Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Unit 5 Completion

Today marks the completion of Unit 5 in both Open-Court Reading and Everyday Math. Wednesday, January 30, 2008 will be "Big Game Day" for students as they will complete assessments for both content areas.
Focused skills for the reading assessment will be vowel distinction (long versus short), high-frequency words (like sight words), select vocabulary, and word usage in context.
Skills isolated for the math assessment will be domino addition, base ten block counting, greater than-less than-equal to, money counting (and comparison), and "What's My Rule?"
If you child has been attending school regularly and actively participating, these assessments will go very well.

**Parent/Teacher Conference Week - February 4-8, 2008**
You should have received, in your child's Mail folder, your conference date and time. If you have any questions or need to reschedule please contact me as soon as possible.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Unit 5 continues...

It feels good to be healthy and back in the classroom. Thanks to those of you that sent me "Get Well" wishes as they were much needed. I battled off a pretty intense case of tonsillitis and am now at last back to full speed.

As Unit 5 continues in both Open-Court Reading and Everyday Math students are asked to apply many of their skills in new contexts. Phonics and reading have combined in what Open-Court labels "First Readers." These are small thin books given to the students to read and follow along individually. This format is in opposition to the Big Book format experienced until this point. Some of you may receive the next set of Sight Words (101-125) to begin practicing. The words are: over, new, sound, take, only, little, work, know, place, year, live, me, back, give, most, very, after, thing, our, just, name, good, sentence, man, think. Again these are words that should be recognized upon sight and may not necessarily be phonetically spelled.

Everyday Math continues down the path toward addition fact perfection. Basic addition facts will be covered and manipulated in a number of ways. Students have been learning ways of adding double digits with the assistance of base 10 blocks and counting coins. Number stories are also becoming commonplace in the math arena as students work on both comprehension and listening with a purpose, in this case numbers and operations.

Science continues with exploration of our solar system and the assortment of unique bodies within its realm. The universe and space have been captivating both the students' minds and interests as they are encouraged to wonder, ponder, and dream of the interesting features and endless possibilities offered up in outer space.

Social Studies continues down the path of the world we live. Children are being introduced to geographical features and ecological bodies and their purposes. Some keys terms thus far are land, continent, ocean, lake, and resources (non-renewable, renewable.) Please entertain your child's questions and interest in any or all of these areas.

** Parent Teacher Conferences **
Conferences are right around the corner. Please pay attention to your child's Mail folder and your e-mail inbox for your scheduled time. The schedule will remain the same as the fall with a few exceptions. Please contact me if you know there will be a conflict.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Welcome Back... the wheels keep spinning...

After a long needed, and appreciated, winter break Room 108 returns full speed ahead! I hope you all were able to relax and enjoy time with your family the same way I did. It seemed to me the children were anxious to get back to school because the room was full energy, enthusiasm and motivation!

All subjects started with a new unit guiding students towards the acquisition of new skills, broader understanding, and an introduction to all kinds of interesting new content. Open-Court reading started Unit 5 "Weather" and a quick review of long vowels sounds and spellings. Math also began Unit 5 focusing on the application of base-10 blocks and remediation of skills such as measuring, counting by twos and fives, basic addition facts, time telling (as small as 15 minutes intervals), and coin counting/exchange.

The science and social studies curriculums both started the second installment of content. The science unit is titled "Finding the Moon" and will focus on many aspects of the moon but will also expand into the basics of our solar system and Milky Way galaxy. The social studies unit is titled "Where We Live" and delves deeper into the surrounding environment of students and the terrain of the Earth.

You should have received, in your child's Mail folder, the first homework packet with an introduction letter and homework materials. As we move into the second half of the year, first graders are asked to begin taking more responsibility for their learning. This is an important step in child development and motivation for learning. When children take initiative to make choices relevant to their education, they begin to take ownership for their work and effort. Please take the time to go over the each homework packet with your child and encourage them to complete as much as possible on their own. If you have any questions about the packets or any of the new topics, information, and student work please contact me.

I look forward to the second half of the year and am excited to observe the continuing development and growth of your children and my students. Keep up all the hard work and support at home. It can make all the difference!