Monday, April 29, 2019

May Updates

5/3:  SCHOLASTIC BOOK ORDERS DUE
I am sending scholastic orders in today's homework folder.  This is our last one of the year and a great opportunity to stock up for summer reading.  We see a lot of kiddos backslide in their reading skills during the summer, so a stack of fresh books can really help prevent this summer slide!  Also, Scholastic Orders help us earn points to stock our classroom with new books for next year, too!  Remember, you can browse many more titles online than just the ones in the paper fliers.  Order online at https://clubs.scholastic.com/home and enter class code R77HW.

5/13:  BOTANIC GARDENS FIELD TRIP
Students will arrive at school at normal time. They will need a sack lunch and water bottle.  Please be sure you have registered:
MySchoolBucks.com > Login > Add your student if you have not already done so > Go to School Store in upper right corner > Field Trips > GRE - 1st Grade - Denver Botanic Gardens. The MySchoolBucks link can be found on GRE’s website under Parent Info or click hereRegistrations MUST be completed by 2 days prior to your field trip. 

5/22: INSECTOPIA AND FIELD DAY

🐞🕷🐝 You're Invited to INSECTOPIA! 🐛🐜🐝
First Grade INSECTOPIA will be OPEN on
WEDNESDAY, MAY 22nd 11:00-12:00!
Don't miss this opportunity to witness the latest discoveries of new species of insects made by our local entomologists! (Your Children!) Our entomologists will be there to explain the many interesting details and facts about their discoveries! We would love to have you stop by our classroom to visit our booths. You are welcome to meet the entomologists and insects in other first grade classrooms as well!   Join us if you are able. Stay for a little while or browse exhibits for the whole hour! Admission free!

FIELD DAY will also be Wednesday, May 22nd.  First graders will participate in their events beginning about 12:45.  More details will follow soon  

5/24: LAST DAY OF SCHOOL/PICNIC

I can't believe it, but our last day of first grade is right around the corner!  To celebrate, we will have a class picnic for lunch. I'm asking that students bring a sack lunch so that we can enjoy some food and fun together outside. Since it is such a busy week with field day/Insectopia, we are planning to keep the picnic as a simple celebration for just the students.   

Monday, March 25, 2019

Spring News!


Important Upcoming Dates:

Resceduled Conferences:  Thursday, March 28th

Your previously scheduled time is still held for you.  Please reach out if you need to change your time/date. 

No School: Friday, April 19th 

First Grade Field Trip:  Monday, May 13th

This spring we will be studying life cycles of plants and animals.  In coordination with this unit we will be taking afield trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens on Monday, May 13th, 2019. The cost is $8.00 for each student. 

In order for your child to participate in this field trip/program you must register (includes online permission form)  & pre-pay on-line by going to: 
MySchoolBucks.com > Login > Add your student if you have not already done so > Go to School Store in upper right corner > Field Trips > GRE - 1st Grade - Denver Botanic Gardens. The MySchoolBucks link can be found on GRE’s website under Parent Info or click hereRegistrations MUST be completed by 2 days prior to your field trip. 
  •  Online registration is for your student only- please do not register yourself or younger siblings.
  • Free/Reduced students will have the option of selecting "no payment" but must still register. 
  • No refunds
I will send out an email for parent volunteers as we get a little closer.  Let me know if you have any questions! I am looking forward to this fun-filled day of learning! 

Classroom Highlights:

Dear Parents,
I can't believe it is almost April!  Your children are growing and learning everyday and have been very busy!  Read on to learn about what your child has been up to at school.  

Literacy
Reader's Workshop:
Before Spring Break Book Club groups prepared some Reader's Theatre plays about some of the Historical Figures we were learning about, such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Sally Ride, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Everyone did such a wonderful job!  Thank you to are marvelous VIPs (Very important parents) for helping the groups practice.  We performed for our our book buddies and for another first grade class.  I hope you all had a chance to check out the great SeeSaw videos!

