# Happy New Year!

We had a great first week back to school! We were right back into our regular routines and enjoyed sharing stories of what we did over the holidays and break. We did some activities related to the New Year. We read Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution, and talked about how we can be better students in 2018.

This week we began our opinion writing unit. We learned the difference between fact and opinion. We did a fact vs. opinion sort, and wrote our own opinion on our favorite type of weather and how we felt about doing puzzles. We will begin to add supporting details to our opinions next week.

During reading we talked about “bossy r” and the different sounds it makes. We learned that when the letter r follows a vowel, it bosses the vowel around and doesn’t let the vowel say its name. When reading, we searched for words with: -ar, -er, -ir, -or and -ur sounds.

We learned two new math games (Cat and Mouse and Tower Race), which helped us solve for an unknown in an addition equation, think of appropriate and efficient strategies, and use <, > or = symbols. We continue to work on showing our work, writing equations, and labeling answers when solving story problems. Please remember to include these elements when solving story problems for homework as well.

We are also REALLY working hard on handwriting and correct letter formation. We are trying to be diligent about not starting letters from the bottom, and only from the top. We are working on slowing down, taking our time, and taking pride in our work. Please continue to encourage these things at home when your child is doing homework.

I spent some time last week individually reading with students to see how they’ve grown. I am always amazed to see how much progress they have made since the beginning of the year!

I hope you all enjoy the long weekend! We have been washing our hands many times a day since many students have been sick in our room. Take care and stay healthy!

# December Fun!

December Curriculum Update:

Math
We continue to be very busy in math! In Number Corner this month, we learned about shapes. We discussed the attributes of a rectangular prism, cube, sphere, and cylinder. We categorized our calendar cards as one of the above shapes and found patterns within these shape cards. We also found other objects in the classroom with similar attributes. We continued to learn about time and identified specific times of day we do certain activities.

We’ve spent a great deal of time learning our doubles and near doubles facts. Knowing these facts has helped improve our addition fluency. We’ve been working on using more math talk when justifying our answers. When solving doubles plus one facts, we are getting very good at stating why we know the answer. For example, when solving 3+4, we would say, “I know that 3+3=6 so 3+4 must be 7”. Our addition strategy chart has helped us remember that we can solve problems in many ways: counting on, using doubles and near doubles facts, using manipulative to count, hopping on the number line, and knowing the facts from memory. We continue to practice subtraction and counting down from the bigger number on the number line to help us figure out the answer. We’ve also been working on some number sense activities like ordering numbers, identifying numbers that come before and after, and comparing numbers using the greater and less than symbols. Counting and writing numbers by 5’s was also something we practiced. Counting by number patterns (2, 5, 10) is something great to practice in the car if you have a few extra minutes.

Language Arts and Writing Workshop:
This month we learned that Y can make two sounds at the end of a word when it acts like a vowel. It can either sound like long e in multisyllabic words like puppy or like I in monosyllabic words like try. We were great detectives when we hunted for these words in books! We also learned about the suffixes -s, -ed, and -ing. After break, we will learn about bossy r vowel combinations.

In writing, we have completed our unit on nonfiction teaching books! The students have worked so hard to publish their completed teaching stories. We will be celebrating our hard work by reading our published pieces to another class. Way to go, writers! Our next unit will be on opinion and persuasive writing.

Science:
We have officially wrapped up our animal unit. We had a great experience learning about different animals when Steve and Christine from The Flying Fox came to visit! We had the opportunity to see an African fruit bat, a parrot, a chinchilla, an opossum, a sloth, a python, and a kinkajou. What fun!

