Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Highlights of Our Week!


Hello families,

We have had a fun-filled week of learning together. We filled our heart jar again and celebrated with a stuffie day. Many children enjoyed having a snuggly friend with them throughout the day. It was fun to play with them at recess too since it was rainy and we were indoors!

In readers workshop we've been reviewing good habits that readers do when they practice reading. This week we practiced: setting goals about how many books we want to read each day, rereading to make our sentences sound smooth like talking, scooping up phrases instead of reading word by word, and rereading a book to see and understand more of what is happening in the story.

This week we read and began writing small moment stories. These are stories of things that happened to us or moments we've lived in which we had a big feeling. When writing this type of story first we zoom into the big feeling. Then we sketch out the story parts in order. Next we write each part on a separate page. After that we add details in our pictures. So far that's what we've been doing. As we continue to progress in this writing style we'll learn more about revising and editing too! To help us understand the concept of small moment stories we read a couple together this week: Night of the Veggie Monster and Dark Night.



We also had a CLiF event on Monday where we met a local author, Tracey Campbell Pearson. We got to see a lot of her work, hear about how she makes books, and ask some questions. It was cool to hear about how long and how many revisions she makes before a book is complete!




We began the next word study unit on CVC (consonant-short vowel-consonant) words. We are practicing tapping out the sounds and then building the words with letter magnet tiles or writing the words on white boards or in notebooks. We are also adding a few more trick words/sight words to our spelling practice. These are words that are commonly used but don't always follow the traditional letter/sound patterns. We are currently working on: the, a, and, is, his, of.

We finished up our first math unit and had a "show what you know" about those math skills: comparing numbers, adding 2 addends under 10, representing numbers in an organized way, adding on the number line, solving addition/subtraction/combination story problems, orally counting to 50, and writing numbers to 50.

We also began our WIN time -- this is a time to do some learning for What I Need. Sometimes this will be everyone doing learning together about new concepts. Sometimes this will be "good fit" learning in small groups to target skills students need to work on. This week we learned about Fact Power. This is a routine that helps students practice addition and subtraction math facts. Students learn and progress at their own pace, working to master each number pattern before moving on. There are a few ways we practice: using flashcards, working in packets, and playing games. 



Thanks to all who returned the Family Conference sheets. I sent back your conference time slot according to the times of day you said you were available. Please keep the top portion of the green note so you know when your time is to meet with me. If the time given doesn't work for you after all please let me know so we can reschedule. Either way please return the bottom portion of the green note so I know if you can make it!

Last chance to order some books through our Scholastic Book Order! There are lots of great deals and books make great gifts! There likely won't be another order until I return from maternity leave in April. Orders are due this upcoming Monday!

Dates to Remember:
  • No School, Friday 11/9
  • Monday 11/12, Scholastic Book Orders Due
  • 12:15 dismissal, Wednesday 11/14
  • Family Conferences, 8am-8pm Monday 11/19 (No School for students due to conferences all day.)
  • Thanksgiving Break - No School Tuesday 11/20 - Friday 11/23
  • Monday 11/26, School resumes

Have a great weekend!
❤ Mrs. Fox

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Highlights from the End of October

Hello families,
I will be out tomorrow, Friday, for my monthly UVM class so I'm sending out our weekly news a day early. The Fox Kits have been showing so much HEART and demonstrating their learning all week!

In math we are starting to wrap up our first unit so we are practicing all the skills mixed together: representing numbers in an organized way, comparing two sums, solving story problems (addition, subtraction, combinations), adding on the number line. Next week we will have our first unit test, or a "show me what you know." 

We also finished formal instruction in handwriting for the lowercase letters. We have been practicing matching letters to sounds, writing the alphabet in order, and writing letters neatly and the right size using our handwriting lines. Some are tall letters, going all the way from the ground line to the sky line (b, d, f, h, k, l, t). Some are small letters, fitting between the ground and the plane line (a, c, e, i, m, n, o, r, s, u, v, w, x, z). The rest are drop down letters, going from the plane line down to the worm line (g, j, p, q, y). Today we had  a"show me what you know" about how well they can use proper formation of these letters.

Reading groups are in full swing and first graders are getting so timely in their transitions and routines! Today we also learned 1 more way we can practice reading during readers workshop: listen to reading! Each week we will have a different audio book available for pairs to listen to. This is a great way to access higher level texts that most first graders cannot read on their own yet. We all practiced this with a class favorite: Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes!

We read two Halloween books this week and did some writing about them too: Pete the Cat - Five Little Pumpkins and Big Pumpkin. Here's a link to Big Pumpkin if you want to read it at home!




Dates to Remember:
  • No School, Friday 11/9
  • 12:15 dismissal, Wednesday 11/14
  • Family Conferences, 8am-8pm Monday 11/19 (More info to come! -- No School for students due to conferences all day.)
  • Thanksgiving Break - No School Tuesday 11/20 - Friday 11/23
  • Monday 11/26, School resumes

Have a great weekend!
❤ Mrs. Fox

Friday, October 26, 2018

Highlights of Our Week

Hello families,

This week we added reading groups to our readers workshop routine. While some students make independent choices (read to myself, read to someone, work on writing, word work) other small groups of students meet with me to work on similar reading skills. This week we learned the routines of how to come to group, what tools we use, what we do to warm up our reading muscles, and how to read books 2 times--once for word solving, then again for fluency (to make the reading sound smooth like talking). Our reading groups are working great!


