Monthly Archives: December 2012

Science Update!

We continued our acting (we were magnets last week) with a review of the properties of matter.  We played some music and when the music would stop,  I would give the direction for the kids to imitate a solid, liquid or gas.  If I said solid, they kept their own shape (or rolled up in a ball-like a rock).  If I said liquid, they pretended they were a liquid and spread out to take the shape of their container (the floor).  And if I said gas, they pretended to spread out and fill up our container by making their arms float up and down.  All in all, it was a great review of our science unit and a lot of fun!  Later in the day we took our science test to wrap up our unit on MATTER. Check out their pictures for yourself! :)

Fort Day Pictures!

What a perfect day for us to stay comfy in our pajamas!  We used our pillows and blankets to put together some pretty amazing forts which we used to read in during our readers’ workshop time.  We definitely have a lot of expert builders in our classroom.  Check out some of the pictures of our creations below…

(We also got to visit Mrs. Kuieck’s 2nd grade classroom for their ALL ABOUT BOOKS writing celebration!!)

Math Update!

This week, we introduced our first graders to a new addition strategy called “Make a 10″.  For the equation, 9 + 4 = ___, we can “count on” to find the total of 13.  Since the total, 13, is a teen number (which has a 10 hiding inside) we helped our students notice that 9 + 4 = 10 + 3.  Both of these equations produce the total 13, but solving 10 + 3 is quicker and more accurate.

To help your child try this strategy on their homework, ask him or her to underline the greater number and count-on with dots under the smaller number.  Then, have your child circle the greater number and the extra ones (circles) needed to make this number into a 10.  When this step is complete, your child will have a ten and some extra ones which can easily be identified as a teen number.  Check out the example below:

While using this strategy is not speedy fast… it does help our first graders to internalize the concept of recombining numbers to make a 10 which will enhance their number sense and improve their computation skills for later in life!!!

Fort Day Information…

In Room 104, each day that we work hard, learn well, and treat others’ nicely, we earn a star (or more!) toward a goal that we’ve set as a class.  We’ve earned enough stars for our FORT Day.

For our Fort Day, the kids are going to wear their PAJAMAS and bring a BLANKET(about the size of a first grader) and a PILLOW.  We will be building our forts before readers’ workshop and then we will enjoy reading in them.

Our Fort Day will be Thursday, December 20.  Please send your child to school wearing pajamas with a blanket and/or a pillow.


Writing Update!

We started last week by allowing the students to start a brand new story, while using all the new techniques that we have learned that good writers use to make their stories better: reread their stories, play the movie in their heads, add details to the words, add details to the pictures, add dialogue, take away details that don’t make your story better, and make your lead sentence exciting These stories are just incredibly filled with details and so much fun to read!  Such great progress from the first day of school! :)

We then worked hard to revise our stories by adding details to SHOW, NOT TELL.  This means that instead of just telling us they were happy, the students are thinking about what they looked like and adding those details to show their readers, not tell them.  Here’s an example…

Tell:  I was sad.

Show:  I had tears rolling down my cheeks.

Math Update!

We began new math learning in new math switch groups this week.  Our Unit 4 in math will focus on tens and teen numbers, place value to 100, and strategies for adding larger numbers.  So far, we’ve practiced counting groups of tens.

We studied the teen numbers (11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19) and noticed that every teen number has a 10 hiding inside along with some extra ones.  We also represented teen numbers using a ten stick and circles, and wrote an equation to match our work.

Reading Update!

This week, the first graders worked hard on a new compression strategy…VISUALIZING!  We talked about how good readers think while they read and one of the ways that they are thinking is by making a picture in their head while they read.  We focused on how good readers visualize…

        • to understand their story better
        • by using their schema and the words
        • and change their picture as their story changes

      We had a blast reading winter poems (and Sarah Sylvia Cynthia Stout by Shel Silverstein) and stories (Corduroy and A Bad Case of Stripes) this week to help the kids focus on the pictures they create in their minds as they listened.  The kids were great at explaining their pictures by pointing out their schema or clues from the words that shaped their pictures.

      And, of course, we ended the week with a book share…the kids had a blast!

Science Update!

This week in Science we learned about magnets!  Our first topic of discussion was asking what the kids already knew.  They knew that things stick to the refrigerator and we can stick things to our desks.  We started the week with an experiment- we predicted what things would stick to magnets.

Each student and partner was given a bag with multiple objects inside.  First, we went through and predicted if we thought the object would be magnetic or not, and then we went back and tested them all.  We were a little surprised by some of the answers!  The paperclip was magnetic, along with our scissors, but the penny was not.  We explained that in order for an object to be magnetic, it needed to have something special called IRON in it.  We went through our list of predictions to figure out which objects had iron in them!

The next thing we 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.  We experimented with all different kinds of magnets to find out what poles were the same and what poles were opposite.

The last day, we turned into magnets!  One of our hands had a “N” and the other had a “S”.  We practiced a few times showing how we could “attract” to a partner by having a N and S together, or how we could repel from a partner if we both put up the same pole.  Once we got the hang of it, the kids moved around the room to music and when the music stopped they had to listen for their direction to either repel or attract the closest person to them.  We would continue and each time the music stopped- the kids stopped and thought about which hand to put up to show the proper magnetic response.  🙂