Thank you to those parents who came to Open House on Wednesday. It was nice seeing each of you and I enjoyed having the opportunity to tell you a little bit about first grade at Indian Trail. The time flew by so if you had any specific questions about the curriculum, classroom policies, etc. please feel free to contact me.
Students continued to use our ReadyGen curriculum to learn more comprehension strategies. This week we focused on story elements: characters, setting, and events. Try having your child identify the story elements of the books that you are reading together at home to reinforce this skill. We continued to use our anchor text of Stellaluna to work on comparing and contrasting characters to support the understanding of characters for our story elements goal. We compared and contrasted characters from two different books: Frog and Toad from Frog and Toad Together and Stellaluna from Stellaluna. Here is an image of what the class discussed. I think that these notes from our discussion show the amazing depth of understandings and discussions that this rich anchor text has helped fuel within our classroom!
Also, students continued learning new high-frequency words and we have added them to our word wall. Please make sure you child can read these words to improve their reading fluency. This week we worked on the following words: the, of, and, a, to, in, is, you, that, it. If you need to reference the list of word wall words we have learned so far this year here is a link to the page on my blog: https://mrsdecristofaro.weebly.com/word-wall-words.html.
Additionally, students continued learning about our Daily 5 literacy structure. This week during Daily 5, students have continued working on increasing their stamina to work independently during Read to Self time (we're up to 7 uninterrupted minutes!). Students have also been introduced to a few of our word work activities. Within the next few weeks, other choices will be introduced. Eventually students will be able to independently choose between the following tasks:
- Read to Self
- Read to Someone
- Listen to Reading
- Word Work
- Work on Writing
While students are working independently on these meaningful tasks I am able to meet with students one-on-one or with a small group of students to work on their individual instructional goals.
Students were also introduced to Writer's Workshop this week. Writer's Workshop is a designated time of 30 minutes four days a week where students will become “authors”! Our lessons are primarily taken from the ReadyGen Curriculum and is aligned with the Common Core Start Standards. This program exposes first graders to opinion, narrative, and information writing and seamlessly connects writing to texts we are reading in class. We are starting the year off with narrative writing! Our class worked on the goal of retelling and telling that part of the story in "itsy bitsy" steps (just like the Itsy Bitsy Spider nursery rhyme) and in sequence. We practiced this by retelling an event from the text Stellaluna by Janell Cannon across several pages. They learned how to plan before they began writing by "touching the pages and telling out loud their plan", then doing a sketch on each page so they remembered what they planned, and finally writing it down. Each student met with Mrs. Goldstein or me once they developed a plan so we could better understand the writing strengths and needs of each individual student. After getting a better idea of the students' needs we will help develop writing goals for each student.
This week students got to "Meet the Number Rack" in math! This week, students created their own mini rack that they can utilize to help them when modeling mathematical understanding. The number rack is a powerful base ten model that allows students to create and actively manipulate numbers between 0 and 20. It combines features of the number line, counters, and base ten models. As Unit 1 progresses, students are asked to use the number rack as a way to model and solve problems. Over time and throughout the sessions in this unit, students develop proficiency with the number rack as they break apart numbers, solve part-part-whole problems, and practice subitizing. First graders liked practicing subitizing by playing a game called tens-frame flash. Students were given a card to see for 2 seconds and then had to model it on their number rack. Students also enjoyed solving missing addend story problems (example: Carlos and Tina found 10 ladybugs in the garden. Carlos found 7 and Tina found the rest. How many did Tina find.) They were encouraged to also match this story problem to an equation (7+_=10).
Students also practiced skip counting forwards and backwards by 10s on the number-line. And finding a missing number on the number line when skip counting.
Students were introduced to Second Step which is a program that teaches Social-Emotional Learning. When students are better equipped to manage their own emotions and build positive relationships, they're better equipped to learn. Our first lesson focused on listening skills so that we can learn. Here were the 4 things we practiced with some hand/body movements to help us remember them:
1. Eyes Watching
2. Ears Listening
3. Voice Quiet
4. Body Still
Several lessons come with homework pages. I plan on sending them home for communication to you so that you are familiar with the language we are using at school. The homework page DOES NOT need to be returned to school since the purpose I am sending it home for is to communicate the language to you. You can choose to have your child complete the page to reinforce these skills at home if you would like.
Monday, September 10th: No school/Rosh Hashanah
Wednesday, September 12th: Ice Cream Day- You must sign up online if you want your child to receive ice cream. You cannot pay in cash anymore.
Wednesday, September 19th: No school/Yom Kippur