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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Brandon!

Crew News January 31, 2012

Sharing Our Writing
Today we shared our personal narratives with Ms. Mary Beth's crew. Yesterday we went to their room to listen to their stories. It is so nice to have a new audience for our work.







Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 6.4 Fact Triangles

Monday, January 30, 2012

Crew News January 30, 2012

Book Buzz
I am trying to create a bit of book buzz in our classroom. I have been reading a couple of chapter books aloud to the crew. Reading aloud is fun and builds comprehension skills. We started with Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry. Next we read Ready Freddy: Tooth Trouble by Abby Klein. The books in this series are so appealing to first graders. In Tooth Trouble, Freddy is the only one in his class who hasn't yet lost a tooth. He is so distraught about this that he creates and carries out several plans to try to make one of his teeth fall out. First graders can really identify with this theme. This illustrator also provides readers with the challenge of finding the word "fin" in every illustration. (Freddy is a shark lover so "fin" is one of his favorite words.) While this book is a "chapter book", it is written at a level that would be "just right" for about half of the students in our crew. So, many will be able to read the books in the Ready Freddy series on their own. Others will enjoy them as a read aloud. Next week we will start Roscoe Riley Rules #1: Never Glue Your Friends to a Chair by Katherine Applegate.   The books in this series are all tales of how Roscoe ended up in the timeout chair - nothing outlandish, just his mishaps and mistakes that will feel familiar to most first graders. All of these books are available at the Douglas County Public Library so check some out on your next visit. Happy Reading!



Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 6.3 Fact Families

Friday, January 27, 2012

Crew News January 27, 2012

Math Exchanges

Every Friday during our Math time, we do something called Math Exchanges. Math Exchanges are meetings of small groups of students who work together and/or alone to solve a math problem. Ms. Dee and I each work with small groups and the rest of the students do other math activities like working on the computer, playing Everyday Math games and other math activities. We rotate through several sessions of small groups each Friday.

The best part for all of us is the discussions that we have when meeting in the small groups. The kids just jumped right in and were willing to tackle tough problems together right from the start. One of our most recent problems was:

Jill has 10 cookies to share with her friends Mary Beth and Dee. How many cookies will each friend get?

As the first group and I read the problem together, one student immediately started shaking his head saying this won't work. The other students ignored him at first and counted out 10 blocks to begin dividing up the cookies. It didn't take long before the conversation started. They couldn't figure out what to do with the "leftover" cookie. Each group that I met with had the same issue and then had such wonderful discussions to figure out what to do.

Some groups simply refused to cut the cookie into pieces. They just left that cookie out even when I questioned them and tried to get them to look for other solutions. One student said that cookies just crumble when you cut them so you should just leave that cookie out.


Another student used the fact that the names I used in the story were teachers from our school. She decided that I should just give the extra cookie to my daughter, Abby.
One student (the student who was shaking his head when we read the problem) counted out the blocks and saw the leftover cookie and immediately cut it into 3 pieces.

One group quickly decided that the leftover cookie had to be cut into 3 pieces but had lots of discussion about how to cut it in a "fair" way. They drew lots of variations that they decided weren't fair (or "fare" as they spelled it). Finally someone in the group thought of cutting the cookie like a "peace sign" and they were all satisfied that this would be fair.

The discussion in our small group times are very lively and the students learn so much. I, too, learn so much about them as mathematicians. Another great thing is that this type of thinking and sharing is spilling into the rest of our math time during other days of the week. Below are some examples of kids' thinking about a problem that was trying to determine which number is bigger, 23 or 15 and then they had to determine how much bigger. This student made each number in tally marks to compare them
and this student counted up from 15:
The exciting thing is that the students are much more willing to write and draw out their thinking as well as share their ideas with each other than they were before we started Math Exchanges. Ask your child what he/she thinks about Math Exchanges.

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

IA 
Our IA next week is Music.

