In First Grade this month we worked on a Non-Fiction writing unit based around plants. We learned about living and non-living things, what plants need to live, plant parts, and different plant life cycles. The stories we read included From Acorn to Oak Tree, Why Do Apples Have Seeds?, From Seed to Pumpkin, and The Life Cycle of a Bean. Ask your child-What's the difference between living and non-living things? What are the parts of a bean plant? What does cycle mean? What does a plant need to survive? We planted some seeds of our own including grass in the potted plants and beans in the Ziploc bags. Check out our before and after of our grass! We observed that our grass grew a lot faster than our bean plants. We recorded our observations in our Plant Journal. The students are very excited to take their plants home!
This month in First Grade Reading, we were very excited to add another reading decoding strategy to our list of reading strategies we've learned to solve unknown words. Try asking your child about this new reading strategy along with the other we've learned so far: How does Eagle Eye, Lips the Fish, Stretchy Snake, and Skippy Frog help us solve words we don't know? Check out the video link below of this strategy in action. We also have songs for each strategy to help us remember what to do. The song is below. Ask your child to sing it for you!
This month we read the stories, My Street and Ana's New Bike.
This month we began an information writing unit. We talked about why Author's write and how when authors write to inform they are giving the reader information. First, we began by doing research by reading books about the animals we chose. Then, we discussed facts we learned about our animal. Last, we worked on writing our information text. We are still working on them so please stay tuned for our final published writing pieces which I will upload here next month!
This month we learned a new sight word song, sung to the tune of "Down by the Bay." Check it out below along with our new sight word list.
In Reading this month, we've read the following stories: People Work, A Dolphin's Day, In the Lake, and Bees and Flowers. We've reviewed the reading strategies for solving unknown words that we've learned so far-Eagle Eye and Lips the Fish. We also added a new strategy to our toolbox called, Stretchy Snake. Students loved using the "real Stretchy Snake" to help them stretch out in the sounds in the words to solve them.
In Writing we have finished a writing unit about writing to explain or inform the readers. We finished four different writing pieces which include How can kids help kids, Community Workers, How plants help animals, and writing about insects of our choice. We when through all stages of the writing process to compete our writing. First we began by brainstorming ideas and discussing them orally. Next we starting drafting our writing and then editing it using our picture writing checklist. After that, was a teacher conference, and then publishing our writing by drawing a matching illustration and sharing it in the Author's Share Chair.
Check out this month's sight word poem: Let's Learn New Words! We also played a new sight word game called, Swat It! Players tried to be the first person to swat the sight word that I called out by using a fly swatter to swat the bug with the right word. It was a very close game because our first graders really know their sight words!
For at home use:
Click here for the most recent First Grade sight word list of words we've learned:
Click here for directions on how to the play the First Grade sight word game: POP!
What we've learned...
Stories we've read: Animals of Africa, Picnic Time, It is Time to Get in Line, and A Dolphin's Day
Decoding strategies we've learned: "Lips the Fish" and "Eagle Eye"
Lips the Fish-Say the beginning sound of a word to try to figure it out!
Eagle Eye-Look at the pictures for clues to help you solve unknown words!
If you'd like to practice reading the books we've read together in our group, I'd be happy to send a copy home. I'll send the books home on Friday at the end of the week after we're done repeated readings of that same text. This way students will feel confident, successful, and should sound very fluent while reading the books to you at home. If they happen to get stuck on a word, you can remind them of their reading strategies and I'm sure they'll be able to tell you all about them and solve that unknown word! I just please ask that the books returned a week later on the following Friday. In order for students to receive the next new book, they will need to bring back the previous old book. Enjoy!
Writing: In writing, we began using some new helpful writing tools. We tried out our "spaceman" for helping us to remember finger spaces in our writing. Picture word banks were used to help us write unknown tricky words in our sentences. Picture graphic organizers helped us to organize our thinking during our brainstorming of the writing process. We have also continued to edit our own work using our interactive writing checklist to check for capitals, periods, finger spaces, neat handwriting, and making sure our writing makes sense. Our favorite writing piece of the month was writing a friendly letter to someone of our choice. We began by reading the story, Letters from the Postman to launch our writing. After our letters were complete, we shared them in the Author's Chair and then made envelopes for them to be given to the lucky recipient.
Reading: This month we've read a lot of stories about animals including both non-fiction and fiction texts. The stories we've read include My New Pet, Pet Helpers, We Can Help, Do Not Go Near, and Who Lives Here? We learned new vocabulary words in each story and discussed our comprehension of the stories together.
Writing: This month our writing was connected with our reading. We focused on writing complete sentences about animals. Some of our short writing pieces were fiction and we used our imagination to create stories about animals. One writing piece that was our favorite was our Personal Narratives. Our task was to write a true story about ourselves and an animal. In order to help us do this, we had a shared experience together by exploring outside at Williams School with our
clipboard and picture graphic organizer in hand. We were on the look out for animals and we found both a squirrel and a bird. We recorded what we saw and then used sentence frames to create a story based off of our experience outside together. I also shared pictures and my personal story about the turkeys in my yard that day! Check out the pictures below! Our stories came out so wonderful!
Speaking and Listening: This month we worked on speaking in full sentences by using our conversation cubes to practice speaking using a prompt. We also practiced following one step directions during this month's Listen Up Activities which included the topics of Back to School, Riding the Bus, Fall Fun, and Picking Apples.
It's always a great idea to practice speaking and listening conversational skills at home. Daily at home, I ask my own daughter, who is also a first grader what she did at school and I often receive the same response which doesn't tell me very much. Here's a list of conversation starters that I've been using in my house as a fun, engaging way to find out more about her day as well as increase language and vocabulary. At our house, we've put these questions on little pieces of paper in a jar and choose one to do every night at dinner. I'm sure you'll get some very entertaining and interesting answers like I do!
Instead of asking how was your day, ask...
1. What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)
2. Tell me something that made you laugh today.
3. If you could choose, who would you like to sit by in class? (Who would you NOT want to sit by in class? Why?)
4. Where is the coolest place at the school?
5. Tell me a weird word that you heard today. (Or something weird that someone said.)
6. If I called your teacher tonight, what would she tell me about you?
7. How did you help somebody today?
8. How did somebody help you today?
9. Tell me one thing that you learned today.
10. When were you the happiest today?
11. When were you bored today?
12. If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed someone up, who would you want them to take?
13. Who would you like to play with at recess that you've never played with before?
14. Tell me something good that happened today.
15. What word did your teacher say most today?
16. What do you think you should do/learn more of at school?
17. What do you think you should do/learn less of at school?
18. Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to?
19. Where do you play the most at recess?
20. Who is the funniest person in your class? Why is he/she so funny?
21. What was your favorite part of lunch?
22. If you got to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?
23. Is there anyone in your class who needs a time-out?
24. If you could switch seats with anyone in the class, who would you trade with? Why?
25. Tell me about three different times you used your pencil today at school.
Hi! I'm Mrs. Kosiorek and I'm excited to share all of the fun learning going on in Room 2 in our K-5 ELL program! My goal is to update our blog monthly. Please enjoy and don't forget to leave a comment!