In reading workshop, we are working on strategies for Monitoring for Meaning – that means, noticing you are confused, and having a set of strategies you can use to fix your confusion. This unit will offer strategies that are tailored to each child’s independent level, but most all students will learn the following key strategies:
Use a preview to help you get a strong start in your book – get an idea of the main character and the problem, then read actively to find out what happens to that problem.
Once you’ve found the problem, read with the problem in mind. If you are unsure about the problem, or you’re not sure about the solution, that’s a good sign that you need to reread.
Read in chunks – stop to think about what you’ve read. Say it in your own words.
If you see a tricky word, don’t skip it! Tap it out, try the long vowel sound, and reread the sentence to see if you can figure out what makes sense and sounds right. If you are still confused, think about what’s happening on that page, then reread the sentence and think about what word would make sense there – put your own word in there. (replace the tricky word!)
Check your understanding by retelling your story – talk about the beginning, middle, and end, talk about the problem and the solution, or talk about the main idea in each chapter if you’re reading a chapter book.
These are SOME of the strategies that will be taught, but please see your child’s independent reading job to learn what their teacher is asking them to practice on their own.
In February, we begin a unit on envisioning without pictures – this is a very important unit where we prepare students to read with less and less picture support. They learn to notice key signals in the text that help them know WHERE a scene is happening, WHO is there, and WHAT they are doing. Then they practice making a movie in their mind (and on paper) of those things. Finally, they look at place where the author adds body language, facial expression, and special dialogue tags (yelled, cried, etc) to think about the feeling a character has, even if the author didn’t name the feeling for us. This is called inferring, and it’s a very crucial skill for reading without pictures.
In Reading Workshop in November, we focus on reading in the nonfiction genre. This unit builds on the knowledge and skills introduced in Kindergarten, and supports students in reading nonfiction at higher levels, and with more complex contents and formats.
We begin by discussing and naming how nonfiction is similar but different from fiction – it has words and pictures, but sometimes the pictures are photographs, diagrams, or close-ups to teach the reader even more information. It has tricky words, but the authors often give you a glossary or very clear context clues in the text to help you learn any words that are truly important to the topic. It’s organized in some way – often with chapters, or section headings.
The students will be reading some texts with the teacher, as part of their lessons, and they will also have the opportunity to choose their own nonfiction texts to read. It’s important to note that during the nonfiction study, we still ask students to keep up with their leveled fiction reading, so we take time in class to read both. At home, we encourage students to read at least one or two of their fiction books, along with any other nonfiction reading they choose as their nighttime reading.
In December, we begin a shared reading unit, where students have their hands on a text slightly above their level, and the teachers facilitate the student’s previewing, reading for comprehension, and reading for fluency and expression. This is a wonderful unit where students get exposed to series and reading strategies that are right where they need to go next – and it sets many students up for reading the next level by the time they return to us in January!
How can parents help at home?
Consider ways to make reading a quiet, focused, and positive time at home. Ask yourself: what does your child need to be a productive reader at home? Do they need an audience? Ask your child to read their books aloud to you or another family member. Do they need a cozy reading nook? Consider getting a reading pillow or a lap desk to help them read comfortably, but still with good posture. Do they need a snack? Offer it!
As you read with your child, you can ask them…. What is the story mostly about? What is your favorite part? What is one word that was tricky, but you solved it? How did you solve it? What is one word that was too tricky to sound out, but you think you know what it means? How did you figure that out? Did the main character remind you of any other characters you’ve read before? How?
Reading Workshop In Reader’s Workshop, our first graders move from reading simple leveled books at the beginning of the year to early reader chapter books by winter and spring. It’s a very exciting year, and we begin with a short unit called Good Readers Have Good Habits. In this unit, we ask the students to help “teach” the class about the important habits every reader should have. These are:
Choosing a just-right book (not too easy, not too hard, just on your level)
Getting ready to read by previewing a book – looking at the cover and the pages inside to get an idea about who and what the story might be about.
