Thursday, September 14, 2017

1st 9 Weeks: Week 4

Dear First Grade Families,

Another great week is about to come to an end and it is strange to think that we are already four weeks into the school year.  Thank you to everyone who donated crackers for our science experiment.  The kids had a ton of fun looking at their properties and comparing them.  

Classroom Information:
  • I am in the process of putting together a schedule for parent conferences and hope to have that emailed out by Sunday evening.
  • I will have a couple of projects coming up this next week that I could use some help with.  Some of the work will need to be done here at school as it is copying and laminating.  There are pieces of it that can be done at home that include cutting, hole punching, and binder clip rings.  
    • Please let me know if you are interested in helping and I will email you to touch base and set-up the details.  
  • Reading groups will be starting on Monday, September 25 with more information coming.
  • RAZ-Kids online reading program will be set-up within the next week.  Your child will have access to it at home, as many did in Kindergarten.  However, I do not assign homework as I send home books from our school’s Lit Library and there will also be an “At Home Reading Response Journal” as part of your child’s nightly homework..  
    • We do use the program in school during independent reading time and I will be monitoring student’s progress throughout the year on levels and comprehension quizzes.
I wish everyone a great weekend and please let me know if you have any questions regarding anything that is happening in class.  

Until next week,
Sarah    
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Coming Up in Week 5
Math: We will introduce the addition sign and reinforce the skill of counting-on with one and counting on with two with various Origo activities and games.  Spiral skills from Kinder include comparing language to describe the relationship of numbers based on Place Value and counting efficiently.  

Science: This week we will begin our unit on Changes from Heat. Students will learn about the effect adding or removing heat has on objects/materials through hands on exploration and teacher demonstrations. (Labs: crayon melting, ice cube melting, Kool-Aid freezing, water outside with chalk circle)

Integrated Social Studies:  This week we will continue to put the final touches on all of our Good Citizen PBL as well as catch up from previous week’s lessons.

Reading:  This week poses one of the more challenging weeks in terms of reading skills taught throughout the year.  Students are going to be introduced to Inferring.   Inferring is very similar to predicting, yet so vastly different.  It is making meaning of the text based on what is read (and understood) while using established background knowledge (schemas) to gain a deeper meaning of what lies beyond the pages of the book.  On the other hand, making predictions is using ONLY the information derived from the text itself (and bringing nothing more).  Students will gain valuable practice and insight into inferring through the use of a variety of books that will activate their background knowledge, allowing them to make connections and meanings of what is read.

Writing:  Through the use of literature (Punctuation Takes A Vacation) and authentic practice/writing, students are going to be introduced to the use of ending punctuation in writing.  This week’s focus will be on the period, question mark, and exclamation point.  Students will explore and discover how each “end mark” plays a special role within their writing, as well as when reading someone else’s writing.  They will come to understand that a when writing a period is used when one statement has come to an end and a new one is beginning.  When reading, a period acts a a slight pause in which the reader is allowed that time to collect their thoughts and continues to make meaning of what they’re reading.  With a questions mark, it’s always used when a questions is being asked of or to someone or something.  In both reading and writing an exclamation mark is used at the end of a statement to show excitement. Students will also be introduced to capitalization of proper names, places, and beginning of sentences.

Phonics/Word Study:  Students will be reintroduced to long and short vowels over the next several weeks.  This week’s focus is on Short E and Long E.  Students will be hearing, seeing, and have practice writing various words that contain the different sounds of E.  They will also gain a further understanding into the “why?” the different sounds are made and how that sound changes words and their meanings.
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Important Dates
  • Tomorrow: Hearing and Vision Screening
  • September 22: K-2 Stallion Assembly
  • September 29: Fall Picture Day
  • October 9 & 10: No School for Students
    • October 9: This day will be set aside for Parent Conferences.  Please be on the lookout for a Sign-Up Genius in the next couple of weeks to schedule your conference time.  Each conference will run 15 minutes.  Most conference times will be on this Monday with a few other times available before and after school on other dates.  
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Classroom Reminders

  • Green Daily Folders initial daily and returned
  • Enrichment Homework!
    • Sent home every Monday and can be turned in when complete.  This is a great way to spiral review concepts that have been taught in class.  Thank you to those whom have taken the time to complete it.  I love seeing the progress made and light bulbs turn-on.  
  • Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: PE
    • Please dress in comfortable clothes and wear tennis shoes.
  • Wednesday: Library
    • Please remember to bring ALL library books back to school so new ones can be checked out.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

1st 9 Weeks: Week 3

Dear First Grade Families,

Another week is in the books and we are rolling more and more into what is going to be a great school year!  This week wrapped up our beginning of the year reading assessment. As more assessments will be taking place (ie: spelling to see developmentally where each child is), these will be done more as a whole class than individually.  I will also be assessing sight words within the first nine weeks to have a baseline for all students as we progress through the year.  

