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Friday, September 30, 2011

Crew News September 30, 2011

Gallery Walk
We started the second case study of our Expedition with a gallery walk today. The crew is thinking over the weekend about what the topic might be. Below are some photos of the gallery walk that we did with Ms. Mary Beth's crew.

No homework for the weekend. Enjoy a few good books with your child.

I noticed that we have several birthdays coming up over our Fall Break. If your child has a birthday over break and you are planning to send in birthday treats could you let me know in advance? That way maybe we can schedule them on different days next week to avoid too many treats on Friday. :-) Also, you might want to double check the birthday treat reminders that were posted earlier this year.

Our IA next week is Art.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crew News September 29, 2011

Character Trait ~ Stewardship
We learned about the last character trait last week. Stewardship means taking good care of things and helping to keep our world clean. We have gone on "Stewardship Patrol" in our classroom several times. This means that we all look for things that need to be put away and put them where they go and that we look for trash to throw away. We show excellent stewardship in our room. Ask your child how they can show stewardship at home.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 3.2 Odd and Even Numbers

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Crew News September 28, 2011

Buddy Reading
I heard one of my favorite sounds the other day during centers - the sound of first graders reading aloud together. The video below captures what I saw. Enjoy! Remember that you will need to go directly to the blog to view the video.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 3.1 Patterns

Remember that we have library tomorrow. Please help your child remember to return their library books so that they can check out new books.

Math Assessment
We had a math assessment yesterday. Your child's assessment is in his or her homework folder today. Refer back to this post, More on Math Tests, for more information about how they are graded and what parts your child needs to master at this point (Only Part A) and how the tests are graded. Remember that I do read all parts of the test to the crew at this point in the year.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crew News September 27, 2011

What Happens to my Child's Math Homework?
You may be wondering what happens to your child's math homework. When your child arrives at school each morning, he or she has several jobs to do. These jobs include putting their math homework in a bin, putting away their green homework folder, filling up their water bottle and making a lunch choice. During morning meeting, Ms. Dee checks the homework. Then later in the morning during centers, she pulls kids who have made mistakes or are not understanding a concept and works with them to help them make corrections. She also has them correct any backwards numbers. After that she leaves the papers with notes on them for me to see and recycles the rest. Since you have already looked at the homework the night before there is no need to send it back home again - we are just trying to cut down on the paperwork that piles up everywhere. Ask your child if he or she has ever worked with Ms. Dee on homework corrections.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 2.14  Unit 3: Family Letter

Calendar Note
Remember to refer to the Renaissance calendar rather than the district modified calender. We do have school this Friday, October 7th and do not have school on Monday, October 24th. This will be a teacher work day. This is opposite of the district modified calender so always check to make sure you are checking the correct calendar.

Also note that belay training and refresher courses are coming up on October 5th. See the calendar link above for more details.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Crew News September 26, 2011

Writing Celebration
On Thursday and Friday of last week, we celebrated the end of our first genre study in writing. We had been studying pattern books and were ready to share our books with an audience. On Thursday we went to Ms. Mary Beth's room to listen to students from her crew share their books. On Friday, they came to our room. We loved sharing our books with each other. We heard some great stories. Below are pictures from our sharing time on Friday.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 2.13 Counting Money

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Crew News September 22, 2011

Exercise in the Classroom
We have several ways that we move our bodies in our classroom. We do some stretching on Fridays during our morning meeting. We have body and/or brain breaks where we pretend to walk on a tight rope, walk like a penguin, pretend to swim or some other imaginative activity. This week we added basic exercise moves to our transitions between classes. We do push-ups, crunches, leg lifts, squats, lunges, jumping jacks and much more (but not all on one day). I had Mr. Doug approve our list of exercises when I started doing this with my class last year. I really believe in the power of movement. It is not only good for the body and the attention span but it is good for the brain, too. (No photos today - they all turned out too blurry because we were moving!)
No homework for the weekend. Enjoy a few good books with your child.

Our IA next week is PE. Please help your child remember to wear appropriate footwear.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crew News September 21, 2011

We are learning all about coins in math. So far we have learned all about pennies and nickels. We will be learning about dimes and quarters in the future. We love to sort our coins, examine our coins and count our coins. We are learning to exchange 5 pennies for a nickel, to count combinations of pennies and nickels and what symbols are on each coin. Ask your child how to play penny-nickel exchange. To play this game you just need some pennies, some nickels and a die (singular of dice) from a board game. If you have a pile of coins or jar of loose change at your house, have your child sort them by coin type, examine them, count them or figure out how much money you have in the pile. They will love it.

