Important Notes: Week 8

We had a great first week of our reading super switch.  Our groups worked hard and our transition from room to room was smooth.  We are looking forward to some amazing growth from our readers in the weeks to come.  Thank you for supporting your first grade reader at home with their take home books.  Remember to return these books to school each day, so your child can bring home a new book to read to you!!!

October 24 – Be Nice * Be Safe Week

October 25 – Turkey Trot

If your child would like to participate and you did not sign up already, late registration can be filled out at the race.  The races begin at 5:00.  Gates open at 4:30.

October 25 – Rest Day! :)

Send in a pillow and blanket to school.  We will use our pillow and blanket to be comfy, cozy as we read & write.  Before specials we’ll even take a little rest.

October 26 – Library

October 27 – Picture Retake Day

Just send back in your child’s picture folder and I will make sure they head down to smile.

October 27 – Math Assessment

October 28 – Halloween Party @ 12:45

October 28 – Happy Birthday Jackson!!!

For more information about our Halloween Party click on this link –> Halloween Party Details

It looks like our temperatures will be a little cooler next week.  As your child begins to bring their cold weather gear to school, don’t forget to label everything.  Hats, gloves, and even boots frequently go missing and we want to make sure all these items get returned to the correct owner.

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Halloween Party Details!!!

Our Halloween party will take place this FridayOctober 28, from 12:45ish-1:30ish.


On FridayOctober 28, your child can bring their Halloween costume to school in a bag. Please keep all swords, weapons, makeup, etc… at home for the real Trick-or-Treating.  We will change into our festive gear around 12:30ish. Your child will wear their Halloween costume during the party and change back into their school clothes after the party before we have recess.

Thank you so much to all the parents who are donating supplies and volunteering during the eventPlease send in your party donations by Wednesday, October 26th, so I can double check that we have everything we need.  Food items can be brought in the day of the party.

We are looking forward to lots of fun and I’ll take pictures to share on our photo stream for you to see if you haven’t signed up to volunteer at the party! Please remember, if you plan to attend the party, you need to sign up to help with our craft, game, or snack and complete a background check. I am planning on the following volunteers as of today: Kayla VanderPol, Michele Pals, Traci Ender, Rachael Barnum, Gayle Bolt, Kathleen Wortman, and Betsy Bulter.

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Learning Update!!!


This week, we focused on using what we know about word families to help us figure out new, tricky words. The kids noticed word family words that they knew in a snap. When we took a closer look at those words, we noticed that words from the same family all end the same.


We then used that same word ending to help us figure out other, tricky words with the same word family ending.


We also talked about how good readers stop and check when their reading doesn’t look right, sound right, or make sense. This awareness is crucial for beginning readers who sometimes make the mistake of skipping or changing words. If your child does make a mistake, encourage him/her to fix it, by saying, “Something didn’t sound right (or look right) in the sentence/on that page. Can you find it?” After fixing the mistake, make sure your first grader rereads the corrected sentence to ensure comprehension.


We started a new unit of writing this week, focusing on making our stories easy for other people to read. We spent time focusing on neat handwriting, finger spaces, capital letters in the correct places, and end punctuation. We are seeing some huge growth in handwriting and finger spaces. Adding capital letters and punctuation to the right places is a bit trickier and we’ll keep working on this all year.



We spent time studying a new math concept: SUBTRACTION!!!  When we solve stories that involve “taking something away” we use a minus sign (-) to represent what happened.  For example, when given the story:

There were 5 cookies.  I ate 3.  How many are left?

Our first graders learned to represent this thinking with circle drawing, break-apart stick, and minus sign right through the circles that were taken away:

We also emphasized that a subtraction equation always begins with the total.  Then we show the “minus” partner, which means that our answer is actually a missing partner (rather than a missing total like an addition equation).  Our first graders “trained their brains” to count up the total and write that number first to accurately represent a subtraction story or circle drawing with an equation.

With our introduction to subtraction still very fresh and new, please support your child on their homework pages as they learn to understand the strategies involved with solving and representing subtraction stories!!!!

