Dear First Grade Families,

We hope this letter finds you all well.  The students have been working very hard in First Grade.  2018 is off to a great start! We have begun new units of study in reading, writing, and math.

In Writing Workshop, the class has been focusing on persuasive writing.  In this unit we will be exploring both opinion writing and reviews.  We have been learning about what an opinion is.  We have begun with judging fairly and ranking collection of objects in our classroom.  We are beginning to discuss different types of opinions and what it means to persuade someone.  The students are working on writing focused and organized pieces that clearly state their opinion along with reasons to support it.  They will be keeping their audience in mind as they write with an eye on influencing the reader’s attitude or opinion.  Through this study each writer will learn to categorize, rank, compare, and justify opinions about a variety of things.  Writers will develop opinions with reasons and examples to support their opinions.  We will also continue to sharpen our editing skills by looking over and rereading what we have written. Some editing areas of focus are: proper formation of lower case letters, appropriate use of upper and lower case letters, consistent spacing, and making sure our writing is easy to read.

In Reading Workshop, we have begun focusing on how readers take adventures as they read.  We have been looking closely at where and when the story takes place, as well as strengthening our retelling skills.  The next bend of our unit will focus on the characters in the books that we read.  The children will be taking time to “stop and jot” as they read to identify the character’s feelings and traits.  They will be starting to think about what type of person the character is and what evidence they find in the text to support their ideas.  The children will be working on rereading to look even more closely at the text, not only noticing what characters do, but how they feel and the lessons that they may be learning.  The students will learn to organize their thoughts on post its, character maps, and Venn Diagrams to further their understanding of these characters.  We will pay particular attention to the internal and external characteristics these characters have.  In the coming weeks, you may want to ask your child to describe the characters in their books.  They should be able to tell you the inner and outer traits, as well as provide the proof from the text.  The practice of providing text evidence to support their thinking will improve their comprehension by leaps and bounds.

In Math, the classes will continue to advance our understanding of addition and subtraction through our study of the Double Decker Bus.  Throughout this unit students will gain flexibility in composing and decomposing numbers, and begin to generalize about the way in which parts are related to the whole.  The students will be given several scenarios involving a double decker bus driver and his passengers. At times the driver will know the total number of passengers on the bus, but can only see the passengers sitting on the bottom deck. By understanding the part to whole relationship, students solve for the unknown number of passengers that are sitting on the top deck.  Problems become more advanced when the amount of passengers riding the bus changes, as well as the number of passengers sitting on the bottom deck.  Students need to read each question carefully and keep track of their work from the previous question as many problems are multi step. Throughout each math problem students determine which strategy to use before they attempt to solve it.  A few strategies they know are (counting on/ counting back, using doubles/near doubles, making ten, and landmark numbers).  Through the study the students will become more comfortable with composing and decomposing numbers.

Students are really enjoying our “Mystery Readers”.  Each Friday the classes are full of excitement predicting who the reader will be!

As always please feel free to reach out with any questions, comments, and/or delights.

All the best,

Kristin and Sarah