Sunday, October 31, 2010

Place Value

In math we have been learning about two digit numbers and their values. We have been using Base Ten Blocks to count by tens and then ones. To help practice this at home, visit Shark Numbers game where the students count the tens and ones to identify the number. Once they count they number, they click on the bubble and check their answer. One trick we use in class to help with counting is that after we count the tens we clap to break the skip counting pattern and then we start counting by ones. For example we say: "ten, twenty, thirty, -clap-, thirty-one, thirty-two." Clapping helps them recognize the when to switch number patterns. Below are a few pictures of the students practicing Place Value in class:

Character Parade

To celebrate Red Ribbon Week (which just happens to fall around Halloween time, ha!) the students got to dress up as their favorite book character and walk in a parade throughout the school. The theme was to "Show your character and say 'no' to drugs." So that all students could participate, we decided to have a grade level theme based on the Laura Numeroff books. Our class dressed up as the black cat from If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, Ms. Goolsbay's class dressed up as If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, Ms. Pollard's class dressed up as If You Give a Moose a Muffin, and Mrs. Linnabary's class dressed up as If You Give a Pig a Pancake. Below is a slideshow of our class showing their character during the parade.

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Red Ribbon Week

Last week we celebrated Red Ribbon Week with various activities including wearing red, white, and blue to say "United We Stand Against Drugs" and wearing our favorite team shirts to say "We Team Up Against Drugs." The first grade theme this year was "First Graders 'clothes' the door on drugs!" Each class decorated their door in a "clothes" related item and slogan. Our class slogan was "We give drugs the 'boot'!" You can learn more about Red Ribbon Week and ways you can talk to your child about this important topic at the National Family Partnership. Ms. Terry, the counselor, talked with the students about the history of the program as well as the importance of saying "no" to drugs.

Pumpkin Writing

Each week we write using a program called Write From the Beginning. The program uses Thinking Maps to teach the students how to organize their thoughts and sentences. This week we wrote about real pumpkins. The students created a Circle Map followed by a Tree Map to write three sentences describe a pumpkin. After writing their sentences the students received one-on-one feedback on how to edit and improve their writing. They wrote their final drafts on pumpkin paper to add to our hallway pumpkin patch.

Noun Neighborhood

In Reading and Social Studies we have been learning about the importance of maps. One of the books we read is Me On The Map by Joan Sweeney. As we read we discussed all of the important parts of a map. We reviewed the location of our country, state, city, and neighborhood. As a part of our study, we combined our grammar lessons over nouns with our lessons over maps to create a Noun Neighborhood. The students drew their home, their favorite stores, restaurants, vehicles, and more which they then labeled with nouns. We learned that a neighborhood is "where we work, live, and play" and that a noun is a "person, place, or thing." Enjoy a slideshow of the students working on their artistic Noun Neighborhood.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Family Traditions

In Social Studies we studied the structure and roles of families. As a part of our study we talked about family traditions. We discussed how in the past, families created quilts out of special clothing items to document special events or traditions. To wrap up the unit, the students drew one of their family traditions on a quilt square which we put together as a class quilt

Problem Solving

We have been working on addition and subtraction word problems intensively over the last week or so. We have been learning various strategies such as acting it out with either manipulatives or ourselves and drawing a picture to help us solve the problem. Below is an example of a way we used manipulatives to create a picture to help solve a problem.
You can help at home by having your child practice various word problems at home. You can use any small items at home (buttons, beans, candy, etc.) to have them act out the problems. A great website to visit for additional practice is Math Playground. The problems that are age appropriate are under the section called Addition and Subtraction - Facts to 20 Single Step. You can have your child practice sections 1 through 10.


How I Grow and Change

In science as a part of our study in measurement, the students used pop cubes to measure their birth length. The students compared the length of the pop cubes, or their birth length, to their current height. They then traced the cubes onto paper and drew themselves as a baby at that specific length.

More Shapes

As review, the students created four-part charts about shapes. They had to identify and draw one real-life object that is one of the basic two-dimensional shapes. Then, in computer lab a few weeks ago, the students created their own four-part chart using the technology skill of "click, hold, and drag" to sort clipart into the correct shape category.

