Kirsten's April Update

First Grade

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Reading Workshop

For the first week of the month of April, we will continue our work on character study focusing on the characters, "Owen" from the same titled book by Kevin Henkes and the character, "Pig Pig" from the book, Pig Pig Grows Up. We will be talking about the different traits in a character, how they bring the character to life and how different qualities of a character bring different outcomes in the story. After our character unit, we will be starting a VERY EXCITING unit, "Reader's Theater"! We are very excited to be doing what these kids love to do and what they have been doing since they were little babies: pretending, creating and engaging in make believe. Being that my background is in the theater, I feel so fortunate to be able to introduce this mini-unit to my first graders. In pairs, the first graders will learn about their character, create how the character may sound, understand what is happening in the scene, block the scene (the precise movement and positioning of the actors on a stage), memorize their part and perform for their classmates! Sounds like fun, right? As fun as it is, it's also incredibly educational. Reader's theater is an integrated approach for involving students in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Children will share literature, read aloud, write scripts, perform with a purpose, work collaboratively, gain confidence and most importantly, have fun!

After our reader's theater unit, later in April/ early May we will embark upon our friendship themed book clubs, which will involve reading friendship themed books with our book buddies. Student will need to collaborate with the same text, notice character traits and compare characters. FIrst graders enjoy book club work and the collaboration that is involved. They are expected to interact and have discussions about the book at hand..

Writer's Workshop

We are continuing to expand and delve in to the new Teacher's College writing curriculum books by Lucy Caulkins. After a recent workshop, we are very excited to implement even more resources that the book has to offer for our new unit on Persuasive Writing, specifically opinion writing. Everyone has an opinion, especially young children! They are very adamant about stating what they believe and why a person, place or favorite thing is the VERY BEST! This unit is really a perfect unit for the first graders right now. They have learned so many different reading and writing strategies to create a story of their own, now is the time to create a writing piece where they will convince readers of why their opinion on a certain topic is the very BEST! They will learn how to state their opinion starting with a great, captivating, "I want to read your writing" introduction, learn how to state the reasons for this opinion and give details to back it up. Convincing their reader is their objective, and they are doing a fabulous job so far. One amazing aspect of this unit is that they are using checklists (or a list of goals) that are benchmarks for this unit in the first grade. During their writing, they can refer to these checklists to reflect and note their progress and what they need to continue working on. The students are really engaged in this kind of writing, and their convincing arguments are very impressive. Awesome work, first grade!

At the end of the month, in honor of National Poetry Month, we will start my favorite writing unit, Poetry. This unit will take us into May. We will learn to see with our poets' eyes and use our five senses to create poetry. Some of the different kinds of poetry we will write include: shape poems, poems about animals, acrostic poems, simile poems and music poems. Writing poetry is a lot of fun and offers students a chance to be creative and imaginative. The students produce amazing poems, also!
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In math we will soon begin our unit on multiplication. We will be working with numbers that total less than forty and students will be taught to notice the patterns between multiplication and addition. From there we will focus on division, and notice the patterns between multiplication and division. After that, we will embark upon a fractions and finish the month with an introduction to telling time to the hour and half hour. Please note that we do not expect students to memorize their multiplication or division facts, rather we are introducing students to these general math concepts.

Social Studies

As we travel throughout the United States in our study of Native Americans, we have completed our visit with the Hopi of the Southwest. For the next month to six weeks, we will learn about the tribes of the Great Plains, which will include the Sioux, the Cheyenne tribes as well as a few others. As you probably know, the Plains Indians lived in Tepees and depended on buffalo for their survival. As in our study of the Hopi and the Lenape, we will focus on homes, transportation, food and crafts. Students will learn about the importance of the buffalo and they will hear folktales such as Spotted Eagle and Black Crow and The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush. We will create a mural so that student can draw parallels between the Plains Indians, the Woodland Indians and the those of the Desert Southwest.
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