Monthly Archives: November 2011

Holiday Music Program

The Thanksgiving Holiday is behind us and we are heading straight into a week filled with holiday shopping and program rehearsals.

On December 1 we will hold our all school Holiday Program at Fair Haven Ministries located on Baldwin St. and 28th Ave.   This program is organized and arranged by our music teachers, Mrs. Bretz and Mrs. Walenta.

Important details about this performance are as follows:

There are two separate programs:  

Grade PK-2 at 6 pm and Grades 3-5 at 7:15 pm.

Drop off times:

  • Grades PK-2 need to be dropped off between 5:30 and 5:45 in their assigned rooms.  The program begins at 6 pm.  Please keep your children’s coats with you.  If you have children in older grades, take them with you to watch the lower elementary performance.
  • Grades 3-5 need to be dropped off between 6:45-7 pm.  The program begins at 7:15 pm.   Please keep your children’s coats with you.  If you have children in younger grades, take them with you to watch the upper elementary performance.


  • Parents will be dismissed to pick their children up in the classrooms as soon as the program in completed.
  • Grades PK-2 will be dismissed as follows:  Parents of oldest and only children; Parents of more than one child in grades PK-2; Parents of children in Grades PK-5.
  • We will follow a similar dismissal for the Grades 3-5 performance at 7:45 pm, however, parents who are attending the middle school band performances will go first followed by oldest and only, etc.

Please note that based on rental guidelines with FAIR HAVEN MINISTRIES, we have been asked as a school community to follow these procedures outlined below.

  1. DOORS UNLOCKED at 5:30 pm.
  2. NO FOOD OR DRINK in the Ministry Center.
  3. Respectful use of property throughout the center.

The program will be video taped for all families.  A DVD of this program will be available to families one week following the program.  The fee for this DVD is $5.00.  These can be turned in anytime between now and December 9.  Order form:Holiday DVD Order Form

We are looking forward to celebrating the holiday’s and your children’s vocal talents with you on December 1.

Thank you!

Holiday Gift Shop

On Wednesday, November 30, your child will have the opportunity to visit the holiday gift shop being held at our school.  If your child is planning to shop be sure to send in the Gift List Planner with money enclosed by Wednesday.

Happy Shopping!

Listening to Reading

The first graders have had a BLAST being listeners during our reading workshop!  We have a fabulous collection of books for the students to use when they choose to be listeners, but one frustration that has come up is that some students brought in ear buds as their headphones and have a hard time keeping them in their ears.  If your student is having this problem and you would like to switch out their headphones for a different style, we will graciously send home the other set.  Ask your child how their headphones work!!!

Top Secret!

Dear Parents,

Please send 5 to 7 pictures of your family to school with your child by November 30.  Please send pictures on photo paper that do not need to be returned!  We are starting a TOP SECRET project next week. 🙂

Thank you!

Science Update!

This week in Science we learned about magnets!  Our first topic of discussion was asking what the kids already knew.  They knew that things stick to the refrigerator and we can stick things to our desks.  We started the week with an experiment- we predicted what things would stick to magnets.

Each student and partner was given a bag with multiple objects inside.  First, we went through and predicted if we thought the object would be magnetic or not, and then we went back and tested them all.  We were a little surprised by some of the answers!  The paperclip was magnetic, along with our scissors, but the penny was not.  We explained that in order for an object to be magnetic, it needed to have something special called IRON in it.  We went through our list of predictions to figure out which objects had iron in them!

The next thing we talked about was how magnets have 2 poles, a north and a south.  The kids learned that opposites attract and the same poles repel, or push away from each other.  We experimented with all different kinds of magnets to find out what poles were the same and what poles were opposite.

