Monthly Archives: September 2015

Week 4!

It should be another great week in Room 104! We are just one star away from earning our 10 star goal (ipad day – the kids can’t wait to get their hands on our ipads!). Please remember to send in a NUT FREE snack each day.  We want to make sure that we keep all students in the classroom safe and healthy, so please double check before packing your child’s snacks.

September 28 – Computer Day

September 29 – Scholastic Book Order Due

September 30 – Library Day

Help your child send in their library book by Friday!

October 2 – Popcorn Day

October 2 – Eagle Pride Day

Super Fans will be coming to visit for Pep Rally.  Also the HEF is sponsoring the Dunk Tank and other fun activities before the football game.

Look for some important e-mails in your inbox later this week about our Halloween Party, coming up at the end of October, and our sight word parent volunteer program that will be starting next week Monday, October 5.

If you are interested in helping out in our classroom this year and have not already filled out this survey, please do!  It is okay for your younger children to come along with you when you help out with our sight word practice!!

Parent Volunteer Survey

Writing!

We have been continuing our work on Small Moment stories this week.

We learned that good writers include the 3 W‘s in their writing:

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By including the 3 W’s on our first page, it helps the reader know what is going on in the story.

We also worked on sketching a quick plan of the beginning, middle, and end of our story before we even write the word, so that we can remember what we wanted each part of our story to include.

Math!

During our math time this week we continued to break apart larger numbers into smaller partners. We used whiteboards and markers, counters, stair steppers, and activities from our math workbook to visualize the partners, switch partners, and doubles partners for the numbers 8, 9, and 10. Challenging your first grader to write and show each set of partners in a variety of ways has helped to increase number sense and flexibility with these numbers.

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We also continued to use our knowledge of partners and patterns to practice addition (+0, +1, +2) and subtraction (-0, -1, -2) facts. This week in particular, we practiced adding and subtracting doubles partners (1+1, 2-1, 2+2, 4-2, 3+3, 6-3, etc.), and discovered that a number minus itself equals 0 (8-8 = 0). We finished up the week by taking our Unit 1 math assessment.

Reading!

We wanted to help them make sure the kids were reading the whole time, so we gave them a sticker for the side of their book box that we have used as a reminder each day.  The sticker tells them that they should: FIRST, empty out their book box. SECOND, warm up to read a book. THIRD, read the words of that book.  Once they finish a book, they put the book back into their book box, so that they could keep track of which books they had read.

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This past week in reading workshop, we spent time growing our independent reading stamina.  The kids worked hard 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!

The kids have gotten quite good at finding books around the room that are ‘just right’ books to keep in their book boxes.  As the kids were reading this week, we noticed that some kids finished all the books in their book boxes and needed to start all over reading their books again.  This lead us into discussions of how readers set goals for how many books they will read each day.  And we introduced a bookmark that they used to set a goal and then keep track with tally marks to see how many books they actually read that day.  Before each reading block, the kids would think about how they did the day before and think about the book choices they had in their book boxes and then set a goal for how many books they would read that day.  We tracked our goals for a few days to see if our numbers were growing in how many books we were able to read each day.  It also helped us notice if we actually had picked books that were ‘just right’ for us as readers.  All in all, they spent a ton of time reading this week and building great reading habits!  Way to go first graders!

Spelling!

and, the, & of

The first two weeks of school we studied the words: and, the, & of! Our first graders recognized that and is spelled how it sounds, but the and of are NOT spelled like they sound! We practiced writing these words many times while thinking about the shape of each word (short letters/tall letters).  We also focused on which letters were vowels and which were consonants.  To remember our vowels, we have been singing a little chant: A, E, I, O, U.  I know the vowels, how about you?!  We are trying our best to recognize our spelling words in our reading and trying to spell them correctly in our writing! Keep practicing these words at home!

Mind Up!

You might hear your student talking about our MIND UP time during the day.  Mind Up is a curriculum that helps teach students about their brains and how their brains work in order to help them be more proactive in how they approach learning and social interactions.

