Friday, October 20, 2017

Week of 10/16 - 10/20

Reading Workshop
Reading groups began a new leveled text this week. We reviewed some of our decoding strategies and put them to work while reading. This week, we focused on Lips the Fish. It is important to remember that not all strategies work for all words. Good readers think about which strategy makes sense and sometimes tries multiple strategies to read a new word. They are bringing home books bags today so please encourage your child to read the book many times this weekend!

We read the book I Love Animals by Flora McDonnell and used the story to inspire our own writing. Students wrote about animals they love and gave reasons why. Good writers can think of an idea for a sentence and write a sentence with an uppercase letter at the beginning and a period at the end.

We dug deeper into our geometry learning this week in a few ways. We began to discriminate between 2D shapes by telling how shapes were the same or different. We also played a game called "Guess My Rule" where there was a  mystery rule and the class had to guess the rule after looking at two groups of shapes - one group that fit the rule and one group that did not. Partners also worked together to sort shape cards and make posters describing how they were sorted. Ideas for sorting included sorting by number of sides and curved shapes vs. straight lined shapes.

Number writing rhymes were sent home in red totes this week. They are on a green sheet of paper. We use these to remind us how to write numbers properly. The students loved them so much that they asked me to send them home! Please use these to help your child write their numbers correctly.

Mrs. Hartley showed us how to use the Book Creator app to design a class book about Skillin teachers and staff. Each student chose an adult to draw and write about. These will be compiled into a class book. Students also used the RAZ kids reading app and geometry math apps during reading and math workshop.

Mrs. Holt brought puppets to our classroom to teach us what happens to our facial muscles and voices when we experience different emotions. Children noticed how their cheeks and mouths moved up and down depending on whether they were smiling or not. They also heard how Mrs. Holt's voice changed when she used her puppet to show sadness.

Thank you,
Mrs. Bradstreet

Friday, October 13, 2017

Week of 10/10- 10/13

Book Bags
Children are bringing book bags home this weekend! Please give your child many chances to read (and reread) the book to you, other family members and even themselves.  There are reading strategies on the back if your child gets stuck on a word. Reading familiar books will help them build confidence and fluency. Book bags should be returned on Monday with the book inside of it!

We began weekly guidance lessons with Mrs. Holt. She will visit us every Wednesday for the next few months to teach us all about empathy, problem-solving and other healthy social-emotional skills using the Second Step program. This week, the class worked on "reading" facial expressions and recognizing feelings that are associated with those facial expressions.

We worked with 2D shapes in our new math unit. Children participated in activities to describe shapes and combine shapes to make new shapes and designs. In our technology class, they learned how to use the geometry apps Geoboard and Pattern Shapes to practice their new skills.

Thank you,
Mrs. Bradstreet

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Week of 10/2 - 10/5

Guided Reading
Reading groups began their first leveled texts of the year. We spent time "walking" through the pictures, making predictions and using the "Eagle Eye" decoding strategy when we got to an unknown word. We will continue to work with these same books next week. By Friday, children will be ready to bring their books home to share with you!

Writing Workshop

During Writing Workshop, we read a story titled When I Grow Up by Peter Horn. We used this story to inspire our own "I want to be ____. " stories of what we hope to be when we grow up. We brainstormed a class list of possible ideas and then students wrote and illustrated their own. We had everything from "I want to be a ballerina" to "I want to be a YouTuber!"

We finished our first unit on addition and subtraction and began our second unit in math which focuses on geometry (2D shapes). Students spent much of the week playing subtraction games to reinforce appropriate subtraction strategies and tools. They should be comfortable with the strategy of counting backward (beginning with the bigger number) in a subtraction problem. At the end of the week, we reviewed several 2D shapes including triangle, rectangle, circle and square. Students filled in abstract designs with pattern blocks. They were able to observe how different shapes can be fit together to make new shapes.

Important Information:
  • There is no school tomorrow or Monday.
  • We will begin weekly guidance lessons with Mrs. Holt next Wednesday.

Thank you,
Mrs. Bradstreet

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Week of 9/25 - 9/29

We ran "practice" guided reading groups this week. I met with small groups of children to review foundational reading skills such as letter/sound identification. Students were given sets of letter tiles and asked to spell CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words by identifying the first, middle and last sounds and finding the letters to match each sound. Students manipulated words by changing sounds to make new words. This was a great warm up for next week when we begin to read leveled books!

We began to work in our "Words Their Way" spelling notebooks. Groups of students sorted spelling words and pictures based on the spelling pattern of their group. For example, the yellow group sorted pictures based on beginning sounds, the blue group sorted by the -at and -an word families (hat, mat, can, man) and the orange group sorted by beginning consonant blends (such as br, sk, tr).

Subtraction Games
We played two math games to practice the concept of subtraction. The games are called "One or Two Less" and "5 in a Row: Subtraction."  We discussed strategies for subtraction which included counting back from the larger number. Students also used connecting cubes and a number line to solve subtraction problems.

