This week we will watch a Brainpop Jr. on how to write a letter. We will use this as a platform to create a template for how we will write our opinion letters. They will continue to use their "Things I Want to Change" sheet and their graphic organizer they created last week to help them write a letter.
Not only letter and expressing one's opinion will be our focus, but being able to use correct conventions (capitals, handwriting and punctuation). So they will create a rough draft of their letter and then switch letters with a partner and help each other correct any grammar or convention that they need to. Each partner will get a turn and after they meet, they will take their revised letter and write a final copy. We will mail out these letters hopefully Monday of next week!
Last year I had a few kids write to companies and they actually responded! Some got food coupons! So I'm hoping this happens again. If your child writes to you :) , it'd be great if you wrote them back and sent it to the school! They'd think it was so cool to get a letter!
Walruses-that's a mouthful! This week, we will finish up our penguin study by using Sergio Goes Swimming and retell the different parts of the story using a pie chart. This will help reinforce what we have been doing in reading. The last penguin piece is comparing informational text on penguins to fiction texts. Together on the smart board we will fill in a Venn diagram about what's different between the two stories and what can be similar between informational and fiction. Then we will take some fun penguin data on the stories we read the past two weeks!
Hopefully, we will be on track for Walruses on Wednesday! We will read informational text on Walruses and use our PeggleGo site to help us learn about these unattractive animals! They will have record data similar to what they have been doing all year: Can/Have/Are sheet, diagram of a walrus and writing their information in facts (complete sentences). We will listen to a walrus whistle (it's quite amusing) and talk about how they may interact with other animals we have learned about! Since it was too cold to do some of outdoor activities, I'm hoping we can do that this week: learning about why animals have blubber and how that helps them stay warm. Also how Walruses use their tusks (we will try)! So lots of fun to be had still in the Arctic, brrr!
Towards the end of next week (we are bit behind because of the snow days), we will start working with double digit numbers in comparison with other numbers. We will work on identifying a number on the 100's chart and adding 1 and 10 more and taking away 1 and 10 less.
This concept can be difficult because the 100's chart is quite daunting. Lots of numbers and lots to think about! But we will do lots of practice with the 100's chart and work on making little boxes around numbers to help us understand this concept. We will use terms like jump down (adding 10), jump back (subtracting 10) and moving 1 back/left (1 less) and moving 1 forward/right (1 more) to help. Sounds confusing, I know! But this will help them visualize it, even though they'll have their 100's chart always to help. They have their name tags to use or I have some small ones they can use as well.
They will also learn to compare numbers using the greater than/less than signs (< and >) and the equals (=) sign. I use alligator mouths as a way of thinking about greater than and less than. The alligator is hungry and always wants the bigger number to eat, so the sign (open mouth) will point towards the bigger number. Then this topic will move into ordering the numbers from least to greatest and the other way, greatest to leart
This topic has a lot going on so if we need to slow down and wait till Topic 10 we will. It depends on their pre assessment and what I see during math workshop time.
This week we are going to do some warming up before we do reader's theater! We are going to read some fun books that are great for practicing fluency and expression! By studying these two reading aspects, this will also help us as readers remember what we were reading, comprehension! And what a better way then with some funny books that they are already familiar with. The familiarity will help reading aloud/acting aloud seem less scary and give them some confidence.
They will use the text and their background knowledge to help them form mental images and form pictures. Then they will remember those details and be able to retell the story! So something as fun as reading and acting a story out are going to help us hit so many important aspects of being a good reader! Hopefully you will hear or see some of this trickle into home reading! So reading workshop may get a bit loud in here, but a focused loud :)
Some fun books to kick this off:
A Big Guy Stole My Ball, The Duckling Gets a Cookie, I Love My New Toy by Mo Willems (again just fabulous books for kids)!
And we will reread I Want My Hat Back
Second semester of first grade, we concentrate on persuasive/opinion writing. This is quite a large and encompassing unit. We will start off small and work our way into more detailed/specific persuasive writing. We will begin by discussing what an opinion is and create a list of "Things we want to change". The mind of a first grader is a wonderful thing, but they tend to focus on the "I like because" way of thinking during opinion writing so by having some guidance with this chart, I hope it will get us to think a little bigger. They will complete their own sheet of things they want to change and can use some suggestions we had in class!
