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November Newsletter

First Grade Happenings


Community

This month, we welcomed seven new students into our first grade classroom. The transition has been an exciting time and first graders are using and developing many of their social/emotional skills by accommodating, teaching, helping and supporting their new classmates. All of our first graders are adapting to new routines, rug spots, and line spots.  Please encourage your student to line up in their line spot each morning.

READING

During Reader’s Workshop, we have been emphasizing engagement and independent reading. Ask your student how they know if they are reading interesting books.

1-306 concluded our fiction elements reading unit in November.  We learned to use story elements such as characters, setting, a kickoff and other important events and a tie-up in our retells.

We have begun to take a close look at non-fiction books.  We compared fiction and non-fiction texts and sorted books based on the fiction and non-fiction elements that we found. First graders have generated their own lists in hunting for non-fiction features.

In December, we will continue to explore non-fiction texts.  We will identify non-fiction features and the purpose of each feature.  We will practice using text features to locate important information in our books.  We will study different texts on the same topic and notice how the information presented is the same and different.

We are typically having two read alouds each day that model much of the reading work your student is working towards: thinking aloud about what we know and noticing what we still wonder. You can support you child as they read non-fiction at home by discussing features, facts, and wonderings as they read.

Is your student bringing home 2-3 Just Right Books each night? Continue to support your student in being responsible for their book bag, choosing appropriate books and returning them each day.

WRITING

First graders are planning and writing fiction stories.  An important part of this process is learning to choose main and secondary characters, settings, a kickoff (or problem), events, and a tie-up (solution). Another important component of Writer’s Workshop has been giving students enough time to write independently and allow their stamina and engagement to grow. In December, first graders will be working on elaborating and editing as they revise, adding dialogue, character thinking and feelings. They will continue to work on conventions through the use of an editing checklist. Much of the coming writing work will involve using checklists, many of them generated by the class. The big idea around this work is thinking about when and how a writer knows that their fiction book is complete.

We’ve also used oral storytelling to tell stories to each other. First graders have created many interesting characters and events.  You can try this activity at home by taking turns naming a character, setting, kickoff, events, and a solution. Next week, first graders will be sharing their fiction stories with their Little Reading Buddies!

Our following unit will focus on non-fiction writing.  Children will write how-to books based on our seed study unit.

MATH

First graders completed a unit on doubling.  We studied partners and pairs and played many doubles games to help us learn our doubles facts.

We began a geometry unit of study about the attributes of shapes.   We are learning that shape, size, and color are attributes that we can use to name and sort shapes.  We will learn that different shapes can share attributes (e.g., both rectangles and squares have 4 sides) and that shared attributes can be used to define a larger category (e.g., quadrilaterals).

During the following unit, we will focus on problem solving steps and strategies.

SEED STUDY

In Seed Study, students observed, sketched, and wrote about seeds through dissecting various fruits.

Next week, we will begin to explore how seeds travel.  Students will use straws to explore how seeds move through air and water and notice that different seeds move in different ways.

In the upcoming weeks we will plant seeds to observe how they grow. We will also explore the conditions that a seed needs in order to grow well.

We will plant with students on December 15th and will need several families to volunteer to take our plants home and water them over the break.  Please let us know if you’re interested in helping out.

REMINDERS and notices

-Friday, December 4:New families are invited into the classroom to meet the teacher from 3-3:45

-Thursday, December 14Family Morning, 8:45- 9:15 –Planting Day!

-Please note that birthday celebrations will continue to occur on a monthly basis at the end of the month. We will put parents in contact with each other to coordinate items.

-Scholastic Book Order Forms have been going home, please let me know if you have any questions.

-First graders are bringing home their sight words each Thursday, please continue to work on them over the weekend using suggested practice ideas.

-Classroom Instagram account: peckslip_306

October Newsletter

First Grade Happenings


Community

Since our last Family Friday, so much community building has taken place in 1-306. Students continue to practice taking care of each other: asking questions and listening during morning share, using hand signals to communicate, following our classroom agreements and advocating for themselves while using clear language. Our yearlong theme of togetherness will continue as first grade becomes more and more kind, caring and independent.

READING

1-306 students are book shopping weekly and reading “Just Right” books from their book boxes every day. During this reading time, first graders select the books they want to take home to read. This month, we have been doing reading work that focuses on identifying the story elements of a fiction book. First graders have been using tools such as their retelling bookmarks to think about the components of a fiction book and how retelling supports comprehension. Continue to support your student at home by discussing the title, characters, setting, kick-off, events and tie-up of fiction books you read together.

