Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Martino Messenger
First Grade News!

Important Upcoming Dates:

Friday, April 27th:  Talent Show - 6:30pm

Friday, May 25th:  Last day of school!
More information about end-of-year events in May, such as Field Day, and a first grade "Insectopia" will come home soon!

A special THANK YOU goes out to all of our parents who chaperoned our field trip to the Botanic Gardens on Thursday!  It was a great day, thanks to all of you!  

Classroom Highlights:

Dear Parents,
It's been a while since I've sent you an update, so I apologize for the length of this newsletter, but we've been very busy in first grade!  I can't believe it is April and we have only five more weeks of school!  Wow!  Your children are growing and learning everyday.  Read on to learn about what your child has been up to at school.  

Reader's Workshop:
Before Spring Break Book Club groups prepared and performed some Reader's Theatre plays about some of the Historical Figures we were learning about, such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Everyone did such a wonderful job!  Thanks to all of our Book Club Moms who helped with this project!  It really paid off and the kids had a great time performing these plays for our class and their Book Buddies! I video taped the groups and put the plays on your child's Seesaw portfolio.  Hopefully, you were able to watch the play with your child at home.  

All year we've focused on a variety of comprehension strategies, including making connections, asking questions, and making predictions.  Before Spring Break we started focusing on making inferences and visualizing.  Inferring is the process of connecting what you know - your background knowledge - with clues in the text.  I've used the following illustration with the kids to help explain what we do when we make inferences:
Our Background Knowledge        Clues in the text

When proficient readers infer, they create a meaning that is not stated explicitly in the text.  For example, we read a poem called "Things."  One stanza in the poem read: 

Went to the beach
Played on the shore
Built me a sandhouse
Ain't got it no more
Ain't got it no more

We looked for clues in the text and used our background knowledge (BK) to figure out what happened.  One clue was that the author was at the beach, on the shore.  In our BK we know that the shore is the land right next to the water.  We also talked about the water next to the shore and how waves crash on the shore.  The poem doesn't explicitly say what happened to the sandhouse, but we can infer that a wave washed it away by connecting the clues with our BK.  

We also practiced making mental images in our minds, or visualizing.  We talked about how important it is to "see" the story, poem, or images, creating a movie in our minds. Readers need to pay attention to this movie and if they discover that it has stopped, or they can't see the movie playing in their mind, they need to go back, find out where the movie stopped, and reread.  We practiced this with the poem, Honey, I Love. You may have seen this come home and the picture your child drew of how they visualized the poem.  

As you read with your child, discuss any inferences you make, and the images you see in your mind.  These are key comprehension strategies and it is important for children to have this modeled for them often!

We are also working on the comprehension strategies of determining importance, paraphrasing, summarizing and synthesizing.  These can be tough skills to master for first graders!  In fact, at this level it is really about exposing them to these skills and practicing them together.  We are incorporating what we are learning in Science, with life cycles, to learn about insects and write what we learn in our own words.  We have been doing research on an insect of our choice, paraphrasing the information, and creating a project to share what we learn with the class, including writing a summary of the insect's characteristics and how these characteristics help the insect survive. The class is excited to do this work!
*Ask your child what paraphrasing means. 
(That is a big word and many of us are still learning!)
*Ask your child to paraphrase what they read - tell it to you in their own words! 
*Practice summarizing stories you read.  Model this for them!  They will get better at this skill with lots of practice and repetition!

Writer's Workshop:
We completed our unit on Information Writing.  I hope you all saw the folder that came home with all of their work from this unit.  The concepts we focused on included:
*Teaching readers about a topic
*Having a beginning that captures the reader’s attention
*Adding facts and details that teach about the topic
*Adding nonfiction text features to help teach readers, such as illustrations,
  labels, maps, charts, or diagrams.
*Thinking about questions our readers would have about our topic
*Using comparisons and examples
*Writing an ending

Everyone did such a great job!  I kept a final piece, one they did independently, as an assessment.  I will send this home at the end of the year.  

