## Clyde's Corner

I would like to apologize for not getting a class newsletter out to all of you sooner. I usually try to complete it on Sunday evenings so I can send it out either Sunday night or Monday morning. The past few weeks, though, my mother-in-law has been in the hospital so our weekends have been filled with long days visiting and helping her. Our family life is slowly getting back in order, and things are back to normal at school as well. So here we go with getting our class newsletter out to you. I hope you enjoy these little updates on life in First Grade.

You may have noticed that your child has started working on adding 2 digit numbers. This week we will start subtracting 2 digit numbers. If you have taken a look at their daily math pages you probably have also noticed that it looks nothing like the way you learned math. I know this is challenging for parents, myself included. You may remember that I shared with you during conferences that our math program is all about understanding math concepts first. We know that kids will be more successful later on in math if they first understand why and what makes math work before learning how to rotely do the formulas. A great example of this is at the beginning of the year we spent a lot of time understanding that adding really means taking 2 parts and making a whole. For example, one part of 2 and one part of 3 makes the whole of 5. We have been chanting all year long "part, part whole" when we add. I kept telling the kids that this would really help them when we got to "harder" numbers, and now we are here at some of those harder numbers. Kids are seeing that part, part whole still works when you add 2 digit numbers.

One of the reasons I share all of this with you is because many parents want to jump to showing their kids "borrowing and carrying". It is how we learned and it is what we understand. My encouragement to you is to please wait. Trust me....we will get there. We move slowly, one step at a time, to build those concepts of place value first (tens and ones). The work we are doing in adding and subtracting 2 digit numbers is the foundation for a large part of the 2nd grade math curriculum. These lessons are foundational and the 2nd grade teachers always say, "Thank you for teaching the first graders these foundational lessons. It really helps the kids when they get to 2nd grade.".

The other reason I am sharing all of this with you is to encourage you to please help your child be at school everyday. We have had a lot of absences, which I realize can't always be helped. However, I hope you realize that when your child misses a day they are missing a 60 to 90 minute math conceptual lesson. While we do review and I support kids who have missed a day, I do not have time to go back and reteach the entire lesson to the same depth. In other words, your child is missing out on some key instruction. Some kids have missed instruction in entire units and then spend the rest of the time in the next unit trying to catch up. I know that we are first grade, but everyday really does matter.

## Math Facts

While we are working in class on math concepts, we also know that kids need to know their basic math facts. You can help at home by having your child complete their math timing (in their binder) every night. This should be about a 5 minute routine. This week in class I will be assessing all of the kids on math facts and may need to adjust what your child is bringing home in their binder. If you notice they have gone back to a timing it is because they did not pass the timing in class and I want them to get a little more practice time at a certain level. If you have any questions about the math timings, please contact me.

## You Are Invited

Please join us this Thursday for the annual school Open House. This is always a fun, family event at Ridgecrest. The Book Fair will be open everyday this week after school starting on Tuesday. Thursday night the Book Fair will be open and there will be ice cream for sale (benefiting 6th grade camp!). You will have the opportunity to tour the school, which is always a good chance to go visit some of the other classrooms to see what your child will be doing in a few years. I hope you will come by and let your child show you around our classroom. They will have all kinds of things to show you and lots of work that they are very proud of. I hope to see you Thursday night!