# Writing Update

We have been just like buzzing bees working on our informational writing the past two weeks!!

After choosing our best three books, we focused on revising them with some new techniques to make them even better.  We learned how to add precise words to make our writing more exact.  We used exclamations and wondered to make our books more interesting.  We even made comparisons to show how our topics are like or unlike something else.

Precise Words:  All whale have blowholes to help them breathe.  Several whales have teeth.

Exclaim & Wonder:  Blue whales use baleen to help them eat.  Did you know that?

Comparisons:  Whales can be very large.  Some whales are bigger than a bus!

This past week, we began getting ready for our next writing celebration.  We chose our best informational book to keep at school and worked with our writing partner to be sure that our book made sense.  Then, we focused on making our books easy-to-read.  We edited our books by adding punctuation and capital letters.  We also went back to spell our word wall words correctly.  Then, we chose one page from our books to completely rewrite.  We carefully cut out the picture glued it to a new page and wrote our words neatly with finger spaces.  It was a big job, but the kids were so proud of how their books looked.

Next week we will fancy up the illustrations in our books, add a cover, and celebrate!!!

# Math Update

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.

The rest of our time during math switch has been spent 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 for helping your child use comparison bars 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, this information always goes inside the circle.) We will review more comparison stories next week and then we will wrap up Unit 6 with an assessment.

# Math Update

We began our Unit 6 in math this past week.  Our first grade mathematicians our 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!).

When you are looking over your first grader’s homework be sure to check if he or she is circling the word that correctly matches the data.  Understanding when to circle more or fewer can be a little tricky especially if your first grader is reading the homework page on their own.  We always underline the group that is listed first, so we know which part of our graph to go back and study.