Fantastic February! We are ready for March!

February was an exciting month for First Grade! The highlight of the month was the school-wide Flapjacks for Father's Breakfast, where students enjoyed their fathers, grandparents, or family friends come to school to try to catch pancakes! First Graders enjoyed raising money for American Heart Association through the Jump Rope for Heart program! Students participated in a morning of fun to get their bodies moving and blood pumping during our Jump Rope for Heart Day! Students enjoyed creating their own mail boxes to use during our Valentine's Day party. Students took their first ever field trip this month! First Graders went to the Saint Louis Art Museum to view the Asian art gallery and the sculpture hall. Students enjoyed the trip, and were complimented on their great manners and thought-provoking questions.  

Here are some areas in which our First Graders have been hard at work learning and growing:

Teamwork and Personal Responsibility- Students continue to work as a team to earn "Safari Adventure Points" to earn parties and special things for their class. They are preparing for Second Grade by making responsible choices, as well as taking ownership for their actions. First Graders are displaying increased independence and responsibility. They take pride in ensuring that our classroom is a fun and safe place to be. Students know the classroom rules, as well as what is expected in the classroom. They arrive each morning and silently follow written multi-step directions on the board. Students work together cooperatively and have become empathetic classmates. When conflicts arise throughout the school day, students are able to demonstrate problem-solving strategies to work through their conflicts independently, rather than immediately seeking the aid of a teacher. Students take ownership for their choices and ask classmates if there is anything they can do to help a peer in need.

Reading- First Graders are reading for both enjoyment and to learn new information from a variety of texts. Students used the Open Court reading program to extend phonics skills and further develop comprehension strategies while reading. Students focused on many long vowel spellings, as well as confusing letter combinations such as when ph makes the /f/ sound or when the long o sound is spelled oa and ow. Literature from the Open Court reading program, as well as other books used in small-group reading, exposed students to a variety of fiction and non-fiction.They are reading various genres of literature, both fiction and non-fiction, in order to deepen their comprehension of texts. Students are continuing to develop expression, comprehension, and stamina while reading. Students continue to have time set aside daily to read independently, in their own special places, with books that are just right for them. During this time, known as Daily 5, some students are independently reading, while others are doing small-group reading with the teacher. Students are asked questions throughout the text to strengthen their comprehension skills. In addition, students use decoding strategies while reading, identify elements of the text, and read with fluency and expression to demonstrate signs of a “good reader”.  

Spelling- Students are continuing to build their spelling skills through weekly games, activities, and spelling tests. Their favorite spelling game continues to be "Sparkle"! Students enjoy the challenging Second Grade spelling curriculum, and have begun to complete their Spelling Connections pages independently. Thus far, students have learned about short vowel sounds, consonant clusters, words that end in -nk and -ng, short vowel sounds represented by more than one letter, vowel/consonant patterns, vowel-consonant-e patterns, long a,e, and i words using tricky spelling patterns, long o patterns, the /k/ sound, spelled with c, k, and ck, consonant clusters, number words, the /oy/ sound spelled oy and oi, plural: -s, -es words, words ending with -ed and -ing, long and short oo, as well as words writers frequently use. Students are using newly learned spelling patterns to become stronger writers and readers. 

Writing-  First Graders enjoy writing! They are now able to independently remember mechanics such as: finger spacing, proper letter formation, using complete sentences and proper punctuation. Students are continuing to practice their writing through many different outlets.Students are using Stoplight Paragraphs to write meaningful and sequenced fiction and non-fiction paragraphs. First Graders are increasing their ability to use previously taught phonics patterns to spell words accurately. During the month of February, students generated meaningful interview questions for a staff member of Rohan Woods School. Students then interviewed the staff member and wrote a paragraph using the responses they were given. Students learned the importance of formulating clear and complete sentences. The paragraphs were accompanied by illustrations that matched their text. Students continue to earn our school mascot, Archie, to take home on the weekends. The student chosen documents his/her weekend with Archie in our "Adventures with Archie" notebook, and then presents their writing to the class on Mondays. A name, date, title and "juicy words" must be used.

Math- First Graders enjoy using hands-on manipulatives that accompany our Singapore Math curriculum! During the month of February, students actively explored ordinal numbers and position words. They made human number lines to accompany this lesson! Students learned ways to add and subtract numbers using strategies such as: add by making a 10, add by grouping into 10 and ones, add using doubles facts, add using doubles plus one facts, subtract by grouping into a 10 and ones, and subtract using doubles facts of addition. Real-world word problems were used throughout the month in order to allow children to relate to the concepts being taught. Students demonstrate their mental math strategies to solve how many more Safari Adventure points we need to earn various rewards each week. 

Social Studies- In February, students used their Block Buddy Atlas' to learn more about maps and globes. Students discovered the importance of a key when reading a map and globe. They used a key to discover rivers, mountains, borders and lakes on a globe. Students are continuing to actively learn about the seven continents and fifty states through our Postcard Exchange project, "It's a Small World After All". First graders are continuing to use the postcards to discover new information about cities, countries, continents, landmarks, oceans, and the world around them. Please consider sending First Grade a postcard during your Spring Break, personal or work travels! We are learning about the world around us through song and literature. First Graders read about important figures such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Junior to honor Black History Month. 

February was a busy and wonderful month for First Grade! Stay tuned for the exciting things we accomplish in March! 

Ms. Coleman

First Grade Teacher

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