There are many special events coming soon for our first graders! Please mark your calendar for the following:
This week will be the last homework packet with a word study component. Math homework will continue until May 24. After Memorial Day, we encourage the children to continue reading every night.
There is no school on Monday, May 27 for Memorial Day.
On Thursday, May 30, our specials will run on a Monday schedule, so we will have P.E. but not library.
On Friday, May 31, at 1:00 pm
Mill Run will hold the First Grade Awards Ceremony
. We will send an invitation with more information very soon.Field Day will be on Monday, June 3,
with the rain date being Tuesday, June 4. Stay tuned for more information.
Thursday, June 6 is the last day of school. We will have an End of the Year party from 1:00 - 2:00 pm.
Please have your child bring his/her backpack to school every day until the last day, since we will send materials home a little at a time during the last 6 or 7 days of school. It's too much for the children to carry if we save it all for one day.
In academic news, we will finish our math unit on computation strategies this week. This week and next, I will be giving several five-minute timed quizzes to assess the children's ability to recall addition and subtraction facts to 18. I will also check ReflexMath to supplement these grades. Thank you for reviewing math facts with your child. Confidence is so important!
We are continuing with reading testing this week and next. The children do not need to study to prepare for this. Simply continuing healthy eating and sleeping habits is tremendously helpful. As mentioned before, I will provide a summary of your child's scores in the fourth quarter report card. They are doing quite well so far!
In Social Studies, we will finish the year with a study of Australia, Alaska, and Hawaii, focusing on geography and wildlife.
Finally, the LCPS Math Department recently sent a newsletter to teachers with some summer math activity suggestions. I thought I would share them with you, so that you can explore these links at your leisure. Enjoy!Summer Math Activities!
Check out these interactive and engaging math activities to share with students and parents!
Click each title to link to the website.
At Home With Math
http://mixinginmath.terc.edu/materials/athomewithmath.cfmThe ten everyday math activities on this site build math into the things most families already do—ordinary routines such as figuring out ways to save money, to share fairly, or to get somewhere on time. With these activities, children practice adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and using other important math skills while doing tasks that are a regular part of life. Available in English and Spanish!
Math Playground http://www.mathplayground.com/Give your brain a workout with Logic Games, Number Games, Thinking Blocks for word problems, and much more!
Math in the Home Activities http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/parents/Math/index.htmlMath in the Home, Math at the Grocery Store, Math on the Go, and Math for the Fun of it—activities to engage students in problem solving, communicating, and reasoning about mathematics!
Words cannot express the depth of my gratitude for your thoughtful generosity this week. Thank you, all, for such a tremendous week!
Pictured at right is our beloved art teacher, Mr. Browning. The children presented Mr. Browning with his gift on Specialists' Day, and he was absolutely delighted! He mentioned how happy he would be to take his wife out for a special date, and he sends his thanks!
As you can see below, the children are thrilled with our new collection of recess equipment. I'm sorry I wasn't able to capture every child in the class in action, but these few shots should give you an idea of some of the ways they spend their free time outside. The children do a great job playing with many friends during recess, and they switch easily between activities. This is a sign, I think, of their confidence and friendly disposition. It's such a pleasure to see.
The school supplies and inside recess games are much appreciated, as well! Thank you!
I am incredibly grateful to all of you. I will enjoy your kind gifts, remembering your thoughtfulness as I use them. Most of all I will treasure the cards and notes from the children. Your sons and daughters are the sunshine in my day!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Yesterday the children participated in Mill Run's annual "Planting Day." We are so grateful to the moms who came to help! Special thanks to: A.G.'s mom, E.G.'s mom, R.K.'s mom, and J.B.'s mom! While small groups of students were taking turns planting, the rest of us were in the classroom working on a sunflower craft (pictured at right.) Thank you all so much! The children had so much fun, and I know they are proud to have helped make Mill Run more beautiful.
This week we also sent our Flat Stanleys off to visit our friends and relatives. Please see the slideshow below. Again, we couldn't have started this project without your generous help! I will keep you all posted as the Stanleys return to us in a few weeks. We will mark their destinations on a map and review their adventures together.
In classroom news, I will be in the building but away from our class on Tuesday for professional development. I will have limited time on Tuesday to check email, so if you have an urgent need, please contact the school office.
We have slowed the rate at which we add words to the word wall
. At this point, the children should be able to read and write the current word wall words independently and with confidence. This is a good time of year to review the word wall words again at home. Thank you!
