Ms. Duff's 1st Grade Update

December 10, 2015


We have continued our work in reading non fiction books to learn about topics. We have learned to look for and work to understand keywords that teach us about the topic. We are learning to talk about these words with our reading partners so that we can really "own" them. We will learn how to read non fiction books aloud like an expert by thinking about what we are reading. Is the information serious? Do I need a strong voice? Or is the topic more light and I need a sweeter voice? Using a voice that matches the words shows,our understanding of the topic.


Along with reading nonfiction books, we have continued our unit on teaching books. The children are working enthusiastically to share all they know about a topic! I have been learning about soccer, plants, snowboarding, Edaville Railroad, field hockey, cats, and more! The children have been working hard on telling more about each sub topic. This will turn into chapters of their teaching books. We will introduce headings and table of contents, too!

In the professional development that I have attended this week, we have been reminded of the three big focuses for moving writers forward: structure, development, and language conventions. No matter which genre we are teaching (narrative, informational, opinion, or realistic fiction), these areas of teaching remain the same. Structure refers to the parts of the writing such as beginning, transitions, and endings. Development includes elaboration (details) and craft (ex: labels). Language conventions is the spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.

Our Celebration of family, friends, and good health!


We are finishing the second unit on data, time, and measurement. The children learned to measure accurately with non standard units (cubes, paper clips). Time to hour is the duos now. Interpreting data now includes comparing how many more or less on category is. This has proven challenging work but we will return to this concept again in the last two quarters. The third unit this quarter is a quick unit on 2-D and 3-D shapes. This hands on unit is perfect for this time of year! The children will work to build composite shapes out of the 2-D and 3-D shapes. This means they will build a new, un-named shaped out of other shapes.

We treat others as we want to be treated


We planted terrariums, indoor gardens, using the the seeds and cuttings from previous lessons. Then we went outdoors to find and collect animals to add to the terrariums. We found isopods and worms. It was so much fun getting outside and seeing all the life outside our classroom door!

Last week Marin's dad, Chris Roman, came in to teach us about gravity and motion. He then taught us about why tree branches are thicker at the base. The kids had fun seeing Mr. Roman break pieces of wood. As he said, if you are going to break something, you should learn something about it!

Social emotional development

Our class has been really focusing on positive social behaviors. Big ideas have been including others and thinking about how others might feel when we say/act In a certain way. One smaller idea is remembering to take good care of ourselves first before we try to help others. While this may sound selfish, we talk about how we can be the model of expected behaviors for others to see rather than telling others what they are doing "wrong". At the beginning of the year we learned about Kelso's strategies for solving small problems. We revisit this often as small problems can come up often. Kelso reminds us to try two strategies before coming to an adult. If the two strategies don't work, then the problem is no longer a small problem. It's a big problem that you need an adult to help with. This is a really tricky concept especially as we are leaning about anti bullying strategies and about telling an adult. Another smaller idea is how to deal with disappointment. When I'm sad that my friend doesn't want to do the same thing as me, do I say, "I'm not your friend anymore!" or"I don't like you!"? Or do I work hard to understand that good friends don't always need to do everything together. Your support at home with all of these topics is greatly appreciated! Having frequent check-ins and conversations about your child's day is always a great start!