Author Archives: rstadt

Learning Update!!!

Reading:

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!

Writing:

This week in writing, the first graders began writing Realistic Fiction stories. 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.

 

Math:

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:Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 4.24.25 PM

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 Dates: Week #31

What a great first week back, but can you believe the SNOW!!!  We got outside as much as possible at the beginning of the week to enjoy the warm spring weather – hopefully it will be back again soon!

This week, 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).  I will check in with each child later this week to see if he/she can say all the parts to their home address.

April 15 – Library Day

April 16 – Happy Birthday Caleb!!!

Also, I’m not sure if you heard, but we are going to be hatching some chicken eggs in our classroom!!! :) :) :)  The kids were so excited about this announcement.  On Monday, we added the eggs to the incubator.  We have a three varieties of chicken eggs: Ameraucana, Red Cross and White Leghorn..  The eggs will take about 21 days to hatch – we have 15 more days to go!  In STEAM, the kids will begin studying animal adaptations and our “class pets” will complement their learning and prepare us for the zoo field trip in a few weeks.

Learning Update!!!

Reading:

Our focus during Readers Workshop has been UNDERSTANDING what we read. This week, we learned about some “tools” that can help us if we become confused about what we are reading.

Our first “tool” to help us understand what we are reading is to check if we are “getting” what’s happening.  If we read a page and something doesn’t make sense, we can ALWAYS go back and reread slowly and think about what is going on.  We can even chat about what’s happening with our reading partners to make sure we’ve got it.

It is also important to make a movie in our minds as we read.  Our movie can fill in the little parts that might be missing from the words and pictures in our story.  It can also help us better understand what the characters are thinking about or feeling.  We closed our eyes and turned on our movie cameras to help us imagine our Zelda and Ivy book as a movie with music, dialogue, and lots of emotion.

As our books get longer, they often include a lot of character dialogue.  It’s important to stop and think about who is doing the talking.  Sometimes the word “said” will help us figure out the character that is speaking, but other times we have to infer.

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.

Writing:

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!

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.

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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.

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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!).

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We can’t wait to learn more!

Social Studies:

We spent time this week learning about Geography.We talked about how when we look at things, we see them one way, but when we look at a map, it looks different. We’ve learned that maps are made from a “bird’s eye view” or “aerial view”.

We read a book called, “Me On the Map” and learned about maps and globes.  We learned that there are symbols on maps and globes in the Key to help us understand.  Where we see green or brown, that is land, and where we see blue, we know that is water.

We also talked about how each person has a special place on the Map. Our Special place is our address. We each practiced writing and saying our addresses at school. There are 3 lines that help make up our address:

First and Last Name

House Number and Street Name

City, State, and Zip Code

Please have your first grader practice saying his/her address at home.  I will be checking in with each child during the month to see if they can remember all the parts of their home address (even the zip code).

Important Dates: Week #30

Welcome back!!!  I hope that your family enjoyed a lovely break.  It’s hard to believe, but we only have 9 short weeks left in first grade.  There is a whole lot of learning and fun to squeeze into our remaining days together.  This week we will start up our social studies unit that focuses on geography, work on understanding what we read, and begin organizing and comparing data during math.

April 6 – Happy Birthday Crew!!!

April 8 – Library Day

April 12 – Jet’s Pizza Night

April 12 – 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.  Feel free to send me an e-mail to let me know if a sack lunch is needed.)

In the coming weeks, we will begin the important work of creating class lists for next year.  As a first grade team we will work very hard to ensure that your child will have a great year in second grade!  If you haven’t already, please consider filling out Mrs. Reagan’s parent survey: CLASS PLACEMENT PARENT SURVEY.

Important Dates: Week #29

What a fun week!  We learned all about Kenzie’s upcoming surgery, practiced a fire drill, changed our seats, and celebrated our review writing too!  Check our photo stream for more photos from our days at school.

March 25 – Wacky Day

Wear mismatched/backwards/colorful clothes, hair, and accessories.  Our day will be a little wacky too!

March 25 – Library Day

March 25 – Spelling Assessment

March 25 – On Demand Opinion Writing Assessment

Our class will be writing our last persuasive review this week.  I will use this piece of writing to assess each child’s understanding of opinion writing.  If you are able, before school on Monday, brainstorm with your child about a toy, restaurant, place, food, etc. that they love. I can’t wait to read these amazing pieces!!!

March 28 – Math Assessment

March 28 – Body Safety Presentation @ 11:00

(Presented by the Children’s Advocacy Center)

March 29 – Happy Birthday Brody!!!

March 29 – April  6 – Spring Break: No School

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

Learning Update!!!

Reading:

Our first grade readers added more “tools” for solving tricky words to their reading strategy tool box this week!  One of our new tools is to read our words part by part.  If we slowly say each part, a really long word with lots of syllables isn’t as tricky anymore.  (j – ump – ing = jumping)

We also practiced using words we know to help us figure out new words.  If we already know a word like will, we can use part of the word will to help us read a new word: thrilling.

