Monthly Archives: March 2013

Math Update!

We have been working on using graphs to help us solve stories and we introduced a tool called COMPARISON BARS.  These bars are used to help the kids organize the information from the story.  We will work with these bars after break, but it will be on the homework after break too…so, read through this explanation on how to help your child use these bars.

Reading Update!

This week, the kids were so excited to read another book written by David Wiesner.  We read the book  Sector 7.  Just like his other books, the pictures leave a lot of room for questions and discussion.  We know thatgood readers ask questions and as we asked questions about what was going on in the book, it was only natural to try and answer those questions.  You could just see the wheels in their brains turning as they tried to figure out this book.  After asking questions and finding answers, we spent some time looking at how we found the answers to our questions.  We noticed that our answers fell into one of four categories.  We found our answers:

– in the book

– by using our schema

– by inferring (guessing)

– by looking to an outside source

Show and Tell Day!

We have reached our next 20 star goal and the prize is a SHOW AND TELL day! 🙂

I sent home a clue sheet for you to write down three clues for their friends at school to guess. Work on these and send them in by Thursday, March 28.  Thanks!

App Update!

We have a few sight word apps that the kids can use to practice with during Word Work time.  The sight word apps that have different levels of difficulty in words (Sight Words) or different word feature focuses (Phonics Genius).

The kids choose a level and then work in the quiz game mode.  When they choose a level, the screen will show about four words and the app will say one word from the list that they want the student to find.  In Phonics Genius, the words in the list are all similar and the reader needs to really be aware of word endings to make sure they find the correct word.  This is an area that a lot of first graders can use extra practice.  The word lists can be very lengthy and the app doesn’t give you any idea of how close you are to the end of the list, but that is the only complaint that we have found.  Both of these apps are free.

App Update

If you are looking for an app to buy for your kids, the app that they are over the top excited about right now is called TeachMe.

It works on math, spelling, and sight words.  When the kids enter ‘Teach Town,’ they can go to different stores or they can go to school.  In order for them to have money to spend at the stores, they have to earn coins at school.  You earn one coin for every three questions that you answer correctly.  They are super good at the math and sight words, it is the spelling that is harder for them.  The teacher will only accept  words that are written with letters that are formed correctly.  Sooooo…when we focused on making letters at the beginning of the year, your kids were told many times, “Where do you start your letters? AT THE TOP, AT THE TOP!!!”  If they try writing a letter from the bottom up, the app will not recognize the letter and they will have to try again.  It really looks for the letters to be touching all the right spots on the lined paper, so it is great practice for the kids to know whether or not they are forming their letters the correct way.  Once they have earned coins, they can go spend them at any of the stores. There is a Shape Store, an Art Store, and a Fish Store.  The kids get to pick something from the store and store it up on a sticker page.  They LOVE this!  The app costs $1.99, but it is worth it!

Social Studies Update!

In Social Studies we have been continuing to learn about History.  This week we talked about schools of the past and compared to what a school day is like now.  The kids noticed a lot of differences in the book we read.  In the past, kids got to school by walking or by horses, girls wore dresses, not everyone had shoes on all the time, all different ages were in ONEroom, and they didn’t have much on their playground.  The kids were encouraged to talk to grandparents to see what school was like when they were little – to see if there were any similarities.

We also talked about how we can celebrate events AND people from the past.  The kids came up with some great holidays, and we discussed how these are events that happened LONG ago, but because they are important to our country, we celebrate them every year.  🙂  Just like each of them have a birthday every year, the 4th of July is the birthday of our country– so it’s something everyone in the US can celebrate together!

We will be jumping back in to  Science after break!

Math Update!

The week before spring break, our mathematicians learned all about Picture Graphs! Our students worked with Picture Graphs that had two, or more quantities even! We learned that these kinds of graphs help us to organize data so that it is easier to read unlike the clump of fish and frogs shown below:

Next, they learned how to fill in a blank Picture Graph with the data drawings or pictures, similar to the ones shown above. Our mathematicians decided that it would be most helpful to cross out each frog or fish as we added them to our graph. This would ensure that we did not miss one or add too many.

We also took some time to compare the pictures on the graphs with a few questions:

Which animal has more?

Which animal has fewer?

How many fewer frogs are there than fish?

How many more fish are there than frogs?

And to finish up our learning about these graphs, we tried to make the quantities (or animals in this case) the same number. For example, since there are more fish than frogs, you could take two fish away so that there were five fish and five frogs. You could also add two frogs to the original amount of frogs so that there were six frogs and six fish. Once our mathematicians decided which answer to go with, they wrote an equation too!

We also discussed how we should use circles to redraw our Picture Graphs because it is much easier and quicker, how even though it is not as much fun.  They did such an amazing job again this week!