We have library tomorrow. Please help your child remember to return their books so that they can check out new ones.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 2.12 Telling Time

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Crew News September 20, 2011

Books by Mo Willems
As a crew, we have found a new favorite author. We love Mo Willems. He is the author of the Elephant and Piggie series, the Pigeon series and the Knuffle Bunny series, among others. We all especially love the Elephant and Piggie series because the books are so funny and we can all read almost all of them on our own. The humor in this series really appeals to first graders. People are saying that Mo Willems will be the Dr. Seuss of this generation. We have 25 of these books checked out of the public library and enjoy reading them any chance we get. If you are looking for a good book on your next trip to the public library, check out an Elephant and Piggie book.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 2.11 Nickels and Pennies

Monday, September 19, 2011

Crew News September 19, 2011

Constitution Day
Constitution Day was over the weekend so today in class we took a moment to talk about the Constitution, what it is and what it says. We watched the 3 minute video below that explains a little bit about the Constitution. How many of you remember when these videos were aired on Saturday mornings?

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 2.10 Pennies and Nickels

Friday, September 16, 2011

Crew News September 16, 2011

Empathy (Interactive Writing)

We are learning about empathy. Empathy is understanding and caring about others. We read two books about empathy, Understand and Care and It Was You, Blue Kangaroo. In Blue Kangaroo, the little girl was not showing empathy. We show empathy everyday.
-by Ms. Jill’s Crew

No homework for the weekend. Enjoy some good books with your child.

Our IA next week is Music.

Our crew received a compliment from the custodian yesterday. He said that our classroom was the easiest to clean because the students do such a nice job of keeping their things picked up off of the floor. Ms. Dee and I have noticed this about them, too.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Crew News September 15, 2011

Reading Strategies
As children are learning to read, we want them to develop some strategies to use when they come to words that they don't know as they are reading. We don't want them to become dependent on having someone else tell them a word that they don't know. We are currently starting a unit on strategies to try when you come to an unknown word. We are learning many strategies and how to be flexible in using them. Different strategies will work in different situations and sometimes a reader must use more than one strategy to figure out a word.

An example of a very early reading strategy is to look at the picture. When reading you must hunt for clues like a detective and in early reading books, the pictures will have good clues about unknown words.

Another example of a reading strategy would be to think about what the story is about to help solve an unknown word. For example, if the story is about a birthday party you might expect to find words like: presents, gifts, wrapping paper, birthday cake, etc. Thinking about what words could be in a story and then looking at the letters in an unknown word can help a child figure those tough words.

In your email tonight is a list of strategies that we are working on in class to help us all become better word detectives. This list will help you with ways to help your child as they are reading.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 2.9 Counting by 5s

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Crew News September 14, 2011

We are well into our study of our families. We are working on noticing ways that our families are similar and different. We are doing this by creating a variety of graphs which incorporates some math skills at the same time. The first graph we created was a tally chart where we tallied what kind of houses we live in. The second graph was a horizontal bar-type graph where we graphed which cities we all live in. Next we made a picture graph of the favorite dinners of our families. We still have more to learn. We take some time to analyze these graphs after we make them so we can notice our similarities and differences.

We also incorporated some geography skills in this study. We read the book, Me on the Map, and talked about how we all have a room, a house, a street, a neighborhood, a city, a state, a country and a planet to use to describe our location. It is always great to talk to your child about where they are as you are driving and to make sure that they know their own address.

 Graphs about our Families
Our Family Portraits

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 2.8 Nickels

We have library tomorrow. Please help your child remember to return their library books so that they can check out new ones.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Crew News September 13, 2011

Resources Page
At the top of the screen on our crew blog, you will see various other pages: Literacy, Math, Expedition, etc. I wanted to point out the Resources page to you today. On this page are links to various online games and activities that go along with what we are or will be learning in class. The page is divided into sections.

The reading section includes several sites that will help students learn various reading skills. We use these sites each day during center time. Your child can also use these sites at home. The only site that won't work as easily at home is Tumblebooks. We have a district subscription to it so we can access it from school without passwords. Your child can access it at home but they will need to enter their (or your) library card and pin number (usually the last 4 digits of your phone number). It is a very popular site with the students and has a wide variety of books at many different reading levels.

The writing section has links to Kidblogs and Storybird. We will be learning to use these in a few months and will set up accounts for each child. Kidblogs is a site for kids to have their own blog but it is totally controlled by me. All posts and comments will be approved by me. Storybird is a way to use artwork that is donated to the site by various artists to create a story. Students just need to add the words. This is always very popular with the kids. After we have learned both Kidblogs and Storybird we will learn to embed our stories from Storybird onto our blog.

The math section has a wide variety of games that will help students practice math skills that we are learning or will be learning. We will be learning how to play many of these games in class this week. The two that are most appropriate for us right now are the dot to dot pictures. Students need to count by 2s, 5s, or 10s to connect the dots to make a picture online.

