We had a great 4.5 days back at school last week despite the slushy and then cold weather outside!!! I was so impressed with the way that everyone in our class was helping each other, sharing with each other, and making mindful choices!!! Here’s to another great week!!!
As a first grade staff, we are always striving to meet the needs of each and every student. In order to do this, we studied the data from our students’ math performance so far this year, and used this information to group together students with similar areas of expertise and areas of need. For this unit, many of our students will be taking part in a “math switch” in which they may be traveling to a different classroom, so that they are able to work in the group and with the teacher that will help them reach their full potential as a math learner. Each group of math learners will be working on the same math concepts each day, but the pace and practice may look a little different.
We began new math learning this past week!! Our Unit 4 in math will focus on tens and teen numbers, place value to 100, and strategies for adding larger numbers. So far, we’ve practiced counting groups of tens.
We studied the teen numbers (11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19) and noticed that every teen number has a 10 hiding inside along with some extra ones. We also represented teen numbers using a ten stick and circles, and wrote an equation to match our work.
We spent some time this week reviewing our read to self routines. The kids fell right back into the swing of our workshop. We began a new unit of study focused on nonfiction books. The kids are so excited to dig into this section of our classroom library. They have found books about animals, planets, weather, people, vehicles, and much more.
We talked about how important it is to warm up to their book before trying to read. Nonfiction books are filled with new vocabulary words and if we take the time to look through the pictures, we often have a general idea of what is going on and can make better guesses as we tackle new words. Encourage your first grader to warm up to new books before they read the words!
This week, we transitioned back into writers’ workshop starting by diving into some nonfiction ALL ABOUT books. We studied books that were written to teach us new facts about one topic and then the kids tried writing one all on their own. We will continue to work on writing that teaches next week, as we move into our unit on HOW TO writing.
This week, we also introduced the first graders to a new kind of writing called CONSTRUCTED RESPONSE. Good readers are able to respond to their reading by answering questions about what they’ve read. A CONSTRUCTED RESPONSE is a way of fully answering a question (RACE) and this is something they are expected to be able to do independently by third grade. We will start practicing these types of writing exercises each week.
Our first graders started this practice by playing a game called WOULD YOU RATHER? The kids listened to questions and figured out their answer, and then practiced fully responding to the question in a format that shows they understand the question (restate question – I would rather…), then, answer the question (answer – ALL parts), and give a reason for their choice (because…). We will continue to work on this throughout the school year and we will grow in our expectations of what they are adding to their CONSTRUCTED RESPONSE. If you see any constructed response papers come home, have your child read through their response with you and point out those three parts (restate, answer).
Welcome back, first grade families!! I hope that everyone had a wonderful break!! I am looking forward to seeing your first grader’s smiling face tomorrow. 🙂 🙂 🙂 I also can’t wait to hear about your favorite adventures over break and share some of the fun that our family had, too. We will be reviewing a lot of routines tomorrow, begin studying nonfiction book, get new partner spots, and start our math switch groups!!! Bring on the learning!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
January 8 – Library Day
January 12 – 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. Feel free to send me an e-mail so I know to order a lunch for your child.
A few reminders:
Library: Our check out day is on Monday. Please help your first grader find his/her library book and make sure that it is returned to school. Right now, our class can check out any books from the picture book section or the nonfiction section of our library. These books are just for fun and can be read with your child.
Snacks: We eat snacks throughout the day. Please send in two healthy snacks so that your child stays fueled for learning. Don’t forget a water bottle too!
Recess: We go outside for a lunchtime recess every day unless it is raining or the “feels like” temperature is below zero degrees. Please send your child to school with boots, hats, gloves, snow pants, and coats every day. Even if there isn’t snow on the ground, spending 30 minutes outside can get really chilly.
Sweatshirts: Our classroom can be on the chilly side so if your child would like to bring a sweatshirt to keep in their locker or on the back of their chair, that would be no problem!
Transportation Changes: If your child will be leaving school a different way than normal or if your child will be leaving early for an appointment, be sure to send a note in his or her blue folder or call the office to let us know of the changes before 3:00 pm.
Take Home Books: Remember to return your child’s take home book back to school each day so he or she can choose a new one to bring home.
What an amazing Holiday Program this past week!!!! The kids sure did sparkle and shine up front. A big thank you goes out to Mrs. Bretz and our first graders who practiced tirelessly to perform our wonderful songs!!!
December 18 – Library Day
December 20 – Writing Assessment (Persuasive Letters)
December 21 – Spelling Assessment
Covering all of our words this year: a, and, the, of, to, in, it, is, you, that, he, for, was, on, are
December 21 – Writing Celebration!!!
December 21-22 – Holiday Fun Activities
We will enjoy crafts, games, snacks, and even a movie throughout the day on Thursday and Friday. Shhhhh!! These activities are a surprise – don’t tell your first grader!!!
No homework packet will be sent home this week.
During our math time this week we continued to practice solving addition and subtraction equations and stories as a whole group warm-up each day. In order, to incorporate some small group review into our math time we also worked in math groups.
Our math group time involved a partner game called: Who Has More? This game is very similar to the card game War, but it uses math cards with five groups as a visual support and involves important “math talk” that the kids share as they play. Our group time also incorporated an independent practice packet from our Unit 2. The kids were extremely self directed during this time and worked as a team to solve problems. You may have also noticed some fun holiday mazes in your child’s blue folder. This was a bonus task during one of our rotations.
We will continue rotating through our math group time next week, and we will also continue to practice our strategies for solving equations and stories.
As we wrap up our unit focused on characters, we talked about how good readers are thinking while they read. One of the ways that we think is by making connections to what is happening to our characters. As we read, we stopped to think, ‘Would I feel the same way, if that had happened to me?’ or ‘Do I know of any other characters, from different books, who have felt this way before?’ Connections help us to understand how characters feel and infer why they are acting the way they are acting in different parts of a story. Making these connections will help your child to have a deeper understanding of story events and prepares them to be able to talk about character traits.
Next week, we will focus our attention on fluency. The kids will practice rereading over and over again. We will encourage the kids to scoop their words into longer phrases, paying attention to punctuation, using a storyteller voice, and showing our feelings through our voice and facial expressions!
Now that we’ve learned all of the parts of a persuasive letter, we challenged our first graders to be more productive during our writing time. Our goal is for every child to write a whole persuasive letter, with all the important parts.
We will be assessing and celebrating everything we’ve learned about persuasive letters next week! We will pick a final letter to edit (to be a 5 star sentence) and revise (to make sure it has all the parts of a persuasive letter). Then, we will celebrate the work that these kids have done in this unit and send off one final persuasive letter before break.