Non-Fiction Writing, Nouns and Magic e

In Writing Workshop students have been working on their nonfiction books. They are experts on so many topics and are really enjoying writing these teaching books. Students have learned to keep readers in mind while writing and to use pictures, as well as words, to share their knowledge. They have also learned about writing twin sentences, using detail words to describe all they know, labeling their illustrations, and creating a Table of Contents. In several weeks students will be publishing their stories and sharing them with other 1st grade friends. Students have also been busy working on many word sorts. Their sorts are individualized so each student’s sort is at his/her developmental spelling level. The completed word sort packets will continue to come home at the end of each week. We have also spent time during the last few weeks learning about common and proper nouns, “magic e”  and the h brothers (sh, ch, wh, th).

In math students have been working on a variety of math skills and strategies. They have learned how to accurately use the number line to help them add, subtract and reason about numbers and are practicing using standard notation ( <, >, +, -, =) to record expressions and compare quantities. We have also spent time writing numbers from 1 to 120 and working with the 120 chart to help solve larger number problems. Students have been working at many workplace stations where they are practicing adding 2, 3 or 4 addends and on discussing the math strategies they are using.  Over the next few weeks we will continue working on these skills and we will also be spending time on addition and subtraction problems with larger numbers and on developing fluency with doubles combinations.

We’ve also started our first science unit–Animals: Structure and Function.  This unit focuses on how animals use their body parts in different ways to see, hear, protect themselves, move from place to place and find and take in food, air, and water.  Students have created skin covering bar graphs, used Venn diagrams to compare and contrast the features and characteristics of two animals, and are reading non-fiction animal texts in guided reading groups.  Everyone is looking forward to our visit from The Flying Fox on December 6th!

Spelling Strategies and Word Sorts

In Writing Workshop students have continued to work on their small moment narratives. They each have a collection of stories they have written and will soon be choosing one of these to revise, edit, and publish. I hope to have these ready to share with you at conferences next week! We have also been working on punctuation and capitalization, as well as on practicing a variety of spelling strategies. Students have become very adept at choosing the spelling strategies that work for them!

In guided reading groups we have been focusing on identifying a number of story elements, retelling the stories we read, and on fluency. Students have also been adding words to our Word Wall, writing in their journals and sorting their word sort words. Students have been doing a wonderful job with their sorts.  They have become quick to identify the pattern(s) for the week and are becoming used to our routines as they read and sort their words.

In math, we completed our unit on measurement and have begun working on some number sense activities.  Students have explored number combinations for 5 and 10 and will become familiar with fact families.  They will also be introduced to two mathematical models–ten-frames and the number rack.  These models will help students to visualize numbers, number relationships, and number combinations.  They will also help promote mastery of addition and subtraction facts.

I look forward to seeing you all at conferences next week!

Small Moment Stories & Reading Strategies

In Writing Workshop students have continued to work on their “small moment” stories. They have learned about several ways to “unfreeze” their characters and bring them to life. We have also discussed making their characters talk, move, think and feel, and about telling their stories in small steps to make them more interesting. Everyone already has a collection of stories they have written and will soon be choosing one of these to revise, edit, and publish. We have also been working on punctuation and capitalization, as well as on practicing a variety of spelling strategies. Students have become very adept at choosing the spelling strategies that work for them!

Students have started reading in guided reading groups with me. These homogeneous groups allow students to read and discuss books at their instructional level. Students are working on decoding, fluency and comprehension, as well as a variety of reading strategies. They have also started working on weekly word sorts.  Students receive their words on Monday.  Everyday they practice sorting, reading and writing these words and, on Friday, they are assessed on these words. Students have become quick to identify the pattern(s) for the week and are becoming used to our routines as they read and sort their words.

In math this week we continued our unit on measurement. Students practiced accurately measuring and ordering objects by length. They also spent time using graphs to interpret information.  Next week we will continue working on measurement.  We will also practice using 10 frames to create combinations that equal 10 and on counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s.

In Social studies we continue to learn about the “7 Habits of Healthy Kids”. This week students learned about Habit #4-Think Win-Win.  We will continue with this unit next week as students learn about habit #5-Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.

We’re Off and Running!

We’re off to a great start this year! The students have been working hard to learn our 1st grade rules, schedules and routines. They are doing a wonderful job! I was happy to meet so many of you at Orientation Night last week and I look forward to working with you and your children this year!

This week we started our first unit of Writing Workshop–Small Moments stories. We discussed the process of writing a story–THINK of an idea, PLAN, WRITE and REVISE. Students also learned several strategies to help them get started. Ask your child about “Touch and Tell”, revision strips and finger spelling. Students are well into their first stories and we will continue working on these next week.

