed classroom rules and had great discussion about what we can do to be great citizens!

Math Update!

Our first graders continued to grow as mathematicians this week!  We again focused on writing numbers, building patterns and recognizing shapes, but we added a new concept to the mix: breaking apart numbers.  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.  We practiced this technique with counters and had the students turn into little lambs (who jumped over a fence to break apart their number) and practice until it really started to click.  This week, we also used our stair step tool to review the math vocabulary of more and less.  Again, thank you so much for your continued support with your child’s math homework almost every night!

Spelling Update!

The first three weeks of school we studied the words: and, the, & of! Our first graders recognized that and is spelled how it sounds, but the and of are not spelled like they sound! We studied the word and, and found out if we add letters to this word it makes new words! For example: band, hand, and our favorite CANDY! We are trying our best to recognize these words in our reading and trying to spell them correctly in our writing!

Writing Update!

    This week has been so gratifying in Writers’ Workshop.  We continued to focus on stretching out our words and rereading our sentences as we added new words to make sure that we get all the sounds down on the paper.  The students have branched out and written so many new stories without worrying about getting the words perfect, but just trying their best.  We had students dealing with new issues they had never had before: like finding out what to do when you run out of space on the lines and you have more words you want to write or when your story has more than one picture to go along with it.  We taught the students how writers use different tools to help them write.  We also used alphabet charts to match sounds to letters.  The students blew me away with their writing!

Reading Update!

In Readers’ Workshop this week, we have continued to learn new tricks that readers use to become better readers.  We worked on finding books that are Just Right for us.  We used the five finger 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 five fingers down.  If they were left with no fingers up, then the book is too tricky.  If they still have 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 grow our reading stamina.

We expanded our love for Kevin Henkes books this week and used them to learn more about the characters, setting, and lesson we learn from a story.  We are working on building a base for our readers to be able to talk about the stories they have read.   These components are part of the make up the triangle and heart of our Shape GO map that we use for retelling stories.

We have focused our lessons on the three ways to read a book: read the pictures, read the words, and retell the story.   To retell the story, we learned about a new tool this week: our Check for Understanding check mark.After reading a just right book, the students pull this check mark out and turn to the first page.  The check mark reminds them to ask two questions: who? & what?  They cover up the words and ask themselves these questions to see if they can remember what each page was mostly about.  This is a self monitoring tool for the kids to use to see if they understood what happened on each page.