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.
Our phonics focus is the long vowel Aa with the spelling pattern of a-e (magic e). 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 cat, dog) and have mastered this concept. Now we will be learning that with a “magic e” at the end of the word, the vowel now says its name...a new sound to apply. 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 ones. Through repeated practice they are beginning to understand that they can group objects into tens and ones and understand 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 have been playing the Place Value Game to help reinforce this new skill. Ask your child tell you about this game. 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 are understanding that the number 32 consists of three longs (30) and two units: 30 + 2 = 32.
We will be reading and doing math extensions with three outstanding books that will help us with number sense. A Place for Zero, by Angeline Sparagna LoPresti, Doggone Dogs! by Karen Beaumont, and Equal Shmequal by Virginia Kroll. Stay tuned!
Our trip down to the Food Pantry was wonderful. Thank you for all of your donations. The cupboards were overflowing when we left.
The classroom is full of excitement and wonder from your children. Elfie, our classroom Elf on the Shelf, is perched high above and is eagerly watching for Bobcat behavior (Safe, Respectful, and Responsible). As you can imagine, it is hard to contain and monitor our enthusiasm and excitement with the holidays right around the corner.
Last Friday your children successfully solved a dilemma that Santa could possibly encounter on his travels around the world. What if…..Santa got stuck in your chimney! Your children had so many creative ways to “unstick” him. The writing and artwork for this project is hanging up on the classroom walls. During this Friday’s Holiday Brunch we will be applying some scientific thinking (STEM Challenge) as we create the perfect chimney for Santa, allowing for Santa’s waistline to expand with all the cookies and treats that are being left for him.
We will not have any new Wonders spelling words or phonics focus this week. Instead – we will be reviewing and reviewing with the hope of trying to master these very tricky words and concepts. As such, if your child would like to re-take last week’s spelling test – we will do this on Friday. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
We will head to the Food Pantry on Thursday morning. It will be chilly when we walk down. Just a reminder – your child should be bringing “snow gear” every day to school:
hat, warm coat, snow pants, gloves/mittens, and boots
As long as the temperature (and wind chill) cooperate we are outside for both recesses. Speaking of snow gear we have been helping your children get ready for recess and dismissal with their warm clothes. As you can imagine that means Mrs. Kierstead and I are helping with:
44 boots to push and pull on and tie/Velcro
44 mittens to pull on
22 hats to pull down
22 snow pants to fasten
22 coats to zip up
Beginning in January when we return from the holiday break, your child will need to be independently putting on their own winter gear. The quicker they can accomplish this task, the faster they will get outside to recess. Your help and understanding with this task is greatly appreciated.
This week with our Wonders program we will be talking and reading about maps and how to use them. What is a compass rose? Why are maps important? How can we use a map to locate places? The book Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney is a great introduction to maps and geography. We will take what we learn about maps in this book and apply it to our own lives. Where is New Boston on the map? How about the state of New Hampshire? Our country...our continent?
Our phonics focus continues with tricky digraphs. This week we will learn about ch, tch, wh, and ph. Our spelling words are:
whip, whale, catch, match, chin, graph - - many, around
We will also be exposed to: by, place, walk
We are finishing up Unit 4 in the Everyday Mathematics program. Doubles and doubles +1/-1 will be the focus this week. Knowing our doubles facts and the addition/subtraction facts of 10 will help to make adding and subtracting within 20 much easier and faster.
Adding three numbers together will be introduced later in the week (the Associative Property of Addition - - adding numbers together regardless of how the numbers are grouped together). Your children are already familiar with the Commutative Property of Addition (turn-around facts). They are excellent detectives for spotting them and using this thinking to solve equations. Why is this important? Understanding that when three or more numbers are added together it doesn’t matter which two numbers are added first - - the sum will still be the same. Looking for known facts (doubles, +/- within 10) makes this task easier and more proficient.
Our Acts of Kindness cards are on their way to Okinawa, Japan (Thank You, Mrs. Carter). We helped to create 81 beautifully decorated holiday trees for the servicemen and servicewomen. I was so proud of your children – their enthusiasm for this project brought such joy to Mrs. Kierstead and me.
Snow reminder...your children will need the following snow gear in order to play outside at recess:
hats, warm coat, snow pants, gloves/mittens, boots
Our Evacuation Drill will be tomorrow - - beginning at 8:30. Please make sure your child comes to school with warm clothes and comfortable walking shoes/boots. We will be outside before the frost has time to melt.
This week with our Wonders program we will focus on: How do people help out in the community? We will read the book, The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. The book tells how Dr. King excelled in school, became a minister, and worked to end segregation in America. We will be having many conversations around “what can we do together to make a difference”? Our phonics focus will be the following digraphs: th, sh and ng. Digraphs are difficult because, although they have two letters, the sound that they make is different.
Our spelling words are:
fish, shop, ship, with, thing, sang - - want, call
We will also be looking at three additional sight words: all, day, her
Our grammar focus will be nouns. Your children know that a noun is a person, animal, place, or thing. They know that some words always have a capital letter. We will connect this thinking with the terminology of: Proper Nouns and Common Nouns.
With our Everyday Mathematics program we will continue with measurement – realizing the importance of correctly measuring the length (or height) of an item. Doubles will come into play this week – helping us to use doubles as a strategy for adding and subtracting within 20. Combinations of 10 is another strategy we will focus on this week to help us with adding and subtracting within 20.
The Evacuation Drill has been rescheduled to this Thursday morning (December 7th). Please make sure your child is dressed warmly with comfortable walking shoes - - we will be outside before any frost has had a chance to melt.
Finally, this week your children will be decorating holiday cards for the service men and women in Okinawa. This is a wonderful community project (which ties in perfectly with our weekly Wonders theme) that one of our students has suggested. Acts of kindness are everywhere!