As soon as we started back at school, we hit the ground running. I always feel like there's a big shift in first grade after winter break. All of the beginning of the year stuff is out of the way and all of the foundations have been set. Now we're ready to dive right into the nitty gritty. Here's what we've been working on in the classroom in 2015:
Reading : While we spent a lot of the time at the beginning of the school year learning about decoding strategies, just right books, and fluency, now we are going to shift our focus towards comprehension. Readers read text to comprehend it, so we are going to spend a lot of time learning about various comprehension strategies and skills over the course of the rest of the year.
Last week, we talked about a very basic level of comprehension - retelling. Retelling is when you say what a text was about once you've finished reading it. Last week, we were focusing on retelling fiction stories. The students learned that when they retell a story that it's important to include the characters, the setting, the problem in the story, the solution to the problem, and all of the major events that occurred.
You can practice retelling when you read with your child at home. When you're done reading a book, close the book and retell the story together. If you get stuck, peek back into the book. Depending on the book, you can also use the pictures to support your retell.
Writing : Since we've gotten back from break, the students have been working on 'how to' pieces. First, they wrote a list of things they were an expert at and could teach others how to do. Then, they selected one of those topics, wrote a materials page, and got to work on the steps. Ask your child what how to book he/she is working on.
Math : Last week, we spent a lot of time talking about math facts. Developing math fact fluency (essentially having basic math facts memorized) is a very important part of early mathematics. While I want the students to have the mathematical conceptual understanding for what it means when two numbers are added together, it is also very important that the students eventually memorize these facts. By the end of first grade, your child should have his/her math facts, up to sums of ten, memorized. We will be working on this in the classroom, but it would be great for you to support developing your child's math fact fluency at home as well. Playing math games like Addition Top-It, playing addition and subtraction math games on electronic devices, and even flash cards will help.
Science : Last week we started our next science unit, which has to do with objects in the sky. The students learned about what makes day and night. Then, we started talking a little bit about the phases of the moon. If you can, try and have your child look at the moon each night for the next few weeks so that he/she can witness the phases of the moon him/herself.
Social Studies : We're currently in the middle of a geography unit in social students. Last week, we revisited world maps and globes.
Here are some recent pictures of the students in the classroom :