Friday, February 16, 2018

Feb. 16 Update

I hope you find this long weekend fun and refreshing for your family.

I gratefully returned healthy and inspired by the National Title 1 Conference I was fortunate to attend. I received positive reports about the class from Debra Mason, which is always nice to come back to.

This week, we concluded the unit on measurement and data collection.  We have begun the next unit on place value and will move into adding two digit numbers.  Look out for completed unit tests coming home, which ideally have corrected answers by your child. I try to allow time for everyone to figure out the mistakes, and learn from them.  

In reading, children continue to work with the literature from the Wind module.  Please be on the lookout for some fluency practice homework, which remains an area all children could improve upon. The added sounds created by "vowel teams" have been part of the word study.  Examples include meet, sheep, feet, bean, team, neat.

Children have again been working on narrative stories in addition to continuing work in science journals recording learning from activities in science.  The narratives at this point in the year should get longer, include a "problem" and a resolution. 

I am sure you all have seen the requests for volunteers and donations for the basketball tournament.  This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the school and is organized by the Friends of Taos Charter School.  We have a designated day (Sunday) that Kindergarten and First Grade classes are asked to cover.  I cannot be there that day, but will work on Tuesday evening.  If you cannot volunteer on Sunday, please sign up for a day you can help.  If you cannot attend, please make a food donation.  

The Friends provides much to our school via funding: literacy and math aides, summer school (free to students recommended by their teachers), costs of professional development for teachers, music classes and performances, extra costs of field trips, and more.  You all are invited to get involved with the Friends, by participating in the tournament and attending meetings.  If you have not yet signed up, please do so this weekend!

Thank you so much for your continued support of your children.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

February 6 Update

Hello everyone,

As you may have noticed, the class has been working on measurement, and has now moved on to data collection and making graphs.  This has prompted the need to know how to read the words more, less, least, fewer, how many, which, favorite...among others.  They will all get extra practice reading this week.

I will be sending home some reading fluency homework to practice too.  The passage comes from a book in our series on wind, both non-fiction and fictional book included.  The children should have brought home a collection of articles on wind, which we read together in a new part of our day when we read articles and record our learning in a notebook.

This week concludes our studies on balance and motion in science.  

I will be out of town attending the conference put on by the National Title 1 organization, 
from whom our school received an award for closing the achievement gap.  Debra Mason will be the teacher the rest of the week.  You will be able to reach me by email, but my responses will likely be delayed.

Book order forms are coming home today and are due by Monday, 2/12.

We will celebrate Valentines Day at the end of the day (2 pm) on February 14.  If your child wishes to exchange cards with others, please have him or her be prepared to share with the while class. If you want to send in snacks for the party, just let me know.  The children can drink water.

Hope you all have an excellent week.
Thank you,

Thursday, January 18, 2018

January Update

Hello all,

We have almost completed two weeks since the holidays.  Book orders are due by tomorrow.  I will submit the order after school.  If you have not yet returned your re-enrollment form, please send it in.

We finally finished up with the unit on adding and subtracting.  I believe I warned parents that the processes in this unit of math might seem strange.  Thank you for your patience and efforts to help your children with homework.  I am generally pleased with the results of the “test” the children took today. We are moving on to measuring and data as our next unit.

Next week, we will have a family literacy night on Thursday, January 25 in the evening.  Please look out for announcements with a time. Families can come read and play games together.  It is fun!

Children have learned about the silent “magic” e, which makes vowels long: game, fine, tame, shake, home, etc.  They will begin to work with adding suffixes to these words next week.  

Some of you have seen the “Fluency” homework coming home in folders.  Please consider working on this with you child.  Our testing data indicates that everyone in our class would benefit from improving in this area.

On February 5, we will celebrate the 100th Day in School. This will be a “festive” day where we do lots of math, disguised as fun activities.  Please begin to discuss what your child might like to bring to school to share (give away) to classmates on that day.  Each child will bring in 100 of the same item.  Some ideas include: rubber bands, pencils, bottle caps, stickers, pom-poms.  At school, children will arrange and count their items, in order to prove they have 100 things.  Please DO NOT glue the things down to anything.  Part of the learning comes from counting and organizing.  At the end of the day, everyone will give away a fair amount to each child in the class (we will do the division to figure that out too).  Please do not send in candy for this. Thanks for your understanding.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Friday, December 8, 2017

Here are some updates from First Grade.

