Monthly Archives: October 2013

Pizza Ranch

To say the kids enjoyed this day is an understatement!! We had a blast and here are the first few pictures of our day…more to come!!

Halloween Party!

Just a reminder…

Our Halloween party will take place this ThursdayOctober 31, from 2:45ish-3:25ish.


On Thursday, your child can bring their Halloween costume to school in a bag.  We will change into our festive gear around 2:30ish. Your child will wear their Halloween costume during the party and home from school.  (You are welcome to arrive early if you would like to assist your child in putting on his/her costume.)

All parents are welcome to join us!! 🙂  Thank you so much to all the parents who are donating supplies and volunteering during the event. Please send in your party donations by Wednesday, so I can double check that we have everything we need.  Food items can be brought in the day of the party.

We are looking forward to lots of fun!!!

Writing Update!

We are continuing to write Small Moment stories in Writer’s Workshop. When we are writing our stories, it is easy to list off a bunch of things we did. We might end up with stories that sound like this….

“We got in the car and drove to the mall. We got some clothes. Then we went to Subway and got a sandwich. We went home and watched a movie.”

This past week, we focused on choosing a topic to write about, but then ZOOMING in to our big idea. 

Looking at the example story, we could write a zoomed-in story of going to the mall. We could also write a zoomed-in story about getting our sandwich from Subway or watching a movie at home. We want to focus on one moment in time, and write lots of details about that one time.

To help us stretch out our zoomed-in stories across three pages, we worked on adding more details to our stories. We learned that you can add action details to your story to help the reader visualize what is going on. Some action details are things that your face, your hands, or your feet are doing.

Reading Update!

This past week in reading, we started off the week encouraging the kids to stop and mark their stories with post-it notes if they had some thinking they wanted to share.  We know that good readers think while they read, and we want our students to start taking note of all the thinking they are doing.  So, we taught them a code to use with their post-it notes while they read.

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When it is time to read with their partners, they have a chance to share their thinking and get help with any tricky parts.

We also taught them a new way to read with their partners.  So far, they have read their own just right books to their partner.  But, this week, we tried something new.  One partner picks a just right book that they think would be a good fit for their partner too.  Then they read the first page and their partner reads the second page.  They take turns reading every other page until the story is finished.  When they are done, they stop before moving on to the next book and retell the story together.  Using their fingers to keep track of events, partner one told the first event in the book, the second partner did the next event, and so on until they have retold the events of the story.  The kids had a blast reading their partners books and checking to make sure that their partner remembered and understood the events of the story.

Later in the week, we began introducing our decoding strategies.  These strategies help our students decode tricky words while they are reading.  The first strategy that we talked about was Lips the Fish.  Get your lips ready and say the first few sounds of the word out loud. Next, Eagle Eye.  Now that you have gotten your lips ready for the first sound, look at the pictures for something that starts with that sound.  Then, Chunky Monkey.  If the picture didn’t help you, look for a chunk of the word that you know (ing, at, it, sh, ch, and). And then, Stretchy the Snake. Zoom in on the tricky word, s-t-r-e-t-c-h out the sounds in the words slowly. Then, crash the sounds together to figure out the word.

Math Update!

This week we continued to solve subtraction stories and write subtraction equations.

We learned how to prove that an equation is true by making a circle drawing underneath to show that the each side of the equation is equal.  As your first grader completes the subtraction equations on the homework pages, please encourage him/her to prove their answer with a circle drawing.

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We also learned that we can use addition to help us solve subtraction.  If we know the partners for an addition equation, we can use this understanding to help us find the missing partner in a subtraction equation.

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To finish up our week, we learned how to write equations a whole new way.  Equations can be written side-to-side (horizontal), like we’ve always done… BUT, they can also be written up-and-down (vertical).   We practiced solving addition and subtraction stories and writing our equations both ways.  We also practiced counting on when solving vertical equations with a plus sign and making circle drawing when solving vertical equations with a minus sign.

