Author Archives: sarahwoodring

Word Study!

Our first graders have been loving our Word Study portion of the school day! We spend this time of the day studying words, letters, sounds, syllables, etc. To guide us through our lessons, we have a class mascot named Rasheed helping us out.

Rasheed has been helping us build a routine of looking for certain word features every time we look at a new word.

These past two weeks, we’ve paid close attention to vowels and all the sounds a vowel can make. And most recently, we introduced the idea that two letters can blend themselves together (BLENDS = cl, st, dr, etc.) and two letters can work together to create a whole new sound (DIGRAPHS = th, sh, ch, wh, etc.).


Writing Update!

This week, we took time to remember all that we’ve learned about small moment narrative stories. We made a chart with the class to list all the things they should be adding to each of their stories to make their story the best small moment story they know how to write.

We challenged the class to see if they could start a new story and add all these things to their story. We collected the story and will send it home to share with you. When you see it come home, have your child read it to you and see if they can point out the different parts of the chart that they added to their own story!

Reading Update!

This week, the kids had fun sharing some of the books they’ve been reading on their own. We practiced giving book introductions where the kids share the WHO, WHAT, & WHERE from their stories. This skill helps build our first graders’ ability to summarize, while also giving them a chance to share their excitement over a book with friends in the class.

We also talked about how good readers think about their books as they read.  We focused on how when they finish reading one book, before moving on to their next book, they can stop and think.

Math Update!

This week, we focused on subtraction equations and stories.  We continued to emphasize that a subtraction equation always begins with the total and worked hard to label all our equations so we knew which numbers to put where.

We also learned that we can use addition to help us solve subtraction.  If we know the partners for an addition equation, we can use this understanding to help us find the missing partner in a subtraction equation.

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Week 8!

Brrrrr!!!  The weather is sure starting to feel like fall. As your child begins to bring their cold weather gear to school, don’t forget to label everything.  Hats, gloves, and even boots frequently go missing and we want to make sure all these items get returned to the correct owner.

October 19 – Library Day

Please help your first grader return his/her book.

October 22 – Holiday Posters Due

Please feel free to begin sending in any Halloween party donations.  I can hold on to these items at school.

Mind Up Update!

An idea we have been talking about in Mind Up is how attitude affects how well you can handle situations, especially solving problems.  We introduced the words: optimistic thinker and pessimistic thinker.  We talked about how optimistic thinkers think with happy thoughts and are more likely to solve problems successfully.  Pessimistic thinkers are often defensive and react with anger when problems arise. The kids spent a good deal of time role playing different problems and sharing how an optimistic thinker would react as opposed to a pessimistic thinker.

For example: If someone takes the seat that we want at lunch

Pessimistic Thinking: “That person is so mean, it’s not fair, I was going to sit there.”

OPTIMISTIC THINKING“I can find another friend to sit by, I can try to sit there tomorrow.”

We talked about how we can train our brain to get better at optimistic thinking by practicing. We agreed that we need to start practicing optimistic attitudes so that we can handle problems better on our own. We are going to practice taking a few deep breaths when a problem arises and thinking of the problem from a different point of view.  When these situations arise at home, remind your first grader to use optimistic thinking…ask them, “how can we think about this situation optimistically?”

We are going to focus in on kindness to help train our brains to be optimistic thinkers. We read a book that talked about treating people kindly and how to fill someone’s bucket with happy feelings. We talked about how to be “Bucket Fillers” and not “Bucket Dippers”.  We want to work hard to make sure everyone’s bucket is full and we can do that by saying or doing nice things to them.  The good news is… when we fill someone else’s bucket, we fill ours, too!

Reading Update!

This week, we added to our collection of strategies to use when we encounter a tricky word.


We focused on checking to see if our guess makes sense within the context of the page we are reading. Then, we double check to see if the guess matches the letters/sounds of the word on the page. When we are stretching out the sounds in a tricky word, we can try more than one vowel sound to figure out the new word. We spent a lot of time talking about vowels and some of the different sounds they make.

Writing Update!

We continued to work on writing small moment stories during our writers workshop.  This week, we learned that great writers include the 3 W‘s in their writing:

By including the 3 W’s on our first page, our writing is clear, detailed, and paints a picture for the reader.  For example:

My family went for a bike ride around our neighborhood.

Our class ate two Oreos in the classroom.

We also focused on making our stories easier to read. We introduced the strategy of using a word wall to access frequently used words and spell them correctly in our stories.

Math Update!

We spent time studying a new math concept: SUBTRACTION!!!  When we solve stories that involve “taking something away” we use a minus sign (-) to represent what happened.  For example, when given the story:

There were 5 cookies.  I ate 3.  How many are left?

Our first graders learned to represent this thinking with circle drawing, break-apart stick, and minus sign right through the circles that were taken away:

We also emphasized that a subtraction equation always begins with the total.  Then we show the “minus” partner, which means that our answer is actually a missing partner (rather than a missing total like an addition equation).  Our first graders “trained their brains” to count up the total and write that number first to accurately represent a subtraction story or circle drawing with an equation.

With our introduction to subtraction still very fresh and new, please support your child on their homework pages as they learn to understand the strategies involved with solving and representing subtraction stories!!!!