Friday, August 31, 2007

This week we have read several books by Norman Bridwell about Clifford the Big Red Dog. Next week will start a new month and a new author of the month. We will be doing many activities with the books written by Eric Carle. He is one of my favorite authors and the children always enjoy rereading familiar stories and hearing new ones.

We have been busy working learning the names of coins this week in math. In science we talked more about what a scientist is. Many students were surprised to find out that they are scientists. We are making a book in social studies all about our classmates. We are still learning about each other's special talents and abilities. This book will also help the substitute teacher learn about us when I go on maternity leave.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Computer Lab

We have been going to the computer lab last week and this week. Students have learned how to login and open up student applications. We have also explored a couple of software programs: Balanced Literacy and 10th Planet Literacy. These are both reading programs. On Thursday we will be working in a math program. Tuesday and Thursday are our regularly scheduled times for the lab.

Just a reminder that you may send in a daily snack for your child. Please follow the guidelines sent home in the summer packer. Your child should not be bringing a soda for his or her snack. If you need a copy of suggested snacks, please let me know and I will send a new one home.
Also, students now have P.E. on Mondays and Thursdays. Be sure that they wear gym shoes on those days.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Today we read the book ish! and talked about perfectionism. The little boy in the book was frustrated he couldn't draw perfectly. However his drawing kinda looked like what he wanted them to be, they were vase-ish, sun-ish, and happy-ish. We decided that we can do ish things too. It's okay if we make mistakes or our work isn't quite perfect. We just do the best we can.
We also played a game in math to practice addition. We rolled two dice and added them up. Whatever number we got as the answer we colored on our paper. We had a lot of fun coloring in our stars.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Today we practiced our spelling words on dry erase boards. All of our words this week have the short "a" sound. Students will be tested each Friday on their words.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Today we made glyphs in class. Glyphs teach children to consult a legend, follow direections, and convey information about themselves. Today's glyph tells about each child's favorite subject, birthday, name, family, and home.

We also read Giraffes Can't Dance and talked about perfectionism. This trait is very common in gifted students and we will spend a lot of time talking about it this year. Today we focused on how sometimes we can't do something well (like Gerald the Giraffe dancing) the first time we try it. We have to practice over and over. Students generated examples of things they had to practice in order to do them well like reading, playing the violin, playing basketball, or taking a timed test.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Writing Journals

We have been writing in our journals for the last week. I am pleased to see how much the children know already. Today we read The Crayon Box that Talked in class and reread Hooway for Wodney Wat. It is already a classroom favorite, and typically is every year.

We also worked on the -at family today and made a long list of words that belong in it. Working with patterns in words will help students become better readers and writers. Two of our spelling words this week are in the -at family: at and that.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Happy Friday

We got through the first week of school. Today we took our spelling test, and everyone passed! Congratulations! We also read the sequel to the Kissing Hand book we read on Wednesday. It is called A Pocketful of Kisses. The students learned today that I went to China a few years ago. Several teachers and principals went on this trip. Mrs. Irwin, our principal, and I were roommates. I shared some of my pictures with them and we talked about the different places I had visited that were also mentioned in the Day of the Dragon King book we are currently reading. Next week I will share the special object that Mrs. Irwin brought back for the school.

  • This is a reminder that P.E. is on Monday and your child will need to wear gym shoes that day in order to participate.

  • Please send in lunch money for the whole week on Monday if possible. If your child brings his or her lunch, please include a napkin and silverware.

  • Students should practice their lunch code over the week. We will need it to log in to the computers next week. All students need to know how to spell their legal first and last name to log in to the computer also.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Who is a Scientist?

Did you know that even a first grader can be a scientist? Today we did things that scientists do. We asked questions, we measured, we talked about experiments, and we used our senses. Hopefully we can do some experiments soon in class.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Today we took our stuffed animals and lined them up by size. It was a lot harder to do than we thought it would be. We grouped them by small, medium, and large, and then put them beside each other to figure out which one was the tallest. We changed our minds several times before reaching a consensus that it was finally right. Some animals would not sit up or they fell over and we had to decide if they were really in the right place. Other questions we had were:

Should the lion's hair count as part of his height?

Should the hats count?

What if the bunny's ears weren't sticking up?

Could we lean them against the wall?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Welcome to First Grade

We had a great first day here in first grade, getting to know all our new classmates and seeing familiar faces from kindergarten. Students brought their stuffed animals from home and shared them with the class. We talked a lot about procedures and rules today. Our Mary Castle Expectations are

Be Respectful
Be Responsible
Be Safe
Be Caring
Be a Peaceful Problem Solver

Students are learning more about these expectations in their special area class times this week. We will start regular specials on Thursday, which will be library day. Please have your child wear gym shoes on Mondays for physical education.

Today we read the book Chrysanthemum. We also started a chapter book for read aloud from the Magic Tree House series, The Day of the Dragon King. This book is very relevant to our school, as well as our teacher and principal. We will find out later why Ms. Smelser chose it to read first. We also read lots of poems and sing songs during read aloud time.

This afternoon we had math centers and were able to play with lots of different types of manipulatives and games. Here is a picture of one activity we could have chosen to do.

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