Ms. Duff's 1st Grade Update

January 17, 2016


We have finished the unit on reading non-fiction books. We celebrated by teaching the kindergartners in Mrs. Hagerty's class. What a great job the children did teaching about their topic and showing all the hard work first graders do while reading non-fiction in order to learn about a topic!

In Reader’s Workshop we have started a new unit about characters. We are focusing on how our characters think and feel throughout the book. We have discussed using pictures and punctuation to help us figure out how the character is feeling and thinking. We will learn how to think about our character’s actions and what they tell us about how he/she feels. As we read, we ask ourselves questions such as: How does my character feel? Why is s/he feeling that way? Would I feel the same way if I were him/her? These higher level questions are great to ask your child when listening to him/her read at home.


In Writers Workshop, the children have been writing expert nonfiction books. The children have been working on incorporating different types of nonfiction writing into their chapter books such as, lists, how to pieces, and zoom-in’s. We are finishing this unit in the next week so the children’s focus will be on fixing up and fancying up their books. This Friday, January 22, the children will do a post On Demand assessment for non-fiction writing. At this time the children will plan and write a teaching book in 45 minutes. It will be very beneficial if the children have thought of a new topic to teach about beforehand and have their thoughts planned out. They could certainly use your help with this this week! Thank you in advance.


In science we have been very busy planting again. We have planted bulbs (garlic) and roots (carrots and radishes). We are exploring how different plant pieces grow new plants. The kids made predictions about which part of the carrot and radish will grow a new plant. Their evidence supporting their opinions is quite convincing! We will be finishing up this Plants and Animals kit this week.

This past week I went to a training on our new science kit, Air and Weather. It is sure to be a lot of fun and provide children lots of opportunities to work together with their classmates!

On Friday, Marin's mom brought in some animal bones and skeletons. The children got to pass them around to get a closer look. As a grand finale she rebuilt the skeleton on a Minke whale! It was so exciting to see how long it was (and it's one of the smallest whales) and to see all of the different bones! Thank you Mrs. Roman!

We treat others as we want to be treated

Parent teacher conferences will be help Friday, February 12. Please see the schedule that is in the parent info folder that I shared with you. I will send home a reminder as the time gets closer. I look forward to talking with you all!


We have been focusing on addition and subtraction this unit. We have been using different strategies to help figure out the most efficient way to solve the problems For example, when we solve 11-2 we can just easily count back. But when we are solving 11-9 we could start at 9 and count up to 11! . Right now, it is exposure and practice of these strategies. With time and repeated practice in school, the children will get there. Please have your child work on their “doubles” facts, (ex: 7+7=14 or 6+6=12) and their 10 facts (ex: 7+3=10 and 10-3=7) to help with this unit.