Stopping to solve tricky words by tapping them out, reading to the end of the sentence, then reading it again to figure out the word, putting your own word in there, or pointing to what the word might be in the picture.
Reading with fluency and expression.
Retelling our books by naming the character, the setting, the problem (if there was one) and the most important parts.
At home you can support this unit by creating a place and time for quiet reading each night. It is of utmost importance that your child read the books in their baggy for 20 minutes each night. 20 minutes a night, multiplied by the number of school days, leads to much more comfortable, confident and skilled readers by the end of first grade! Keep in mind, in September, your child might be more comfortable reading TO you than alone.
At the beginning of October, we take one week for complex text reading. In this week, students are given the opportunity to hold a text that’s slightly harder than they are used to reading, and they are invited to really find and problem-solve around the tricky words they find. This is wonderful because it helps everyone know that ALL readers find tricky words – and together in the class we discover or learn strategies to solve all of these words.
At home you can support this by celebrating when your child stops to solve a tricky word, or by sharing some of the tricky words YOU find in your reading too.
Finally, the rest of October is dedicated to a unit we call Getting to Know Our Characters. In this unit, the students explore different ways to infer (figure out) characters’ feelings, and they become experts at identifying important feelings across a story. They then use the important feelings across the story to help them give a more mature retelling of the stories they read.
At home, you can support this unit by making sure to name your own feelings across the day, and ask your child how they feel at different times too. Remember that people often have two different feelings at once- excited and scared, frustrated and sad, etc.
The First Grade Read Aloud Curriculum starts the new year by thinking about the characters we meet in our books, and connecting this to the characters we know best – ourselves! The students will be reading about 3 characters who are very “out of the box”, or unique. These are the Paperbag Princess, Amber Brown (a wonderful young reader series by Paula Danzinger) and Junie B Jones (one of our favorite read aloud series books across the first grade, by Barbara Park.) In each of the books we read in class, the students will learn to watch their characters carefully – especially paying attention to what their characters DO, SAY, and THINK. They learn that actions and words reveal a lot about personality, and when they notice patterns in characters’ talking, thinking, and actions, they begin to name big personality traits.
At the same time, students are studying artists in their art class who were also unique or “out of the box.” We will be making connections between these two studies, helping students see and discuss how some artists were actually not respected right away because they were trying something “different.” It wasn’t until later that people became open to valuing the art that they made, and of course it’s a good thing they stayed true to themselves – they made beautiful art that is appreciated across the world today!
Along the way, and especially at the end of our study, students will use what they’ve learned about personality traits in our read aloud, and what they’ve learned about artists in their art class, to create a final project that expresses who they are.
Students will continue studying characters in February, but this time we’ll study true characters in a biography study. We will read about Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, and Cesar Chavez, to name a few. In this unit, students will learn about the genre of biography – texts that highlight a person who has achieved something special or made a special contribution to society - and they’ll learn how authors use timelines to organize and convey key events in a person’s life. Part of our work will extend to a home component where we’ll be asking the student to create a timeline of their own life, as well as a family member. Please begin gathering pictures and other artifacts that might help your child visualize these key moments in their own and others’ lives!
We began November with the fiction series, Mercy Watson, by Kate DiCamillo. This is the first of many books our students will read by this author – we read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane later on in the year, then the students will read Because of Winn Dixie in third grade. Mercy Watson is a fun read aloud, with characters that make our students laugh. At the same time, it is an excellent book to work on our skills of predicting, identifying patterns of behaviors with characters that help us name a character trait, and developing our own ideas or opinions about a book. This gets the students read for a deeper, more mature study of characters in the winter.
After Mercy Watson, the students launch into a nonfiction read aloud theme, studying the life cycle of Frogs. In this study, students research together, dipping into various types of informational and narrative texts, then taking their own notes using a combination of words and pictures. This research leads to the class together writing a teaching, or informational, book about frogs and their life cycle. We facilitate this first research and writing as a whole class, and then later on in the year students will have the opportunity to choose their own topics to study deeply, then present to their peers.
