First Grade News

December 2015

Learning About Our Family Traditions

This month we spent time sharing family traditions. This was so special to the students because they were able to talk and share a little about themselves. Thank you all very much for sending in or posting a picture on our traditions padlet. The kids loved sharing the photos. Because the students talked and share about his/her tradition, it was nice to write about it as well. Each student first talked through his/her story with a partner, then wrote that story and finished by reading it to the class. Last, they each created a symbol of the tradition on foil that they will bring home to share with you!

Reading Goals

Before Thanksgiving I asked the students to share what they wanted to get better at as readers. Here's what some of them said...

I need to think about what makes sense.

I want to choose books better.

I need to read the pictures.

I should look across the word.

I jotted their ideas and began to ask them how to illustrate the ideas students were having. This discussion turned into the creation of Our Reading Goals.

Their ideas (inspired by the work we have done as readers in Set, Oct, Nov) helped begin a very thoughtful December. Students have been working on talking about what they need to be a stronger reader. They have been learning how to notice when they accomplish their goal and then share it with me, each other or the class. And some have been documenting how they are meeting their goals for wondering and thinking.

We will continue with this work in January as we begin more work writing about our reading and reading non-fiction.

Big image


This month our big focus has been recognizing, counting, building (thinking about place value) and problem solving with numbers larger than 20 (up to 120). We have practiced this in a number of ways.

First, we learned to really notice the numbers using tools like number lines and the 120 chart. Students were challenged to turn the 120 chart in to a number line with a partner, counting by ones, and skip counting on it with his/her partner. Check out two students collaborating and planning to make a number line on our math weebly page.

They also practiced lots of counting and learned how to count efficiently by grouping. This helped us transition into thinking about place value as we compared ten frames and groups of 10 to the tens in our place value blocks. Later we played a game called Finding Neighbors which focused on building numbers using tens and ones, finding that number on the 99 chart, and thinking about one more and less. Here is a link to our weekly math page where there is a video featuring a student building the number 17.

This week students were ready to tackle a rich problem...this problem solving situation involved larger numbers (more than 20) and required them to think about more than one step while solving. The problem involved them pretending they were planning a party for our classroom where they would have to think about how many cookies they would buy if every student got 2 cookies. This thinking was big so we made a Notice and Wonder Chart to help us think about what we noticed (or knew) about it and then to think about what we wondered or needed to figure out. This thinking (along with the tools they chose and the organization students shared with each other) helped them practice solving it! It definitely took team work and lots of conversation.

Enjoy your break this holiday and see you next year!