# November Update

November Curriculum Update:

Math
We have been very busy in math! Our November Number Corner found us learning about time to the hour and fractions (whole, halves, and fourths). Over the course of the month, we collect hours and discussed what we were doing at each time of day. Every day we flipped over a new date card that represented a fraction. We found patterns with these fraction cards and recorded number sentences about the fractions and what they represented. We spent a great deal of time using dominoes and playing domino games (Domino Top Draw and Domino Equations) to help us learn and practice new addition strategies. Some of the strategies we’ve been practicing include learning how to accurately use the number line to add and subtract, counting on from the bigger number, adding by 10’s, and counting the dots. We are also practicing using standard notation ( <, >, +, -, =) to record expressions and compare quantities. Some of our workshop games this month had us recording numbers that were one more and one less, writing numbers from 1 to 120, becoming more confident adding and subtracting ten on the hundreds chart, practicing adding 2, 3 or 4 addends to different numbers, and using math talk to discuss what math strategies we were using to solve problems. We also learned about the relationship between numbers and how they can create a fact family! Over the next few weeks we will continue to build on these skills, as we solve addition and subtraction problems with larger numbers and develop fluency with doubles combinations.

Language Arts and Writing Workshop:
In the last few weeks, we have completed a review of all short vowels, learned about magic E, diagraphs (sh, ch, wh, th) and the difference between common and proper nouns. I hope you were able to play Race to 20 with your child and listen to them read their magic E words that came home earlier in the week!

In writing, we continue to work on writing nonfiction teaching books. There are so many topics the students are experts on and they are really enjoying teaching others through their writing. When writing, students have learned to keep their readers in mind and pretend that they know nothing. This is to help make sure that many written and visual details are included. In addition to writing words and facts about their topics, students have also learned to use pictures and diagrams with labels to teach others. Some of our mini lessons have included: using a Table of Contents to explain what the book is about, writing in twin sentences, and using expert words and specific vocabulary to enhance writing. As we finish up this unit, we will learn more about writing introductions, conclusions and what different types of writing are included in teaching books.

Science:
We have been learning about animals in science! We started this unit by identifying, sorting, and classifying different types of animals. We then moved on to learning about animal body parts. We read What Would You Do with a Tail Like This? and learned all sorts of fascinating ways animals use their body parts to move, see, eat, touch, hear, and protect themselves. We are currently learning about different animal habitats. We are creating animal habitat posters to show different animals that live in the air, in the water, on the land and underground. We are excited for our upcoming animal visit next week! Please remember to turn in money if you have not already done so.

Important Notes:
New December and reading and homework calendars will be sent home today. Please return the November calendars if you haven’t done so already.

Notes about Dreambox, our new math app, are being sent home today as well. Included with the introductory letter is your child’s login information so that you can have access to this at home.

Mrs. Geidner has shared information about the Six Flags Read to Succeed Reading Program. Reading logs can be found in your child’s home folder tonight! If you have any questions, please let me know!

As the weather turns cooler, please make sure your child is dressed to enjoy morning PE and recess outside! Also, please make sure that the extra change of clothing your child has in their locker is seasonally appropriate.

# Classroom Update

What have we been up to in Room 76?

Math
In math, we completed our unit on measurement. When we indirectly measured two objects with a third object, we used comparison words (longest, shortest, in between) to order the objects. In math workshop we learned more independent games and practiced different iPad games. We will begin learning about 2-digit lengths and numbers next week.

Writing
We continue to write away in writing workshop! Our mini lessons this week focused on how to write a story. We created an anchor chart that reviewed the steps: plan (something that happened to you or something you do), touch, tell, sketch, write and revise (ask who, what, when, where, why, how questions to add more detail to your story). We are still working hard to come up with topics to write about!

Language Arts
We continue to practice Reading to Self, Work on Writing, and Word Work activities. We learned our classroom procedures for Listening to Reading. When we Listen to Reading in our classroom, we use the iPads for RAZ Kids and our books on tape and CDs. This was a huge hit! Our focus skill for the week was using pictures in the text to make inferences about what we were reading. We also talked about getting our mouths ready to read by saying the first few sounds of the word out loud.

Social Studies
We continue to learn about and implement the 7 Habits of Happy Kids! Last week we read Pokey and the Spelling Test. This chapter focuses on the third habit, Put First Things First. Putting first things first means planning your time around the most important, BIG things in your life. We discussed the definition of prioritizing: putting the most important things first and discussed things that we prioritize at school and at home. We also read The Little Read Hen and discussed Hen’s goal and how she planned ahead. As a culminating activity, students completed a “Work First, Then Play” page to show how they prioritize in their own lives. This week we read Habit 4, Think Win-Win. This habit taught us that it is important to think about other people as well as yourself. We watched a short video, The Rainbow Fish and discussed how the characters in this story think Win-Win. We wrote about ways we think Win-Win at home, at recess, and in the classroom.