Happy Birthday Cole!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Crew News January 26, 2012

Elephant and Piggie Came to School Today
Elephant and Piggie from the Mo Willems series of books came to school today. We got to see them in the library. We were so excited because we love them! They put on a play of one of their books. Ask you child to tell you all about the pictures below.









Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 6.2 Name-Collection Boxes

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Crew News January 25, 2012

Sight Words
Our new sight words for this week and next week are: came, make, of, was, now, have

Previous words include: as, if, my, be, all, like, she, has, how, put, don't, I'm, one, out, him, look, her, back, had, come

These are great words to point out to your child when they are reading or to have them practice at home, too.

Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 6.1Finding Addition Sums


Library
We have library tomorrow. Please help your child remember to return their library books.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Morgan!

Crew News January 24, 2012


Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year started yesterday and lasts for a couple of weeks. It is the year of the dragon. You might keep your eyes open for celebrations in your neighborhood that you could attend with your child. You might point out news stories about it to your child. This might also be a great time to visit a Chinese restaurant for a great meal. Some restaurants will also be hosting Lion and Dragon dances during these days of celebration.

Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.14 Unit 6: Family Letter

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Lulu!

Crew News January 23, 2012

Kidblogs
Our crew is still blogging. We have been experimenting with some of the features of Kidblogs like bold type, italic type, font size, font color and spell check. If you haven't been to our crew blog page for a while, you might want to check it out. There are new posts about a coyote, a new cousin, a trip to California and more. You can find posts by going to our crew page and reading those that are recent. If you would like to see older posts then you can change the number of posts visible at the top of the screen or you can click on an individual student's name to see their collection of posts. You can find the link to the our crew blog page by clicking on the colored words in this post or by going directly to our blog and clicking on the link on the right hand side of the page. While you are on the crew blog, you might also want to check out the links to Ms. Pam's and Ms. Cheryl's blogs. All of the bloggers (our crew, Ms. Pam and Ms. Cheryl) would love to have you visit and perhaps even leave them a comment. You can also share the link to the blogs with grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, etc. and they can leave comments, too. Remember that comments won't appear immediately though because they all must be approved by me first. It is very exciting to the crew to receive comments on their posts. They love to know that someone is reading what they write.

Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.13 More "What's My Rule?'

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crew News January 19, 2012

Library
We are learning more about Mo Willems during library. We love Mo Willems. He wrote the Elephant and Piggie series, the Pigeon series, the Knufflebunny series and more.

Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.12 What's My Rule Family Letter

IA
Our IA next week is Art.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Crew News January 18, 2012

Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.11 Adding 0 + 1

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crew News January 17, 2012

Phonics
We did a Making Words phonics activity today. We used letter cards to create words and then sorted those words into categories and thought about how we could use what we learned to spell new words.  We wrote all of the words we created in our spiral notebook.


Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.10 Turn-Around Dice

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Keanan vs. Keenan

It was Keanan vs. Keenan this morning as their basketball teams played each other at the Castle Rock Rec Center. I am sure that they both had a great time. I love hearing about the crew's life outside of the classroom. (I will be attending 3 of Abby's basketball games this weekend, too.) Thanks for sharing this picture, Cari!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Crew News January 13, 2012

Homework
No homework over the long weekend. Enjoy some good books with your child.

IA
Our IA next week is PE. Remind your child to wear appropriate footwear.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Crew News January 12, 2012

Reading
We are learning about how readers think as they read during our Reader's Workshop. We have been looking at how making predictions about what will happen next in a story keeps us interested in continuing to read to find out if we were right. We have been talking about making connections with what we are reading to help us more deeply understand what we are reading. We are noticing what questions pop into our minds as we are reading and then we read to see if we can find the answers. Overall, we are really starting to think about our reading and that is helping us better comprehend everything we read.

Another Donated Book
Thanks, Kayden.



Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.9 Comparing Sums

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Crew News January 11, 2012

Writing
Currently in writing, we are working on writing personal narratives. A personal narrative is a short story about something that has happened in a writer's life. We are trying to remember to add three main parts to our story - a beginning, a middle and an end. The beginning should introduce the characters and the setting of the story. The middle explains a problem or challenge that the main character is facing. The end explains how the main character solves the problem. We all have many stories in our lives that we can choose to write about. As I have been working with the crew during writing I have read many great stories about trying to convince parents to get a new dog, what happens at a birthday party,  funny things that happens on a vacation and so much more. Ask your child about what they are writing about and see if they could use some suggestions of things that have happened to them that they can write about.








Library
We have library tomorrow. Please help your child remember to return his or her library books.


Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.8 Number Stories

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Crew News January 10, 2012

Henry and Mudge
You may not know this already but the Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant is one of my very favorite series of books. She tells such nice, cozy stories. They appeal to almost all tastes. She tells stories about building a castle out of refrigerator boxes, she tells stories about trips to the beach, she tells stories about going camping, she tells stories about the everyday life of a boy and his dog. If you haven't checked out this series, I highly recommend it. I currently have a big bin of these books (checked out of the public library) in our room and the crew is devouring them. Henry has a cousin named Annie who appears in many of the books in the series and now has a series of her own (Annie and Snowball). These books are "just right' for many of the readers in our crew but they also make great read alouds, too.  If you are at the library and looking for a few good books, check out Henry and Mudge or Annie and Snowball. You will enjoy them as much as your child. Ask your child about their favorite Henry and Mudge story.





Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.7 Comparing Amounts of Money

Monday, January 9, 2012

Crew News January 9, 2012

Oh, Those Tricky Vowels
Vowels, vowels, vowels. Vowels can be so tricky to learn. As a first grade teacher I would love to be able to change the spelling of many words to make them fit more standard rules and patterns. Alas, I do not have that kind of power in this world. So, we are working on learning all we can about those tricky vowels. Earlier in the year we studied short vowel sounds. We recently started looking at various ways to spell long vowel sounds. Last week we looked at a few ways to spell the long "a" sound and today we looked at ways to spell the long "e" sound (see our charts below for examples). We will continue to work our way through all of the vowels and notice just how many different ways you can spell one sound. Tricky, tricky, but we can do hard things.


Library Book Donation
Peyton donated some books to our classroom library today. It is always fun for all of the crew to see "new to us" books. Thanks, Peyton.



Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.6 Relation Symbols

Friday, January 6, 2012

Crew News January 6, 2012

Sight Words
I mentioned in a previous post (click here to reread it) that we are working on learning to spell some of the common sight words that we can read. We generally work on a set of words for almost 2 weeks because of how our schedule works out. This week and next week our words are: look, her, back, had and come.

Previous words include: as, if, my, be, all, like, she, has, how, put, don't, I'm, one, out, him

These are great words to point out to your child when they are reading or to have them practice at home, too.


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

IA (Integrated Arts)
Our IA next week is Music.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Crew News January 5, 2012

Social Studies Standards
When we write our Expeditions, there are often a couple of standards that just don't "fit in" with the topic of the Expedition. When this happens we learn about those standards separately from our Expedition. Over the next few weeks we will be learning about a couple of Social Studies standards that didn't fit in our Families Expedition. They are:


Civics: Notable people, places, holidays and patriotic symbols
Economics: Identify short-term financial goals (Personal Financial Literacy). This goal includes things like: How does a person earn money? (income, allowances, borrowing, gifts), Why is personal goal setting important? and How does an individual know a good short-term goal?

After we finish learning about these standards, we will be ready to start our Science Expedition which is called Down to Earth. This is another very exciting (especially to first graders) Expedition. I can't wait to get started.

Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.5 Domino Addition

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Crew News January 4, 2012

Explorations
Today in Math, we explored several new concepts. We tried to determine the area of our whiteboards using dominoes, we tried to find objects that weigh the same and we worked on counting large numbers of objects in a systematic way.











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

More Books for our Classroom Library
Myles brought in a big bag of books to donate to our classroom library today - including one about hippos. Hippos are my favorite animals. Thanks, Myles!


Homework
Reading ~ Read a good book or two.
Math ~ Home Link 5.4 Counting Coins