Mama's Coming Home

The students used interactive writing to complete a Flow Map about the events in the story Mama's Coming Home. Retelling stories with specific detail is very important to their reading comprehension. You can help at home by having your child draw a Flow Map and fill in the beginning, middle, and ending events of stories that they read.

Pumpkin Shapes

The students created abstract pumpkins out of squares and triangles during our study of two-dimensional shapes. The goal was to see different ways squares and square rectangles could be made using smaller squares. It was a good way for the students to see that no matter the shape of the square or square rectangle, its attributes stayed the same - it had four vertices (corners) and four sides. The students were challenged to make pumpkin leaves by creating large triangles out of smaller triangles. They had to focus on turning the small triangles to make a pattern. Enjoy a quick slideshow below of their work:

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Jetting to Success: Read Just for Fun

As your child reads a book at home just for fun, have them write down the book on their Jet to Success Reading log. We are having a contest amongst the first grade classes to see who reads the most books just for fun. The purpose of the contest is to motivate the students to read more often. Reading logs are available in class and on the first grade page of the Moseley website.

A few of you asked about when we visit the library. We visit the library each Friday but the students may visit the library independently on any other day during Reading Workshop. The students may get up to five books at a time.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Word Wall Flashcards

To help your child learn their Word Wall words, I created Word Wall Flashcards. We will be creating Word Wall Rings in class over the next few weeks. The Word Wall Rings will be sent home so your child can practice them daily. I've attached copies of the flashcards here in case you want an extra set. I suggest keeping a set in the car for those commutes to and from school, the grocery store, etc.

1st Six Weeks Word Wall Flashcards -

2nd Six Weeks Word Wall Flashcards -

Third Six Weeks Word Wall Flashcards -

Fourth Six Weeks Word Wall Flashcards -

Fifth Six Weeks Word Wall Flashcards -

Sixth Six Weeks Word Wall Flashcards -

Friday, October 8, 2010

Reading Strategies

While lesson planning, I found great summaries online of the strategies we use in class to teach reading. Below are some reading strategies that we use in class each day that you can use at home as well:

Use Picture Clues
•Look at the picture.
•Are there people, objects, or actions in the picture that might make sense in the sentence?

Sound Out the Word
•Start with the first letter, and say each letter-sound out loud.
•Blend the sounds together and try to say the word. Does the word make sense in the sentence?

Look for Chunks in the Word
•Look for familiar letter chunks. They may be sound/symbols, prefixes, suffixes, endings, whole words, or base words.
•Read each chunk by itself. Then blend the chunks together and sound out the word. Does that word make sense in the sentence?

Connect to a Word You Know
•Think of a word that looks like the unfamiliar word.
•Compare the familiar word to the unfamiliar word. Decide if the familiar word is a chunk or form of the unfamiliar word.
•Use the known word in the sentence to see if it makes sense. If so, the meanings of the two words are close enough for understanding.

Reread the Sentence
•Read the sentence more than once.
•Think about what word might make sense in the sentence. Try the word and see if the sentence makes sense.

Keep Reading
•Read past the unfamiliar word and look for clues.
•If the word is repeated, compare the second sentence to the first. What word might make sense in both?

Use Prior Knowledge
•Think about what you know about the subject of the book, paragraph, or sentence.
•Do you know anything that might make sense in the sentence? Read the sentence with the word to see if it makes sense.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fluency Focus: Choral Reading

One of the many activities we do in class to increase our reading fluency is choral reading. We have "Friday Face-Offs" where the boys and girls take turns reading the weekly homework and giving constructive feedback to one another. We also use a free downloadable software, Audacity, to record the readings. The students listen to their recordings and then analyze how they can read more fluently. You can download Audacity to use at home; all you need is a computer microphone (can be found cheaply at Wal-Mart, Target, etc.) and speakers and/or headphones for your child to hear themselves. The students love it because they become the stars of their own reading show. Below are a few Podcasts of some of the poems we learned this six weeks. You can download the Podcasts to your MP3 player by visiting my Podbean website.

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