Friday, December 8, 2017

December 8th Highlights

Hello families,

We've had another wonderful week together. During our morning meetings we continue to practice math and literacy skills within our usual routines. This week we looked for sight words in our morning messages and our December songs. We practice math skills when doing our calendar routine and "counting the days" in which we are keeping track of how many days we've been in school and how many days are left of school.



Our read alouds this week followed one of our favorite authors, Mo Willems, who does a great job of bringing characters to life, using ellipses to show that there is more going on, writing exact actions, speech, feelings and thoughts, and makes important words pop out. This week we read together: I Really Love Slop!, I'm Invited to a Party!, and  A Big Guy Took My Ball! 

On Tuesday we participated in the schoolwide "Hour of Code" using the Kodable app on our iPads. We practiced Sequence, putting directions in order to make the puffball robot follow a path to the end. We practiced giving left/right, up/down directions, putting in a color to help the puffball know when to turn, giving repetitive directions in an efficient way with a repeat code, and using brackets to show a longer repeated direction code.  It was so much fun!!











In math we continue working with patterns. Each day we focused on a different skip counting pattern (10, 5, 2). We highlighted the pattern and used this to help us orally count forward and backward following the skip count pattern of the day. We practiced adding to 10 to make our teen numbers. Adding to 10 was really fun and easy! We then learned how to "find 10 and add on" when adding other numbers to make adding easier. Knowing our combinations of 10 really helped us use this strategy. Here's what it looks like:








We are beginning to use the "Find 10, Add On" strategy when solving addition story problems. We continued using patterns to help us solve combination problems. We also highlighted skip counting patterns by 10, 5 and 2 on our 120 charts. We used these to help us play "number zip."



We are beginning to wrap up our Small Moments writing unit. Many students this week worked with a partner to revise their latest story, adding more details to make it even better. Then they did editing on their own: checking for punctuation, capital letters where they belong, word wall words spelled correctly, most of the sounds in the words they wrote (inventive spelling), and spaces between words.



In word study we continue practicing spelling consonant-vowel-consonant words like: hip, not, lug, pet, mad. We also study sight words/trick words (common words that don't always follow the spelling rules). So far we've studied these trick words: the, a , and, his, is, of, my, we, in, it, let, do, on, I, me, had, can, get. 

We also began a new science unit this week about light waves and properties of light. We'll connect this to another science study: daylight patterns and our place in space. We read Sun Up, Sun Down as an introduction to these new science concepts. Next week we'll continue having read alouds connected to our science concepts. Here are some snapshots from our first light exploration, trying out different materials to see what things let through all light, some light, or no light.





Dates to Remember:
Wednesday December 13 - Early Release at 12:15 (Teacher In-Service) - no after school activities -- all students dismissed at 12:15
Thursday December 14 - Winter Concert (students in classrooms at 6:00 pm; performance begins in the gym at 6:30 pm)
Monday December 18 - Library 11-11:30 am
December 25 - January 2 - Winter Break -- No School
Wednesday January 3 - School resumes

Have a great weekend!
❤ Mrs. Fox


Friday, December 1, 2017

December 1st Highlights

Hello families,

This week absolutely zoomed by! It was great to be back all together after the long holiday break. Our fox kits easily got back into our school routines and showed an amazing amount of HEART all week!

In Readers Workshop we practiced a few new reading strategies: think of words that might make sense, look for small words inside of bigger words, and try it 2 ways (flex your sounds--especially the vowel sounds). At the beginning of each workshop I model a skill and then we practice it that day and share out about how it went at the end of workshop that day.

In Writers Workshop we used one of our reading strategies to help us write! If we know how to write small words (at, in, and) this can help us write longer words within these families 
(at->splat, in->spin, and->land). We also focused more on bringing our stories to life by adding drama and making our characters move, talk, think and feel! Many of us are nearly done with another small moment story! Then we meet with a partner to help us ask questions and revise. Finally we edit for conventions of writing (capital and lowercase letters where they belong, spaces, punctuation, sight words, matching pictures). In our writing we use inventive spelling, putting in as many sounds as we can hear in our words. The goal is that we can read our own writing back and a friend or parent can read it without much help too.

This week in math was all about patterns. We used patterns to help us find all possible combinations of numbers. We practiced skip counting using +2, +5, +10 patterns. We organized our representations into groups of 2, 5, or 10 to more easily count and double check our work. We also noticed patterns for adding and subtracting while doing an activity called today's number. We played a few games about 10 with our St. Mike's buddies on Friday: make 10 go fish and +10 pathways.

