Mrs. N.'s SK/Grade 1 Class

April Newsletter

Spring Is Here....I Think?

I am happy to witness some Spring-like weather over the last few days and hope that the neverending Winter we have had is long behind us! With the warmer temperatures come wetter outdoor conditions. Although we remind the students to stay away from the puddles, they have difficulty resisting the temptation. If you have not already done so, please place in your child's backpack a spare pair of pants, underwear and socks in the event of a wet fall during outdoor recess. Rubber boots and splash pants are also a good investment in keeping your child dry and warm. This also avoids us interrupting parents during the work day to come by the school with a change of clothing.

Literacy

Many of the SK and Grade 1 students have progressed well in their personal reading endeavours, many of whom are reading at or above grade level. As a reminder, the goal for SK students is to read at or above a level 8 text and Grade 1s at a minimum level 16 to level 21 text by the end of June in order to be prepared for the next academic year. Memorizing the high-frequency or "sight words" is a small part of reading success. By now, students should know most of these words as well as use a variety of reading strategies to solve unfamiliar words (please refer to the Strategies bookmark and/or the monthly reading log in your child's RAH bag). Once your child is able to read a text, the next step is for them to read it with fluency and expression at an appropriate speed with accuracy.


As your child reads more challenging texts, they will come across higher level vocabulary and content that they may not understand. To help them be successful, we have been discussing "Reading Comprehension Strategies" that they can use to make better meaning of the texts they are reading. I have been teaching the students to use "Visualizing" as a strategy. When visualizing, readers use the author's descriptive word choice to activate their senses and help create a mental picture in their minds of what is going on in the story. The students have been practising this strategy by listening to stories and poems (without viewing the accompanying illustrations) and drawing pictures of the mental images they generate in their heads.

Math

The SKs have been practising simple addition and subtraction sentences using picture cues and "tens frames". When presented with an addition or subtraction problem, they are encouraged to use the strategies "counting on" and "counting back" as opposed to counting the total number of items in a picture. For example,


X X X + X X X X = 7 There are 3 Xs and I will "count on" by 4 to get the answer: 4, 5, 6, 7 as opposed to counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.


The Grade 1s have learned a variety of strategies to help them add and subtract numbers to 20. These strategies involve not only mental math, but also help them to visualize or document their thought processes when coming up with the answer.


1. Count on/ count back.

2. Draw a picture. Check off the pictures as you count them/cross out the ones you subtract.

3. Use a number line.

4. Draw tally marks.

5. Use a tens frame.

6. Use your "doubles facts".

7. Use manipulatives (i.e. linking cubes, blocks, counting chips).


Math is linked to Literacy. The students have been working on "number problems", that is, translating a word sentence or written scenario to a number sentence by having to identify the operation that needs to occur. Students are asked to map out their thinking by using pictures, numbers and words. These word problems are proving tricky for many students. Here is one example:


There are 9 seats on each side of the school bus. All of the seats are full. How many students are on the school bus?


Answer: 9+9 = 18 There are 18 students on the bus altogether. I know this because there are 2 rows of seats on the bus, and 9 seats on each side. Here is my picture:


O O O O O O O O O

O O O O O O O O O


Providing your child with extra practise at home is easy. You can pose a question while cooking dinner, giving them a bath, or while running erands in the car. They can orally articulate their thinking and how they got their answer to you. For those students which English is their second language, try posing the questions in their first language if it makes it easier for them.


We will be continuing with addition, subtraction and word problems for the next week or so, and then moving on to Measurement and Data Management.

Science

The SKs are wrapping up their Science inquiry on magnetism. They learned to identify different materials and that magnets attract objects containing metal. As "scientists", they made predictions, participated in some simple experiments and learned that magnets can attact metal objects through paper, cloth and plastic. Attached are some pictures of them in "scientist mode".


The Grade 1s have begun their unit, "Energy In Our Lives". They have learned that energy is the ability to make something work, move or change and there are many sources of energy: gas, electricity, food, water, wind, batteries; the sun being the most important as it gives us light, heat and helps plants to grow. We have discussed energy inputs and outputs - the sources of energy to make particular objects move, work or change and the results of those actions. For example, muscle energy is used to push a lawn mower, which results in movement required to cut grass. Students will be learning about renewable and non-renewable energy sources, energy conservation and "energy chains".

New Show and Share Begins April 14th!

The students are enjoying our current Travel Show and Share presentations which will be coming to a close next week. Our next cycle of Show and Share is related to the Grade One's unit on Energy as well as Earth Day which takes place later this month. The topic is: "What can we do to be kind to our Earth?". Students are asked to contribute an idea that we can exercise in order to save energy, reduce or eliminate waste or detract from global warming. They will be asked to write their idea in a sentence and draw an accompanying picture and present it to the class. All ideas will be compiled into a class "Save Our Earth" book for our classroom library. Templates will be sent home with your child in the near future to complete and return on their designated STAR day. I suggest that they not complete their page until closer to their presentation date so as to avoid duplication of ideas. Thanks for your support!

Recycling Art

With our focus on reducing, reusing and recycling this month, we will be participating in art activities that will involve the use of paper towel/toilet paper rolls. Kindly send a couple of rolls with your child over the next few days. Thank you for your help!