Saturday, October 29, 2011

Word Power Cards

I'd like to take a minute to explain the yellow cardstock sheets that we will soon send home every night. Within this blog posting,  I'll ask questions that have been asked of me in the past and perhaps the answers will clear up any confusions you might have when you see the cards for the very first time.

1. How many times should my child read the sheet to me?  

Once should do it!

2. What if my child doesn't know all of the words?

It's meant to offer practice in tapping out unknown words. Your student will show you how to do this.

3. What if my child already knows all of the words?  

Ask her/him to read for speed. I call it WORD POWER.

4. Why yellow?

I've color coded each group of words and this beginning phonics unit has the most words. It just so happens that I had a ton of yellow cardstock.

5.  Why would you add one more layer of work for my child to do at home?

As you know, children improve their reading abilities by reading every day.  If we support this daily habit of reading with fast and easy word work, first graders will learn to problem solve tricky words sooner.  

There is a strut that kids develop when they begin to use a mixture of strategies to figure out the occasional hard word.  You'll see their eyes cross-check between the picture and the word, then they may reread the sentence and finally they might tap out the word.  Best of all, they will stop asking for parent help when reading and actually act insulted when you prompt them with a word they knew they could have figured out alone!  I live to observe this attitude!  For the record:  There are only about 12 words to read on each sheet of cardstock.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I-Message Update

Did you have a chance to read our guidance counselor's October newsletter?  In it, Mrs. Gross tells us the steps of an I Message.  I wanted to blog about this information because it is a little different than the I Message steps I recently listed in a blog post.  To be honest, I like her words better and would like to repeat them in this post, as well as, provide a link to her website.  (Click on the jumping chick!)

The steps of an I Message are:


When you ____________________________________________

I feel ________________________________________________

I want you ___________________________________________


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Lincoln Memorial

Have you ever looked closely at a penny?  I mean really, really closely?  We have!  That's because today we began to study our first coin in Everyday Math.  We learned that the head's side of the penny has President Lincoln on it and the tail's side has the Lincoln Memorial.  Did you know that if you look very carefully on some pennies you might see the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the middle of the Memorial?  It's true!

Two years ago while reading the teacher blog, Free Technology For Teachers, I learned that there is a virtual tour of the Lincoln Memorial.  Click on this penny if you'd like to visit Washington, D.C. from the comfort of your home!

Blue Discovery Math Sheets

Did you know that the blue Discovery Math sheets are part of a district enrichment series and are therefore optional?  It's true, they are!  Please do not worry if you have a busy week and are unable to work on one with your first grader.  Also, please realize that your child may do parts of each sheet--you should never feel pressured to complete every problem.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Reading at Home

Thank you for helping your children develop the nightly habit of reading their homework reading books. It's great to see so many returned each day. I wish you could watch as they eagerly pick out new titles, often following one another's recommendations.

Whenever possible, I have begun to encourage all students to choose unknown titles to read for homework each night. As before, the books should be easy to read so the kids are able to practice reading fluently at their independent reading level.

It is important to realize that your young readers may now run into unknown words when they read independently. If this happens, please urge them to problem solve the tricky words on their own. We usually use one of the following prompts:

*Try that again.

*What would make sense?

*What could you try?

*Does it look right?

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Welcome to Room 109!

Please scroll down on the right hand side of our blog to check out our Musical Slideshows.  We hope they're the next best thing to being here!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Eye Statements

We encourage children to attempt to solve their problems whenever possible. Since early September, we have been working on helping the students work out problems between themselves by speaking directly with a classmate.

It would be helpful if you would discuss this process with your children so that they continue to see a link between your homes and Rowe School. The following words are used to work through disagreements between children:

STOP AND THINK about what is bothering you.

LOOK at the other person and MAKE AN "EYE" STATEMENT, "I don't like it when you..."

to what she/he has to say.

together so that it won't happen again.

As always, thank you for helping.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reading Workshop

We've added a new layer to Reading Workshop. First graders are now beginning to read leveled books independently and to each other. They are learning to fill out booksheets to help keep track of the books they have read and to dictate "retells" to adults. In a retell, they list the characters in the independently read book, as well as, the setting and soon all will share a very brief retelling of what happened in the story.  Your child will now bring home a book to read every day. Please make sure that he or she packs it each morning so that others might check it out to read the following night.

At this point in time, just about all of the books are pattern books. Don't worry if your child needs a little help figuring out the pattern found on the first page of each story. Eventually, they will become better detectives and begin to develop strategies that will help whenever they need to problem solve tricky words.

The books will be memorized quickly, so it is important that your children point to each word as they read aloud IF THEY ARE BEGINNING READERS. This activity will help them to realize that when they read, they create a match between the printed word on the page and the word their voice says.

Check This Out!

Please click on the following link to read an update from our Music teacher, Erica Troy.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


We began to work in our new (to Rowe first grade) Handwriting Without Tears program last week.  To help me to understand the schema our students already have in the realm of handwriting, I asked the following question:  What is handwriting?  I thought I'd share their responses today because some are sure to bring a smile to your faces.  I enjoy their answers because they are all right depending on each child's unique perspective.

*It's when you use your hands to write.
*Handwriting is about writing pictures and stories.
*When you write sentences, that's like handwriting.
*You put your hand down and someone traces your hand.
*Handwriting is writing with pencils, markers, and crayons.
*You write numbers.
*Handwriting is math.
*Handwriting is using finger spaces.
*Handwriting is a creative thing you can draw.