Oral Language

Oral language is an extremely important step in the development of literacy and is an integral part of the learning to read and write process.  It is essential that these skills become well developed now as without strong oral language skills reading and writing development could suffer.  I have been doing some oral language assessment in the classroom and have noticed that this is an area we need practice in so we are learning to really listen to one another in order to understand what is being said.  We are also practicing answering in full sentences and adding details to make what we are saying more interesting to our audience. I have posted a few articles below to help you understand what oral language is and why it is so important.  We are really working on discouraging the one word answers some of the children are giving!  Encourage your child to use a full sentence and tell you why by using words like because!

First Grader Language Milestones

40 Questions That Get Kids Talking
Conversations With Children: Beyond One Word Answers



Canadian Paediatric Society Mental Health Videos

The following descriptions and videos are located on the YouTube channel of the Canadian Paediatric Society. Please take a moment to view the 2 videos as they contain current and valuable information about the different things that impact mental health.

Taking care of our mental health is just as important as having a healthy body. As a parent, you play an important role in your children’s mental health. You can promote good mental health by the things you say and do, and through the environment you create at home.

Parents and caregivers play a big role in fostering their child’s self-esteem. Self-esteem is how people feel about themselves, both inside and out. People with good self-esteem generally have a positive outlook, accept themselves and feel confident. Children need to feel loved and accepted to build self-esteem.

Data Management

Throughout this year the children will have lots of opportunity to explore the data management portion of the curriculum in math. In Grade One this math strand focuses on sorting, taking surveys to gather information and using graphs to organize and explain the information gathered. There are all kinds of ways sorting, survey questions and graphs are used in our world and your child would benefit from having these kinds of things pointed out to him/her as you come across them. Talk to your child about what you see and what kind of information can be learned if you are looking at a graph. Authentic math experiences are always much more meaningful and help connect the learning we are doing at school to the real world.

Sorting In The Real World:
-the utensil drawer in your kitchen
-how clothes are put away (sorted by colour to wash but then sorted by person who owns the clothes and often sorted again by type of clothing in the room where the person’s bedroom)
-items in a store (all the fresh fruit is in one part of the store, and it is sorted by type)

Ask your child “what would happen if we didn’t use sorting in our world in these situations?”

Surveys In The Real World:
I am constantly bombarded with survey questions:
-each time I buy a new app for my phone or the school iPad they want to know if I want to rate it
-on websites they want to know information about you before you proceed
-telemarketers often call with government surveys about different things
-people stop you in the grocery store with surveys trying to sell their product
-junk mail often arrives with lengthy surveys about products I purchase at the store

Ask your child “why do you think people want to know information about what kinds of products our family uses in our home?”

Graphs In The Real World:
-the weather page in the newspaper, the weather network and the weather app on a phone are filled with graphs

-travel books and pamphlets often graph the sunny days on a month by month basis
-magazines are full of graphs to give information in an eye catching way

Ask your child “why did the author use a graph to share the information rather than a paragraph of writing?”

Data Management Vocabulary

Here is some of the vocabulary we will be using when engaged in data management experiences. Using these words regularly in conversation with your child at home will help him/her understand the concepts being taught more clearly.

sort: grouping items together based on at least one similar attribute
survey: a record of observations gathered
graph: a visual representation of data
pictograph: a graph that uses pictures and symbols to represent information
concrete graph: a graph that uses real objects to represent information
data: facts or information gathered from a survey
tally: a mark (line) that is used to collect data (a tally counts information by 5’s; four lines with one across the middle representing 5)
many/most/more: greater in amount, how many more?
less/least: smallest in amount, how many less?
few, fewer, fewest: a smaller number of
equal: the same amount of

Websites To Visit

Here are some websites and videos to visit to help your child understand the concept of Data Management.

Graph And Tally

Graphing Bugs

Graph Game

Data Handling Games

Proper Letter Formation

We are beginning to demonstrate to the children that there are proper ways to form letters. This is very difficult to do in a whole class setting as we only have one set of eyes and often while helping redirect one child another child is working incorrectly. This is something that must be practiced over and over in order to make it a “Brain Habit”. Repetitive movements used in letter formation help to give the brain an accurate image of the letter shape. Letter formation basically is composed of straight lines and circle shapes. All letter shapes are formed from the top down, rather than from the bottom up. By using exaggerated whole arm movements (making letters in the air) and the sense of touch (writing with the palm of the hand or a finger on a large flat surface ) and by encouraging these movements to be made, at times, with the eyes closed (to reduce visual confusion), the motor movements, or patterns of letter formation can be learned. If letter formation is automatic, memory and thinking is “freed up” to cope with the other skills needed, the auditory/visual/spatial aspects of writing. To give an analogy, think of learning how to drive a car for the first time, particularly a standard shift. Initially one has to worry about the movements of the stick shift, steering, learning how to work the clutch and brake pedals, remembering to check rear and side mirrors, road rules, etc. Once the stick shift movements become automatic, as they do with repetitive practice, one is free to concentrate on the other aspects of driving. Children with automatic letter formation can concentrate on the other aspects of writing.

We will begin our learning by making lines.  Lines always start at the top and go straight down. Next we will work on making slanted lines. Slanted lines always start at the top and go down. FInally we will work on making circles to practice the curved letters.  When making circles your child should start around the 2:00 position on a clock so that they are ready to make letters such as s and c that are curved.

We will be sending home a paper about how to properly form letters for your reference.  Please take some time to help your child learn to correctly form letters so that he or she finds writing a less daunting task.

image image