Whew! Valentine’s Day is so much fun in the Patience Fruit Stand, but I could tell there were some sugar comas approaching by the end of the day. Maybe myself included! Ha! A special thank you to all the families that worked hard to help make today special by volunteering to bring in treats. Thank you as well to everyone for sending in Valentines for all the children. Delivering their special treats to their friends was the highlight of their day, and watching them open and enjoy some of them at the end was so much fun! As a mom, I know how time-consuming it can be to prepare treats for the whole class. All of your contributions were greatly appreciated. Thank you!
In Reader’s Workshop this week we learned about how asking questions while we read makes us better readers. The firsties helped me think of questions to ask before, during and after reading, and then practiced using this strategy during their independent reading. We also brainstormed lots of ways we could ask questions all day, every day. We learned that asking questions is the best way to learn new things, and that we should always ask questions when we’re curious about something.
Students use the SMARTboard to identify “Bossy R” words, or words with r-controlled vowels.
We are fully in the swing of our February author study. This month we’re focusing on Leo Lionni. Ask your firstie about their favorite Lionni story we’ve read thus far! The first graders noticed many things that Leo Lionni does well as an author and illustrator. They observed that they can use some of his strategies to make their own writing better, by using more details, writing “five-senses” descriptions, or by drawing more intricate pictures. We also discussed Lionni’s use of torn and cut paper artwork to create realistic images for his books.
In Writer’s Workshop we’ve been thinking about how to choose more powerful words. We looked at several examples of writing and decided which ones were exciting to read and which were a chore. We learned that we should use words that help us to make a mental image of what we’re reading and reflect the five senses. Ask your child how many stories he or she has published so far. Our writing has gotten more detailed, longer, and better (as far as use of conventions) each quarter! Woo hoo!
In Science we’ve been studying the weather and beginning our habitat studies. We learned all about the different types of clouds, how to recognize them, and the types of weather with which they are associated. We’ve also been learning about and reviewing the water cycle. Ask your child what they know about the Arctic and the Antarctic. We thought the cutest Arctic animal was the ermine. I mean, look at this thing! Winner of the Most Darlin’ Lil’ Weasel Award! You might be surprised to learn that they are considered one of the fiercest predators in Alaska. Crafty, swift, and silent, they easily creep into the dens and burrows of their prey, where they target the unlucky animal’s neck, targeting the spinal column. I digress.
They all wrote and illustrated books about their learning this week. Next week we will begin thinking about a new habitat. So exciting!
A student records words he knows about polar habitats.
Students work to recreate the aurora borealis (the Northern Lights) over the Arctic Ocean using watercolors.
Students create a snowy city landscape using a flick art technique.
In Math we’ve been busy working with place value concepts, comparing and relating numbers (especially in number stories), turn-around facts, and reviewing “rules.” Next week we will begin building our “fact power.” In addition to our usual IXL assignments, I’ll begin sending home Fact Triangle cards for your child to use to practice learning their addition and subtraction facts. We’ve been working with basic facts since the beginning of the year, using games like “two-fisted penny addition,” and tools such as number lines, number grids, dominoes, dice, counters, etc. to help solve addition problems. We will begin using facts tables and these facts triangles to establish the link between addition and subtraction. By the end of second grade, students will be expected to know all of the subtraction facts. Rather than have children simply memorize the facts (we know memorization is NOT learning), we emphasize the relationship between addition and subtraction. When solving a subtraction problem, such as 9-5, children are encouraged to ask “What number should I add to 5 to get 9?” Ultimately, children will be able to solve such problems automatically.
In Bible we’ve been learning about Jesus’ early life and introduced his early ministry. Ask your child about Jesus’ teaching at the synagogue as a child, or about what his words to the woman at the well can teach us about the power of the Holy Spirit. They should be able to tell you that although the woman thought Jesus was referring to physical water, He was offering her something more, Living Water, which would cleanse her heart and remove her sins.
Today our chapel lesson was about love. We read 1 Corinthians 13:4, which says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” The KJV describes “patience” as “long suffering.” In class, we talked about what that means; how do we suffer for one another? We read a book by Eve Bunting and Jan Brett called The Valentine Bears, in which one bear wakes up early from her hibernation to prepare a special Valentine’s Day celebration for her spouse. She goes out in the cold, bathes in frigid water, labors to dig up honey she has stored away, collects special treats, such as nuts, berries, and bugs, and goes through extreme effort to wake her deeply sleeping bear husband. Eventually, when he does not awaken, she attempts to wake him by dousing him with cold water, yet accidentally dumps it on herself! The first graders were able to identify many examples of suffering this doting bear wife experiences while preparing a special surprise. Ultimately her efforts are rewarded when her husband wakes up and surprises her with a gift of his own, and they spend a lovely day together in their cave. The firsties then compared the bear’s love to the way their own parents make sacrifices and suffer for them. The most popular examples were going to work and “slaving away,” as one firstie put it, providing food, shelter, and clothing, and when parents give up their precious sleep to comfort firsties after a nightmare. From their answers, it was clear that these firsties truly feel loved and appreciate all the hard work their parents do for them!