Miss Nina and I can't thank you enough for your amazing support this year.  We have loved working with your children.  They are tremendously talented, intelligent, and kind.  It has been an honor to share this time of learning with you and the students in 1H.

We wish you all the best for a safe and relaxing summer, full of reading.  We hope you enjoy special moments with your loved ones.   Please stay in touch!

I hope you enjoy our latest VoiceThread, showcasing the children's research on their chosen minibeast!
It's hard to believe that we only have one week left of school!  The children are getting very excited about our concert on Tuesday, and they are starting to talk about their summer plans.  Even with our special events next week, we will continue with our learning in all subjects.

As a reminder, here are the special dates/times for next week:

Tuesday, June 12, 2:30 pm - First Grade Concert
Wednesday, June 13, 8:45 am - Ebook presentation for 1H Parents
Thursday, June 14 - Class Splash swim time with our 3H reading buddies
Friday, June 15 - Last Day of School, dismissal at 11:30 am

Thank you, as always, for your continued support.  Miss Nina and I are so grateful to be part of this dynamic learning community!

Thank you all for your understanding as due to today's stormy weather the school decided to reschedule Field Day.  As soon as we learn the new date, we will pass the information on to you.  As a reminder, the field day lunch plan for a picnic lunch will be implemented then.

I hope to see you tomorrow for the PTO Spring Fair!  My children always look forward to these fun events sponsored by our fabulous PTO!  Yay, Parents!!!

Our last two weeks of school are very busy, so I am trying to keep the google calendar updated on this site.  If you have any questions, please send them along!  Here are some notes.

All library books are due June 5th.  Please help your child remember to return all books on Monday or Tuesday next week.  Then, summer checkout will begin Friday, June 8.  Mrs. Matter recommends that first graders have their parents to help make their selections (and to help carry all 15 books!)  We would like to invite you to visit the library with your child on Wednesday morning, June 13.  Mrs. Matter also has a brand new collection of iPad books that parents can borrow.    Please mark your calendars for Wednesday, June 13 at 8:45 in the library.  Mrs. Matter will have a special session just for 1H Parents to walk you through the process to borrow iPad books for the summer.  (UPDATE:  There are ebooks for iPad, but there are also audiobooks for iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Android devices, too!)  Immediately following this presentation for parents, you will have the opportunity to take your child to the library to make summer reading choices.   Please bring your iPad if you will attend this session!  If you need to schedule a different time during the school day to take your child to the library for summer checkout, please just let me know.  You are also welcome to take your child to the library before or after school June 8 - 14th for summer checkout.

Our field trip to Powsin Park is scheduled for Wednesday, June 6th!  Here's hoping for nice weather!  Of course, please plan on joining us on Tuesday, June 12th, 2:30 pm for the First Grade Minibeast Musical Extravaganza.  On Thursday, June 14th, the children will need their swimming gear, as we will have a special "Class Splash" swim time with our third grade reading buddies.  On Friday, June 15th, we will mark the last day of school with an assembly at 9:00 am and dismissal at 11:30. 

Move-up day was last Friday, but Miss Nina was able to snap a few pictures that will give you a glimpse of your child's excitement to visit a second grade classroom.  

See you tomorrow!

This was an exciting week for us, and we have a lot of news to share.  As you can see, our painted lady butterflies emerged and were stunningly beautiful.  We released the butterflies on Wednesday, and the children did a great job sending the butterflies off to stretch their wings.  Though some of the children were sad to see the butterflies fly away, we all knew it would be cruel to keep them in their net too long.  We were very fortunate to have the butterflies in our classroom so we could observe the last three stages of the butterfly life cycle.

Ms. Bohn, our technology integrator, introduced us to a second grade class in North Carolina, U.S.A., who also recently completed the butterfly life cycle science unit.  Our class asked and answered questions via Skype, and the children did a fabulous job.  They were fascinated to learn about the similarities and differences between the butterfly experiences in both classes. 

We are continuing to prepare for our concert on June 12th.  Thank you for remembering to send in a white t-shirt.  We will paint the shirts on June 4th and 5th, so you still have plenty of time to send one in if you haven't already.

