It’s October!

IMG_4055Happy October!  We are happily enjoying fall in our first grade classroom.  We continue to work on classroom routines (lining up, walking in line, listening when others are speaking, putting things away respectfully, and working in small and large groups) while building stamina as we work in our key content areas.  There has been a lot going on lately – as always – so please read on to see what your first grader has been doing in our classroom.  Thanks for reading our post this week!

  • Conversation Starters
  • gif09llisallindsayChapter Book: My Father’s Dragon
  • Writing Workshop
  • Math – Counting in Groups
  • Supporting Your Mathematician
  • A Smile for You

Conversation Starters:

  • Tell me about the chapter book you are reading.  What has been your favorite part?
  • Which “Unthinkable” is your favorite?  Why?  How do you defeat “The Unthinkables?”
  • What have you been writing about during your Writing Workshop this week?  How have you made your characters come to life in your story?

MyfathersdragonChapter Book: My Father’s Dragon: We have been reading an incredible book during our chapter book time.  Click here to find further information about this book, as well as some comprehension questions and activities for your first grader related to this book.  This book was introduced to me by another first grade teacher, Mrs. Bearden.  She said that her students loved it, so I figured I’d give it a go.    I took the book home to read first (I always do that before reading a book to my students) and loved the story.  I knew my students would enjoy the plot, so we started reading it and can hardly put it down.  We will finish the book in the next few days, so please ask your first grader about what he or she is enjoying about it.  There are two other books in the series that you might want to read with your first grader.  The book images are below so you can decide if you’d like to check out as a family.

These are books 2 and 3 in the series we are currently reading for our chapter book.
These are books 2 and 3 in the series we are currently reading for our chapter book.

Writing Workshop:  We have continued to write personal narratives this week, with a focus on bringing stories to life.  You can see our anchor chart below for some ideas of how we are working on bringing stories to life.  Then, check out two of our writer’s great work to see what amazing things we are doing in first grade.  Seriously . . . I LOVE working with these writers.  They are pretty great! 🙂

Here is the chart we use to bring our stories to life.
Here is the chart we use to remind us how to bring our stories to life.

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Math – Counting in Groups: As you read last week, we began taking inventory in our classroom after reading a math book about a boy who did the same in his family.  On Friday, we had a really powerful discussion about strategies we can use to count objects efficiently. (Efficient means quick and right to us in first grade!)  We talked about possibly grouping objects in ways that would help us count more easily and when we did so, it was a HUGE help!  Look at the photos below to see how some children grouped their objects in tens and twos.  What smart thinkers! We have continued this investigation of taking inventory in our classroom and will soon begin discussing the connection between the groups of items and place value.

We started putting the items into groups.  We learned it is MUCH easier to take inventory when items are grouped so we can count more efficiently.
We started putting the items into groups. We learned it is MUCH easier to take inventory when items are grouped so we can count more efficiently.
Tyrin decided to put his blocks in groups of two so he could count them efficiently.
Tyrin decided to put his blocks in groups of two so he could count them efficiently.
Leanna put her objects in bags that had 10 blocks in each.  What a smart thinker!
Leanna put her objects in bags that had 10 blocks in each. What a smart thinker!
At the end of our math time, we had Maddie teach us how she and her partner counted their objects.
At the end of our math time, we had Maddie teach us how she and her partner counted their objects.

Supporting Your Mathematician:  Are you interested in supporting your first grader in math?  I hope so!  Please click here to watch a video series created by Michelle Tomlin, Kirkwood District Facilitator, to help parents understand the computation strategies children are using in our classrooms.  The information and strategies presented in the videos can also be found in the book, A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Math Education In Today’s Schools by Catherine Kellison and Catherine Twomey Fosnot.  Each elementary school has a copy of this book that parents can check out.

Here is what the videos look like when you click on the link and select which video you want to watch.
Here is what the videos look like when you click on the link and select which video you want to watch.

A Smile for You:  Each week, I keep trying to make you smile because I think it’s important to smile when we often take life very fast and too seriously.  I hope it’s been working! 🙂 This week, I am including a picture that some of our first graders drew to represent “The Unthinkables” that we have started learning about with Mrs. Clark, an amazing teacher at Robinson.  “The Unthinkables” are characters that are introduced to children to develop positive social skills, learning and relationships with others.   If you’d like to learn more about these characters whom we all have to work on defeating, click here and you can see a picture and read a description of each one.  In the meantime, check out the picture below and enjoy some of the great work from some first grade artists.  Thanks for reading this week!  Have a wonderful Friday and a super weekend.

This adorable picture shows some of the learning we have been doing about The Unithinkables.  Cute, huh?
This adorable picture shows some of the learning we have been doing about The Unithinkables. Cute, huh?
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