Students were introduced to 1st grade word sorting this week.  Each day they completed a sorting activity to help them become more familiar with the sorting routines and activities we will be doing every week with their words.  Starting next week students will be grouped in small homogenous groups and will be sorting words at their spelling level.

Students also began choosing books for their book bins this week. These books are at each child’s independent level and are used daily when your child “reads to self”. They learned about choosing “just right” books using the “IPICK” strategy.  As I explained in the letter sent home earlier this week, this is also a great strategy to use with your child at home.

In math this week we started our unit on measurement.  Students used several non standard units of measurement such as cubes, tiles, and paper clips to measure a variety of objects. They also practiced comparing objects and ordering from shortest to tallest.  Several words that we will be adding to our math vocabulary journals are measure, shorter, equal and greater.

Our social studies time has been spent learning about the 1st and 2nd Habits of Healthy Kids–Be Proactive and Begin With the End in Mind. We read several stories from The 7 Habits book and completed several goal setting projects.  Next week we will focus on Habit 3-Put First Things First.

Our First Day of 1st Grade!

What an exciting first day! Not only was our day spent getting to know each other, we also spent time reading, writing, singing, and celebrating a birthday!  Our Avoca Viking leader, Mrs. Hutchison, shared the story, “How To Be A Viking” with our class.  This book tells the story of several brave Vikings.  We are using the BRAVE acronym this year to help students understand the importance of their behaviors .  BRAVE stands for Bold, Respectful, Accountable, Valuable, and Empathetic.  Ask your child to tell you more!

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone on September 6th for Parent Orientation!

Fiction Writing & Traditions Around the World

 

It was great to see everyone back at school this week.  By all the smiling, happy faces I can tell a great spring break was had by all!

This week we started our last writing unit of the year! This unit is called “From Scenes to Series: Writing Fiction”.  Students began this realistic fiction unit by inventing their characters and creating their adventures.  Next week they will work on developing the actions, dialogue and feelings of their characters and on putting these ideas on paper. At the end of this unit students will have a complete “boxed set” of stories all revolving around their central characters.

We are also working on a variety of word sorts this week.  Students received their new set of words for sorting and vocabulary work and will work with these all week.  Our guided reading groups will be focused mostly on non-fiction texts for the next few weeks. Students will be reading a variety of texts at their instructional level and will work on identifying the main idea, as well as on comparing and contrasting texts.

Our next math unit, which we started this week as well, focuses on efficient counting to 120, solving problems involving things that come in groups of 2s, 5s, and 10s, and developing fluency with combinations of 10.  This unit also offers students an opportunity to be exposed to the foundational thinking of algebra and the use of algebraic notation. As always, students will continue to work on using strategies, justifying their answers, and showing their work as they persevere through problems.

Our new social studies unit is entitled Traditions Around the World. The students are excited to begin looking at and learning about a variety of customs and traditions that take place in many different countries around the world. Students will be creating their own traditions books as they learn about each new tradition or custom. You should have received a letter and a homework assignment that will allow your child to teach us about a special custom or tradition your family celebrates.  Please contact me should you have any questions about this assignment.  It is due on Tuesday, April 18th.

Opinion Writing, Giraffe Heroes, & Number Strings

Students are working daily with their word sorts and in their guided reading groups. They receive their new sort words on Monday and then practice sorting, reading, and writing these words all week.  In guided reading groups we have started working on book reviews. Students have a lot to say about the books we read!  This book review writing goes hand in hand with our current opinion writing unit in writing workshop. Students are finishing up their “Best in Show” opinion pieces about their collections and will continue to write a variety of opinion pieces throughout the remainder of the unit. At the end of the unit, students will be choosing one piece to revise, edit, illustrate, and publish.

Our new math unit, which we started last week, focuses on solving problems with multiple addends, investigating odd and even numbers, and understanding place value. Students are working on using known combinations to add two or more numbers and on relating doubles and near-doubles combinations in order to solve equations.  Students will learn a variety of strategies to help them solve many of these number string problems.

We continued learning about Giraffe Heroes this week in social studies. Students read about several different real life heroes and how they have helped others. Students also created a Giraffe Hero glossary where they defined the word, illustrated it, and used it in a sentence. At the end of the week, we will culminate this unit as we celebrate First Grade Friendship Day!  Next week we will begin our 2nd science unit, Waves: Light and Sound.

