Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December Update

Wow! The first half of the school year has flow by! The snow is finally here and room 26 is bustling with holiday activities. As we round the corner toward break, here is an update on the learning that has been happening at school:

During the past month, we saw a great deal of growth in the children's reading abilities. First graders have been working on shifting from just reading through the book to becoming more thoughtful and reflective readers. More specifically, we have been working on demonstrating our comprehension through re-telling. When reading and talking about books with your children, ask them to talk about the following:
  • Main characters of the books 
  • Setting 
  • Main events of the story (Be sure to encourage them to tell from beginning, to middle, to end). 
Next, we will be talking about questions, predictions, and connections we make while reading. We hope you are continuing to enjoy your time reading together and talking about books at home.

Our first grade authors are working toward publishing their second books. These books will be “How-To” book (procedural writing). The students have learned to write clear and detailed directions in sequence. We have everything from “How to Make a Snowman” to "How to Bake a Cake"  to “How Catch Santa!” All very useful books! The children also continue to focus on making their writing more readable. Recently, we have been reinforcing correct sentence formation, making sure they begin with capital letters and end with periods. We want this to become a more automatic skill for the first graders. Look for your child’s second published book to come home after winter break.

Last month, we participated in Rock On, traveling rock activities brought to us from the Children's Museum. We also put a special rock in the rock tumbler and turned this rock into a necklace! Recently the first graders practiced measuring and weighing rocks from their own rock collections using scales, balances, and rulers. Now, we're wrapping up our study of rocks by creating our very own 1st Grade Rock Museum! Look for the official invitation in your child's folder. The museum will be on display in the 1-2 commons from Wednesday 12/14 to Friday 12/16.

Did you know your child is a programmer?!? After the Lower School Code-IN, the first graders have continued to learn about coding in our classroom. First we practiced in an off-line activity called "My Robotic Friend" where the students learned to write algorithms (sets of code) to program their "robot" (a classmate) to create a cup stack formation. Next, we participated in Hour of Code, a world wide movement from to engage children (and adults!) in learning coding. It has been exciting to watch the children problem solve and de-bug as the write their lines of code. There have been many moments of cheering in the classroom when someone finally accomplishes a successful set of code after A LOT of problem solving!!

In math, we have been working on addition and subtraction strategies for numbers to 20. We have learned a strategy called "Make Ten" and another strategy, "Doubles plus one." (See below for examples). In time, these strategies will help students to visualize numbers more broadly strengthening their mental math skills beyond basic memorization. We will also continue learning how to apply these addition and subtraction skills to real-world story problems. You will want to continue to find opportunities to practice math facts with your child at home. Currently, addition facts to 10 and doubles facts will be most beneficial.

December brings many holiday celebrations to room 26. We learned about Hanukkah traditions by playing dreidel, eating latkes, and sharing stories. We also attend Advent ceremonies 2 mornings per week to prepare for the holiday season with singing and prayer. Another special first grade tradition is candy houses. Last Friday, we decorated festive miniature houses with colorful candy to celebrate winter and the holidays. The children are also enthusiastically preparing for a magical holiday performance this Thursday evening (see details below). On the last day before winter break, we will have a relaxing day in our classroom. We’ll take time to enjoy our friends, read cherished holiday stories, and enjoy the magic of this season! Oh yeah...and we'll be nice and cozy because it is a NON-UNIFORM day!

Wishing your family peace and warmth,
Ms. Bennett and Ms. Madden (and Peppermint the Elf)

Upcoming Dates:

December 14-16- First Grade Rock Museum on display in the 1-2 Commons

December 15- Lower School Holiday Program 6:30 PM in the Chapel
                        Children should arrive at classrooms at 6:15. Semi-dressy attire.
                         **Check Lost and Found tables on this evening.**

December 16- Last day of School before winter break NON-UNIFORM Day
                       -Reading Celebration (Children can bring a small stuffed animal.)

January 3- School Resumes

Monday, December 5, 2016

Lower School Holiday Program

The Lower School Holiday program will be on
Thursday, December 15 at 6:30pm  
Students should be at the classrooms at 6:15pm.
This is a semi-dressy evening.  

Students will return to the classroom following the program. You can pick up your child from there. Plan to bring his/her candy house home with you that evening. You may want to bring a paper bag.

Also, it’s a great time to check the Lost & Found tables!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Math in Focus Update

This month, we are focusing on addition and subtraction facts to 20. The children are continuing to learn about grouping numbers and strategies for adding and subtracting. Your child will need to become fluent with facts that equal ten (ie. 2+8, 4+6, 3+7...) as well as doubles facts (1+1, 2+2, 3+3...). You may want to fid some fun ways to practice these math facts at home. We will continue to send fun math games for homework that promote practice with addition and subtraction facts, as well.

Ideas for more games:

Play "Concentration" again with playing cards. Players flip 2 cards and try to collect the cards that add to 10. 

Play "Number Search." Draw the numbers from 0-10 on a paper over and over and over again. Make sure to write them mixed up all over the paper (like a word search). Once the paper is filled with numbers, try to find and circle numbers to group the ones that add 10. To make it more challenging, circle more than 2 numbers that would make 10 (ie. 3+2+5).