Upcoming Dates
  • There is no school for students on Friday, 10/6 or Monday, 10/9
Mrs. Bradstreet

Friday, September 22, 2017

Week of 9/18 - 9/22

Reading Workshop Rotations
We spent a good chunk of time practicing reading workshop rotations this week. From 9:30-10:45 each day, children will be engaged in small group activities while I meet with guided reading groups. This is a very important time of day (as you can imagine!) so we spent this week practicing the rotations and expectations.

The rotations are:
  1. Guided Reading - students will learn to decode and comprehend texts at increasing levels of difficulty
  2. iPads - students will use a variety of apps to reinforce literacy and math skills (i.e. Starfall, RAZ Kids, Sumdog)
  3. Snack & Books
  4. Word Work- students will practice building and writing words using various materials such as magnetic letters, white boards and journals
We spent lots of time playing addition games and discussing tools and strategies that are helpful for adding numbers. Tools include number lines, 100 grids, counting fingers and connecting cubes. All of these tools provide a helpful visual for combining quantities and seeing the total as a larger number. Addition strategies include counting on (beginning with the larger addend and counting up the smaller addend) and counting all.

Upcoming Dates
  • Picture Day - Tuesday, Sept. 26th
  • Early Release - Wednesday, Sept. 27th (Children will be dismissed at 12:35. Please notify me if your child's dismissal will be different on this day)
  • Open House - Thursday, Sept. 28th. Parents will rotate through the first grade classrooms (beginning in our own room) to hear about learning targets in math, literacy and technology. Please arrive at 5:00!
Mrs. Bradstreet

Friday, September 15, 2017

Week of 9/11 - 9/15

Dear First Grade Families,
Our first full week was very productive. Students built upon procedures and routines they learned last week and participated in some new and exciting activities. Here are a few examples:

Morning Meeting
They were introduced to the greeting and activity portion of morning meeting. We will begin each school day with a morning meeting. This special time of the day is designed to build a strong classroom community, help students get to know one another and practice important social skills such as taking turns when speaking, saying good morning to one another and establishing appropriate eye contact. Students learned how to do the "wave" and "eyes closed" greetings, followed up with a "rhyme time" activity.

We spent time creating and practicing classroom rules that centered around the following guiding expectations:
  • Be Safe
  • Be Responsible
  • Be Respectful
  • Be Kind
Students generated "smaller" rules to fit within these larger expectations. For example, they thought of "Push in your chair" for the Be Safe guideline. The rules are posted in the classroom and will be reinforced on a daily basis. Students who are "caught" following the rules will be rewarded with a Class Dojo point. You can access your child's Class Dojo account at home (sign up instructions were sent home during Open House) to see what they earned points for that day.

Social Skills
Students learned about social skills through the acronym C.A.R.E.S. Each letter represents a social skill that is critical to school success:
For each skill, we read a picture book that exemplified it, created a list of school examples and wrote a sentence about one of them. These pages will be stapled into a book for each child. You can ask your children how these skills can be demonstrated at home!

Our first graders spent lots of time practicing writing their first names with an uppercase letter at the beginning only, followed by lowercase letters. Please reinforce this proper way of name writing at home. We also began handwriting books to review the proper formation of letters and numbers.

Important Dates:
  • Picture day is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 26th. An order form was sent home in red totes this week. Please be sure to send back your order form as soon as you can.
  • Early release is Wednesday, Sept. 27th. Children will be dismissed at 12:35pm. Please notify me if your child will have a different dismissal plan for this day.

Mrs. Bradstreet

Friday, September 8, 2017

First Week Recap

I am happy to say we had a productive and successful first week in first grade! I truly enjoyed getting to know all of your children and I look forward to working with them over the course of this school year. Here are some highlights from our busy week:

Procedures and Routines
Our biggest goal this week was to learn the "how-to" of many school and classroom procedures. The students practiced how to do the following:

  • walk quietly through the hallway
  • safely evacuate the school for a fire drill
  • go through the lunch line
  • use the playground equipment safely
  • how and when to use different "level" voices
We will continue to practice and reinforce these procedures until they become positive habits!

Math Workshop
Students were to introduced to an important part of our math program (Investigations) - math workshop. During this time, students will work in small groups to use a variety of math tools and play independent or partner math games. In addition, it is a very important time for students to work cooperatively, make responsible choices and sustain attention on a task. This week, we focused on using four math tools - pattern blocks, geoblocks, power polygons and connecting cubes. Students worked in small groups to explore these tools, figure out ways to use them, make observations and share these observations in a class discussion. Ask your child to tell you about some of the math tools they used this week!
Image result for Pete the Cat

Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes
We read plenty of school-themed stories this week but the favorite was definitely Pete the Cat! We listened to the author, James Dean, read and sing this story to us. Then, students decorated their own school shoes and wrote their own page for a class book to go along with this fun story. The school shoes will be hung up for all to see! 

Important Reminders
  • We have P.E. on Monday so make sure to wear sneakers!
  • Red totes should be returned to school on Thursdays.
  • Any changes to dismissal need to be called into the office or emailed to me.
  • Technology will be on Tuesdays (beginning on Sept. 19th)
Thank you for your help in making this a great week!

Mrs. Bradstreet