Before break we were focusing on reading nonfiction.  We learned about things good readers do to become "super smart" nonfiction readers:  


We are also working on the comprehension strategies of determining importance, paraphrasing, summarizing and synthesizing.  These can be tough skills to master for first graders!  In fact, at this level it is really about exposing them to these skills and practicing them together.  We practiced retelling what we learned from our nonfiction texts.  We tried to give a "3 Scoop Retell" - 

We practiced these skills when doing research about an important American Figure or Symbol.  As we read, we worked on determining which facts were the most important and took notes.  We then worked collaboratively with a small group to create a project that would teach others about our topic.  

We will also be utilizing these skills with our next science unit on life cycles.  The kids will be doing research on insects, paraphrasing the information, and creating a project to share what we learn with the class, including writing a summary of the insect's characteristics and how these characteristics help the insect survive. The unit will culminate with the kids synthesizing what they know about insects by "discovering" a new insect and making a model of it and a brochure that teaches others about its characteristics. The class is excited to do this work!
*Ask your child what paraphrasing means. 
(That is a big word and many of us are still learning!)
*Ask your child to paraphrase what they read - tell it to you in their own words! 
*Practice summarizing stories you read.  Tell the most important facts  or events from the book.  Model this for them!  They will get better at this skill with lots of practice and repetition!

This week we are beginning our last unit, reading fiction.  This unit focuses on learning about story elements - characters, setting, plot, problem, solution.  We will discuss character traits and support our opinions of a character by citing evidence from the story.  We'll also focus on taking a "sneak peek," predicting, and retelling by determining the important events and using these to retell the story.  We will also discuss the lesson or theme in the story.  This can be tricky!  

*As you read with your child stop before, during, and after the book and discuss predictions, ask questions, and determine important events.  *Discuss characters and their traits.  Talk about evidence from the text that support your opinion about a character. 
*Talk about the setting and stop and notice when the setting changes. 
*Discuss the lesson or theme in the stories you read!


Writer's Workshop:
We completed our unit on Information Writing.  A folder with their work will come home soon.  The concepts we focused on included:
*Teaching readers about a topic
*Having a beginning that captures the reader’s attention
*Adding facts and details that teach about the topic
*Adding nonfiction text features to help teach readers, such as illustrations,
  labels, maps, charts, or diagrams.
*Thinking about questions our readers would have about our topic
*Using comparisons and examples
*Writing an ending

Everyone did such a great job!  I kept a final piece, one they did independently, as an assessment.  I will send this home at the end of the year.  

This week we will begin a new unit on sharing our opinions.  In both reading and writing, students are being critical thinkers and sharing their opinions.  We are discussing the importance of critical thinking when forming opinions and how our thinking is always improving based on others' ideas and new information. We can use other opinions to make our own opinion stronger, or to change our opinion.  We will be forming opinions about their reading and participating in discussions that allow them to hear and analyze other points of view. 

We are also writing about our opinions. The kids will act as judges, deciding which item in a collection deserves to win a blue ribbon, or first place.  They will write an opinion piece, beginning with a topic sentence then listing three reasons that support their opinion. They will use transition words (first, next, finally) and end with a conclusion statement.  Wow!  Sounds like fifth grade writing!  They will write these pieces to try and convince others to agree with their opinion.  They will share these on Seesaw.  You can listen to their opinion and see if they convince you!  

Next, they will chose a second place winner and write another opinion piece.  They will be learning how to disagree politely and write about someone's opinion they disagree with.  After that, we will be taking on the role of reviewers. They will be writing critical reviews about restaurants, toys, movies, etc and supporting their opinions with reasons in order to persuade their readers.
Talk about your opinions together and discuss why they feel they way they do.
Once they share their opinion pieces on Seesaw, listen and give them some feedback.  Did they convince you to agree with them?

