Ms. Ward's 1st Grade

Week 6

To be quite honest, this was a challenging week for everyone in 1.3... The air conditioning and internet went out everyday this week, and the reality is, 1st graders do not enjoy learning in an 80 degree classroom. Teachers don't like teaching in it either! It was rough and hot, but the students kept their cool : ) They were still as focused and as enthusiastic as they could be, even with sweat dripping down their faces. I am impressed with their insightful comments and participation, as well as how mindful and considerate they are of others' feelings.

We celebrated Terry Kim's birthday today, and we finally got to relax and enjoy each others' company in the cool breeze of a working AC! It was fantastic. Thank you for the treats, Ms. Kim!

Daily Five

Now that the Daily Five is set up in 1.3, the students are beginning to make choices about what they would like to do in their independent time. As always, their choices are Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Word Work, or Work on Writing. We talk everyday about the importance of this independent time, and the reasons we do the Daily Five. The students understand that the reason they read and write everyday is so that they can be better readers, writers, and spellers. We listen to others read and read out loud so that we can increase our fluency. This Daily Five time is a large portion of our reading block. This time allows the children to take responsibility of their learning, and really focus on the things they know they need to work on. I have seen a lot of wise choices being made throughout our Daily Five block. Many times, the "fun" option may be to go goof off with a friend, but quite a few students will say (politely) that they don't want to spend their time that way. They choose a quite activity that will help them be successful. I am amazed at their maturity and independence!


CAFE is our reading strategy board. CAFE stands for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expand Vocabulary. We have introduced 3 options this week. Under comprehension, the students know that good readers Check for Understanding while they read, as well as Retell a Story using key story elements. Under Accuracy, we know that good readers Cross Check when they come to a word they do not know. That is, ask: Does it look like the word? Does it match the picture? and Does it make sense? Under Expand Vocabulary, the students learned on Thursday that good readers Tune in to Interesting Words, or pay attention to and use new words learned through reading.

Basically, the CAFE menu board breaks down all the things you (great readers) do subconsciously! Before they become engrained in these 1st grade minds, however, we have to teach them explicitly.

There are several students who remember these from Kinder. What a wonderful surprise that was! For all students, we are working on specific strategies that are within their needs, and diving into some really fun on-level texts in small groups. It's going to be a very productive year!


This week in math we focused on time, as you know from the homework. We read the Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carl, and the students enjoyed setting their clocks to the time read aloud in the book. We also began talking about relative size of objects, that is, how long/short/tall they are compared to other objects. Students paired off and took an object search, finding things in the classroom that were longer or shorter than their rulers. While we are not yet using our rulers to measure things, we did learn that they can also be a tool for creating a perfectly straight line. The students acted like pro architects as they used their "straightedges" to create a perfectly edged 6 point star! They will come home today in the folders... check them out, they are great!


We have finished our unit on bodies. Today, we took our body test as a summative assessment. It included information about body parts, the 5 senses, healthy eating habits, and the importance of exercise. Ms. Chrissie also came in to talk with us about our bodies and how they belong to us. She helped the students to understand which parts of our body should only be touched by ourselves and no one else. The students actively participated in a class discussion, and had a mature attitude toward the subject.

Conversations about these subject areas will help your child to recall the information even though we will not be talking about it at school anymore. Next week we will shift our attention to Social Studies, where we will focus on self-identity as well as our identity within larger social groups (communities).


So... Many... Papers!

Some of you might notice that your child's homework folder is quite full this afternoon. We were only recently trained on entering grades into RenWeb (our electronic grade books) and thus I have been hoarding all your children's work until I had a chance to enter it. This flood of graded papers will not happen in the future. As your child completes an assignment that is meant to be home, it will be in your hands. If ever there is graded work in the folders, please take a minute to go over it with your child so they know you and I are on the same page as far as their progress goes. If you have any questions about any of the assignments, please let me know.

We're going GREEN!

This will be the last week that I am going to send home paper copies of weekly targets, vocabulary words, and popcorn words. You will ONLY be able to find them attached to the Friday email in an effort to reduce paper usage. If you prefer to have a paper copy, please let me know via email or a note in the agenda. I will be happy to send a copy home with your child as per usual!


Next week there is no school on Friday (September 27)!

Picture Day will be next week. Stay tuned for exact dates.

Have a safe and relaxing weekend!

Ms. Ward : )