PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

New Year New Units!

Dear Families,

In January we will be starting an opinion writing unit where students learn to write reviews.  The first portion of the unit is based on the notion that most six year olds love to collect things.  We are asking students to bring in a small collection of between 5 and 10 related items. For example a collection of rocks, pokemon cards, hot wheels cars, little dolls, or figurines.  The entire collection should fit neatly inside a shoebox or ziploc bag. We will be keeping these collections in the classroom for approximately two weeks so please don’t send anything that your child will miss at home.  Please bring the collection to school on Wednesday, January 2nd.


We have begun a new unit focusing on addition and subtraction strategies.  It begins with the story of a double decker bus. Passengers get on the bus and can sit on the top or bottom deck.  There are 10 seats on the top and 10 seats on the bottom. Here is a problem for your child to solve at home that is similar to one we are doing at school.  In this problem we want students to find every way to break apart 9 into two numbers (eg: 5 and 4, 3 and 6, 6 and 3).

There are 9 passengers on the bus.  How many passengers can sit on the top deck and how many passengers can sit on the bottom deck?  What are all the possible answers?

Extension:  Try this problem with different numbers of passengers. (Remember there are only 10 seats on the top and 10 seats on the bottom.) Pick three or four different amounts of passengers and find every way they could be on the top and bottom deck.  Is there a pattern between the number of passengers and the number of ways they can sit on the bus? Why is this pattern happening? Can you use this pattern to predict how many ways a certain number of passengers can sit on the bus without figuring it out.

Remember: Mathematicians are always looking for patterns!

If your child completes this extension we would love to see the work!  Have him/her bring it to school to share.


Reading & Writers Workshop

We finished up out nonfiction units.  In reading students celebrated by reading aloud to kindergarteners.  Students practiced reading smoothly, with expression and planned out questions to ask their younger partners. In writing we published our nonfiction chapter books.  Students worked together to revise and edit their books. Then they made a table of contents that listed each chapter. On Friday we will share our published books with the other first grade class

In January we will begin focusing on characters. Students will learn to “spy” on their characters while reading.  We learn about our characters by paying attention to what they are saying, doing and by looking carefully at the pictures. We will then use what we know about a character to predict how we think that character might act.

Please read with your child every night.  To get them ready for this unit here are some questions you can ask your child about the characters in the book:

  • Who is the main character in your book?
  • What does the character like and dislike?  How do you know?
  • What do you think the character is thinking right now?  Why?
  • How do you think the character is feeling right now?  Why?
  • If you were the character, what would you do next?
  • Has the character changed?  What is making him/her change?

Happy Holidays!  We hope you have a wonderful break!