Monthly Archives: February 2015

Math Update!

During our math time this week, we continued to solve missing partner and missing total stories.  We also revisited a concept that was first introduced back in October.  We used our understanding of the partners in an addition equation to help us find the missing partner in a subtraction equation, but this time we were working with teen totals.

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Next week, we will be working on counting and writing numbers up to 120. To help your first grader practice this skill, have him/her start at any 2 digit number and then count out loud to 120. This could be a great activity to do together in the car. As an extra challenge, you can even have your child write the numerals up to 120! 

Reading Update!

This week, we focused on reading fluency.  We started off the week with two-person plays.  The kids each got one to perform with their partners.  Throughout the week, we worked on decoding tricky words, and then rereading to focus on scooping and adding feeling into our voices.  By Friday, they were ready to perform their plays.  We matched the partners up with another group that had a different play and had them show off their reading fluency.  The kids had a blast with these silly stories!

Week 24!

I can’t believe we are starting the last week of February already!  It should be a good one:

February 23 – Show & Tell AND PJ Day!


February 24 – Computer Day


February 25 – Library Day


Writing Update!

In Writer’s Workshop, we worked on adding more details to our Small Moment stories. First, we talked about using our five senses to show not tell what we were feeling. Instead of saying “I was so happy”, we could say, “I was grinning from ear to ear”. Instead of “I was embarrassed”, we could write “My face turned red”. This gives the reader a much better picture in their mind as they read our stories.

We revisited what we learned about dialogue. Anything we heard or said can be added to our story to make it more detailed. We noticed that we used the word “said a lot – boring! There are many much more interesting words to use that just “said”! We created a list of words to use instead of said including…


These kinds of words will make our dialogue much more exciting to read!

Social Studies Update!

In Social Studies we have been continuing to learn about HISTORY.  This week we talked about how families have a past. We looked at family trees and talked about the history of our families. We also discussed schools of the past and compared to what a school day is like now.  The kids noticed a lot of differences in the book we read.  In the past, kids got to school by walking or by horses, girls wore dresses, not everyone had shoes on all the time, all different ages were in ONE room, and they didn’t have much on their playground.  The kids were encouraged to talk to grandparents to see what school was like when they were little – to see if there were any similarities.

We also talked about how we can celebrate events AND people from the past.  The kids came up with some great holidays, and we discussed how these are events that happened LONG ago, but because they are important to our country, we celebrate them every year.  🙂  Just like each of them have a birthday every year, the 4th of July is the birthday of our country– so it’s something everyone in the US can celebrate together!

Spend some time chatting with your child about how life was different when YOU were little.

Math Update!

This week, our math switch groups reviewed how solve missing partner addition and subtraction equations.  To support our math learning we added new purple and blue quilt cards to our math tool bags.  Our purple and blue cards are very similar to our previous yellow and orange cards, except this time we are encouraging our mathematicians to count-on or “make a ten” as they solve equations with teen totals.
Picture 2

We also began solving mixed stories again.  Our mathematicians had to listen carefully to each story, determine what was missing (either a partner or the total), and write an addition equation, subtraction equation, and math mountain to go with.  Below is an example of a missing partner story:

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Make sure your child is showing their thinking (using one of the methods above) on their homework pages before you send them back to school.  Thank you!

Reading Update!

The past few weeks we have been working so hard to read ALL of the words in our books.  So, this week we focused our attention on fluency.  We chose one book and practiced reading it over and over again.  We worked on scooping our words into longer phrases, paying attention to punctuation, using a storyteller voice, and showing our feelings through our voice and facial expressions!  Next week, we are going to put all our decoding and fluency skills to work as we practice and perform two person plays!

We talked about how good readers are thinking while they read.  One of the ways that we think is by making connections or by visualizing.  Another way readers think while they read is by asking questions.  This week we began our focus on questioning by revisiting one of our favorite stories, Tuesday, by David Weisner.  We talked about how readers can have questions about a book before they read it, while they read it, and after they read it. The kids had a blast walking their way through the pictures and asking questions about what was happening in the story.  We later went back and tried to find answers to some of our questions.

The kids were so excited to read another book written by David Wiesner.  We read the book  Sector 7.  Just like his other books, the pictures leave a lot of room for questions and discussion.  We know that good readers ask questions and as we asked questions about what was going on in the book, we were able to share our ideas and work together to infer what was really happening.

We spent the rest of the week on another classic David Weisner book, FLOTSAM.  The kids couldn’t take their eyes off this book and were begging to share their thinking.  It was so much fun!  It was fun to see their understanding of the book develop as they shared their thinking with the class.

Week 23!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!  What a wonderful Valentine’s Party!!!  Thank you so much to all the parents who donated supplies and goodies!!!  Thank you also to all the parents who attended our party, helped the kids make their cute Hug & Kiss Jars, helped supervise and lead the Cupid’s Arrow Game, and passed out our fruits and cupcakes!!!  It was so much fun!!!

Our classroom parties may be done for the year, but we still have an exciting JUST WRITE celebration coming up in June (the exact date is still being determined – last week of school) and our field trip to the ZOO on May 14th!!!  Save the date for these big events – we would love to have you join us!!!

February 16 – Computer Day


February 16 – President’s Day


February 18 – Library Day


February 18 – Marco’s Pizza Night


Just a quick note about math homework, we spent our math time last week pre-assessing for Unit 5, and showing all that we know on our second trimester benchmark assessment.  All of this hard work at school meant no math homework at night.  This week, we will begin new math switch groups and our math homework will pick back up again! 🙂

One more note: please check our Spring Conference Schedule to be sure of your time!!!

Conference Winter Schedule

Social Studies Update!

We are learning about history, and history is the study of the past.

There are four ways to learn about the past:





Written Records




The kids had a blast looking at pictures from my past, hearing stories about my past (from me), looking at written records from my birth and childhood, and checking out some artifacts from my past (VHS tape, hand made book, an old game boy etc).