Mind Up:

We spent the week reviewing what we know about mindful listening, mindful seeing, and mindful movement. Another idea we have been talking about is how attitude affects how well you can handle situations, especially solving problems.  We introduced the words: optimistic thinker and pessimistic thinker.  We talked about how optimistic thinkers think with happy thoughts and are more likely to solve problems successfully.  Pessimistic thinkers are often defensive and react with anger when problems arise. The kids spent a good deal of time role playing different problems and sharing how an optimistic thinker would react as opposed to a pessimistic thinker.

For example: If someone takes the seat that we want at lunch

Pessimistic Thinking: “That person is so mean, it’s not fair, I was going to sit there.”

OPTIMISTIC THINKING“I can find another friend to sit by, I can try to sit there tomorrow.”

We agreed that we need to start practicing optimistic attitudes so that we can handle problems better on our own. We are going to practice taking a few deep breaths when a problem arises and thinking of the problem from a different point of view.  When these situations arise at home, remind your first grader to use optimistic thinking…ask them, “how can we think about this situation optimistically?”

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Citizenship in First Grade

Earlier this month, we discussed what it means to be a good citizen.  Each day we added another attribute to our “Good Citizen” chart.  Here is what we learned:

A Good Citizen

1. FOLLOWS RULES.  We discussed reasons that we have rules such as rules help us learn, rules keep us safe, rules help make things fair, etc.

2. RESPECTS AUTHORITY.  We brainstormed a list of people who have power with authority (principal, teachers, bus drivers, moms, dads, etc.) and how they enforce rules. When we listen and respond to those in authority we are being respectful.

3. IS FAIR. We discussed what fairness looks like at school, and learned that fair isn’t always equal – it’s getting what you need in order to be successful.

4. IS RESPONSIBLE.  We learned about ways we can be responsible at school such as making sure that you have all of your tools ready (without being asked).  We began classroom jobs this past week to practice our responsibility!

5. HONORS THE USA.  One way we can do this is to respect and remember symbols of the United States that represent our freedom such as the American Flag, White House, Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, and Bald Eagle.

If you notice your “first grade citizen” displaying any of the attributes above be sure to commend him/her on a job well done!

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Handwriting Books!!!

You may have noticed that your child came home with their yellow handwriting workbook earlier this week. Since the beginning of the school year, we’ve focused on the pages teaching the correct formation of the capital and lowercase letters.  There are lots of additional pages that we didn’t complete and we wanted to send the books home for you to use as a resource.  Please keep the book handy and pull it out so your first grader can try a page from time to time.  We know that PRACTICE MAKES PERMANENT, so let’s keep practicing the correct way.  Thanks for your support from home!


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Important Notes: Week 7

We ended last week with a writing celebration, our first classroom birthday, and cute pumpkins that are now hanging on our walls!  It was a great half-day of school!

October 18 & 19 – Vision Screening

October 19 – Library Day

October 19 – Happy Birthday Grayson!!!

October 20 – Marco’s Pizza Night

October 21 – Spelling Assessment

This week we are beginning our Reading Super Switch, a highly focused reading program that will take place on Mondays-Thursdays.  All students in grades first through third will be grouped with readers of like strengths and needs.  We are excited about the learning that will take place with this program!

Thank you so much to our parent volunteers who began supporting students with our sight word intervention last week. We are very excited to continue meeting with you!

Our first graders have access to two wonderful online resources at home: RazKids & MobyMax.  Information pages with your child’s username/password were sent home earlier this month.  This week, please log-in to these websites at home and check them out with your child.  Let me know if you have any questions as you explore these valuable learning opportunities. (If you need your child’s username/password sent home again just send me an e-mail.)

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Learning Update!!!


When we read with our first graders, there are three areas that we look for growth throughout the year: comprehension, accuracy, and fluency.  This week, we modeled a strategy for students that aids in strengthening their reading comprehension: retelling in our own words.

When we finish reading, before moving on to another story, we see if we can remember the events of the story.  The kids practiced retelling the events from a story by flipping back through the book, looking at the pictures, and retelling what happened in their own words.  We practiced this strategy with a Mr. Putter & Tabby chapter book.  The kids LOVED it!

We also talked about how good readers think about their books as they read.  We focused on how when they finish reading one book, before moving on to their next book, they can stop and think.

