Halloween is this week! On Halloween, we are going to try to have as 'normal' a morning as possible. The students should come to school that morning dressed in their regular clothes (not their costumes). Many students often go home during lunch to change into their costumes. Other students bring their costumes to school with them in the morning and change into their costumes before the parade. I will be sending home a notice on Monday for you to tell me what your child's lunch time plans are for that day. Please return it ASAP.
Here's what we were working on in the classroom last week:
Reading : We started off the week by learning a few more ways to get our minds ready for a book. (Read last week's post for more information on getting your mind ready for a book.) Last week, we spoke about reading the blurb on the back of the book and going on a book walk to get more information. Have you child describe what a book walk is.
At then end of the week, we started talking about decoding strategies - or what to do when you get stuck on a tricky word. There are many different strategies one can use in order to decode tricky words, and the point of this unit is to expose students to a variety of strategies so that they will feel comfortable using all of them. This flexibility in strategy use is important because one single strategy does not work for every word. Of course, the most frequently heard decoding strategy from well-meaning adults and older siblings is to 'sound the word out.' However, this may not be the most effective way to decode many tricky words since some words don't follow the 'rules' and because first graders don't even know all the 'rules' yet. So far, we've talked about looking at the picture for clues as to what word would make sense.
Read Alouds : I haven't mentioned read alouds on the website yet this year, but they are certainly one of my favorite parts of the day. At the beginning of the year, we did an author study on Kevin Henkes and read many of his 'mouse' books. Currently, we're in the middle of a Mo Willems author study. The students LOVE Mo Willems. So far we've read his Pigeon books and his Knuffle Bunny books. Right now, we're reading his Elephant and Piggie books. These are fantastic books for beginning of the year first graders. If you're looking for some fun books to read with your child, keep an eye out for Mo Willems' books. I highly recommend them.
Writing : We published our first writing pieces last week! The students did a great job with their first writing pieces and enjoyed sharing them with their classmates.
We also launched our new writing unit, which is called Small Moments. In this unit, we will focus on the students narrowing their story ideas down to the most interesting parts and then describing those parts in detail. Rather than writing a 'big moment' story about a whole trip of a whole day, we're working on zooming in on a 'small moment.' So far we're off to a great start!
Phonics : Word study homework went well last week! Thank you for supporting your child. This week, the students will get the entire week's worth of homework on Monday and it will all be due on Friday. From now on, the homework will be located in the 'phonics hw' section of your child's binder. On Thursday nights, it would be a big help if you could remind your child to take his/her homework out of his/her binder and put it in his/her home folder so that it is ready to hand in on Friday morning.
Math : We did a lot in math last week! At the beginning of the week, we spoke about how, in the real world, numbers are always representing something. For example, when you say your age, the number is representing how many years old you are. When you say that you have 5 cookies, the number 5 is representing how many cookies you have. We also got out the calculators for the first time and learned how to use them. The students were so surprised when the calculators kept getting the math facts correct!
In the middle of the week, we talked about telling time to the hour on analog clocks. If you happen to be around your child when an analog clock is showing a time on the hour (for example, 2:00), ask your child to tell you what time it is.
Towards the end of the week, we learned all about rulers. We learned that rulers are used for two main reasons - to measure things and as a straightedge to draw straight lines. We practiced using rulers to draw straight lines. This is a tough task for many first graders and often requires quite a bit of practice to master. If you have a ruler at home, have your child practice using it as a straightedge by connecting two dots together.
Social Studies : Last week, we learned about how to locate various buildings on maps and about neighborhoods and their differences.
Here are pictures of 1-Bu in action last week: