Sunday, November 2, 2008


Hello Readers!  First and foremost I want to thank all of the Room 108 parents for their attendance at our recent parent/teacher conferences.  Overall the class is moving in a good direction and each day is an opportunity to for each child to learn something new.  Another big "Thank You" must be given to the Room 108 parents for the outstanding Halloween Bash!  It may have been a little wild at times, but this year's bunch of kids has a lot of energy.  Let's be thankful they all made it out of "Kung-Fu Fighting"  dancing with no bumps or bruises!  If you brought your camera to capture the action please be sure to send the photos/videos in to me so I can decorate the blog.
Now it's time to sink you into Room 108's "Progress."  It certainly is a buzz word right now but it is applicable in so many ways to the current state of needs in our nation and citizens.  Progress is about growing every single day and learning from what already is or has been done in hopes of improvement.  As new units unfold in Math, Reading, Phonics and Social Studies students are asked to build on prior knowledge as well as skills and concepts that have been introduced to them this school year.  Now in the fourth calendar month of first grade, we are nearing the end of the first trimester and the level of expectation is slowly rising.  Many students are now stronger decoders and readers which creates better opportunity for shared reading growth.  Our reading groups are now meeting two or three times a week and children are challenged to apply effort and skills every day.  
Everyday Math continues with familiar concepts such as number line hops, patterns, evens and odds, and clocks.  But Unit 3 goes a little deeper with the introduction of the dime,  counting by 4s, ordering clock times, and exploring the sums of even and odd numbers.  As children are reading more and becoming familiar with our math workbooks and activities they are being encouraged to "discover" answers and learn new concepts together.  Of course there will still be instruction for the whole class and small groups but students are now becoming more responsible for their own learning.  
Unit 3 in Open-Court is titled Things That Go, and as you guessed it, it includes transportation vocabulary and stories.  Daily phonics skills are being introduced and practiced daily with digraphs now being added.  A digraph is two letters that make one sound.  Early examples are /ch/, /sh/, /wh/, and /th/.  As students increase their phonemic awareness word recognition, reading fluency and comprehension will increase.  
Houghton Mifflin social studies also starts a new unit this week, Unit 2 titled Where We Live.  This unit expands on what children learned in the first unit about their communities and introduces vocabulary related to the Earth and its major features like continents, oceans, mountains and natural resources.  The book mentions four oceans but the International Hydrographic Organization has declared the Southern Ocean as the fourth largest of the five major oceans.  Click here for more info.
Delta/Foss science curriculum continues down the path of analysis, inference, composition, and other skills of observation and descriptions.  Some math and science skills are overlapping such as estimation, measurement, temperature reading, weather observations and discussion as well patterns and sequence.  National Geographic Young Explorer has been a terrific compliment for science and social studies as it examines animals, plants, geographic regions and other seasonal topics.  The website has a very cool feature that shows the magazine and reads it out loud as the children follow along.  Thanks PTO for the LCD projector to make this possible!

Keep up the reading at home along with addition/subtraction facts.  I hope the links on the right side of the blog are helpful in keeping you connected to what is going on academically in the classroom.  As always, if you have any questions or comments please share them!  See you on the blacktop!