Important Notes
*New October reading and homework calendars were sent home on Friday. Please return the September calendars if you haven’t done so already.

*As the weather turns cooler, please make sure your child is dressed to enjoy morning PE and recess outside! Also, please make sure that the extra change of clothing your child has in their locker is seasonally appropriate.

child remember their book so that they are allowed to check out a new book.

*Please make sure that your child has an old tee shirt to use as a smock for art class!

# News from Room 76

What Did We Do This Week?
It has been a busy and productive few weeks in our classroom! We have most of our routines down pat and are doing a great job learning the ins and outs of first grade!

Language Arts
We began our Daily 5 lessons this week! This week our focus was on Read to Self and Word Work activities. At the beginning of the week, we learned three ways to read a book (using pictures, using words, retelling the story). Learning these helped us transition to practicing Read to Self. This is a very important part of our day in first grade. We learned that the most important thing we can do to become better readers who love to read is to spend lots of time practicing reading! We created a chart that shows rules that good readers follow while reading to self. Our chart states that good readers get started right away, pick a good reading spot in our room, stay in this spot the whole time, are quiet, and are always have their eyes on the book. So far we have been able to follow these rules and read for 11 minutes. Way to go readers! Our goal for next week is to be able to Read to Self for 15 minutes.
Learning how to choose “just right” books was such an exciting activity! We practiced the IPICK strategy and the Five Finger rule in our classroom this week. Our book bins are now filled with “just right” books that we are using for Read to Self time. I hope you will be able to use this strategy with your child at home when they choose books to read. We also practiced our new word work activities: write the room, red, “write” and blue, sight word spot it, rainbow words, roll and record spelling, and pyramid words.
Don’t forget to record nightly minutes read on the reading log (at least 20 minutes per night), located on the back of the September homework calendar.

Writing
We have been working very hard in writing! Our first writing unit has us learning how to write narrative stories. The students will be writing about things that have happened to them and experiences they have had. Often, the most challenging part of writing is coming up with topics to write about. To help with this, your child created a heart map of people, places, and ideas that are important to them. This map will stay in your child’s writing folder and will be available for reference if they ever get stuck on a writing topic. Ask your child what they included in their map!

Math
In math, we’ve been learning about measurement and have been measuring different objects around our room with different non-standard units such as paper clips, popsicle sticks, unifex cubes and inch tiles. Next week, we will work on ordering objects by length. Math vocabulary words that we have learned so far include least, most, measure, compare, greater than, less than, and equal.

Social Studies
We began our first social studies unit and will be using the book The Seven Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey throughout this unit. We have completed lessons revolving around the first two habits, Be Proactive and Begin with the End in Mind. We met the first character of the book, Sammy Squirrel and read the story Bored! Bored! Bored! In this story, we discovered that Sammy wanted to blame everyone else for his boredom but in the end, he realized that he needed to be in charge of his own fun by being proactive. As we continued to explore Habit 1, we read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and discussed how Alexander was being proactive and reactive in different parts the story. To illustrate the second habit, Begin with the End in Mind, we read Goob and the Bug Collecting Kit. In this story, Goob thinks ahead and is able to buy everything he wants because he has made a plan. This is unlike his friend Jumper, who is not as wise. We learned how beginning with the end in mind and having a plan can make you more productive and organized.We discussed ways that beginning with the end in mind and planning ahead helps us achieve our goals. We wrote a school goal and talked about how important goal setting will be this year in our class. Putting these habits into practice and being mindful of using them throughout our day is an important part of our time together at school!

Important Notes
Say Cheese! Picture day is Monday, September 18. We will be having our photos taken first thing in the morning. Please be sure to send your child to school with their best smile 🙂 and the picture day order form and payment!