Math
We are working another math unit this week that focuses on addition and subtraction. First graders are becoming more strategic mathematicians! We will focus on how combinations of 10 can help solve problems more efficiently. Students are also learning to solve addition and subtraction problems in different ways. This ultimately enables your child to be a flexible problem solver. 

Next, we will focus on a unit about collecting and analyzing data.  We planned this unit to correspond with our Opinion Writing unit.  The kids will be conducting surveys, asking their peers' opinions about a variety of topics.  They will create visual representations to display their data, and will interpret this data, stating what they can learn from it.  This is a fun unit!

Finally, we will begin our last addition and subtraction unit.  This unit focuses on numbers, counting and quantity, the composition of numbers, and the operations of addition and subtraction.  Students will encounter situations that provide concrete models for counting by numbers other than 1 (Counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s).  As students solve such problems and think about ways to organize objects so they are easier to count and combine, they begin to make sense of what it means to count by groups.  They will also do a lot of work on place value with 2 digit numbers, and use models (such as unifix cubes) to build 2 digit numbers.  Then, they will use these models to help them add and subtract 2 digit numbers.  

Play the math games sent home with your child often, especially the games that help them learn their math facts that equal 10... Tens Go Fish and Make Ten are two of those games.  They should be fluent with these (have them memorized) by the end of the year.
As your child works with numbers, ask them to explain how they got their answer.  When you can explain your answer you understand it at a deeper level.


Social Studies
Before break we did a study of Important American Figures & Symbols.  We incorporated this work into reading. During Social Studies the kids really enjoyed working in groups to research either an American Symbol (The Liberty Bell, Mount Rushmore, The Statue of Liberty, The White House, The Bald Eagle, and the American Flag) or an important American Figure (Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Amelia Earhart, Jackie Robinson & Wilma Rudolph).  They worked in small groups, gathered facts, and collaborated to create a poster or a book about their symbol.  They then created an Adobe Spark Video to share their project and teach the rest of the class about their topic.  They will share this project on Seesaw.  Along the way we discussed the importance of working collaboratively together.  We reflected on our collaborative skills, filling out a rubric on how well we felt we collaborated.  
Ask your child if they remember what they learned about the American Symbol or Figure they studied!


Science
This week we will begin a unit on life cycles, observing the life cycle of plants and insects.  We will have some wonderful creatures in our room, which I'm sure you will hear about... mealworns!  When I first taught this unit I was a little leery about having these in our room, but they really grow on you and are amazing to watch transform!  Shhh.....don't tell the kids, but they will turn into a pupa, and then an adult beetle!  It will be amazing to watch!  I know the kids will LOVE their mealworms! We will be watching them with scientific eyes, observing them, and recording our observations in our field notebooks. 

We will also plant seeds and will watch with excitement as the sprouts peek out of the dirt and begin to grow.  We will be recording our observations of our plants and will notice as buds appear, flowers grow and turn into seed pods.  We'll watch as our plants go through their whole life cycle.  

We have also have another insect in our room... caterpillars!  We will watch them grow (they grow really fast!) and make a chrysalis.  Don't tell your child, but we will watch as they turn into butterflies!  We will end our year by releasing our butterflies into the wild.  This is a super fun unit which the kids really enjoy!

To culminate our study of insects the kids will be synthesizing what they've learned about insects and their lifecycle by becoming entomologists who discover a new kind of insect!  They will build a model of this insect, then create a brochure that describes its characteristics and how these characteristics help it survive in the wild.  We will host an "Insectopia" where we share these projects with parents and family. 

*More information about day/time for our Insectopia will come home in May.

Next week , ask your child about their mealworms and plants and what they've noticed about how they are changing.  You can also ask:
"What makes an insect an insect?"
"What are the parts of a plant?  What does each part do?"
"Can you tell me the lifecycle of your mealworm?  Your plant?"  The caterpillars?


