October 27 - 31

Thanks to everyone who has already signed up for a conference time! If you haven't yet, please scroll down (online) to see the available times left or refer to the hard-copy schedule enclosed with this week's hand-outs and let me know your preferred choices ASAP. If none of the times listed to meet at school will work for you please let me know and I'll be happy to work with your schedule and/or meet you at another location.

Our evacuation drill went very smoothly on Thursday afternoon. We had a beautiful, crisp fall afternoon and the students did an excellent job walking safely together the entire way!

This week in math we introduced using a number line to solve addition ("counting up") and subtraction ("counting back") problems and to keep track when counting by 5s, 10s, and 3s. Our math curriculum refers to the space between numbers on the number line as "hops," for example: How many hops does it take to go from 5 to 8? (3) Students draw a curved line between the numbers they are counting to show the distance they are "hopping."

Some students were confused as to whether they should count the number they start on (they shouldn't). I found having them circle the starting number helped them keep track of what to count a little better. Please let me know if you have any other strategies that helped your child with this skill when doing the homework problems!

On Friday morning we had another student from Cornell's Entomology Department come speak to our class about insects. He brought his insect collecting equipment (including his aspirator, pictured here), talked about ants, and answered the students' questions .

We were also fortunate to have Isabelle's Mom (Monica) come in to do a special collage art project with the class on Friday afternoon! Thank you for sharing your time and artistic abilities with us.

In writing workshop this week we began sharing our writings/drawings with the class and worked on being both a good listener and a good speaker in front of the class. I was impressed with how the students respected each other's work and how they took pride in showing and explaining their own work.

In reading we have been working in small groups with each group focusing on a range of skills depending on their developing reading abilities. Some students are building their foundation of letter sounds, some are working on word families/patterns, and some are working on comprehending different aspects of a story. All of the students are working on fluency (reading outloud like we tell a story), vocabulary, and thinking about what would make sense based on the sentence/story/picture (not purely sounding out each letter on the page). Thank you for making time to read with your child each day.

Thanks to everyone who has sent in a set of winter clothes labeled with your child's name for accidents. As you pull out your family's winter wardrobe this year, please keep us in mind if you find any snow pants or other winter accessories that no longer fit anyone in your household as we can always use extras at school!

Next week's sight words will be: are, came, good, way, went.

Finally, thanks to Willem's and Seneca's families for coordinating a social event for the class on Friday. It's great for the students to have a chance to see each other outside of school and for the families to all get to know each other better, too. I look forward to seeing you all there! Have a wonderful weekend.

October 20 - 24

I am pleased to welcome Samantha (Sam) to our classroom this week!  She has been handling the transition to a new school very well and everyone has been a good friend to her and helping show her around - especially Narea!  I will send home updated family contact information sheets for our class as soon as I have all of the information to share.  Also please note that "Zoe O" would now like to be called "Zoe Liz" (her middle name is Elizabeth).  "Zoe G" decided that she would like to be called either "Zoe G" or "Zoe Belinda." 

It was great seeing so many families at our pizza & play night on Tuesday!  Despite being restricted to the gym due to the slushy weather, it was a fun evening for all who could make it.  Thanks again to our room parents for organizing that social event.  

This week we read two books about ladybugs and then wrote and drew our own books about ladybugs to keep in our classroom library for a few weeks.  Be on the lookout for the books we made earlier this year about butterflies and about ourselves coming home this weekend!

On Friday we had a guest speaker from Cornell's Department of Entomology who talked with us about Insect Superpowers.  We also had a bug-themed snack that day!  On October 31 we will have another guest speaker who will talk about ants, and on November 21 we will have a third speaker talk about aquatic insects.

This weekend is INSECTAPALOOZA at Cornell!  This exciting annual event is open to the public and is a great way for children to get hands on experience with all kinds of insects and to learn from the experts.  I highly encourage you to attend.

The temperature outside is dropping but we are still taking the children outside for recess as long as it's not raining, so please dress your child appropriately.  Gloves are a good idea!  We are sending home the set of extra warm weather clothes this week.    Please send in a set of EXTRA COLD WEATHER CLOTHES labeled with your child's NAME for muddy/wet/messy accidents!  Any extra winter boots/snowpants/accessories we could share in our class would be appreciated, too.  Thank you.

I will be attending a Literacy Workshop on the morning of Tuesday, October 28 and Richie will be in the class for a half day.  I will also have brief meetings to attend on the morning of Thursday, October 30 and the afternoon of Friday, October 31.  NOTE: I will have some fall-themed craft activities and games on October 31, but we do not celebrate Halloween at this school so no costumes are allowed on that day.    

