We hit the ground running this week with a science experiment Monday morning. We explored how much breath force it takes to get a ball to move across a table. After building rails on the tables from blocks and tubs the kids raced their balls across the table using only a straw and their breath to propel the ball. We noticed that there were several variables to consider when it came to figuring out which were the best rollers – size, weight, and what the ball was made from. The best roller was a small wooden ball, and the trickiest to get going was a wiffle ball!
We are working on demonstrating independence and responsibility within the classroom. We will be breaking up into small Book Clubs soon and all students need to be able to rotate through independent Centers without much teacher assistance. This means following directions the first time, being persistent, and knowing how to solve problems if they occur. We are learning the routines and practicing this week so we will (hopefully!) be ready next week.
In math, we have finished up our first unit on patterns, sorting, and graphing. Our next unit dives deeper into Addition and Subtraction – especially with 5’s and 10’s. The kids are working on several spin and graph assignments, practicing their number writing, and learning some new addition games using our buttons and bugs as manipulatives. I also introduced an iPad game Math Bingo to support addition and subtraction fact fluency. As you probably know, there are lots of free math games that can be played on tablets and a little bit of consistent practice time on these can help build First grader math fact fluency and understanding of the tricky concepts of coin values and time.
Finally, thank you for being so prompt with the field trip permission slips. I have three interested chaperones and room for one more. Let me know if you are interested! The Northwest Children’s Theater always hosts an entertaining production so you are sure to enjoy!
Last week we started our first science unit on Balls and Ramps. We started with comparing a variety of balls. We noticed many things like size, feel, weight, temperature, and the many different kinds of materials a ball can be made from. Today we entered “our laboratory” to experiment with the balls. We gathered data on size and comparative weight, and worked with the balls to determine which ones were the best rollers and bouncers. Check with your first grader and see if they can recall what the class discovered.
In math we are wrapping up our first unit on Sorting, Counting, and Graphing. This week we will be putting these skills to the test, so to speak. The kids will be working with a variety of materials trying to figure out as many ways as they can to sort the objects. Then they will count, compare, and finally represent their sorts on a graph.
In language arts we are working on our short vowel sounds for reading and writing, as well as beginning to focus on beginning blends. These blended sounds can be tricky to hear and pick apart. We often see the confusion in first grade writing – ex: gres for dress. Calling attention to blends whenever you can will help them to hear these sounds more clearly.
Finally, a permission slip for our first field trip came home today. Please let me know if you are interested in chaperoning. Reminder: All chaperones must be cleared through the office.
We started our week by celebrating International Peace Day. We participated in a international project call Pinwheels for Peace. We talked about what peace looks like and feels like, and about its importance in our communities. We all agreed it better to kind and respectful than angry and exclusive. Then made our pinwheels. The project uses pinwheels as a symbol of peace. We “planted” them outside our classroom in the rain garden. Some kids opted to take their home – others have left them there for the week for all to enjoy!
This week in the classroom we are starting our literacy center rotations. We are practicing getting our materials out, working the whole time, and cleaning up in a timely manner. We will continue to fine tune this activity over the next few weeks. Our main story is titled A Fox and a Kit. We are thinking about what we can learn about animals and such by observing. We are also learning to identify the main idea in a piece of nonfiction writing. You can practice this at home by simply asking What’s the big idea, and How do you know?
In math we are learning about patterns and sorting. We have reviewed the concepts of repeating patterns and growing patterns. In the coming weeks we will be identifying and creating our own patterns, sorting and comparing objects into categories, and even making graphs with our counting objects – frogs, bugs, buttons, and sea creatures.
Finally, last week I sent home a Scholastic Book order. This is a great way to get f your young reader excited about reading. Each order earns classroom bonus points which I use to get more books in the classroom, too. Another bonus for your child! There two ways to order – use the code and order online, or return the paper order form to school. Both are due by Friday, Sept. 25. Thanks!
We had a great turn-out at Back to School Night. It was wonderful to meet families and to see the pride in each child’s face as they showed you around the room tonight. This is a great group of kids with a lot of energy and I look forward to all of the fun projects we will do together in First grade. If you didn’t make it in Tuesday night, please make sure you sign-up for a Fall conference. The list is just outside the classroom.
Phew! Tuesday was a busy day in the classroom. Along with finishing up our bug story problems and reading and writing about our story of the week, we had a visit from Ms. Redmond, who introduced us to using the tablets as a research tool, a visit form Ms. Liz to work on some friendship skills, and to top it off we also visited the garden with Ms. Kathleen! A lot of highlights all in one day!
Our classroom work has us reading a story titled The Big Blue Ox by Susan Stevens Crummel. We are looking more closely at the setting of a story, as well as reviewing our work with fantasy vs. realistic fiction. We will be working with the short o sound and talking about plural vs. singular nouns. We are learning some new centers this week as well, that we will try out next week.
