Language Arts: Wow! Our FairyTaleBall was a huge success! The children loved sharing their original fairytales, performing their skits, and enjoying fairytale themed snacks. These fairy tales are SO fun for the children to write but this project encompasses so much more than that! Students get to learn about the building blocks for stories and story structure and then get to write and mimic those structures (beginning, middle, end, problem, solution, etc,). They learn how to create detailed illustrations and how important they are to stories. The skits also provide an opportunity for the kids to practice their speaking and performance skills while letting them demonstrate their learning in a kinesthetic way. Every detail included in this event comes from the kids and integrated 21st century skills like communication and collaboration. Their work shined through every detail (backdrops, self-made books, labels for food, etc.). Our fairy tale ball is such an AMAZING event and we are so thankful for everyone who helped make it a success. Thank you for your sending in items and supporting this wonderful unit of study.
After we completed our Fairy Tales, we transitioned into the tricky skill of "Cause and Effect". Readers understand that in text, events happen, (effects), along with the reasons why they happen (causes). When students recognize this relationship, comprehension is increased. The cause and effect relationship is a basic thinking skill and text structure for all types of reading and subject areas. We began reading some of Laura Numeroff’s “circlestories.” Some of her stories include: If You Give a Pig a Pancake, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, If You Give a Pig a Party, and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. It was fun to see how these books use cause and effect throughout the story and end the way the story began. Ask your child which is their favorite story by Laura Numeroff. The students also completed their own circlestories using the patterns (and cycles!) modeled by Laura Numeroff's stories. What circle story did your child create?
We also circle back around to our CAFE reading strategies this month and added a new menu item to the list. To increase Comprehension (understanding what is read), readers can make INFERENCES! What does it mean to infer? When a reader infers, they make a guess about what is happening in the story. The students became “detectives” and looked for clues and evidence in texts to figure out the meaning of the stories read in class. They loved this! When making inferences, readers figure out what the author is saying even if it’s not written down. We taught the students to: use their background knowledge, use clues from the text, and to use illustrations and captions to make meaning of the selection. We learned that not all authors tell the reader everything they want you to know in the selection. This is different from a prediction which is simply a "guess" because the students have to support their guess with EVIDENCE! We read the story "Two Bad Ants" which tells the story of 2 naughty ants who separate themselves from their colony to stay at a home where there was a lot of good food to eat. They eat many "crystals" and get stuck in a "boiling brown lake". The students inferred that these crystals were actually sugar and the lake was a cup of coffee (or was it TEA or even SOUP?) We never get to know for sure but we used evidence from the author's words and pictures to make our inferences! Check out some of the pictures above of a few of our friends playing inference charades! During morning meeting, the kiddos acted out different things and we tried to INFER what each student was doing!
Unit of Study: Conservation This unit is all about keeping our environment safe and clean! The kids were horrified to learn and see how much trash we "throw away" each day! We gathered up all of our trash left over from just one snack period and the kids noticed that many of the things that were thrown away, did not actually have to be garbage! We discussed how some items, like milk cartons could be reused to make bird-feeders and items such as paper could be recycled! The kids also enjoyed watching Dr. Seuss’ original cartoon, “The Lorax” to make connections to saving trees and keeping the environment clean and protected. We even got to make a connection to our first grade BIG IDEA of patterns and cycles when created our own “cycles” depicting the recycling process of glass! The kids also got to participate in a great hands-on-learning activity when we got to make our own recycled paper! Can your child give the steps and teach YOU "How To Make Paper?" Overall, it’s been so great for the children to see conservation methods used first hand at their own school!
Math: Subtraction The students have had a blast working on SUBTRACTION! They are starting to see the relationship between addition and subtractions and they LOVE the fact that they already “know” strategies to help them solve problems! So far, we’ve used several of the same strategies we used in addition, such as using pictures, manipulatives, the number line and the hundreds chart. The students were thrilled to know they could use those SAME strategies to help them subtract! Have you heard your child say the word “SUBTRAHEND” or “DIFFERENCE”? We have also been discussing the correct terminology to describe the numbers in a subtraction sentence. A subtrahend is one of the numbers in a subtraction problem, while the difference is the answer to a subtraction problem!
Have you heard about "Toothy" math? We have added some new math games into our daily rotations! Toothy is a game that ALL kids (At all levels) can play. We started by creating our own toothy mats which included a big empty mouth (smiling of course!). The kiddos colored them to look like themselves. Mrs. Linacre and Mrs. Kave have worked hard to introduce nearly 30 toothy "concepts". In every toothy box there is a stack of math cards. A question resides on the front and the answer on the back. Two students solve the problem (individually) on a white board and when they are both complete, they can check their answers for accuracy on the back. If one students gets it correct, they must explain how they got their answer to their partner. The ability to teach a skill themselves is a sign of true concept mastery! The best part about this game is that the rules are always the same no matter what skill the children are working on. One parter group can be working on a new subtraction skill while another group is reviewing an older place value skill! The kids LOVE this game!
SPACED OUT! Our First Grade Musical was a huge success! It was such a fun and meaningful way to wrap our Nature's Patterns unit. The students worked so hard learning the songs and speaking lines but they LOVED the connections they made from the information in the play to what they learned in class. It's safe to say we have many SPACE experts!