Finally, we take the last week before the winter break to read about many of the winter holidays that are celebrated in our community at this time, especially Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanza. As with all holidays, our focus at school is to learn about the tradition – how the holiday is celebrated at home or in a person’s community. It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about and appreciate similarities and differences between the many cultures represented in our school community. *** While we dedicate time to reading, discussing, and craft-making in this week, nothing beats an in-person visit from an expert! If you would like to come to class to teach and share about a special way your family celebrates a winter holiday, please let us know! We welcome parent and grandparent visitors and guest speakers/cooks/artists during this time! If your most important family holiday falls at a different time of year, please reach out to us anyway, and we will put you in our calendar! **
Read Aloud In the First Grade, our read aloud is a very special time where students can study an author or a topic deeply, across texts, and they can talk with each other about what they’re learning and thinking. Our teachers support the students in their conversations by providing vocabulary at the beginning of each day – words that are in the text that they might not know, as well as words they can use to talk about the text. Then each day, time is left for students to ask questions, pose ideas, and discuss together.
In September, we begin with an author study of Kevin Henkes, where we read Chester’s Way, Jessica, and Lily’s Plastic Purse. The students will notice what kinds of characters Kevin Henkes likes to write about, and how he uses his illustrations and dialogue bubbles to help move the story along.
Then we move into a study of Bullying, where students explore this important topic through books, websites, advice letters, and interviews with experts. As a culminating project, students will rehearse and perform “advice skits” to help peers know what to do if they see, or are involved, with bullying of any kind.
Next we read a lovely book by Judy Bloom called The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo, which tells the story of a boy who – like the title suggests – feels lost in the middle of his family. This is a great story that so many kids connect to, and they love to talk about the character and the changes they see in him. From this point on, we look for character change in the books we read.
We end October with a nonfiction read aloud study of the Human Body. In this study, our students will do some investigating into the most important health issues that face families in our school, and this will drive their learning about how and why we take care of our bodies. In this unit, our art teacher will be working on the students with observational drawing of healthy fall foods, and our classes will be visiting the Children’s Museum of Manhattan for their Human Body exhibit. The study will culminate with each class taking some action to help the families in our school be healthier!
At home, you can support this work by asking your child about the Read Aloud book they’re discussing in class, but you can also support this work by continuing to read higher level books together at home. Your child’s reading life is in some ways limited to the level of book they are able to decode. But, your child might be ready to learn and think about much more complex stories! We strongly recommend parents continue reading to their children each night, or as often as you can, because it fosters a love of reading together, and many books have wonderful lessons tucked inside. You and your child can read favorite illustrated fiction, or venture into some chapter books such as George’s Marvelous Medicine, Junie B Jones (these are great to read after we introduce them in January) My Father’s Dragon, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or the Magic Tree House series.
Writing Workshop In writing workshop, the students are beginning to write problem solution stories. These are made-up but realistic stories about characters who have everyday problems, and who solve these problems in realistic ways – no magic, no superheroes involvedJ They’ll create a character, imagine their likes and dislikes, as well as important people in their lives (parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, neighbors, friends). Then they’ll imagine problem stories connected to these topics. Students will plan and write their stories, focusing on using dialogue appropriately (with quotation marks and tags to show who is talking), using capitalization and end punctuation, and by showing not telling their characters’ feeling. We will help students make a connection between their read aloud studies – paying attention to characters’ actions, words, and thinking – to help them write their stories.
