Monthly Archives: December 2014

Week 16!

This week is going to fly by very quickly!!

December 15 – Computer Day


December 17 – Marco’s Pizza Night


December 17 – Library Day


December 17 – Please send in all party donations by this date!


December 18 – Holiday Party @ 2:30


December 19 – Pajama Day


We are all set for the party on Thursday!!!  Thank you so much for your generous donations!!!  If you are still wondering how you could help, we are always in need for more volunteers to assist with the craft and game, and to help pass out the snacks.  Please let me know if you are interested in supporting us this way!  🙂  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!

Reading Update!

This past week in reading, we focused on looking closely at how our characters were feeling in the beginning, middle, and end of a book.  To track our thinking, we marked those pages with a post it note.  Then, when our kids went to share their thoughts about their characters with the group or a partner, we had them prove what they were thinking by giving us details from the story to back up their thinking.

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As we worked our way through the week, tracking our characters’ feelings, we stopped to think, ‘Would I feel the same way, if that had happened to me?’ or ‘Do I know of any other characters, from different books, who have felt this way before?’

Math Update!

This week our first graders reviewed for the Unit 3 assessment, practicing how to solve equations as well as number stories. The kids were definitely ready and performed very well. Woohoo!!!

Next week, we will dive into our new learning for Unit 4 which focuses on teen numbers and place value, as well as strategies for solving equations with larger numbers. We will continue this work into January.

Keep your first grader’s math skills sharp by reviewing addition and subtraction equations over the holiday break. Use those long car rides or after dinner time to practice math together. Encourage your first grader to count on from the greater partner with addition and count up from the partner to the total with subtraction.

Writing Update!

In Writer’s Workshop, we are continuing to make our persuasive letters even more persuasive! Thank you so much for all of your responses. The kids have loved hearing what parents have to say about their ideas!

This is the format we are using to write our persuasive letters.

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We will learn about adding a conclusion and restating our opinion next week as well as celebrating our letters!

Week 15!

I hope that your weekend was enjoyable!!  With only two weeks left of school this month, these December days are flying by so quickly!!  We have a week of normal routines ahead. 🙂

December 8 – Computer Day


December 9 – 10 – Library Day


December 10 – Jet’s Pizza Night


 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!!  

Math Update!

Our first graders worked hard this 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. We ended the week with a Quilt Card Challenge!!!  Our first graders practiced counting-on to find the total on our red addition cards, counting-UP to find the missing partner on our yellow addition cards, and counting-UP to find the the missing partner on our orange subtraction cards. The Quilt Card Challenge really got tricky when we asked to kids to mix up all the cards and alternate between all three. The “challenge” in this task was making sure to stop and think, “Am I looking for the total or the partner?”, and then choosing the appropriate method to find the correct answer. If we are looking for a partner, we encourage our first graders to countUP (like above). If we are looking for the total, we encourage our first graders to count-on. Many of our first graders were not tricked by the challenge – even when the cards were all mixed up!! What amazing fact fluency!!

To support your child at home, please encourage him/her to always PROVE THE ANSWER when solving a story. Also, If you notice 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!!!

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.

Next week, we will begin sending home letters that your children have written to you.  Our letters are becoming better and more persuasive every day, so be on the lookout for letters coming home soon! 🙂

Reading Update!

We jumped back in to thinking about our characters this week.  We started by 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 used clues from the pictures and the characters bodies to help us figure out their feelings.

Our first graders are continuing to track their thinking using sticky notes.  While the students sometimes mark tricky words that they can’t decode on their own and need support, this week we also introduced the idea of marking a tricky word that they can decode, but they might not know what that word means.  This will be hugely beneficial for our first graders as we transition into our nonfiction unit (full of new vocabulary words) after our winter break.