On Wednesday, we will begin the spring round of PALS testing, followed shortly by DRA testing. All of the reading test components occur within the school day, so it will take several weeks to complete this process. I will include your child's scores in the fourth quarter report card comments, but if you are concerned, please send me an email. They all have achieved so much this year; you will want to celebrate their success!
In math, we are returning to addition and subtraction strategies as well as practicing our math fact fluency on ReflexMath. In science, we are studying plants and seeds.
As always, please contact me with any questions! Thank you!
We have been using several games to practice recognizing coins and practice finding the value of a group of coins. A number of the children have asked me to share the games with you, so you can play together at home.
One of my favorite games is called "Show Me the Money."
Players take turns rolling two dice and showing that amount with coins. We use a one hundred chart as a game board, but you could play without one.
The player who rolls decides which cube will represent the tens place and which will be the ones. You can see we have one home-made number cube to provide larger numbers.
This example shows 37 cents. If both players agree that the coins and the dice match, they clear the board and it is the other partner's turn. Both players win.
Another game is called "A Dollar Wins." The goal of this game is to accumulate one dollar's worth of coins.
The first player rolls two dice, adds them, and puts this amount in coins on the board. The example on the right shows six cents.
Then it becomes the second player's turn.
The second player rolls the dice, adds to find the total, and adds this amount to the board. Players must swap lower value coins that can be combined to trade for a higher value coin whenever possible.
In this example, player two rolled an 8 and added a nickel and three pennies to the board. The two nickels were then traded for a dime. The current total is now 14 cents. Players continue taking turns increasing the total until they reach $1.00. Both players win.
I hope you will enjoy playing one or both of these games at home. Not only do they provide great practice for mastering coin recognition and finding the value of a collection of coins, but they also reinforce place value and addition strategies.
Do you remember learning how to count the value of coins as a child?
With 668 Box Tops, our class sailed away with first place for the March Box Tops contest! Whoo Hoo! Thank you so much to all of our families for your diligence in checking for Box Tops and sending them to school. The children will all receive a coupon to CiCi's Pizza from the Mill Run PTO to mark this momentous occasion!
The character trait for April is responsibility. We have been discussing what it means to be responsible, including doing what you are supposed to do without being told. Please discuss your expectations for responsible behavior with your child. Since we are also celebrating Earth Day this month, this is a perfect opportunity to link to how we can be responsible with our trash.
In a recent guidance lesson, Mrs. Fulkerson was able to congratulate both our star citizen for February, R.K. (right) and for March, N.T. (below). Well done, girls!
We have begun a math unit focusing on money. You can help your child practice identifying a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter. You can ask your child to tell you how much money you have with a small collection of change. You could also give your child an amount, and ask her to show which coins you would have to equal that value. Please encourage your child to find different combinations of coins to equal the same amount. Yesterday, the children found two solutions to this problem:
I have 6 coins in my pocket that equal 50 cents. What coins could I have?
In science, we are learning about natural resources. We will be focusing on the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. The children are pretty comfortable with reusing, since we use scrap paper quite often in the class. They also help with recycling. However, the concept of reducing the amount of trash we produce is a little more difficult. Thank you for discussing this at home.
Finally, I thought you would enjoy this shot of R.K. and a friend getting ready for a ride in a limo with our three principals. R.K. won this prize at Mill Run's Carnival auction. How fun!!!
I hope that you are all enjoying your spring break with your families! I'd like to share a few notes with you about our work last week as we wrapped up the third quarter.
First, thank you all so much for helping us with our force and motion construction project. The students explored the concepts we researched in our force and motion unit, for example: friction, types of surfaces, speed, and motion along a straight, zig-zag, or circular path. In addition, the children had the opportunity to work as a member of a small team. They had to compromise, take turns, and use their words to solve problems together. I wish I had taken a picture of their faces when I first explained the assignment. Their excitement was priceless!
Here is the link to the March Motion Science Project video, in case it doesn't appear above: http://youtu.be/fIt7O8HU6tE
Second, the children celebrated their work as writers in small sharing circles. With a class our size, it is not reasonable to ask the children to maintain their attention so that all students have a turn to read to the class. However, it is important that the children do share their writing aloud with others. Small sharing circles is one way we celebrate our work. Please enjoy the slideshow below of our sharing time.
As you can see, our sharing circles took place on "Wear Green" day. We had 96% participation, so our class had the best showing among all the first grades! Hooray!
Finally, please allow your child some time on the computer to log in to reflexmath.com
to get some practice with math fact fluency. When your child has demonstrated measured progress with a certain fact, the small circle in the top right corner will turn green. This green light indicates that your child can exit the program without losing any progress.
Thank you, again, and I hope you continue to enjoy the break!