Friday, June 1st will be the elementary school's field day.  On this day, the children are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes for a variety of potentially active (or wet!) outdoor games and activities.  Applying sunscreen at home before school is a great idea, and we encourage the children to wear a sun hat and bring a water bottle.  We will have our picnic lunch in the classroom and finish the day with quiet learning activities in the room.

Today the children took home the last homework packet for the year.  However, we will continue to add words to our word wall each day, and the children will continue to have take-home reading as long as possible in June.

Today the children also had the opportunity to visit a second grade classroom.  They were so excited to meet a second grade teacher and practice  their best school manners.  The second grade teachers who receive these students next year will be incredibly fortunate. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

It is hard to believe that we are nearing the end of the school year.  Rest assured, we have plenty of learning ahead to keep us busy right up to June 15!  Here are a few notes for you.

Next week, I will be working with each student individually to assess their reading progress using the Developmental Reading Assessment.  While the fall baseline screening was done with a private appointment, the spring assessment will take place during our normal school day.  The children do not need to do any special preparation for this.  It is simply helpful to make sure that your child has a good night's sleep (something you're doing anyway) and has a healthy breakfast (again, something you're already doing.)  Also, when you are reading together, please take a moment to engage your child in a conversation about the text.  The questions on the green bookmark in your child's reading log are a perfect place to start.   You might ask your child to tell you how the setting is important to the story, how the main character feels at the beginning and at the end, or how the character solves the problem in the story.  It is always good practice for the children to make a connection to their reading. 

I know you can't miss our recent emphasis on insects and spiders.  The name of our current science unit is "Minibeasts," and we will continue researching and learning about these small creatures until the end of the year.  One important event will be the first grade musical performance on Tuesday, June 12 at 2:30 pm.  Immediately following this concert, please plan to return to our classroom so that your child can show you their research project about a minibeast. 

As a special remembrance of first grade, we will be making special minibeast t-shirts to wear for the concert.   We are asking each child to bring a plain white t-shirt to school by May 31, so that we have plenty of time to prepare them before the concert.   Thank you for your help with this!

Finally, now is a perfect time to help your child clean out his/her locker.  Please help us the next time you are in the building by taking home any remaining snow gear.  It would be terrific for the children to have their lockers organized  so they don't have to take those items at the same time as their school work and journals at the end of the year.

Thank you, and have a wonderful weekend!
The children are entranced with our caterpillars that arrived on Monday.  We are making observations, since that is something that good scientists do, as they grow and change.  So far our caterpillars are still in the caterpillar stage, but they have grown to almost twice the size they were on Monday.  Perhaps next week we will be able to transfer the chrysalides into the net butterfly habitat.  Once the butterflies hatch, we will only keep them a couple of days before releasing them into nature.

Keeping an eye on our baby caterpillars has helped us build gratitude for our own mothers.   For those of you who will celebrate Mothers' Day this Sunday, Happy Mothers' Day!  I sent links to each of you of the e-books the children made on the ipad using Scribble Press.  If your link didn't work or you didn't receive the message, please let me know so that I can resend it.   Many thanks to Ms. Bohn for organizing this ipad project for us.

Looking ahead, please mark your calendars for the First Grade Minibeast Musical Extravaganza on Tuesday, June 12.  I think the show will be at 2:30 pm, but I will definitely keep you posted with more information as we get closer to this exciting event. 

Thank you, as always, for your continued support.  I hope you have a great weekend!

We were tremendously honored to start this week with a visit from a published author, Helena's mom!  Izabela shared her love of writing with the children and described the process of writing from getting an idea all the way to publishing.  It was a perfect opportunity for the children to connect to their own 'how to' books, since Izabela's latest book (the title roughly translates as 'Something from Nothing') focuses on turning discarded items into useful or beautiful creations.  We are so grateful to Izabela for taking the time to visit the class and for  bringing such a fun project for the children to complete.   Please see the photos below of Izabela and the students as they present their "how to" books.

Now the children are transitioning to another form of nonfiction writing:  all-about books.  This week, we have studied a variety of examples, and we have begun to play with some ideas.  I am hoping that some of the children will ask you for help in finding materials related to their topics over the break.   Writing nonfiction is helping us build our strategies for reading nonfiction, too.  We are paying close attention to text features such as the table of contents, headings, the index, a glossary, captions below pictures, and various styles of teaching pictures (charts, diagrams, etc.)  Writing an all about book is a huge undertaking, and the children will have the chance to write more than one to develop their skills throughout the process.

