Monthly Archives: November 2017

Scholastic Book Order

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Class Activation Code: HGKWW

First Grade Families,

The holidays are just around the corner! :)  Books are the perfect gift to encourage your blossoming first grade reader!

If you are interested in ordering any books from our November/December book order (the flyers came home yesterday), please submit your order online by Monday, December 4.  If you are ordering the books as a gift for you child, let me know, and I will hold on to them here at school for you!

In our classroom, we are loving Pete the Cat, Piggie and Elephant, Pigeon, Biscuit, David, and Little Critter during our character study right now.

Ordering online is fast and easy:

  •  REGISTER at
  •  ENTER the Class Activation Code at the top of this post
  •  CHOOSE from thousands of print titles, value packs, and Storia eBooks
  •  SUBMIT the order to me by the due date
  •  EARN FREE Books for our classroom too!

Let me know if you have any questions and thank you!!!

Rachel :)

Important Notes: Week 14

I hope that your Thanksgiving weekend was filled with family, fun, food, and a little relaxation too.  I had so much fun with my kiddos and caught up on a bunch of household chores, but I am missing my first graders dearly!!!  Get ready – these next four weeks will be jam-packed with holiday fun!!!

We had a little Friends-giving celebration in our classroom before break!  We made thankful pumpkins, read about the first Thanksgiving, and made Pilgrim hat snacks out of cookies and candy!

November 28 – Library Day

December 1 – 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.  Feel free to send me an e-mail.)

Congratulations to CONNOR who earned an outstanding award for our class!!  He was caught by Mrs. Reagan demonstrating our be nice, work hard, and learn well motto.  Connor is an outstanding role model for others in our class!!!


Learning Update!!!


We spent this week revising and editing our small moment stories. Each student had the chance to choose a favorite piece they had been working on and then we worked to make it even better.

After revising and editing, we added color to our pictures and a cover page with a title and author. Finally, at the end of the week, we got to celebrate our stories!  After reading and coloring, we shared compliments about what we’ve learned as writers and had our Hawaiian Punch toast! We had a great time wrapping up our second unit of writing. We hope you enjoy the stories that come home!


We continued to work on subtraction strategies, this week. The first graders performed very well with the strategy of:

  1. Circling the numbers in the story
  2. Listening to see if the story is subtraction or addition
  3. Writing the secret code that matches the story (T-P=P or P+P=T)
  4. Adding the number to the equation
  5. Drawing the math mountain
  6. Putting the total at the top
  7. Clapping and counting ON or UP to solve for the missing number

We are in the habit of checking to see if the number we solved for makes sense in the math mountain (the largest number always has to go at the top). If they make a mistake, the math mountain helps them to realize this.

For an easy to read version, click here –>  Solving Number Stories


This week, we continued to focus on common chunks that we see in words. We focused on words with ED endingsED typically makes three different sounds when it is at the end of a word. We worked on sorting words as we listened to the sounds the ED made.

The kids are noticing our H Brothers, R Sisters, and ED endings in their books and all over the classroom!

Important Notes: Week 13

We have a short, but very fun week ahead with some festive Thanksgiving projects!!!  We will also be reading several books to get our brains ready to begin writing persuasive letters.

We had a fun writing celebration on Friday complete with a toast.  I kept your child’s celebration story at school, but look for all their other writing to come home on Monday.  You will be amazed at how easy it is to read!!!

November 21 – Library Day

November 21 – Spelling Assessment

Our spelling words are: in, it, is, that, you

November 22-26 – Thanksgiving Break: NO SCHOOL

November 23 – Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thank you so much for all your donations for our PE CARES food drive.  Our school collected nearly 4,000 items!!  Way to go, Georgetown families!!!

Important Notes: Week 12

It was a pleasure to talk with all of you at conferences last week!!!   These first graders have been working hard since the beginning of the year.  Thank you so much for all of the support and encouragement that you provide your child at home working on math homework, take-home books, sight words, Raz-Kids and MobyMax.  I can’t wait to see how these sweet little ones continue to grow!!!  If you have any questions or concerns as the year continues please let me know.

We had so much fun visiting the book fair this week!  THANK YOU so much to the PTC and the sweet families from our classroom that donated books.  We have tons of new stories that we can’t wait to read!!!  Check out the cute cowboys and cowgirls from Room 106 in the photo above.  More photos from our week are on the photo stream.

November 1-16 – P.E. C.A.R.E.S.

November 14 – Vision Screening

November 14 – Library Day

November 16 – Parent Club Meeting @ 6:30

November 17 – Popcorn Day

November 17 – Writing Celebration

Brrrrr!!!! It has sure been cold outside!!!  Just a reminder to send your child to school with their cold weather gear – our lunchtime recess is a long one.  Also, don’t forget to label EVERYTHING in case a mitten, hat, or boot goes missing!

Our classroom has been a tad on the chilly side too.  Feel free to send your child to school with an extra sweatshirt or sweater to wear in the classroom.

Save the date…

November 22-26 – Thanksgiving Break: No School

December 14 – Holiday Program @ 6:30

Learning Update!!!


