Monthly Archives: January 2015

Social Studies Update!

We are learning about maps in Social Studies!  A lot of the kids had some great schema for maps.  They know… it is something that can help you if you get lost, something you use on a trip, something to help show you where you are, or to find a treasure!!  You may have seen a classroom map come home that was made from a “Bird’s Eye View.”  We talked about how when WE look at things, we see them one way- but when we look at a map, it looks different.  We pretended we were birds and could see right through the top of our classroom.  We discussed how things would look different from the top, we wouldn’t see the legs of chairs or tables, or the books on the shelves!  Since we are looking at the map from a different angle, we needed to make a key with our symbols so people would know what they were looking at!

We also read a book called, “Me On the Map” and learned about maps and globes.  We learned that there are symbols on maps and globes, too, to help us understand.  Where we see green, that is land, and where we see blue- we know that is water.  We know that each person has a special place on the map. Next week, we will start practicing our addresses! If you haven’t done so already, start practicing your address with your first grader at home. Make sure to include the #’s on your house, Street name, City, State, and Zip Code! The numbers are always the trickiest parts!

Our New Friends in England!

We had the chance this week to connect with another classroom of 6, 7, & 8 year olds in England.  The students in the Clover Class at Westwood Primary School were studying weather and had many questions about our weather and what we wear in each season.  The kids had a chance to ask other questions as well and both classrooms had a blast. We are hoping to connect with them again later in the year.   Check out the video below for a look into our Google Hangout. 🙂



Writing Update!

We began our new nonfiction writing unit and started looking at some examples of how to writing, including: how to sharpen a pencil, how to make a pizza and how to draw a stick person. We began to make a list of some characteristics of good How To writing. Our list has just begun, but it includes…

– Title

– Steps/Directions

– Pictures

– Materials/Ingredients

– Warning/Conclusion

We know that How To writing teaches us how to do something, so our first graders have been discovering what they are experts at doing!  We want to make sure that what we are writing about is something we know how to do before we start.  So, we brainstormed a class list of great topics for How To writing. Some ideas included…

-How to build a snowman

-How to jump rope

-How to play with your dog

-How to take care of your pet

-How to play tic, tac, toe

-How to brush your teeth

Once we had our great topic and planned it out across our fingers, we were ready to write!  We know that good How To writing has a title, steps, and pictures that teach.

Reading Update!

We continued our study of nonfiction books this past week.

The kids have learned so much from our nonfiction books already and they just LOVE sharing what they learned with the class.  We have been tracking our thinking and sharing throughout the week.

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This week, we asked the kids to add their reaction to what they learned into what they shared.  We talked about how when they learned something new, sometimes their first reaction was: that is so COOL!  But other times it could be something else…

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The kids worked on adding their reactions and it was so fun to see how their reactions brought out further understanding of their learning.

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Aren’t these first grade readers amazing?! Way to go guys!

Math Update!

The majority of our math time this week was spent working with our new “Make a 10″ strategy. This method is illustrated below:

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While using this strategy is not “speedy fast”… it does help our first graders to internalize the concept of regrouping numbers to make a 10 which will enhance their number sense and improve their computation skills for later in life!!!

We also practiced our “Make a 10″ strategy using new green quilt cards. The cards are explained below:

The front side of our green cards shows an equation and the back side shows the answer along with the “Make a 10″ strategy. We wanted our first graders to try to “Make a 10″ before checking on the back side, so we taught them how to practice solving these equations using their fingers to represent the smaller partner. After borrowing from our fingers to make a ten, it was easy to find the teen total.

We ended the week studying our doubles facts. Many of our first graders know the first 5 doubles in a snap. The final 5 doubles were a little tougher.

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We also learned that we can use what we know about doubles to help us solve other equations. We noticed that here is often a set of doubles that can be found hiding inside an equation. If we can find the hidden double, all we need to do is add one or subtract one to solve the equation.  For example:
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We will continue to work on our doubles facts, so our first graders can more easily use the Doubles +1 and Doubles -1 strategy. It would be wonderful if your child could practice their doubles facts at home too!! Practice makes permanent!!

Week 18!

We had such a wonderful week back at school last week.  I was so impressed with the way that the first graders in Room 104 transitioned back into our routines.  Here’s to another great week!!!

January 12 – Computer Day


January 14 – Library Day


 We are working toward a new star prize of  DRESS UP DAY.  We are about halfway to earning our special day, but we have not yet landed on a plan for how we will dress up.  When that special day gets closer, I will clarify with you what to expect fort that day.  Thanks!

Field Trip (Save the Date)!

On May 14, the first grade classes will be going on a field trip to John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids! We will be learning about animal parents, their young, and how animals grow. Our Georgetown Parent Club has graciously covered most of the cost for this trip. We are requesting that families contribute $1 to cover the remaining fees. Please send $1 to school in an envelope labeled Zoo Trip along with your child’s name. We need to submit payment to the zoo soon, so please send in your money by the end of next week.

Important Information:

All parents are welcome to join us for this trip. Parents attending will need to have background checks on file at school prior to the date of the trip. If you need the paperwork for this, please let me know ASAP because this does take some time to process. Parent chaperones do need to pay for their own admission upon arrival at the zoo. Siblings are more than welcome! If you have a Zoo Pass, you can use that for your admission.

  • Your child will need to bring a sack lunch from home or order a sack lunch from school. We will place the school sack lunch orders when the trip date gets closer. We will be eating our lunches outside and picnicking at the zoo.
  • Please send your child dressed for the weather. We are hoping for nice weather, but the month of May is unpredictable in Michigan! The zoo is an outdoor classroom and we will be spending most of the time outside.
  • Discuss with your child that respectful behavior will be expected and that he/she will need to stay with his/her group leader at all times.

If you plan to join us…

  • Please let us know soon so that we can plan our groups.
  • You will need to meet us at the zoo before 9:30. You can follow the bus to the zoo, but you will need to drive separately. There will only be enough room for students and teachers on the busses.
  • All students will need to come to school before the field trip because we will take attendance before we leave. If you are going to the zoo, your child will still need to ride the bus.
  • Departure time from school is at 9:00 am. We should arrive at the zoo just before 9:30.
  • We will leave the zoo around 1:30 pm. and arrive back at school in time to finish out the school day.

Where Do We Live?

Next week, we will start our Social Studies Unit on Geography. Our focus will be on learning our addresses to understand location and to also be safe. It would be a huge help if you could practice your home address with your first grader. Check to see if your child can recite your address with the house number, street, city, and zip code. If he/she already knows the address, then challenge your child to write it in the correct format! I will be checking in with the children throughout this month to make sure they know this important information. Thank you for your help!