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.

Important Notes: Week 10

What a fun Friday!!!  The kids LOVED dressing in their costumes, and had a blast making their toilet paper pumpkins, playing Halloween Memory, and eating TONS of yummy food. THANK YOU so much to the many parents that volunteered in our classroom during the party and donated all of our supplies and treats.  We are so thankful for all of you!!!  I have added all of the pictures from our party to our class photo stream – let me know if you need the link to check them out.

Oct. 30-Nov. 3 – Be Nice * Be Safe Week

October 31 – Happy Halloween!!!

October 31 – Library Day

November 1 – P.E. C.A.R.E.S Begins

November 3 – 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 to let me know.)

November 5 – Day Light Savings – Fall Back

Last week, I sent an e-mail with our fall conference schedule.  Please mark this date on your calendar.  If you have not sent me an e-mail to confirm your time, please do!  I am excited to be able to meet with you and share some of the amazing growth your first grader has made since the beginning of the year!

Learning Update!!!


This week, we focused heavily on capital letters. We talked about the three main places that we need to add capital letters: the word I, names of things, & at the beginning of a sentence. We spent time practicing together and they worked hard to add these to their own writing. We are encouraging them to be careful not to add capital letters to all their words (which is common for beginning writers). Understanding what a sentence is and when one starts and ends is a tricky concept that we will continue to build on throughout the year.


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.


This week, we reviewed all the concepts that we covered in Unit 2. Unit 2 covered addition and subtraction strategies and provided the foundation for all of the math learning that will take place for the rest of this year and beyond. Look for the math assessment to come home soon and check over how your child performed. Any areas that are still NOT consistently solid, we will continue to practice in our lesson warm ups and small group intervention.  This week’s homework will be a review of writing addition equations (P + P = T) and subtraction equations (T – P = P).

Important Notes: Week 9

It looks like we might be in for some wet and cool weather this 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.

We are excited for some fun fall activities this week!!!

October 24 – 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.  If your child signed-up for the race, Turkey Trot t-shirts/goodies will be sent home on Monday.

UPDATE – The Turkey Trot is cancelled due to the rainy weather.  Please see Mrs. Reagan’s post for more details –> Turkey Trot Cancelled.  If your child was going to participate, plan to wear the Turkey Trot shirt on Tuesday.

 October 24 – Library Day

October 26 – Picture Retakes

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

October 26 – Math Assessment

October 27 – Halloween Party @ 12:45

Click on this link for information about our party –> Halloween Party Details

October 28 – Happy Birthday Hailey!!!

Our fall parent-teacher conferences have been scheduled!!!  Look for an e-mail on Monday with your designated time.  Please respond to the e-mail to let me know if your time looks good or if we need to reschedule for a different date/time.  Thank you!

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!!!

Halloween Party Details!!!

Our Halloween Party will take place this Friday, October 27, from 12:45-1:30.


On FridayOctober 27, 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 (or stay in their costume) after the party before we have recess.

Thank you so much to all the parents who are donating supplies and volunteering during the event. Please send in your party donations by Thursday, 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!!!  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. Please leave younger siblings at home to allow for space in the classrooms. I am planning on the following volunteers as of today: Farrah Foust, Whitney Elders, Kelly Archer, Tracey Schroeder, Elizabeth Hoffman, Patty Rayla, and Mary Segard.*  

*If your name is not on this list and you would like to attend our party, head to our sign up page and add your name to help with our game, snack, or craft.  Also, fill out a background check.

Learning Update!!!


This past week, we continued to focus on how to decode tricky words while we’re reading. We reviewed the strategies from last week and if we still need help, then when we come to a tricky word, we skip it (Skippy the Frog) and read the rest of the sentence. Once we have read to the end of the sentence, we 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).


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!


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, and spelling our word wall words correctly. We spent time writing a shared writing piece. We chose to write about our first writing celebration and we have been working our way through the steps of writing a good small moment story, focusing on neat handwriting, finger spaces, and word wall words. We are seeing some huge growth in handwriting and finger spaces.


This week, we focused on subtraction equations and stories.  We continued to emphasize that a subtraction equation always begins with the total and worked hard to label all our equations so we knew which numbers to put where.

We also learned that we can use addition to help us solve subtraction.  If we know the partners for an addition equation, we can use this understanding to help us find the missing partner in a subtraction equation.

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 9.30.49 PM