The first week of Fall, y’all!

I love fall. Crunchy leaves. The orange, yellow, red, and brown colors everywhere. Pumpkin spice lattes (yes, I know there’s no pumpkin in them – don’t ruin it for me). Apple cider. Jeans. Sweaters. Scarves.

Ahhhhhh.

Things were just as seasonal in the Patience Fruit Stand this week. We wrapped up our science learning about apples after completing an apple investigation that integrated art, poetry, writing, math, and science. Ask your firstie whether apples sink or float, and if they can name all the parts of an apple.  We capped that learning by making home-made applesauce in the crock pot. Firsties took turns cranking the apple peeler and watched in amazement as the apples spiraled out into perfect apple slivers. They got to measure out and add the water, sugar, and cinnamon, and mash it all up.  Our room smelled like Fall all day! The funniest firstie comment: “Why is it brown? Why isn’t it yellow like real applesauce?” Gotta love it! At the end of the week we finished thinking about apples and moved into pumpkins. The firsties were very surprised to learn that pumpkins are a fruit! They also couldn’t believe that pumpkins are not always orange, and learned that they can be white, red, striped, or even blue! They learned about the life cycle of both plants, and did “thinking like scientists,” using their five senses to make observations and collect data.

In reader’s workshop we learned how to do Word Work. Students are given a “must-do” task that reviews recently learned phonics skills to complete in their word work notebook. Once that task is finished, they may choose a “can-do” activity, building words with wikki sticks, play-dough, magnetic letters, letter stamps, or dry-erase boards/markers to further practice word-solving and spelling patterns.

As writers, the firsties began learning about the writing process. This week, they learned how to write a first draft of a story and began learning how to revise and edit their own work. This is many firsties’ favorite time of day. Some have already written several first drafts of stories, and will begin editing and revising them in order to move onto second drafts. I am loving the stories I am seeing so far!

In math workshop, students have been working on composing and decomposing numbers, graphing, building numeracy skills by identifying a myriad of ways to represent a number, place value, and reviewing rote-counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s. They are noticing and using patterns in the 100s chart to strengthen their understanding of how to build and use numbers. One firstie noticed that numbers in the “2 column always has a 2 at the end!” They should be able to explain how to use a hundreds chart and what happens to the numbers as you move up, down, left, or right.

Our favorite book this week was probably Big Chickens, by Leslie Helakoski. Ask your firstie what made it so hilarious!

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We also loved Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, The Snatchabook, From Seed to Pumpkin, and The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree, among others. Ask your firstie to tell you their favorite parts.

In Bible we learned all about Joseph, who, as one firstie described him, was a “dreamer.” We learned about how he did the right thing by forgiving his brothers, who sold him into slavery in their own jealousy. The firsties even designed their own multi-colored “fabric” using markers and water mist on coffee filters to create “coats” for Joseph.

We made our own textured paint in art to paint our own pumpkins. We added flour and salt because the firsties thought that pumpkins are often rough and bumpy. They decorated the pumpkins they designed themselves with stems, vines, and tendrils.

All in all, it’s been a fabulous week. It’s been very, very busy, but we’re fully in the swing. I love each and every one of these firsties already!

It’s great to be back!

 

 

It’s May!

Whaaaaat!?  How is it possibly already MAY?  Didn’t we just start this school year a few days ago?  I feel like I was just putting up bulletin board boarders and labeling book boxes with my sweet firsties’ precious names!

Well, after a week of Spring Break and two weeks of achievement testing, we’re finally back into the swing of our regular routines and schedule. Homework will start back up again and we’ll start learning about a new Author of the Month!  Information about this quarter’s project went home this past week and I can’t wait to see everyone’s creative ideas for serving others.

I think my pregnancy brain is blocking my ability to remember to get out my camera to capture what we’re up to, so here’s a little of what we’ve been doing outside of our testing time.  You know, when I remember to take pictures!!!  😉

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Anthony explains what happens when soil is sieved while Jehlani demonstrates the process.20140502_142447 20140502_141131 20140501_140315

Kayla and Olivia discuss how to write how much money we’ve collected since the beginning of the school year using both a cents symbol as well as dollars and cents notation.20140501_135719 20140501_115825

Kylie, budding florist.

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The “mouse bouquet” given to me by a sweet firstie!

