March Madness!

March flew by for First Grade! The highlight of the month was National Read Across America Day, where we celebrated Dr. Suess' birthday! First Graders wore special crowns, made crafts, and read Dr. Suess classics to the preschoolers. It was a short school month, but it was packed with a lot of learning and fun! 

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. Due to their responsible choices, First Graders are showing they are well on their way to being ready for Second Grade. First Graders show independence and responsibility. Students consistently follow classroom rules and have become leaders. They take ownership for their actions and have well-developed problem-solving skills. 

Reading- First Graders are reading to learn, rather than learning to read. Students continue to use the Open Court reading program to extend phonics skills and further develop comprehension strategies while reading. 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, such as: fiction, non-fiction, fairy tales, and folktales. Students are now able to read with proper volume and expression. 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 either listening to books on audio or doing small-group reading with the teacher. First Graders finished the chapter book The Golly Sisters Go West during the month of March! 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”. First Graders LOVED listening to the read aloud A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein. Their favorite poem was Messy Room and they enjoyed hearing it multiple times!

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, words writers frequently use, vowel diagraphs with ew and ow, as well as contractions. Students are becoming strong readers and writers with the aide of our challenging spelling curriculum. 

Writing-  First Graders are "writing machines"! 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 write across many genres. First Graders are increasing their ability to use previously taught phonics patterns to spell words accurately. During the month of March, students worked diligently on writings that had clear beginning, middle, and ends. First Graders are also working to start each sentence with a different word, in order to make their writings more interesting to read. 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 March, students actively explored addition and subtraction using number bonds, regrouping, and doubles. Students learned the "Double Double This This" game, in order to strengthen their doubles and doubles plus one mental math abilities. The game is similar to "Around the World" in math and the students absolutely love it! In order to strengthen mental math skills, students continue to figure out how many "Safari Points" they need during the week, in order to earn various intangible rewards on Fridays. Students also learned about length during the month of March. First Graders did the following in regards to length: compared two things, compared more than two things, learned the importance of using a start line when measuring, and learned to find the length of various items using units. Students enjoyed measuring various items around the school, using both craft sticks and paperclips as units. The students were then asked to figure out which unit would be more beneficial to measure large items (craft sticks) and which unit for smaller items (paperclip). 

Social Studies- In March, students continued to use their Block Buddy Atlas' to learn more about maps and globes. 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 personal or work travels! We are learning about the world around us through song and literature.

Even though March was a short school month, students were introduced to many new concepts through active and engaging learning! Stay tuned for April's eventful update! 

Ms. Coleman

First Grade Teacher

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