October


Upcoming Events:

-Parent Teacher Conferences will be held on Thursday, October 3 Wednesday, October 9.   
-Digger Dash Pledges are due October 25
-Halloween Parade is on Thursday, October 31! More information to come. I am in need of parent volunteers to help with ideas and set up, send me an e-mail me if you are interested! 

Reading
We learned good habits for solving tricky words. If your child gets "stuck" on a hard word, don't just tell them the word, instead try:
-Checking the picture
-Look at ALL the parts of the word
-Get a running start
-Check it! Do a double check, does it make sense? Does it look right?
-Try it two ways..use the short vowel and the long vowel sound.
-Crash it together
-Do a s-l-o-w check
I bet your little reader can show you how to do a few of these strategies next time you are reading!


Math: 

We have been hard at work learning different strategies to help us add and subtract. Students know they can:
-Draw a picture
-Use a tool ( cubes)
-Add to subtract, if  4+2=6 then 6-2=4
-Use their doubles, if 4+4=8 then  4+5=9
To help your child, continue to play the math games we send home. I also recommend practicing addition and subtraction facts to 10. It is important that students memorize these facts. It does not have to be fast, but the more facts they know the better mathematicians they will become! If you feel your child has mastered their addition and subtraction facts to 10, start working on facts to 20!

Writing: 

We are still focusing on writing small moment stories. We have learned that it is important to unfreeze our characters. Our characters should think, feel and move on each page. I have had a few students tell me that writing time is their favorite part of the day! This makes me so happy. Be sure to ask your child what story they are working on. 

Science: 

We are becoming Geologists in our room! This exciting new unit will have us exploring and learning about rocks and minerals. Be sure to ask your little Geologist what they have learned!


Looking forward to another wonderful month!


Important Upcoming Dates:

Friday, September 27th - Digger Dash! 9:15-9:55am

Friday, September 20th - NO SCHOOL - Teacher Training

Our fall Parent Teacher Conferences are scheduled for: 
October 3rd and October 9th
 Look for information about how to sign up soon!

October 14 - 18  NO SCHOOL - Fall Break

Dear Parents,

I can't believe it is already September!  I have been enjoying getting to know your children!  They are such a wonderful group of kiddos!  This newsletter is designed to keep you updated with what your child is learning at school.  Use this as a tool to communicate with me and with your child about their learning. We are very busy in first grade, as you will see!  

Literacy: 
Reading - 
We have "Reader's Workshop" everyday.  We've been focusing on finding "Good Fit Books" and building our stamina for reading them in class, adding more time to sustained independent reading each day.  Reading for an extended period of time can be a challenge to many first graders this time of the year!  We start small and build on it every day.  It is so important for the kids to spend time in class - and at home - practicing the skills they are learning!  The best way for your child to become a proficient reader is to spend time reading books on their level every day. We have been busy working on good reading habits and tips and tricks for solving hard words!

Before Reader's Workshop we have"Word Study" everyday. This is a time to focus on phonics and patterns we see in words.  This year we are using a program called Words Their Way. I've given the class a spelling test to see what they know about letters, letter combinations, and the sounds they make.  This helped me start them at the appropriate Words Their Way level and differentiate for each child. Each week your child is given a "Word Sort."  It has words that focus on a particular pattern, such as short vowels, blends (two letters whose sounds, when put together, blend closely - such as bl, st, dr, cr....), digraphs (two letters that, when put together, make a new sound - such as ch, sh, ph, th..), and long vowel patterns (two vowels that make one long vowel sound ("magic e"or "silent e" as in cake, and other combinations like oa, ai, ea...).  

Another part of literacy is our Writer's Workshop: 
Right now we are working on writing and telling "small moment" stories from the events in our lives.  A small moment is one moment from our day.  Unlike a huge "watermelon story," such as a trip to Disney Land, a small moment is a "seed story" - or one event from our trip, such as riding on Splash Mountain. First graders love to tell stories!  They come in everyday with a story about going to the park, loosing a tooth, or playing with friends. But sometimes they struggle with coming up with ideas to write about.  As they share their stories tell them, "That would make a great small moment for you to write about at school!"  

In Writer's Workshop I teach them to go through the Writing Process.  Our steps are:
1. - Think of an idea.  For a small moment, this could be something you do (like riding my scooter or going to gymnastics), or something that has happened to you (like getting caught in a rain storm or making cookies with Dad.)
2. - Plan  I tell them this is the most important!  We will learn various ways to plan our story. Right now we are thinking about what happened first, then next, then after that and are "touching and telling" (touch each page as you tell the story out loud and think about what would go on each page), then sketch(draw a quick sketch on each page to help you remember your plan)
3. - Write!  As you can see, we don't begin with writing our story!
4. - Revise  I tell them, "When your done you've just begun!"  We add detail to our story using "spider legs" and think how can I make my story better?
5. - Edit We check spelling and punctuation.  We are talking about leaving spaces between our words, writing with lower-case letters, learning strategies for spelling words we don't know, and using punctuation. Of course not all of our spelling is expected to be correct!  We focus on the patterns we are learning in our Words Their Way sort, and we use our Word Wall to help us spell.  First graders spell phonetically and that is what we want them to do for most words right now.  

Ask your child to tell you about the small moment stories they are writing.

Math: 
-->
The mathematicians have been working on various ways to add and subtract. We are learning what tools to use to help us,  how to write and equation and to decide when you need to add or when you need to subtract. We will continue to work on addition and subtraction throughout this month.

-->
Here are some strategies and tools we have been using to show our thinking!

Social Studies: 
It is so important to take the time to build a strong classroom community in the beginning of the year in which all students feel safe and can learn.  We talk a lot about our school motto, Going for the G.O.L.D.:  Give respect, Own your actions, Listen and Learn, and Do your best. We've been discussing how to be a good citizen, and characteristics of a good citizen.  We've been reading books by Mary Small and Jill Lynn Donahue about being responsible, honest, considerate, respectful and other important behaviors good citizens possess.  The kids will be collaborating in small groups to create posters that explain how to be good citizens at Gold Rush and go for the G.O.L.D. around our building.  We will post these around the school.  

We are working with our technology teacher, Megan Fleet, to learn how to use an app on our iPads called Seesaw to share our work with our peers and our families. I have shared a link for you to sign up so you can see items in your child's "portfolio."  This is an exciting way for them to share their thinking and learning with you! Make sure to check out your kiddos amazing work!

Ask your child to tell teach you about what it looks like and sounds like to go for the G.O.L.D. at Gold Rush.

What's coming next?
Reading:  More work with good habits for solving tricky words, looking for meaning in words, and setting goals for ourselves as readers
Writing:  Extend small moment writing to study mentor texts and use the 
              "craft moves" we notice from these texts in our own writing.
Math:  Subtraction and addition story problems - more efficient subtraction & adding strategies.
         
Science:  A unit called "Pebbles, Sand, & Silt" - an introduction to Rocks &; Minerals.