This week in our Wonders program we will focus on the Essential Question: How is life different than it was long ago? We can’t wait to hear what your children think “long ago” means. How are schools different? Transportation? Food? We will be reading Gordon Titcomb’s book The Last Train. This book is based on a song by Mr. Titcomb. Wendell Minor’s illustrations help to make this a wonderful book.
Our phonics focus will be Long Vowel Oo and Long Vowel Uu, with the following spelling words:
hope, nose, note, rope, cute, cube
Sight Words: ago, people
We have been doing a lot of writing in class with a focus on generating ideas, organization our ideas so they have a beginning, a middle, an ending, and adding wonderful words to help describe our writing and make it more exciting. The last two weeks we have been learning about a new type of writing: Opinion Writing. We have learned how to state our opinion about something and back up our writing up with two reasons that support the opinion statement. Ask your child about which they preferred: Big Toy or Fairy Village....Cats or Dogs. We will practice this more over the next couple of weeks.
With our Everyday Mathematics program we will continue working on our Number Sense, balancing equations, place value (a favorite activity), and measurement.
In Science we will continue our investigation with the Spinning Sky by focusing on the following questions: Why do the stars come out at night?
This week with our Wonders program we will be talking and reading about folktales. We will connect one of our Wonders’ stories, The Nice Mitten, to The Mitten (versions by Jan Brett and Jim Aylesworth) that we read a few weeks ago. The phonics focus will be difficult. Soft “c” and “g” as well as “dge” will be introduced. The spelling words for the week will not have any of these spelling patterns. Instead, we will practice them in the classroom all week. The spelling patterns this week will continue with Long Vowel A and Long Vowel I.
made, take, same, like, fine, pine
Sight Words: was, so
“I have a dream...” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man filled with hopes for all people. He believed that you could peacefully work for equal and fair treatment for all Americans. He dreamed of a day when people would not be judged by the color of their skins but by the content of their character. We talked extensively last Friday about Dr. King, one of America’s greatest leaders. Getting together with our Reading Buddies, we listened to James Taylor’s song Shed A Little Light – a song honoring Dr. King and read a Scholastic News featuring Dr. King’s granddaughter.
Did your child tell you about our investigation with shadows? Using their knowledge of the sun and the path that it takes across the sky, they were able to move a light source (a flashlight) to change the shape and length of the shadow on an object. This upcoming week we will be looking at the patterns in the sun’s movement across the sky and then create a Sun Finder which will show the sun’s movement across the sky.
This week with our Wonders program we will focus on the Essential Question: How do plants change as they grow? Interesting question with snow on the ground and below freezing temperatures outside!! We will be reading several books about plants and how plants grow. Our phonics focus will be Long Vowel Ii, with the spelling pattern of i_e.
Everyone did a great job last week on their spelling test. Between blends, digraphs, and long vowels the words are getting more difficult. I will be adapting the spelling words for this week. This week’s spelling words will contain three long vowel Aa words (a review from last week) and three long vowel Ii words (the new spelling pattern for this week):
made, game, late
ride, bike, mine
We will be reviewing all of the long vowel words and sight words that our Wonders program has suggested, but your child will only be held responsible for the above six words.
Last Friday we had so much fun in Science. Our task…to define and test the simple problem of: Why don’t trees blow down in the wind? Our investigation started with the help of Mr. Bridle, Mrs. L’Heureux, and Mrs. Queen creating the wind that trees would experience in a Tropical Storm. The next question was – could these trees sustain the winds from a hurricane? Now came the time to rethink and possibly change the design of our trees. Mr. Bridle, Mrs. L’Heureux, and Mrs. Queen then created hurricane force winds. Be sure to ask your child about this fun activity and if their tree stayed upright.
This week in Science we will investigate shadows, focusing on what is takes to make a stationary object’s shadow move and what this means about the sun’s place in the sky.
In Social Studies we will learn about Martin Luther King, Jr. with our Reading Buddies on Friday.
This week with our Wonders program our Essential Question is: How do we measure time? We will be reading A Second is a Hiccup by Hazel Hutchins. Understanding the passage of time can be a very abstract concept. How long is a second? A minute? How about an hour? This book will help to explain these units of time with examples that we can understand and apply. A second is how long it takes to hiccup...a week is seven sleeps. We will start our mathematical exploration of clocks – both digital and analog - with telling time to the hour and half hour.
Our phonics focus is the long vowel Aa with the spelling pattern of a-e (“Magic E, Silent E”). Last week we learned about the power of the letter “e” at the end of words with a focus on the spelling patterns for this week: _ake, _ame, _ate). We will be practicing a lot with this new concept. Confusion creeps in when we start to sound out these words. We have spent so many weeks on short vowels (words with a consonant-vowel-consonant such as rob, pin) and have mastered this concept. Now we will be learning that with a “magic e/silent e” at the end of the word, the vowel now says its name...a new sound to apply. So...rob becomes robe, pin becomes pine. Our spelling words follow three a_e spelling patterns (ake, ame, ate):
Our two new high-frequency words are: some, today. We will also focus on these additional high-frequency words: away, now, way, why.
Number Sense is so important and we will continue to focus on it. When children understand numbers and operations along with the ability to use this understanding in flexible ways to make mathematical judgments and to develop useful strategies for solving complex problems then they are developing number sense. Researchers note that number sense develops gradually, and varies as a result of exploring numbers, visualizing them in a variety of contexts, and relating them in ways that are not limited by traditional algorithms. Developing an understanding of numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems are focus areas of our math curriculum.
First graders move from developing basic counting techniques to understanding number size and relationships, place value, and operations. They develop this understanding at different rates. First graders can easily count 32 objects, but they do not always see that 32 is three groups of ten and 2 groups of ones. Through repeated practice they will understand that they can group objects into tens and ones and recognize their numerical representation. So…we practice and practice and practice these skills.
This week with our Everyday Mathematics program we will investigate place-value concepts for tens and ones. Last week before vacation we learned a new game. Using manipulatives we will be playing the Place Value Game to help reinforce this new skill. Here is some information for you about the Base Ten Blocks that we are using.
The Base Ten Blocks provide a spatial model of our base ten number system. The smallest blocks are units, these represent the number 1. The long, narrow blocks are called longs or rods and represent the number ten. Eventually we will be getting to flats, which represent 100 and even the largest cube which represent 1,000.
As a result, your children will understand that the number 32 consists of three longs (30) and two units: 30 + 2 = 32 (Expanded Notation). This is also a great concept for adding larger numbers. 32 + 54 = 30 + 50 + 2 + 4.
We will be reading and doing math extensions with some outstanding books that will help us with number sense. A Place for Zero, by Angeline Sparagna LoPresti comes up first. Stay tuned!
Last week we spent the three days learning how to Compare and Contrast similar stories. Using Jan Brett’s version and Jim Aylesworth’s version of The Mitten we focused on the setting, characters, and events in both stories. We looked at what was the same and what was different with the setting, the characters, and the events. Ask your child which version they liked better - - we had a great class discussion! Next time you are in school be sure to check out your child’s outstanding work on our bulletin board.