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!

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!
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!
One of my favorite parts of working with first graders is sharing some of my favorite books.  This week we read The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill, one of my all-time favorite books about friendship breaking down barriers.  The story is told with enough whimsy to provide children the comfort of humor while accessing the gravity of the main character's mean disposition.  And Laura Huliska-Beith's illustrations are magical.

Throughout first grade, we develop our comprehension of a story by retelling the main story components and by making connections.  The students worked in small groups to discuss the importance of key story elements and personal connections to the book.  Some of the children may post additional connections and thoughts next week.  For now, we will share our current work-in-progress with you.  Enjoy!

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:  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!

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.

Dear Parents,

On Thursday, we went upstairs and visited Ms. Horner's Third Grade.  Ms. Horner's students will be our reading buddies.  When we meet, we will take turns reading and listening.  We may even be able to do some projects together related to our reading.  I hope you enjoy the photos that Miss Nina took during our first session together.  We weren't the only visitors to Ms. Horners' class on Thursday!  We also had the chance to meet Spike the Hedgehog!

We are also settling into our routine of bringing home leveled books for daily reading practice.  Some days, the students will be bringing home the book that we used during our Guided Reading lesson.  Other days, the students will be bringing home a different book that they have selected as a "just right" book.  Please do not worry if the levels marked on the books vary from day to day.  It is exceptionally helpful for the students to celebrate their classroom reading by re-reading to a parent or sibling.  The books the children take home should be pretty 'easy' for them, so they continue to build their confidence.  Occasionally I will ask the children to write a sentence or two to respond to their reading in their reading log.  Thank you for your support with this!

See you at the PTO Fair!
Mrs.  Hayden

Dear Parents,

I would like to share some information with you about the results of the Developmental Reading Assessments (DRA), our weekly spelling tests, and some friendly reminders.

* Developmental Reading Assessment
          Thank you all for your support of the First Grade DRA Days.  I mentioned to many of you how grateful I am to ASW for giving us two days to complete these assessments.  All of the children did a fabulous job.  And thanks to the DRA, I have a clear 'base-line' from which to plan our large group and small group reading instruction.  
          When we meet in early November for parent/teacher conferences, I will share more information with you regarding your child's DRA and about the reading learning plan I am composing  specifically for your child.  I will also use this blog to keep you informed about different strategies and skills we are practicing in class.  However, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not wait until November.  I always love sharing your children's successes with you!

*  Spelling Tests
       On Fridays, we have a spelling test.  The first five words for the spelling test are the focus words we added to our word wall the previous week.  Since last week only had three days of school, we only have three words for this week's test (from, good, and eat.)  However, there will also be a dictation sentence using review words.  Students receive one point for each word spelled correctly.  They also receive a point for remembering an uppercase letter at the start of their sentence and a second point for remembering to put ending punctuation at the end of the sentence.  I hope this explains how last week's spelling test of five words and one sentence had a total of ten possible points.  The dictation sentences will increase in complexity as the year progresses, and I will begin adding the challenge words as an option.  If you would like more information, please let me know!

* Reminders
               The school encourages the children to keep a spare set of clothes in their locker for any unexpected emergencies.  Since the weather is getting chillier, this may be a good time to check to see that your child has a complete backup outfit ready.  

          ASW conducted a complete fire drill yesterday.  I am happy to report that our students did a wonderful job exiting the building quickly and quietly.  Please ask your child to tell you about proper fire drill behavior. 

            Also, please remember the PTO Fall BBQ this Saturday at school from 12 - 4.  I hope to see all of you there!

Susan Hayden