Classroom Wishlist! There are a couple of things that we are in need of--please let me know if you can help! We would like someday to make slime as a class celebration. We have enough glue but need saline solution and baking soda so we can all make some. 


In writing we worked on one last book all about ourselves. We made lists of things that make us us and drew pictures to match. We also read a few books on this topic together: The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade, Be Who You Are, ABC I Like ME!, and To Be a Kid.


In word study we continue to practice our letter-keyword-sound routines and practicing writing lowercase letters. 


We also had a parent come in this week to lead us in some yoga and mindfulness practices! It was fun to practice this with someone new.



We had a class celebration this week for filling our heart jar again! On Tuesday we went out in the morning to have a bonus recess on the big playground. It was fun to use a different climber and have so many swings to use!



In math we continue to practicing addition and subtraction strategies. We also learned about a new kind of story problem: combinations. Here we try to figure out lots of ways to make a number. Some students noticed that if they use a pattern it helps them find ALL the combinations!



Next week is Halloween. Please do not send your child to school in a costume. We will be doing some Halloween related activities but we will not be dressing up at school. Thanks!


Today, Friday, there is also a note coming home in your child's folder about my upcoming maternity leave. Here's the same information just in case:



As you’ve probably heard from your child, or observed yourself, I am pregnant and due in mid December. My plan is to be in school and work until the baby is born--babies have a mind of their own about when to show up! I am writing to assure you that your children will continue to be in good hands during my maternity leave. We have hired a long-term substitute, Kate O’Brien (Ms. Kate) who will be filling in as the classroom teacher in room 25 from sometime in December until April. Ms. Kate has taught previously in Canada, California, China and Mexico. Most of her teaching background is within English Language Learning classrooms so she will fit in great at JFK supporting all the students in our room. She is so excited to be coming to teach at JFK!
Ms. Kate has already begun being a guest teacher here at JFK and whenever there is not a teacher out she will be helping in our room, getting to know our students and routines. In early December Ms. Kate and I will have some time to do more co-teaching to ease the transition for the children into having a new lead classroom teacher. She will also work closely with the first grade team to ensure that she is following the first grade curriculum we use at JFK.

Thank you for your support and I look forward to hearing about all the great things the students do and learn with Ms. Kate while I am out!

That's all the news for now. Enjoy the weekend!


Dates to Remember:

  • No School, Friday 11/9
  • 12:15 dismissal, Wednesday 11/14
  • Family Conferences, 8am-8pm Monday 11/19 (more info to come!) (No School for students due to conferences all day)
  • Thanksgiving Break - No School Tuesday 11/20 - Friday 11/23
  • Monday 11/26, School resumes

Have a great weekend!
❤ Mrs. Fox

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Highlights from a Short Week

Hello families,

With the half day Wednesday and no school this Friday our time at school has simply flown by this week!

This week I began meeting with students individually to assess their knowledge of: letter names and sounds, sight words, and reading (decoding and comprehension). I will continue this work next week and will use this information to target instruction to individual needs during readers workshop. The hope is that first graders know their letter names and sounds at this point so we can dive into decoding strategies during guided reading groups in our readers workshop.

We read two books together this week: Alphabet Mystery and Rainbow Fish. Students made their own alphabet pictures and began to decorate a rainbow fish of their own.


We finished up our social studies unit on growth mindset this week. We loved watching the Class Dojo series on growth mindset and applying what we've learned about the brain and learning behaviors to talk about what happened in the episode and make connections to our own learning. We also got coloring sheets of all our favorite growth mindset posters!



In math we continued working on adding and subtracting strategies: representing with pictures and using the number line. We also worked hard to look at different ways to represent the same equations and writing equations to match someone else's representations. This takes a lot of thinking since you have to understand someone else's ideas of how to show their thinking! We also played some games: Roll and Write (to practice writing numbers to 120) and In the Doghouse (to practice adding/subtracting).

Dates to Remember:
  • No School Friday 10/19
  • Picture Re-take Day 10/26

Have a great weekend!
❤ Mrs. Fox

Friday, October 12, 2018

Highlights of Our Week


Hello families,

We are really getting into the swing of things in room 25! The Fox Kits are doing amazing learning each and every day.

Our social/emotional learning target of the week is accepting no for an answer. It can be hard when you want something but you can't do it or have it. Learning to accept no in a calm way is important. We tied this to the concept of want vs. need. We talked about how as different people and different learners, kids need different tools to learn. Some learners might want to use a special tool (i.e. wiggle chair, headphones, heart chart) but other students really need to use a special tool to help them learn.

This week we put all our reading choices into action. In the morning students choose what 3 choices they are going to do during our readers workshop. This week we practiced switching between those choices quietly and independently when I shake the shaker for transitions. We also tried having quiet piano or harp music on to remind us to keep our voices calm and quiet. Readers need a quiet place to read! These are routines that we will use all year!