Technology:  
All students K-5 learn the craft and structure of writing in the following three genres: informational, narrative and opinion. First graders are currently working on teaching others through their informational unit. In addition to writing pieces informing others of items in their own favorite collections, students are working on an aligned technology project. They created an Adobe Spark video that teaches incoming first graders about the computer apps that they used throughout the year. This project required them to apply their writing and technology skills. These projects were shared on Seesaw.  I hope you saw them!  

Well, that should take us to the end of the year, which is about 9 weeks away - but I know it will be here before we know it!  

If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read through this, and for all you do to support your child at home!  I feel so blessed to be working with such wonderful families!  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me!

I will send information about end-of-year activities in May.  Until then, take care!

Mrs. Roon 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

January News

Important Upcoming Dates:

Friday, January 18th:  No School (Teacher In-service Day)

Monday, January 21st:  No School (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)

Friday, February 1st: Sock Hop (See Below) 


Friday, February 15th-No School, Teacher Professional Development

Monday February 18th-No School, President's Day 

Tuesday, February 21st 7:15-7:45: Specials Performance 
Mrs. Roon's 1st Grade and Mrs. Anderson's 2nd Grade

A Peek into Our Classroom 

Happy New Year! I love this time of year because the students grow by leaps and bounds!  We have hit the ground running, launching new non-fiction units in reading and writing, continuing our number sense addition/subtraction unit in math, and beginning a Social Studies unit on Famous Americans.  We are also in the middle of a technology co-teaching block with Mrs. Fleet, where we learning to use Spark Videos to teach others.  Look for some awesome videos on SeeSaw very soon!  Read on for more details about our learning and how you can support your child at home.  :)


Reader’s Workshop

We are focusing on….
* setting personal reading goals to improve our decoding and comprehension  
*thinking strategies to help us understand and interact with texts (determining importance, paraphrasing, keeping track of our thinking and learning as we read)
* noticing and learning from all the non-fiction text features that authors use

You can support your child at home by….
*Asking: What are your reading goals?    
*Use the resources under the Reading Tab to guide you as you support your child with decoding and comprehension.  Make sure they read, read, read!
*Have your child stop and paraphrase what they read.  Ask them what is most important and why.
*Make sure your child is reading a mixture of fiction and non-fiction.
Writer’s Workshop

We are focusing on….
*Writing informational books to teach others about a topic.
*Breaking down and organizing a topic into important parts (chapters)
*Using words and pictures to teach important information.
*Including non-fiction text features such as table of contents, headings, labels, captions, close-ups, and bold words.

You can support your child at home by…
*Asking:  What teaching books are you working on?   
*Help your child generate more ideas for teaching book topics.  What do they know a lot about? What can they teach to others?
*Point out text features and interesting ways that authors teach in the non-fiction books you read together.  

Math

We are focusing on….

*counting and sorting larger numbers (up to 120) in a variety of ways
* finding many ways to represent a given number
*solidifying skip counting to 120
*Solving problems with more than two numbers or with larger numbers
*Explaining our thinking and solving problems in different ways
*We will soon be introducing: telling time to the hour, measurement, and fractions

You can support your child at home by…

*Continue to practice counting by 1s (forwards and backwards), 5s, 10s, and 2s to 120 until these skills are mastered
*Work on addition and subtraction fact fluency…especially doubles and ways to make ten (i.e. 1+9, 2+ 8, 3+ 7, etc.)
*Supporting your child with Sunshine math practice (really encouraging them to think critically and allowing for some productive struggle)
*Playing the math homework games together and encouraging your child to share their thinking by asking, “how do you know?” or “what strategy did you use to find that answer?”
Social Studies/Science

We are focusing on…

*Exploring American Figures and Symbols
*Choosing a figure or symbol to research
*Determining Importance and Paraphrasing Important Learning
*Collaborating with others to create a project


You can support your child at home by…


*Ask students what people and symbols they have learned about and why they are important
*Help them read more about the ones that interest them most (PebbleGo or Britannica online are great resources for this)