Math Update: We are off to a great start with our wonderful math program. During the first two weeks of school, we’ve been visualizing, representing, and breaking apart numbers using a variety of math tools: counters, stair steppers, and number cards. When we break apart a number, we take a larger number and split it into two smaller numbers. We call the two smaller numbers partners because when we add them together they equal the larger number. So far we’ve discovered the partners for 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Thank you for helping your child complete the math homework. This important practice reinforces what is taught in the classroom each day.
Reading Update: This week, we began readers’ workshop. We have enjoyed reading some great stories together and have started building the foundation of our independent reading time. Readers get better by reading just right books, so we’ve focused this week on choosing books that we can read and that we enjoy.
Writing Update: During Writer’s Workshop, our class has been writing small moment stories. A small moment story is a true story from our own experiences. We learned how writers plan their stories by thinking of an idea, sketching a quick picture for the beginning, middle, and end, and then writing the words. We also learned that good writers always keep working. We use the phrase “When you’re done – you’ve just begun!” because good writers go back to add details to their pictures and words or they start a new story.
Math: We have learned two different strategies to add two 2-digit numbers. First, we solved our equations by drawing ten sticks and circles. We checked to see if we had enough circles left over to make a new ten. If we did, we circled them and made a new group of ten. We counted all of the ten sticks and the leftover ones to find the answer. In order to be accurate, we know that the tens and circles must be lined up neatly with five groups clearly showing.
We have also tried the Ten Above strategy:
Your first grader can use either of these strategies to solve 2-digit equations. Our goal is to be accurate and to understand how to make a new ten.
Writing: We have been working on the teaching pages in our All About Books. We are using text features that real authors use in their nonfiction books. Some of these features include facts, labels, bold words, comparisons, diagrams, captions, text boxes, and precise words. We’ve also learned how to add conclusions to our books which explained the importance of our topics. To make our books even better, our partners helped us revise and add more details to our writing.
Reading: In Reader’s Workshop, we focused on using our imaginations to transform into our characters when we read. We found that we can use our voice, face and body to help us act like our characters. We practiced with some of our favorite books like Elephant and Piggie and Knufflebunny. We will continue working on analyzing characters next week.
Reading: We wrapped up our unit on using both fiction and nonfiction books to learn about special topics. This week, we worked on fluency with our collections. To do this, we practiced reading our books to figure out the tricky words and then we reread, paying close attention to punctuation. We have loved working with partners for the past month and learning about new topics every week.
Math: This past week we studied measurement. We used paperclips to measure the length of objects in our math books and around the room.
We also learned how to line up measurement tools properly to get the most accurate measurement. We compared length, ordering objects from shortest to longest and longest to shortest. At the end of the week we took our Unit 7 assessment. Look for these assessments coming home soon. Next week, we will start our last math unit on 2-digit addition!!
Science: We’ve had a great week studying the life cycles of insects, reptiles, and amphibians. We’ve noticed that many of the animals followed a pattern of egg, young, and adult before starting over again. We’ve also learned that some babies look like their parents and some do not.
Math: We continued to study shapes during math this week. We learned that shapes can be divided into halves or fourths. It’s important to know how to make equal shares when we are sharing an object like pizza, a cookie or a granola bar with a friend. We also combined triangles, rectangles and squares to form new shapes. Later in the week, we learned the attributes of 3-dimensional shapes, combining them to make new shapes. On Friday, we used this knowledge to build cities with our table teams. This was a great opportunity to work cooperatively. Each group had a mayor who assigned tasks and made sure that everyone got along. These cities were amazing! Some of the structures were a car wash, a church, an apartment building, a sports arena, a tunnel, and a water park.
Writing: During Writer’s Workshop, we continued working on our All About Books. We learned the importance of using headings on each page to tell our reader our big ideas. We also worked on writing great introductions to hook our readers into reading our books. Our introductions always Ask a Question and Tell our Topic, so our audience will want to keep on reading.
Reading: We jumped back into Reading Workshop by checking our prior knowledge of our special topics before reading. This strategy gets our minds ready to make connections to new ideas. We spent time comparing books with our table partners and confirmed facts by finding them in multiple books. We also recorded new vocabulary words that related to our topics. With the help of illustrations and glossaries, we taught our classmates the meanings of these new words.
Science: This week, we studied the sun and weather. We did some fun experiments and learned how the sun shines on just half of the Earth at a time, how rain falls from clouds, and how a tornado spins. We even simulated a thunderstorm in our class, complete with lightning flashes! These smart first graders are now experts in recognizing severe weather and they also know how to stay safe. Next week, we will start our study of animal life cycles to prepare for our field trip to the zoo.
Reading: In Reader’s Workshop, we are reading and learning from all types of texts. Students worked with their table partners to study fiction and nonfiction books which focus on special topics (dogs, dinosaurs, weather, trees, presidents, and more).
We have looked for similar facts across more than one book and have examined fiction books for “fact nuggets”, a great term invented by our very own Colin to describe facts that can be in fiction books. These first grade researchers had fun digging into their books and sharing their learning with the class.
Math: This week, our mathematicians learned how to tell time to the hour and half hour on both digital and analog clocks.
The hardest part is telling time to the half hour because the hour hand is in the middle of two numbers. First graders often read it as the next hour ahead instead of the hour it is half past.
To work through this, we circle or touch the two numbers that surround the hour hand. The hour always “belongs” to the smaller number. However… there is a Rule Breaker! When the hour hand is between 12 and 1, the hour belongs to the 12. We’ve had fun watching out for that Rule Breaker!
Writing: This past week, our class completed a narrative writing post-assessment! We spent the first part of our week reviewing the parts of a great small moment story.
After our review, they had time to independently plan, write, revise, and edit a new small moment story. I was very impressed with what these first grade writers know about good writing. These stories are AMAZING!