 So far, we have learned some key areas of the brain.  You may have heard your first grader talking about these three key parts of the brain: Prefrontal Cortex, Amygdala, andHippocampus.  The prefrontal cortex is what we call our WISE LEADER, it is where our smart thinking happens (math, reading, etc.).  Our Hippocampus is where our memories are stored, we called is our MEMORY SAVER.  And the amygdala is the part of our brain the helps us stay safe when we are in danger, we call it our SECURITY GUARD.

We have talked through different scenarios with the kids about when each part of the brain might be working.  We talk about how when they hear a startling noise, it is the amygdala that is working quickly to keep them safe.  BUT, we also talked about how their amygdala is quick to make decisions that might not be necessarily appropriate in all situations.  For instance, if they are on the playground and a friend comes by and bumps into them unexpectedly, their amygdala might tell them to push that person away to keep themselves from harm.  But, in reality, pushing the other person isn’t the best way to handle that situation.  We have talked about how our prefrontal cortex is better at handling these situations but in order for the messages to get sent from the amygdala to the prefrontal cortex, the kids need to give their brains a few moments before reacting to the situation.  We talked about how taking a deep breath and counting to ten (or down from ten) will help them calm down and give the different parts of their brain time to communicate before reacting.  We will continue to help support the students in learning ways to handle situations like this.

We have also talked about how we need to be mindful learners.  When we are mindful of others, we are aware of our surroundings and others around us.  We now know that being mindful means thinking before we act.  We talked about what mindful and unmindful behavior looks like for us:

Unmindful: Leaving your shoes in the middle of the living room

Mindful: Putting your shoes where they belong, out of the way

We also talked about mindful behavior at school and how everyone at school has to be mindful of everyone here, even teachers, custodians, and the principal.  You can help them remember to be mindful of others when you see them using unmindful behavior, remind them to, “use your prefrontal cortex, please!” :)

Week 3!

What a perfect weather forecast for a fun week ahead.  Looks like Thursday will be a beautiful day for a WALKATHON!!!

September 21 – Picture Day

September 21 – Computer Day

September 22 – PTC Meeting @ 6:30

September 23 – Online Link-Up with our friends in England

This will be our first chance to connect with Clover Class this school year!

September 23 – Library Day

Don’t forget to send your child’s library book back to school by Wednesday!!!

September 24 – Walk-a-thon

Dress like a Ninja Warrior or Eagle’s Fan!!!

This week your child will bring home some important reading homework.  On Monday, look for an envelope in your child’s blue folder containing sight words to practice.  On Thursday, your child will bring home his/her first take-home book of the year.  More details about both of these important practice opportunities will be sent home with your child.

Reading Update!

This week, we began readers’ workshop.  This is such a wonderful time in our classroom.  We have enjoyed reading some great stories together and we have started building the foundation of our independent reading time.  Readers get better at reading by practicing, so we focused this week on building their independence for reading by themselves (read to self time).  We are working together to figure out the best routines that will help us be successful during this time.  So far we have the following:

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  Just like great readers do, the kids have learned how to pick books that interest them and is  ‘Just Right’ for them.  We used the five finger approach.  The students pick a book and then open to any page.  They read one page and every time they come to a word they don’t know, they would put one of their five fingers down.  If they were left with no fingers up at the end of that one page, then the book is too tricky.  If they still have fingers up, then the book is ‘Just Right!’  It has also been fun to see their confidence and enthusiasm build with their independent reading time as we practice picking out and reading books each day.

As we added more ‘just right’ books to our book boxes each day, we also worked on picking a good spot in the room to read that wasn’t going to be too distracting.  The kids have been working hard to find spots that aren’t too close to other first graders where they can get right to work.

Writing Update!

During Writer’s Workshop, we have been writing small moment stories. A Small Moment story is a true story about you!

 We learned how writers plan their stories:

-Think of an idea

-Sketch a quick picture for the beginning, middle, and end

-Write our words

-Add a more detailed picture if we want

We also learned that good writers always keep working! We used the phrase “When you’re done – you’ve only just begun!”. Good writers add details to their pictures and words, or they can start a new story.