Dear First Grade Families,
Our classrooms are bursting with excitement. Our bulletin board shows all the things that we are thankful for this season. Please stop by with your child and admire their hard work and gratitude!
Here is what we have been up to the past weeks:
We have added yet another decoding strategy as a tool to help when we get stuck on a word we are reading. Asking “does it make sense?” is a way for your child to self-monitor as they read to ensure that comprehension is happening. After all, the whole reason we are reading is to understand! During your nightly reading homework time, instead of correcting the words they misread, prompt them by asking if it makes sense the way they read the sentence. This should encourage them to return to the word that is out of place and use the other word attack strategies we have previously practiced: Look at the Picture, Get Your Mouth Ready, Chunk and Cover, find Little Words in Big Words, and Skip and Return.
Our How to Books are nearing completion! We will continue to put the polishing touches on the pages that explain the steps in the process and then begin adding things such as a dedication page, a new words page for our bold words, and an about the author page.
Over the past few weeks, students have been working with consonant digraphs. Digraphs are two letters that when put together make one sound. The digraphs we have been exploring are SH, CH, and TH. The students have been brainstorming words with these sounds at the beginning and ending of words, along with completing activities and playing games to reinforce the concept.
We completed our fifth math assessment last week. Students showed what they learned about plane shapes as well as solid shapes such as cubes, cones, cylinders, spheres, rectangular prisms, and pyramids. They also recognized shapes divided into equal halves or fourths, and shaded parts of the whole shape. This week, we begin to count, read, and write numbers 11 to 20. As we recognize the numbers as one group of ten and a particular number of ones, it will set the stage for the concept of place value. This is a key stage and sets the foundation for developing the idea of tens and ones and being able to make sense of two-digit numbers.
The students have begun our second unit of study, Testing Materials. We will continue to investigate the materials in our First Grade Museum by performing tests in our classrooms. The students have learned what a ‘fair test’ is: a test where only one variable changes, and have worked in pairs, following directions in a book to build a ‘Puffer Machine.’ Then they tested their machines on a collection of objects made of wood, paper, fabric, plastic metal and glass. They recorded their findings in their science journals.
Our school study continues as we have started exploring maps. Last week we investigated maps from many different places; states, countries, cities, towns, theme parks, etc. We talked about side view and birds eye view maps. The students mapped their lunches from both perspectives. We talked about the importance of information on the map using a legend or a key. The students mapped their bedrooms at home and did a fabulous job! All this map work has led to us mapping Sea Crest School. We have created a legend and have started walking the school, map in hand, marking and charting where everything is located.
Mrs. Kohrs has joined us to lead Technology classes in our classroom. We created a picture that showed how we are connected to our classmates and a holiday themed web of related ideas. The app is called Popplet and there are free versions available. A few students have asked to continue this learning at home!
Last week we decided to add a challenge to a few of the iLab stations. At the domino station, the challenge was to work together to build the longest domino train. With connecting cubes, the challenge was to build the tallest structure, and with wooden blocks it was to build a structure using only one piece at the base. The students enjoyed the challenges and are asking for more.
After our K-8 Assembly last Friday, we met with our Learning Buddies to practice grouping feelings according to four zones of regulation. The Blue Zone is for emotions such as being tired or sad. The Green Zone is calm or happy. The Yellow Zone is for when we begin to feel frustrated or overwhelmed, and the Red Zone is where we feel angry or out of control. As our awareness of our emotions increases, we understand what tools to use to help increase our self-control.
Our Friday assembly concentrated on how and why we should become stewards of the world. We hope that our students will think more about where their things come from and where they go after we use them. We cannot really “throw things away” because nothing truly goes “away.” We will strive all year to reduce the amount of waste we make, reuse what we can, and only then send what is left to the landfill.
Additionally, we had the opportunity last week to get out to the garden with our Fifth Grade Learning Buddies. We planted fava beans and will be checking on their progress and helping to tend and water them in the weeks to come.
We are thankful for you and all you do!
Your First Grade Team