Wednesday, January 30, 2008


All first graders enjoyed an opera performance on Thursday about Goldilocks and the Three Bears in Space. It was very funny and the students really liked listening to the singing and learning about a new kind of music.

In the classroom, we practiced retelling the story and created posters to illustrate the play. Students wrote captions for a picture, and we hung our creation in the hall for all to enjoy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Microsoft Word

Students practiced their spelling words this week by writing sentences in Microsoft Word during computer lab. They learned to only put one space between words and how to type "enter" when they need to go to the next line. We will be learning other skills in Word this semester as well.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Good Touch Bad touch

The Indianpolis Metropolitian Police Department came and spoke to the first graders about how to keep their bodies safe. They discussed the different kinds of touches. Good touches make you feel good- like hugs, high fives, and pats on the back. Bad touches can hurt- like hitting, pushing, or kicking. Sometimes we might feel a confusing touch, one that makes you feel strange. This was explained to the children as if someone tickles you and won't stop even though you ask them too. They also learned that no one should touch them on their private areas- those covered by a bathing suit. They heard the names of these body parts, and were instructed to tell an adult if anyone ever touched them there. They learned it's okay for a doctor to examine you though.

If your child has any additional questions, they can ask you or myself.

Friday, January 25, 2008

100's Day Activities

We finished many of our 100 day activities today. Students measured their items multiple ways using standard and non-standard units. Some of the items stretched all the way down the hallway! Jessie's 100 crayons measured 37 feet. They also made collages out of the things they collected. Students counted and grouped their 100 items by 5's, 10's, and 20's. We also have a new station in the classroom where the children can investigate more 100 items. Above it is a bulletin board students made ourselves.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bear Park & Cubeville

We have been using the Group Solutions kit from IUPUI to work on our thinking skills and cooperative groups. Students have played several games including Bear Park and Cubeville to also practice their mapping skills. Sadly, we have to return the kit on Monday so this was the last week of play. I know the children have enjoyed the time working together.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

100th Day

Hooray, we made it through 100 days of school! Students were able to rotate around to all the first grade classrooms and complete different activities. We made 100 Day hats and played several games. I loved seeing the clothing the children made with 100 items. We will be using the 100 things your child brought to school all the rest of this week for many activities.

Coincidentally, I noticed that today's post was the 100th that has been written since I started the blog!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thinking Skills

We have been working on becoming better thinkers in first grade. One way we do this is by playing games and solving puzzles. We have been working with a Group Solutions kit that I borrowed from IUPUI. It contains many different activities that the children love to do. We have practiced our logic and deductive skills by playing the Bear Line Up game as well as other ones. Students must work together as a team to solve mysteries and find the answer to the questions. This encourages them to work cooperatively and learn that everyone is needed to be successful. One person can't do it all in order to move on to the next level.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


We started writing our own poetry in Writing Workshop today. I was so impressed with the imagery the children created in their writing. We were writing about the seasons today.

...snow angels whispering in the sky
...buzzing bees
(summer) sounds like an ice cream truck
...crackling snow
(fall) smells like a fresh apple
...sugar falling from the sky

I can't wait to see what new things they come up with as we delve deeper in the unit.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Misc. Info

Thank you for returning report card envelopes, and remembering to empty out blue folders on Friday. Your child will be bringing home his or her first math quiz today. We have generally have a quiz every Friday on any material we may have covered this year. It will typically have items that are review from a long time ago, as well as content for the week we jsut learned. This helps to keep the concepts fresh in your child's mind. We will not have new lessons in math on Fridays. After the quiz the children will be able to play Menu Math games, just as they do throughout the week when their work is finished. This week we will be starting double digit addition. We call this regrouping, but you may have learned it as carrying. This is usually the hardest thing we do in math all year, so your child may need extra support and practice depending on his or her ability.

We are also starting to add more homework this week. Your child will continue to read every night for 20 minutes, and do spelling words. I am currently adding in a math assignment to be done sometime during the week. It will almost always be a family involvement activity or game, as well as a worksheet to practice that concept. I hope you have fun working together on homework. More assignments will be added as the year goes on.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Report Cards

Report Cards are coming home today. I was pleased to see that most children had improved since the first grading period. The report cards were based on assessments and work that Ms. Dishon had given before she left. I did not record any new grades the week before winter break that I came back to work. I am more than happy to discuss with you any concerns you may have about your child's progress, and the steps needed to improve in specific areas. Please let me know if you would like to plan a phone conference or you can just send me an email with your thoughts. I am planning on regular parent conferences after the next grading period, so that I can get to know your child better.

As you may have heard, we started a new reward system for behavior in the classroom. I am now keeping track of how many times I must count your child during the day. If he or she does not get counted for poor behavior, a ticket will be filled out and put in a drawing on Fridays. One child will win a special reward of their choosing at that drawing. In addition, if your child can go the entire week without being counted, I will send home a happy note for mom and dad letting them know of the wonderful behavior. Congratulations to Ashlen for winning the drawing this week!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Cover a Flat

In math we learned a new menu math game called "Cover a Flat." This game helps us practice place value and understand regrouping. We will starting double digit addition soon, and this a a good way to start with the basics for this new concept.
We read a book, Whistle for Willie, by our new author of the month, Ezra Jack Keats. We also talked about why his books are so special. Ask your child how his books are different or the same as other ones we have read in class.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Mary Castle Expectations

Today students worked on posters showing the Mary Castle Expectations. Students drew an expectation and a place in school where they might demonstrate it. We are working hard on folllowing these expectations as we return from break, so this is a fun and creative way to practice good behavior. Yesterday we read a book about manners as a way to introduce this idea.

Today we also have done some pre-assessments in reading and math to help me determine groups for the next units. Please do not worry if you see papers coming home that are not finished. Some of these assessments were timed, and some were designed to have problems that your child may not know how to do. This helps me differentiate and compact the curriculum depending on ability.

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