We’ve started classroom jobs as a way to build our classroom community! Ask your child what job they were responsible for this week!

# First Grade is the BEST!

After the first few days of first grade, here are our favorite things!

Dua – working hard
Tom – learning new things
Emujin – going to the park
Max – recess
Peter – recess and P.E.
Tyler – everything
Vince – recess
Mia – recess
Whitney – math
Nikola – recess
Montse – P.E.
Tony – just being here
Emma – science
Alan – P.E., music, recess
Levi – math
Ginny – science

# Have a wonderful summer!

It has been a pleasure working with your child and being a part of an incredible learning journey this year. I have seen each child blossom in many ways – new friendships were made, new concepts were learned, and the love for learning has been fostered. It has been amazing to see all the progress the students have made and I am very proud of them!

Thank you for all of the support you have given to your child this year. Your dedication to education has been shown in the numerous ways you have helped to encourage their learning.

Over the summer, please continue to encourage your child to be an active learner. I hope you and your child will discover the enjoyment and excitement of learning new things. Don’t forget to READ, READ, READ!

I wish you and your families continued success in education and best of luck next year in second grade!

Have a safe and happy summer!

# Curriculum Update

What Have We Been Up To?

Everyone came back to school after Spring Break ready to learn and we jumped right back into the swing of things!
Writing Workshop: We began our unit on realistic fiction! We learned that realistic fiction stories are made up stories that could happen in real life. Realistic fiction writers create characters and then imagine adventures for their characters, giving them a problem to solve. Ask your child about the characters they have created so far! Some great realistic fiction series books that we have been reading in class include Henry and Mudge and Mr. Putter and Tabby.

Language Arts: We’ve been learning about the sounds of ou, ow and all of the long u vowel combinations. We have also been working on using commas in a series and in dates when we write. We’ve learned about prepositions and common prefixes and suffixes! Our new word wall words for this week are: went, home, me, live. We continue to complete new weekly word sorts and have been practicing sorting, reading, and writing our new words as part of our daily routine. Please continue to read nightly with your child and discuss what has been read!

Math: In math, we have continued our work on counting patterns of 2s, 4s, 5s, and 10s, place value, and solving addition and subtraction problems with higher numbers.
Our focus points in math were:
*looking for patterns and developing fluency with skip counting by groups of 2s, 4s, 5s, 10s
*finding solutions to problems involving counting by 2s, 4s, 5s, and 10s.
*recognizing that the first digit of a 2-digit number designates the number of groups of 10 and the second number designates the number of ones
*solving problems about 10s and 1s
*recording solutions to addition problems by counting on from the bigger number
*writing subtraction problems, recognizing that the bigger number goes first and using the 100’s chart to find the solution

Social Studies and Science: We have enthusiastically kicked off our new Social Studies unit on Traditions Around the World. This unit is very enjoyable and meaningful for kids, as they get to connect the content learned to their own lives and own traditions. To begin this unit, we looked at ways children live on all seven continents. We looked at how they eat, play, sleep, and go to school. We used Venn Diagrams to make comparisons to our lives. We also enjoyed a really fun book about Tooth Traditions Around the World. All the kids were surprised to hear what happens when you loose a tooth in different parts of the world. There are magic mice, rabbits, and other traditions that take the tooth fairy’s place! Ask your child to tell you how our lives compare to others and to give you an example of how other kids celebrate losing a tooth!

We had a great time at Bernie’s Book Bank! We all felt very happy and proud after volunteering. What a great experience! Thanks to the parents who were able to help us! I will post pictures soon.

# Classroom Update

What Have We Been Up To?

Writing Workshop:
We have been working hard writing reviews of different movies, toys, stores, TV shows, games, places to visit, restaurants, We will wrap up this unit before Spring Break and work to publish a favorite review that we have written. Ask your child which piece they have chosen to fix and fancy up! We will also learn how to write a book review. We started this last week when we used our favorite Dr. Seuss stories (thanks for helping to send these in) and wrote about different characters and why we liked them. After Spring Break, we will start our unit on realistic fiction.

