In first/second grade we have been learning all about matter and the different ways to categorize and describe matter by various properties. In our first science mystery challenge, Why do we wear clothes?, students explored the different properties of materials used for clothing. They were told that they had landed on a deserted tropical island and were asked to select materials they needed to construct a hat that protects them from the sun. In our second science mystery, Can you really fry an egg on a hot sidewalk?, students will consider the insulating and conducting properties of different materials. They will test different materials to determine which material is best for making oven mitts. We’ll share our results after we finish the experiment on Monday!
First/second grade students had some special guests visit our classroom this afternoon to teach us sign language. We learned the alphabet and how to say “How are you?” in sign. We also learned how to sing a beautiful song about sunshine. Thank you to our very special guests; please come back and teach us more soon!
In first/second grade math students are learning all about 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes. Some of the big math words you might hear your child use in casual conversation now include angle, vertex, right angle, polygon (and row, column, array, and area by next week). Yesterday, students worked with their thinking partner to develop rules for many different 2-dimensional shapes and sorted them accordingly. This morning, students worked in groups to categorize 2D figures according to whether they had right angles. After some very lively discussion and debate, students discovered that they could cover each angle with plastic colored tiles to determine if they were indeed perfect right angles. This is such a mathematical class!
During writing workshop, first/second grade students have spent the past several weeks turning small moments from their lives into very detailed personal narratives. As a class we have talked about how to s-t-r-e-t-c-h one moment across several pages of writing with lots of details, interesting words and dialogue. We are also working on rereading and editing our writing to make it even more interesting. Students have amassed quite a collection of small moment pieces in their writing folders!
After several weeks of discussion, practice and preparation, reading workshop is now officially underway in first/second grade! Reading Workshop is composed of a 10-minute whole-class minilesson about a reading strategy, genre or text element followed by a variety of approaches to reading. Our reading workshop schedule differs day by day and may include small, flexible reading groups with me, opportunities to read independently (with books or on the iPad), time to respond to reading in reader’s notebooks, and/or word study work. It takes a lot of practice and coordination to get reading workshop going but it seems to quickly become many students’ favorite part of the day!
Our first unit-of-study in first/second grade is “Taking Charge of Ourselves as Learners and Friends.” As part of the unit, we shared the book Ish by Peter Reynolds this week. In the story, the main character learns that the art she creates does not have to be perfect, just ish (as in flowerish, or oceanish, or self-portraitish). We talked as a class about how we should be ish thinkers, mathematicians, writers, and readers before we ever become perfect (which no one ever will!). We also talked about how in our classroom it is always better to try and maybe make a mistake than to never try. Here are the students “Yet” poems, which address what they are already great at, what they are currently ish at, and what they can’t do, YET.