This has been a week for reflection and nostalgia. The children shared memories of their beginning days of first grade and the fears and questions that they had. Following these conversations, each child was asked to write a letter of advice for incoming first grade students. The seasoned first grade students gave newcomers advice about lockers, homework, teachers, writing & reading, math, and recess. The letters will be hanging in the hallway to greet the new first graders in September.
This week was the last official Reader's Workshop for first graders. All their hard work as readers was celebrated by working in groups and performing a Readers' Theater script of a classic fairytale. These group projects are a powerful way to help children work on fluency, pacing, phrasing, and expression. The focus of this activity is to read aloud expressively rather than thinking about acting. Each student was a given his or her own script book and the group decided which of the four reading parts each child will read. During the practicing, members of the group were encouraged to listen to one another and offer positive and constructive feedback. Each group practiced and then read for their class. This was definitely a favorite activity of the year!
This week the first grade students reminisced about all of the writing genres they learned about this year. Beginning with September and going through May, a list was created that included each unit of study for first grade. The children had fun remembering the work they did for each genre, including Small Moments (personal narrative), How-To (teaching via consecutive steps), Poetry (rhyming and non-rhyming), Opinion (reviews), Non-fiction (facts vs. opinion), and Realistic Fiction (could really happen to you). Once the list was compiled, the students were given a choice of which genre to focus on for the next few weeks. There was a very exciting buzz of authors, illustrators, and researchers at work in each classroom!
This week the first grade students polished up one realistic fiction story from their collection to share with parents. The preparations included editing for punctuation, word wall word spellings, and spacing. Finally, children shared their books with one another to practice reading it aloud. The stories shared at the celebration were one in a series each child created, each book giving the same character a new adventure. Each child read their story aloud to their own parents, and then shared with other parents in attendance. Book reviews were written on sticky notes and left for each child! The celebration of a year of hard work was followed by a pizza party on the back field and a visit from the ice cream truck!
This week the first grade class had a wonderful theater experience at Mayo Theater in Morristown, NJ. They enjoyed a performance of Seussical the Musical presented by Theater Works. The play was a combination of three Dr. Seuss stories told through music, dialogue, and dance. Our children were very excited to be sitting in the first few rows from the stage! Thanks to all parents who chaperoned and helped to make this trip a success!
REMINDER- First Grade Writing Celebration on Friday, May 18, will begin promptly at 10:30 in your child's classroom, followed by a picnic on the backfield. Teachers will be ordering pizza for all children. If you opt for your child not to have pizza, please bring a lunch that day. Parents are to bring their own lunch and a blanket. This is a dress down day!
This week the children in first grade practiced solving number stories that involved addition with money. A school store mini-poster provided the children with objects to purchase and the cost of each. Each child chose two or three objects from the poster and then used whatever means they could to total up the cost of the items, recording the answer with money notation. Different methods of solving the number stories included counting on fingers, counting on a number line or number grid, making tallies, drawing representations for coins, or computing in their heads. Volunteers shared their stories and modeled the method used to figure out the answer.
MONDAY FIELD TRIP - Attire for the trip to Mayo Theater on Monday is white MKA shirt and khaki skirt or pants.
The first grade students have read a lot of realistic fiction this year and now they are learning how to write in the same genre. The children love to tell stories and pretending, and this unit invites them to do both. They have been challenged to create a character, have the character face a bit of trouble, and get the character out of trouble giving readers a satisfying ending. The students have stayed with the same character for multiple books resulting in each student being the author of a series! The children are working very hard to edit one book from their series to share at the upcoming writing celebration on May 19th.
Spring Conference Sign Up
The first-grade children explored attribute rules and games this week. Students first identified the shapes of their blocks; triangle, square, rectangle, hexagon, or circle. These shapes can be organized further by identifying the size and color. A game that was played by all three classes is called The Attribute Train Game. This is a whole class activity with all children taking turns to build a line of blocks on the floor, by following attribute rules. The train begins with one block placed in the center of the playing area. Then each child chooses a block that is different in only one way- shape, size, or color from the first block. There was also an expectation of each child to explain their thinking. In this game, play continues until everyone has had a turn. Variations of the game to challenge thinking include; placing a block down that is the same in two ways, or placing a block down that doesn’t share an attribute with the one in play.
The first graders are learning a lot about story elements as they listen to Charlotte’s Web. The children are learning to differentiate between main and supporting characters. They have learned that even the supporting characters serve a very real purpose in moving the plot along. The characters’ personalities are discussed in terms of what the characters say, do, and how others react to them. They go back to the story to find evidence to support their theories about the characters. Story elements of setting, defining time and place have also been addressed. The children listen to learn the characters’ moods and sense when their feelings change. At the end of each chapter the children practice summarizing the main events of the chapter. In short, a lot of comprehension issues are being addressed as your children enjoy a wonderful story!
First grade students joined together to declare the arrival of spring! Blooming daffodils in the Outdoor Classroom inspired this mural. Children shared paint and space, working side by side in small groups on this collaborative effort, practicing valuable social skills while cooperating and conversing during their process. Science will be integrated into the mural as roots are added below the flower line, clouds put in the sky, and insects fly and crawl around. Surrounding this beautiful masterpiece are poems written about spring by the children.