October 10, 2014
First grade scientists are busy exploring living things as they discover what makes something alive. They concluded that every living thing needs water, air and food to stay alive. They had a lively discussion about other attributes such as movement, warmth and one child said they need other living things—and that’s why I love first grade. The students are learning to distinguish the concepts alive, once alive and never alive. You can imagine the interesting conversation as they considered a variety of objects such as feathers, fire and a wooden clothes pin.
We used every last apple to sort, observe and graph our data. The students used a scientific tool, a hand lens, to see details that are too tiny for our eyes. They sketched, compared and wondered about every scratch, bump, hole, bruise and freckle. Finally, the apples became something delicious—homemade applesauce. First, the students enjoyed browsing through my collection of cook books. Next they learned how to read a recipe and work cooperatively to follow each step. Today, the students tasted the applesauce at snack and made little how-to books. They will be anxious to tell you all about it.
Our Greenbrook Assembly today was themed RESPECT. The entire school community rapped what respect means. Every class was represented by a classmate who read our class’ ideas about some ways to show each other respect at school. This is an important conversation to have as a family. Start by asking your first graders to tell you what respectful behavior looks like in the classroom and in the cafeteria. Then talk about the ways that adults and children show respect in your home. You have taught them well—they are showing very respectful behaviors already— first time listening, waiting your turn to talk and The Golden Rule are the ones that we practice every day at school.
The Napping House is a favorite piece of children’s literature by Audrey and Don Wood. The students enjoyed the story both for reading comprehension and math concepts this week. Detailed illustrations help readers make sense of the action in the story. Problem solving strategies such as the use of sketching, counting and math tools provide a challenging opportunity for students to practice new skills and try new ways to come to a solution. The students created their own napping house where everyone was sleeping, including pets. They were asked to solve the problem: How many feet are in your napping house? Some students were challenged to add a mystery pet or teddy bear. All were given the opportunity to share their work and to explain their thinking to the group.
Several parents have volunteered to be our class room parents —my thanks to all of them. We are discussing a fall celebration for October 31. Room parents will coordinate the celebration with me in the next week or so to determine the time and supplies that are needed. I will send an email to our families with additional information. We have some families who do not celebrate Halloween and we are respectful of that decision. Those students who do not wish to participate in the fall-themed celebration will be offered an activity away from the classroom. I want to be clear about the celebration—all activities and games will be fall-themed and not Halloween. Students will be permitted to wear a Halloween costume to the celebration if they choose. Please let me know if you would like your child to participate in the alternate activity instead of our classroom celebration and I will take care of it.
Ask your first grader…
*Tell your family what you collected on our fall walk. Name one thing that was once alive.
*Teach your family The Golden Rule.
* Is this number odd or even: 21 Prove it!
* What is whole body listening and how do you do it?
* In Apple Picking Time, the family got up early to spend their day together. Where did they go and what did Anna do that was a first-time for her?
* Tell your family how we made applesauce.
Mrs. Gail Magid
1st Grade Teacher
Greenbrook Elementary School