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The kids have now met: Lips the Fish, Eagle Eye, Chunky Monkey, Stretchy the Snake, Flippy the Dolphin, Skippy the Frog, and Tryin’ Lion.  That is quite a list of strategies.  But, most importantly, when they have tried a strategy and have a good guess of what they think their tricky word is…they NEED to be careful.  Careful Caterpillar checks to make sure that their guess makes sense, looks right, and sounds right.  When the kids guess a tricky word, they need to ask themselves those three questions to self check and make sure that their word makes sense, looks right, and sounds right.  If it does, great! If it doesn’t, then good readers keep trying to figure it out!

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You may have noticed that your first grader’s blue folder was bursting with small moment stories earlier this week. We have finished our first unit in writing and we spent the week celebrating our writing. Part of the celebration is bringing home all of their stories so they can share them with you! They have worked so hard on these stories! Ask your first grader to share these stories with you! I hope you enjoy them!

This past week we spent most of our writing time preparing a special story to share at our writing celebration! First, we picked out our best story, one that we were very proud of, to revise on our own. . When we were revising be ourselves, we followed this checklist…

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Then, we edited our stories by making sure they were easy to read.  After that, we got a chance to use colored pencils to add some color to our stories. Finally, on Friday, we celebrated!

During our celebration time, we had a chance to share a favorite part of our story with the whole class. Next, we read our entire story to a friend. Once we were finished sharing, we came back together and had juice for our juice toast. I am so proud of how far these first graders have come as writers since the beginning of the year.


Our first grade mathematicians have learned to solve addition stories by drawing pictures, using circle drawings, and writing equations.

This week each of our math groups brainstormed solution strategies for solving equations with missing totals.  To solve 5 + 2 = ___, our first graders suggested…

…making a circle drawing underneath the partners:  

…counting the partners on all their fingers: 

A third strategy that we learned was: COUNTING ON!!!!  Counting on is more accurate and time saving than the first two methods.  When we count on, we underline the greater number and draw dots under the smaller number to show our math work.  Then, we clap and say the greater number, and count on by pointing to and counting the circles under the smaller number.

Picture 3

We learned how to use our red quilt cards to increase our fact fluency.

Picture 1

Mind Up:

This week we discussed mindful movement.  We talked about our body movement and how we need to be mindful of how we are moving.  Often, first graders are on the move and bump in to people or furniture around them without realizing it.  To practice being mindful of our surroundings, we each put a ruler on our head and walked around our room trying to keep it balanced on top.  The kids were very aware of where the furniture was, where their friends were, and what speed they were moving so that their ruler wouldn’t slip off.  Since having this discussion, we have talked about being mindful of our surroundings while we are moving around the room, especially around our mailboxes or iPad cart where space is limited (no pushing/shoving).

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Important Notes: Week 6

Go Eagles!!!  We had a fun Friday showing off our school spirit and munching on popcorn.  Thank you so much for your donations at the beginning of the year – we loved having this special treat and are looking forward to our next popcorn day!

October 10 – Scholastic Book Order Due

October 10, 13, & 14 – Sight Word Parent Volunteers Begin

October 11 – Blanket Day

Your child may bring a snuggly blanket to school on Tuesday.

October 12 – Library Day

October 14 – Early Release Day

Students are dismissed from school at 12:15.  (Sack lunches can be ordered through Food Service and will be sent home with your child.  Please make sure your child knows if he or she needs to order a sack lunch.)

October 14 – Happy Birthday Lily D!!!

On Monday, your child will bring home his or her first take-home book of the year.  Look for an e-mail tomorrow with more details about this important practice opportunity.

Our Halloween Party is coming together!!  Thank you so much to everyone who has volunteered materials and your time already!!  Remember our party will take place Friday, October 28 @ 12:45.  If you are planning to attend the party, please sign up to assist with the craft, game, or snack.

Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on

If you would like to donate to our party, we could especially use: a healthy snack and goodie bags.

Thank you!
Mrs. Stadt :)

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Learning Update!!!


Now that the kids have some solid reading time each workshop, we began introducing our accuracy strategies.  These strategies help our students decode tricky words while they are reading.  The first strategy that we talked about was Lips the Fish.  Get your lips ready and say the first few sounds of the word out loud. Next, Eagle Eye.  Now that you have gotten your lips ready for the first sound, look at the pictures for something that starts with that sound.