We began a new unit on sharing our opinions.  In both reading and writing, students are being critical thinkers and sharing their opinions.  We are discussing the importance of critical thinking when forming opinions and how our thinking is always improving based on others' ideas and new information. We can use other opinions to make our own opinion stronger, or to change our opinion.  We will be forming opinions about their reading and participating in discussions that allow them to hear and analyze other points of view. 

We are also writing about our opinions. The kids acted as judges, deciding which item in their collection deserves to win a blue ribbon, or first place.  They wrote an opinion piece, beginning with a topic sentence then listing three reasons that support their opinion. They used transition words (first, next, finally) and ended with a conclusion statement.  Wow!  Sounds like fifth grade writing!  They wrote these pieces to try and convince others to agree with their opinion.  They shared these on Seesaw.  You can listen to their opinion and see if they convinced you!  

Next, they chose a second place winner and wrote another opinion piece.  This week they will be learning how to disagree politely and write about someone's opinion they disagree with.  Next, we will be taking on the role of reviewers. They will be writing critical reviews about restaurants, toys, movies, etc and supporting their opinions with reasons in order to persuade their readers.

Listen to your child's opinion piece on Seesaw and give them some feedback.  Did they convince you to agree with them?

We are completing another math unit this week that focused on addition and subtraction. First graders are becoming more strategic mathematicians! We focused on how combinations of 10 can help solve problems more efficiently. Students are also learning to solve addition and subtraction problems in different ways. This ultimately enables your child to be a flexible problem solver. 

Next, we will begin our last addition and subtraction unit.  This unit focuses on numbers, counting and quantity, the composition of numbers, and the operations of addition and subtraction.  Students will encounter situations that provide concrete models for counting by numbers other than 1 (Counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s).  As students solve such problems and think about ways to organize objects so they are easier to count and combine, they begin to make sense of what it means to count by groups.  They will also do a lot of work on place value with 2 digit numbers, and use models (such as unifix cubes) to build 2 digit numbers.  Then, they will use these models to help them add and subtract 2 digit numbers.  

Finally, we will focus on a unit about collecting and analyzing data.  We planned this unit to correspond with our Opinion Writing unit.  The kids will be conducting surveys, asking their peers' opinions about a variety of topics.  They will create visual representations to display their data, and will interpret this data, stating what they can learn from it.  This is a fun unit and a perfect way to end our year!  

Play the math games sent home with your child often, especially the games that help them learn their math facts that equal 10... Tens Go Fish and Make Ten are two of those games.  They should be fluent with these (have them memorized) by the end of the year.
As your child works with numbers, ask them to explain how they got their answer.  When you can explain your answer you understand it at a deeper level.

Social Studies
Before break we did a study of Important American Figures & Symbols.  We incorporated this work into reading. During Social Studies the kids really enjoyed working in groups to research one of six American Symbols:  The Liberty Bell, Mount Rushmore, The Statue of Liberty, The White House, The Bald Eagle, and the American Flag.  They worked in small groups, gathered facts, and collaborated to create a poster, book, or Sonic Pic about their symbol.  They then used their project to teach the rest of the class about their symbol.  They shared their project on Seesaw.  They also researched an important American Figure and created a project on this person with their group.  Along the way we discussed the importance of working collaboratively together.  We reflected on our collaborative skills, filling out a rubric on how well we felt we collaborated.  
Ask your child if they remember what they learned about the American Symbol or Figure they studied!

We've been working on a unit on life cycles, observing the life cycle of plants and insects.  We have some wonderful creatures in our room, which you may have heard about!  Yes, mealworns!  When I first taught this unit I was a little leery about having these in our room, but they really grow on you and are amazing to watch transform!  Don't tell the kids, but they will turn into a pupa, and then an adult beetle!  It will be amazing to watch!  The kids LOVE their mealworms! We are watching them with scientific eyes, observing them, and recording our observations in our field notebooks. 