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Lena and Kylie organize number cards with different number representations on them. Are they equal or not equal?

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Madilyn and Jehlani use a number card and find the numbers that are one more, one less, ten more, and ten less and record them on a dry-erase board.20140428_142427 20140428_142321

While playing a game to reinforce geometry skills, James creates a shape creature and records it on a piece of paper.
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Anthony solves a number story problem in his math journal, coming up with at least three different ways to show his answer.

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Brennan explains to me why he thinks these pennies were tossed evenly as heads and tails in a probability experiment.20140428_141952 20140423_142000

Olivia sorts everyday objects by shape type using the SMARTboard.20140423_141113

Anthony matches shapes and their geometry names.20140423_135918 20140423_135934

Lena reviews shapes and number concepts with her firstie friends!

 

Spring Has Sprung!

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FINALLY! We are loving the Spring weather! The butterflies are so chase-able, the grass is so inviting for rolling, and the warm sun on our skin just feels like a sweet hug after this crazy, cold winter.

I had that terrible stomach flu last weekend, and I didn’t get a chance to blog about the great stuff we did, so I’ll do a two-for-one today.  🙂

In Reader’s Workshop, we’ve been digging into how readers determine what’s important while they are reading. One way to do that is to look at how a text is structured. We read many, many books and dissected their beginnings, middles, and endings to see where authors are putting their messages. We also looked at the point-of-view of each story to see who’s perspective we were getting as readers, and thought about how stories might be different if they were told by someone else. We identified other important story elements, such as the setting, supporting characters, and important plot points to see what we thought the most important part, or main idea, was of each book we read.

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Our writing has driven us to think about why authors make the choices they do when writing. We looked at many different books and asked whether or not the author made good choices when thinking about the titles of their books. We re-titled several books with both great and not-so-great titles to see if it made a difference. We have been learning that great titles let the reader know a little of what the book is about while not simply labeling it and also being interesting. For example, for the book Be a Friend to Trees, a non-fiction text exploring many facts about trees, we came up with some “label-ish,” boring titles, such as “Facts about Trees,” “How Trees Help Us,” and “All You Need to Know About Trees.” Yawn.  The firsties decided the phrase “be a friend to trees” was much more inviting to a reader, and led them to imagine all the ways humans and trees interact and rely upon one another.

We’ve also been thoroughly enjoying our April Author of the Month, Mo Willems. His silly stories about that crazy pigeon and the adventures of Knuffle Bunny have had us dissolving into the floor with laughter. I think there was a Mo Willems pack in this month’s Scholastic order form . . . you can still order online!  This author’s books were a definite crowd-pleaser! We compared and contrasted his stories among themselves and against other books we’ve read together. Some children adopted his dialogue-rich writing style for some of their workshop stories. Such great stuff!

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Leo jkt FINAL 1/5

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In Bible last week we talked about ways we are tasked to be good stewards of the many gifts God’s given us. Children came up with their own ideas of ways to give back to the Lord and we briefly discussed tithing. This week we’ve focused on the elements of Easter: Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, Good Friday, and Christ’s Resurrection. We’ve been working on individual books that retell the most important parts of God’s salvation story.  Ask your child to tell you about each part!

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Our investigations in science have been all about plants over the last two weeks. We’ve read stacks of books about flowers, seeds, gardening, and plant parts and processes, have begun a germination project of which we are making careful, scientific observations and recording them, created schema charts, done observational drawings of plants, and collected and analyzed data about our favorite plants. Here are a few photos I remembered to take!  🙂

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We also did a little science experiment for April Fool’s Day last week. We used lemon juice to write secret messages to our families, then took them home to heat up and see if the messages appeared. Apparently, the joke was on us, because the juice didn’t turn. Well, that’s science! Sometimes our hypotheses just don’t work out. You could always try to repeat the experiment at home over Spring Break. If you do, let me know if it works for you!

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Our math learning focused on time, fact fluency, problem solving strategies, and counting money. When you’re hanging out at home, keep practicing those fact triangles, or name a fact (like 3+4=7) and ask your student to name the “turn-around fact,” (IXL calls them “related facts”). This will help make connections to fact families. Ask your child to tell you when it’s quarter-’till, quarter-after, or half-past the hour to reinforce that time-related vocabulary. Tell number stories (word problems) or have your child tell you one, and figure out what number sentence would describe that story. Fill in name-collection boxes for all sorts of different numbers. Look for your child to find many different ways to show a number, such as collections of objects, number sentences, ten-frames, dice, dominoes, tallies, money, etc.  Ask your child how to play “top-it” (like the card game “War”) or make coin exchanges to find equivalent sums of money. Coming up, we’ll be getting into geometry through a 2-dimensional shape review and introduction to 3D shapes and symmetry.

