Monthly Archives: May 2014

We’ve Earned Our Star Goal!!

We’ve worked hard and earned our 20 stars!!  Our reward is a fort and stuffed animal day.  The kids voted on what they wanted to work toward, and that is what won!!  Next week Monday, June 2 we will celebrate!!  On Monday, the kids can bring a blanket and stuffed animal to school.  They can practice reading in their fort, snuggling up with their stuffed animal friends!!

After School Safety

Today we had many parents who biked to school and wanted to pick their children up as a last minute surprise.  These pick ups were unplanned resulting in parents trying to get students off busses and/or locating them as they were moving through the bus loop.

Changes in going home transportation cannot be made after 3 pm each day.  When emergencies occur, we do make changes, however as a general safety procedure it is critical that the 3 pm rule be followed.  

It is the staff’s responsibility to get 630 children to the busses, after school care or to the front lobby for parent pickup.  Each teacher sorts their students into groups for this critical end of day procedure — cross checking with parent notes, emails, phone calls.  

The purpose of this email is to remind everyone that a change in going home requires contact with the school no later than 3 pm in the day.  If you are picking up your child, go to the front lobby for pick up.

Contact me if you have any questions.  I want all of the children to get home safely.  

Mrs. Reagan

Zoo Field Trip… two days away!

All parent volunteers will receive a final note about the zoo (complete with a map, a timeline of our trip, and the parents/students in your tour group) on Wednesday.

Please e-mail me with questions you are wondering about.  Here are a couple answers to some frequently questions:

Where should I meet you?

Meet us outside the entrance to the zoo, near the Rose Garden, around 9:35/9:40.

When will the trip be done? 

After our picnic lunch, we will plan to head back to school around 1:15ish.

How much does it cost?

All the first graders are already paid for – thank you for sending in your dollar and thank to the PTC for funding the rest of our trip!  The cost for parents and siblings can be found at this link:John Ball Zoo Rates & Hours


Bubbles and Chalk Day

Every year, we look forward to celebrating the end of the year together outside with bubblessidewalk chalkpopsicles, and fun!  We are all stocked up on FUN, but…we would LOVE if you would add bubbles, LARGE bubble wands (Dollar Tree), popsicles, or sidewalk chalk to one of your shopping lists in the next few weeks.  We hold our celebration on the second to the last day of school (June 5), so if you are willing to help supply us, you can feel free to send in your goodies anytime before that day. 

Thanks so much!

WEB Reading

This will be our last week for WEB reading.  Your child will still be bringing home a WEB book this week, but not next week.  A huge thank you to our parent volunteers who have read with all of the kids!  We couldn’t have done it without you!!


In Reader’s Workshop this week we focused on becoming the character in the books we are reading. We found that we can use our voice, face, and body to help us act like the characters.

We practiced with some of our favorite books like Elephant and Piggie, Pigeon, and Henry and Mudge. Once we got really good at becoming the characters, we read our book to two other friends in our class.
We will continue working on characters with some reader’s theater next week!


This week was a busy week for writing. Thank you so much for all the parents and family who came to JUST WRITE. The kids had a blast showing off all their writing from the year and touring the school to see everyone else writing from the whole school.
We also celebrated our “All About” books. We spent the beginning of week creating a cover to our books and then we read our books to our friends in our classroom.  We had so much fun writing our “All About” book.


We have been studying larger 2-digit numbers.  We noticed that every 2-digit number has a place to show the tens hiding inside, along with a place to show the extra ones.  We also represented these numbers using ten sticks and circles, and wrote an equation to match our work.

Then we worked on adding two 2-digit numbers together and solved it the same way: by drawing ten sticks and circles.

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We checked to see if we had enough circles left over to make a new ten.  If we did, we circled them into a group of ten.  Then we counted all our ten sticks and then our left over ones to find the answer.

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In Reader’s Workshop this week, we have been practicing our fluency and expression! When we are a fluent reader, we sound smooth with very little pauses or stops. When we are an expressive reader, we change how our voice sound to make sense with the words we are reading – just like we do when we talk.