We also planted seeds and have watched with excitement as the sprouts peeked out of the dirt and began to grow.  We are also recording our observations of our plants and will notice as buds appear, flowers grow and turn into seed pods.  We'll watch as our plants go through their whole life cycle.  

We have another insect in our room... caterpillars!  We've been watching them grow, (They've grown so fast!) and one is getting ready to make a chrysalis!  Don't tell your child, but we will watch as they turn into butterflies!  We will end our year by releasing our butterflies into the wild.  This is a super fun unit which the kids really enjoy!

To culminate our study of insects the kids will be synthesizing what they've learned about insects and their lifecycle by becoming entomologists who discover a new kind of insect!  They will build a model of this insect, then create a brochure that describes its characteristics and how these characteristics help it survive in the wild.  We will host an "Insectopia" where we share these projects with parents and family. 

**Please see the letter in this week's Homework Folder asking for items needed to create these insects in class.
*More information about day/time for our Insectopia will come home soon!

Ask your child about their mealworms and plants and what they've noticed about how they are changing.  You can also ask:
"What makes an insect an insect?"
"What are the parts of a plant?  What does each part do?"
"Can you tell me the lifecycle of your mealworm?  Your plant?"  The caterpillars?

Well, that should take us to the end of the year, which is just a short 5 weeks away! Wow!  It will be here before we know it!  

If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read through this, and for all you do to support your child at home!  I feel so blessed to be working with such wonderful families!  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me!

Finally, I've had a few questions about class placements for next year.  Jenny Brown, our principal, asked us to pass on the following information she has shared in her blog. If you have any questions about this, please let us know!  

I will send information about end-of-year activities in May.  Until then, take care!

Stacie Martino 

A message from our principal, Jenny Brown

Creating balanced class lists that meet the needs of all students is a difficult endeavor.  This process involves hours of thoughtful dialogue between classroom teachers, administrators and other staff members.  We know that creating a strong learning environment is essential to students’ success and we therefore take this responsibility seriously.  Please be assured that we take each child into consideration.  Please see our process below.

·     Teachers identify the social and academic needs of each student.  They refer to existing data and record pertinent information to assist them in their decision-making.

·     Teachers meet as grade level teams to form class lists that are balanced.  Balanced classrooms meet each student’s academic, social and emotional needs.  Teachers consider each child’s personality, academic strengths, needs and friendships. Learning specialists, the specials team and administration also collaborate with classroom teachers to provide feedback.

·     Each grade level team submits a draft of class lists.  I review final lists to ensure all parent input has been considered.  Classroom teachers approve any changes I suggest given parent feedback to ensure classes remain balanced. 

·     Class lists are finalized in mid July to reflect the addition of students joining Gold Rush in the summer.

This process is consistent across grades K-4.  Our 5th grade team collaborates with the teachers at Cimarron Middle School to ensure students’ success in 6th grade.

We strongly believe that this detailed and collaborative process creates learning environments that benefit all students.  Please remember that our ultimate goal is to create classes that promote the success of each child.  Please also know that your child is placed in a classroom for specific reasons and that our process benefits all students.  Because of the input and thought given by teachers, parents and administrators, we are reluctant to make changes once this process is complete.  It may be hard to believe, but moving one child can disrupt the balance of an entire classroom. 

We do value parent input and welcome any insight you wish to share about your child’s strengths, needs and learning style.  We will take into consideration all pertinent information that you share with me on or before Friday, April 25th.  While we welcome your input, we cannot honor specific teacher requests.  Please put your thoughts in writing and address them to me (Jenny Brown).  I will accept either a letter or email (

I cannot express enough how important it is that your thoughts are in writing.  As you can imagine, I receive a great deal of parent input and verbal information is difficult to track.  I also prefer that you direct this communication to me, as I am ultimately responsible for reviewing final class lists in July when teachers may not be available.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions regarding our process or your individual child.  I would be happy to speak with you further.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Martino Messenger
First Grade News!

