# Math:

We are off to a great start with our wonderful math program.  During the first two weeks of school, we’ve been visualizing, representing, and breaking apart numbers using a variety of math tools: counters, stair steppers, and number cards.  When we break apart a number, we take a larger number and split it into two smaller numbers.  We call the two smaller numbers partners because when we add them together they equal the larger number.  So far, we’ve discovered the partners (and switch partners) for 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. (Check out the chart below!)  We have also used our knowledge about partners and patterns to solve addition (+0, +1, +2) and subtraction problems (-0, -1, -2).

During our math routine, we have been hard at work practicing with our 120 number grid, money flip chart, number path (<–link), and secret code cards.  This routine involves a series of math activities that we will continue building on each day for the rest of the year to strengthen our students’ flexible with numbers.

Finally, thank you for helping your child complete the math homework that came home on Monday. We will continue to send home packets of work on Mondays and will give you a whole week to have your child complete them and return them to school the following Monday.

This week, we began readers’ workshop.  This is such a wonderful time in our classroom.  We have enjoyed reading some great stories together and we have started building the foundation of our independent reading time.  Readers get better at reading by practicing, so we focused this week on building their independence for reading by themselves (read to self time).  We are working together to figure out the best routines that will help us be successful during this time.  So far we have the following:

Just like great readers do, the kids have learned how to pick books that interest them and is  ‘Just Right’ for them.  We used the three strikes approach.  The students pick a book and then open to any page.  They read one page and every time they come to a word they don’t know, they would put one of their fingers up.  If they get to three fingers up, then that’s three strikes and that book is too tricky.  If they have fewer than three fingers up, then the book is ‘Just Right!’  It has also been fun to see their confidence and enthusiasm build with their independent reading time as we practice picking out and reading books each day.

# Writing:

During Writer’s Workshop, we have been writing small moment stories.  A small moment story is a true story about you!  So far, we’ve learned that good small moment stories have a beginning, middle, and end. So, we’ve been writing across three page booklets and the kids have been doing a great job of stretching out their stories.

We also learned that good writers always keep working! We used the phrase “When you’re done – you’ve only just begun!”.  Good writers add details to their pictures and words, or they can start a new story.

Remind your child that anything they do (soccer practice, reading a book together, play a game, visiting grandma and grandpa) can become a small moment story!!!

This past week in reading, we spent time focusing on the characters from our books.   The kids did a great job noticing who their characters were and even finding who the main character was in their story.

We pulled out one of our favorite characters, David, and read a new book about him.  The kids had plenty of schema about him from his other books, so they knew some of things his character might do.  As we read this new story, we noticed that there was a pattern to what happened in the story.  Patterns help teach us about characters and can even help us predict what might happen in a story.  We decided that if we noticed a pattern in our stories while we were reading, we were going to mark a post it note with a P so we could share that pattern with our partner.

As we read about more and more characters, we really focused on tracking what we were noticing as we read.  So many of us had connections to things our characters were doing or parts of a story where a character did something funny we wanted to share with our partner.  The kids continued to mark their pages of their books with post it notes as reminders of thoughts they wanted to share.  These first grade readers are keeping very busy!

# Math Update

During our math time this week we continued our study of numbers, shapes and patterns.  We also spent time reviewing addition and subtraction strategies from kindergarten.  After this review, the kids were given a math assessment, which they will take three times this year, to help pinpoint specific math areas that need extra review.  The information from this assessment is essential in making sure that your child has all the support he or she needs to be right on grade level with their math skills.  This is also the reason why your child only brought home 2 homework pages last week.  As we dive back into our regular math curriculum next week, expect a few more homework pages to come home! :)

Thank you!!