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December News
Reading & Writing Updates

Our class will is about halfway through a reading unit called Readers Know Characters, Stories, and Story Structure.  Our focus lessons will include noticing character traits and learning about story elements such as setting, problem, and solution.  Mentor texts will include Strega Nona, Henry and Mudge, and The Gingerbread Man.  We will continue to learn new ways to respond to our reading using a variety of graphic organizers.

We are working on a writing unit called Music in Our Hearts:  Writing Poetry.   During the next week or so, the children will create mini rhyming books and begin working on "quick writes" to brainstorm poetry ideas and language.  We've read and discussed many poems together, noticing the "craft moves" poets use.  Very soon the children will begin using their quick writes to draft poems.  By the end of the month they'll begin "publishing" their poems (revising, editing, copying over, illustrating, and binding them with my help).

Math Matters

Our class is just beginning with our fourth math unit, Length and Addition Facts.  This unit focuses on addition, subtraction, and measuring length using nonstandard units (for example, cubes, paper clips, etc.).  Bar graphs will also be introduced in this unit.  The children will continue working on learning how to explain their thinking about mathematical ideas.  This work is very challenging for first graders, and we will be working on it throughout the rest of the year. A family letter with more detailed information about the unit was sent home at the end of November. 

Science & Social Studies

During December our science read alouds will focus on winter weather.  We will learn about how the sun travels across the sky by engaging in a great Mystery Science investigation.  The children will also work on developing their science practice skills through a variety of "Can Do" centers.  Partners will explore magnets, objects that sink & float, and color & light.  Social studies topics in December will include winter holidays.  We'll also continue our year-long study of well-known folk and fairy tales by exploring several different versions of The Gingerbread Man.

Weather Alert

It's hard to believe, but winter has arrived.  Please make sure that your child is dressed appropriately for outdoor recess.  The children will go out everyday that skies are clear-- unless the temperature or wind chill is below twenty degrees.  They need the fresh air and the exercise, but they won't enjoy themselves if they are cold.  Please reach out to me or the school nurse, Mrs. Soares, if your family needs assistance acquiring winter outerwear for your child.  Lastly, don't forget to label your child's coats, jackets, etc. with his/her name.  Many of them look alike!