Here's what else we've been up to in the classroom :
Reading : Last week, we took an in depth look into schema. The students know that they should activate their schema about the topic of a book before they read. For example, we read Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats. Before we read the book, we discussed all the schema (or information that we knew) about snowy days. The students realized that they already had a lot of knowledge about snowy days. They knew that snowy days were cold, sometimes you got off school, you could have a snowball fight or make a snow fort, plows came around to clear the roads, etc. We spoke about how someone who lives somewhere where it is warm all year wouldn't have nearly as much schema about snow as they do. The students understood what happened in the book very well because they already had a lot of background knowledge about snowy days. Someone who has never experienced a snowy day may not be able to understand the book quite as well.
All of this schema talk is going to lead us straight into the next part of our unit, which is using our schema from our personal experiences to make connections with texts. These are called text-to-self connections, and I'll explain these more in next week's post.
Writing : We had another very successful week working on our how to pieces. We spoke about the importance of specifying the quantity of items that you need, including warnings, and creating introductions. This week, we'll be working on getting our pieces ready for publishing.
Math : Last week, we talked about math facts and spent some time reviewing and wrapping up Unit 4, our measurement unit. While I don't expect students to have completely memorized all of their math facts by the end of first grade, I do expect them to be working towards mastery. By now, the students should know +0 and +1 facts very quickly. Playing math games that require simple addition is a great way to practice math facts.
Phonics : We learned about our first long vowel last week, the long a. We spent a few days differentiating between the short a and the long a sound, and then we investigated various long a spelling patterns. Ask you child to explain to you about the silent e.
We also spent time reviewing short vowel spelling patterns. To do this, we created some snow people. Each snowball is a different word that belongs to the same family. The students did a great job creating their snow people!