First of all, many, many thanks to all of the parents who gave their time and energy to make the First Grade Popcorn Sale such a success!  The children began the week making posters to promote the sale, and they were very excited today to help work and sell the popcorn.  We will find the total amount raised on Monday, but every indication is that the children raised a sizable amount to donate to the Warsaw Children's Hospice.  Well done, students! 

Academically, we are moving forward by leaps and bounds.  As part of our language arts work every day, we read a poem together and then search for various spelling patterns, letter sounds, and sight words.  This week, we took a moment to enjoy our success with this work.  At the beginning of the year, it was much more difficult for us to find words from the word wall or with a certain sound.  Now, when I ask the children to find a word with the long-i sound, for example, nearly every hand is up in the blink of an eye.  It's a beautiful thing. 

In writing this week, our student authors were working on a personal narrative.  The children first planned their stories using a three-box graphic organizer to represent the beginning, middle, and end.  Then the children transferred their ideas into sentences on standard lined paper.  I also asked the children to use a checklist to make certain they completed the expectations for the assignment.  Here are the checklist questions:
     *  Did you give your story a title?
     *  Did you write the beginning, middle, and end of your story?
     *  Did you write the most about the heart of your story?
     *  Did you write 8 sentences or more?
     *  Did you begin each sentence with an uppercase letter?
     *  Did you finish each sentence with a punctuation mark?
     *  Did you spell all word wall words correctly?
     *  Did you write neatly?
Half of the class had the chance to sit in the author's chair and read their stories to the class today.  The other half will present on Monday, and then we will post these pieces on our author's board.  Again, the children are making great progress.  They are creative, resourceful, and growing in confidence.

I would also like to mention our work in mathematics.  Most of the children really enjoyed participating in World Math Day.  Thank you to all of the parents who allowed your children extra computer time at home to practice and participate in the event.  The 60-second mathematics contests in World Math Day were a perfect introduction to our new unit in mathematics.  We have begun a unit called, "Number Games and Crayon Puzzles" in which the children will hone their understanding of addition and subtraction facts, use these facts and other strategies to solve story problems, and practice strategies to find all the possible combinations to reach a certain total.  Many of the games and assignments in this unit build on the work we started earlier in the year.  In fact, I am hoping you will be able to help your child find the copy of the Primary Number Cards we sent home for homework in the fall.  You used them to play Compare and Double Compare with your child.  Please let us know if you can't find the number cards.  There will be more opportunities for you to use them to play games with your child in the coming weeks.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support.  I wish you all a relaxing and restful weekend.

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