First graders are learning to be the boss of their own reading. When you're the boss of your own reading, you STOP at the first sign of trouble! When readers come to a tricky word and think they have solved it, they should triple-check! Readers do a slow check to see if the word’s letters match the sounds they make (looks right), they listen to see if the word sounds right, and they think about if that word would make sense in the story. First grade students are also learning they can be the boss of their own reading by thinking about what is happening in the story. They are focusing on retelling by using clues like who, what,and where, as well as prompts like first, then, next, and last to be sure they retold the story well. Ask your child to retell their favorite story or talk about a book they read for reading homework!
First graders are just beginning a writing unit on poetry. The unit began with a discussion about how to see with poets’ eyes followed by examining different objects. We encouraged students to go slowly and notice the little details before sketching and writing about what they saw. This week, first graders examined poems to learn how poems look and sound different than prose. They are beginning to understand that poems may but do not have to rhyme. As a part of this unit of study, these young authors are sharpening their observation skills and stretching their vocabularies. They will learn that poets can pack a lot of meaning into a few well-chosen words. If you or your child has a favorite poem or book of poetry, please feel free to share with us!
This week, the focus of the first grade study of community shifted from the Primary School to the larger area of Montclair. We began with a conversation about wants vs. needs and considered that not all people have the comforts of home and food. A walking trip to Toni’s Kitchen, a few blocks from the Primary School, showed first graders one way that citizens, no matter how small, can help others. This year, MKA first graders made the contribution of a handmade Valentine’s Day centerpiece to help brighten up the tables for the upcoming holiday meals at Toni's Kitchen. The students were warmly received by the staff and given a private tour of the facility. Most impressive to many of the children were the very large-sized pots and bowls! The students asked several pertinent questions about how Toni’s Kitchen helps less fortunate members of the Montclair community.
A few weeks ago, first graders created maps of the Primary School to study what the physical space looks like and how our community uses it. Now they are wondering: what are the jobs of the people in our Brookside community? How does each job help our community? Each classroom chose five adults to interview. First graders learned how to ask a good question to find out lots of information. They learned that a good question usually begins with who, what, where, when, why, or how. First graders thought about four questions to ask each person in order to learn about his or her job. During the interviews, students also learned about what kind of training is needed for a job and how this person helps our community run smoothly. After interviewing, each group made a poster about the community member to teach their audience more about Brookside.