Monthly Archives: November 2016

Week 13!

I hope that your Thanksgiving weekend was filled with family, fun, food, and a little relaxation too. Get ready – these next three and a half weeks will be jam-packed with holiday fun!!!

November 30 – Library Day

December 1 – Book Orders Due

December 2 – Early Release Day

Students are dismissed from school at 12:15.  (Sack lunches can be ordered through Food Service and will be sent home with your child.  Please make sure your child knows if he or she needs to order a sack lunch.)

Save the date for these activities happening soon:

December 6 @ 9:15 – Penguin Patch Holiday Shop

December 13 @ 6:30 – Holiday Program

Be sure to check out the updates about social studies and science.  Our class loved exploring matter, geography, and economics!  Also, look for some persuasive letters to come home in your child’s blue folder later this week.  If you are able, please write your child back and have him or her bring the letter to school.  The kids get SO excited and even more motivated when they receive a response!

Social Studies Update!


We spent the past couple weeks learning about Geography. We’ve learned that maps are made from a “bird’s eye view” or “aerial 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 read a book called, “Me On the Map” and learned about maps and globes.  We learned that there are symbols on maps and globes in the Key to help us understand.  Where we see green or brown, that is land, and where we see blue, we know that is water.

We also talked about how each person has a special place on the Map. Our Special place is our address. We each practiced writing and saying our addresses at school. There are 3 lines that help make up our address:

First and Last Name

House Number and Street Name

City, State, and Zip Code

Please have your first grader practice saying his/her address at home.  I will be checking in with each child during the month of December see if they can remember all the parts of their home address (even the zip code).


 Before Thanksgiving Break we spent a portion of our day studying our first grade economics topics.  We begin with a review of needs and wants.  A need is something we can’t live with out, a want is something that makes life more fun.  :)  We talked about different wants- things that we have asked for for our birthdays or things that were on our Christmas list.

The kids know that we have 5 needs:

food, water, shelter, clothes, air

Then I told the kids that I had some smarties and hershey kisses but not enough for everyone to have one of each.  Everyone was able to choose one piece to have. After they had chosen, I had the kids raise their hands if they weren’t able to get their first choice candy.  I used this example to explain the idea of scarcity to the kids, we talked about how there isn’t always enough of something for everyone to have it (or sometimes we don’t have enough money to buy everything we want).

I then shared how some of the kids had two pieces of candy that they really wanted, but they could only have one.  We talked about how when you can’t have both, then you need to make a choice between the ones you like the best.  I gave the kids the example of how I go shopping and see so many things at the store that I want, but I don’t have enough money to buy it all.  So, we have to make choices!

I asked the kids what you could do if you ended up with a piece of candy that you didn’t want and they came up with the idea to trade.  I had the kids who ended up with candy that wasn’t their first choice come to the middle of our circle and see if they could trade with each other.  Some of them were able to and some were not.  We discussed how trading is a great solution, but how it only works if the other person wants what you have to trade.

It was a fun activity that spurred a great discussion.  There will be many moments of scarcity as the year continues at school.  Be sure to point out if scarcity ever happens at home too!

Science Update!

We took advantage of our short week and hit up some of our science concepts in full force!  We studied how objects can be sorted into different groups based on their properties (or attributes).  An attribute could be the size, shape, color, texture or thickness of an object.  Some objects can have the same attributes, other are very different.

After learning that all things can be sorted based on their attributes, we continued to study three additional scientific properties: the states of matter, magnetic/non-magnetic, and sink or float!

The kids learned that there are 3 different states of matter:  Solid, liquid, and gas.  We talked about the different attributes that go along with each state of matter:

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We also talked about changing matter from one state to another (solid ice cube to liquid water & liquid water to the gas water vapor).

Another attribute we studied was sinking or floating.  The kids really enjoyed investigating different objects and predicted what might happen when these things were placed in water.

We also studied magnets.  We explained that in order for an object to be magnetic, it needed to be made of a special kind of metal: iron, steel, nickel or cobalt.  We went around the classroom tested different items.

We also  talked about was how magnets have 2 poles, a north and a south.  The kids learned that opposites attract and the same poles repel, or push away from each other.

It was an exciting day!  Our first grade scientists can’t wait to study more!!!

Week 12!

We have a short, but very fun week ahead filled with science, social studies, and birthdays!

November 21 – Science Day

We will spend time studying the different properties of matter and sort objects based on these properties.

November 22 – Fort Day

November 22 – Social Studies Day

We will spend time studying economics and geography.

November 23-27 – Thanksgiving Break: NO SCHOOL

November 24 – Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Math Update!

We continued to study and solve stories with missing partners this week during our math switch.  We also introduced our yellow quilt cards which have trained the kids to find a missing partner by clapping and counting UP with their fingers until they get to the total.

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We ended the week circling back to subtraction stories again which we first visited during our Unit 2.  Our number one strategy for solving these stories has been to use an equation or math mountain.  However, we encouraged our students to draw a circle drawing first if they weren’t sure how to create a subtraction equation for the story.  Here is an example of our methods for solving a subtraction story:

Sam had 6 cookies.  He ate 2 of them. 

How many cookies are there now?

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We emphasized that a subtraction equation always begins with the total.  We have to make sure to put the GREATEST number first in our equation and at the top of our math mountain, so our answer make sense.

Writing Update!

This week, we started our Persuasive Writing Unit. We spent time introducing the class to what an opinion is and what a persuasive letter might look like. We read some books, “The Day the Crayons Quit”, “The Day the Crayons Came Home”, “I Wanna Iguana”, and “I Wanna New Room”. We used these texts to see what pieces make up a persuasive letter.

The kids noticed that the letters in the books had some things in common:

1. They started with Dear {Greeting} & a name {Audience}

2. They asked for something {Opinion – “I think…”}

3. They ended {Closing – Sincerely/Love/From} & signed their name {Signature}

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 brainstormed some ways we could help make our school a better place to learn. We will keep adding to this list each day.

Reading Update!

This week, we started a new unit of reading all about CHARACTERS. We pulled out some of our favorite characters, Pete & David, and studied them as characters.  The kids had plenty of schema about both characters from other books, so they knew some of things the characters might do.  As we read the stories, we noticed that there were patterns to what happened in each story.  Patterns help teach us about characters and can even help us predict what might happen in a story.  We noticed that Pete stays calm and upbeat throughout his stories and we noticed that David has a hard time making good choices, but then always seems to turn it around in the end.


Week 11!

It was a pleasure to talk with all of you at conferences last week!!   Your children have been working so hard since the beginning of the year.  Thank you so much for all of the support and encouragement that you provide your child at home working on math homework, take-home books, sight words, Raz-Kids and MobyMax.  I can’t wait to see how these first graders continue to grow!!  If you have any questions or concerns as the year continues, please let me know.

November 1-16 – P.E. C.A.R.E.S.

November 16 – Library Day

November 17 – Marco’s Pizza Night

November 17 – Parent Club Meeting @ 6:30

What a beautiful start to November!!!  Let’s hold off the snow for as long as possible and enjoy these sunshine filled days!!!

Reading Update!

We started the week by reviewing the three groups of chunks that we have been focusing on (ED endings, R-Sisters, & H-Brothers). Then, we spent time immersing the students with books that model persuasive letter writing. We read some books featuring unhappy crayons who tried to persuade their owner to change how he used them. We also read some books about a little boy who is trying to persuade his parents to get him a pet iguana, a new bedroom, and to come home from vacation so he can leave his grandparents’ house. All these books are written with such humor, that they kept us laughing all week. We will use these books as a reference as we move into our persuasive letter writing unit in writing workshop, next week.