PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 1, Class 101, Week of 1/23


Students continue to explore the ideas of place value and patterns in our number system. New partnerships are being formed, and small group/string work is being tailored to the specific needs of these groups.

Some students are practicing 10 fact fluency: 1 + 9, 3 + 7, etc. Some students are now working on their automaticity with “10 and ?” facts: 10 + 7, 10 + 5. Many students are exploring what happens to numbers when some addends remain unchanged and others increase in groups of tens. (8 + 2 followed by 8 + 12, etc.) During this kind of thinking and string work, it’s all about developing number sense, fluency, and the idea of compensation.

Our problem solving routine has turned to focus on giving feedback! Students are working independently on problems, then turning their attention to another student’s work and offering “helpful feedback.” It’s definitely difficult to do, even for adults, but students seem up to the challenge!



As students finish publishing their opinion pieces, they are free writing in their notebooks.  I am encouraging them to write for fun! It’s nice to take a break from an assigned writing task, and let them remember how fun, and necessary, writing can be. Students are currently writing stories, letters, reviews and some have even started to write nonfiction pieces (All About, How To, etc.) While they are “just having fun writing,” we are really focusing on spelling, grammar and handwriting!

(Shhh… they think they have been getting away with something the past two days!)



This week in our nonfiction exploration and inquiry, students have already noticed (and will notice) the following feature of nonfiction: Table of Contents, Bold text, Glossary, Headings/Subheadings

We have been (and will continue) talking about how those features help us understand and navigate (new sophisticated word!) the world of nonfiction. Students have been using the Table of Contents to decide which pages they want to read first. They have also been using the bold text and glossary to learn new words and expand their vocabularies! They will soon be turning the headings/subheadings into questions, which they need to answer when they finish reading a section. This important skill ensures that students do not “read” too quickly through books without retaining knowledge and learning new information! (It’s also a GREAT study skill later in life!)

Popular class topics right now…

  • Space/Planets
  • Animals (mammals, insects)
  • Maps

Ask your child what he/she is interested in learning more about. Take them to the library or bookstore and pick up a nonfiction book! The children are so excited to read and become experts on a new topic – this is a “movement” you will want to run with!!

The world of nonfiction is immense and can be difficult for children. (It is also the genre that we, as adults, need to read most often in the “real world”: newspapers, articles, magazines, work notices/briefings.) To see them interested and engaged is critical. We want our students to be as comfortable with nonfiction as they are with “story” and the familiar world of fiction.


Word Work/Vocabulary:

New words that are on the word wall so far this week…

  • are
  • addend (Math word!)
  • create
  • great

Sophisticated words…

  • navigate


Social Studies:

We are really looking forward to our trip to the Center for Architecture! As students gear up to recreate and redesign Bensonhurst this Spring, this trip will be a great way for students to “see” and experience what architecture is, and what an architect does!

I brought in my personal (very exciting!) home renovations plans this week to share with students. We will be studying and talking about what these actual blueprints/plans look like! Students in 101 are going to be “challenged” to create their own plans and designs using some of the elements/noticings they had. (How are doors drawn? How did the architect show where the windows are located? How do you know the size of a room?) 

Several students are now already working on redesigning Wyatt’s room for me! What a lucky little boy! (They are also being very professional and taking into account certain facts about him. For example, they know that he likes blue/orange, pirates and music! Within their designs they are already thinking about their “audience” or “customer” and designing a room to meet his needs. Apparently, Wyatt needs a stage in his room so that he can perform his music regularly. I love the creativity and enthusiasm in the room!) 


Have a wonderful week! I hope to see you Friday!