Happy St. Patrick's Day to all those who celebrate Irish heritage! Many thanks go to S.L.'s grandparents for visiting our room and sharing some Irish joy with us. S.L.'s grandpa read a story, and her grandma and grandpa gave each student a lucky shamrock and pencil. Thank you!
It is hard for me to believe that we are already at the end of the third quarter. The end of each grading period is a wonderful time to consider how much we have accomplished. I am delighted, of course, with the children's progress, and I am eager to share more specifics with you in the third quarter report card comments.
This week, we will finish several projects.
In writing, the children will put the finishing touches on their favorite piece from the last two weeks. One skill we have been working on is revising our writing with descriptive words. In first grade, we do not erase a boring word. We simply cross it out and write a more descriptive word above it. This gives evidence to the student's thinking during revision. We have practiced crossing out boring words like "said" and replacing them with more interesting words like "whispered", "shrieked", or "exclaimed."
In reading, in addition to practicing comprehension strategies for both fiction and nonfiction, we are also practicing alphabetical order. Last week, the students each had a turn alphabetizing words on the Promethean board during our reading stations. This week, we will add to this skill by practicing dictionary skills.
In math, we are continuing our work with addition and subtraction. The children will practice skills with story problems and a variety of manipulative games. Please feel free to boost your child's confidence by practicing doubles facts at home. Knowing all the doubles up to 10 + 10 can definitely help your child be successful with related problems.
In science, we will review pushes and pulls, ways things move, sound, and we will wrap-up our unit on force, motion, and energy with a construction project, building on our research. Thank you for the tremendous help you have provided by sending in so many recyclable materials! We are in good shape now with boxes, but we will continue to accept any toilet paper or paper towel tubes that you can spare. Also, we will happily use donations of duct tape or masking tape.
We currently have more than 500 box tops - wow! This is looking good!
Wednesday, March 19 will be Green Day. Please help your child wear as much green as possible on Wednesday. Thank you!
We are in need of several items in the classroom. We have almost depleted our pencil supply for the year, so any donations of pencils are most appreciated!
Also, for an upcoming project, we will need an abundant supply of items that might be in your recycling bin. Please send in any paper towel tubes, toilet paper tubes, various-size cardboard boxes (like cereal boxes, cracker boxes) and clean yogurt or tofu containers. We will also be grateful for any donations of clear tape, masking tape, duct tape, and string. If you're looking at something made of thin cardboard or plastic, and you're not sure, please send it in! I promise to recycle any materials that come in that we don't use. :-) I don't want to spoil the surprise of why we need so many materials, so please stay tuned to the blog. We will use these items the week of March 18. Many, many thanks in advance for your help!!
We have already collected more than 400 box tops, so we are getting very excited about our chances to win the March contest. Thank you to everyone for your help with this. Every box top helps raise money for our school!
In academic news, we will be finishing our math unit on fractions and moving into addition and subtraction. We will build on strategies we practiced in the second quarter to solve harder problems and story problems. We will also write our own problems. When solving a story problem, students will be asked to show their thinking in pictures, numbers, or words.
We are also wrapping up our unit on matter and beginning a unit on force, motion, and energy. Most likely this unit will continue into the fourth quarter, but we will begin by focusing on types of motion and pushes and pulls.
In reading, we are continuing to practice comprehension skills for fiction and nonfiction. In nonfiction, we are paying attention to key vocabulary, the author's purpose for writing, and formulating questions that can be answered in the text. In fiction, we are continuing to build fluency by reading in the character's voice, and we are thinking about our reading by visualizing what is happening and making inferences.
In writing we are finishing writing small moment personal narratives. We have begun to work with a writing partner to help plan our writing and revision. We are focusing on adding details to our writing to make our stories more vivid.
* Picture day is Tuesday, March 12.
* Wednesday, March 13, we will attend an assembly provided by our wonderful PTO. Wednesday is also "Wear Red" day for Youth Art Month.
* The Mill Run Carnival is Friday, March 15. By all accounts, this will be a fun family event. "Just chill!"
Our study of our national symbols focused on the flag, the bald eagle, the Statue of Liberty, and the Washington Monument. As you can see above, we culminated the unit with a project in the computer lab. The children were asked to draw a picture and write at least three sentences about their favorite symbol using the Pixie software.
Now that we have finished the unit on U.S. Symbols, it is time to begin a quick unit on matter. In this unit, we are focusing on science standard 1.3, which reads, "The student will investigate and understand how common materials interact with water. Key concepts includea) some liquids will separate when mixed with water, but others will not;b) some solids will dissolve in water, but others will not; andc) some substances will dissolve more readily in hot water than in cold water."
