Kirsten's April Update

First Grade

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Poem in your pocket day is April 24th!

Reading Workshop

April brings "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 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..

Writing Workshop

This month, we continue with writing our "Fiction Stories". We have been working on on creating the characters, the setting and a small moment "problem" or the "trouble" that a character is facing. To organize their thoughts before they write, students are using a graphic organizer as a way to plan out their characters, where the story takes place and the problem. It has been a great tool for the students, and it has allowed them structure while writing. Some of the mini-lessons that we will be touching upon are: how to start with an interesting beginning, how to end the story with a BANG!, adding dialogue, action and feelings, and getting serious about spelling. Another big lesson at this point in any writing is to be extremely detailed when illustrating.

After writing our "Fiction Books", we will take advantage of Poetry Month by starting our Poetry unit. Poetry is one of my favorite units to teach because of the creativity and inspiration that occurs within the students. We will start our unit with seeing through a poets' eyes using the five senses. We will then listen for line breaks, use descriptive words, show, not tell, and my favorite, hearing the music in poetry. These are just a few of the mini-lessons we will talk about in this wonderful unit. Some of the different kinds of poetry we will write is color poems, shape poems, poems about animals, acrostic poems, simile poems and music poems. Poetry is beautiful, and listening to poetry can be inspiring. Writing poetry takes time, thought and imagination, something that all of these children have. We can't wait to show you what we will create!


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.
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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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