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!

 
 
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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!



 
 
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!


 
 
Today we celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday.  We are so grateful to Dewey's mom for sewing a Cat in the Hat style hat for each one of us!  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!  We received so many compliments as we wore our hats to the library and during the day.  And they helped put us in that special Dr. Seuss mood. 

At the library, Mrs. Matter read a Dr. Seuss story to us, and she showed us the website:  www.seussville.com.  I put a link to Seussville on our Useful Websites page, too, so it will be available to you anytime.  Mrs. Matter also told us an interesting fact about Dr. Seuss' real name:  Theodore Geisel.  You might want to see if your student remembers.  We finished our day with time with our third grade reading buddies.  The children read some of their just-right books with their reading buddies, and we enjoyed listening to Green Eggs and Ham as a large group.

We also put the finishing touches on our Matter unit for science this week.  As a special treat, we conducted a fun experiment in each of the three first grade classrooms.  In our classroom, we conducted an experiment to answer the question:  What can happen when you mix a solid and a liquid?  Results vary, of course, depending on the materials.  In our case, we used baking soda and vinegar to inflate a balloon.  The procedure and your child's observations are included in the science journal that was sent home today.  When our students visited Ms. Dickinson's room, they explored different aspects of surface tension and characteristics of liquids.  In Ms. Berton's room, the children experimented with the non-Newtonian substance commonly called, "Oobleck."  This is a nice connection to Dr. Seuss this week, as we read Bartholomew and the Oobleck prior to the science rotation.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support of your child's learning.  The children are growing in independence, and I am so pleased to help them celebrate their daily successes. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 
 
Thank you to all of the parents who helped to make our 100th Day fantastic!  We certainly wouldn't have had as much fun without you.  The children chose from a wide array of 100th Day activities:  counting, estimating, grouping, and writing.  Thank You!

Today the classroom was buzzing with excitement over the animal students who had joined us for the day.  The children enjoyed having their animals with them during reading, writing, and math activities.  I particularly enjoyed hearing the children make personal connections during our morning meeting.  As each child introduced his or her animal, other children realized how much they have in common.  Lovely!  The children also finished a simple writing assignment about their stuffed animal which is now on display on our author board.

 
 
The students have each taken a turn sitting in our author's chair this week.  They have spent most of November writing a variety of nonfiction books, and it was time to celebrate their effort.  Each child chose their best or favorite nonfiction piece and read it to the class.

In preparation for all of this nonfiction writing, we did a lot of nonfiction reading.  Many of our large group read alouds have been nonfiction, and several literacy centers have focused on nonfiction books in the last few weeks.

We noticed that many nonfiction books use a question and answer format, so some of the children decided to try that in their writing.  Sometimes the title of the book is the question and the entire book is the answer.  Sometimes there is a question on each page.  Sometimes the same question is repeated throughout a book and in other cases there are a variety of different questions all about one topic.

I was truly impressed by the children's enthusiasm in diving into nonfiction writing.  They shared information and expressed their creativity.  If you have the chance to visit our classroom, please spend a few moments enjoying the children's work on our "I Am An Author" wall.   The students would love to hear your reaction.  Until then, here are a few photos of our young authors.
 
 
In our class, we have had the remarkable opportunity to participate in a global learning project called the I Spy Community.  Elementary students from schools scattered all over the world have worked together to build slideshow representations of their communities.  An energetic teacher in Brazil built a website where all of the Voice Thread slideshows are displayed, and now the students are tasked to explore these projects searching for similarities and differences.  Some children may want to pay close attention to cultural clues in the photos and try to guess which community is being represented.  After spending time on this on Friday, I am asking the students to find one similarity and one difference as part of their homework this week.  Then the children will be able to add their comment to the other classes' slideshows next week. 

I encourage you to visit the website as a family.  Here is the link:  www.ispycommunity.wikispaces.com.  You will find an overview of the project, a map of participating schools, and links to four different galleries of student work.   If you don't have the energy to explore the I Spy site to find our contribution, I will attach our video right here.  It is based on our field trip, and you will notice that other students have already started to make comments.  Enjoy!

 
 
Many thanks to John and Izabela for the wonderful Halloween party on Friday!  We are so grateful for your kind support and enthusiasm.  The children looked wonderful, and everyone enjoyed the parade in the gym. 

One of my favorite parts of celebrating Halloween is sharing some of my favorite books with the children.  Please ask your student to tell you the story of The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey or Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman.  You might ask, "What was Oscar's problem?  How did he solve it?"  In Big Pumpkin, several characters try to help the witch, but the true hero isn't the biggest or the strongest.  Your child should be able to tell you about the hero in Big Pumpkin, and how she saved the witch's Halloween party.  Many children had fascinating text-to-text and text-to-self connections that you would love to hear.

I wish you all the best as Poland takes a day tomorrow to remember and honor our departed loved ones.

 
 
Wow!  UN Day was amazing this year!  I was delighted with the children's enthusiasm to learn about other countries and to share information about their home countries.  All of the children tried something new during our feast, and we heard several comments along the lines of, "Yum! That's really good!  I've never had that before!"  But again, all thanks go to our dedicated parents.  Thanks to you the children had a wonderful feast and a wonderful day.  Thank you!
 
 
Many, many thanks to all of our parent chaperones.  Thank you all for making our Community Field Trip a success!  You demonstrated patience, flexibility, and an enthusiasm for learning that our children will remember. 

Here are some photos  for you to enjoy.  More are on the way!