Then, Chunky Monkey.  If the picture didn’t help you, look for a chunk of the word that you know (ing, at, it, sh, ch, and). And then, Stretchy the Snake. Zoom in on the tricky word, s-t-r-e-t-c-h out the sounds in the words slowly. Then, crash the sounds together to figure out the word.

Flippy the Dolphin reminds us that when we are stretching out a word, to try the short vowel sound first and if that doesn’t work, FLIP IT and try the long vowel sound, and then the schwa sound.

If we still need help, then when you come to a tricky word, skip it (Skippy the Frog) and read the rest of the sentence. Once you have read to the end of the sentence, try it again (Tryin’ Lion) from the beginning of the sentence and make a good guess for the tricky word (using the context clues from the sentence).

We will review these strategies next week and practice a few more!


We have had a busy week in Writer’s Workshop! We know that good small moments stories have lots of details and one of those details includes using dialogue in our stories. We can add dialogue by either writing exactly what someone in our story said or we can add a speech bubble to our picture and write what our character said in the speech bubble.

We also learned this week, how to finish our stories with a special ending  We talked about how when you give a gift, you finish by wrapping it up and tying a bow.  Stories are similar, our endings help “tie a bow” to our stories and help the reader know that our story is finished. We talked about how sharing some thoughts or feelings at the end of our story is a good way to finish. We used some sentence starters to help us think of some good ideas for endings.

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We challenged the kids at the end of the week to see if they could start a new story that included all of the parts of a good small moment story.

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This week we began our second math unit.  Unit 2 will cover addition and subtraction strategies and provides the foundation for all of the math learning that will take place for the rest of this year and beyond.

For our first addition strategy, we learned how to draw pictures to solve story problems. This strategy worked well, except it took us a R-E-A-L-L-Y long time to draw pictures of some objects, such as castles, pencils, and rocks.

Later in the week, we tried a new strategy: circle drawings. We used a break apart stick and circles to show the partners in a story. Then we counted up the total in a snap!

We also learned about the math symbols, equal (=) and not equal (≠).  Numbers are equal (=) when they are exactly the same. This understanding of equality is an important math concept that students will apply when writing equations throughout this year.

Mind Up:

This past week of Mind Up was spent focusing in mindful listening.  We started by introducing the students to a new part of their brain.  You may have heard your first grader talking about their Reticular Activating System (RAS).  Ok, typing that sentence just made me laugh, but ask your first grader about their RAS and see what they have to share!

A few weeks ago, we had the students focus as hard as they could on their sense of hearing for a short amount of time and then discussed all the things they were able to hear.  We came up with a long list, but that was just our sense of hearing.  All of our senses are busy picking up different sights, tastes, smells, feelings, and noises and sending them to our brains.  Our RAS is the part of the brain that gathers all those messages and decides which senses are important enough to be passed on to the rest of the brain and which things can be ignored.  We talked about how when they are trying to listen to instruction in the classroom, we need to train our own RAS to know to ignore distractions like noises from other rooms, the hallway, outside, or friends sitting next to us and focus on the teaching.

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To strengthen our ability to focus our RAS, we did some listening exercises and the kids had to work hard to focus on certain sounds and really ignore all other distractions.  We took note of what our body does when we are focusing really hard and came up with the following list:

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If you were to walk the halls around first grade, you will often hear us asking the kids to show us what mindful listening looks like or to focus their RAS… you can use that at home, as well!

We then introduced using mindful seeing.  When we are mindful with our seeing, we are taking in all the details around us.  We talked about how it is important to be mindful of what expressions you see on people’s faces.

We talked a lot about what facial expressions show which feelings.  And then we talked about how we can be mindful see-ers and if we see someone who has an expression on their face that shows they are not feeling happy or good, then we can check in with them and see if there is anything we can do to help their feelings improve.

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Pizza Hut Reading Program


kids reading

Today your child brought home our October Reading Calendar.  You can keep this at home and fill it out daily.  At the end of the month (or beginning of the following month)  send the filled out calendar back to school and your child will receive in its place a coupon for a FREE Pizza Hut personal pan pizza.  This reading program continues until the end of March.  Happy Reading!!

Mrs. Stadt :)

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