By this mid-point in the school year, they can write their name, they know the alphabet, and they are practicing word recognition. Each week, at least at my school, they focus on two letters. This week was J and W. Farmer Boy does not have very many J words. And the week before Winter Break (a W word!) they made gingerbread houses, gluing pieces together with thick white frosting and incredible time and patience from their classroom teachers.
I also read this book to our first grade students. These classes are a little more aware. They know how school works. They can check out two books from the library instead of one. They know their letters, alphabet and corresponding phonics. What we focused on was “Then and Now.” We compared the clothing, the chores, the daily life of Almanzo to theirs. Little girls were shocked that they would have had to wear a dress every day. The boys weren’t too impressed by Almanzo’s vest and woodshed chores, but everyone liked that he didn’t have to go to school on his birthday.
These first graders went home with self-colored animal masks, a focus on science in their classrooms. The winter break celebrations will start next week. I can’t help but think the first graders in Connecticut were also waiting for the week before winter break, dutifully completing their class assignments before the excitement of the holidays took over on the following Monday.