Please be on the lookout for a Sign-Up Genius in the next couple of weeks regarding Parent-Teacher Conferences.  Most conferences will be held on Monday, October 9th as that is the day the district has provided us to meet with parents.  There will also be additional times before and after the 9th with some times before and after school.  Conferences will be 15 minutes each.  Within that time we will discuss your child’s progress, performance, and areas of strength and concern along with any questions you may have.  I will have an individual conference form for each child that will outline all of these areas.  I am looking forward to meeting with each of you.

Your child is also bringing home a package of writing paper and an alphabet strip that goes with our Handwiritng Without Tears writing program.  These are yours to keep at home and for your child to use as tools throughout the school year.   We will be working our way through a handwriting book, here at school, and your child will be using these materials at school.  

As always, please let me know if you have any questions regarding things that are happening in class.  

Happy weekend,
Sarah    
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Coming Up in Week 4
Math: This week we continue our graphing unit. We will continue to learn about Data Collection. The students will be introduced to forms of data collection with various types of graphs. There will be a different graph each week and a Graphing Math test on Friday.

Science: During Science, students will continue to classify objects by their observable properties (larger/smaller, heavier/lighter, shape, color, and texture) through hands on activities. At the end of the week, students will be assessed on their knowledge of lab safety and classifying matter.

Language Arts Integrated Social Studies:  We will continue our “Good Citizen” PBL (project based learning). Students will continue exploring/discovering what they know about being a good citizen, the difference between rules and laws, The roles of community leaders and our responsibilities to take part in our government. Students will then determine how they can share with others how to be good Sommer citizens.

Reading:  During Reader’s Workshop students are going to continue to retell stories using BME, sequencing, describing characters and setting. Students will also be introduced to inferring. (Inferring: making meaning of something through the use of prior knowledge [schema] and information provided/given.)  Students will learn how to infer feelings and emotions based on certain situations that arise in a book and how to construct meaning.  Inferring meaning will also be practiced through looking a pictures, using context clues, and discussing the theme.

Writing:  In Writer’s Workshop this week students will be introduced to ABC order. They will practice their skills with ABC order using a dictionary. Students will also practice using their Word Wall as a resource for spelling.

Phonics/Word Study:  Students will be reintroduced to long and short vowels over the next several weeks.  This week’s focus is on Short A and Long A.  Students will be hearing, seeing, and have practice writing various words that contain the different sounds of A.  They will also gain a further understanding into the “why?” the different sounds are made and how that sound changes words and their meanings.
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Important Dates
  • Tonight: School Club Night
  • September 15: Hearing and Vision Screening
  • September 29: Fall Picture Day
  • October 9 & 10: No School for Students
    • October 9: This day will be set aside for Parent Conferences.  Please be on the lookout for a Sign-Up Genius in the next couple of weeks to schedule your conference time.  Each conference will run 15 minutes.  Most conference times will be on this Monday with a few other times available before and after school on other dates.  
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Classroom Reminders

  • Green Daily Folders initial daily and returned
  • Enrichment Homework! (Started this Tuesday)
    • Sent home every Monday and can be turned in when complete..  
      • This is a great way to spiral review concepts that have been taught in class.  Thank you to those whom have taken the time to complete it.  I love seeing the progress made and light bulbs turn-on.  
  • Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: PE
    • Please dress in comfortable clothes and wear tennis shoes.
  • Wednesday: Library
    • Please remember to bring ALL library books back to school so new ones can be checked out.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

1st 9 Weeks: Week 2

Dear First Grade Families,

We are off and running into a great school year.  This week was super fasted pace and a lot was covered.  Our kiddos were also tested for beginning of the year (BOY) Benchmark testing in various literacy and math skills.  These scores are used as an instructional tool to help guide my teaching and help in meeting the needs of individual students.  Our school is also embarking on the BOY reading assessment.  This assessment is done one-on-one with me and will provide me with even more insight into strengths and areas of instructional needs for each child.  Testing started this week and continue, on and off, for the next two or until all students are tested.  Please know that during testing blocks, students not being tested will be working independently at their desks on various activities and will need to be fairly quiet to ensure that each child has the best “testing” environment possible.  Your support during this time is greatly appreciated.