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Next week Tuesday, we will take our Unit 2 math assessment which covers everything that we’ve learned about addition and subtraction.  We are very confident that our first graders will do a terrific job!!!  We can’t thank you enough for taking the time to help your child with their math homework each night that it comes home!!!

Coin Wars!

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The competition is on this year!
  Let’s see which Michigan team has the biggest fans at Georgetown prior to their showdown in Lansing on November 2nd, the Saturday before we kick off our Book Fair.

This is the fun part, if MSU fans bring in more coins Mr. Kooiker will wear MSU colors and if U of M fans bring in more coins Mr. Bowen will wear U of M colors on Wednesday, October 30th for Spirit Day!  Which team will it be?  Help us decide with your loose change!

Along with supporting your team your loose change will help us purchase book for classroom libraries.  This helps get more kids reading and those kids reading more.

The All for Books money we collect also helps readers beyond our school and community. Scholastic Book Fairs matches monetary donations with a donation of up to one million books to the Kids In Need Foundation and Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc.

Please send in your donation prior to October 29th.  Baggies and book slips will be sent home the week of October 21st.  We’ll be weighing the coins at 3:00 PM on Tuesday, October 29th to determine the winner!

Please join us on October 30th and wear your favorite team’s apparel.  

Your act of kindness helps to bring more knowledge, imagination, and love for reading into the lives of our students.

Thank you!  Mrs. Havens, Chair of Book Fair and Georgetown Staff

Social Studies Update!

The past two weeks in Social Studies, we have been learning about FAMILIES. During this unit, we focused on learning about key concepts like rules, responsibilities, basic needs, wants, and being alike/different. We started the unit learning All About Me! Throughout the year, each student will have a turn to share all about themselves in their first grade classroom. When it is their week, students will bring home a packet to fill out and bring back to school so they can share with all of their friends and have their favorite things posted on the All About Me board in our classroom.

Then we moved into discussing What is a Family? We talked about how families play together, work together, eat together, keep each other safe, take care of each other, and love each other.  We also learned about how families are alike and different. We read a book about different types of families and then made a venn diagram with a partner about how are families are alike and different too. We wrapped up the unit by discussing how is a school like a family. We determined that schools are like families because we take care of ourselves and others, respect the rights of others and authority, follow rules, and get along with others. We decided that our classroom was like our school family!

Writing Update!

Last week we spent most of our writing time preparing a special story to share at our writing celebration! First, we picked out our special story. Next, we revised our stories with the help of our partners to make sure our stories made sense. Then, we edited our stories by trying to make a 5 Star Sentence. In a 5 Star Sentence, we look for…

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After that, we got a chance to use colored pencils to add some color to our stories. Finally, on Friday, we celebrated!

During our celebration time, we had a chance to share a favorite part of our story with the whole class. Next, we read our entire story to a small group. Once we were finished sharing, we came back together and had some apple cider for our juice toast. I am so proud of how far these first graders have come as writers since the beginning of the year. I can’t wait to share some of their writing with you at conferences!

Math Update!

Our math switch groups spent this week studying a new math concept: SUBTRACTION!!!  We learned that subtraction means the same as take away.  When we solve stories that involve “taking something away” we use a minus sign (-) to show what happened.  For example, when given the story:

There were 5 cookies.  I ate 3.  How many are left?

Our first graders learned to represent this thinking with circle drawing, break-apart stick, and minus sign right through the circles that were taken away:


We also emphasized that a subtraction equation always begins with the total.  Then we show the “minus” partner, which means that our answer is actually a missing partner (rather than a missing total like an addition equation).  Our first graders “trained their brains” to count up the total and write that number first to accurately represent a subtraction story or circle drawing with an equation.

With our introduction to subtraction still very fresh and new, please support your child on their homework pages as they learn to understand the strategies involved with solving and representing subtraction stories!!!!   Our learning is still fragile.  We will continue to work with these concepts next week!