Monthly Archives: September 2013

Writing Update!

We have started working with partners in Writer’s Workshop! We have been learning how to be helpful to our writing partners. We can brainstorm story ideas with our partner and help them think of more details to add to the stories they are already writing.

When we share our story with are partner, we point to the words as we read our story so our partner can follow along. After reading the story, the other partner shares one thing they liked about the story and thinks of something they could add to their story to make it even better.

I have really enjoyed hearing the conversations that the writing partners have had during partner time. These first graders seem very motivated to help their partners, and they love the chance to work with another classmate. I can’t wait to see how our writing improves after working with partners!

Math Update!

This past week we spent time as mathematicians reviewing all of the concepts that we’ve studied during our math time this year: addition and subtraction patterns, number writing, finding partners & switch partners, identifying 5 groups, and counting on from 5 groups.  Then, we took our Unit 1 assessment.  This assessment was a snap!!! 🙂  Room 106 performed very well.  Thank you so much for preparing your child for this assessment with your encouragement and support on the homework pages at night.  (Although, this past week we didn’t have many!)

Now that we have finished up our first unit of math, we are ready to start some new learning!  To prepare for our new unit of study each first grader completed a pre-test for Unit 2 on Wednesday.  Our Unit 2 will cover addition and subtraction strategies and provides the foundation for all of the math learning that will take place for the rest of this year and beyond.  As a first grade staff, we are always striving to meet the needs of each and every individual student.  In order to do this, we studied the data from our students’ pre-tests, and used this information to group together students with similar areas of expertise and areas of need. When we begin our Unit 2 on Monday many of our students will be taking part in a “math switch” in which they may be traveling to a different classroom, so that they are able to work in the group and with the teacher that will help them reach their full potential as a math learner.  Each group of math learners will be working on the same math concepts each day, but the pace and practice may look a little different.

We are very excited about this opportunity for your child and can’t wait to dig into some more math! 🙂  Please feel free to e-mail us if you have an questions or concerns.

Thank you!

Mrs. Woodring, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Stadt & Mrs. VanKoevering

Reading Update!

 This past week, we spent each reading workshop reviewing what the first graders have learned about reading so far this year.  They showed me how good they are at reading independently.  Each day we have spent time brainstorming solutions to distractions that happen during our reading time.  The kids have done a great job helping each other make this reading time comfortable and beneficial for everyone.

Our kids know that when they go off to be readers, they need to:

Be URGENT! (quickly find a spot and get right to work!)

Stay in one spot!

Work quietly! Shhhhhh!

Warm up to your books and point to the words when you read!

Read the WHOLE TIME…build your stamina!

They have gotten very good at all of these things.  They even know that good readers spread out all of their books in front of them so that they don’t have to mess around with their book box to find a book or tool.  Each day we could see their stamina growing and they were able to read without distractions for longer and longer each day.

We also talked about how important it is to warm up as we read. We know to look at the pictures and think about what might happen in the story, but this week we focused on making a movie in our heads of the story and then checking that movie as we read to see if the story was matching our movie.  Sometimes the story matched our mental movie and sometimes our movie needed to change a little to match the words that we had read.  Good readers make a movie in their head as we warm up and then change their movie to match the story as they read the words.  Way to go first graders!

Walk-A-Thon Update!

PTC NEWS…….. WALK-A-THON……. went off without a hitch this week.  The students had a beautiful day to be outside walking and raising money for Georgetown.  REMEMBER, your students have until Monday to turn in their money that they have raised!  So that means they can still go out this weekend and take pledges to help raise money for our school.  As it stands right now….. 3rd Grade ~ Mrs. Flory is in 1st place.  1st Grade ~ Mrs. Woodring is in anEXTREMELY CLOSE SECOND only being 60 CENTS behind first place.  3rd place currently goes to 1st Grade ~ Mrs. VanKoevering. Keep the donations coming and make this a great fundraiser for Georgetown!! 

Mind Up Update!

We have talked through different scenarios with the kids about when each part of the brain might be working.  We talk about how when they hear a startling noise, it is the amygdala that is working quickly to keep them safe.  BUT, we also talked about how their amygdala is quick to make decisions that might not be necessarily appropriate in all situations.  For instance, if they are on the playground and a friend comes by and bumps into them unexpectedly, their amygdala might tell them to push that person away to keep themselves from harm.  But, in reality, pushing the other person isn’t the best way to handle that situation.  We have talked about how our prefrontal cortex is better at handling these situations but in order for the messages to get sent from the amygdala to the prefrontal cortex, the kids need to give their brains a few moments before reacting to the situation.  We talked about how taking a deep breath and counting to ten (or down from ten) will help them calm down and give the different parts of their brain time to communicate before reacting.  We will continue to help support the students in learning ways to handle situations like this.

We have also talked about how we need to be mindful learners.  When we are mindful of others, we are aware of our surroundings and others around us.  We now know that being mindful means thinking before we act.  We talked about what mindful and unmindful behavior looks like for us:

Unmindful: Leaving your shoes in the middle of the living room

Mindful: Putting your shoes where they belong, out of the way

We also talked about mindful behavior at school and how everyone at school has to be mindful of everyone here, even teachers, custodians, and the principal.  You can help them remember to be mindful of others when you see them using unmindful behavior, remind them to,use your prefrontal cortex, please!” 🙂

Social Studies Update!

Last week during Social Studies, we celebrated Constitution Day. We read books about the Constitution and discussed what the Constitution means to the United States. We talked about our Georgetown Rules and just like how we have rules at school, the United States also has a set of rules called the Constitution!  We talked about how it is important that we all follow the same rules and expectations in our classroom as well at our school. We all agreed to follow the the Georgetown Rules. We then made our own classroom constitution! It is now posted in our classroom to remind us to be a good friend and follow our Georgetown Rules.


Reading Update!

We focused on being Five Star Readers this past week.  Each day, we added more ‘just right’ books to our book boxes to grow the collection of books we could read each day. We also worked on picking a good spot in the room to read that wasn’t going to be too distracting.  The kids have been working hard to find spots that aren’t too close to other first graders where they can get right to work.

We wanted to help them make sure they were reading the whole time, so we gave them a sticker for the side of their book box that we have used as a reminder each day.  The sticker tells them that they should: FIRST, empty out their book box. SECOND, warm up to read a book. THIRD, read the words of that book.  Once they finish a book, they put the book back into their book box, so that they could keep track of which books they had read.

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 4.44.12 PM

As some kids were reading this week, we noticed that some kids finished all the books in their book boxes and needed to start all over by emptying out their book box 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.  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 spend a ton of time reading this week and building great reading habits!  Way to go first graders!