On Mondays, we will continue to write our Weekend News, where students write about what thing that was special over the weekend. You can support this process by taking time Sunday night to ask your child what they plan to write about. It might help to walk through the weekend’s events, listing them with your child, and inviting your child to choose what he or she most wants to write about. They can even draw a picture to bring in on Monday so they don’t forget! This is so helpful because it allows your child to spend more of their time writing on Mondays during Writing Workshop, instead of rememberingJ
The students just wrapped up a series of fiction writing pieces – they wrote funny stories, then scary stories, and for each of these they began by gathering ideas in their Writer’s Notebook, then they planned and drafted their stories on writing paper. We will return to fiction writing in the winter – it’s a wonderful way for students to be creative, while still working on all the structural and mechanical parts of writing – composing an idea, planning out the idea, drafting and revising to convey their story in a meaningful way, and editing to make their writing readable.
Mid-November, we begin our How-to unit. In this very hands-on writing, students study procedural writing – writing that teaches the reader the steps of how to do something. We begin by exploring the genre as readers. Children read and follow the directions for making Smores Casseroles and a Thanksgiving centerpieceJ As they study and follow the how-to, they notice and talk abut what makes a how-to helpful and easy-to-follow. From this discussion, the class decides on what all of our how-tos should include…A list of materials, steps broken down, specific action or command words, tips and warnings to help the reader do a really good job, and pictures that are clearly drawn to help the reader each step of the way.
This how-to unit continues into the December months, where students continue to read and write how tos, culminating in a project where students will transfer their how-to skills to a video format, making how-to videos for all to see!
In word study, students study the following concepts this November and December:
Glued sounds: These are letters that sound like they are glued together – it’s hard to hear each of the letters, but if you listen carefully they are there! This is one of the most challenging concepts in first grade, because it involves the student hearing and identifying the correct vowel, as well as two other consonants. The glued sounds are: ang, ing, ong, ung, ank, ink, onk, and unk.
Blends: Blends are two or three consonants together in a word where the consonants “blend” together and are hard to hear, especially if we are spelling them. Blends can be found at the beginning of the word, or the end of the word, or both! Some examples of words with blends are: grin, spill, bunch, blush, wept, stash, pump, melt, grass, drip, flock, ramp, fist, pinch, and went.
Writer’s Workshop Each Monday in First Grade, our students continue with their Weekend News. This is a special time of the week when they can share a memory they have from the weekend and they hold onto it by putting their memory into writing. This is also a time of the week where teachers put specific emphasis on handwriting, punctuation, spacing, and other mechanics they see needing attention.
At home, you can support this by talking with your child about the weekend and by planning some simple things to do together. Weekend news does not have to detail a trip to Disneyland. It can be something simple – you made pancakes together, you went to a street fair and danced to new music, you had a sleepover at Grandma’s house. But it does help to take time on Sunday evening or Monday on your walk to school to ask, “What’s a special memory from the weekend that you’d like to write about for weekend news?
Tuesday through Friday in Writing Workshop, the students will be writing Small Moment stories. These are true stories, focused on one moment (not a whole day or a whole week) that have a beginning, middle, and end. Students will gather ideas by thinking about important people and places and things they like to do, then list possible story ideas around these lists. Then students will “storyboard” their stories by drawing each part, then writing the stories themselves. All the while, students will recall what they know as writers – start each sentence with a capital letter, and end with appropriate end punctuation. Leave small spaces between your words. Use the word wall word list and using your tapping strategy to help you spell tricky words.
At home, you can support this work by telling stories from your own childhood. Children love this! In your stories, make sure to tell where you where you were, who you were with, and then give the blow-by-blow of the story, including what people said, what you did, and how you felt.
Word Study In word study, September is dedicated to review of key Kindergarten concepts, such as letter sounds, digraphs, bonus letters (f, l, s, and sometimes z) the suffix “s” and some glued sounds, such as am, an, and all. In October, we begin our first grade curriculum, where students will learn about the rest of the glued sounds. Glued sounds are letters that, when we read or write them, they sound like they are “glued” together, and it’s hard to hear each letter, which is why we spend time learning them☺ The glued sounds are: ang, ung, ing, ong, unk, ink, and ank. Students will have multiple opportunities to practice building, breaking, reading and writing these words through hands-on practice each day. Students will also learn trick words each week, which are words that break the rules and so we just need to memorize them.