A quick note about homework and reading folders: the children are doing a great job remembering to turn in their work.  Please feel free to give me any feedback about the work either on the sheets themselves or in a separate note/email.  Also remember that the math sheets and books are intended to supplement our curriculum and give both you and me more information, but you make the final decision as to what your child/family has time for and when it is completed!

This past week’s sight words were: but, they, over, run, of.    Next week’s sight words will be: back, don’t, my, see, was.

Please use the online form below or the print-out of it sent home this Friday to indicate your preferred conference time and I will confirm with you ASAP. 

October 13-17

We had a busy week despite the holiday on Monday.  We are in the process of creating a class book using print-outs of digital pictures I've taken and words from the word wall.  That should be finished next week so be sure to check it out next time you're in our classroom!

We also worked on making different amounts of money with nickels and pennies.  We played a game using unifix cubes (groups of 5 for nickels and single cubes for pennies) and talked about how a nickel is like a group of 5 tally marks.  Most children seemed to find writing the N and P for the coins too abstract, and did better with the hands-on manipulatives.  Keep this in mind when helping your child with his/her Everyday Math homework that uses the N and P symbols often.  Please help your child explore and experiment with all kinds of change at home, too. 

We also learned more of the song "No Bones Within," reconstructed sentences about insects, then looked in books to draw a detailed insect and label its body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen.  These are a nice compliment to our murals about ants and the beautiful drawings/paintings of fall leaves that are decorating the classroom.

We did some amazing writing about the books we have read this week, too.  I'm very impressed with the growth I'm seeing and the class is doing a great job working in small groups.  

On Friday the class listened to some poems about fall leaves and pumpkins with Richie while practicing visualization: getting a picture in your head of what you read/listen to.  They also worked on "skip counting" by different amounts like 3s, 4s, etc.  

Please let me know if you have any questions about the web-based Everday Math Games or the Raz-Kids reading website.  Again, those are optional supplements to our curriculum.  At choice time the children who choose computer can use either of those two sites, Starfall, or Reader Rabbit 1st Grade.

I'll begin sending home graded/checked work and homework only on Fridays (thanks to Serenity's help filing and organizing them).  This should help avoid confusion about what papers need to be returned to school and what's homework.  Some work is just so exciting it can't wait until Friday to go home though.

Have a great weekend!

Week of October 6-10

Please note that there is no school this Friday (Oct. 10) or Monday (Oct. 13).

Special thanks to Geoffrey's Dad (Matt), Willem's Mom (Betsy), Zoe G's Mom (Karen), Sophia's Mom (Mary Jo), and Seneca's Dad (Jean-Luc) for coming in to volunteer this week!  Angelo's Mom (Serenity) and Morgan's Mom (Courtnay) among others will begin volunteering soon....  

We are expanding our study of butterflies to include all kinds of insects.  We had a great time writing and making a mural about ants after reading Those Amazing Ants and then making various insects (and spiders) out of egg cartons. 

We also learned a song called No Bones Within by the Banana Slug String Band about insect body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen.  I sent home a copy of the song lyrics in your child's folder but it's not homework, it's just for fun!  

This week we practiced counting nickels and pennies, grouping
 all the nickels together first and then counting the pennies.  It can be challenging for children to not lose their place as they switch from counting by 5s to counting by 1s.  Please help your child practice counting change or groups of things and encourage him/her to make groups of 5 and then count the singles leftover (like with tally marks).

I have set up our class for the Everyday Math online games and sent home a hand-out with your child's password and the log in directions.  These are optional games that reinforce the concepts we are learning at school.  Your child's participation/performance is not graded, but is encouraged.  Children will have opportunities to play the games at school during choice time (maximum 2 days a week for 20-30 min each day). 

I have also set up our class in raz-kids, a website with stories at various levels of difficulty that offer children the choice of listening to the story, reading the story (some words, when clicked on, will be read aloud), and answering questions about the story.  Currently I have not "assigned" children any particular books to read but have given them a recommended level for independent reading (minimal adult assistance needed).  These levels don't necessarily correlate with the leveled books at school and I don't refer to the level number with the children.  Look for a hand-out with your child's password for that website, too.  Again, this is an optional activity that will reinforce what we are learning in school.  Your child's participation/performance will not be graded, but is encouraged.   Children will also have opportunities to use this website at school during choice time (again, maximum 2 days a week for 20-30 min each day). 

Next week's sight words will be: do, help, it, like, this.  I will be doing assessments in the library on Wednesday (Oct 15) and Susan Adleman will be in the classroom.  I will be out of town on Friday (Oct 17) and Richie Holtz will be in the classroom.  

I appreciate your support!