We found that to figure out some words in our books, we need to try many different vowel and consonant sounds until the word makes sense, looks right, and sounds right!  Sometimes there are so many sounds to try, but we won’t give up!

Finally, we realized that there many words in our books that we know in a snap from practicing all our sight words this year.  We practiced reading familiar words quickly, instead of saying each sound, because we know them so well.

Our first graders have been loving the Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways book that we’ve been using to practice with all of our new reading tools.  If you are looking for a new series to read, definitely check these books out!

Writing:

This week, we spent time elaborating on details that we can add to our reviews that would be the most convincing. We strayed away from details like, it’s cool, fun, awesome…and worked on adding comparisons where the students told us why their idea was better than another.

Red Robin is better than McDonald’s because you get endless supplies of french friends.

We then challenged the kids to add all the key features of a convincing review to their own writing. We spent the week fixing up our reviews and adding more to them.

On Friday, we celebrated the work that we have done in this unit by building a book of reviews and sharing them with our classmates. Look for this book to come home and enjoy reading them!

Math:

During our math time this week, we spent time studying our 120 number grid.  We noticed patterns in the ones place and tens place going across the grid and down the grid.  We also used our number grid to find 10 more and 10 less than a number.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.20.54 PM

While our number grid can be very helpful, it’s not our only tool for adding ten more and ten less.  We can also use our ten sticks find the answer when adding and subtracting tens or adding and subtracting just the tens place or ones place.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 9.42.56 PM

We will continue using our strategies next week to add and subtract two digit numbers!

We learned how to use the partners of 100 to solve equations that totaled 100. The partners of 100 are very similar to the partners of 10; however, we are working with tens instead of ones. This strategy came in handy for solving some of our two-digit equations as well.

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 10.08.47 PM

We also used our understanding of the relationship between addition and subtraction to solve equations. This strategy helped us to quickly find the missing partner in an addition equation once we solved the subtraction equation.

Important Dates: Week #28

Thank you so much for a wonderful week of parent-teacher conferences!!!  I am so proud of each and every first grader!!!  :) :) :)

The rest of our year is going to fly by at lightning speed.  We will be covering a lot of fun social studies curriculum topics after spring break and getting ready for our field trip to the zoo.  We can’t wait!!!

March 18 – Library Day

March 21 – PTC Meeting @ 6:30

March 22 – Popcorn Day!!

March 22 – Last Day for Sight Word Parent Volunteers

We are getting close to our next class prize… a Wacky Day may be happening later this week!

Learning Update!!!

Writing:

This week, we worked hard to build our REVIEWS with all the important and most convincing parts. We started with a catchy introduction, by asking a question. After stating our opinion and listing CONVINCING reasons, we worked on adding details to our reasons. We ended our reviews by restating our opinion and then telling our readers to do something. We’ve been working hard to produce more and more each day to add to our collection of completed reviews in our writing folders. Ask your first grader how many reviews they’ve completed so far!

Reading:

This week our readers practiced some new strategies to help “triple check” that our words are correct.

We learned that readers are always thinking about the story.  Sometimes when we are stuck on a tricky word, thinking about what’s happening in the story will help us figure out a word makes sense, looks right, and sounds right.

We also learned that the words in our book should fit together like a puzzle and should “sound right” when we read them.  As we were solving tricky words together, we often asked, “What word fits in this sentence?”

Partner time is our favorite part of readers workshop!!!  We LOVE coaching our reading partners and figuring tricky words together each day.  Way to go, first graders!!!  Keep being the BOSS of your reading!!!

Math:

During our math time this week, we continued to solve missing partner and missing total stories. We also stretched our thinking by using the Make a Ten strategy to solve equations and math stories with three addends or partners. After we looked for two partners that could make a ten, we found that adding the third partner to ten was a snap!

We are starting to work on counting and writing numbers up to 120. To help your first grader practice this skill, have him/her start at any 2 digit number and then count out loud to 120. This could be a great activity to do together in the car. As an extra challenge, you can even have your child write the numerals up to 120!

Spring Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent/Teacher conferences will take place next week Monday and Wednesday.  I am excited to meet with all of you to share some of the AMAZING growth your child has made since this fall.  I am so proud of these first graders!!!

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 11.

Thank you!!

Mrs. Stadt :)

Important Dates: Week #27

Our cute leprechaun drawings from our Fast Friday sure made it feel like spring, even if the weather still hasn’t warmed up.  (See the photo stream for more cute pictures!!!) As the snow finally begins to melt, pack some extra clothes in your child’s backpack.  We try to wear our boots and avoid the mud and puddles, but sometimes our clothes/socks/shoes end up soggy.

March 11 & 13 – Parent/Teacher Conferences

I will post our updated conference schedule later today.

March 12 – 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 14 – 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.

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