# 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!!!

# Learning Update!!!

This past week in reading workshop, we spent time growing our independent reading stamina.  The kids worked hard to…

Be URGENT! (quickly find a spot and get right to work!)

Stay in one spot!

Work quietly! Shhhhhh!

Warm up to your books and point to the words when you read!

Read the WHOLE TIME…build your stamina!

# Writing

We have been continuing our work on Small Moment stories this week.

We learned that good writers include the 3 W‘s in their writing:

By including the 3 W’s on our first page, it helps the reader know what is going on in the story.

We also worked on sketching a quick plan of the beginning, middle, and end of our story before we even write the word, so that we can remember what we wanted each part of our story to include.

# Math

During our math time this week we continued to break apart larger numbers into smaller partners. We used whiteboards and markers, counters, stair steppers, and activities from our math workbook to visualize the partners, switch partners, and doubles partners for the numbers 8, 9, and 10. Challenging your first grader to write and show each set of partners in a variety of ways has helped to increase number sense and flexibility with these numbers.

We also continued to use our knowledge of partners and patterns to practice addition (+0, +1, +2) and subtraction (-0, -1, -2) facts. This week in particular, we practiced adding and subtracting doubles partners (1+1, 2-1, 2+2, 4-2, 3+3, 6-3, etc.), and discovered that a number minus itself equals 0 (8-8 = 0).

This past week in reading workshop, we spent time growing our independent reading stamina.  The kids worked hard to…

Be URGENT! (quickly find a spot and get right to work!)

Stay in one spot!

Work quietly! Shhhhhh!

Warm up to your books and point to the words when you read!

Read the WHOLE TIME…build your stamina!

This week we continued to work on building our reading stamina.  Our goal is to eventually reach 20 minutes for read-to-self time.  Each day we have spent time brainstorming solutions to distractions that happen during our reading time.  The kids have done a great job helping each other make this reading time comfortable and beneficial for everyone.

Our kids know that when they go off to be readers, they need to:

Read the WHOLE TIME… NO FAKING!!!

Work quietly! Shhhhhh!

Stay in one spot!  NO MOVING!!!

Be URGENT! (quickly find a spot and get right to work!)

They have gotten very good at all of these things.  They even know that good readers spread out all of their books in front of them so that they don’t have to mess around with their book box to find a book or tool.  To help guide them in making the best choices during read to self time, we had them practice reading in this order:

1.  Sight Word practice

3.  Take out your check mark or shape GO! map and strengthen your comprehension with a Just Right book

5.  Read you poems or songs

### It is easy to see that with each new day, our students are really growing their independent reading stamina!

This week we began to work on building our independent reading stamina.  Our goal is to eventually reach 20 minutes for read-to-self time.  Each day we have spent time brainstorming solutions to distractions that happen during our reading time.  We have had volunteers show us what it looks like to be a good ‘Read to Self-er’ and one that is not following the Read to Self rules.  The kids have done a great job helping each other make this reading time comfortable and beneficial for everyone.

We have collected our reading tools in a tool bag that we store in our book box.  The kids have acquired post it notes (for saving a spot when they have a tricky word), a book mark with all our animal accuracy strategies on it, their check mark, the Shape Go! Map,  and their pointer fingers.  With all these tools in hand, the kids worked hard to find the perfect spot for them to be a reader in our classroom without getting distracted.  Each day we were breaking our reading record from the day before.  It was great to see their progress inspire their focus and urgency to read!

As a first grade staff, we have been deeply engrossed in discovering what research says most benefits students as they become readers, writers and lifelong learners.

Our reading workshop is a way of structuring the reading block so every student is independently engaged in meaningful literacy tasks. These research based tasks are ones that will have the biggest impact on student reading and writing achievement, as well as help foster children who love to read and write. Students receive explicit whole group instruction and then are given independent practice time to read and write independently while I provide focused, intense instruction to individuals and small groups of students.

When it is up and running smoothly, students will be engaged in the Daily Five, which are comprised of: