# Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to wish everyone Happy Holidays!!

I am so sad we did not get the opportunity to celebrate the upcoming holidays together as a class.  Our class party will be cancelled (and not rescheduled) due to the inclement weather last Friday. Thanks so much to all our parents for their efforts and time preparing for  the party.  I am very sorry the kids will miss out on the fun, luckily our valentine party isn’t all that far away.  However,  we will still ring in the new year with my gift to the kiddos on Monday, January 6!  Please let me know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful winter break!! I will be looking forward to seeing the first graders on January 6.  Have fun celebrating the New Year!

# Math Update!

We began new math learning this past 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.

Finally, 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.

We will spend much of our math time next week working with this new strategy as it is still very new and fragile.  Please encourage your child to think about the “ten” hiding inside teen numbers when they solve equations on their homework.

This past week of reading was spent studying the characters in our books even closer.  We had noticed before that our friend DAVID was a character that has a pattern to his behavior in his stories, he is always acting naughty.  And our friend PETE has a pattern to his behavior too, he is always calm and cool.  But, this week, we noticed that some of our characters change how they act throughout the books.  We noticed that we had characters who were calm and happy at one point in a book and then they might get angry later in the book.  Our friend the PIGEON is a good example of this, same with ELEPHANT GERALD and PIGGIE.  These characters show a range of emotions throughout their stories and it was easy for our kids to notice the difference between these dynamic characters and ones that follow a pattern.

We also looked closer at our characters to really focus in on what our characters liked to do and what they don’t like to do.  We noticed that in the book Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie, Ruthie really enjoys collecting tiny things, but she doesn’t like the way she feels when she lies.  The kids were really good and picking out things their characters liked and didn’t like.

Lastly, we started paying attention to the words that our characters were saying out loud.  We noticed that we could tell a lot about how our characters were feeling just by listening to the words they said.  We’ll focus on this a little bit more this week as we use clues from the pictures and the characters bodies to help us figure out their feelings.

# Math Update!

Our first graders worked hard last week to prepare for our Unit 3 assessment.  We spent our math switch time solving missing totalmissing partner, and subtraction stories using the great strategies that we’ve learned during this unit.  We also practiced with our redyellow, and orange quilt cards to prepare our brains to solve all different types of equations.

The kids were definitely ready for the assessment and performed very well. Woohoo!!!

Still, they will be asked throughout the rest of this year to solve stories, and we don’t want your child to lose any of the great strategies that they’ve gained from our learning.  To support your child at home, please encourage him or her to continue to always PROVE THEIR ANSWER when solving a story.  Also, if you notice that he or she makes a mistake, please ask your child to go back and correct it!  Practice makes permanent and we don’t want our first graders to lose any of these wonderful strategies!!!

This week, we will dive into our new learning in Unit 4 which focuses on teen numbers, place value and strategies for solving equations with larger numbers.  For this unit, each child will be working in their own classroom.  Math switch will start back up again with Unit 5.

# Holiday Party!

Just a reminder…

## We will not be having a classroom gift exchange.  Prior to the party, I will pass out a small gift for each child to enjoy!

If you haven’t been to the volunteer spot website to sign up to donate or volunteer at our Holiday Party, here is the link.  The response so far has been AWESOME!!  We are still in need of wreaths and buckets for the game, healthy treats, sweet treats, and a few more volunteers to help lead the craft center and the game center.

This past week in reading, we spent time focusing on the characters from our books.   The kids did a great job noticing who their characters were and even finding who the main character was in their story.

We pulled out one of our favorite characters, David, and read a new book about him.  The kids had plenty of schema about him from his other books, so they knew some of things his character might do.  As we read this new story, we noticed that there was a pattern to what happened in the story.  Patterns help teach us about characters and can even help us predict what might happen in a story.  We decided that if we noticed a pattern in our stories while we were reading, we were going to mark a post it note with a P so we could share that pattern with our partner.

As we read about more and more characters, we really focused on tracking what we were noticing as we read.  So many of us had connections to things our characters were doing or parts of a story where a character did something funny we wanted to share with our partner.  The kids  continued to mark their pages of their books with post it notes as reminders of thoughts they wanted to share.  These first grade readers are keeping very busy!

# Writing Update!

In Writer’s Workshop, we have been focusing on creating a great persuasive letter. One thing we noticed about persuasive letters was that the best letters had to do with things that were important to us and that helped make our home, neighborhood, or school a better place. We took a walk around the school this week and brainstormed some ways we could help make our school a better place to learn.We now had great topics for our persuasive letters.

Next, we learned that persuasive letters try to make someone agree with our opinion. We stated our opinions in our letter using the “I think….” sentence starter. When we state our opinion, it becomes clear what we want the other person to think as well.

We then realized that it is important to think about our audience for our letters. If there is something we want to change in our home, then the best audience for our letter is probably someone at home, not at school.

The last thing we talked about this week was giving good reasons in our letters. Just saying that we really want something is not good enough! We need to share with our audience why it is important to us. We also discussed mini-moment reasons. These are little stories where we share a time when we saw the problem in our own lives.

Our letters are becoming better and more persuasive every day, so be on the lookout for more letters coming home soon!  🙂