Together we read books in the individuality theme this week: I Am Human: A Book of Empathy and I Like Myself. We also wrote a book all about ourselves using "I am ___" sentences.

We continued our social studies unit this week on growth mindset. Some of our conversation starters this week were: "it's okay to not know but it's not okay to not try" and "you have only failed if you have given up." We watched a few videos on the concept of growth mindset and started to write about times in our lives where we have tried things that were hard for us.





In math we continued using a number line to help us represent our thinking with adding and subtracting. We had a number talk with Ms. Hamble where we explained different ways to see a number within a collection of dots. We also played a few games: in the doghouse, double compare, froggy on the number line.


This week the JFK Heart Monitor was full! We celebrated on Thursday with pajama day and watched the movie Rio in the performing arts center on the big screen!


Dates to Remember:
  • Early Release Wednesday 10/17 at 12:15
  • No School Friday 10/19
  • Picture Re-take Day 10/26

Have a great weekend!
❤ Mrs. Fox

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Highlights of our Week

Hello families,

What a week we've had! Our social/emotional learning target of the week was saying thank you, which we do often daily. I also want to thank all of you who were able to make it to our family morning meeting on Tuesday. It was great to share this part of the day with you so you could really see what it is all about.

During readers workshop this week we continued practicing read to myself and read to someone for 15 minute chunks of time. We also learned a word work game to help us practice naming and writing letters, and reading and writing words. Our word work game was super fun! During readers workshop students always practice reading 2 ways then make another choice (work on writing or word work) to practice reading in a more flexible way.

This week we read some books with the theme of individuality and what makes us unique. We read: Only One You, The Copycat Fish, You Be You and It's Okay to Be Different. We did some writing all about us too, a fun project called "Me, Myselfie, and I!" We wrote all about our favorite things and shared about what we liked about ourselves.

We also shared our Hopes and Dreams with Principal Sara on Wednesday. She loved hearing about, seeing our writing, and seeing our pictures about what our goals are for this year.




We also began a social studies unit on growth mindset. Having a growth mindset means that you embrace challenges, try your best, and learn from mistakes. We read a few books on this topic as well: The Little Engine that Could, The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes, and Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. We watched this short video about how the brain helps us learn and grow too. Take a look!


In math we continued to work on story problems and focused on telling the difference between "put together plus" and "take away minus" language in these story problems. Once we knew if we were adding or subtracting students wrote equations and represented their thinking. We also began to learn how to use a numberline to add. Many students already had been using the numberline on their desks to help them count all or count on. Now we practiced showing how we add using small hops and big jumps as we practice being a "froggy on the numberline."




On Thursday we were excited to fill our heart jar. We celebrated on Friday by watching a movie, Home, in the afternoon. JFK also filled the heart monitor this week! We will be having our first all school celebration next week--details still to come!

Dates to Remember:
  • Early Release Wednesday 10/17 at 12:15
  • No School Friday 10/19
  • Picture Re-take Day 10/26

Have a great weekend!
❤ Mrs. Fox

Friday, September 28, 2018

Highlights from a Crisp, Fall Week

Hello families,

This week our part-time student intern from UVM, Ms. Madeline, read us Angelina Ballerina about a mouse who has a hope and dream to be a ballerina. Then we talked about what hopes and dreams about friendship we have and want to get better at this school year. These friendship goals ranged from making new friends to teaching friends a new game to learning more kids names.



We also read, and reread in a few ways, the fabulous book One. This book is about standing up for yourself and your friends against a bully and helping everyone belong and feel included. We did a writing project about this book too where we wrote and illustrated ways that everyone can do something together.







This week Fox Kits continued working on their reading stamina, practicing read to myself and read to someone/partner reading for 15 minutes each. We also learned the expectations for how to meet with a teacher and work on writing independently. Students are really showing what they can do and are making great reading choices!

In math this week we began to practice story problems or word problems. We learned how to read the story 3 ways: think about what's happening (+ or -), think about the numbers, think about the question. Then we solve it and show our work on paper by representing our thinking or how we figured it out. First graders practiced this with addition stories within 20 and subtraction stories within 20!





We had a few guided discoveries this week. We learned about germs and how to do proper hand washing with Nurse Liz. We learned about a few new tools we can use in the "take a break space" to help us calm down and be ready to learn again. We also practiced a "Secure the Building" drill 2 times -- once to learn expectations and a second time during a whole school practice. This is a safety drill, like fire drills, that we practice often throughout the year so students would know what to do if there ever were an emergency.






We also filled our heart jar again! We dumped our hearts into the JFK heart monitor on Thursday and celebrated on Friday with a costume dress up day!



Earlier this week I sent home an invitation for you to join our morning meeting next week, Tuesday October 2nd. We'd love for you to come and see what this part of our day looks like! No need to RSVP, just come join us from 8:30-9:00 in room 25 if you can!

Dates to Remember:
  • Family Morning Meeting - 10/2 8:30-9:00
  • Early Release Wednesday 10/17 at 12:15
  • No School Friday 10/19
  • Picture Re-take Day 10/26

Have a great weekend!
❤ Mrs. Fox