In math, we are sorting bugs and making patterns with coins. We are solving our bug story problems, as well as writing number sentences together. In writing, we continue to build our stamina and focus on writing about things we know about, or things that have happened to us.
Thanks & Cheers! – Ms. Sarah
We used our Weekend News journals for the first time on Tuesday and boy did the kids have a lot to write about! Everyone did a superb job of drawing and writing about their weekend. This is an activity we do first thing when we enter the classroom after a weekend. Many kids find it is helpful to review some of the things that happened at home over the weekend. It can be a simple as a Saturday morning breakfast, or walk in the park, or more elaborate like a party or trip out of town. If you get a chance, please help your kiddo pick an idea to write about and give a quick retelling of their choice.
Today I sent home the first homework of the year. I included a letter outlining the expectations. I know the idea of homework can be overwhelming and can bring up a lot of different feelings – for both the kids and adults. The work is meant to be a review of things we have covered in class, and can serve as an entry point for families to connect with and reinforce some of the skills that first graders are learning. Please talk with me if you have any concerns.
This week in the classroom we are working with the short vowel -i and the final sound of -x. Our new handwriting letter is d. We are also examining texts to determine whether a story is fantasy or realistic fiction. We continue to get use to our daily writing routines – settling in and focusing, stretching out words as we write, using the word wall, and rereading our writing as we go. Our goal is to build our writing stamina by a few minutes each week.
In math we are solving bug story problems. We will be creating our own later in the week. We are solving the story problems using pictures, numbers, and symbols. In our number corner we are examining patterns and tallies, as well as writing number sentences to reflect the date.
Finally, we had our pictures taken on Tuesday. You can find the order form in the beginning of the year packet. The instructions for online ordering are on that flyer. I sent home orders that had come in early – as the new process was not clear to all of us. Please check your child’s picture online and then send in your orders. Thank you and sorry for the confusion!
Welcome to Ms. Sarah’s First Grade Classroom Notes! Each week I’ll describe some of what the learning looks like in our classroom, as well as keep you up to date on various other classroom and Lewis happenings. I will also occasionally post pictures that document our class activity on twitter@sjamesbarry or on the website MsJamesbarry@wordpress.com.
First of all, we have had a lovely first few days together. I am enjoying getting to know your children and their interests. We have spent our time learning about the classroom expectations and some of the routines of first grade, reading stories, and just getting to know our new classroom family.
This week we are focusing much of our literacy work around the story Sam, Come Back! It is a simple story about a cat who runs off. We will being doing a variety of activities this week including reviewing our kindergarten sight words, talking about story characters, practicing the letter a in handwriting.
In math we have been exploring our math manipulatives including the favorite bugs and polydrons. We are enjoying our interactive Number Corner routines which include patterns, daily number, money, time, and figuring. We will begin some problem solving in weeks to come. It should fun!
Finally, a big thank you those who promptly returned the school paper work. If you haven’t gotten to it yet, please get it to me as soon as possible. Your child’s safety is very important to me – so having up to date information is important. If you have questions or just want to chat, you can stop in after school or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an after school meeting time. Cheers!
Second Grade- here we come! I can’t believe it is the last week of school. Spring seemed to fly by and Mother Nature seems to have brought the summer heat early. We have been so busy with writing projects, Farm building, Art Night, field trips, drama, gardening, and so many other things – it all feels like a whirlwind. I was looking back through pictures and work samples from the year and I am amazed at how much each of the kids have grown. It has truly been a special year for me. Thank you for sharing your fantastic kids with me. I know I’ll miss them this summer and really look forward to seeing them next Fall in the hallways and lunchroom, and on the playground.
Our week looks like this: We are finishing up our animal projects early in the week, then we will be doing some reflecting on our year together, enjoying our classroom community, spending time with our buddy class, participating in 5th grade graduation, and finishing up with a Summer Birthday Bash/End of Year party. On Wednesday morning (9:30 – 11:00) we will be walking to Berkeley Park with our buddy class for a final meet up. We will be playing games and enjoying our snacks there.
Looking back, Thanks to our awesome parent chaperones our zoo trip was a great success! They did a fabulous job touring groups through the zoo on a hot day. I can’t thank them (you!) enough! All of the kids raved about how awesome their group was – and all of them did a fantastic job on their zoo scavenger hunt. Bravo!
Again, it has been a fabulous year for me. This is such an awesome group of kids. It was a pleasure to spend my days teaching, learning, playing, and just enjoying their great sense of humor and wonder. I wish everyone a wonderful Summer full of fun and wonder. Don’t forget to keep up with your daily reading, a bit of writing, and lots of games to keep up your math skills!