Important Upcoming Dates
Friday, February 16th - No School -
 Teacher Inservice Day
Monday, February 19th - No School - President's Day

Valentine's Day Party - Wed., February 14th
Students should bring in their valentines and mailboxes on the 14th.
**Our party will be from 8:35 - 9:40.  
**Click here to go to our volunteer sign-up.

**Thank you Meghan Hoff & 
Kari Lacy for planning our party!  
We are excited!  

Spring Conferences:  Thurs., March 8th & Thurs., March 15th
You can sign up beginning Friday, February 16th.
Click here to sign up.
Make sure it says Gold Rush under schools, then click "go"
Password is:  Digger

Put on your calendar:  Thursday, February 22nd

Specials Showcase Performance
Click here to see the letter about this performance from Mrs. Petty.
**Students are asked to wear a solid color shirt, if possible, in green, blue, or brown.
Arrive 15 minutes prior to the performance, no sooner, please.

                      Classroom Highlights 

Dear Parents, 
I can't believe it is already February!  The year is flying by!  We've continued to be busy first graders!  I would like to share all of the learning that has been going on in class... and let you know what your child will be working on in the upcoming weeks.  In blue you will find some ideas for you to use to begin a discussion with your child about their learning.  

In Writing we finished our work in our Narrative Writing Unit before break by publishing one of our stories.  I hope you saw the folder that came home with some of your child's writing from this unit.  I included a letter that explains some of the concepts we covered.  

We began our next writing unit on Information Writing, or writing "teaching books."  We've talked about what they could write about.  I told them it should be something they know a lot about or something they love to do, and something they care about - something they are passionate about. Our topics range from How to Take Care of a Dog, to All About Star Wars, or American Girl Dolls.  The kids love sharing their expertise!

During this unit we look closely at various nonfiction books and study the strategies authors use to teach their readers, then try and use these in our own books. 
Concepts we will be focusing on include:
*Writing a book that teaches readers about a topic
*Having a beginning that captures the reader's attention
*Adding facts and details that teach about the topic - writing in "twin sentences" (two sentences that go together to add detail - such as: Dogs like to eat biscuits.  As biscuit is like a cookie or treat.
*Adding nonfiction text features to help teach readers, such as illustrations that teach, labels, headings, maps, charts, or diagrams.
*Thinking about questions our readers would have about our topic, and adding details that answer those questions
*Using comparisons and examples to add details
*Writing an ending

The kids love Writer's Workshop!  I often hear, "I love writing!" or "When can we write?"  I love it!

We've also been discussing the need to focus on spelling, conventions, and neatness.  I don't expect first graders to spell all words correctly.  But if a word can be found on our Word Wall, or in a book we are reading, or somewhere in the room... I expect that they use these resources to help them spell words.  The kids each have a "Mini Word Wall" and a "Word Bank Book" where they can find words they might be spelling.  

Words Their Way:  We work on "word work" everyday.  This year Gold Rush adapted the Words Their Way program that focuses on spelling patterns for all grades.  Each child is continually assessed to see which spelling focus they should be working on. I found a parent brochure that does a nice job explaining our Words Their Way spelling program.  Click here to read the brochure.

We've also began daily editing - checking sentences for corrections on capitals, punctuation, sentence structure, and grammar.  Hopefully all of this work will transfer into their writing! 

We are connecting our Information Writing Unit with some work in reading by focusing on nonfiction books.  We've talked about the difference between fiction and nonfiction and began looking at nonfiction text features. We are looking at how authors of nonfiction books use these features to teach their readers.  