So, when you are looking for ways to have your child practice skills we are learning in class, check out the Resources page of our crew blog.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 2.7 Ordering Numbers

Monday, September 12, 2011

Crew News September 12, 2011

Counting by 5s
You might be wondering why we are learning to count by 2s and 5s and 10s (and maybe other numbers). One important reason is that learning to count by various numbers makes learning about multiplication and the multiplication facts in future years so much easier. We do have other reasons that are applicable to what we will be learning this year.

One reason is to make it easier to count out combinations of coins. We learn all about coins and counting combinations of coins and making change and much more in first grade. If we can count by 5s, then we can count out money amounts using nickels. If we can count by 10s, then we can count out money amounts using dimes. This is also why we are learning to count tally marks - it leads directly into counting out amounts of money using nickels and pennies.

Another reason to learn to count by 5s is that we will use this skill when we begin to tell time on an analog (not digital) clock. Last week we learned to tell time to the nearest hour. We will need to be able to count by 5s to determine times like 2:05, 3:15, 4:35 and so on.

As you can see it will be very important for us to all be able to count by 5s in the very near future. It is a great thing to practice while driving around in the car, standing in line, waiting for a doctor's appointment, while waiting for dinner in a restaurant. The whole family can participate. There are also some fun online games on the Resources page of this blog that will help your child practice these skills. We will be learning about them this week and your child can also play them from home. (More about that in an upcoming blog post.) Once your child can count by 2s, 5s and 10s, they can try to count by other numbers, too.

I am sending home a number grid that you can keep at home to use if your child needs a little help when practicing counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 2.6 Telling Time to the Hour

I am sending home a paper clock for your child to make and keep at home to use to practice time-telling skills as we learn them. Please keep the clock in a safe place so your child will have it for the rest of the school year to use to practice at home.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Crew News September 9, 2011

Boot Camp
Boot Camp was tons of fun in the sun this afternoon. There were many stations and challenges. Below are a few photos of our crew during Boot Camp.

No homework for the weekend. Enjoy a few good books with your child.
Our IA (Integrated Arts) next week is Art.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Crew News September 8, 2011

Counting by 2s
We have been learning to count by 2s and 5s in math. We have used several different ways to learn and practice this skill. One thing we do is a "whisper/shout" count. We whisper 1, shout 2, whisper 3, shout 4 and so on. We notice that the numbers we shout are the ones we say when we count by 2s. We also learned a chant to help us get started counting by 2s. It goes like this: 2, 4, 6, 8, first graders are really great. The most fun way we have practiced counting by 2s is to stand up and then we say 1 while standing still, then we say 2 and jump, then we say 3 while standing still, then jump while saying 4 and so on. We are also noticing that counting by 2s and 5s creates a pattern on a number line and on a number grid. We should all be getting better at counting by 2s and 5s now. If your child is good at counting by 2s and 5s, they can try counting by other numbers.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 2.5 Clocks and Watches

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crew News September 7, 2011

Character Trait ~ Integrity
The character trait were are learning about this week is integrity. Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching. It includes other components such as telling the truth and doing what I say I am going to do. We read the book, A Very Special Thank You to learn more about integrity. In this book a group of children find a wallet and have to decide what to do with it. They do the right thing and learn about integrity. Ask your child about integrity and how they can show it at home and at school.

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 2.4 Numbers Before and After

We have library tomorrow. Please help your child remember to bring back their library books.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crew News September 6, 2011

Interactive Writing

We do an interactive writing piece once a week. This means that we compose a piece together and negotiate how we want to say each sentence. We decide on a topic and then students contribute ideas. I type the piece on my computer while it is projected onto our screen. The students can see the words as I type. They are learning some word processing skills as they watch. Soon we will begin to add sight word practice to this activity. We will do this by noticing sight words in each sentence. I will highlight them and they will write each sight word on their white board. This will give them both reading and spelling practice while writing the piece for an authentic audience (you).

Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 2.3 Two-Fisted Penny Addition

Friday, September 2, 2011

Crew News September 2, 2011

Morning Meeting

Every morning we do morning meeting. We read our morning message. The message tells us who is the teacher’s helper and what day it is. Then we do the Pledge of Allegiance. We greet each other by saying good morning in different languages. Then we pick 3 people to share something. Then we do an activity. Today we did stretching. On Mondays we drum. On Tuesdays we clean out our desks. On other days we play games. Morning meetings are fun.
-by Ms. Jill’s Crew

No homework for the weekend. Enjoy a good book or two with your child.

Our IA next week is PE. Please help your child remember to wear appropriate footwear.