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Writing Update!

This week in writing, we began Realistic Fiction. We started on Monday by making up a pretend character, thinking of a realistic first grade problem, and a solution to the character’s problem.

We want to make sure we are thinking of real problems like having a wiggly tooth, scrapping a knee on the playground, or getting a bee sting. Once we plan our story across our fingers, then we quickly sketch the story on our paper before we get to work writing the words.

We learned how to write a lead to our story by setting the scenetelling who, what, and where about our characters, and adding a detail to the first page. For example….
One sunny dayGretchen was sitting in Math SwitchShe heard Mrs. VanKoevering teaching about comparison bars.
 
We ended the week by learning about how we should end our stories. We need to make sure that we solve the problem in our story on the last page and to end our book with a lesson that was learned.
       Gretchen felt safe. She learned to go inside whenever there was a thunderstorm.

Week 31!

What a great first week back!!!  Even though the weather wasn’t the best, we tried to get outside for many of our breaks.  We also started a new social studies unit: geography. The kids have loved studying maps and globes, reading about different places around the world, and practicing their home address too.  Make sure to check in with your child to see if he/she can recite their home address (including their zip code).

 

April 20 – Popcorn Day

Math Update!

Before spring break, we created graphs and made comparisons during our math switch time.  As our expertise grew, so did our graphs! Instead of comparing just two groups of objects, most of our graphs now compare three categories of data, like the graph below:

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 8.41.37 PM

We are always trying to make comparisons between the data in each category (group) by finding the MAGIC NUMBER. With three groups it’s a little harder to find the difference especially when comparing the top category of data with the bottom category of data. If we use a pencil to cover up the extra information, finding the MAGIC NUMBER is a breeze.

Writing Update!

We were excited to write some small moment stories about the fun we had over spring break this week. Our first grade writers did a great job remembering some of the techniques that we used when writing stories way back in the fall: add a who, what, and where, add dialogue, add details, and add a special ending.

Our small moment story writing was excellent practice for our next genre of writing: realistic fiction. The kids are so excited to begin thinking up their own characters, problems, and solutions for the new stories we will write.

At the end of the week, we spent time writing a realistic fiction story together.  We brainstormed the characters, setting, problem, and solution and sketched out each part of our story. Then, we added the words and details.

The kids are so excited to try out their own realistic fiction story next week!

Reading Update!

This week, we worked on our reading fluency.  We listened to audiobooks and studied what other readers do to sound like a reading star!

Here is what we noticed:

We practiced our fluency with our reading partners and went to Mrs. Bohl’s class to share our reading too.  It was so much fun to have the kindergartens come visit.  They were very impressed by our first grade skills!

Week 30!

Welcome back!!!  I hope that your family enjoyed a lovely break.  It’s hard to believe, but we only have 9 short weeks left in first grade.  There is a whole lot of learning and fun to squeeze into our remaining days together.  This week we will start up our social studies unit that focuses on geography, show off our amazing reading fluency to a class of kindergarteners, and continue organizing and comparing data during math.

April 9 – Library Day

April 12 – Jet’s Pizza Night

April 13 – 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 to let me know if a sack lunch is needed.)

In the coming weeks, we will begin the important work of creating class lists for next year.  As a first grade team we will work very hard to ensure that your child will have a great year in second grade!  If you haven’t already, please consider filling out Mrs. Reagan’s parent survey: CLASS PLACEMENT PARENT SURVEY

Save the Date…

April 20 – Chasing Coral: Free Screening @ HHS

April  24 – Artist Reception Night & Culver’s Night

April 27 – Body Safety Presentation

(Presented by the Children’s Advocacy Center)

May 21  – Zoo Field Trip

Math Update!

We began our Unit 6 in math this past week.  Our first grade mathematicians are now sorting, organizing, and comparing data.  What a blast!!

To start things off, we learned how to take random data and record it on a chart or graph.  Crossing out each object as we add it to our graph helps us to be accurate in our representation.Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 10.29.37 PM

After graphing the information, we were able to notice many things about the data we were studying.  Which group had the most?  Which group had the fewest?  How many in all?  And, we were also able to make comparisons – how many more or how many fewer.  To compare our data, we drew matching pairs and then circled the magic number.Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 10.29.50 PM

The magic number represents the difference between the two groups being compared.  No matter if we are comparing how many more or how many fewer – the number is always the same (that’s why it’s magic!).Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 10.29.59 PM

We can’t wait to learn more!

Writing Update!

Our first grader writers wrote one last nonfiction piece before spring break.  They had three days to go through our entire writing process of planning, drafting, revising, and editing on their own.  Each child picked a topic, organized their headings and got right to work.  Their writing and teaching pictures were AMAZING!!!  I can not believe how much these first graders have grown as writers this year!!!

On the Thursday before break, your child brought home a copy of the writing they completed.  I stapled a grading page to the top.  Let me know if you have any questions about how your child performed.

Our next unit of writing will focus on stories.  We will continue to work on the mechanics of our writing, using the correct sounds as we spell, and we’ll learn some new techniques to use as we write narratives.

Reading Update!

Our focus during Readers Workshop the week before spring break was UNDERSTANDING what we read.  For the past few weeks, we have been working on using all kinds of “tools” when we are stuck on tricky words.  This week we learned about some “tools” that can help us if we become confused about what we are reading.

Our first “tool” to help us understand what we are reading is to check if we are “getting” what’s happening.  If we read a page and something doesn’t make sense, we can ALWAYS go back and reread slowly and think about what is going on.  We can even chat about what’s happening with our reading partners to make sure we’ve got it.

It is also important to make a movie in our minds as we read.  Our movie can fill in the little parts that might be missing from the words and pictures in our story.  It can also help us better understand what the characters are thinking about or feeling.  We closed our eyes and turned on our movie cameras to help us imagine our Zelda and Ivy book as a movie with music, dialogue, and lots of emotion.

As our books get longer, they often include a lot of character dialogue.  It’s important to stop and think about who is doing the talking.  Sometimes the word “said” will help us figure out the character that is speaking, but other times we have to infer.

Our character books will sometimes have new words, just like the nonfiction books we’ve been reading.  When we get to a new word we can say the word the best we can and think about what it might mean by describing it in many ways.

These first grader sure know how to be the boss of their reading and have learned many strategies to help them solve tricky words and fix up their understanding.  Way to go, first graders!!!