We also are doing some hard work with the comprehension strategy of Determining Importance and paraphrasing.  Wow!  These can be hard concepts for first graders, but everyone is doing a great job!  As we read we think about what is really important information and what are just interesting details.  We are paraphrasing what we learn, writing it down in our own words.  We practiced this skill recently when learning about Martin Luther King, Jr.  You may have seen your child's technology project on Seesaw.  Everyone did a marvelous job!  (Please see "Technology" below for more details about this project.)  We will continue working on this skill by connecting reading instruction with our Social Studies unit, researching important American Figures and Symbols, beginning next week.  This week the kids also began practicing and performing Reader's Theatre plays about an important American figure.  They will be researching the American Figure, and working collaboratively on putting these plays together, having fun performing them for our peers, Book Buddies, and maybe even a kindergarten class!  

When your child is reading nonfiction books at home, point out some of the text features and discuss their purpose... Why did the author choose to put this text feature (map, diagram, labels, chart...) in his/her book?  What does it help teach?  How can you use this in your teaching book?

You can also practice the steps for paraphrasing as you read together.  S.T.P. - Stop, Think, Paraphrase (cover the words with your hand, then say what you learned or what happened in your own words.)  You can do this with both fiction and nonfiction.

We will be completing our third unit on addition and subtraction soon. It was a big unit and covered some important concepts.  Recently, we've been working on counting large groups of objects by putting them in groups of 5 or 10.  It is important for the kids to practice counting by 5s and 10s at home so they can be fluent and able to apply this skill when counting objects.  Later, they will be using skip counting to help them add and subtract by 10.  Also, please continue to practice counting by 2s.  This is still hard for many of the kids.  Playing the math games I've sent home is also important. These are a great way for the kids to learn their basic math facts which they will apply as they add and subtract larger numbers. There are also many apps and games for the iPad or other digital devices the kids can use to learn their math facts.  Just be careful not to choose ones that time the kids for speed. Research shows that this can be harmful.  Jo Boaler is a professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University.  Last year I was lucky enough to go to Stanford with some other teachers from Gold Rush to listen to Jo Boaler and learn about the latest in what her research says about teaching math.  She has a website called I've included a few links below that have some really interesting information about teaching math that I think you might enjoy:  

Four Boosting Messages

What is Number Sense?  This video illustrates our goal for our kids - having a strong sense, or deep knowledge, of numbers so we can be flexible and break them apart and combine them in new ways when computing.  Our curriculum, Investigations, does a great job of having kids think about different ways they can solve problems.  It is important for the kids to be able to reason flexibly, and share this reasoning with others, explaining how they figured out the problem.

Depth, Not Speed

I've also included a link that many parents have found helpful.  It is a link to "Math Words and Ideas" from our Investigations curriculum.  They are included with our lessons, and can show you how we teach some key concepts or how we approach certain math ideas:  

Math Words and Ideas

Most of the kids have been completing the Sunshine Math sheets that have been coming home for homework.  I encourage everyone to try these problems!  You may need to help them read the problem... we talk about how important it is to read the problem more than once.  If they are not sure how to solve the problem you can offer some ideas, or even show them how you would figure it out.  Encourage them to do the thinking!  You will notice that this math covers many concepts we haven't yet covered in class.  If they seem too hard for your child, just have them try the ones they can handle.  Remember, this is optional. Have fun with this!    

Our next unit is on measurement.  This will include telling time to the hour and half hour, and an introduction to fractions.    

As your child works on math problems, including the Sunshine Math, talk about different problem solving strategies they can use to figure out the problem, including drawing a picture, acting out the problem, making a chart, or using objects they can manipulate to help them. 

We completed our unit on Rocks, "Pebbles, Sand, and Silt."  The kids really had fun with this unit and enjoyed being "geologists."  They did many activities that real geologists do, including separating rock materials into various sizes and naming them - from smallest to largest (clay, silt, sand, gravel, pebbles, cobbles, and boulders.)  We discussed how these materials are used to build or make many things we use everyday, and went on a walk around the school, noticing where we see these materials being used. Your child will be bringing home their "Field Notebook" soon.  Take a moment and let them share what we did and what they learned during our Rocks unit.   