Also, our school is having Grandparents’ Day next Friday.  It is running a little different than years past in that the only grandparents coming for lunch are kindergarten because of the size of our school.  I am sorry for any miscommunications this may cause.  

Thank you for taking the time to read my blogs and staying informed with what is happening within our classroom.  Please let me know if you ever have any questions regarding anything.  We are all a team, working for the success of each child.  

Happy 3-Day Weekend,
Mrs. Stephens   
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Coming Up in Week 3
Math: This week students are going to be exploring tallies, the proper way to record them, and how they are useful when collecting/recording data. As a class we will also analyze different data collections  and graph the results using a bar graph.We are looking to use authentic data to help build our understanding of graphing. ( ie lunch count. Home we get Home etc. )

Science: Students will work to classify objects by observable properties (of matter) such as larger and smaller, heavier and lighter, shape, color, and texture. Students will look at similarities and differences in objects based on their properties.

Language Arts Integrated Social Studies:  Starting our “Good Citizen” PBL.  (The 1st of the year.)  Students are going to begin exploring/discovering what they know about being a good citizen and what it takes to be one through researching/ investigating people of history who exhibited the traits of “being a good citizen”.  By week’s end students will have reached our driving question for the PBL, “How can we be good Sommer citizen?”, and begin exploring areas of our school where this occurs and what it might look like.  

Reading:  Continuing with setting up the expectations of Reader’s Workshop, students are going learn what a “just right book” is for them for reading independently.  Students will also learn how to “shop” for books within each of our classroom libraries and what reading “looks like” when reading on their own, with the teacher, and/or reading with another student.  At the end of the week, students will practice making predictions while reading a new story.
Writing:  Students are going to receive mini lessons on how an author types words on their pages to help convey implied meaning and how an illustrator draws pictures, at times, that show implied space or things that don’t appear on the page but can be inferred (are) there.  Students will have a chance to practice these within their own writings and illustrations.  Students will also be introduced to various types of covers (wrap around, same as an illustration within book, completely new illustration, etc.) authors create for their books.  Upon instruction on these, students will have a chance to practice these skills while applying them to their own writing.

Phonics/Word Study:  Students will be introduced to the sounds of…  and have practice using each of the following:
  • hard G = “guh” sound (gap, goat, gum)
  • soft G = “juh” sound (gym, giant, gel)
  • hard C = “kuh” sound (candy, cat, cup)
  • soft C = “suh” sound (cell, city, cycle)
  • Ticky Q = “qua” sound (queen, quail, quack)
  • Sound of S = “z” sound (cheese, season, easy)
  • Sound of X (extra, excited, extraordinary)
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Important Dates
  • September 4: No School - Labor Day
  • September 7: School Club Night
  • September 29: Fall Picture Day
  • October 9 & 10: No School for Students
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Classroom Reminders

  • Green Daily Folders initial daily and returned
  • Enrichment Homework! (STARTING SOON)
    • Sent home every Monday and can be turned in when complete..  
      • This is a great way to spiral review concepts that have been taught in class.  Thank you to those whom have taken the time to complete it.  I love seeing the progress made and light bulbs turn-on.  
  • Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: PE
    • Please dress in comfortable clothes and wear tennis shoes.
  • Wednesday: Library
    • Please remember to bring ALL library books back to school so new ones can be checked out.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

1st 9 Weeks: Week 1

Dear Parents,    

Our first week of the school year was a huge success!  All the kiddos have transitioned well into the fast paced world of first grade.  They are taking everything in stride with all that is so new.  I am very excited to see what it to come for each child over the next 170 days!

Our parent information night is Tuesday, August 29th.  We will have two sessions so you can choose which one to attend.  We will meet in our classroom, A101. Please make arrangements to leave students at home for this evening.
Session 1
Admin Talk
Session 2
5:00 to 5:35
5:40 to 6:00
6:10 to 6:45

Thanks to each of your for making the start of the year a great one.  Here’s to many more!!!

