Thursday, February 19, 2009

The End of Unit 5

Salutations Readers!  I want to begin by thanking all of you that participated in the most recent set of parent/teacher conferences.  I appreciate your continued support, encouragement, and reflection pertaining to the education and experience of your little first graders.  I am grateful for your honesty and openness in addressing the developmental needs of your children.  Although they are not as "little" as they were 6 months ago, we still have plenty of learning experiences designed to foster continued individual growth!  

Unit 6 in Open-Court phonics focuses on the final phonetic pieces; digraphs and dipthongs.  Yes those terms may be unfamiliar to some of you but they are letter/vowel combinations that make a single sound, often irregular sounds, such as /oo/ spelled -ew or the /au/ and /aw/ in words like hawk and haul.  These final phonetical recognition skills should really help those emerging readers take off into the independent realm, with increased fluency not far behind.
Our reading continues with a unit titled "Journeys."  Whole class reading graduates from the big book to student readers.  Each student will have a book in front of them to follow along as the class reads assorted stories and selections about travel.  Reading will focus on concepts to increase comprehension skills and focus on various learning goals such as listening for details, developing vocabulary, clarifying, summarizing, and discussion.  
Many writing skills are being adapted for individual use and performance as exposure to literature is becoming more familiar and concepts of print, such as punctuation and capitalization, are more apparent than in previous months.  
Everyday Math in Unit 6 is more of the familiar concepts, but diving to a deeper level.  Addition and subtraction facts are being related to one another in fact families and on fact triangles.  Measurement explores the other side of the ruler, and metric system, with centimeters.  Pattern blocks will be used to manipulate fractions and quarters will finally be used in the counting and exchanging of coins.  Digital clocks will be investigated as we continue telling time to shortened intervals and also for the purpose of timing.

Keep up the fact practice at home as well as the nightly reading.  There are links on the right hand side for both of these classroom connections.  I suggested "Tumblebooks" to many of you during conferences for reading practice and if you haven't found the link already, its under "Fun Academic Links."  Just follow the Tumblebook title and look for the "Storybooks."