WRITING

First graders have been doing some focused writing during Writer’s Workshop. First graders are thinking of ideas based on their own lives: people, places and events that are important to them. They use their writing folders to organize their ongoing work as well as reference teaching points from small group work when writing independently. Many students also use our classroom word wall to reference our weekly sight words that have been going up. First graders are drawing inspiration from their picture collages and their own life to write pieces, or “Moments” which include descriptions of dialogue, feelings and senses that add details or “stretch” out their writing.

MATH

1-306 has been doing a lot of work to learn about the relationship between doubles and counting by twos. The big idea supporting this month’s math unit has been exploring a double as a number composed of two equal groups and what it means to be an even or odd number. First graders are playing various games to learn their doubles facts.  Many students know easy doubles (1 + 1, 2 + 2, 3 + 3, 4 + 4, 5 + 5, 10 +10), but struggle with trickier doubles (6 + 6, 7 + 7, 8 + 8, 9 + 9).  We are beginning to skip count by two’s and use doubles to help us solve near doubles (i.e. “If I know, 5 + 5, I also know 5 + 6 because I add one more”).

Children are working individually and with partners to represent their thinking when problem solving.  As student understanding has grown, first graders are noticing that it’s much more efficient to represent objects symbolically (such as with circles or x’s) rather than with elaborate drawings. We are working hard to learn from one another’s work and to revise our own work as we develop new ideas and strategies.

SEED STUDY

We are very excited to begin our Seed Study inquiry unit for our first content study. We launched this unit by sharing what we think we know about seeds and brainstorming questions that we have. We will continue dissecting and begin sorting and sketching seeds next week.

Thank you for your food donations. We look forward to dissecting seeds in the near future!

REMINDERS

Thursday, November 16Parent Teacher Conferences

Friday, November 17Family Friday

Tuesday, November 21Walking field trip to the Oculus Farmers Market

 

September Newsletter

First Grade Happenings


Community

During the past five weeks, 1-306 has been working to build our classroom community. We established hopes and dreams, developed classroom rules (or agreements), discovered materials and practiced routines. The time dedicated to building this foundation will support an efficient, fun and safe learning environment for the rest of the year.

A theme for the year will be togetherness. During these first six weeks of school we will continue to take opportunities to get to know one another. Some activities that have allowed us to do this are Morning Meeting, class discussions and time for sharing such as our Closing Circle.

Every day, we have interviewed a Student of the Day. During this process, students are asking class-generated questions, developing their listening skills and learning about their friends. This is also an opportunity for shared writing and reading.

Reading

Literacy is an integral part of our day. It can be found from Morning Message to Math to our future Content Study. In September, we launched Reader’s and Writer’s Workshops. We focused on developing good habits for self-selecting books, taking care of books and reading long and strong.

Every morning, 1-306 reads quietly in their independent reading bubble for an ever-growing amount of minutes. They are working on selecting and reading “just right” books which are not too easy (downhill) or hard (uphill). In each student book box, you will find approximately 10 books which are swapped out weekly when students bookshop.

Our schedule allows for us to visit the school library (in which students check out a book kept in our classroom) and have both younger and older reading buddies each month. These opportunities facilitate a love for reading in your student.

Writing

As writers, students in 1-306 are building stamina, drawing from their own life experiences and exploring taught craft and features. Currently, students are integrating writing folders into Writer’s Workshop, a tool which will allow them to organize their writing in progress as well as reference mini lessons and conferences. A primary objective for the first part of the year will be cultivating independence in student writers. You can view an example of your student’s independence on our bulletin board outside the classroom. This is a great example of how students persist, demonstrate resourcefulness and produce written work with a certain degree of independence.

Math

1-306 students have been working on being focused and helpful math partners. Games such as “Guess My Number” have helped students problem solve collaboratively. Many of the games your students have been playing are familiar and allow them to work on their fluency (such as ways to make 10). Ask your student about the math games they have played in the classroom.

Another regular math routine has been Days of School, allowing students to look at the various ways to count, group and notice patterns in the growing number of school days. Ten frames, number lines, bead strings and hundreds charts are just some of the tools used for this routine.

This month, we will begin a unit on doubles in addition and how to represent thinking on paper. By using the context of pairs, students will be able to create meaning behind doubles facts and grouping. At home, engage your student when counting pairs and single objects.

Read Aloud

During the past month of school, we have been reading various genres of books, including character and author book series (such as Little Critter and books by Ezra Jack Keats). We have also been reading books about feelings and how we can acknowledge certain feelings at school when feeling sad, angry, upset, etc. As our Peace Place and social/emotional work continues, students will be taking a stronger lead in having agency over their own tricky feelings this year and engaging in strategies that lead to communication and togetherness.

Reminders

If you aren’t following our classroom Instagram account, email me. Daily photos, captions and questions to ask!