This year, we will gradually introduce our students to many different chunks that they can use when decoding a word (vowel teams, r-controlled vowels, etc.).  This week, we focused on H BROTHERS (th, sh, ch, & wh) & R SISTERS (ar, er, ir, ur, & or).


This week we focused on zooming in to the most important part of our small moment story. When we are writing our stories, it is easy to list off a bunch of things we did. We might end up with stories that sound like this….

“This weekend I went to the mall with my mom. We got some clothes. Then we went to Subway and got a sandwich. Next we went home and watched a movie. I hope we can do that again!”

We have been calling this a watermelon story. A watermelon story is a big story (many moments). In Writer’s Workshop, we want to write tiny seed stories. These stories are small, zoomed in stories. Like seeds in a watermelon, there are small stories inside of big stories.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 8.41.59 PM

Looking at the example story, we could write a seed story of going to the mall. We could also write a story about getting our sandwich from Subway or watching a movie at home. We want to focus on one moment in time, and write lots of details about that one time.

We also talked about making sure to add details to that seed story. We can do this by adding dialogue, writing details that use our five senses, and adding actions of what our hands, feet, and face are doing.


We continued to study and solve stories with missing partners this week during our math switch.  We also introduced our yellow quilt cards which have trained the kids to find a missing partner by clapping and counting UP with their fingers until they get to the total.

Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 4.13.53 PM

We ended the week by circling back to subtraction and began using our counting up strategy to quickly solve these equations.  The kids are very excited to begin subtraction on MobyMax!!!

While solving stories, our first graders performed very well with the strategy of writing the SECRET CODE (T – P = P), adding the equations on top, and drawing the math mountain to go with the equation.  We are in the habit of checking to see if the number we solved for makes sense in the math mountain (the largest number always has to go at the top). If they make a mistake, the math mountain helps them to realize this.


Important Notes: Week 11

Happy November!!!  We had some great conversations this past week as a part of our Be Nice * Be Safe focus. We talked about being a buddy on the playground and how to stand up for ourselves and others.  We will continue our discussion this week, focusing on the difference between tattling and reporting.  The kids loved sharing and thinking about what they might do if their feelings get hurt at school.  What a kind, caring, helpful, and sweet group of first graders!!!

Congratulations to LIAM who earned an outstanding award for our class!!  He was caught by Mrs. Reagan demonstrating our be nice, work hard, and learn well motto.  Liam is an outstanding role model for others in our class!!!

November 1 – 16 – P.E. C.A.R.E.S. Food Drive

November 6 & 8 – Parent-Teacher Conferences

November 7 – Happy Birthday Finn!!!

November 7 – Book Fair Preview Day

We will head down to the book fair so your child can make a wish list of the books he or she would like to get.  You do not have to purchase these books.  This experience gets the kids excited about new books to read or look at!!

November 8 – Book Fair Buy Day

Today our class has the opportunity to visit the book fair to purchase books.  If your child would like to buy a book, please send his/her money to school on Wednesday in an envelope labeled with your child’s name and the phrase “Book Fair Money”.

November 9 – Jet’s Pizza Night

November 10 – Western Day

Dress up in your cowboy/cowgirl gear in honor of our book fair this week!

November 11 – Veteran’s Day

*We will not have our normal library time this week due to the Book Fair.*

*Check out our class photo stream for pictures of our cute, feathered turkeys.*

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Parent/Teacher conferences will take place this week Monday and Wednesday.  I look forward to meeting with all of you to share some of the AMAZING growth your child has made since the beginning of the year!!

I’ve posted the conference schedule below.  We have a lot of wonderful things to talk about in just 15 minutes.  Please remember to be prompt and I will do my best to stay right on schedule too!

Thank you!!  Report cards will be handed out AT YOUR CONFERENCE.

Learning Update!!!


We learned 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. Your first grader can read more carefully by using a reading finger and reading at a moderate pace.

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 introduced the students to the idea of a guard dog as a way for the students to be on the lookout to see if they are letting in (or out) any unwanted words.


We are continuing to write Small Moment stories in Writer’s Workshop. We began the week by learning about PUNCTUATION ( . ! ? ). In order for the kids to know where to add their punctuation, they needed to know when a sentence was complete.  We spent time building sentences and we learned that you must have a who and a what in order to be a sentence.

We practiced adding PUNCTUATION to stories that didn’t have them. This can be a hard concept to grasp and we will continue to work on it all year. We shared our stories with our partners and pointed out our WHOs and our WHATs and where we added our punctuation.


We kicked off Unit 3 this past week and introduced our first graders to a new strategy: math mountains.  A math mountain is a method for organizing the partners on bottom and the total on top.  If we aren’t sure of the total in a math mountain we can underline the greater partner and count ON.  If a partner is missing, we can underline the known partner and count UP to the total (drawing a circle for each number that we count).  The number of circles tells us the missing partner.

Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 4.35.45 PM

Our first graders solved stories that were missing a partner instead of the total this week too.  This was our first time exploring ways to solve this kind of problem.  We found that our math mountain strategy helped us organize the numbers so we could count-UP from the known partner to the total in order find the missing partner.  So, we worked hard to recognize the total and partner in each story so our math mountains made sense and our work was accurate.