The last day, we turned into magnets!  One of our hands had a “N” and the other had a “S”.  We practiced a few times showing how we could “attract” to a partner by having a N and S together, or how we could repel from a partner if we both put up the same pole.  Once we got the hang of it, the kids moved around the room to music and when the music stopped they had to listen for their direction to either repel or attract the closest person to them.  We would continue and each time the music stopped- the kids stopped and thought about which hand to put up to show the proper magnetic response.  🙂

We then continued our acting with a review of the properties of matter.  When the music would stop, this time I would give the direction for the kids to imitate a solid, liquid or gas.  If I said solid, they kept their own shape (or rolled up in a ball-like a rock).  If I said liquid, they pretended they were a liquid and spread out to take the shape of their container (the floor).  And if I said gas, they pretended to spread out and fill up our container by making their arms float up and down.  All in all, it was a great review of our science unit and a lot of fun!  Check out their pictures for yourself! 🙂

Math Update!

This week we continued to solve subtraction stories and practiced writing subtraction equations.

We learned how to prove that both sides of a subtraction equation are equal by making a circle drawing under each side of the equation.

We also learned that making a circle drawing is the best way to solve a subtraction equation that has a missing partner.

To finish up our week, we learned how to write equations a whole new way.  Equations can be written side-to-side (horizontal), like we’ve always done… BUT, they can also be written up-and-down (vertical).   We practiced solvingaddition and subtraction stories and writing our equations both ways.

Next week Tuesday, we will take our Unit 2 math assessment which covers everything that we’ve learned about addition and subtraction.  We are very confident that our first graders will do a terrific job!!!  We can’t thank you enough for taking the time to help your child with their math homework each night that it comes home!!!

Reading Update!

This week we continued to work on building our reading stamina.  Our goal is to eventually reach 20 minutes for read-to-self time.  Each day we have spent time brainstorming solutions to distractions that happen during our reading time.  The kids have done a great job helping each other make this reading time comfortable and beneficial for everyone.

Our kids know that when they go off to be readers, they need to:

Be URGENT! (quickly find a spot and get right to work!)

Stay in one spot!

Work quietly! Shhhhhh!

Read the WHOLE TIME…build your stamina!

They have gotten very good at all of these things.  They even know that good readers spread out all of their books in front of them so that they don’t have to mess around with their book box to find a book or tool.  To help guide them in making the best choices during read to self time, we had them practice reading in this order:

1.  Sight Word practice

2.  Read your Just Right Books!

3.  Take out your check mark or shape GO! map and strengthen your comprehension with a Just Right book

4.  Read your Picture Books

5.  Read you poems or songs

It is easy to see that with each new day, our students are really growing their independent reading stamina!

Writing Update!

We started a new unit of study in writing this week as well.  This unit focuses on making our writing easier for people to read.  For the first few days, we focused on sorting our writing into piles of ‘easy to read’ and ‘not so easy to read’ piles.  We then examined the ‘easy’ stories to find what made them so easy to read.

Finger Spaces

Detailed Pictures

Stretched-out Words

Words spelled in a SNAP!

Neat Handwriting (that fits the lines)

Punctuation ! . ?

Uppercase letters to start a sentence

Lowercase letters in the middle of words

Not a lot of scribbles or crossing out


…and it MAKES SENSE!!!!!

We focused on knowing when we can write a word ‘in a snap’ (spelling or sight words) and when we need to stretch out our words.  We even found our trickiest word and then shared it with a friend to see if they could read it.  If they could, we celebrated!  If they couldn’t, we had them help us add more sounds to make it easier to read.  We have great writing partners!

We also talked about how a common error that we make is reversing our b’s and d’s.  This can make our writing tricky to read, so we gave them a new trick to remember their b’s and d’s better.  When you write the letter b, you start with a straight line down.  We showed them how that straight line down can resemble a baseball bat.  And baseball bat starts with a /b/ sound.  So, when they get to a word that has a /b/ sound, they think…BASEBALL BAT and know that they draw a straight line down first.  When you write the letter d, you start with the magic c shape…that same shape resembles a donut and donut starts with a /d/ sound.  So, when they get to a word that has a /d/ sound, they think…DONUT and know that they draw the donut (magic c shape) first.  Hopefully this trick will help some of our kids who have a hard time remembering which way those tricky b and d letters face!