Chugging Through April . . .

We really are CHUGGING through April, which is so very hard to believe since it seems like we just started the second semester!  It might not seem like it to you, but our days in first grade go by so quickly and we do SO MUCH together each day that the days just fly by!   This week, we have worked on collecting data during our math time, beginning to write realistic fiction stories, discovering plant and animal life cycles and starting another round of Kids Teach Kids.   It has been a packed – and FUN – week!  As always, thank you for visiting our blog this week. 

Table of Contents

  • Conversation Starters
  • Data Collection
  • Writing Realistic Fiction Stories
  • Kids Teaching Kids
  • A Smile for You

Conversation Starters:

  • Your class began reading a new book series this week, Henry and Mudge.  Which has been your favorite Henry and Mudge book so far?  What did you learn about the character Henry?  Would you want Henry as a friend?  Why or why not?
  • You class continued to set daily goals together.  Tell me about some of the goals you decided upon as a class and if you met them.  Do you enjoy setting goals with your class?  Why or why not?
  • You talked about life cycles of plants and animals this week.  Tell me what you know about a life cycle and what you learned about life cycles.  Do people have life cycles?  Tell me about what you believe.

Data Collection: We shifted our math investigation this week from measuring to data.  In first grade, we explore the skills of both describing data AND representing data.  This week, we began by talking about data and different ways to represent it.  We explored both tally and bar charts.  We decided that it would be interesting to ponder some of the books we have read this year and whether they are fiction or nonfiction texts.  In order to do this, each mathematician chose from a picture of just SOME of the books we have read and needed to decide whether each book was fiction or nonfiction.  Next, the data was represented on a tally chart and then a bar graph.  Additionally, we collected and represented data from rolling two dice.  As we rolled the dice, we collected the data and discovered that there are some number that come up much more often because there are more ways to make those use numbers.  Next week, we will continue to explore data with different ways to represent it as well and digging deeper to describe data.

This are the rubric descriptors we use for data collection during math.
Allyson worked to collect data as she rolled dice.
Cal collected data as he rolled dice.
Myles collected data about the number fiction and nonfiction books we have read this year.
Amora worked to collect data about the fiction and nonfiction books we have read this year.
Autymn and Addie worked to collect data about the books we have read.

Writing Realistic Fiction Stories: This week, we began our unit on fiction writing.  Within this writing unit, our authors “will draw on their ability to tell what happens first, then next to bring their characters to life by describing what they do, say and think” (Caulkins, 2013,  It has been quite exciting to see our first grade authors create characters, touch and tell their stories and begin writing the first book in what will become a series.  Our authors have generated excitement in their writing with their characters and are beginning to show (not tell) the setting, problem and solutions with more details.  It has been fun to connect these writing skills with what we have been discovering as readers as we have been retelling stories.  The hope is that our first graders will begin to transfer the skills with confidence into their literacy work.  Check out a few of our writers below.

Kids Teaching Kids:  We began our second round of Kids Teach Kids this week and had two fabulous presentations from Duncan and Amora.  As you remember from the fall, each child has the opportunity to choose a topic in which they are an “expert” and then teach our class about their topic.  We continue to learn so much from one another and this has been simply another opportunity to do so in first grade.

This is part of the letter that went home re-introducing families to Kids Teach Kids.

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A Smile for You: Each time I look at the photo below, it makes me SMILE! 🙂 Over the past couple of months, we have been working on having the kids take more ownership in the classroom.  This takes place in many forms, one of which involves the students making announcements in the classroom, rather than all announcements coming from their teacher.  Students are becoming to feel more comfortable making these announcements and I had the privilege to catch one in a photo this week.  While students were creating their characters for their realistic fiction pieces, they were getting so excited about their characters, they wanted to tell the rest of our class about it.  In this photo, one of our authors was sharing information about his newly created character with the rest of the class and it was so much fun to witness the excitement around their writing.  I hope you enjoy this photo as much as I do.  Thanks for reading our blog this week!

Duncan made an announcement in the classroom in order to share the character he created for his fiction writing.

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