We Made a Difference!

Before Spring Break, we took a trip to Bernie’s Book Bank! Check out the action shots below that show us labeling, sorting and stacking books for those in need! We had an incredible time and were very proud of our hard work. What a great experience! Thanks to the parents who were able to help chaperone the trip!

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:

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.

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:

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.

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?

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.

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.

*All library books are due back to school by Tuesday of each week. Please help your
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.

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!

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!

Enjoy your weekend!

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
Melany – reading books
Max – recess
Peter – recess and P.E.
Amy – reading books
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