December News




Important Upcoming Dates:

Winter Party!
Our Winter Party will be Thursday, December 21st from 8:30 - 9:30
More information to come!

Electronic Progress Reports (EPRs)
EPRs will be released to parents on Saturday, December 23rd,  through Parent Portal

Winter Break!
No School Friday, December 22nd - January 7th!
We will see you on Monday, January 8th!


Literacy
We've continued to practice that Reading is Thinking by practicing the comprehension strategies we've discussed so far, Making Connections and Asking Questions. Last week we started discussing Story Elements - setting, characters, plot, problem, solution.  This can be a little confusing for the kids!  They often start telling me the plot of the story - telling me what happened, instead of describing where and when the story takes place.  We will continue to discuss story elements after Winter Break.

What can you do to help your child?
·      Ask your child to listen to their inner voice and to think out loud, sharing what their inner voice is saying as they read!  
·      Ask your child to describe the setting in the story you are reading.  You can also discuss the characters, plot, problem & solution.  
·      Of course, we continue to work on decoding strategies too!  I can't stress how important it is for your child to read every day!  The best way to become a better reader is to read a lot... at least 20 minutes each day!

Writing
We’ve been continuing with our small moment unit, writing stories from our lives.  We discuss how writers use various strategies to help our readers understand our writing.

Strategies we’ve been using:
·      Bring our stories to life - making people talk, move, think, and feel.
·      Writing what happened first, then next, then next and using lots of detail.
·      Using things like "pop out words" (bold face words), ellipses (...), and onomatopoeia (words that show sound, like "ding" "whoosh" or "clickety clack."
·      Editing our work, correcting spelling and adding punctuation.

We will be moving onto our information pieces about topics we are “experts” on before Winter Break.


Math
 We just finished up our unit on geometry.  We are moving onto our new unit 3 and focusing on addition and subtraction.  We will be working on developing strategies for adding and subtracting numbers by counting on or back, solving problems that involve adding more than two numbers, and finding many different combinations for the same number.  We will also begin to work with place value as we represent the teen numbers as a group of ten plus a group of ones.

Math Information for Parents:
Dr. Brown shared some information about math homework in her blog.  When you have a moment, please click on the link below and look this over.

Additional information you can look over to help your kiddos!

What is Number Sense?

Parents' Beliefs About Math Change Their Children's Achievement:


Social Studies
We finished up our discussion about the First Thanksgiving and how it compares to Thanksgiving today.  The kids created a folder where they synthesized all of the information we discussed about the First Thanksgiving.

After Winter Break we will begin a unit on American Heroes and Symbols with a discussion about Martin Luther King Jr., as well as Rosa Parks and Ruby Bridges. In February we will learn about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for President's Day.



Science
This week we will begin our unit on rocks called Pebbles, Sand, and Silt.  The kids really love working with the rocks and feel like real Geologists!  This unit is designed to introduce concepts in earth science while practicing the process of inquiry. The activities provide experiences that heighten students' awareness of rocks as earth materials and natural resources.  They will come to know rocks by many names and in a variety of sizes. Pebbles and sand are the same material, just different in size.  


We will continue this study after our Winter Break.

November News!




Wednesday, November 15th -
Thanksgiving Feast & Celebration of Learning!

Come and enjoy a Thanksgiving lunch with your child.  Before lunch we will invite families to our classroom to share some of the learning that has been taking place in first grade.

Celebration of Learning will be at 11:35-12:05pm
Lunch will be at 12:05-12:25pm.



Reader’s Workshop
This week we started talking about another comprehension strategy good readers use, Asking Questions.  Stephanie Harvey writes, “If we want to develop critical thinkers we must teach our children to think about and question what they listen to, read, and view.  Asking questions enriches the learning experience and leads to deeper understanding.  Questioning is the strategy that propels learners on.

Asking questions can be hard for first graders.  Their first response is to say, "I don't have any questions."  I respond by saying, "If you did, what would they be?"  They need to learn to push their thinking!  Sometimes their questions are ones that have already been answered, or are not very deep, like, "Why is a squirrel called a squirrel?"  They need us to help them by modeling good questions.  They can ask questions when reading both fiction and nonfiction.


Ask your child to listen to their inner voice and to think out loud, sharing what their inner voice is saying as they read!  
Discuss what you learn and questions you have, then try and discover the answers together!
Model how to ask questions as you read with or to your child!

Writer’s Workshop


We’ve been continuing with our small moment unit, writing stories from our lives. We discuss how writers use various strategies to help our readers understand our writing.  Next week we will begin practicing "Bringing our stories to life" - making people talk, move, think, and feel.  We are also trying to tell our stories in "itsy-bitsy steps"  - writing what happened first, then next, then next and using lots of detail.  We will look closely at mentor texts and notice things authors do in their writing that we can try in our own writing... things like "pop out words" (bold face words), elipses (...), and onomatopoeia (words that show sound, like "ding" "whoosh" or "clickety clack." We are also focusing on editing our work, correcting spelling and adding punctuation.  We will be finishing up our narrative unit in about a month or so by "publishing" one of our stories, then move on to writing information pieces about topics we are "experts" on.

Ask your child to share how they are bringing their stories to life when they write!


Math Workshop

Look for and make use of structure:
I can see and understand how numbers and shapes are organized and put together as parts and wholes.

Our geometry unit focuses on two dimensional shapes and the relationships among them. Our goal is for students to describe shapes according to their attributes (triangles have 3 straight sides and 3 corners), and to understand that shapes can be put together or taken apart to make new shapes. Students observe, describe, compare, classify, represent, and build with 2-D shapes. We use what we know to recognize shapes in the world and to use geometric vocabulary to describe them.

We will finish up this work in the next few weeks, then move on to our next addition and subtraction unit.

Ask your child to find geometric shapes in the world and describe them using our math language!



Social Studies

We have begun our history unit on Family & Cultural Traditions in the United States in the past.  We have been discussing our Thanksgiving Holiday, analyzing how it has changed over time and why.  We will go into December with this unit, discussing various other traditions.


Begin to talk about your family traditions and customs!

Science


We finished up our science unit on Matter, looking closely at solids and liquids. The kids have solids they've looked at, built with, and observed to describe their properties. They investigated liquids and their properties. We discussed how some forms of matter can change from a liquid to a solid, or vice versa.