Happy weekend,
Sarah
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Below is a quick overview of what was covered this week in class and what will be coming up next week.  Also listed are some important upcoming dates  

WEEK 1
Math: Setting Up Expectations - As a class we will discuss what math, each day, is going to look like, sounds like, and how we act.  We also be setting the expectations of what students’ math journals should look like daily and what needs to be included for each problem solved.  Students will also explore what tools are (and might be) necessary when solving problems and what do when they don’t know what to do (when solving a problem).
Social Studies/Science: Rules, Laws & Setting Up Expectations - Classes will dive into learning the importance of rules and laws and why citizens have roles and responsibilities to follow within a community/society.  Through reading Officer Buckle, students will brainstorm ideas of what it means to be safe and what it looks like, sounds like, and how one should act.  Through this discussion classes will begin to create their classes’ mission statement.  These ideas will be explored throughout the week using various texts that have different settings so students can transfer ideas and thinkings to various places of the own lives.
Language Arts:
Reading: Launching Reader’s Workshop - This week we are going to be introducing Reader’s Workshop to students.  We will be discussing the different components are along with what it should look like, sound like, and how one should act independently and as a class during this block of time.  We will also explore what makes a strong reader and begin discussion about strategies to use when coming to an unfamiliar word.
Writing: Launching Writer’s Workshop - Students will be introduced to the rules, procedure, and expectations of Writer’s Workshop.  They will learn that they are authors themselves and that we all have a story to tell.  Students will create a “heart map” that holds things of importance to them that they can use as a tool when writing.  Students will also learn how to tell a story “across 5 fingers”, keeping stories on topic and focused.
         ↪ Phonics: Rhyming - Students will build on their understanding and knowledge of rhyming words through knowing that they are words that sound the same and have the same ending.  Students will continue working on rhyming throughout the week using a variety of activities.

WEEK 2
Math: Base Ten & Number Patterns - This week students are going to be exploring tallies, the proper way to record them, and how they are useful when collecting/recording data.  Students will also begin to practice the use of base ten blocks when problem solving and how it is a valuable tool when needing to represent numbers.  Students will also start exploring place value while playing a “roll the dice” game and having to place numbers in order from least to greatest.  
Science: Roles and Responsibilities of Scientists: Investigating Materials - Students will explore the “job” of a scientist and come to the conclusion that it is a person who investigates various things to learn new things and to help us understand the world in which we live.  Students will also learn what tools scientists use and how they are helpful.  Vocabulary focus will include: safe practices, safety, safety contract, science notebook, hand lens, primary balance, goggles, thermometer, and investigation.  Students will also begin learning how to record findings within their science notebooks through activities involving sorting.
Language Arts:
Reading: Retelling, Characters, Problem & Solution - Students will be exploring different parts of a book (author, illustrator, title, pictures, cover) and how they are useful in being able to retell a story.  It will also be through these, and beginning to read the story, how to stop and “think aloud” while working on making predictions.  Students will also begin to look at the setting and how that play an important role in the overall retell and understanding of a story.
Writing: Launching Writer’s Workshop (Continued) - This week’s focus will consist of generating ideas and sequencing the details of story while keeping in mind the “story across 5 fingers” idea.  Students will be introduced to “when I am done… I’ve just begun!”.  Through this students will know that there are different avenues to take when they call their own writing “done” such as: adding details, adding an illustration, starting a new story, etc.  Students will also gain knowledge into what tools to use when spelling unknown words and what things can be done to fancy up their writing.  
Phonics: Consonant Blends - Students will be introduced to consonant blends and that it is when 2 or more consecutive consonants in a word whose sounds blend together.  Students will explore l-blends (bl, fl, cl, pl, gl)  and r-blends (cr, dr, tr, gr).  Over the week, students will have practice with various l and r-blends through different activities.
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Important Dates
  • August 29: Parent Back to School Night
    • See information above
  • September 1: All School Assembly
  • September 4: No School - Labor Day
  • September 7: School Club Night
  • October 9 & 10: No School for Students
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Classroom Reminders

  • Green Daily Folders initial daily and returned
  • Enrichment Homework! (STARTING SOON)
    • Sent home every Monday and can be turned in when complete..  
      • This is a great way to spiral review concepts that have been taught in class.  Thank you to those whom have taken the time to complete it.  I love seeing the progress made and light bulbs turn-on.  
  • Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: PE
    • Please dress in comfortable clothes and wear tennis shoes.
  • Wednesday: Library
    • Please remember to bring ALL library books back to school so new ones can be checked out.