Tuesday, 1 October 2013

October News in Grade One!

The students have been working very hard and I am so proud of them. We have come a long way since the beginning of September already in the areas of independence, work habits, printing skills and reading. The children have continued to develop friendships and a sense of mutual respect toward one another as a classroom community. We have such a lovely group this year, we talk a lot about taking care of one another and showing patience and kindness to each other because we all have to spend each day together in one room.

October is a busy month for us at school. We will celebrating Thanksgiving with lots of fun activities that coincide with our reading, writing, math and art. We will also be having a Halloween dress up day on the 31st and a class party. Kids will be parading through the school and neighbourhood to show their costumes. For the class party, you are welcome to send some treats with your child if you like. Please be sure they are peanut and nut free. Thanks so much!

The Curriculum This Month......

Reading: Our Home Reading Program is off and running. Hopefully you are enjoying reading with your child each night. I do my best to match the book close to your child's reading level. When we do reading assessments to determine a reading level, we look for three things: your child's accuracy and ability to solve the words on each page, your child's comprehension and understanding of what they have read, and then we look at how fluently they can read the story. Is it read word by word and choppy? Or does it flow like natural speech with expression and intonation in their voice? So even though your child may be able to read all the words on a page, comprehension and fluency also account for the level of book that is appropriate to them.
We will also be sending home the logins for our RAZ kids online reading program soon. Mr. Ouellette has signed our class up, we are just waiting for the passwords. If your child enjoys reading online this is a great program. You can listen to the book first and then practice reading independently. There are also quizzes that kids can do after to check for understanding. If your child more readily reads the online books rather than the book bag books, by all means record these books on your child's reading log and send it in so that we know that they have read it. It will count toward the total number of books that your child has read this year and I want to make sure that they get credit for all the books they have read independently.
The ideal goal for students in grade one is to be reading at a level I-J by the end of the school year. Don't worry..... we've got all year and lots of time to practice!

Writing: Each child's goal is to be able to write one to two sentences independently with the help of their personal dictionary and the classroom word wall (these have our spelling words posted that we have already learned). We will be working on a writing process called "Try One, Try Another." Children will write about a specific topic, then receive some feedback from me about their specific work and have the opportunity to use the feedback and classroom learning to "try another" and show their very best work. This is a great way for students to visually see their learning and improvements. It also allows me to assess the very best work that kids can show me.

Math: The children have been working hard counting by 2's all the way to 100. This is a skill they really need to know, so please continue to practice with them whenever you can. I am impressed with their improvements this week! We also exploring number relationships. You can support your child with these concepts by doing the following activities:
- practice estimating using 12-13 small objects scattered ( not in rows or groups). Ask "is the number of objects closer to five or ten? About how many are there? Then count.
- your child is using "10 and........" to represent numbers from 11-20. Count out 14 small objects and ask your child to put 10 on one side; then count what is left (i.e. 14 is 10 and 4.)
- show a number of objects between 10 and 20. Ask your child "what is 2 more?" and "what is 2 less?"

Science: This month we are exploring daily and seasonal changes. We have had a great time using magnifying glasses to investigate nature outside and look for signs of fall. We have even learned about different kinds of leaves that are found on the playground. Students will be challenged to assess the impact of daily and seasonal changes on outdoor activities ( farming, gardening, swimming etc) and then we will look at how various innovations have allowed for some of these activities to take place out of season ( i.e. greenhouses allow farming in the winter). We will also take it to the next level by looking at how the change in seasons can impact society and the environment. For example, the in the winter, some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder, people use more energy by turning up the heat in the winter time. People use appliances at peak times which put a strain on power supplies etc.

As always, if you have any questions or would like to discuss your child's progress with me, I am always available to chat on the phone or meet with you in person. Please just write a note in the agenda and we can arrange something. Thanks again for taking the time to read this. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. I wish you all a restful and relaxing long weekend with your families.

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