Monthly Archives: February 2017

Important Notes: Week 25

What an AMAZING week of weather!!!  We tried to take advantage of it and get outside for some extra recess time to get our bodies moving.  Hearing the birds chirp and soaking in the sunshine made it feel like spring.  We begin so many fun science units in April & May.  We are getting eager for the nice weather to stick around!!

March 1 – Library Day

March 2 – Happy Birthday Nathan!!!

March 2 – Happy Birthday Liam!!!

March 2 – Last Day for Sight Word Volunteers

March 3 – Popcorn Day

March 3 – Spelling Review Assessment

Thank you to the many parents that have signed up to chaperone at our zoo field trip.  I will send out more information and reminders in April & May.  If you would still like to help out with a group, just send me an e-mail.

Please review our 35 “no excuse” spelling words with your first grader.  On Friday, I will assess each child over all the words we’ve learned this year.  If you are looking for some fun ways to practice here are a few: play dough, pipe cleaners, yarn, puffy paint, sand, stamps, finger paint, shaving cream… check out this link for more ideas: 60 Ways to Practice Spelling Words.

Here is a list of all 35 spelling words that we’ve covered this year:  FIRST GRADE CORE WORDS

Learning Update!!!


This week, we focused on long vowel sounds. We focused on four vowel teams that usually follow the rule: Two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking. It says its name.





We found these vowel teams in tricky words, focused on the first vowel’s name, and stretched out the sounds to decode the words.  We also went on a hunt through our books to find words that had these vowel teams and sorted them as a group.  We found the occasional ‘oddball’ word that doesn’t follow the rule, but our first graders are on the lookout for these vowel teams and recognize that the vowel team will most likely say the first vowel’s name.


In Writer’s Workshop we have been adding leads and endings to our stories.  Our leads are our way to hook our readers into our stories. We can use weather, season, and time of day to get the reader’s attention.

Example: “One hot summer morning, my family went swimming in the pool in our backyard.” 

Our endings wrap up our stories and signal to the reader that our story is finished. We noticed that authors we were reading added their big idea or  heart of the story (lesson we can learn) at the end. We worked on wrapping up our stories like our mentor authors by using sentence starters like I really like… or … is so much fun.

Example: “I am so thankful that I don’t have to share a room with my little sister.”


During our math time this week, we continued to solve missing partner and missing total stories. We also stretched our thinking by using the Make a Ten strategy to solve equations and math stories with three addends or partners. After we looked for two partners that could make a ten, we found that adding the third partner to ten was a snap!

We are starting to work on counting and writing numbers up to 120. To help your first grader practice this skill, have him/her start at any 2 digit number and then count out loud to 120. This could be a great activity to do together in the car. As an extra challenge, you can even have your child write the numerals up to 120!

Important Notes: Week 24

What a fun Valentine’s Day!!  The kids had a blast passing out their valentines and made some super cute crafts too.  If you haven’t checked out our photo stream, please do.  Here are a couple pictures that I just couldn’t help but share:

February 21 – Spelling Assessment

February 22 – Library Day

February 25 – Father/Daughter Dance

Our Zoo Field Trip has been scheduled!  All the information can be found here –>  Zoo Field Trip.  if you are interested in chaperoning a group, please send me an e-mail I will add you to our list of volunteers.

Our Spring Parent Teacher Conferences have been scheduled for March 13, 14 & 15.  Check your e-mail for a message sent earlier this week.  Please look over your scheduled time and send me an e-mail to confirm or reschedule.  Thank you!

Enjoy the sunshine!!  This weather is amazing!!


Learning Update!!!


This week we reviewed the different sounds a vowel can made (short, long, schwa).  We built a poster showing different sounds that vowels can make:

We will continue to practice these different vowel sounds throughout the next week as we focus in Flippy the Dolphin (one of our accuracy strategies) who 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.


In Writer’s Workshop, we worked on adding more details to our Small Moment stories. First, we talked about using our five senses to show not tell what we were feeling. Instead of saying “I was so happy”, we could say, “I was grinning from ear to ear”. Instead of “I was embarrassed”, we could write “My face turned red”. This gives the reader a much better picture in their mind as they read our stories.

We revisited what we learned about dialogue. Anything we heard or said can be added to our story to make it more detailed. We noticed that we used the word “said a lot – boring! There are many much more interesting words to use that just “said”! We created a list of words to use instead of said including…



This week, we continued to work on addition and subtraction word problems. We mixed them together and challenged the kids to see if they could tell if the story was adding or taking away. They continue to be very successful when they stick to the following steps:

Zoo Field Trip

On Monday, May 22, the first grade classes will be going on a field trip to John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids! We will be learning about animal parents, their young, and how animals grow. Our Georgetown Parent Club has graciously covered most of the cost for this trip and your donation from the beginning of the school year will cover the rest of your child’s ticket.

