Monthly Archives: September 2014

Reading Update!

Our first grade readers 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!

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.

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. The kids have two 20 minute segments of read to self time each day.

At the end of the week, we introduced reading partnerships.    We added on a chunk of time at the end of our reading workshop for our students to meet with another student in class.  We talked about what our  jobs would be during this time: be urgent, sit facing away from other readers, sit elbow-to-elbow and knee-to-knee with your partner (EEKK), use a quiet reading voice, have all your just right books and reading tools out and ready to go, etc. There are many ways to partner read, but for now our students are each taking turns reading their own just right books to their partners (I read, you read).

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We will continue to practice reading with partners this week and building our read to someone reading stamina.  The kids LOVE this time of our workshop and are excited to share with their friends!

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 104 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. Baker & Mrs. Bast

Writing Update!

We are continuing to work on Small Moment stories during Writer’s Workshop. This week we focused on using details in our writing. Good writers add details to their stories. Some details that we can add are…

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We also focused on making sure to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out each word in our story so that we can write down each sound that we hear. When writers write a word, we stretch it out slowly like a rubber band. We write down the first, middle, and last sounds that we hear in that word. First Graders are working very hard on writing their small moment stories! Way to go!!


Social Studies Update!

This past week 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!

Chapter Books!

This past week, our class started a chapter book during our read aloud time. Freddie Fernortner, Fearless First Grader and the Fantastic Flying Bicycle by Jonathon Rand is a terrific story. The chapters are short and are usually “cliff hangers”, and the kids beg to hear just a few more pages (music to my book-loving ears!).


Reading aloud chapter books to your child at home is a great way to end your day together and also helps to develop important comprehension skills. Chapter books usually have just a few illustrations so your child is nudged to visualize the story events in his/her mind. These books can also enrich vocabulary and present interesting characters that might change in surprising ways.

There are many more Freddie Fornortner books in the series! Look for them at the library and at bookstores. Here are several other chapter book series to try:

Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne

Andrew Lost books by J.C. Greenburg

American Girl Doll Books

Cam Jansen books by David A. Adler

Fancy Clancy books by Jane O’Conner

Jigsaw Jones books by James Preller

Meg Mackintosh books by Lucinda Landon

Week 4!

Here are the events for this week…

September 22 or 23: Vision Screening

The Ottawa County Health Department will be at school this week conducting vision screening with our first graders. This is a free service provided by our county.

September 22: Computer Day


September 23: Unit 1 Math Assessment


September 24: Library Day


September 25: Spelling Assessment

(of, and, the, to, a)

September 25: Walk-aThon 

First grade will be walking, jogging, and/or running the course starting at 10:10. To add to the day, we encourage kids to wear blue and gold or dress like a rockstar.

We also have a few more birthdays to celebrate this week!  To find out more about how we celebrate birthdays in first grade, click on this link: Birthday Celebrations.

Social Studies Update!

This past week during Social Studies, we celebrated CONSTITUTION DAY!!!  Constitution Day is a time for us to reflect on the signing of the constitution which occurred on September 17, 1787 and be thankful for rules, rights and responsibilities we are given as United States citizens.  In our classroom, we reviewed our first grade rules and discussed how the Constitution is a list of rules for all the people in our country.  We read a book about the Constitution and learned about some of the founding fathers who created the constitution.  We then made and signed our own classroom constitution!!!  It is now posted in our classroom to remind us to be a good friend and follow our first grade rules.

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This week we also discussed what it means to be a good citizen.  Each day we added another attribute to our “Good Citizen” chart.  Here is what we learned:


1. FOLLOWS RULES.  We discussed reasons that we have rules such as rules help us learn, rules keep us safe, rules help make things fair, etc.

2. RESPECTS AUTHORITY.  We brainstormed a list of people who have power with authority (principal, teachers, bus drivers, moms, dads, etc.) and how they enforce rules. When we listen and respond to those in authority we are being respectful.

3. IS FAIR. We discussed what fairness looks like at school, and learned that fair isn’t always equal – it’s getting what you need in order to be successful.

4. IS RESPONSIBLE.  We learned about ways we can be responsible at school such as making sure that you have all of your tools ready (without being asked).  We are planning to begin classroom jobs next week to practice being responsible.

5. HONORS THE USA.  One way we can do this is to respect and remember symbols of the United States that represent our freedom such as the American Flag, White House, Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, and Bald Eagle.

If you notice your “first grade citizen” displaying any of the attributes above be sure to commend him/her on a job well done!