Social Studies In First Grade, students continue learning about themselves, their families, and their community. We do this in a variety of ways, but most specifically first grade spends a lot of time thinking about what it means to be a citizen – what are our responsibilities to our selves, our classroom community, our school community, and our greater community of Sunset Park, Brooklyn NY, and NYC. Many of the field trips we plan – whether it’s to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Nature Conservancy or to the local pizza shop for our how-to study, allow students to explore with the lens of citizenship and community.
At home, you can support this by taking advantage of the many opportunities NYC offers for free or almost free family cultural events. Here are two great websites to check each Thursday or Friday about the upcoming weekend events: Mommypoppins.com Timeout.com/new-york-kids
Module 4: Place Value, Comparison, Addition and Subtraction to 40 and The Shopping Project
In this 35-day module, students will study, organize, and manipulate numbers within 40. They will compare number quantities, using the symbols for greater and less than (>, <). Students will work with adding and subtracting tens and will begin to add two-digit numbers.
The place value chart at this point in 1st grade consists of two boxes; the one on the left labeled “tens” and the one on the right labeled “ones”.
Students will be asked initially to match a number of objects with the correct representation on the place value chart. Later, they use the chart more abstractly to add two-digit numbers. Incorporated throughout this module is “The Shopping Project” where students will work in small groups to create their own store and products that they will then “sell” to their classmates at the end of the module. Students will use the addition and subtraction strategies they learned in this module to calculate the cost of their total bill and what change they should receive.
How you can help at home:
Continue to practice counting up to 40 or beyond.
Continue to ask your student to compare two different quantities, using the language “greater than” and “less than”.
Begin to ask questions such as “What does the 2 represent in 29?”
Module 3: Ordering and Comparing Length Measurements as Numbers
In this 13-day module, students will use non-standard units to measure objects, and will compare and order objects by length. Module 3 opens by extending students’ Kindergarten experiences with direct length comparison to the new learning of indirect comparison whereby the length of one object is used to compare the lengths of two other objects. “My string is longer than your book. Your book is longer than my pencil. That means my string is longer than my pencil!” Students use the same transitivity, or indirect comparison, to compare short distances within the classroom in order to find the shortest path to their classroom door, which is helpful to know for lining up and for emergencies. Topic B takes longer than and shorter than to a new level of precision by introducing the idea of a length unit. Centimeter cubes are laid alongside the length of an object as students learn that the total number of cubes laid end to end with no gaps or overlaps represents the length of that object. Topic C explores the usefulness of measuring with similar units. Students measure the same objects from Topic B using two different non-standard units, toothpicks and small paper clips, simultaneously to measure one object and answer the question, “Why do we measure with same-sized length units?” They realize that using iterations of the same unit will yield consistent measurement results. Similarly, students explore what it means to use a different unit of measurement from their classmates. It becomes obvious to students that if we want to have discussions about the lengths of objects, we must measure with the same units. Topic D closes the module as students represent and interpret data. They collect data about their classmates and sort that information into three categories. Using same-sized pictures on squares, students represent this sorted data so that it can be easily compared and described.
How you can help at home:
Give your student as many opportunities to measure objects using other, smaller objects, e.g. “How many Lego pieces long is your book? How many blueberries long is this notebook?
Continue to practice adding and subtracting within 20.
Module 2: Introduction to Place Value through Addition and Subtraction to 20
Module 2 serves as a bridge from problem solving within 10 to work within 100 as students begin to solve addition and subtraction problems involving teen numbers. In Module 1, students were encouraged to move beyond the Level 1 strategy of counting all to the more efficient counting on. Now, they go beyond Level 2 to learn Level 3 decomposition and composition strategies, informally called make ten or take from ten.
