Greetings from Tr. Richelle!
Spring is an exciting time in First Grade at GFS. Even before we began exploring the cultures of the Philippines, South Korea, and Guatemala in earnest as part of our International Week studies, we had international experiences: celebrating the Persian New Year with one of our First Grade families and a visit from a child who was born in Guatemala and continues to do service there. We will continue our international exploration all through April, culminating in the celebrations of International Week and One World Café, an on-campus potluck featuring the cuisine of the countries studied, music, and other activities. First Grade’s country of focus this year is the Philippines.
This spring in Reading, we will work on story elements: character, plot, and setting. We will learn to identify the main idea in a story, sequence the events in a story, discuss cause and effect, and distinguish fact from opinion. We will integrate math and language arts when we classify and categorize characters based on their character traits. We also will be comparing and contrasting ourselves to characters in a book and two characters to each other. We will finish the year with an exploration of figurative language.
In Guided Reading, we will continue our focus on prosody (reading with fluency and expression) as well as additional spelling patterns and trick words that we encounter during our small group and one-on-one reading. The children will also be working on spelling the “trick” words they learned to read earlier in the year.
In Fundations Unit 10, we will learn to blend and segment up to five sounds in a closed syllable and learn to read more vowel teams, which are 2 vowels together in a word. (The children will learn to spell these vowel teams in Second Grade.) We will add two more suffixes to our reading and writing repertoire: -ed and –ing. In Unit 11, we will learn a new syllable pattern: vowel-consonant-e. I have already introduced this pattern as we encountered it during Guided Reading and lessons in other subjects, and the children know it as the Magic Silent e, but now they will learn to spell using this pattern. In Unit 12, the children will learn to look at words in larger chunks, or syllables. Then they will segment two-syllable words between consonants and combine two syllable types to make longer words! This unit sets the stage for all multisyllable reading and spelling. In Unit 13, we will add the suffixes –s, -ed, and –ing to non-changing basewords and learn a new suffix, -es, which is added to basewords that ends in s, x, z, sh, and ch. We will distinguish plural words from action words when adding the new –es suffix. Finally, Unit 14 reviews all of the concepts we have learned this year. By the end of this unit, we will have learned 93 trick words!
Writing Workshop continues with units on Realistic Fiction, Procedural Writing, and Opinion Writing. We will finish the year writing “powerful thoughts in tiny packages” (poetry).
We will continue adding and start subtracting with 10s and 1s in Math. To deepen our understanding of number relationships as we also learn about money, we will be playing a board game called Money Bags, in which the children have to combine coins to make a certain value after they spin to find out which coin they are not allowed to use. For example, if they land on the space marked 43¢ and spin no dimes, they would have to use a combination of quarters, nickels, and pennies. I love that the game encourages them to think about composition and decomposition of larger numbers, and they love using the spinner! Another favorite space on the board is Change It Up, which is when they get to turn their pile of coins into a smaller pile of coins by exchanging pennies for nickels, nickels for dimes, and combinations thereof for quarters. They LOVE when they have enough coins to change up for a dollar! As the year winds down, we will also be learning to tell time, measure objects, and explore fractions of shapes.
Perfectly timed for spring, we are studying life cycles of plants and animals in Science. After exploring seeds (both dry and wet!), classifying seeds, and creating seed patterns, the children will sprout three different types of seeds and observe the changes as they grow. Of course, we will also be observing the growth of the plants in our Tower Garden and continue to work with the rest of the school to prepare and plant snap peas and 300! carrots in the raised garden bed we manage for the Chester County Food Bank. The children love to taste the snap peas, both the peas and the leaves.
We are also exploring the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle), which was jump-started by presenting a Reader’s Theater play on the topic during April’s All School Gathering and will culminate with an all-Lower School field trip to Willistown Conservation Trust’s Rushton Woods Preserve on Earth Day.
The highly anticipated insect study will finish out our science curriculum for the year. First Graders enjoy researching an insect of their choice, creating their own insect model, and presenting their work to an appreciate audience of family and friends. Of course, this unit of study is not complete without the fabulous Insect Party! June will be here before we know it…
April Dates to Remember: Wednesday, April 6th All-School Gathering – First Grade presents an Earth Day PlaySunday, April 10, through Friday, April 15 - GFS Book Fair at Chester County Book CompanySaturday, April 16th - 5K Run/Fun Walk Friday, April 22nd - LS field trip to Rushton Woods Preserve in honor of Earth Day Monday, April 25th – Thursday, April 28th - International Week celebrating the people and cultures of Guatemala, Philippines, and South Korea.Thursday, April 28th - One World Café in the evening Friday, April 29th - No School: In-service Day
May Dates to Remember: Tuesday, May 12th - Celebration of Friends Day for LS and Clothesline Art Show Wednesday, May 13th - Kids’ Care Thursday, May 19th - Spring Concert Monday, May 30th - No School: Memorial Day
June Dates to Remember: Thursday, June 2nd LS Game Day!
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