Classroom Notes – February 9, 2016

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Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy New Year! It has already been a busy week!

On Monday, we spent some time reading about Chinese New Year’s Lion dance. We read Lion Dancer – a story about a boy who gets to dance in the Lion Dance in New York City’s Chinatown celebration. After reading the book,  we compared and contrasted Chinese New Year to New Year’s celebrations that take place around the world on December 31st.

Then, in science, we learned the difference between arranging and sorting. Last week we sorted by various attributes. This week we arranged by attribute – smallest to largest; lightest to darkest; and smoothest to bumpiest. Not always as simple as it sounds!

On Tuesday, we read the story The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. This is a sweet story about a girl who learns to believe in herself after some encouragement from her art teacher. We talked about how stories have themes. A story can have many themes – things we can relate to, and/or lessons we can learn from it. We decided some of the important themes from the story The Dot were “practice makes better,” “never give up,” “believe in yourself,” and “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

We also had a visit from the fabulous Art teacher Gina! The kids got to use a new medium – chalk pastels. They created landscapes that included a foreground, middleground, and background. They had a great time and were very successful with this project! If you have time, I would love some help mounting and hanging these beauties! Our patterned hearts are hanging at the end of the hall near the music room. If you haven’t seen them yet – take a look. They are quite striking!

Finally, we will be passing out our valentines on Friday morning. Giving valentines is optional, but always fun! Please let me know (or Tracy) if you need assistance, as the office has some extra class sets. Our Valentine’s celebration will begin at 2:00 on Friday with a math sorting activity, and then we will open our cards and enjoy a snack. More popcorn, or other healthy snacks, are needed! Please sign up outside the door, or send a note if you can help out!

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – February 2, 2016

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We have been very busy in Room 8 lately. We launched our study of rocks last Friday. We observed three kinds of rocks (tuff, scoria, and basalt) and brainstormed many adjectives to describe them. See if your child can remember where each kind rock comes from! On Monday we drew pictures and wrote descriptions of our rocks. On Wednesday we will observe and sort a pile of river rocks by different attributes. We are having a lot of fun!

In math we are making dot flap cards and writing story problems to go with them. We are exploring how addition and subtraction are related. We are putting numbers together in Fact Families or Number Bonds: 3+5=8; 5+3=8; 8-3=5; 8-5=3.

We had fun learning about Groundhog’s Day on Tuesday. We learned that groundhogs are part of the squirrel family, they hibernate like bears, and can live to be up to six years old! In case you haven’t heard, the official word was that Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog, did not see his shadow, which means Spring is just around the corner!

We are reading a story title Mama’s Birthday Present. We will be retelling it using the days of the week as our frame. Our spelling focus is /ai/ and /ay/. We are also learning about possessives. It’s always fun to learn about a new kind of punctuation!

Finally, report cards came home today. Please sign the envelop, indicating you received it, and send the empty envelop back to school. We like to reuse the same envelop throughout the year. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – Jan. 26, 2017

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Our lead story this week by William Chin is titled Where Are My Animal Friends? It comes to us in the form of a play. Plays are a great way to build fluency as we read and reread the lines many times to get them just right! We are also looking more closely at the characters and describing them with adjectives, as well as identifying and adding adjectives to our own writing. Our spelling patterns this week focus on the comparative endings -er and -est, and the -ge and -dge pattern.

In math, we are learning several new games including Ten or Bust! – a blackjack inspired card game with the target number 10. We spend a lot of time with the number ten in first grade to build number sense. We are also focusing more and more on coins with a game called Count and Compare Coins. Counting change requires us to switch from counting by 10’s to 5’s to 1’s. Try having your First grader count a small pile of coins at home to help to solidify this tricky counting skill.

With assessments almost behind us, we can finally start our science unit on rocks. We will start by exploring and describing several kinds of rocks this week to build our vocabulary. First graders will be keeping a science journal to record their questions, observations and discoveries. If your child has any special rocks at home they’d like to share you can help by assembling them in an egg carton labeled with their name. We will be sharing personal collections in a few weeks.

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – Jan. 20, 2016

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Last week Room 8 First graders had a blast with a Reader’s Theater scrip for Frog and Toad’s The Garden. Some of our friends enjoyed it so much they enlisted friends on the playground to perform and watch a second showing! We will give Reader’s Theater another go later in the week. I think we have some future actors in the class!

