April 2017 Newsletter
Our first day back after spring break was filled with smiles, laughter, hugs and plenty of stories! It was great to see how excited our class was to see friends and get back into our routine. They seem well rested and eager to continue the journey of learning. As teachers, we have had many discussions about higher expectations for the children for the end of the year and we feel that they are ready for these new challenges. We will be continuing our work with skills in reading, writing, science, social studies, and math. Spring is here (sort of….), and we are rapidly approaching the end of our year together. April is a time to begin preparing for change.
Reading groups continue to go well. Our focus on comprehension, fluency and reading with expression has really paid off. During the next month we will be talking about the characters in our books. We will discuss three main points:
1. Readers read and reread, paying attention to what characters are thinking and feeling, and use smooth storytelling voices to bring out characters’ thoughts and feelings.
2. Readers – like actors and directors – find the important moments in stories and talk and think more deeply about them.
3. Readers pay attention to patterns to predict and understand characters – and we share our discoveries to grow our understandings.
We continue our word work and have begun talking about “no excuse words” – words we really need to learn how to read and spell correctly. We will also have a lesson on punctuation – “A Punctuation Conversation” and read the book “Exclamation Point.”
Thank you for your support with “Take Home Reading”. Our reading log for April asks children to record the time of day they are reading, and how that time works for them.
The focus of our new writing unit is realistic fiction. We will begin by having children do something they already love doing – pretending! We will learn that fiction writers call on their pretending skills to invent characters and small moment adventures and then we will come up with characters of our own, name them and put them into imagined scenarios.
Throughout this unit we will encourage students to write lots of realistic fiction stories quickly and with independence. We will talk about the notion that characters face a bit of trouble - and that writers then get their characters out of trouble to give readers a satisfying ending.
We are looking forward to teaching this unit – we are guessing it will be a favorite. I hope you continue to share family stories. Tell your child stories of your day and expect to hear similar stories from your child. This will help develop your child’s oral language skills and it will fill your child with ideas for writing. Thank you for your support!
We will begin our dinosaur unit soon. This unit demonstrates more of our ever-changing earth and helps us create a timeline of life on earth. Our field trip to the MN Science Museum on Wednesday April 26th (non-uniform day) is certain to be exciting, and we are sure they will come back more enthused than ever to delve deeper into the subject! We visit as scientists who take notes and make sketches in our journals. An “at home” activity might be a visit to the website www.zoomdinosaurs.com. This site is part of a larger website called Enchanted Learning.
Our new C.A.R.E. Theme is: COURAGE
We began our week with a few lessons on telling time to the hour. We practiced using the term o’clock to tell the time to the hour and to read and show time on a clock. We are now ready for our next math unit - getting ready for multiplication and division. In this chapter, your child will be introduced to the concepts underlying multiplication and division. Some of the skills your child will practice are:
· Using objects or pictures to find the total number of items in groups of the same size
· Using objects or pictures to find the number of items in each group when sharing equally
Before learning to multiply and divide numbers, children must understand the conceptual idea underlying these operations. Use simple activities around the house to help them grasp the idea of sharing objects equally.
Birthday Wishes ... April 6 – April 21
As you know we have been talking about Birthdays as part of our on-going social studies unit. First grade is helping Ms. Zosel with Birthday Wishes – a food drive to help our local food shelf. We want all children to enjoy celebrating their birthday! We are collecting items that make birthdays special, like cake mix, frosting, candles, paper plates, napkins, etc. We have learned that people around the world celebrate in other ways and so we have included the following things on our list of items to collect: rice, noodles, cookie mix, pizza crust, pancake mix, disposable cake pans, oil, etc. Students may bring these items to their classroom or to the 1-2 Commons. As always, our collections are OPTIONAL. Thank you!
Thank you for volunteering throughout the year. The events that the children have enjoyed so thoroughly have been greatly enhanced by your enthusiastic participation.
IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER:
April 14 No School – Good Friday
April 26 All-day trip to the Minnesota Science Museum – Please wear good walking shoes, and comfy clothes (this is a non-uniform day.)
April 28 6:00 p.m. “Get in Gear” Fun Run
May 8 - 22 Skating in P.E.
May 19 Field Day 9:30 – 11:30 (all parents are welcome! – this is a non- uniform day).
May 26 Field Day rain date
May 29 NO SCHOOL – Memorial Day
June 2 Closing Exercises
Marie Murphy, Tara Madden, and Carly Skates