We will launch this module through out Inventory Project. Help!! Other classes are borrowing our supplies and we need a system to keep track of what we have, what people are borrowing, and what they are returning. Students will develop strategies to count classroom supplies such as counting cubes, scissors, and markers to keep track of how many of each item they have. They will develop the bundling/grouping strategy to make tens to help them count more efficiently and use this context to develop addition and subtraction strategies. Children can apply these strategies at home when organizing their toys or household items.
Here are some strategies we will learn and what they look like:
How you can help at home
Continue to practice finding partners for any given number, e.g. how can we make 8? 10?
Talk about how we can find “tens” in other, large numbers
Make up and discuss short story problems that involve simple addition and subtraction
Sort and count toys that you have a lot of, e.g. cars, legos. Make groups of tens and ones to count more efficiently
In this first module of Grade 1, students make significant progress towards fluency with addition and subtraction of numbers to 10 as they are presented with opportunities intended to advance them from counting all to counting on, which leads many students then to decomposing and composing addends and total amounts. In Kindergarten, students achieved fluency with addition and subtraction facts to 5. This means they can decompose 5 into 4 and 1, 3 and 2, and 5 and 0. They can do this without counting all. They perceive the 3 and 2 embedded within the 5.
In Module 1, first grade students will use Number Bonds to understand the part-part-whole relationships inherent to addition and subtraction. The Number Bond is a powerful mathematical model that students will return to throughout the modules.
Structure of Lessons
Throughout the module, students will represent and solve word problems through the daily Application Problem. Application problems precede a lesson to act as the lead-in to a concept, allowing students to discover through problem-solving the logic and usefulness of a strategy before that strategy is reviewed. This structure allows problem-solving to begin as a guided activity, with the goal being to move students to independent problem-solving, wherein they reason through the relationships of the problem and choose an appropriate strategy to solve. Following the Application Problem students will come together to form a Math Congress. Here students will lead the discussion and explain their strategy to the whole class. The teacher will introduce the lesson of the day through the strategies shared by the students. Following the Math Congress students will have the opportunity to practice the skills independently through games, activities, or worksheets.
How you can help at home
Practice “counting on” as a strategy for addition, e.g. if you have 7 LEGO pieces, and then you get 3 more, encourage your student to start with the number 7 and count “8…9…10” to find the total.
Discuss various ways to take apart a given number, e.g. 6 is made of 1 and 5, 2 and 4, 3 and 3, etc.
My name is Mr. Manley and I am the new Physical Education teacher at P.S. 172. I am very excited to join this community of teachers, students and families. I’ve taught Physical Education and Health the past six years at the middle school level and coached a variety of sports to all ages. I look forward to getting to know you and your child this upcoming school year.
In the month of September, students in grades Pre-K to 2nd grade will be participating in a variety of locomotor and fitness skills as well as learning to cooperate with others. Students in grades 3-5 will be participating in team building activities and personal fitness. For their safety, please have them come prepared wearing sneakers on days that they participate in Physical Education.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
Welcome to art! My name is Mrs. Siskar and I teach art to class K 103 and grades 1-5 for the 2017-2018 school year. I’m so excited to have a creative year together in the art room. Childrenl have art class once per week for 50 minutes. Participation in the art room is encouraged and we can prepare each student by making sure on their assigned day for art they arrive prepared and ready to learn!
I recommend no new clothes on art class days. Even though everyone will wear their art t shirts to protect clothing accidents and messy masterpieces still happen. Please provide your child with the following materials by September 25th so they feel prepared and ready to learn.
MATERIALS: Students inall grades are required to wear an oversized T- shirt or art apron to protect their clothing from arts materials. Please write your child’s first and last name on the shirt in permanent marker. Many students bring an old recycled shirt, as it does not need to be newly bought. Throughout the year this will be returned home for washing when needed and to be returned to school the following week.
Grades 3, 4, 5 : Sketchbook with blank pages OR a composition notebook. Please label your child’s name and class room on the front. This will be used for in class drawing, writing activities, and occasional homework. If your child does not bring materials each week they will be marked unprepared, as this limits your child’s ability to appropriate participate and engage in learning.