Our main story this week is about a caterpillar and the changes it goes through. It is a nice introduction to the science unit we will complete in the Spring. In addition to the story, we will be reading poetry, practicing writing super sentences, and working on the new spelling sounds /er/, /ir/, /ur/.

In math we will be completing several assessments throughout the week, as well as playing our workplace games that are practicing adding on to ten, adding up to 50, fact fluency, and counting on.

Finally, it looks like it is going to be another rainy week. We will try to get out for recess as much as we can which means it may be raining. Please make sure to send your child to school well fed (no more snack) and with a good jacket to help insure their success and comfort. Thanks!

Cheers,

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – January 12, 2016

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Welcome back! It has been a wet and soggy week so far. Luckily, we had a new projector installed over the break which allows us to view many more things on the overhead. We had our first Go Noodle dance party today in place of outside recess. The kids had a blast! Other news, I have decided to discontinue morning snack. Please make sure your kiddo has a big breakfast to help them make it through the morning. Thanks!

Our main story selection this week is Frog and Toad’s The Garden. We had lots of fun reading about the many things Toad did to encourage his seeds grow. Ask your kiddo about Toad’s silly misunderstanding and what helped in the end. We are also working on retelling the stories we read. Have your kiddo try it at home: We start with a brief summary sentence, “This story is about…. “Then have your child take a few minutes to retell the main events and ending.

In math, we are starting Unit 3, Lobster Legs and Whale Tails. This unit works on place value and computation. We are focusing more and more on teen numbers and beyond. We have a new set of games that will included more computation, including working with coins, a return to sorting and graphing, and posing and solving story problems.

Finally, a new science unit is on the horizon. We will be studying the make-up of rocks, sand, and soil. This is a great hands-on unit. Please let me know if you are interested in volunteering throughout this unit – as more hands-on deck would be helpful. Let me know what times work for you. We will conclude this unit with a field trip to Rice Rock Museum on Friday, Feb. 26. More on that as it approaches. In other news, our Tryon Creek field trip has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 19.

Cheers!

Ms. Sarah

Classroom Notes – December 16, 2015

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Monday was our 70th day in school! We had the opportunity to watch a production of The Elixir of Love by the Portland Opera outreach program. It was great fun to see the scenery, costumes, and props, as well as listen to the fabulously sung story. The class enjoyed it immensely.

As we wind up 2015 and get ready for a new year, First graders in Room 8 are creating math story problems based on our work with crabs and sea stars. On Monday, we looked at a variety of story problems to help inspire us – How many legs? How many altogether? How many are hiding? On Tuesday, the kids created backgrounds and initial sketches of what their problem would be. Then they put their drawing skills to work and added the characters. Next, we will be adding the finishing touches. And finally, we will share them and work to solve the problems. The class did a great job being creative and thorough on all stages of this project.

In literacy this week, we are working with the -ng and -nk spelling sounds, and listening for rhymes and syllables. It is important for First graders to be able to hear and play with the sounds in words. It helps facilitate the decoding and encoding (reading and writing) process. Word play is fun and useful! We are also comparing and contrasting the character in our story, a Duck, with other animals. Stretching our thinking about our characters helps us to better understand a story.

Finally, we are wrapping up some art projects, as well as enjoying a few more holiday stories. Take a look outside our door at the fabulous sponge paintings the class did of the classic Winter plant, the poinsettia. This was a multi-step project that the kids completed very patiently. Bravo!

Classroom Notes – December 9, 2015

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Energy is buzzing in Room 8. It is an exciting time of year for children and their emotions are running high. Be sure to help your kiddo get a good night sleep and healthy breakfast to help them be successful in school.

During these last two weeks before Winter break we will be learning about several different Winter Celebrations. On Tuesday we learned about a few Jewish traditions surrounding Hanukkah. We enjoyed some stories and had fun playing the game dreidel with a partner. We will be looking at the Mexican celebration of Las Posadas on Thursday.

In math we are working on identifying and building double digit numbers with a game called Ten and More. We are also building our understanding of place value – tens and ones. We will be moving towards adding and subtracting the bigger numbers soon.

Cheers,

Ms. Sarah