Friday, April 6, 2018

Week of 4/2 - 4/5

National Poetry Month
We began to celebrate National Poetry Month this week. After listening to Flicker Flash by Joan Bramsfield Graham, students chose a shape template (apple, tree, flower) to experiment with writing their own shape poems. They were encouraged to brainstorm other ideas, which included butterflies, rainbows and rain clouds. We read some select poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic by the famous children's poet Shel Silverstein. The students really enjoyed hearing his playful, creative, rhyming poetry. Visit his website to learn more about his poetry:

Author Visit
Children's author Matt Tavares visited our school this week. He spoke to first graders about how much work goes into writing, illustrating and publishing a picture book. He showed samples of draft pages with editor comments, sketches of his pictures and how he turns the sketches into paintings. He did a demonstration of his sketching process and then the students eagerly tried it out when we returned to class.

We finished unit 6 in math this week. Our final focus was collecting, representing and interpreting data in three categories. Students sorted and represented animals based on how they move (Do they swim, walk or fly?). We then looked at the students' representations and described what we learned. They answered questions such as How many more animals walk than swim? How many fewer animals fly than walk? What is the total number of animals in this survey? How do you know? Next week, we will begin unit 7 which is all about place value. Students will be exploring tens and ones within two-digit numbers. I will send home the family letter in red totes so you can read more about the learning that will take place.

Field Trip
On Friday morning, all of first grade enjoyed a special trip to the Westbrook Performing Arts Center. We were treated to an excerpt from The Sleeping Beauty performed by the Portland Ballet. We learned about choreography, stage design, costume design, lighting and more. The students really enjoyed seeing the wide range of dancers (some as young as them) and their impressive costumes. It was a wonderful performance!  Ask your child to tell you about their favorite part.

Upcoming Dates
  • There is an early release on Thursday, April 12th. Students will be dismissed at 12:35pm.
  • April vacation begins Friday, April 13th. Students will return to school on Monday, April 23rd.
Thank you,
Mrs. Bradstreet

Friday, March 30, 2018

Week of 3/26 - 3/30

We finished reading The Talented Clementine. The students really enjoyed hearing about Clementine's struggle to find a suitable "talent" for the show. Ask your child to tell you about the ending of this chapter book and what her talent ending up being. In addition, we focused on identifying the main character(s) in our own leveled books.

Next week, we will begin to celebrate National Poetry Month by reading poetry written by children's poets including Shel Silverstein and Joan Graham.

We finished another narrative piece in writing workshop. This time, students were given writing paper with the words "First, Next, Then, Last" already written on it. They used these important words to make sure their narratives were written in sequential order. Next week, we will explore poetry writing in conjunction with National Poetry Month. The students will have an opportunity to write a variety of poems including shape, acrostic and five senses poetry.

We began the week with student pairs conducting their own surveys, collecting data and creating representations of their data. We then practiced interpreting the data by answering questions such as "What did you learn from this?" and "What surprised or interested you about the data?"

We reviewed telling time to the hour and half hour by manipulating the hour and minute hands of small clocks to show different times of our school day. Students also read and recorded the times shown on analog clocks on a math workbook page.

Important Dates

  • There is a field trip scheduled for the morning of Friday, April 6th. A notice was sent home in red totes this week!
  • There is an early release scheduled for Thursday, April 12th. 
  • April vacation begins Friday, April 13th.

Thank you,
Mrs. Bradstreet

Friday, March 23, 2018

Week of 3/19 - 3/23

We began to learn about narrators this week. A narrator is the person who is telling the story. We started reading a chapter book called The Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypacker. This story is narrated by the main character, Clementine. We have enjoyed the first few chapters already. We learned about Clementine's problem (she thinks she doesn't have a talent to perform for the school talent show) and some ways she tries to solve her problem.

Students used their own leveled books to practice using decoding strategies independently, reading words with blends and digraphs and identifying story elements such as characters and setting. They also practiced reading for fluency. To achieve a smooth, natural sound to their reading, they practiced choral reading and then recorded themselves reading their books on Seesaw. Many students had great inflection by making their voices go up and down while using different voices for characters.

We began unit 6 this week, which is all about data. Students participated in several surveys to practice collecting data. Survey questions were limited to two answers, such as Are you wearing buttons? and Are you left-handed or right-handed? We made representations of the data which included checkmarks, pictures, tens frames and smiley faces. Students had lots of practice collecting survey data, making visual representations and discussing what they noticed about the results. At the end of the week, students were put in charge of designing their own surveys and collecting/organizing their information.

Upcoming Dates

  • Wednesday, March 28th and Thursday, April 12th are early release days. Students will be dismissed at 12:35 pm on both days. Please let me know if your child will have a different dismissal plan for either day.

  • April vacation is Friday April 13 - Friday April 20.

Thank you,
Mrs. Bradstreet

Friday, March 16, 2018

Week of 3/12 - 3/16

Students continued to make thoughtful predictions about a book before reading by carefully examining the title, front cover and illustrations inside the book. They were asked to make three predictions about the story's events, then keep track of whether their predictions came true or not. This is an important reading skill that you can try right at home with any new book!

St. Patrick's Day Fun
We read a few St. Patrick's themed stories and completed some fun St. Patrick's Day activities. First, students brainstormed what they would do if they found a pot of gold. They planned out what they would buy, wear and where they would live. Then, they wrote their own creative stories using these planning pages. They also created their own "pot of gold" math story problems. You can see these when you visit during conferences!

We finished up with Unit 5, which was all about number games and story problems. In this unit, students learned about the combinations of 10 (1+9, 2+8, 3+7, etc.). They practiced solving addition and subtraction story problems using various strategies (number lines, drawing pictures, counting up or back) and spent time solving story problems in which they knew one part and the total and had to solve for the missing part (2 +  ?  = 8). We even got to tell our own story problems as you can see in this picture. Students were able to create a context to match a given equation.

