Week 7!

It was a cold, rainy day for the Walk-a-thon this past Friday, but we didn’t let the yucky weather get us down.  We had a blast walking around the school and dancing some Zumba in the multipurpose room.  Thank you so much for sending in your donations in support of our school.  Prize winners will be announced later this week once all of the donations have been counted.  Pictures from the Walk-a-thon have been posted to our google photo stream – just send me an e-mail if you would like me to re-share the link.

This coming week, we will visit RazKids, a fantastic website full of books at your child’s just-right level, on the computers and iPads.  Your child has access to this wonderful website at home too!  It is a great resource to use for snow days and during days off from school.  To access it, just log onto Clever using the name and password located on your child’s blue folder.  Click on the RazKids app. My teacher username is: swoodring. Your child’s password for RazKids is the same password that they use to log in to Clever.  Have fun exploring!

October 8 – Homework Packet Due

Thank you so much for helping your child read, practice sight words, and complete their math pages this past week.  Remember, new sight words will be sent home when your child moves on to a new level at school.  Right now, our first grade parapro and I are meeting with students to practice words.  Soon, we will have parent helpers working with our first graders, too.  Your child will progress through words more quickly when this support begins! 🙂

October 8 – Walkathon Donations Due

October 11 – Jet’s Pizza Night

October 12 – Library Day

Help your child bring his/her book back to school.

October 12 – 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 if a sack lunch is needed.)

Our Halloween Party is coming together!!  Thank you so much to everyone who has volunteered materials and your time already!!  Remember our party will take place Wednesday, October 31 @ 12:45.  If you are planning to attend the party, please sign up to assist with the craft, game, or snack and fill out the background check form: BACKGROUND CHECK.Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on SignUp.com

Mind Up Update!

These past few days of Mind Up were spent focusing in mindful listening.  We started by introducing the students to a new part of their brain.  You may have heard your first grader talking about their Reticular Activating System (RAS).  Ok, typing that sentence just made me laugh, but ask your first grader about their RAS and see what they have to share!

A few weeks ago, we had the students focus as hard as they could on their sense of hearing for a short amount of time and then discussed all the things they were able to hear.  We came up with a long list, but that was just our sense of hearing.  All of our senses are busy picking up different sights, tastes, smells, feelings, and noises and sending them to our brains.  Our RAS is the part of the brain that gathers all those messages and decides which messages are important enough to be passed on to the rest of the brain and which things can be ignored.  We talked about how when they are trying to listen to instruction in the classroom, we need to train our own RAS to know how to ignore distractions like noises from other rooms, the hallway, outside, or friends sitting next to us and focus on the teaching.

To strengthen our ability to focus our RAS, we did some listening exercises and the kids had to work hard to focus on certain sounds and really ignore all other distractions.  We took note of what our body does when we are focusing really hard and came up with the following list:

If you were to walk the halls around first grade, you will often hear us asking the kids to show us what mindful listening looks like or to focus their RAS…you can use that at home, as well!

Reading Update!

We continued to build on our strategies for figuring out tricky words. So far, we’ve talked about sneaking a peek at the picture for clues to the words on the page. The kids also got good practice studying all the parts of their tricky words for chunks of the word that they knew. And, we ended the week by practicing using the context of the rest of the sentence to help them figure out tricky words. So, when you are reading with your child at home, if they come to a tricky word, encourage them to look at the picture, look at all the parts of the word, and to take a running start and try rereading the sentence.

Writing Update!

This week, we continued to add details to our stories that bring our stories to life. We worked on adding tiny steps to our stories and telling them one step at a time, instead of zooming through all the parts.

 We also learned this week, how to finish our stories with a special ending by adding our feelings or thoughts. We talked about how when you give a gift, you finish by wrapping it up and tying a bow.  Stories are similar, our endings help “tie a bow” to our stories and help the reader know that our story is finished. We talked about how sharing some thoughts or feelings at the end of our story is a good way to finish.

Math Update!

Our first grade mathematicians have learned to solve addition stories by drawing pictures, using circle drawings, and writing equations.

This week each of our math groups brainstormed solution strategies for solving equations with missing totals.  To solve 5 + 2 = ___, our first graders suggested…

…making a circle drawing:  

…counting the partners on all their fingers: 

A third strategy that we learned was: COUNTING ON!!!!  Counting on is more accurate and time saving than the first two methods.  When we count on, we underline the greater number and draw dots under the smaller number to show our math work.  Then, we clap and say the greater number, and count on by pointing to and counting the circles under the smaller number.

Picture 3

Week 6!

Go Eagles!!!  We had a fun Friday showing off our school spirit and cheering with the super fans.  It sounds like the Homecoming Football game was a good one. 🙂 🙂

October 2 – Vision Screening

October 5 – Library Day

October 5 – Walk-a-thon

We are pumped up and excited to walk in support of our school!!!  Plan to dress your first grader in 80’s gear and comfy shoes on Friday (or Eagle Pride gear).  The first graders will be walking on the track from 9:45-10:30.  All parents are welcome to join us outside to walk on the track.  Donation envelopes can be sent in on or before Monday, October 8.

This week our first homework packet will be sent home.  Please look for this in your child’s blue folder on Monday.  Directions are included right on the page.  For more information about homework in first grade please check out this link –> HOMEWORK.

This week your child will bring home some important reading homework too!  An envelope will come home in your child’s blue folder containing sight words to practice. Plan to keep this envelope in a safe place, so you and your child can practice these sight words quickly every night. New sight words will be sent home when your child moves on to a new set at school.  Sometimes this will happen in just a couple of days. Other times it may take a week or two before your child receives a new set.  Please save all of your child’s sight words, so you can go back and review some of the older ones periodically. Knowing many words by sight will help to boost your child’s confidence and fluency as a reader. Thank you so much for your support at home!

***Look for an e-mail later this week with details about how to help with our sight words at school.  I would love to have some parent/grandparent volunteers come to school to practice with our first graders each week.***

Writing Update!

The kids have gotten the hang of planning their stories with a beginning, middle, and end, but they don’t always add more than just one detail on each page. So, this week, we focused on adding details to our stories that bring our stories to life. We especially worked to make our characters move and make our characters talk. It was so fun to see the different ways the first graders were adding these details to the words and in the pictures. We’ll keep adding new ways to bring our stories to life next week.

Reading Update!

This week, we continued to work on building good reading habits. We worked on rereading to build fluency. We focused on reading with a smooth voice and scooping up phrases as we read, instead of reading one word at a time. These strategies will support higher reading comprehension.

Then, we began a new bend in our first unit of reading and focused in on strategies for figuring out tricky words. We first talked about taking a sneak peek at the pictures to look for clues that might help us figure out some of the words on the page. We then labeled some bad habits that readers pick up and encouraged kids to try strategies from our good habit poster.

Math Update!

This week we began our second math unit.  Unit 2 will cover addition and subtraction strategies and provides the foundation for all of the math learning that will take place for the rest of this year and beyond.

This week we learned how to draw pictures to solve story problems. This strategy worked well, except it took us a R-E-A-L-L-Y long time to draw pictures of some objects, such as castles, pencils, and rockets.

Later in the week, we tried a new strategy: circle drawings. We used a break apart stick and circles to show the partners in a story. Then we counted up the total in a snap!


We also learned about the math symbols, equal (=) and not equal (≠).  Numbers are equal (=) when they are exactly the same. This understanding of equality is an important math concept that students will apply when writing equations throughout this year.