Here's what we've been working on in the classroom over the last couple of weeks:
Reading : The students now know about the three major kinds of connections that readers make with texts - text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world. Text-to-self connections are certainly the most popular kinds of connections that readers make, as it is when a text reminds a reader of something that has happened in his/her life. A text-to-text connection is when a text reminds a reader of another text he/she has read. A text-to-world connection is when a text reminds a reader of something that is going/has gone on in the world. These are very rare for first graders to make, however, because it requires knowledge of history and/or current events. The most important part of making a connection is making sure that the connection is meaningful. Therefore, the connection should lead the reader to a deeper, more complex understanding of the text.
When reading, ask your child if the book reminds him/her of anything. If your child comes up with a connection, ask him/her how it helps him/her understand the book better. When we discuss connections in the classroom, we use a common script. "When I read about _______, it reminded me of _______. So, it helps me understand ______." If you have any questions about this, just ask!
Writing : We're well into our Opinion Unit in writing. The students have all created lists of topics they have strong feelings about and have filled out graphic organizers to help them organize their opinions. They're doing a great job of using their graphic organizers to complete cohesive writing pieces that clearly express their opinions on their self-chosen topics.
Math : Over the last couple of weeks, the students have learned a lot more about number comparisons (using >, <, and = signs, the concept of more/less, and how much more/less). The students have also developed a much deeper understanding of place value. We've used base-ten blocks quite a bit to help grasp concepts of place value. We've also used base-ten blocks to start adding double digit numbers!
Social Studies : Over the last couple of weeks, the students have been exposed to lots of different aspects of Mexico and Mexican culture, from geography, to language, to food, and art. Later on in the year, we'll take this knowledge and compare/connect it to the United States and American culture.
Here are some pictures of the students creating pictures with base ten blocks (and counting the value of the base ten blocks they used):