As you know, we have been working on "making ten" and "taking from ten" as strategies to better understanding adding and subtracting up into the teen numbers.  It may seem like a strange method to those of use who used different ways to learn these simple operations.  I have found that the children are better able to "get" the numbers, especially when we go above 20, if they have taken the time to learn to draw in an organized way and "see" how these methods work.  

The children should now be familiar with all the closed vowel sounds: apple, elephant, pig, odd, and up.  They all learned the "h-brothers" ch, sh, th, and wh. last week I started teaching about "bossy r" who is bossy , but polite.  When r lets the vowel go first, it must say r.  We started with ar words and this week practiced with or.  Next week will be er, ir, and ur, all of which make the same sound.

The children have been working on making an animal report type poster, like an animal trading card.  I hope they will be completed before the break.  We will hang them up in the hall before they come home.

Our science investigations lately have been about motion: spinning tops, zoomers, and twirlers and rolling a wheel and axle, testing how cups roll, and today, rolling spheres, or marbles.  It gets pretty exciting.

We continue to work with how we talk to each other, discourage yelling, let go of the little stuff that is of minimal importance, and speak to others in a calm way. We have a number of excellent role models in the class. I am working on this too.:)

Also, visitors from 6th Grade have been teaching the class about the 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People.  So far they have learned about: Be proactive, Start with the end in mind, and put first things first.  Consider asking your child if they have tried out any of the new habits.  Many of them are learning to be proactive about getting outside to play by cleaning the room before I say anything.  May the habits extend to their home lives!

On Monday, December 18, we will have a field trip to Twirl to do a craft and play.  Our in town bus costs have gone up to $5 per trip.  We will leave school at 9:45 and return for lunch.  It is just a short trip.  Please let me know if you can come and help.  I will be sending forms home early next week.

We will have a party on Friday, December 22 at the start of school.  It will be a pajama and reading party for about an hour.  Let me know if you can offer healthy morning refreshments (please not donuts) and can hang out before going to work to read with some children.

Book orders are due by Monday, Dec. 11.  If I place the order that afternoon, they will arrive before the break.

Friday, November 10, 2017

News from First Grade 11/10

Here are some things that might be helpful for you to chow about what we have been doing in school lately.

We have already reviewed the closed vowel sounds for a (apple) e (egg) i ( pig) and o (odd)
We learned about the "H Brothers": sh, ch, wh, and th (consonant digraphs)

In math, we have begun a new unit which involve adding numbers with sums greater than ten.  The first strategy the students work with is to "make ten" with the addends and then see how much more to make the teen number.  It helps if they can draw the numbers they are adding together, each addend with a different thing such as circles, solid dots, and Xs.  They will be working on making organized drawings, in rows of 5, so they can more easily see when they have a ten.  

I realize that the math program is different and sometimes very strange, but it really works in the long run.  Please send me a note on the homework, if ever you have a question or concern.  You can always send me a Class Dojo message too.

In science the children started working with motion, and last week they made tops, and today, zoomers that spin on a string.  

We have been reading stories with animals as the characters and working on writing about something they already know.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Math support for Parents

I am certain that all of your know how to add, but may be looking for ways to support your children in completing their homework.  I found a link to support for parents of students using the Eureka Math program.  It comes from a non-profit organization called Great Minds.

I must admit I haven't looked at it, but it is a start.  Here is the link:

You will need to set up an account, but they offer support for free.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Professional development Aug. 30

Hello to all,

I will be out of school tomorrow attending a training in Albuquerque about the Istation testing we have to do in First Grade.  Hopefully, I will come back better able to use the results of students testing to teach your children.

The class will be in the capable hands of Michelle and Bea, who are both aides in our classroom and know the routines.

Have a good day.  No homework tonight (Aug. 29)!

Feb. 16 Update

I hope you find this long weekend fun and refreshing for your family. I gratefully returned healthy and inspired by the National Tit...