Happy New Year!

What's happening in 1st grade in January 2014?

Welcome back!

I hope everyone had a very relaxing and enjoyable winter break and a very happy new year. I'm excited to be back to school with my kiddos. I missed them. I'm looking forward to learning new things in 2014!

I began the year using this format of a weekly newsletter and then switched to using the blog on our class website. I am trying this format again because I think it will give a more encompassing view of what's going on inside our classroom.

If you have any questions about what you read, please e-mail me. Enjoy!

What will we be learning in Writing?

We began the school year learning to write Informational How-to pieces. The students have just taken their benchmark assessment and did very well. I think they could write an Informational How-to piece in their sleep. I'm very proud of them! :)

Now we are going to be learning how to write a Persuasive Opinion piece. We will be working on this mode of writing for the next couple of weeks. Ask your students to tell you what they're learning about Persuasive Opinion writing.

As I mentioned at our parent teacher conference, your student's writing stays in their Writer's Notebook and will be seen at the end of the year. We do a lot of writing in 1st grade! They write in their Kid Journal and other types of writing during Work on Writing and then during our Writing lessons.

I am VERY impressed with their writing! :)

What are we learning in Science?

We began our very first unit in Science before winter break where we are learning all about solids. The FOSS Science Curriculum is very hands on and exploratory. The students have the opportunity to investigate solids and liquids by observing, touching, identifying, and sorting. We've been answering essential questions of "What are solid objects? How do we identify solid objects? What are the properties of solid objects? and What are solid objects made of?" This week we will be investigating and exploring solids to answer the essential question, "Can two or more solid objects have the same property?"

The students have the opportunity to touch various solid objects as well as reading about solids in a textbook, write in their very own Science Notebook, and learn new vocabulary words that we add to our Science wall.

Right now we are focusing our learning on solid objects, but then will move on to investigating and exploring liquids. Please ask your students to identify solid objects around your house. They are very good at this because we've been identifying solid objects around our classroom and identifying the properties and materials of each solid object.

What are we learning during our Language Arts time?

We begin our day with Shared Reading. During this time, the students and I share a big book together while sitting on our classroom "thinking" carpet. Each week I introduce the students to a reading strategy to add to their "reading tool belt". The reading strategies we learn during Shared Reading we apply during our Guided Reading time. I'm working on restructuring our reading groups after administering the mid-year DRA. The new groups will begin next week. If you want to know specifics of your students new reading group, please e-mail me.

While I'm reading with each reading group, the rest of the students are working on the Daily 5. I've mentioned the Daily 5 before in another newsletter. Read to Self, Read to Someone, Work on Writing, Word Work, and Listen to Reading are the parts of the Daily 5. I will be teaching the students what Read to Someone looks like and sounds like this week.

During "Work on Writing" the students can choose from various writing resources such as, writing a letter to teachers, parents, friends, roll a story, story cubes, making a list, and journal prompts changed each month. I enjoy tweaking and adding to these resources.

During "Word Work" the students practice spelling/reading the word wall words that they need to practice. The students can build the words by writing on white boards, using Wiki Sticks, magnet letters, or stamps. The students are also able to use word stick activities. The students also work on their Words Their Way word sorts during this time.

During "Read to Self" the students read from their book sacks on a comfy pillow, chair, or bean bag chair in a spot in our classroom of their choosing. During "Read to Someone" the students are able to read with a buddy. There are different ways the students can read, which they will be learning and practicing in the next few weeks.

During "Listen to Reading" the students use our classroom net books to listen/read a story on Book Flix.

The purpose of this structure is for the students to work independently. The students choose what part of the Daily 5 they will work on first and when they finish they independently move on to another part. We've done a lot of modeling what Daily 5 looks like and doesn't look like. We don't waste any of our precious learning time during the Daily 5. The students love this time of the day!

What will we be learning in Math?

We will be taking our Unit 4 assessment next week where students will be able to identify groups of tens and ones and will be able to add two digit and one digit numbers together by using strategies such as counting on and drawing ten sticks and ones.

In Unit 5 we will be counting and adding dimes, nickels, and pennies to find monetary amounts. We will also build upon and explore methods of subtracting from a teen total and to find the unknown addend.

I have been offering a Math Challenge to students to complete along with their homework. I do not grade the Math Challenge, but will check it and send it home. The purpose of the Math Challenges is simply to be something a little extra to challenge the students at home. The daily homework is the requirement, The Math Challenge is optional.

A BIG Thank You...

to all of the parents who sent in food and or came to our Holiday Party! The kids had a blast!

for the generous gifts I received. I loved everything and am very thankful.

I appreciate ALL of you! :)