We picked out one of the books in our book boxes and practiced practiced practiced! On Friday, we got to visit Mrs. Ray’s second grade classroom to share our fluent and expressive reading. Our first graders were a little shy at first, but they had a lot of fun sharing their books with a second grade partner. They did an amazing job!


This week in Write’s Workshop we have been preparing for our All About Book writing celebration AND our Just Write celebration! We have been adding more detail and color to our stories… making covers, dedication, and author pages… stapling books together… hanging up stories… we have been busy! 🙂 

We can’t wait for you to join us on Thursday, May 15 at 2:45pm to celebrate our amazing writing. Anyone is welcome to join – we hope you can make it!


This past week our mathematicians studied measurement.  We discussed how in the old days before rulers were invented, people used to use their body parts to measure objects.  This kids couldn’t believe this was true and brought up a very big problem… our feet and fingers are different sizes!  We realized that when we use a common unit – like a paperclip – we all get the same results.  To test this theory, we used paperclips to measure various things in our math book and around the room.

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We also introduced the word length and talked about how to line up measurement tools properly to get the most accurate measurement.  We compared lengths of objects from shortest to longest and longest to shortest (1, 2, 3)

At the end of the week we took our Unit 7 assessment – our first graders did great!  Next week, we will be back in math switch groups to cover our last big concept… 2-digit addition!


This week we have continued to observe our caterpillars in their habitat. By the beginning of the week, all the caterpillars were in their chrysalis and moved into the butterfly habitat. While were were observing them this week, we looked at other animals and their life cycles. We looked at the life cycle of a snake, penguin and frog. We noticed how each animal started as a egg, then baby, and grew into an adult and started the life cycle all over again.
The next day we focused on the similarities and differences between an adult animal and a baby animal. We looked at how they changed from a young animal to an adult. We noticed that most young animals are born with fur and then as they become an adult, they fur falls out and sometimes turns into feathers.
We also looked at what all animals need. We know that all animals need food, water, air, and shelter (home). We wrapped up our Animal Life unit by looking at the life cycle of a butterfly. We know that there is an egg that turns into a caterpillar that grows bigger and makes a chrysalis and then becomes a butterfly and then the life cycle starts all over again. We have loves watching the changes in our caterpillars as they turn into butterflies!
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A couple of things from room 104…

On Thursday, May 15, we will take a trip to N. Schut Greenhouses to learn more about how the sun helps plants grow.  This field trip is only for the students in our class and will last for a short half-hour to forty-five minutes.  We will definitely be back in time for our JUST WRITE Celebration which will begin at 2:45 in the afternoon on that same day.  Mark your calendars!!!  All parents, siblings, and grandparents are invited to join us to experience a first grade writing celebration and tour the school to check out the amazing writers at Georgetown!!!  JUST WRITE t-shirt orders were sent home last week.  If you would like to get a shirt, make sure to send in your order by May 7.

Please remember to fill out the zoo field trip survey if you haven’t already.

Here’s what we’ve been up to this week:


In Reader’s Workshop, we are continuing to become experts on a topic. This week, we have worked on looking carefully at the words in our books.

First, we compared the books in our book box. In two of our spider books, we noticed that they taught the same thing. They both taught us how spiders can help people. We also saw something different about our spider books. One book taught us about the history of the spider, and the other did not.
Next, we looked at words that were important to our topic. We practiced with a non-fiction book about butterflies. We found the words pupaleavescaterpillar, and butterfly to be important words. These words helped us learn and teach others about what we read about. We kept track of our book’s important words with sticky notes.
Finally, we remembered that we should be using our accuracy strategies when we come to a tricky word.