Finally, as we prepare to run outside and enjoy this incredible sunshine, I would like to share with you some of the answers the children gave when I asked, "What did you learn this week?"  You will see a continued emphasis on insects and other minibeasts in the next several weeks, and we will spend a lot of time on pebblego.com.  In case you have extra free time this week, your child has the username and password for pebblego on the homework packet.  Enjoy!

Earthworms have five hearts. AC

Snails keep their eyes in their long tentacles.  ZS

Insects have six legs. MD

Bees have a yellow black yellow black pattern.  AK

Spiders have eight legs.  HZ

Earthworms have a special ring for getting married. TB

Some snails are poisonous. AC

Some spiders are poisonous.  MD

Snails have thousands of teeth. SM

Snails use their one big foot to move.  AC

Earthworms don't have eyes.  ZS

Earthworms live in the dirt.  MD

As always, thank you for sharing your children with us.  I hope you all have a lovely spring break, enjoying the  time with your families.  We'll see you in May!

When I ran into Mr. Gamble in the hall today, he asked me why I was smiling.  I said, "I'm the luckiest teacher in the school."  He immediately wanted three reasons why I felt that way.  I said that I couldn't give him three.  I've got 17 reasons that I'm so happy to come to school every day.

The children are earning compliments right and left.  We were publishing our Earth Day paragraphs in the computer lab today (they'll go up in the hallway next week), and Ms. Bohn was very impressed with how quickly and competently the children typed their paragraphs.  Ms. Leishman noticed how quietly the class was walking in the hall.  Mrs. Matter noticed how the children love to read and check out new books in the library.  Miss Nina and I both feel very grateful to work with these outstanding students.

This week, the children have been working on "how to" books, which is a general introduction to our nonfiction writing unit.  We are also diving into more nonfiction reading, so stay tuned for tips and strategies specific to nonfiction.  In math, we are nearing the end of Unit 7 on patterns.  You probably noticed a variety of pattern activities coming home that repeated some of the same concepts.  Before we were working on identifying the unit that repeats in a repeating pattern.  This week we have focused on growing patterns, using penny jar problems and staircase towers as the main examples. 

Finally, thank you all for the thoughtful gift, the beautiful flowers and delicious lunch on Tuesday.  Miss Nina and I feel truly spoiled!  Thank you!  You made Teacher Appreciation Day very special!  
Miss Nina and I had goosebumps during your student-led conferences this week.  It was an honor to see the children supported and encouraged by incredibly loving families.  We hope you enjoyed this opportunity to see the children in their classroom environment.  In some ways, this space is their second home, so it is especially important to celebrate their achievements at school.  The children have made magnificent progress since the beginning of the year, and this is just the beginning of their learning lives.   Thank you!
In Math this week, we spent some time wrapping up the unit on story problems, however we will continue applying addition and subtraction strategies throughout the year.  We are also beginning a quick study of repeating patterns.  Our goals in this section (so far) are:  identifying the unit of a repeating pattern, representing a repeating pattern in more than one way, extending a repeating pattern, and identifying what comes several steps beyond the visible part of a repeating pattern.  Your child is bringing home some examples of class work that will show our work.

In content this week we continued our study of dental health.  So you are aware, we have arranged for a dentist to visit our class in May.   This will be a nice complement to our studies.  The children have also been preparing to share their learning about dental health with you during Student-Led Conferences next week.

The  Guided Reading groups are all working on strategies to think about our reading.  Students are making predictions and working to make more meaningful connections to the elements of the story.  This is a critical development for the children, as we need to shift away from literal connections, e.g.  "The main character has a dog, and I have a dog, too." to more thoughtful connections, e.g.  "The main character was worried about keeping her dog safe, and I was also terrified about what might happen to my dog when she ran away."

As a side note, in our morning meeting, we have begun practicing telling time on an analog clock.  This is not an essential part of our curriculum, but it is a really helpful life skill. 

Thank you all for signing up for a conference time next week.  Ms. Nina and I will be here, of course, to support the children as they share their learning with you.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send them along. 

I wish you a restful and joyful holiday weekend!