First Grade May 2019 Update

Dear Families,

Happy May!!  It is so nice to see the signs of Spring all around us.  We hope you all had a wonderful Spring Break.  We wanted to update you on some of the exciting things going on in First Grade.

In reading, we are beginning our Non Fiction Research Unit.  All of the children will begin working on researching various animals and insects.  They will be reading closely to come up with questions and wonderings about their research topic.  They will be jotting down important information about their topics and collecting and sharing out the many bits of information that they are learning.  We will be focusing on lifting the level of their conversations with their reading buddies within their research book clubs. Specifically, their ability to organize and share what they are learning in an interesting way both in conversation and in their writing.  We hope they will begin to examine their books, perhaps comparing and contrasting book structures, noticing how the author chooses to share different types of information.

In writing, we are wrapping up our Realistic Fiction unit.  The children have created amazing series.  They have developed characters and have written their stories including problems, failed attempts to solve the problems, and solutions. The children have been working tirelessly to develop interesting & realistic characters across several books.  They have named their series and really see themselves as authors.  Our next unit of study will be poetry.

Architecture has gotten off to a great start!!  We will begin our work with Allison from the Center for Architecture this Friday.  In the first few sessions the children will have a chance to use white pencils and develop buildings using many of the different types of architectural elements such as cornice, stoops, dormers, arches & sills! They will be creating their own blueprints. We will be learning more about how to identify types of buildings in a neighborhood, for example residential, commercial, institutional, mixed use, etc.   In the coming weeks we will begin to make our building plans for our neighborhood.  The children will work as architects, builders, and urban planners.

In Social Studies we have just completed our unit titled The Community.  In this unit we looked closely at maps and how to read them.  We also studied citizenship and the rights and responsibilities that citizens have.  Another focus was on rules and laws.  This unit yielded many interesting conversations about what it means to be part of a community and what roles and responsibilities we all have in our community.   Our new unit is titled Community Economics.

In math, students will use nonstandard units (e.g., shoe-lengths, craft sticks, paper clips, cubes, inch-bricks) to measure length, they will be lining up multiple units end-to-end and count how many “fit” along the length of an object or a distance.  Our students will begin to learn that a continuous length is now countable—the number of discrete units that equal the continuous length can be counted.  Using nonstandard units of different sizes ensures that our students encounter several important ideas. One is that measuring the same length with different units results in different counts and that the larger the unit, the smaller the count (or vice versa). Students also come to learn that a common unit is critical to communicating measurement information to others and comparing results. That is, we can’t compare our longest jumps if one is measured in craft sticks and one is measured in paper clips. This exciting work will lend it self to revisiting units from earlier in the year, such as data and fractions.

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

All the best,

Kristin and Sarah