In Word Study we continue spelling CVC (consonant-short vowel-consonant) words. This week we introduced 3 new sight words to practice spelling: is, his, of. We also began linking our practice words together into complete sentences--focusing on spelling our CVC and sight words correctly, leaving spaces between words, having capitals at the beginning of sentences and lowercase letters throughout as well as punctuation at the end. (Here are a few sentences we did this week: Ted had a dog and a cat. His hat is red. Meg sat on a log.)

On Monday we had a class celebration since we had filled our heart jar the last day before break. We watched the "Happy Turkey Day" episode of Wild Kratts. On Tuesday we dumped our hearts into the JFK Heart Monitor. We also saw a circus performance put on by the middle schoolers on Wednesday.

Thanks to many of you who sent in library books this week. We'll be going to the library again on Monday so hopefully you'll see some new books coming home to enjoy!

Each day as we transition from a high energy time of recess back into a learning afternoon we take 10-15 minutes to practice mindfulness (during our mind and body practice). It is one of our favorite times of day and sets us up for a productive afternoon. If you'd like to read more about mindfulness for children check out this link.


Dates to Remember:
Monday December 4 - Library 11-11:30 am
Wednesday December 13 - Early Release at 12:15 (Teacher In-Service)
Thursday December 14 - Winter Concert (students in classrooms at 6:00 pm; performance begins in the gym at 6:30 pm)
Monday December 18 - Library 11-11:30 am
December 25 - January 2 - Winter Break -- No School
Wednesday January 3 - School resumes


Have a great weekend!
❤ Mrs. Fox

Friday, November 17, 2017

Highlights of the Week - November 17, 2017

Hello families,

We've had a fantastic week together. We did tons of learning, some fun team activities and worked together to solve some problems. Having students be active participants in problem solving is a great skill and asset to helping them want to keep everything working smoothly. As a classroom community it's important to all have a voice. We also talked a lot about thankfulness and gratitude. We shared things in our lives that we are glad to have.


We read two Scholastic News articles this week, learning about the lives of Pilgrim kids and Wampanoag kids. We learned about their homes, their chores, their food, their clothes, and what they did for fun. We compared what we learned to our own lives--noticing many similarities as well as some differences. We also read a picture book about Pilgrim and Wampanoag kids lives. It is a book more about their lives in general than the first Thanksgiving.This book is called One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B.G. Hennessy. We also colored some fun fox Thanksgiving placemats that Ms. Judy found for us!


We continue to love (and need) our mind and body practices. We move our bodies between lengthy sitting times and calm our bodies after high-energy times.



Doing Zumba as we transition from Guidance on Monday.


"Melting" with a Flow video to bring our energy down after P.E.

In writers workshop we shared our stories with a partner. Our partner asked questions about the story to help us think of more details we could add. We also brought our stories to life by unfreezing the characters--making them do something or say something. We noticed that Mo Willems, one of our favorite authors, is an author to learn these skills from. We reread Knufflebunny and read I Will Take a Nap to notice how he added detail by bringing characters to life. We also read more small moment stories, The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey and The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble. This final book is a great example of how we tell small moment stories in itty bitty parts, stretching out the small moment of time into a long story. This is a tough skill to master but our first grade writers are working on it!



Students sharing stories and asking questions to help the author add more details.


Students sharing stories and asking questions to help the author add more details.

In math we finished up the first unit and had our "show me what you know" on Tuesday. These scores will be on the upcoming report card (which I'll give out at conferences next Monday). Our next math unit continues developing number sense and building upon the skills we've learned and practiced in the first unit. We are also continuing to build our fact power muscles, gaining fluency and moving up levels. This week we worked a lot with the number 10--finding all the ways to make ten and then using a color and number pattern to organize them. We made 10 rainbows and played a game called "10 Go Fish." This is a great game to play at home--just use the Ace,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9 cards from a standard deck of cards. Deal out 5 to each player. Then try to find a match to make 10 (like go fish). When playing ask "Do you have a 7 to go with my 3 to make 10?" or "Do you have a 2 to go with my 8 to make 10?" If the person asked doesn't have that number the person asking picks up a card from the pile.


Partners wrote equations to match the color pattern on the 10 towers.


Then partners worked together to organize them--put them in order using a number pattern.


