Thank you so much for those who came out to Back to School night! Mrs. Pasternak's room was full of parents and students eager to hear about first grade at TALES.
We also had some families stop by the classroom! It was great meeting these parents and families. I know it's not easy to come by after a long day, but I sincerely appreciate it! Everyone asked great questions. Here are a few:
1. What books should the students be using for their reading log?
Every morning when the kids come in, they unpack everything (lunch, water bottle, jacket, communication (take home) folder, reading log, homework packet, and important notices - I know, they have a lot of responsibilities!) and exchange their take-home book. Their take-home book is currently on the level they finished on in Kindergarten. (If they tested onto a level 3, then they should be taking home a level 3 book.) I do not check the book that the students take home. I give them the responsibility to choose a book on their level that they have not read yet or have not read recently.
There is no need to use library books for the reading log. However, it's absolutely wonderful to read them with your child as additional bonding time! (I wish my parents did it with me!)
2. What's the typical schedule for 1-208?
We always start the day with Morning Meeting. During Morning Meeting, we greet each other, share a response to a question, do a quick activity, and read the morning message. Each student takes home a morning message throughout the year. We are going in alphabetical order by first name.
Afterwards, we do Word Study, where we study phonics and word structure. We've been using our names as the first topic of study - sharing patterns we notice and identifying our names in text.
In Math, we are starting by working within groups of 10. I know that this sounds simple, but many children are still grasping with the number. We want the students to be able to explain their thinking and to talk about their reasoning. We ask that you do not move forward with additional curriculum so that we can develop a strong foundation and deeper understanding of numbers and their relationships.
In Writing, we are writing about ourselves as writers. Today we were writing about what we are and what we have - for example: Ms. Liang is a girl; Ms. Liang is a teacher; Ms. Liang has black hair; Ms. Liang has brown eyes. We find that talking about ourselves is an easier way for students to open up because they know themselves best!
Reading is broken up into shared reading, literacy centers, guided reading and independent reading. Shared Reading is reading that we do together as a class and talk about strategies during reading. During literacy centers, students work within small groups in their centers, such as listening center, poetry center, pleasure reading center, read-to-a-buddy center and book exchange. In guided reading, Ms. Maggie and I pull smaller groups to work with to help students learn vital reading skills to progress to the next reading level. Independent reading is exactly what the students do at home - read by themselves! They also have a chance to read to their neighbor and share what they've read.
Ms. Maggie teaches Social Studies and will be starting by the end of September. She is a pro at supporting readers and is currently helping the English Language Learners in Kindergarten be placed into appropriate groups.
3. Tell me more about the homework.
Homework packets are given every Monday and are due every Friday. Reading logs are given every Monday and are due the following Monday. Students should only complete the homework for the day to pace themselves and to stay engaged each day.
Parents and guardians are expected to go over and initial the homework every day, even if the child is in after-school. It's a great way to keep yourself updated on what your child is learning.