This last trimester of math can be summed up in two words: problem solving!! Students are solving many story problems and are learning the difference between addition and subtraction. Students are also learning that addition and subtraction work together. They are beginning to understand if I know 2+3=5, then I also know 5-2=3.
Students are also learning problem solving strategies. We have made an anchor chart of various things we can do to solve problems (see below),
Students continue to find efficient ways to count. Making groups of 10 is one efficient way of counting. See the collections below and the recording sheets that go with them. You will see how students are recording their thinking. New pictures have been added below!
Through problem solving and counting, students are truly developing an understanding of how numbers work together. In essence, they are developing a strong sense of numbers.
Here are a few things you can do at home to help support what we are learning at school:
have students solve simple story problems (adding and subtracting)
review addition and subtraction facts under 5 (2+3=5, 2+1=3, 5-1=4...)
count by 1's, 5's, 10's to 100 and count by 2's to 20
find the missing number (2+ ____ =5, 3- ____ = 2, 2+____=4, etc.)
Students have been learning more and accuracy strategies to help them read words correctly. So far, we have learned to:
find the first part and look through the whole word
cross-check ("Does it look right? Does is sound right?")
flip the vowel sound (try different vowel sounds to make it correct)
skip the word and come back
Students have also learned the importance or retelling a story. They are becoming more familiar with story element vocabulary (characters, setting, plot, problem, and solution). I feel like my students have grown a lot in the area of comprehension since the start of the year. In addition, they have learned to think beyond the text. They make connections to stories as they read. They can relate to the stories and characters. This, to me, is the most important aspect of comprehension.
Another aspect of reading that we have really focused on has been vowel sounds. Students have been learning the short vowel sounds. I would say that most of my students are able to read most simple CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant words such as hat, hen, pot, etc.).
My students have learned fluency strategies such as go back and reread to make your reading sound like talking. A few of my students are learning expand vocabulary strategies. They have learned the importance of figuring out the meaning of unknown words.
My students have become authors!!! I'm sure many of you can tell after reading through their books from 2nd trimester that they have become such wonderful writers. The personal narratives they wrote at the end of 2nd trimester were phenomenal. I would argue that many of their books were better than many of my first grade students' books in the past. We have focused a lot on these stories having a solid beginning, middle, and end. To help tell our stories, students have learned the importance of using sequence words: first, then, next, last, etc. They have also learned the importance of adding extra details in their stories to help the reader picture exactly what happened. Throughout the month of May, students will once again focus on writing personal narratives.
In addition to writing personal narratives, students are currently learning about opinion writing. Students have learned that there people write their opinions to try to solve problems in the world. Students have also learned there are ways in which we share our opinions through different modes of writing: a sign/poster, a book, or a letter. I'm sure many of you have received letters from your child (I apologize if they are asking for various things or writing to their little brothers or sisters). These are quite simply the problems they see in their world, which is pretty sweet. I love that their biggest problems involve their brother or sister taking their toys! It means they have pretty amazing lives! To encourage them to think beyond the problems in their lives, we are going to come up with a service project to do as a class. Look for a letter to come home soon regarding this service project.
They have also learned why sharing opinions is so effective. Ultimately, the goal of sharing opinions with others is to try to convince other people to change their ways or their beliefs. Students will write several opinion pieces through this trimester. One will be shared with you at conferences. You might also see some of our signs/posters in the hallway.
With both the opinion and the personal narrative units, we are going to focus on writing conventions. We will continue to work on editing our work so that each sentence begins with a capital and ends with a period. We will also work to include capital/lowercase letters in appropriate places. We will also work on spelling sight words correctly.
We have been learning all about weather this trimester in science. Students have learned about rain, clouds, temperature, and different kinds of weather. We have done a few experiments earlier in the year that involved making a cloud and making a freezing different types of liquid to see if all liquids freeze. Students will participate in several more experiments to learn more about weather. They will continue to record their findings in their science journals which will come home at the end of the year.
One of the things we have learned about recently is weather tools. Students have discovered that different tools measure different aspects of weather. One of the tools we have made ourselves was a rain gauge. We cut the top off of a bottle and turned that upside down inside the bottle. Then we drew lines on the bottle to measure inches. We plan to set the rain gauge outside on a rainy day to measure how much rain came down. Another aspect we are learning regarding weather is that weather affects how plants grow. Students are learning that most plants grow during the spring because of the warmer temperatures and rainy weather. Students will plant some flower seeds to experiment with this.
Students are also learning from our Flat Stanley project that different types of weather are more prominent in certain areas of the country and world. Students have learned that in some parts of the country, it is warm all year long. In other parts of the country, it is rainy for a lot of the year. We have also learned that some parts of the country (like Iowa) experience all 4 seasons. We are beginning to understand that weather effects the things we wear and the things we do. For example, when it rains for several days in a row, indoor recess is inevitable.
We have continued to learn how people are different. We have also learned how we grow and change over time. For Mother's Day, we are going to work on a special book that will focus on how we have changed over time. aby pictures will be needed for this special project. Please send these pictures by Friday, April 11th.