We noticed that our 10 tower patterns make a big staircase!

In readers workshop we continued to practice good reading habits. We focused this week on ways readers reread books to grow as readers. We reread to smooth out our reading, to make it sound more like talking. When we do this then we can scoop up phrases instead of reading word by word. We also reread to see more, to notice and learn new things in our stories.


We love to read so much we even read during our free time before morning meeting!


We love to read so much we even read during our free time before morning meeting!

This week I sent home flyers for Scholastic book orders. You do not have to order books but I will send home book orders every 2 months or so in case you want to get any new books for your home. We also have a class wish list if you'd like to donate a book to the class! You can go to this link and enter our class code  LDHF9 to order books online or return the flyer order sheet to me with a check payable to Scholastic Book Clubs by Tuesday November 28th. (Books also make great gifts for the holidays!)


Do you have any old/outgrown coats, boots, snow pants, gloves or mittens hanging around? If so, you could donate them to our classroom. When children don't have adequate outerwear they need to borrow some in order to go outside. I keep lockers for extra winter gear for kids to borrow. If you have any old winter wear feel free to send them in as extras for our classroom--they might fit someone else!



In other news, starting after the break we'll have a new volunteer, Ms. Joy, helping us out on Monday afternoons. She'll be helping us in our math lessons and in our FUNdations word study, science and social studies block. 

I look forward to seeing all of you on Monday for our family conferences! Please remember there is no school for children on Monday due to these conferences going on all day. Here's the schedule again in case you forgot when to come for your conference!





Have a great Thanksgiving break!

Dates to Remember:

Monday November 20 - Family Conferences -- No School for Kids
Tuesday November 21 - Friday November 24 - Thanksgiving Break -- No School
Tuesday November 28 - Scholastic Book Orders due!
Wednesday December 13 - Early Release at 12:15 (Teacher In-Service)
Thursday December 14 - Winter Concert (students in classrooms at 6:00 pm; performance begins in the gym at 6:30 pm)
December 25 - January 2 - Winter Break -- No School
Wednesday January 3 - School resumes


Have a great weekend!
❤ Mrs. Fox

Friday, November 10, 2017

Highlights November 10, 2017

Hello families,

This week we began to sign up for our readers workshop choices. Guided reading groups also began. I meet with small groups of children to work on reading skills and read just right books. Meanwhile the rest of the class is working on reading or literacy skills by doing: read to myself, read to someone, listen to reading, word work, or work on writing.

Students make their readers workshop choices each morning.





In writers workshop we began to write small moment stories. These are personal narratives that tell the story from a small moment of time. First we zoomed into a moment when we had a big feeling. Then we stretched that moment out to tell details about what happened. We planned, sketched and began to write our stories this week. We also read small moment stories all together during read aloud: Night of the Veggie Monster by George McClements, Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes, and Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems.



Students told a partner their small moment stories. They touched each box to tell each small part of the story.
Students use their planning sheets to write the parts of their stories.


Students use their planning sheets to write the parts of their stories.

This week we began a routine that will continue for the rest of the year. In our block of academic time after snack we will be alternating academics, doing FUNdations for word study some days each week and either our social studies or science work (depending on which unit of study we are working on) a few days each week. This week we learned about FUNdations routines and practice tapping out sounds in CVC (consonant-short vowel-consonant) words (i.e. cat, sip, mop, rug). We finished up our social studies unit on growth mindset. This is a concept that we will continue to practice and learn about throughout the year as we learn and grow together!


I will say ... I will keep trying my best!




In Math we've been reviewing and practicing the story problem, combinations, comparing numbers, number writing, and fact power skills that we've been learning in this first unit. On Monday we'll have our first unit assessment (a "show me what you know").





On Friday morning we got to see a middle school performance of Cinderella! We also met with our St. Mike's buddies again and played +1 or +2 Bingo!


Beginning next week I will be teaching a 21st Century after school class on Tuesdays. Mrs. Poland (our music teacher) will be bringing the class out for dismissal on most Tuesdays until the end of January. Please look for her with your child on Tuesdays.


Now that the weather has finally changed please make sure to send your child to school with appropriate clothing. We go out for recess each day unless it is pouring rain or below ten. A warm coat, hat and gloves are needed! Boots are great too! Once there is snow on the ground send in those snow pants, too!


