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Welcome to First Grade 2015-16

First Grade News…

Hello First Grade Families,

The first graders have been exploring the neighborhood.  Last week we walked to the train station.  Before embarking on our adventure we looked at a map of our walking route on the smartboard and noticed where the train tracks crossed over Madison Street.  This sparked a lively discussion about whether the tracks would be at street level (with a railroad crossing gate to stop traffic) or whether the tracks would be elevated on a bridge.  On the walk the children saw that it was a bridge and there was an actual train crossing when we got to the bridge!  We also noticed places in the neighborhood that have food like El Sabor Salvadoreno and Memo’s bakery.  This week we will walk to the local supermarket.  We will take trip sheets with us so we can write down the names of different kinds of fruit we see.  Back in the classroom we’ll ask the children to hypothesize about how fruit gets to the supermarket.  Our trip on Friday to Norton Brothers Fruit Farm will help answer the question of how some of our food gets to us. 

We have been reading stories related to social justice and empathy.  Recently one of our very own students (a boy) got some flack from some of the other boys about choosing to read a story about princesses.  We talked about being more accepting and tolerant of things you’re not accustomed to seeing (like a boy choosing to read about princesses!) with the help of a book by Charlotte Zolotow called William’s Doll, about a boy who is teased for wanting a doll.  He gets the doll in the end!

In math the children are practicing counting accurately up to 30 and developing strategies for keeping track.  In a game called Five-In-A-Row the kids add with dot dice and cover the total on a game board with a bingo chip.  One of the goals is to master “counting on” from the bigger number, rather than count all the dots i.e. if you roll a  5 and a 4  you count from 5 saying: “5…6,,7,8,9.”  Playing math games repeatedly helps kids memorize number combinations, in other words, know automatically that 5 and 4 equals 9.  Also, in math we introduced the “greater than, less than” symbols.  The trick for knowing which way the symbol faces is to think of it as the open mouth of a crocodile.  The crocodile always chomps on the bigger number. 

​Read this if your child needs more sight words:

We are sending home directions for a few simple games to play that will help your child learn sight words.  You might think of sight words as being like the “on switch” for reading.  You have to have a good amount of sight words in order to use reading strategies effectively.  When you only know a few sight words, the switch stays off and the strategies won’t go.  So help your child with a few sight words a day to get it going!

If you play any of the attached games you may need to make extra copies of the game board.  Choose 5 to 10 sight words for your child to work on at a time. 

Of course another way to practice the words is to make flash cards.  Again choose 5 to 10 at a time –not too many at once because that can get overwhelming.​