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Here’s a little peek into the outside fun we’ve been having:

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Finally, just because it’s Spring Break and there’s no assigned homework, don’t stop reading!

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Enjoy the break, firstie families!  When we come back, we’ll be jumping right into achievement testing.  Don’t panic – these smart cookies are very well prepared. Just make sure they get good rest and eat a good breakfast every morning. The rest is up to those brilliant brains. 🙂

Have a happy Easter. He is risen! If you’re looking for a church home, I’d love to see you at Point Harbor Community Church this Sunday and for Easter, of course!  There are lots of services to choose from on Easter.  We’re having services Saturday, April 19th, at 5:00pm, and Sunday, April 20th, at 9am and 10:45am. We’ll also have a service at Cinemark (yep, the old movie theater that looks vacant – we’re movin’ on in!) at 10:30am. Come check it out! You just might see a familiar first grade teacher with the worship team Easter weekend . . .

A Peek at Our Week

This week in the Patience Fruit Stand, the firsties were busy determining importance while reading. They were encouraged to ask, “what does the author think is the most important thing in this book?” and to find details to support that idea. They asked, “what’s the author’s message? How do we know? How does that help me understand what I’m reading? Which details are really important?” We did that through each and every story we read aloud this week. Ask your firstie what the most important thing was in The Other Side, A House for Hermit Crab, or Big Al, and how they know it was the most important thing.

Big Al

The Other Side

A House for Hermit Crab

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In Writer’s Workshop, we talked about how good writers choose great titles for their stories. We read several books throughout the week without disclosing the titles and had students suggest title ideas. We learned that the best titles give the reader an idea of what the book will be about without giving away the ending. We shared books from the library and talked about whether or not they had titles that matched the stories inside. We also worked on making sure our stories have good organization; each one should have an interesting beginning, a problem in the middle, and an ending that solves the problem. While reading Never, Ever, Shout in a Zoo! we realized that without organization, a story could become chaotic! Stories should have great endings, too. Some of the firsties wrote books and stories this week with surprise endings!

Our Bible study this week centered around Christ’s building his Church. Students started the week by discussing what makes a strong building: a good foundation, sturdy walls, and a strong roof to protect whatever is inside. They brainstormed ways that members of the church are like a strong building, and concluded that the pastors, teachers, missionaries, and families that make up Christ’s Church all have special roles to play in bringing people to Him and bringing about God’s Kingdom. They now understand that the Church isn’t just a building we go to to worship; it’s a living, breathing body of believers that work to serve Jesus.  This week we build churches out of blocks and graham crackers (YUM) and shared what made working as a team hard or worthwhile.

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In Social Studies, we wrapped up our learning about mapping. Children learned the differences and similarities between maps and globes, and their different uses. They learned the differences between continents, countries, states, and cities, and worked on a week-long project to show that understanding. Check them out on the wall across from the Patience Fruit Stand!  They learned to identify our own continent, country, and state, including our state capital, how to read and navigate maps, how to use a map legend, and how to use a compass rose.  Ask your firstie the silly phrase they learned to remember the cardinal directions!  😉

In math, we reviewed and built on many different skills, including addition, subtraction, measurement, and counting money. Students played games in their math tubs to reinforce these skills while I worked with each small group.  Ask your firstie about their favorite math tub activity this week!  I failed at taking pictures during math tubs this week (sorry!), so I’ll leave you with this little “brain break” gem instead:

Have a great weekend!

 

What season is it, anyway?