This week in Write’s Workshop we focused on revising “All About” books that we have been working on for the past few weeks. We started the week off by revising one book. When we were revising, we read each page carefully and made sure that we had at least one fact that was teaching our reading about our topic. Students were encouraged to go through other finished books and make sure they had teaching facts on each page.
Our next lesson was using our writing partners to help us revise. We picked one book to share with out partner and took turns reading each page of our book to our partner. We asked our partner, “Did I have one teaching fact on that page?” Our partners also helped us make sure our writing made sense and had punctuation in the right places.
Another lesson we learned was making sure to use precise words in our writing that make our facts more exact. For example instead of saying “Dogs like to play.” we could say, “Some dogs like to play.” We read through each page and tried to make our facts more exact by adding precise words. I challenged first graders to go reread their other books and see if the could add precise words to those books too.
We ended the week with a discussion about how to make our writing more exciting. We can make our writing more exciting by wondering or exclaiming on our teaching pages. First we want to make sure we state our fact and then we want to react to it. For example, “Whales have a blow hole to help them breathe. I wonder how much water they shoot out?” or “An Apatosaurus has nostrils on top of his skull. That is interesting because usually animals have them above their mouth!”
First Graders have been working so hard on these “All About” book! Way to go!


We continued to study shapes during our math time this week.  We started the week combining triangles, rectangles and squares to form new shapes.  We learned about: rhombuses, trapezoids, parallelograms, and hexagons.  We also found that we could combine and transpose our shapes to create patterns.

Later in the week we began exploring with 3-dimentional shapes! We touched on the following shapes…

We learned about the attributes of each of these shapes.  We also briefly discussed how these 3-D shapes compare to the 2-D shapes. For example: the 3-D sphere is just like a 2-D circle and the 3-D rectangular prism is just like a 2-D rectangle.  We combined different shapes together to create new shapes and also tried to break large shapes apart into smaller ones.

On Friday, we became engineers as we used marshmallows and toothpicks to create all the shapes we’ve been learning about.  The kids had so much fun!

We’ll be wrapping up our Unit 7 in math next week!


In Science, we have been learning about the SUN and WEATHER! We started off our Weather unit learning all about TemperatureClouds, and Wind.

With Temperature, we discussed a thermometer and the seasons in depth! We ended this lesson by coloring different thermometers depending on their temperature. They made sure that the Hot thermometer was colored red because it’s hot and the Cold thermometer was colored blue because it’s cold. We also talked about the numbers that match temperatures that are hot, warm, cool, and cold.  New vocabulary: thermometer, Fahrenheit, degrees.

With Clouds, our scientists learned about cloud cover. There are four categories of cloud cover: clearpartly cloudycloudy, and foggy. We identified each of these categories with a picture.

Lastly, we covered Wind. With this lesson, we read a short book about wind… then we headed right outside!! Once outside on Georgetown’s observation deck, we tried out our very own pinwheels!  It happened to be quite a breezy afternoon when we ventured out and the kids squealed with delight as they watched their pinwheels race!  We talked about the speed and the direction of the wind.  We also talked about how wind is invisible and how pinwheels aren’t the only tool that we can use to see the wind.  The kids right away noticed the trees and bushes moving, as well as the ripples on the pond, the flag, our hair and clothing moving, goose bumps on their skin…the list kept going!

We also about different kinds of precipitation: rain, snow, hail, and freezing rain.

We have also learned that plants need sunlight in order to live!  We finished our plant observation– we have been closely watching a plant that we water and keep in the sunlight and another that is in a bag in the back room for two weeks.  We have looked at the different plants over multiple days noticing what happens when a plant is not given sunlight or water!  The kids pointed out that the leaves turn brown… the plant gets crispy, the stems and leaves droop, and it doesn’t look as nice!

We started our daily weather observations, so your little meteorologist might be asking to watch the weather forecast with you in the mornings!  We will predict and record actual weather each day this week (temperature, wind, cloud cover, and precipitation).

As we monitor our daily weather changes, we also will study severe weather that we experience in Michigan and how to stay safe in these storms.  The three storms that we will study are: blizzardstornadoes, and thunderstorms.

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