Important Notes: Week 29

It’s a short week!!  We’re looking forward to some warmer weather too!!

March 31 – April 9 – Spring Break: No School

Have a wonderful spring break!!!  Enjoy lots of rest, relaxation, and hopefully sunshine too!!!  I wish you safe travels if your family is vacationing somewhere outside of West Michigan.  See you soon!!!

Learning Update!!!

In Reader’s Workshop, we started a new unit focused on learning from all types of texts. We filled bags with different topics (dogs, dinosaurs, weather, plants, presidents, etc.)! The students are working with a bag of books that focus on one big idea for a few days.  Some of the books from their topic are nonfiction and some are fiction.  The first graders spend time each day reading through the books on their topic to see what they can learn and teach others about their topic.

Writing:

This week during Writer’s Workshop we jumped right into writing nonfiction books.

We talked about all that we have learned about nonfiction books this year and then we built a list of the features we will add to our nonfiction books. We then picked a topic we are all experts at, 1st Grade, and wrote a nonfiction book together.

Next week, we’ll brainstorm ideas that the kids are experts in and they’ll start writing their own.

Math:

For the last few weeks, we have 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 then 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.

Important Notes: Week 28

Only 9 school days until spring break!!!  Let the countdown begin!!!

March 25 – Mother/Son Event

We are excited to begin some new learning during our reading and writing workshop times this week.  The kids are going to LOVE jumping back into nonfiction and showing off their expertise as they write “All About” books!!!

Writing:

After working for a few days to write our last small moment story, we continued to work on drafting CONSTRUCTED RESPONSEs to questions about a text. Our first graders have worked hard to listen to questions and figure out answers, but they need to fully respond to a question in a format that shows they understand the question (restate question), they can answer the question (answer – ALL parts), and they can use information from the text to back up the answer they chose (cite information from the text).

This week, we used Raz-Kids as a tool to help us practice our constructed response. When the first graders reach a certain level within Raz-Kids, a constructed response question gets added the end of the quiz they take after reading their book. We worked together to read a story, answer the quiz questions, and then form a constructed response answer to the last question.

We’ve already learned so much about being a great decoder and how important it is to use strategies to figure out tricky words.  This week, we tried to push ourselves even more as readers, by learning a new strategy that taught us how to break apart words into syllables, so we could decode multi-syllable words.  This new strategy had a special name: SPOT & DOT!!!

Before we could try SPOT & DOT we had to develop our understanding of a syllable.  We learned that words can be split apart into syllables and every syllable has its own vowel sound.  (This vowel sound is sometimes made up of a vowel all by itself.  Other times it’s made up of a team of vowels working together.)   Since our SPOT & DOT strategy works with words that contain two or more syllables, we studied several words and tried to predict if they had only one syllable or many syllables.

Next, we were ready to SPOT & DOT.  We followed the steps below:

After Step 3, we swooped our fingers under each syllable to read the word.

We tried reading many 2-syllable and 3-syllable words as a class before the kids tried some on their own.  We will continue practicing this strategy next week as we tackle some of the tricky multi-syllable words the kids find in their own books.

Math:

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.

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.

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!).

Chapter Books!!!

What a crazy week of parent-teacher conferences – thank you so much to that families that graciously cancelled and rescheduled their conference times due to my strep throat.  I am feeling so much better and excited to get back to school!!

During conferences, I had a lot of conversations with parents about getting their child interested in some fascinating characters from beginning chapter books.

Reading aloud chapter books to your child at home is a great way to end your day together and also helps to develop important comprehension skills. Chapter books usually have just a few illustrations so your child is nudged to visualize the story events in his/her mind. These books can also enrich vocabulary and present interesting characters that might change in surprising ways.

At school, we have been reading from the Freddie Fernortner & Mercy Watson series! THE KIDS LOVE THEM!!!  Here are several other chapter book series to try:

Jigsaw Jones books by James Preller

Junie B. Jones by Barbra Park

Important Notes: Week 27

Our 3D rainbows sure make it feel like spring, even if the weather has decided to get real chilly.  On these cold days, remember to send your child to school with hats and gloves and encourage your child to wear them at recess time too!!

**No library this week due to the book fair.**

March 13 – Book Fair Preview

We will head down to the book fair so your child can make a wish list of the books he or she would like to get.  You do not have to purchase these books.  This experience gets the kids excited about new books to read and possibly buy!!

March 15 – Book Fair Buy Day

Today our class has the opportunity to visit the book fair to purchase books.  If your child would like to buy a book, please send his/her money to school on Wednesday in an envelope labeled with your child’s name and the phrase “Book Fair Money”.  Remind your child to hand me the envelope when they get to school.

March 17 – Body Safety Presentation

(Presented by the Children’s Adovcacy Center)

Happy Selection Sunday!!!

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent/Teacher conferences will take place this week Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  I look forward to meeting with all of you to share some of the AMAZING growth your child has made since this fall!!

I’ve posted the revised conference schedule below.  We have a lot of wonderful things to talk about in just 15 minutes.  Please remember to be prompt and I will do my best to stay right on schedule too!

Report cards will be sent home in your child’s blue folder on Monday, March 13.

Thank you!!

Learning Update!!!

This week, we reviewed the long vowel combinations that we’ve introduced:

ee, ea, ai, oa & oy, ay, ey, y & ow, ou.

And then we introduced a new set of vowel teams. We discussed vowel teams:

aw, au, ue, oo, ew.

The first graders are building a collection of vowel teams to help them decode tricky words. This week, we will dig into multisyllabic words with a new decoding strategy called Spot & Dot.

Writing:

This week, the first graders worked hard to get ready for our fifth writing celebration of the year. We spent time sorting our stories into a GREAT pile and a ‘not so great’ pile. They chose one story to revise and edit. Then, in preparation for our celebration, we studied other authors and noticed that they had added a cover with a title, a dedication page, and an all about the author page. And just like them, we tried it too!  If the stories don’t entertain you, the about the author pages will!  It was such a fun celebration of all we’ve learned!!!

Math:

This week, we reviewed all the different kinds of stories and equations that we have focused on in Unit 5. We then took the unit assessment and the students performed very well. We will continue to practice the skills that have been introduced this year, but we are ready to move into our next unit of math that focuses on sorting, organizing, and comparing data.

Blanket Day!!!

The first graders in Room 106 have earned another star prize for following our first grade rules!!!  This time around we voted to have a blanket day, so… Monday, March 13, will be Blanket Day in Room 106!

Your child may bring in a big or small blanket to snuggle with throughout the day.  Psst – don’t tell your first grader, but we may use these blankets to build some forts at the end of the day!

Important Notes: Week 26

We will be finishing up several units of study this week in preparation for report cards and parent-teacher conferences.  Thank you so much for helping your child with take home books, sight words, MobyMax, spelling words, and their home address.  It is amazing what these 6 and 7 year olds are able to do!!

March 10 – 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.)