Our next Science unit will begin after Spring Break- a unit on life cycles where we will observe the life cycle of meal worms and later, in the spring, butterflies and plants.  

Ask your child if they can tell you the different sizes of rocks we learned about.  Also, where do we see rocks used in the world around us?  

Social Studies:  
We began a unit on American Heroes and Symbols with a discussion about Martin Luther King Jr. We also learned about Rosa Parks and Ruby Bridges. Next week we will learn about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for President's Day.  Our Book Clubs are working on Reader's Theatre plays about these historical figures.  We will also be learning about historical landmarks, such as The Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell, and Mount Rushmore.  They will be working in small groups, using an online research website called Pebble Go to help gather facts about one American Hero or Landmark, then share their information with the class by creating a collaborative project.  They will be able to choose to make an informational poster, book, or use technology, creating a project with Sonic Pics or Adobe Spark Video.  

Have a discussion about Martin Luther King Jr.  
Ask them to tell you what they already know about George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. It is fun to see what they think they know before we begin a topic!  
In the next few weeks you can also ask them about the American Figure they are researching.

To build schema for our Famous Americans and American Symbols unit, first graders learned how to access assigned books within Epic Books about Martin Luther King Jr.  They took screenshots of pictures that illustrated important moments in Dr. King's life.  Through Spark Video, they organized their screenshots and recorded their new learning about this American Hero.  
**Please see your child's project on their Seesaw portfolio!  

Student Sample #1


Student Sample #2

I've enjoyed sharing some of our learning with you!  I hope you enjoy talking with your child about their work!  

I have a wonderful class and I feel so blessed to share my day with your child! I can't thank you enough for all of your help and support everyday!  My door is always open so please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!  

Stacie Martino  

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Martino Messenger
First Grade News!

Important Upcoming Dates:

Winter Party!
Our Winter Party will be Thursday, December 21st from 8:30 - 9:30
More information to come!

Electronic Progress Reports (EPRs) 
EPRs will be released to parents on Saturday,  December 23rd,  through Parent Portal

Winter Break!
No School Friday, December 22nd - January 7th!
We will see you on Monday, January 8th!

Dear Parents, 
I can't believe it is already December!  We have been super busy in first grade! It was great to see so many of you at our Thanksgiving Celebration of Learning before our Thanksgiving break.  The kids were so excited to show you some of their work and amazing thinking they have done in class! So glad so many of you were able to make it!  

Classroom Highlights

We've continued to practice that Reading is Thinking by practicing the comprehension strategies we've discussed so far, Making Connections and Asking Questions.

Last week we started discussing Story Elements - setting, characters, plot, problem, solution. We began with setting.  We read Goldilocks and the Three Bears and drew and wrote about the setting in the story.  The kids also tried this on their own.  This can be a little confusing for the kids!  They often start telling me the plot of the story - telling me what happened, instead of describing where and when the story takes place.  We will continue to discuss story elements after Winter Break.  

*Ask your child to listen to their inner voice and to think out loud, sharing what their inner voice is saying as they read!  
*Discuss what you learn and questions you have, then have try and discover the answers together!
*Ask your child to describe the setting in the story you are reading.  You can also discuss the characters, plot, problem & solution.  

Of course, we continue to work on decoding strategies too!  I can't stress how important it is for your child to read every day!  The best way to become a better reader is to read a lot... at least 20 minutes each day!