Important Information:

All parents are welcome to join us for this trip. Parents attending will need to have background checks on file at school prior to the date of the trip. Parent chaperones do need to pay for their own admission upon arrival at the zoo. Siblings are more than welcome! If you have a ZooPass, you can use that for your admission.

  • Your child will need to bring a sack lunch from home or order a sack lunch from school. We will place the school sack lunch orders when the trip date gets closer. We will be eating our lunches outside and picnicking at the zoo.
  • Please send your child dressed for the weather. We are hoping for nice weather, but the month of May is unpredictable in Michigan! The zoo is an outdoor classroom and we will be spending all of the time outside.
  • Discuss with your child that respectful behavior will be expected and that he/she will need to stay with his/her group leader at all times.

If you plan to join us…

  • Please, let us know soon so that we can plan our groups.
  • You will need to meet us at the zoo before 9:40. You can follow the bus to the zoo, but you will need to drive separately. There will only be enough room for students and teachers on the busses.
  • You will be grouped with another parent and a small group of students to lead through the Zoo with a self guided tour.
  • All students will need to come to school before the field trip because we will take attendance before we leave. If you are going to the zoo, your child will still need to ride the bus.
  • Departure time from school is at 9:15 am. We should arrive at the zoo just before 9:40.
  • We will leave the zoo around 1:30 pm. and arrive back at school in time to finish out the school day.

Learning Update!!!


This week, we jumped back into focusing on figuring out tricky words as we read.  We reviewed all our decoding strategies. The kids have grown so much as readers since the fall when we originally taught these strategies. So, now that they are reading much trickier books, we want them to be vigilant about making sure they are reading accurately.

We focused on how our first graders get stuck on stretching out the sounds in a word.  We talked about how if you stretch out the sounds of a tricky word and it doesn’t make sense, don’t keep stretching it out.  Find another strategy to try.  We practiced using Skippy the Frog and then Try’in Lion to use all the other words around the tricky word to help.  If the tricky word is long, Chunky Monkey is sure to help you figure out smaller parts of the big word.

If you notice your student is getting stuck with one strategy, encourage him/her to try a different strategy!


In Writer’s Workshop we are back to Small Moment (Tiny Seed) stories! We reminded ourselves that Small Moment stories are zoomed in stories that are true about you! We also reviewed that they tell the who, what and where on the first page.

During this unit, we will be using some authors we know (and meeting some new ones) as mentors. We talked as a class how a mentor is someone who teaches you something. The authors we are going to look at are great writers, so they can teach us how to write even better Small Moment stories!


This week our math switch groups reviewed how solve missing partner addition and subtraction equations.  To support our math learning we added new purple and blue quilt cards to our math tool bags.  Our purple and blue cards are very similar to our previous yellow and orange cards, except this time we are encouraging our mathematicians to count-on or “make a ten” as they solve equations with teen totals.
Picture 2

We also began solving mixed stories again. The first graders performed very successfully when they complete the appropriate steps in order. Check out this short video to see an example:

Important Notes: Week 23

We fit a lot of fun into four days of school last week: two half birthdays, popcorn day, sports day, and we made our bags for Valentines Day too!!  If you have not already, please send your child’s valentines to school tomorrow.  We will be passing them out on Tuesday along with some fun drawing, crafting, games, and snacks.  Be sure to check out our photo steam – just send me an e-mail if you need the link again!

February 13 – Valentine’s Due

February 14 – Valentine’s Day

February 15 – Library Day

February 16 – Marco’s Pizza Night

Also, look for an e-mail tomorrow with our spring conference schedule.  I can’t wait to share more about your child’s amazing progress in first grade!!  :)


Two weeks ago, we worked on drafting CONSTRUCTED RESPONSEs to questions about a text. Our first graders have worked hard to listen to questions and figure out answers, but they need to fully respond to a question in a format that shows they understand the question (restate question), they can answer the question (answer – ALL parts), and they can use information from the text to back up the answer they chose (cite information from the text). That’s a lot of work for a first grader, but we are working on growing their independence in this area.  We will continue to work on this throughout the school year. If you see any constructed response papers come home, have your child read through their response with you and point out those three parts (restate, answer, cite).