This is a busy week – Art with Gina on Tuesday, Field Day on Wednesday, and a musical performance on Friday afternoon. Looking ahead, on Monday, June 6th, we will go on our field trip to Tryon Creek. This is the one we rescheduled from November. Permission slips and money have already been collected! I will be sending home a reminder slip with your lunch choice (home or school) so we can be sure we have ordered enough from the cafeteria.
In class, we have been busy with our Farm math unit. The kiddos are making their own farm maps filled with land all things farm – barns, silos, chicken coops, and of course, farm animals! We have goats, sheep, pigs, cows, and chickens so far. The kids are doing a great job of figuring out how much they have to pay for their land, fences, and animals. They are even doing some cost comparisons between animals. Needless to say, they are having a great time!
We have seen our mealworms complete their life cycle and many of them are now darkling beetles. We have painted lady caterpillars in the classroom now, too. They are presently in the chrysalis stage. Everyone is excited to see them emerge as butterflies. In the meantime, we will be learning more about their life cycle, their compound eyes, and how they protect themselves from predators.
Finally, we will be working on end of year assessments. These kiddos have all made great growth over the year. I am very proud of each of them.
What a busy week! First of all, work has begin on our Farm maps! We have placed our houses, roads, barns, and silos so far. We begin adding farm animals later in the week! This is a fun math unit which focuses on money, place value, and mapping. Each student is creating a birds-eye view of a farm. They have to plan where each building will go, where the animals will live, and pay for it, all while following strict building codes. For example, chickens must be bought in pairs and need a minimum of one unit of land to live on, while each goat requires 2 units of land.
On top of all of the Farm work, we are working to finish up our All About books. They are looking great and the kids are eager to share them with each other. We are working on adding our table of contents and doing our final editing where we make sure each sentence makes sense, starts with a capital letter, and ends with punctuation. It’s a lot to keep focused on for a First grader writer and these kiddos are doing a great job with it!
On Tuesday we had a visit from art teacher Gina. We did some wonderful print making! Look for these band new pieces at Art Night, along with several other pieces already hanging in the hall. In addition, our garden installation of Butterflies will be ready for viewing in the garden! The kids are excited to show off all of their fabulous work!
Lastly, next Tuesday is our field trip to the Northwest Children’s Theater to see Snow White. This is not your Disney version and it will be very interesting to compare the two and see which one the kids like better. Be sure to ask your kiddo about it next week.
This week we are reading two nonfiction pieces about early inventors. The first is a biography about Alexander Graham Bell and his invention of the telephone. The second is a Scholastic News article about Ben Franklin and his invention of the lightning rod. We are working on the skills of identifying the problem and solution, and identifying factual information in a piece of writing.
The kids are finishing up their All About writing projects. They have been working hard for the last two weeks at planning, writing, editing, and illustrating these books. They will be available for viewing soon.
In math we are finishing up our mini-geometry unit with some shape riddles. We will begin our last unit The Farm next week. This is a very hands on unit and any extra parent/grandparent support is helpful. We will be working Monday – Thursdays from 2:00-2:45 if you have a free afternoon throughout the month of May. Hope to see you soon!
I will be sending home docent sign-ups later this week (once I’m back from this sickness!) There will be 4 time slots – 20 minutes each (6-7:30). We will be reviewing our work and preparing for this important job next week. It is always such a fun night – the kids just love dressing up and showing off their amazing work!
This week we are exploring basic fractions. We are cutting imaginary sandwiches and pizzas into halves and fourths. The kids had many great observations including “you can cut it horizontally or vertically and you still get halves” and the “fourths are smaller than halves even though the number 4 is bigger than the number 2.” We will be working on this all week and then we be on to our last unit of the year – the Farm unit. This final unit focuses on money, place value, and mapping.
Our main selection this week is a nonfiction piece called Simple Machines. This is an interesting piece that introduces the lever, inclined plane, axle, and pulley. We used a strategy of “one important word” to help us focus on the main ideas and details of this nonfiction piece. Students picked one word from each section that helped them to better understand the important information- for example, heavy helped us to better understand that a crowbar, a kind of lever, can help move a heavy object. The kids did a great job with this strategy.
We continue to write our All About books. We have written an opening “definitions” page and started work on a “kinds of…” page. Next we’ll delve into more details about our topics. We have been working hard to get some art work ready for Art Night, as well. I will be sending home details about being a docent next week. Save the date Thursday, May 12th – it will be a fun night!
In addition to working with various pattern block games, we are exploring solid, or 3-dimensional, shapes this week. We are looking at “nets” (the configuration of the faces of an unfolded shape) and predicting whether or not they will fold up into cubes and pyramids. Solving these spatial puzzles is a lot of fun and the kids are enjoying it.
In writing, we are working on All About pieces. The kids have chosen a topic they know quite a bit about – enough to write a small book. After reading several examples of All About books we charted the features that we noticed that helped organize this genre. We noticed that they sometimes: sound like a narrative with a lot of facts; ask questions of the reader; have labeled diagrams; and pictures with captions. The kids have each chosen a topic and started webbing the details they plan to include in their book. Next we will plan the order of our sub-sections and start writing our books. Illustrations and editing will come last.
In literacy, our spelling pattern this week is the /oo/ of book and the /oo/ of pool. We are sorting, word searching, and alphabetizing. We also worked on retelling the story Dot and Jabber and the Acorn Mystery.
We have some new critters in the classroom! On Monday we started our mealworm study by each adopting two mealworms. We settled them into their habitats and fed them some potato and bran. For the next 6-8 weeks we will observe these insects as they go through their life cycle. We will be drawing and writing in our science journals to document the changes we see week to week.
We also started a new math unit this week in which we will work with shapes and their defining attributes. We will be identifying, naming, sorting, and comparing and contrasting shapes and working to define their defining characteristics more thoroughly.
In literacy, our main section this week is the story Mole and the Baby Bird by Marjorie Newman. We are working with the /ou/ sound (as in ouch!) and writing letters in the voices of the characters Mole or baby Bird. We will also be reading some nonfiction pieces on insects and ants. We will be working to find the main idea and key details, as well as using visuals and vocabulary.
Finally, we had to cancel our art installation last week. We will be rescheduling with the artist soon and will be in need of a few volunteers to help out. Please let me know if you are interested. Thanks!
We have had a fun week so far. On Monday our Right Brain Artist Karie Oakes worked with the class to glaze our butterflies. These beautiful critters will be installed in the Lewis Learning garden. We are looking for a few helpers to come by school this Friday, April 8th from 10:00 – 12:00 to help glue legs and perching sticks to the butterflies, and then to help install them in the garden. It will a great way for these fabulous first graders to leave their mark at Lewis! Let me know if you are available to help for an hour or two (kids could come too, if needed).
On Tuesday, Ms. Redmond brought LittleBits to our classroom. LittleBits are electronic building blocks that connect to power lights, fans, spinners, and more. The kids collaborated, created, problem solved, laughed, marveled and beamed with pride, as well as came up with some fabulous creations such as the Nose Tickler.
In between all of this fun we have been working on third quarter math assessments, writing and editing a letter from Antarctica, and working with pronouns. On Thursday, we will have a visit from the Friends of Trees organization. We will be learning about the trees on the Lewis grounds and making paper. We will be making paper from 9:00- 10:15 and could use a parent helper or two. Let me know if you are available and interested! (It really takes a village this week…)