Mrs. Nitsopoulos' Grade One Class

March/April 2015 Newsletter


This month, we have maintained our focus on descriptive writing. Last month, the students were introduced to the terms "adjective" and "noun" and know that writers use adjectives (describing words) to "dress up" nouns when writing. Describing words also help readers to "visualize" what the writer is trying to convey. "Visualizing" is also a reading comprehension strategy that readers can use to better understand texts they are reading. We practiced visualizing by listening to poems and stories without looking at the pictures. Students were encouraged to draw what they visualized while hearing the stories, as well as pay particular attention to the author's word choice in order to identify descriptive language.

Before the Break, students incorporated what they have learned into their own writing: Adjectives can be words related to colour, size, behaviour, and the senses (taste, touch, smell, sight and sound) and that detail can be added to their writing by answering Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. Students were asked to draw a monster, describe their monster using adjectives and then use their adjectives to write a paragraph about their monster. They particularly enjoyed playing Who Am I? and What Animal Am I? using descriptive clues that they read out loud to their classmates.

This week the students will be introduced to persuasive or opinion writing. Students will learn to generate and record arguments for or against a topic of interest, such as getting a new pet, asking for an allowance, or having a longer recess each day.

Again, students are encouraged to refer to the Learning Target and Success Criteria posted in the classroom as well as use checklists provided in order to improve their writing.


We have begun our unit on Addition and Subtraction of numbers up to 20. Students will be learning strategies to enable them to add one digit numbers both vertically and horizontally, quickly and accurately. In addition, students will be exposed to "number problems". These are mathematical stories which students read and translate into number sentences (e.g. Mrs. N. took 12 eggs out of the fridge to bake some cakes. She accidentally dropped 6 when shutting the door. How many did she have left?) They are to demonstrate their thinking and how they arrived at their answer using pictures, numbers and words. They will be introduced to a basic "problem solving model" to refer to and assist them in arriving at an answer.

The following are addition and subtraction strategies the students will be learning in class to help them arrive at their answers:

1. Count on.

2. Count back.

3. Use manipulatives (e.g. blocks, counters, cubes, bears, cars, etc.)

4. Doubles facts.

5. Part, part, whole (e.g. knowing 2 of the 3 numbers in the number sentence will help

you to figure out the missing number).

6. Draw pictures, tally marks.

7. Act it out.

8. Use a number line.

9. Make a mental picture in your head.

Ask your child to sing "The Doubles Rap" to you outlining all of the double numbers facts.

After the students have mastered calculating their addition and subtraction facts, we will move on to 3D Geometry.


Ask your child what they have learned thus far during our Energy unit. They should be able to tell you that:

Energy is the ability to work, move or change.

There are different forms or sources of energy - the sun, electricity, batteries, gas/oil/coal, wind and muscle(movement).

The most important source of energy is the sun as it provides all living things with light, heat and food. Without the sun, everything would die.

Energy changes from one form to another, e.g. a hairdryer uses electrical energy to produce heat energy to dry our hair.

There are many ways we can conserve energy.

Our Energy unit is almost complete. We will be working on energy conservation posters this week. Students will also be assessed via a short quiz and oral conference with me.

The next unit of study will be about Structures. This is a very interesting and hands-on unit for the students. We are looking at the possibility of having Scientists In School visit the Grade Ones to conduct a workshop in April. I will keep you posted!

April Show and Share Presentations

The focus for our next round of Show and Share is TRAVEL! Students are asked to bring in an item they have acquired in recent travels such as a souvenir, postcard, guidebook, photo album, admission ticket, etc., and talk about it and their experience. Items can be derived from travel to other cities/countries or local points of interest such as the CN Tower, Canada’s Wonderland, Niagara Falls, the zoo, or a beach, to name a few.

The idea behind this topic is that it educates students about far away places or local destinations without actually travelling there. Students will also find it easier to talk to their peers about a personal experience. This activity is also linked to Social Studies as we will be labeling our travels on our classroom map of the world.

The purpose of the presentations is to fulfill the following Ontario Curriculum Oral Communication expectations: 2.3 Communicate ideas and information orally in a clear, coherent manner; 2.4 Choose words to communicate their meaning accurately and engage the interest of their audience; 2.6 Identify some non-verbal cues, including facial expression, gestures, and eye contact, and use them in oral communications appropriately; and 2.7 Use visual aids to support or enhance oral presentations.

Please have your child practice discussing their item and travel experience with you prior to coming to school. Have them focus on speaking in detail by incorporating the answers to the following questions: Who, What, What, Where, Why and How? - in their presentations. They are already accustomed to doing this in their writing.

I will kick off the presentations by modelling and sharing my own experience this past summer. Presentation dates will be sent home shortly via the April calendar.

The following are the Success Criteria for the oral presentations:


I spoke loud enough so that my friends could hear me.

I looked at my audience as I was speaking.

What I said made sense.

I brought a visual (e.g. picture, souvenir, map, etc.) to support my discussion about my trip.

I spoke for 1-2 minutes.


I stated the place WHERE I travelled to.

I stated WHO I travelled with.

I stated WHEN I went on my trip.

I stated the reason WHY I went on the trip.

I stated HOW I got to my destination.

I stated WHAT I did/saw on my trip.

I stated what the visual was, and its significance to my trip.

Spring Thaw

The fields and play area are quite wet and muddy this time of the year. It is not uncommon for students to play in the puddles or accidentally fall into the muddy field. If you have not already done so, please provide your child with an extra pair or two of socks as well as a change of pants and underwear for them to keep at school. This will save you a potential trip to the school in the middle of the day. A small investment in splash pants is also a good idea if you are able to find a retailer who carries them.