Additional materials are also appreciated:
SEPTEMBER IN THE ART ROOM: As each class in grades K-5 begins to learn the routines for our art room we will be starting with a school wide community art lesson inspired by the literature The Dot, by the author Peter Reynolds. Students will be using their imaginations to invent their own dot artwork and contribute it to our community dot gallery. September 15th is International Dot Day!
Parent Conference Night: Wednesday September 13th Parents & students meet me in the auditorium during our enrichment fair to make a dot together for our dot gallery.
ART DOJO This year I will be connecting with parents through classroom dojo to share student masterpieces and communicate your child’s progress and different art events throughout the year. Please make sure you are connected to your child’s classroom with their teacher’s invitation.
If you need assistance with materials or have questions, please contact me by email.
Welcome to 2017-2018 school year at P.S. 172! I hope your summer was a fun and relaxing one. We have an exciting and creative year ahead in the art room. There is a small number of materials your child will be required to bring to art class each week to support their success and preparedness for their learning experiences.
Students inall grades are required to wear an oversized T- shirt or art apron to protect their clothing from arts materials. Please write your child’s first and last name on the shirt in permanent marker. Many students bring an old recycled shirt, as it does not need to be newly bought. Throughout the year this will be returned home for washing when needed and to be returned to school the following week.
Grades 3, 4, 5 are additionally required to bring a composition notebook with lines OR a sketchbook with blank pageswith their name, and classroom labeled on the front. This will be used for in class drawing, writing activities, and occasional homework. If your child does not bring materials each week they will be marked unprepared, as this limits your child’s ability to appropriate participate and engage in learning.
Additional materials are also appreciated:
small or large paper plates
Please contact your child’s teacher or myself with any questions or concerns regarding these materials. I look forwarding to working together this year in supporting your child’s artistic growth! Thank you,
Mrs. Siskar firstname.lastname@example.org
The following are dance units/ mini units we will be working on in Sept/Oct- In Prekindergarten and kindergarten, we start the year creating good habits for dance class. We learn how to move safely in one place and through space. We also learn how to focus our energy on our bodies and not our voices. Our focus in our first larger unit will be pantomime, in which the children will learn and create movement to communicate ideas. We will then move to studying opposites in movement and how contrasting efforts can give us a wider dance vocabulary. We will then work on a unit based on the fall, in which the children will continue to explore movement options based on books, poems, songs, pictures and other inspiration based on the autumn. In first grade, students in dance class start the year learning how to do a set warm-up. This warm-up helps children keep their bodies safe throughout class and reminds children how to move in their own space with energy and effort. First graders will focus on making shapes of different sizes with their bodies, taking movement with which they are already familiar and extending it in creative ways. After we have expanded our movement possibilities, we will study the human body and how our bones, joints and muscles allow us to move in different ways. In second grade, students start the year with a complex warm-up routine which incorporates standing, sitting and traveling all while executing various movements. We will work together to develop our movement vocabularies by performing movements at different levels, in different shapes, and in assorted relationships with other students. We will also challenge ourselves by planning dances with multiple movements and working to remember and perform our dances. We will also practice our audience skills as we respectfully watch other students perform their dance work. In third grade, students first learn a set warm-up which we will use throughout the year in order to keep our bodies healthy and safe. Our first big unit of study will be Chinese dance, and through books, photos and videos, we will be studying the dance characteristics, culture, costumes and music of Chinese dance. Students will also begin to create their own choreography based on the characteristics of Chinese dance, which they will perform for their classmates and assess together. In fourth grade, we start the year by reviewing the importance of a good warm-up and learning the important components that keep our bodies healthy and safe; raising our body temperature, building strength and stretching our muscles. Our first big unit focuses on American Indian dance, aligning with the social studies standards in fourth grade. Using books, images, videos, poems and more, we will learn several American Indian dances and also create our own choreography based on what we have learned. In fifth grade, students take the reins! They’ve learned the importance of a good warm-up for several years, and pretty soon, students lead our class warm-ups! We quickly start our unit based on New York and choreographers who have lived and worked creating dance based on New York. We will study the choreographers Jerome Robbins, Trisha Brown and Pascal Rioult, learning about their different dance styles and characteristics and practicing their movements. Our creative and team-working skills become important when we use the ideas and movement styles of these NY based choreographers to craft our own dances, also relying on our audience and assessment abilities to help ourselves and each other continually improve our work.
