January 24, 2016

On the heels of honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. this past Monday, we started a new Author study in First Grade this week focusing on  the incredible talents of Faith Ringgold.  Ms. Ringgold was a friend of MLK and echoed his beliefs that all should be treated equally, in her work. The First Graders observed two eggs, one with a brown shell and one with a white shell. Then we cracked them open and looked at the inside. We talked about how on the outside they looked different but on the inside they were the same, just like people. We talked about how all people have feelings, have love in their hearts and deserve to be treated as Jesus taught us to treat one another. We started to look into the life of Faith Ringgold as an author.  Author Studies are a powerful teaching tool.  The goal is to make a connection between the author’s life and the stories he/she have written.  This shows children that authors are real people, develops motivation to seek out other work by the same author and hopefully inspires children to write.  The students learned about Faith Ringgold’s life and saw many examples of her art.  One of Mrs. Ringgold’s inspirations was jazz music.  The students listened to Duke Ellington while working and determined they liked jazz music too!  They enjoyed dancing to jazz music as well ( see photos below). Faith Ringgold is known for her amazing story quilts.  One such quilt is Tar Beach which is also a Caldecott Medal winning children’s book.  Tar Beach was inspired by a childhood memory of Mrs. Ringgold’s. We read the book together and next week each student will chose a memory to create his/her own story quilt. DSCN3721DSCN3698DSCN3703DSCN3712

Many mornings a week in the First Grade classroom, the students practice their handwriting for 15 minutes.  Research suggests that proficient writing skills improves letter recognition and supports reading development.  Each day we work on posture and pencil grip to create good writing habits that will support legible writing.  Writing legibly is one of the keys to academic success and is becoming second nature to these students! Please encourage your child to take their time and write letters correctly when doing spelling homework.

Keep practicing math facts at home. Please focus on proficiency with ways to make 10 and doubles. As we move forward in our math studies, the First Graders will need to know math facts to 20. The strategies for solving these number problems depend on ways to make 10 and doubles. Thanks for your support.

I love how you all support our efforts to become better readers by coming to our weekly Community Read on Friday mornings! Thank you! These First Graders are becoming amazing readers.


Coming up:

Tuesday, January 26th ~ First Grade in charge of St. Stephens’s lunches

Thursday, January 28th ~ All school Mass at 2:00 pm, please join us!


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