As my family left church this morning, and my own little ones gave their suggestions for ways to spend this gloriously warm 70 degree afternoon, I got a buzzing notification on my cell phone.  It was my weather app. Apparently, we’re in for somewhere between 3-4 inches of snow and ice tomorrow. WHAT!? Of course, I started thinking about all the ways that would be horrible. Traffic. Scraping more snow and ice off my car. Driving over sheets of ice. What if we have to miss another day of school? How are we ever going to get everything finished this quarter?  I turned around to see my children laughing hysterically in their car seats over who could hold more Goldfish crackers in their mouth while making howling wolf sounds. (Safe, I know.) I couldn’t help but join in their giggles. Then I thought, why let the possibility of a bad day ruin this perfect moment?  I think that’s what God does. He gives us these little gifts, like 70 degree weather, in the midst of what is technically still winter, so that we will truly enjoy them when we have them. So I’ve decided not to panic. I’m not going to dread the possibility of snow. Instead, my littles got to go to the park and play outside, spending every possible moment soaking up the sun so that there might still be a little left shining in their memories tomorrow, when I just might be hearing, “do you want to build a snowman?” (Raise your hand if you sang that line . . . haha). God just loves us crazy like that.

So, what did we do this week?

We continued our investigation into asking good questions while reading. We discussed and shared examples of ways asking questions actually helps us better understand what we’re reading. Students chose passages from their own books and talked about what kinds of questions they asked. We are learning that some questions are easy to answer if you just look back into the story. We call those “thin” questions. Some questions are more difficult, and require research or inference. We call those “thick” questions.  We wrote down questions that children had before, during, and after reading stories, and analyzed whether they were thick or thin questions. We will continue to encourage question asking, especially asking thick questions, to encourage deep critical thinking throughout the year!

We did many activities that got us thinking about choosing powerful words. Some students were asked to share their writing, so that others could give them feedback about how to use powerful words in their writing to make it better; others shared their own examples of using powerful words in their stories. We are REALLY developing our vocabularies!  One student used the word “tenacious” while writing a poem. He then gave us an accurate definition! Color me impressed!

We learned more about Jesus’ ministry on earth this week in Bible. We talked about the story of the men who lowered their friend through the roof to be healed by Jesus. Talk about steps of faith! This also led to a discussion about friendship, and what we should be willing to do, through faith, for our friends. Each student chose a friend to write about and created an acrostic poem using describing words or phrases (another opportunity to use our powerful words).  Of course, we also discussed the fact that Jesus is really our “best friend.”  Anyone start humming “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” just now?

In social studies, we continued our study of great leaders Benjamin Franklin and George Washington Carver. The firsties were shocked to learn about all the things you can do with peanuts and sweet potatoes. In science, we focused on the desert habitat. We learned about many of the animals and plants that live there and did some research practice to answer questions about them. We also chose our favorites, polled our friends, and graphed the data we collected.

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We used our study of the desert to springboard our cactus art projects. We created cacti, labeled the parts, and used mixed media to add details to each one.

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In math, we studied “name collection boxes,” which are simple a tool we use to think more deeply about numbers. Each student was given a large sheet of paper on which to collect as many “names” (ways to show) that number as possible. For example, I could draw a hand with five fingers, five tally marks, a 1 & 4 domino, a 5-dot die, a nickel, or 0+5, 1+4, 2+3, 3+2, 4+1, and 5+0 to show the number 5. Students were given double-digit numbers, however; since they’ve been working with this idea informally since the beginning of the school year. We also looked at patterns in the fact table and used rulers to compare measurements in inches and centimeters. Keep practicing those fact triangles at home!

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I’m looking forward to another fabulous and fruitful week in the Patience Fruit Stand, even if we do get some wintry weather.

If you haven’t already, please send in your child’s third-quarter binder. I’m starting to fill them up with incredible first grade work!

Check out the hallways.  The firsties have projects up everywhere.  See what you can find!

Love is . . .

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!

20140214_110507Each student delivered valentines to their friends’ special, handmade mailboxes.

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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.

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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.

alexander and the wind up mouse biggest house inch by inch

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.

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They all wrote and illustrated books about their learning this week. Next week we will begin thinking about a new habitat. So exciting!

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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.

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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!

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Brilliant. Just brilliant!

I may have mentioned this before, but WHEW, time is flying!  We are two full weeks into our second quarter, and I have seen SUCH huge growth in these firsties!  Every day I see them applying skills, using their “math talk,” and building their schema through the connections they make both within and between content areas.  I am so proud of how far they’ve come – and it’s only November!

