Sheryl Slechta » Weekly Updates

Weekly Updates

Week of October 12th


This week was all about representing subtraction.  We are building a toolbox of strategies to use when we come across a subtraction problem. We began with showing our thinking in different ways using drawings to show subtraction word problems.   Time was spent using a count back strategy in order to solve basic subtraction.  We also practiced relating counting to subtraction with a counting on strategy.

1st Grade

This week’s learning was all about equal groups.  We started out determining whether a group of objects has an odd or even number of members.  We used this information to then write an equation to express an even number as a sum of two equal addends. Making arrays was a highlight of the week! Students used repeated addition to find the total number of objects in rectangular arrays.  After drawing arrays we challenged ourselves to use our understanding of repeated addition to label our arrays with a multiplication equation. 

K Science

We became scientists to begin helping a fictional community investigate why there are no more monarch caterpillars in an area that has been changed from a field to a vegetable garden. Our sorting began with living vs. nonliving and moved to  plant vs. animal. We observed different animals eating to see similarities in what they ate.   

Week of October 5th


We added two additional strategies to help us solve addition problems this week. 

  • Doubles - This strategy had us analyze the structure of equations and recognize the significance of addition facts in which a number is added to itself. We learned that a lady bug is a representation of doubles facts! Ask your child what we learned!
  • Using Known sums to Add - being able to quickly solve any fact that is 1 more than a known doubles fact was the focus of this strategy.  We used known doubles facts to find the sum of a fact in which on the addends is 1 greater.  For example, if students know that 4+4=8, they also know that the sum of 4+5 is 1 greater than 8.  This strategy is also referred to as “doubles plus 1”

1st Grade

This week  we concluded Module 1

Fluency of Addition and Subtraction within 20.

  • Use the Make a Ten Strategy to Add - Using a ten frame and two different  counters, we were able to explore different ways to make ten.  We know that we  have made ten when the ten frame is full.  This idea of making ten can be helpful when adding because the sum of 10 and a single-digit number are easily recalled facts. This development in number sense allows children to solve problems they may not have been able to solve before.
  • Use a Tens Fact to Subtract - We worked to continue to develop fluency in subtraction using ten to subtract on a number line diagram.  
  • Use 3 Numbers Using Mental Strategies and Properties - Adding three numbers in one step can be challenging.  Time was spent exploring ways to combine addends two at a time. Without specific direction, students developed and shared their own strategies for which two numbers should be added first: for example, making a ten, using doubles, counting on, and adding with zero. Students used both Commutative and Associative Properties.

Week of September 28th


We learned the importance of having more than one strategy when thinking about addition.  

  • Counting On - The goal in teaching this strategy is to move from counting all in two groups to counting on from the larger group. When adding we use the greater addend as the starting point and adding on the second addend to find the total.  
  • Add 10 and More - We explored this strategy for adding numbers with sums to 20 by adding 10 and a one-digit number. We used ten frames as a concrete model. 

1st Grade

This week we focused on relating and demonstrating the relationship between Addition and Subtraction.  

  • Bar Model. - we used the bar model to visualize addition and subtraction. After completing a visual model for addition and a visual model for the related subtraction facts, we discovered patterns in the numbers. We compared visual models and identified that the whole and the parts are the same.
  • Solving Word Problems - When solving word problems we made sure to slow down and discover what questions you need to ask yourself before just giving an answer. 
    • Who or What is the problem about?
    • What is the problem asking?
    • What strategies can I use to solve for the answer?


 We kicked off science this year asking ourselves “What do good scientists do?” After watching  "How do scientists know so much". Students picked a favorite toy at home to make a detailed drawing along with developing some good questions and wonderings of their own.

Welcome to Decatur and the 2020-21 school year! Although we are beginning this year differently than we expected, we remain committed to providing our students with enriching and engaging learning opportunities.  We utilized parent feedback from this past spring and made changes to our remote learning plan that includes more class time online and classes broken into smaller groups to maximize student instruction. We learned a lot and are now excited to get started! 


I am pleased to let you know that I, Mrs. Slechta, will be your child's homeroom teacher.  As your child's homeroom teacher, I will be the home base for your child and will be responsible for sending your weekly information.  Please make sure to email me and Elin Beard ( if your child will be absent or unable to attend our virtual learning for the day and also complete the form on the website HERE


This year your child will have different teachers for math and language arts. Therefore, your child will have both Ms. Kim and myself during their school day. 

  • Language Arts & Social Studies - Ms. Kim

  • Math & Science  - Mrs. Slechta

Our students will begin this school year in remote learning and will follow a full schedule attending multiple online classes including math, reading, writing, science, social studies, and essentials.  Student schedules will be consistent and homerooms will rotate ONE essentials (PE, dance, music, Latin, art, makerspace) class every 5 weeks.  Within each school day, there will be a variety of learning activities: whole group, small group instruction, whole class synchronous instruction with a teacher, and independent or asynchronous work time (both online and on paper).  

We have attached a copy of your child’s daily schedule.  We are not ‘podding’ students at this time. In the event that we move to a hybrid model, we will create a new schedule without the restrictions of remote learning. For our school, podding has many more considerations such as siblings, busing schedules, health needs, etc. Please review the schedule with your child before the first day of school.  As we begin, we ask for your support in helping your child establish a school routine.  Please help your child develop a routine that includes:

  • Waking up, getting dressed, and eating breakfast

  • Creating a distraction-free place to work for video learning and independent tasks. 

  • Having school-supplied learning materials ready: iPad (charged) & supply bin

  • Meeting online learning behavior expectations such as; staying on task, being focused, and participating in class activities

I will be sending out more important information soon including the plan for picking up a school learning device (iPad) and supplies for the first 5 weeks of school. Each grade level has worked hard to put together a bin of learning materials to participate in the learning process at home. Please watch for a separate email soon with information on our technology agreement and picking up your child’s bin on Thursday, September 3rd or Friday, September 4th. 





 We will have a virtual teacher “Meet and Greet” for you on Thursday, September 3rd from 

2:30 - 3:000 p.m. We hope you can join us! You will receive an email invitation for this “Meet and Greet” on Wednesday. We will send a digital presentation following the “Meet and Greet” for those who are unable to attend. 


Thank you in advance for your partnership and support.  This will be a new experience for all of us and we will provide more specific information and resources to you and your child as the year progresses.  Together, we will work to meet each student’s unique needs. We look forward to a terrific year!