1st Grade - Tennant

Update: 11/6/17

Happy November Parents, October with its scholar-led conferences, field trips, Halloween, and end of term documentation, flew past me. I am looking forward to enjoying a mostly routine November. We're entering one of my very favorite times of the year: Thanksgiving season!!!!! Please read through the academic update below when you have some time so you can know what we've been up to and where we're headed. Also, you can mark your calendars for November 30th. Our next field trip is coming up. I am still in the process of planning it but it will most likely be to the Springville Art Museum and Bean Museum... I'll keep you posted as plans become more definite.


Thank you for all the work you do with spelling at home. Don't forget we have the spellingcity.com resource as a fun way to practice words at home. Also, if you need help knowing how to practice phonograms with your scholar at home, I have a slide show with each one and a pdf covering the same info in the homework section of this web page (see upper left hand corner). In class we're working on learning the rules that go behind the spelling of each word- specifically the uses of silent e. If it is helpful, know that we have covered 5 jobs that an "e" does at the end of a word. Job 1 is that it makes the initial vowel say it's name (this is the rule we all know best- examples: cake, hope, kite). Job 2 is that v's and u's don't go at the end of English words (we say they're scared to- examples: love, blue). Since the u and v don't go at the end, an e can end the word for them. Job 3 is that when an e comes after g can c, it makes them say "j" and "s" (otherwise known as their second sounds, examples: change and chance). Job 4 is that every syllable must have a vowel (example: little). We call this the chin rule. Whenever you say a syllable, your chin moves. For each time your chin moves, that syllable has to have a vowel. Lastly, Job 5, is the sort of job you would expect in the English language. This e just shows up for no reason at all (example: are).


In writing our informative paragraph unit is well underway and many of the scholars are beginning to attempt writing paragraphs independently. It is quite the challenge, but I have been impressed with what they can do when they focus. Our goal is for every scholar to have written a paragraph as independently as possible (as appropriate for each scholar's personal skill level) by the end of the month. To help your scholar at home with this there are some simple conversations/verbal activities that you can practice at home. First, pick a topic and practice coming up with a great "suck you in sentence" about that topic- a sentence that would make a listener/reader want to know more. For instance, we just wrote about Helen Keller. Our suck you in sentence was "Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be deaf, blind, and mute?" Often suck-you-in sentences are questions but they don't have to be. After that, have your child practice generating three good details IN COMPLETE SENTENCES. Children, like adults are great at rambling, running one idea into another and inserting lots of extra unnecessary words/skipping words when in casual conversation. The problem with this is we can't write that way and often, because the physical process of writing itself is challenging for kids- the shorter and more to the point they can be the better! Have your scholar practice responding to you orally in complete sentences. Sometimes it is helpful to have them count the words in their sentence so they can understand how that one thought has a beginning and ending point as opposed to just being part of and endless stream of free thought. For the end of the paragraph, we like to wrap up with whatever thought seems to be the biggest and most important about the topic. This is really challenging for scholars because sometimes they think pieces of trivia that they found the most interesting are good wrap-up thoughts and it is hard for them to distinguish a really big idea from a really cool small detail. This confusion is best sorted out in conversation with them working through examples one at a time. This is where you as a parent can really help in a way that I am not as able to.