Our students are doing so well writing opinion pieces! They understand that their purpose for writing an opinion is to convince their reader to think a certain way or to go do something. This week, we started another Opinion Writing piece...a book recommendation! The students loved watching videos of other children sharing book reviews. We chose our favorite Mo Willems book and used a graphic organizer to write an interesting hook, a quick summary, and list our own reasons why this book is so great! Finally, the students realized that great book recommendations shouldn't give away the ending! We wrote conclusions that persuade our reader to check out our favorite book without telling them how the story ends. Our first graders were able to return to the book as a resource to cite specific examples. The students are really getting strong at writing opinion pieces! To wrap up this unit, we will continue to study Mo Willems and his Knuffle Bunny series. The students had so much fun making their very own Knuffly Bunnies to go along with this study! Our next writing unit will be Fiction writing with a focus on Fairy Tales.
English Language Arts
We have focused on several grammar skills this month. We sorted nouns into two categories - common and proper. Students know that a common noun names any person, place, thing, or idea. A proper noun is a specific noun, and it should always be capitalized. They have fun going on noun scavenger hunts, and they challenge themselves to change common nouns to proper nouns in their own writing to add more details. We also studied different types of sentences, specifically interrogatives, sentences that ask a question. We understand that writers end questions with question marks so their reader knows they are asking something. Another type of punctuation we studied this month is apostrophes. Students discovered that apostrophes can be used in possessive nouns to show ownership and in contractions. We had so much transforming our room into a hospital and performing Contraction Surgery!! Our first grade doctors had to cut through words to take out letters and bandage them back together with an apostrophe bandaid. Check out our work below! We have also studied adjectives and understand that these describing words help our reader to visualize what we write. We will use adjectives in a fun writing prompt about our Knuffle Bunnies soon - stay tuned!!
We are finishing up our Numbers to 120 unit, and I am SO IMPRESSED with our students' strong number sense!! They have learned so much throughout this unit, and we've really been able to go deeper and cement a strong foundation of number sense with our first graders. This week, we practiced skip counting by 2's, 5's, and 10's. Students understand that skip counting is just adding the same amount each time in a number series. One of their favorite games is "Magic Number." Ask your child to teach your family and play at home! We also worked on grouping objects equally to count more efficiently. Finally, students compared two- and three-digit numbers by drawing base-10 blocks and then deciding which number was larger. Next week, we will continue working on "broken" number sequences. Students will learn how to record which number comes before or after a mystery number. I'm confident that I will be able to see a lot of growth on our post-unit assessment next week! Our next unit will be Addition to 20.
We celebrated our 100th day together as First Graders!! What a wonderful journey it's been!!
Unit: Nature's Patterns
Our unit on Space and Nature's Patterns has been so engaging! We began by studying the sun as a source of light. We explored how light behaves, and we made our own shadows with the sun outside. Students enjoyed tracing their shadows in the morning and then standing in the same place later in the day - their shadows had moved!! We learned that the Earth is actually rotating, and the Sun doesn't move even though it seems to pass over the sky. Bear Shadow by Frank Asch became a class favorite. In this classic story, Bear thinks his shadow is scaring away the fish he is trying to catch. He tries multiple ways to get rid of his shadow, but the nothing works! Finally, at noon Bear's shadow disappears - only to reappear later in the day! Students had so much fun connecting this to our own shadows. If you have sidewalk chalk at home, try this fun experiment at your house!
The Diamond Del in-school field trip was a HUGE success!! The level of excitement in the mining-trailer was amazing! It was truly hands-on learning at its best!! We loved being geologists!! Our students enjoyed listening to non-fiction books about rocks and watching videos on rock facts, how rocks are formed, the different types of rocks there are, and a rock's cycle. We were able to sort our rocks after our field trip and compare and contrast their various attributes. We also did an amazing hands on experiment that allowed us to see first hand the various stages of the rock cycle: Sedimentary, Metamorphic, and Igneous. Ask your children how they made each rock and how each rock is formed. This was very exciting for them!! After exploring rocks, the children are now able to explain that rocks compose part of Earth, are non-living and have various attributes. We also studied more about Earth's composition in the forms of sand and soil. We talked about how we use sand/soil in our everyday lives and even learned that glass is made of sand! The kids enjoyed watching videos about how marbles are made (heating sand to very high temperatures!). They also thought it was funny to see pictures of "clay masks" used to clean your skin. They were shocked to learn that clay was a type of soil!
Chef Lisa also allowed us to explore and visit with some EARTH WORMS! We did several "experiments" including testing to see if worms liked light or if they preferred the dark! We learned about how important worms are to composting and Chef Lisa showed us the new compost bin for our cafeteria!