And just like that, we've got the first two months of first grade under our belts! l am loving getting to know your children both as students and as people. We've had great class discussions, played fun "getting to know each other" games, and have been busy building a strong classroom community that is going to carry us through this whole school year. Much of the first couple weeks of school is spent learning how to "do school". At Rockwern we use the Responsive Classroom approach, and this means that at the beginning of the year we dedicate a lot of time to learning classroom routines, establishing classroom rules, and modeling expected behavior. This is time well spent because it sets the foundation for the entire year. So please rest assured that we are doing very important things in 1st grade!
We have begun Writing Workshop. Our first unit is the Small Moments unit. Throughout this narrative writing unit, the students will be encouraged to write about small moments. By focusing on small moments, the students are able to write with detail, including showing a character's small actions, dialogue, and internal thinking. The students have been busy learning the writing process: choosing an idea, planning their writing by sketching stories across the pages of a booklet, storytelling repeatedly until the story feels just right, and revising to bring more detail and life to their stories. I love teaching this unit because the differences in the students' writing from week to week will be dramatic, and I also love their eagerness when they ask me each day, "Do we get to do Writing Workshop today?" I will share their stories with you at our parent confernces.
As I learned from hearing about the students hopes and dreams, we have a classroom of scientists as well as many other interest. It was an exciting first month as we learned about the life cycle of a Monarch butterfly. I found a Monarch butterfly's chrysalis and the students spent two weeks observing it. We ended our study of the Monarch butterfly with some hands on activities, and we came into the classroom one Friday not to a chrysalis but to a butterfly!
This was a great example of how science is all around us. Not only were we busy observing the chrysalis, but we had the excitement of the solar eclipse as well. Kindergarten through 2nd grade met together in the library to watch live coverage of the eclipse both in our area and in other spots throughout the country. Prior to going to the library, the students shared what the knew about an eclipse and we watched an informative video about what an eclipse is, why it happens, and what we should expect to see.
What a great start of school! We have adjusted to our daily routines well.
In September we have also begun to work in reading groups, handwriting books and taken MAP test.
Thank you for remembering snacks and returning their take home folders empty. Usually if they don't bring their folders home it's because we have no math homework or papers to return. In a typical week we will have math homework at least 4X a week.