We kicked off Unit 3 this past week and introduced our first graders to a new strategy: math mountains. A math mountain is a method for organizing the partners on bottom and the total on top. If we aren’t sure of the total in a math mountain we can underline the greater partner and count ON. If a partner is missing, we can underline the known partner and count UP to the total (drawing a circle for each number that we count). The number of circles tells us the missing partner.
Our first graders solved stories that were missing a partner instead of the total this week too. This was our first time exploring ways to solve this kind of problem. We found that our math mountain strategy helped us organize the numbers so we could count-UP from the known partner to the total in order find the missing partner. So, we worked hard to recognize the total and partner in each story so our math mountains made sense and our work was accurate.
This week was exciting in Writer’s Workshop. We ended our first bend about realistic fiction with remembering to use sparkling words in our stories. We talked about how a sparkling word might not be easy to spell but it is precise and the best word to use in our story. A sparkling word makes our stories more exciting. For example, we might choose to write…
Gretchen hid behind the tree.
Gretchen crouched behind the tree.
The word hid is easy to spell but when we stop and s-t-r-e-t-c-h out and count the sounds in the word crouched, its really not that hard to write!
We also ended the bend by setting a goal for our writing in the next couple weeks. Some kids thought they could be much better at adding details and dialogue while other kids thought they would work on the organization of their stories by making sure they have leads, endings, one small moment, and transition words. I was impressed by how first graders were able to decide what they need more practice on in their writing.
We ended the week by focusing on adding dialogue to our stories. We know that our characters in our books have realistic problems and when they have a problems, chances are they are going to be talking to other characters in their books. We need to make sure we add that dialogue into our stories to make it more exciting. Some ways we can add dialogue is through speech bubbles, in our words, and writing our characters having a conversation. We are having so much fun making up pretend characters with real life first grade problems!
What a crazy weather week!!! Even with the cold and snow, the kids loved running/walking laps on the track for Mileage Club and playing on the 2nd/3rd grade playground. It was good practice for next year!! 🙂 I can’t believe these sweet first graders are going to be big second graders in only seven more weeks!!!
April 22 – Earth Day
April 23 – Library Day
April 24 – Art Show Reception @ 5:30-7:30
April 24 – Culver’s Night @ 5-8
Come have a yummy dinner or dessert and support our school! Many of the Georgetown teachers and staff will be there to deliver the food to your table or car.
April 27 – Math Assessment
April 27 – Body Safety Presentation
April 27 – Spelling Sentence Dictation
Be sure to practice our spelling words at home: what, were, when, all, but
This week, we transitioned to solving comparison stories. Our first graders learned a new strategy called: COMPARISON BARS. Comparison bars are a visual tool for solving stories in which two amounts are compared and the difference (magic number) is either known or unknown. Check out the examples below:
Thank you (ahead of time) for helping your child on his or her homework pages this week. Be sure to check their work. This new strategy is tricky and sometimes our first graders are unsure about where the known information should go. (If the magic number or the difference is known, the information always goes inside the oval.) We will review more comparison stories next week and then we will wrap up Unit 6 with an assessment.
We began a new reading unit this week as we set off on an ADVENTURE with the characters in our fiction books. Our books can take us anywhere – the beach, the mountains, a treehouse, a tea party and so many more places. We want our first graders to be excited about reading because of all the adventures they can go on and places their reading can take them!!
So we “packed up our suitcases” with some reading strategies and took off on our adventure! As we were getting ready to go, we talked about one of our familiar strategies “take a sneak peek”. We can learn so much about our book by studying the front cover, reading any information on the back, and checking out the chapter titles before we read.
As we read more and more of our books, we noticed that our characters often move to different places and the time changes too!! We want to be aware of a change in setting, so we looked for clues in the pictures and words to help us stay right on track.
Finally, we worked on making predictions about what might happen next. We had fun guessing the next action in some new books with our favorite characters!
We are excited to go dig deeper into our adventures next week!
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 scene, telling who, what, and where about our characters, and adding a detail to the first page. For example….
One sunny day, Gretchen was sitting in Math Switch. She 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.
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
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:
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.
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!