In writing we've been continuing with our small moment unit, writing stories from our lives.  We discuss how writers use various strategies to help our readers understand our writing.  One strategy we've been practicing is to bring our stories to life - making people talk, move, think, and feel.  We are also trying to tell our stories in "itsy-bitsy steps"  - writing what happened first, then next, then next and using lots of detail.  We've also looked closely at mentor texts and noticed things authors do in their writing that we can try in our own writing... things like "pop out words" (bold face words), ellipses (...), and onomatopoeia (words that show sound, like "ding" "whoosh" or "clickety clack." We are also focusing on editing our work, correcting spelling and adding punctuation.  We will be finishing up our narrative unit before Christmas, then move on to writing information pieces about topics we are "experts" on.  

*Ask your child to share how they are bringing their stories to life when they write!

We just finished our unit on geometry.  This unit focused on two dimensional shapes and the relationships among them.  Our goal was for students to describe shapes according to their attributes (triangles have 3 straight sides and 3 corners), and to understand that shapes can be put together or taken apart to make new shapes. Students were asked to observe, describe, compare, classify, represent, and build with 2-D shapes.  We used what we know about shapes to recognize them in the world and to use geometric vocabulary to describe them. 

*Ask your child to find geometric shapes in the world and describe them using our math language!

This week we will begin a new unit on addition and subtraction.  We will be working on developing strategies for adding and subtracting numbers by counting on or back, solving problems that involve adding more that two numbers, and finding many different combinations for the same number.  We will also begin to work with place value as we represent the teen numbers as a group of ten plus a group of ones. 

Interesting Math Information for Parents:
Jenny shared some information about math homework in her blog.  When you have a moment, please click on the link below and look this over... Great information!
                             Helping Your Child With Math

Last year our staff did a Book Study on a book called Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler.  This is such an interesting book and helps to describe what is important when teaching math.  I thought I'd share a few things that parents might find interesting:  

Jo Boaler talks about the importance of having a "growth mindset"  - the belief that one can learn more or become smarter if they work hard and persevere.  When people have this growth mindset, they may learn more, learn it more quickly, and view challenges and failures as opportunities to improve their learning and skills.  In contrast, in a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They may learn less than they could or learn at a slower rate, while also shying away from challenges.  

There is a great website called YouCubed where Jo Boaler describes her theories and provides many activities and resourses for teachers, parents, and students.  Here are a couple of videos or articles I thought you might be interested in.  I encourage you to take a look!  

I often get asked about why schools teach math so differently than we learned math.  Our addition and subtraction unit begins to form the basis for understanding numbers at a deeper level... having good number sense.  When we have good number sense we can take numbers apart and put them back together in new ways to solve problems.  Jo Boaler helps explain it here: 
What is Number Sense?
A 3 minute illustration of the concept of number sense by Professor Jo Boaler, 

Parents' Beliefs About Math Change Their Children's Achievement:

Social Studies  

We finished up our discussion about the First Thanksgiving and how it compares to Thanksgiving today.  The kids created a folder where they synthesized all of the information we discussed about the First Thanksgiving. This will come home soon.  After Winter Break we will begin a unit on American Heroes and Symbols with a discussion about Martin Luther King Jr., as well as Rosa Parks and Ruby Bridges.  In February we will learn about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for President's Day.

*Please take a moment and let your child share their 
"Thanksgivng Story" Folder with your when it comes home.

This week we will begin our unit on rocks called Pebbles, Sand, and Silt.  The kids really love working with the rocks and feel like real scientists!  This unit is designed to introduce concepts in earth science while practicing the process of inquiry. The activities provide experiences that heighten students' awareness of rocks as earth materials and natural resources.  They will come to know rocks by many names and in a variety of sizes. Pebbles and sand are the same material, just different in size.  We will continue this study after our Winter Break.  

*Start a rock collection and notice rocks around your home. Ask your child to describe rocks based on their properties like smooth, rough, shiny, dull, sharp, chalky, light, dark, speckled...

I enjoyed sharing some of our learning with you!  I hope you enjoy talking with your child about their work!  
I have a wonderful class and feel so blessed to share my day with your child!  I can't thank you enough for all of your help and support everyday!  I am looking forward to amazing things in 2018!