Language Arts:
We’ve covered long vowel combinations for long I and long A words. We have also been working on understanding antonyms and synonyms. Our new word wall words for this week are: been, play, who, am. Please continue to read nightly with your child and discuss what has been read!
Math: In math, we have been working on identifying even and odd numbers, counting patterns of 2s, 5s, and 10s and place value!
Our focus points in math were:
*characterizing even and odd numbers as those that do or do not make groups of two (partners) and two equal groups (teams)
*looking for patterns and developing fluency with skip counting by groups of 2s, 5s, 10s
*using a place-value model to represent a number as 10s and 1s.
*recognizing that the first digit of a 2-digit number designates the number of groups of 10 and the second number designates the number of ones
*finding as many combinations of a number as possible, using only 10s and 1s
*recognizing that different combinations of 10s and 1s for the same number are equivalent
*solving problems about 10s and 1s

Social Studies and Science:
We wrapped up our study of sound by creating kazoos and shoebox guitars! Adding these sounds to an orchestra clip made for a beautiful musical experience in our classroom! We started learning about light by creating a list of natural light and artificial light sources. It was fun to talk about different bioluminescent sea creatures, fungi and insects! We also conducted an experiment to see if we really need light to see. Ask your child about what happened when we punched holes in a tube. How was this different from looking into the tube without holes? What did they notice about the object that was inside the tube? Our Mystery Science lesson from yesterday asked us to consider how life would be different if we had no windows. This led us into a discussion about how glass is made and that different materials let various amounts of light in. We sorted different materials in three groups: see through (transparent), kind of see through (translucent), and not see through (opaque). Later this week, we will be making our own paper stained glass pictures.

Important Notes:
Thanks for sending in supplies if your child needed anything, I appreciate it!

# Curriculum Update

What Have We Been Up To?

Writing Workshop:
We continue to work on persuasive and opinion writing. After writing about our collections from home, we spent some time reading different books (Hey, Little Ant and I Wanna New Room) and wrote our opinions of the problems posed in the story. Using graphic organizers has helped our young writers organize their thoughts and think through their ideas. To celebrate the 100th day of school, we wrote about what we would buy with 100 dollars. We then tried to persuade others to buy these things with three solid reasons. Some are very convincing! In honor of Valentine’s Day, we wrote about someone sweet in our lives! These darling writing samples are hanging right outside of our door… feel free to look at your child’s the next time you are in the building!

Language Arts:
We’ve covered long vowel combinations for long e and long o words. We have also been working on understanding adjectives, verbs, and compound words! Next week we will learn about contractions and long a words. Our new word wall words for this week were: off, than, first, water. Please continue to read nightly with your child and discuss what has been read!

Math:
We’ve been working on addition and subtraction story problems, doubles facts, and number string activities! We played various doubles games to practice our doubles and near doubles facts. We also worked on solving number string problems. Being able to find facts of 10 and doubles or near doubles in these number strings has helped us add faster and more efficiently. We tested our adding skills by playing Beat the Calculator. Our focus points in math were:
*developing fluency with the doubles combinations
*recording strategies for solving problems, including addition and subtraction story problems
*solving addition and subtraction story problems
*using the calculator as a mathematical tool
*using known combinations to add two or more numbers

Social Studies and Science:
In addition to doing activities related to Groundhog Day, the 100th day of school, and Valentine’s Day, we also started our second science unit, Waves: Light and Sound. This is such a fun topic to learn about and the class is loving what we’ve explored so far! We began by talking about different types of sounds that we hear and how these sounds are often made by everyday objects. As we went through our Mystery Science lessons, we made the sounds of a rainstorm (ask your child to demonstrate for you) and the “boing” sound of a bouncing ball with our bodies and everyday objects. We even learned a little about sound cartoon artists! We will continue to learn about sound next week when we do a coin drop experiment, an egg shaker lesson, and investigate how sound can make matter vibrate and how vibrating matter can make sound!

Important Notes:
Many students are in need of new headphones. Please check in with your child to make sure that the original ones they brought at the start of the year are still working. They are an important resource in our classroom during iPad time and in computer lab. Thanks for your help with this!