December News


Tomorrow we will begin our study of winter holidays around the world.  Over the next two weeks, our class will visit each of the other first grade classrooms to learn about a winter holiday celebrated in another country.  We hope to expand the childrens' awareness of the beautiful patchwork of our global community.  This is a wonderful opportunity for you to discuss your holiday traditions as a family, why they are important to your family,  and how they may be the same or different as other holidays from other countries or cultures. 

We will finish our math unit on graphing this week.  Please ask your child to describe the process of collecting data, representing data, and describing data.  You may want to review the questions from last week's post with your child in preparation for the graphing assessment.

Thursday, December 20 will be our "Grinch Day."  If you have a copy of Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas, I would love to borrow it for the day.  We will have regular lessons during the day, just with a Grinch theme.  Students are welcome to dress as their favorite character from the story.  :-)

Friday, December 21 will have the school sing-along in the morning and our class party in the afternoon at 1:00.  The room parents will be in touch with more information. 

Please note that there will be no homework packet the week of December 17-21, and we will not have spelling tests that week.

Finally, Mill Run is in contact with an elementary school in New Jersey whose students lost their homes and entire personal belongings in Hurricane Sandy.  The first grade classes are collecting gifts for two kindergarten students:  Gianna and Hannah.  One of our third grade teachers will be delivering the items we collect this weekend, so if you would like to contribute, please send in any donations by Friday, December 14, before 2:00 pm.  Your generosity is much appreciated! 

Here are the wished-for items from Gianna and Hannah's families:
- wrapped and labeled toys or games
- gift cards to Walmart, Toys R Us, gas stations, Lowes, Target, or Sears

Thank you!


Seeing Stars


We had a wonderful week together in first grade.  At left, you see our counselor, Mrs. Fulkerson congratulating our first star citizen, NW!  Each month we will recognize a new star citizen, a student who goes above and beyond to follow the school code.  Congratulations!  

Below you will see another star, CM, who was chosen to participate in the African Acrobats assembly that was provided by our generous PTO!  You will also see Mr. Vickers taking part in the hat-juggling act and one of the performers in the midst of a terrifying stunt.  Oh my!  Needless to say, they reminded the children not to try this at home!  

Classroom Notes:
This week Mill Run is collecting coins to support Mill Run East, a school in the Philippines.  Small change can make a big difference, so thank you for allowing your children to participate.

Wednesday is picture day.  Our pictures will be taken first thing in the morning, so please make sure your child is on time.  You are welcome to send the order envelope in on Tuesday or Wednesday.  The children give the order envelope directly to the photographer.  Make-up pictures will be in November.

We are excited for our field trip this Friday, October 12th to Great Country Farms. Please make sure your child has the following for our fun day:
  • Sneakers (or other shoes suitable for walking at a farm)
  • Appropriate clothes for the weather
  • Please be prepared if rain is in the forecast. We plan on going, rain or shine.
  • Your child will receive his or her field trip shirt the morning of the trip, so be sure they can slip their shirt over top of their clothes.
  • Packed lunch, clearly labeled with your child's name.
If you are meeting us at the farm, please be prepared to pay $8 upon your arrival.

I will gladly accept donations of buttons for the class to use in an upcoming math project.  The goal is to have a wide variety of sizes, colors, and textures, so any button will be added to the button jar with great enthusiasm!  :-)

Our second week of school was very busy, despite the holiday on Monday!  Considering our work in reading, writing, math, and social studies, much of our learning reflects this theme:  gaining confidence.

The children are gaining confidence in our many school routines, including our lunchtime habits and even dismissal!  As you can see, Mr. Vickers has already stopped by the cafeteria to have a bite with our class. 

 We have also practiced many classroom routines with great success.  The children are participating in our large group poetry lessons, writing sight words, practicing spelling strategies, engaging in a variety of literacy stations, and choosing books for independent reading.  They have used a variety of math resources to explore number concepts, and they have explored many ways we stay safe and show good citizenship at school. 

Independent reading will be a central part of our reading program this year.  During independent reading, the children have the opportunity to apply decoding and comprehension strategies that we have reviewed together as a class.  One strategy that we discussed this week is that there are many ways to read a book.  It is important for readers to read the pictures as well as the text in a book.  Readers read the text to learn what the author wrote, but readers can also learn from the illustrations.  Details in pictures can help readers with decoding tricky words, making inferences in the story, and making predictions.  

Stay tuned as we add more strategies and your children continue to develop their love of reading!


Off to the races!


We've finished the first week of school, and I still can't believe how lucky I am to have your children in class this year.  We have had a very busy week, learning classroom routines, school routines, having our special classes, and even having our first all-school fire drill!

I would like to share with you some of the activities that we have begun.  We have our first piece of writing hangin on our author board.  The children drew a picture and wrote what they were hoping to learn in first grade.

We have also been talking about our classroom community and how we can all work together as a team.  We read Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann, and we made a list of ways we could be good classroom citizens.  The children chose their favorite advice and wrote their ideas on paper stars.

In math, we have worked to establish our morning meeting routine.  Every day we will use our morning meeting time as a great way to practice our counting skills, practice calendar skills, and practice collecting and describing data about our class.  We will add other skills (e.g. working with money and telling time) as the year progresses.  We have also used the Promethean board to collect data about the number of boys and girls in our class and the different ways we
Today, we have another piece of writing in the hallway.  The children developed a list of everything they like about school.  They then took their favorite idea and completed an "I like school because" writing prompt.  For the beginning of the year, I am very impressed with what the children can do!  It makes me even more excited to see their work later in the year.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday weekend.  Take care, and I will be waiting for the children Tuesday morning.