Next week, we will begin unit 6. The goals of this unit include collecting, representing and comparing data. We will also continue to work on telling time, addition and subtraction as well. I will send home the family letter next week in red totes so you can read more about it.

Parent-Teacher Conferences
This week's conferences were rescheduled for next Wednesday or Thursday. If you still need to reschedule yours, please contact me so I can tell you which time slots are still open.

Thank you,
Mrs. Bradstreet

Friday, March 9, 2018

Week of 3/5 - 3/9

As we finished up our second trimester of the school year, many learning targets were summatively assessed. This means that student learning was put into context and assessed independently - without teacher help or prompting. These scores will be a part of your child's progress report and will be sent home next week. Students were assessed in the following reading learning targets:
  • Understands the relationship between pictures and text 
    • Can your child preview a new book by closely examining the title, front cover and pictures and make reasonable predictions about the story?
  • Uses what is known to figure out unknown words
    • Which reading strategies does your child use independently?
  • Decodes words with digraphs and blends
    • Can your child read words with th, sh, ch, wh, br, tr, etc.? 
  • Understands the central message of a story
    • Can your child tell what the author is trying to teach us and show evidence from the story to support the lesson?
  • Manipulates phonemes in single syllable words 
    • Can your child can add, delete or change sounds within words?

March Lions & Lambs
Students created their March lambs this week, using many of the same materials as last week. Here is a photo for your enjoyment:

We continued to work on story problems with unknown change. Here is an example:
Kim had 5 stickers. Sam gave her some more stickers. 
Then, Kim had 9 stickers. How many stickers did Sam give her?

As you can see, this story problem is different because we are given one addend (5) and the final total (9) and have to solve for the mystery addend. The beginning equation would look like:
5 + ____ = 9
Students practiced both addition and subtraction versions of these problems. Strategies for solving them included using a number line (how many "hops" to go from one number to the other?) and drawing pictures. At the end of the week, students were given an unknown change equation (5 + ___ = 11) and were challenged to tell their own story that matched the equation before solving it. This was great practice in helping students to use and understand mathematical language related to addition and subtraction.

Upcoming Dates
  • Parent-teacher conferences begin next Wednesday. I look forward to meeting with you all!
  • Wednesday, March 28th is an early release. Students will be dismissed at 12:35pm.
Thank you,
Mrs. Bradstreet

Friday, March 2, 2018

Week of 2/26 - 3/2

Read Across America
Dr. Seuss' birthday is today - March 2nd. In anticipation of this special day, our class read several Dr. Seuss books all week including Oh, The Places You'll Go, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and Wacky Wednesday. Students created Cat in the Hat puppets and magnets, and explored his Seussville website. They made their own "hats" to identify the story elements of The Cat in the Hat (characters, setting, beginning, middle, ending).

March Lions and Lambs
As we welcomed the month of March, we explored the saying "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb." We read In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb and compared March weather to these two very different animals. Students described "lion" weather as stormy, snowy, rainy and windy. They describe "lamb" weather as warm and breezy with flowers budding and green grass growing. They created adorable lions of their own using paper plates, paint, Cheerios, pom poms and other crafty materials. Next week, they will create the lambs. These are displayed in the hallway for everyone's enjoyment. I'll send a photo out next week once our lambs are hung up.

Students worked on addition and subtraction story problems. It was important for students to listen carefully to the story, determine whether they needed to add or take away and decide which strategy to use to find the solution. Strategies included counting up or back on a number line or in their heads, drawing pictures and using connecting cubes.
We practiced fluency with 10 this week with a Today's Number activity. Ten is an extremely important number to be fluent and flexible with. In this chart, students showed that they can make ten using many different addition and subtraction combinations.

Upcoming Dates
  • Parent teacher conferences are currently being scheduled for either 3/14 or 3/22. You will receive a confirmation note next Wednesday. If you have not sent your form in, please do so on Monday so you can be scheduled.
  • There is an early release on March 28. Students will be dismissed at 12:35pm.
Thank you!
Mrs. Bradstreet

Friday, February 16, 2018

Week of 2/12 - 2/16

There was lots to be celebrated this week! On Wednesday, we had our Valentine's Day card exchange. The children enjoyed both giving and receiving Valentines. They created special Valentine bags to hold all of their cards as well. We also celebrated the 100th day of school on Wednesday. We read books about the number 100 (Disaster on the 100th Day and One Hundred Hungry Ants), designed a movement break with ten sets of ten different exercises and made a special crown. Individual photos of your children wearing their "100" crowns were uploaded to Seesaw - please take a look! They also designed their own name puzzles on a blank 100 grid by writing one letter on each square and coloring in the boxes with the first letter. Then, they looked for patterns that their names made.

In math, we revisited some familiar math games to practice addition and subtraction. The rules of the games were slightly adjusted to make it more challenging for this point in the year. Students played Five in a Row and Dot Addition to practice adding. The target strategy was to count on beginning with the bigger number. To practice subtraction, they spent time playing Five in a Row Subtraction using a numbered die (7-12) and a dotted die (1-6). The target subtraction strategy was to count back, beginning with the larger number.

Book Bags
Your children are bringing home their classroom book bags to keep. These are full of leveled texts that your children have worked on during the first half of the school year. My hope is that
you will encourage your children to read these familiar books to you over and over again. Reading familiar books helps young readers build confidence, fluency and is a necessary part of reading development. We have new book bins that we will use to replace these bags in the classroom. 

  • There is no school next week.
  • All first graders had vision and hearing screenings recently. You will receive a letter from Nurse Katie if there is a concern for your child.
Thank you,
Mrs. Bradstreet