We moved into a new writing unit: Non-Fiction writing. This is a HIGH INTEREST unit and the students are very interested in writing books that they are EXPERTS on! We already knew what Non-Fiction meant (and used our prior knowledge of GENRE) but this time, the kiddos had to choose topics that they knew a lot about. Once they chose a topic, they created a web to organize their TRUE facts about their topic. We discussed the difference between true facts and opinions and although we've used opinions in our writing before, this was not the goal this time around! We also talked about not trying to teach our readers something in these books. For example, if our topic was Swimming, we didn't want to tell our reader to kick their feet in order to swim (we've already mastered How-To writing!), rather we want to only include FACTS about swimming. Over the next few weeks, we will be turning our webs into first drafts of our non-fiction books. Stay tuned! ALL of our kiddos have been super interested in discovering all of the TRUE things that exist in our lives. Did I mention Non-Fiction writing is HIGH INTEREST? There are SO many non-fiction topics all around us!
This week, we focused on finding the Main Idea in a paragraph. When students can identify the main idea and supporting details of a text they can help to expand their skills of comprehension and retelling what they've read. You can practice this skill at home with these helpful hints...
-The first thing you must be able to do to get at the main idea of a paragraph is to identify the topic--the subject of the paragraph.
-The strategy to identify the topic is simply to ask yourself the question, "What is this paragraph mostly about?"
-Keep asking yourself that question as you read the paragraph, until the answer to your question becomes clear.
-Sometimes you can spot the topic by looking for a word or two that is repeated.
-Once you've identified the topic, ask yourself, "What about the topic? What is it that the author wants me to know about this subject?"
Earlier this month, we wrapped up our Geometry unit by learning about lines of symmetry. The students used paint and construction paper to create their very own... SYMMETRY MONSTERS! Check out their spooky, symmetrical creatures!
We have also been reviewing place value for the past couple of weeks, and wow - the kids are showing off all that they know! We started by working with a hundreds chart and filling in missing numbers. Students really demonstrated their understanding of place value by fluently moving all around the chart. We also reviewed skip-counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s. The kids realized that putting items into equal groups and then skip-counting is much more efficient (and accurate!) than counting by ones. We also used base-10 blocks to build and compare two- and three-digit numbers. Students understand a digit's worth in a multi-digit number is so important. We wrapped up this unit with a challenge - students were presented with "broken" number grids and only given one number. They had to fill in the missing numbers by adding or subtracting 10 or 1. I am so impressed with their number sense and place value knowledge!
Unit: Conservation & Metamorphosis
We wrapped up our conservation unit with a hands-on water experiment that gave us a first-hand look at what pollution does to our town's water! After reading an interactive story about polluting the Beaufort River, in which each student played a part...the students were appalled at what they had created! This was a very meaningful learning experience to help the students realize how important our water supply is to plants, animals, our recreation, and the large impact we have on it!
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 even learned that RCS will be getting a new compost bin for our cafeteria very soon!
We have now begun our final integrated unit, METAMORPHOSIS! We will be using our BIG IDEA of PATTERNS AND CYCLES to identify the patterns and cycles found within the stages of metamorphosis! The first step in our journey was the arrival of some new friends, our very own CATERPILLARS! We have been observing and documenting the growth and changes in our caterpillars over the last few weeks! What will happen to them?! You'll have to wait and see!
We also got a chance to visit with Mr. Mix, the "Butterfly Man"! He came and spoke to all of the first grade classes about butterflies, moths and caterpillars. We learned how to say "butterfly" in different languages and about the differences between a cocoon and a chrysalis! The kids got to hold and explore different moth cocoons and witness the release of some butterflies!! Check out the pictures!