We will talk about why we write opinions and who could we write to? Creating another list of different people we could write to and post to help guide their thinking. Using Oreos (and of course eat them!) to help us guide our writing: Give our opinion (the cookie) reason why (the cream) and repeat our opinion in the ending (the other cookie). On chart paper, I will draw a large Oreo with our plan/outline of writing an opinion:
1. Give opinion
2. reason why
3. reason why
4. reason why
5. end, repeat opinion
This is where we will start off next week. So you may see some "letters" going home that ask for longer bedtimes, more snacks or treats! Depending on where they go with this! If you could, maybe respond to at least one letter, that'd be great! Eventually we will send some off to various companies, people and possibly you in the mail!
We have some great books that are going to help us make connections to the stories we read! Making connections makes reading more fun, interesting and helps us remember the story. This will help us with our retelling (comprehension of our reading) which is an area we need to work on. Retelling/comprehension is a huge part of being an independent reader in first grade (and older grades). Making connections to the story, either to yourself or to other texts will help them connect to stories we read both chapter and picture books, as well as remember details in the story. This will be something we will work on for a few weeks. As they are reading at home, you might want to start asking them, what does this make you think of? Or remember when you/we did that? And have them share that connection with you!
We will read: Big Sister, Little Sister, Every Friday, Night of the Veggie Monster and Rain.
This week we are learning about specific penguin vocabulary: rookery, molt, creche (this week). We will also go outside and do some winter experiments! The weather is perfect for pretending to be an emperor penguin (the kids are close to the same size too!). We will go outside one day and pretend to be penguins in our colony keeping warm. We will take turns huddling and moving around from inside to outside the circle. We will also go outside and look at snow/ice and talk about the different properties of water and the penguin's habitat. We will also (if there is still snow) do an activity outside with our hands with gloves/without gloves to demonstrate how blubber keeps the animals warm! So please make sure they have warm coats, gloves and hats next week!
In math next week, we will begin Topic 8: Tens and Ones. This focus on writing and counting two-digit numbers. They did a pretty good job skip counting and writing 2 digit numbers (basic 10's). This may prove to be a bit challenging, writing two digit numbers with ones. We will use manipulatives that are green sticks, for tens and green cubes for ones. We have talked this year about place value but I will reiterate it again during our lessons and calendar. Some extra practice writing and adding will be done during their workshop time, so you may see various worksheets or practice items coming home!
Since it's winter, what's more appropriate than studying some arctic animals! So we will jump off into nonfiction study this year with Penguins!!! Not only are they cute, but there is a lot of fun information to learn about them!
During this study, students will work through a packet similar to ones we have done in the past but then there will be more vocabulary, more chances for them to write what they have learned, learning how to fill in bubble maps with facts (organizing their learning), and compare fiction stories to nonfiction stories. We have TONS of books both nonfiction and fiction for us to dig through this unit. They will learn to compare the components between the two different types of books. On PebbleGo there is some great online resources, facts and videos. We will also explore National Geographic for Kids online and the books. There are many different types of penguins too so there will lots of discussions, questions and learning about that too!
And for fun (and there's some learning in there too!) I will show a Frozen Planet video called "Criminal Penguin" (
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1f--GZSptnk) It's hilarious! And how a Japanese family rescued an Emperor Penguin and how he lives his daily life now with them! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxtvrdP8an0)
Stayed tuned for new vocabulary and facts!
During this topic students will practice writing two digit numbers to three digit numbers. Then we will work on skip counting by 5's, 10's and then move into 2's. We will do some chants to help us remember and although annoying to hear, yes, encourage them to chant at home! This will also be our first introduction to the 100's chart. We will jump around showing the patterns on the 100's chart and how this is another resource we can use to help us solve problems. They have a 100's chart on their name tag and I also have laminated copies for them to use as well. Whatever is easiest for them use! The more comfortable they are using the 100's chart the easier it will be when we move to adding by 10's and double digit numbers.
Remember how important it is to practice those single digit facts! The better bank they have, the more comfortable they will feel when we start to move into harder math.
We will also be moving more permanently into math workshop next week. Some students will not be responsible for the front of the workmat (so don't be alarmed), and completing on their own. Then they will move onto other math choices: taking data, math games (various topics covered) or logic/story problems. So you will see sometimes more papers than normal coming home for math or less, just depends on their choices. These rotations and choices will give me a better opportunity to work with more students and be able to help them at their level.