Here’s a peek at our learning from the week:

In Reader’s Workshop we learned how our schema can help us before we read by allowing us to tap into our prior knowledge and make predictions about a text.  We already begin to make connections from text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world.  After hearing an article published by a chemist, we learned that we often need to have schema for topics already before we can understand a new thing we want to read.  We learned that people can build their schema by asking questions, reading, doing research, going to museums, watching videos, and watching TV (like Animal Planet or PBS Kids!).

DSCN1804We explored this idea by making a chart of everything we already knew about wolves in fiction storybooks.  Children gave examples of tricky wolves, like the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood who tries to disguise himself as a grandmother in order to eat the little girl, or strong wolves, like the Big Bad Wolf of The Three Little Pigs who could knock down houses just by blowing on them.  Then we read Bad Boys and compared our schema to the wolves in the story.  We talked about how the schema we had from reading books helped us to make predictions about the wolves we might meet in Bad Boys.

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Later in the week we drew pictures and thought about a time we had lost something.  We discussed how we felt when we lost that item and how we felt when we found it again.  We metaphorically surrounded ourselves with our schema of loss by literally surrounding ourselves with our pictures of our lost items and read Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems.  The children explained how their thinking about their lost items helped them while they were listening to Knuffle Bunny.  They were all able to empathize with the main character, Trixie, who lost, and later found, her prized stuffed rabbit.

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In Writer’s Workshop we have been working on the writing process.  Two firsties published their very first writer’s workshop pieces – pieces that have been through the whole process from brainstorming to drafting to revising/editing to writing a final draft to publishing and illustrating.  I know several more stories are in the final draft stage, and will be published soon.  They will be displayed in the room as the stories start rolling in!  We have been working on taking a story through that process together before breaking to work on our own projects.  We created a thinking map about our character and chose a setting, problem, and solution for the story before adding details and organizing our thinking into a good beginning, middle, and end.

DSCN1803We then moved our ideas into the drafting stage.  It took us three days to complete our first draft, a testament to the hard work that goes into crafting a quality story!  We made a few revisions and will be ready next week to write our final draft and ultimately display our published class story in the room.

In Bible this week we learned all about Peter.  We discovered that God gives us great leaders like Joseph or Moses, but they are never perfect and make mistakes often.  We read the story in which Peter follows Jesus onto the water during a storm, but becomes frightened and loses his faith and footing.  We learned that if we focus our eyes on Christ, we can do anything He asks of us; if we don’t, we get distracted by the world and sink.  The children began creating boats using paper plates and popsicle sticks.  They will attach all the pieces together on Tuesday.  🙂

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In Social Studies we’ve been learning all about timelines and building our schema about past, present, and future.  The children have created timelines of their lives, including making predictions about what they think they will be doing and what they will look like in the future.  They have compared and contrasted past, present, and future changes in communities, schools, toys, and daily American life.

In Math Workshop we explored patterns in shapes and numbers.  We used pattern blocks to cover larger shapes and described the shapes’ attributes, sorted dominoes by odd or even numbers of dots, used pattern blocks to create, name, extend and record patterns, built number sentences, recognized patterns in counts by 2s, 3s, and 5s, used number lines to add and subtract, practiced telling time to the half hour, and used “frames-and-arrows” diagrams to decipher rules for changing numbers.  WHEW!  That is a busy week in math!

DSCN1782 DSCN1781 DSCN1779 DSCN1777 DSCN1774 DSCN1770 DSCN1769Our new Author of the Month is Cynthia Rylant.  The firsties remember her as the author of the Henry & Mudge series they visited when working through their Henry & Mudge book in Kindergarten.  We have many Henry & Mudge books in our classroom library, but this month we are focusing on her more advanced works.  This week we read In November, a poetic nonfiction story about different things that happen in the fall.  The firsties noticed right away that the illustrations were very different than the type of illustrations made for Henry & Mudge.  They realized that Cynthia Rylant does not use the same illustrator for all of her books!  She chooses an illustrator based on his or her style, matching that style to the style of the story she is writing.  Brilliant thinking, firsties!

We made beautiful fall leaves using the colors Cynthia Rylant described in In November.  I’m thinking those will be up on display in the hallway next week.  We just need to make a tree on which these changing leaves can grow!

Remember that on Monday CCA will be closed in observance of Veteran’s Day.

Come out tomorrow morning and walk with the mayor!  Don’t forget to wear something red or your CCA gear!

Have a blessed long weekend!