The Martino Messenger
First Grade News!
Important Upcoming Dates:
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
No School Friday, December 22nd - January 7th!
We will see you on Monday, January 8th!
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!
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!
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?
Parents' Beliefs About Math Change Their Children's Achievement:
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!