First Grade January 2020 Update

Dear First Grade Families,

We hope this letter finds you all well.  The students have been working very hard in First Grade.  2020 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 our upcoming Math unit, we will focus on sorting and classifying categorical data.  For example, students might create bar graphs or line plots to track the number of teeth lost in class.  In addition, students will be attempting to push themselves to think, what does the data tell me about the surveyed population?  We hope the children will become well versed in representing data in various formats such as a picture graph and Venn diagrams as well.   Later in the unit, our first graders will have the chance to conduct some data collection and representation on the upper grade students.

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