In the month of September, Pre-K students will learn how to utilize their voices in order to sing songs. We will start by singing familiar songs, which many students were exposed to when they were younger. During this month and the coming months after, the students will be developing their voices and improvising movements for each of the songs.
In the month of September, the students in kindergarten will be learning about many different instruments including the Tambourine, Djembe, Guitar, and the Egg Shakers. Students will be using these instruments to develop the important skill of keeping a steady beat. Building up from this skill, students will also have a chance to experiment with different rhythms, making sure that the rhythms being performed are played steadily. The students will also be clapping their hands or playing percussion instruments while singing children songs to reinforce the idea of steady beat, and to develop their individual voices.
1st Grade Curriculum
In the month of September, the students in first grade will review steady beat, one of the most important skills a young musician can develop. Once reviewed, students in first grade will learn about quarter note and eighth note rhythms, using one syllable and two syllable words to help the students understand the timing of each rhythm. Students will then begin to compose their very own rhythms using one syllable or two syllable words, which will then lead them to having a share of their composed rhythms in class. There will also be a great deal of singing to further develop the students own voices.
2nd Grade Curriculum
In the month of September, the students in the second grade will be reviewing steady beat, and will be performing rhythms using quarter notes and eighth notes. The rhythms will first be performed by clapping, but instruments will then be introduced into the performance. Students will also be singing and clapping the same rhythms being sung in order to practice quarter note and eighth note rhythms. After the students have practiced, there will be a slight introduction to the pentatonic scale, a scale in which sounds pleasing to the ear, and is very fun to play.
3rd Grade Curriculum
In the month of September, students in the third grade will be focusing on maintaining a steady beat, but what changes in the third grade is that students will now have to pay attention to a time signature, which tells you how many beats are in a musical phrase or measure. Not only will they have to watch for how many beats are in the measure, but they will also have to know which of those beats are strong (louder) and which are weak (softer). Students will also review past rhythms, and incorporate this idea of strong and weak beats into their performances.
4th Grade Curriculum
In the month of September, the fourth grade will put to use their skills in maintaining a steady beat and use it to perform Native American percussion music. While learning and performing Native American music, the students will also be practicing traditional notations such as quarter notes and eighth notes, eventually leading to notes of different timings (whole notes, and dotted quart notes).
5th Grade Curriculum
In the month of September, the fifth grade students will begin by practicing steady beat, which will then lead to learning new rhythms. These new rhythms will feature sixteenth notes, one step up from eighth notes (instead of two notes to a beat, there will be four notes). These new rhythms bring about a new term called syncopation, which is a skill every musician should know how to perform.
SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER SCIENCE NEWS
As we get ready to say goodbye to summer, I look forward to another "sciencesational" year with my super scientists. Both Pre-K classes will be having Science this year. As kindergarten scientists are using their "detective" skills to collect clues, first grade scientists are going on a treasure hunt to gather recyclable objects for our treasure box collections. Grade 2 scientists will be recording observations and learning how to collect data and draw conclusions. Grade 3 chemists will be creating "top secret" formulas, while fourth grade ecologists begin a unit on animal studies. Grade 5 chemists will be concocting mysterious mixtures and solutions and working on spectacular lab experiments. We say hello to Autumn on September 22nd with some "cool" fall activities. Please feel free to contact me, if you have any questions or concerns. I can't wait to work with you and your child during this upcoming school year.