Inside SFS

Week of 11/30

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1st Grade

Subtraction, Free Writes and “Divers”!

This Week:

-Morning Meeting:  The period between Thanksgiving Break and Winter Break can often be hairy.  First Graders thrive on structure and routine, and the very nature of vacation from school pulls away some of this predictability.  Relatives visiting, later bedtimes, more treats, trips, and increased stress also impact students.

In the classroom, we have been working on keeping our routine as stable as possible, and making the classroom expectations even more explicit and well-modeled than usual. We will continue to spend extra time revisiting our rules and strategies for student success in the coming weeks.

-Math:  We’ve continued our work with subtraction focusing on the strategies of using fingers for problems under 10 (that’s how many fingers we have!), “knocking” the whole and counting down the part we are taking away, counting down the number line (we’ve been hopping on pillows to help cement this idea!), and using a known addition fact or “fact family” to solve subtraction problems.  

Here we are making up our own set of story problems for a fact family with our 4th Grade Buddies.


-Writing: We have been “Free Writing”! Free Writes are exercises often used with older students to help with idea generation. In First Grade, we use Free Writes to help students sustain focus, increase independence, and shake out of perfectionistic habits around writing. Each day students are given a topic (“Write about Thanksgiving or the Winter Holidays”, “Write about what you would do if you were Molly/Steve M./Your Parents”). A timer is then set with a small amount of time (around 6-10 minutes), and for those minutes, students write as much as they are able about their topic. We think about how not to get caught up in the things that usually slow us down as writers (spelling, not knowing what to write next, being concerned about our writing being “just right”). The First Graders did terrific work with this new writing challenge.

-Handwriting:  We’ve finished “divers”! Divers are letters that dive down and then swim back up. Ask your child to put on their swimsuits and show you the letters “p”, “r”, “n”, “m”, “h” and “b”. We really stress formation with divers– particularly “b”, as forming a diver correctly will ensure that b/d reversals are avoided.

-Social/Emotional:  Many lessons, in both whole group and small groups.  A continued focus on knowing whether it is “school world” time or “kid world” time, and strategies for “code switching” to the behavior appropriate at each time.  

We also worked on the idea that it is our job to be kind, but not our responsibility to fix other’s problems.  If we have not done anything mean, and a classmate is still upset, wanting time alone, or acting sad, then it is our classmate’s job to figure out how to make him/herself feel better.  We’ll continue to play with this concept next week.


Next Week:

-Writing: We are beginning our first narrative writing unit, called “Small Moments”! To write a Small Moment, students pick a recent memory from their lives and turn it into a story. If you have not sent in photographs with your child, make sure to send them in on Monday so your child has this tool to help them direct their writing.

-Math: More addition and subtraction work.


Posted December 06, 2015