We will be squeezing in several experiments as well as building our nonfiction reading skills as we dive into our science textbook. You are welcome to reinforce your child's learning at home by conducting simple experiments to see how various materials such as vinegar, milk, baking soda, powdered drink mix, sugar, salt, sand, oil, soil, and rocks act when mixed with water. Making cookies for the sake of science? Definitely. It's a beautiful thing.
In math, we have begun our study of fractions. In first grade, we focus on halves, thirds, and fourths. It is important that the children understand that a fraction represents a part of a whole, that fractions require the whole to be divided into equal parts, and that the fraction name tells the number of equal parts in the whole. We will also learn how fractions can describe part of a set. If I have three apples, two green and one red, I can say that 1/3 of the apples are red. Studying fractions at home can be very fun at snack-time. Pizzas can be divided into fractions, fractions of the pizza could have different toppings, and apples can be sliced into fractions as well. Enjoy!
If you have the chance to visit Mill Run, please visit the bulletin board across from the cafeteria leading onto the kindergarten/first grade hallway. Our class was responsible for decorating the bulletin board for the month of March. We decided to link to Dr. Seuss' birthday and focus on reading. Each student interviewed his/her reading buddy, comparing their buddy's answers to the children's own responses. We asked:
- Where do you like to read?
- What do you do to become a better reader?
- What is your favorite book?
Then, the children turned the interview responses into books. A brief self-reflection like this can be a very powerful tool to increase one's own confidence in reading. I encourage you to discuss the same questions at home as a family.
As part of the Youth Art Month festivities, Mr. Browning is organizing a contest for three "color days" The first color day will be Wednesday, March 6, and the color is blue. Please help your child to pick out an all-blue outfit on Wednesday. Thanks for your help!
Finally, many thanks go to AV's mom for sparking interest in the PTO BoxTop collection. If we all work together to check our pantries, tissue boxes, and ziploc bag boxes, we might collect enough to place in the March contest. Quite a few boxtops came in yesterday. The students will count them on Monday, and we'll keep you posted with how many we have. Thank you for your help!
I hope you are all enjoying the sunshine on this beautiful day. To coordinate with our Famous Americans unit in social studies, we used a poem for shared reading last week that focused on two very important presidents. The students were having fun choosing actions to go with the poem, so we thought we would share it with you.
In case the above doesn't work, here is the link to the video: http://youtu.be/jyFjR_fBwm4
. By the way, I always mark our videos as "unlisted" so they do not show up in public searches.
Congratulations to DB, the recipient of the January Citizenship award. Mrs. Fulkerson took a moment to recognize him during a recent Guidance lesson. If your child hasn't shared Kelso's Choices with you, please ask him or her to tell you all about them. We refer to them frequently at school.
Speaking of good citizenship, the students have earned a special treat due to continued good behavior in the cafeteria. We considered many possible options and then voted. The winner was... Stuffed Animal Day! The children will be allowed to bring one small stuffed animal to school on Thursday, February 21. We will use the animals for writing and other activities in the classroom, but the children will need to put the animals away in backpacks for "animal naptime" when we go to lunch or other specials. For this reason, please help your child choose a stuffed animal that will fit comfortably inside his/her backpack. Also, if your child doesn't have a stuffed animal to bring, please just let me know.
In other classroom news, I have to send a HUGE thank you to all the parents who helped make our valentines party so fun! Sadly, I was having so much fun that I forgot to take pictures! One parent sent these in, so I hope you enjoy them. If you have a photo on your phone or camera that you could email to me, I will add it here as well.
In academic news, we will be starting a new piece in writers' workshop. We will continue to work on revising our work by adding descriptive words as well as spelling unknown words by relating them to other words we do know.
In reading, we will work on nonfiction comprehension strategies: identifying the main idea, supporting details, and useful text features.
In math, we are working on telling time to the hour and half-hour. Students should be able to draw hands on an analog clock and fill in numbers on a digital clock to show the same time. Students should also develop their awareness of time during the day. What takes one minute? What takes an hour?
We are also working on building our fact fluency using the reflexmath.com
program. We will phase out Math Masters and use Reflex to track each student's progress. Children will have dedicated time to use Reflex during school, but any time spent at home is very helpful, too.
In content, we are learning about important U.S. symbols: the American flag, the bald eagle, the Statue of Liberty, and the Washington Monument.
Finally, I hope to see everyone at Tales by Twilight this Thursday evening at 6:20 pm. Did you hear Mr. Vickers announce that every child will go home with a new book? I can't wait to see what the children choose! See you then!