Sparkle will fly to and from the North Pole to report if my students are doing their best work and if they are respecting one another. It will be fun to see where the elf is and what the elf will be doing each morning when we come to school. Check out our pictures of our elf and other Christmas decorations.
We have focused a lot of attention lately on reading/decoding simple CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant words). Some examples of these CVC words are log, big, leg, fun, dad. With the use of the reading strategy finding the first part and looking through the whole word, students have been successful reading most of these words. We have also practiced this strategy with nonsense words (i.e. bov, nig, paz). The reason we work with nonsense words is because many students automatically recognize these simple CVC words without having to work through the word. We want to make sure they know how to decode any unknown word in text, hence the use of the nonsense words. This would be an easy skill to practice at home with real words or nonsense words. Write words down or use the cut up letters I gave you at conferences to make up the words. Have your child decode each word using the strategy find the first part and look through the whole word.
In addition, we have been learning about the importance of comprehending a story. We have just begun practicing retelling fiction stories, focusing on who is in the story (characters), what happened in the story (plot), and where the story took place (setting). We will be learning about problems and solutions in stories in the near future.
We have also started talking about the importance of fluency. Students have learned that good readers make their reading sound like talking. Students understand that reading should be fluent, expressive, and at a good pace. As books come home, have your child practice reading with fluency, expression, and appropriate pace. Fluency is best practiced with books students know really well or with books that are just right or even a bit too easy.
We just wrapped up our first writing unit on personal narratives. Though we will come back to personal narratives again later this trimester, we will take a break for the next eight weeks to write How-To books. This particular type of informational text will be fun for students to write. They love writing about things that have happened to them as well as things they know a lot about.
In order to be successful with this type of writing, students must first be exposed to many published examples of How-To books. After reading these books, we have developed a list of text features commonly found in this type of informational book. We have since begun to write our own How-To books. These books are centered around something your child knows how to do really well. Begin talking to your child about some possible ideas of things he/she could write about. Here are some examples of things students have done in the past:
- How to make a snowman.
- How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
- How to play football.
- How to be a good friend.
- How to be a good brother/sister.
- How to clean your room.
- How to take care of your dog/cat.
- How to catch a fish.
These are just a few ideas. Your child is free to pick any topic as long as it's something he/she knows how to do really well. To assist with your child's writing, simply talk to them about some ideas and talk through the important steps they should include in their book. Keep in mind that they will write multiple How-To books over the course of the next eight weeks.
One of the ways we celebrated the completion of our first narrative unit was reading with Mrs. Hahn's class. Students had the opportunity to read their writing to various first grade students. They absolutely LOVED this experience. Here are some pictures and videos from our share time.
We have been learning more about teen numbers and how teen numbers are ten and some more. We have done a lot of problem solving using ten-frames, which has really helped us recognize what a group of 10 looks like. Students have learned that when a 10-frame is filled, they don't need to count every single item in the frame. Instead, they can say 10 and count on from that number. Students are learning that this is a much faster and more efficient way to count.
Students are also learning about the concept of one more and one less. We have referred to these numbers as neighboring numbers. Some skills you can continue to work on at home are:
*counting to 100 by ones
*counting to 100 by tens
*counting to 100 by fives
*writing numbers to 20
We are going to continue learning about shapes and problem solving this trimester, but we will add measurement to the repertoire. Students will continue to have a lot of fun discovering that our whole world is made up of shapes, and they will learn the importance of measuring.
In addition, we will continue to work on problem solving. Two days a week, we will complete an addition or subtraction story problem with various number choices. They have learned that there are many different ways to solve problems. Some of the strategies they have learned to solve problems have been drawing pictures, acting out the problem, using a 10-frame, using a number line, and counting on from the biggest number. When selecting a strategy, it's important for students to consider which way would be the most efficient. This is something we have just begun to discuss.
Here are some pictures and a video of the start of our measurement unit. The pictures capture a moment when students were asked to work as a table group to put things in order from shortest to tallest. The video captures the task of finding things longer and shorter than a piece of string.