Non-Fiction, Nouns and the Flying Fox

In Writing Workshop students have been working on their nonfiction books. They are experts on so many topics and are really enjoying writing these teaching books. Students have learned to keep readers in mind while writing and to use pictures, as well as words, to share their knowledge. They have also learned about writing twin sentences, using detail words to describe all they know, creating a Table of Contents, and writing introductions and conclusions. Students are publishing their stories and will be sharing them with other 1st grade friends next week! Students have also been busy working on many word sorts. Their sorts are individualized so each student’s sort is at his/her developmental spelling level. The completed word sort packets will continue to come home at the end of each week. We have also spent time during the last few weeks learning about common and proper nouns, bossy r (r-controlled vowels) and the h brothers (sh, ch, wh, th).  When we return from the holiday break we will begin our next writing unit, Writing Reviews.

In math students have been working on a variety of math skills and strategies. They have learned how to accurately use the number line to help them add, subtract and reason about numbers and are practicing using standard notation ( <, >, +, -, =) to record expressions and compare quantities. We have also spent time writing numbers from 1 to 120 and working with the 120 chart to help solve larger number problems. Students also had some practice fitting shapes together to cover an area in a variety of ways. In January we will continue working on these skills and we will also be spending time on addition and subtraction story problems with larger numbers and on developing fluency with doubles combinations.

The highlight of the week was our visit from the Flying Fox Animal Conservation Fund! What an amazing experience for everyone!  Students had the opportunity to observe, touch, and learn about many different animals!  We had a chinchilla, a honey bear, a flying fox, and even a sloth in our classroom with us!  Next week we will conclude our animal unit.  In January we will begin our next social studies unit, People Who Make a Difference.

Small Moment Stories & Reading Strategies

In Writing Workshop students have continued to work on their “small moment” stories. They have learned about several ways to “unfreeze” their characters and bring them to life. We have also discussed making their characters talk, move, think and feel, and about telling their stories in small steps to make them more interesting. Everyone already has a collection of stories they have written and will soon be choosing one of these to revise, edit, and publish. We have also been working on punctuation and capitalization, as well as on practicing a variety of spelling strategies. Students have become very adept at choosing the spelling strategies that work for them!

Students have also started reading in guided reading groups with me. These homogeneous groups allow students to read and discuss books at their instructional level. Students are working on decoding, fluency and comprehension, as well as a variety of reading strategies.  Last week we started our Language Arts Interactive Notebooks. These books, which are aligned with the Common Core Standards, reinforce and review skills and allow students to take ownership of, and interact with, their learning. Students have also been adding words to our Word Wall, writing in their journals and sorting their word sort words.  They have become quick to identify the pattern(s) for the week and are becoming used to our routines as they read and sort their words.

In math last week we completed our unit on measurement. Students practiced accurately measuring and ordering objects by length. They also spent time using graphs to interpret information, and created several of their own graphs as well.  This week we will begin our next math unit which focuses on number sense, addition and subtraction facts and solving story problems. Students will work with combinations that equal 10 and explore relationships among those combinations. We will also focus on naming and comparing different strategies used for solving problems such as counting all, counting on or back, and using known-number combinations.

In Social studies we continue to learn about the “7 Habits of Healthy Kids”. Last week students learned about, and tried to put into use, Habit #5-Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. Students acted out several situations where they practiced how to listen with their ears, eyes and hearts. We also made talking sticks to practice taking turns talking and listening to one another. We will be working this week on Habit #6-Synergize. To help us synergize, or work together, we will play several games where teamwork is a necessity.  The kids always love these!

Welcome to 1st Grade!

We are off to a great start this year! The students have been working hard to learn our 1st grade rules, schedules and routines. They are doing a wonderful job! I was happy to meet so many of you at Orientation Night last week and I look forward to working with you and your children this year!

This week we started our first unit of Writing Workshop–Small Moments stories. We discussed the process of writing a story–THINK of an idea, PLAN, WRITE and REVISE. Students also learned several strategies to help them get started. Ask your child about “Touch and Tell”, revision strips and finger spelling. Students are well into their first stories and we will continue working on these next week.

We reviewed the sound of short a this week. Students read, wrote and sorted many short a words. We will be working our way through the other short vowels over the next several months. Students also began choosing books for their book bins this week. These books are at each child’s independent level and are used daily when your child “reads to self”. They learned about choosing “just right” books using the “IPICK” strategy. As I explained in the letter sent home earlier this week, this is also a great strategy to use with your child at home.

In math this week we continued to work on measuring a variety of objects. Students used several non standard units of measurement such as cubes, tiles, and paper clips. They also practiced comparing objects and ordering from shortest to tallest.  Several words that we added to our math vocabulary journals are measure, unit, and compare.

Our social studies time has been spent learning about the 1st and 2nd Habits of Healthy Kids–Be Proactive and Begin With the End in Mind. We read several stories from The 7 Habits book and completed several goal setting projects.  Next week we will focus on Habit 3-Put First Things First.