Today a blue sheet came home to tell you when you are signed up for a conference with me. Please keep the top part for your information and sign the bottom to return to me so I know you can make it to the conference. I look forward to meeting with each of you to update you on the great work your child is doing in class!


Dates to Remember:

Monday November 13 - Library Day 
Monday November 20 - Family Conferences -- No School for Kids
Tuesday November 21 - Friday November 24 - Thanksgiving Break -- No School
Wednesday December 13 - Early Release at 12:15 (Teacher In-Service)
Thursday December 14 - Winter Concert (students in classrooms at 6:00 pm; performance begins in the gym at 6:30 pm)
December 25 - January 2 - Winter Break -- No School
Wednesday January 3 - School resumes


Have a great weekend!
❤ Mrs. Fox

Friday, November 3, 2017

Highlights November 3rd, 2017

Hello families,
We've had a very fun week together. It's hard to believe it's already November! Here are some of the highlights from our week!

This week we read many books together: Big Pumpkin, T-Rex Trick or Treats, How Do You Grow a Giant Pumpkin?, Pete the Cat: 5 Little Pumpkins, Ish, and If You're Happy and You Know It.

We practice reading skills in so many ways. Along with doing class read alouds we also have our Readers Workshop. This week we began the structure that will continue for the remainder of the year: whole class mini-lesson; 3 choices (independent, partner work, or small groups); whole class share out. First we meet together for a mini-lesson. This is something new to practice to make us stronger readers. Right now we're learning strategies and ways to build good reading habits. Then there are 3 choice blocks (2 reading choices + 1 more choice). We already know how to do read to myself, read to someone, word work, and meet with a teacher. This week we added two more choices to our readers workshop: listen to reading and work on writing. During listen to reading 2 kids at a time listen to an audiobook. Audiobooks help readers at all stages get access to fun books that develop their reading comprehension and vocabulary. These are books that would often be too challenging to read to themselves but they can access this book in audio format. This week our book of the week was Just Say Boo. We also got free writing journals. These are journals where we can write about anything we want. This is different from our work in writers workshop because we are practicing writing certain skills and writing genres then. It's fun to go back and read our own writing or read it to someone! At the end of readers workshop we check in all together to talk about how we did at practicing the new skill from our mini-lesson.







In math we continue to work on building fact fluency, organize our thinking by representing it on paper, and solve different kinds of problems. We are nearing the end of our first unit on story problems, number lines, and combinations. Students are working independently, in partnerships, in small groups, or in whole class lessons.

On Tuesday we gathered as a first grade team to sing some of the October songs that we've been learning this month. It was fun to sing them all together! Here's a short clip of one of our songs.


Our class decided to try something new with our HEARTS. We got a small container to put in the hearts we earn during the day. At closing circle we count them to see how many we got that day and then add them to our class jar. 

On Friday we earned even more than 100 hearts--123 hearts in just 1 day!

On Thursday we filled our HEART jar! We'll add them to the school heart monitor on Tuesday!

We had our class celebration on Friday morning (playing games or building with blocks and legos together) and our buddies came in the afternoon. 









We had an All School Morning Meeting this week and a visit from Officer Dave to talk about safety (stranger danger, 911, crossing streets)!



Family conferences are coming up. If you haven't yet sent in your orange sheet about what times work or don't work for you please send them in on Monday. We're meeting as a team to schedule conferences on Wednesday!

Also don't forget this upcoming Wednesday is an Early Release day. Pick up is at 12:15.
Dates to Remember:

Wednesday November 8 - Early Release at 12:15 (Teacher In-Service)
Monday November 13 - Library Day 
Monday November 20 - Family Conferences - No School for Kids
Tuesday November 21 - Friday November 24 - Thanksgiving Break - No School


Have a great weekend!
❤ Mrs. Fox

Friday, October 27, 2017

Highlights 10-27-17

Hello families,

This week we've been busy s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g and growing our brains. We do this all the time when we choose just right books to read. We do this when we stretch out words to write all the sounds we hear. We do it when we practice handwriting and forming our letters carefully. We stretch our brains when we practice reading new sight words. These are commonly used words that don't always follow traditional spelling patterns so we just have to know how to read them on sight. We got 2 new tools to practice this skill during readers workshop. We have little practice booklets to help us practice reading lists of sight words as quickly as we can read our own names. We also learned a roll and record game to practice reading and writing these sight words.

We began fact power in math that it letting us show mastery of math facts within a pattern and move onto the next more challenging level. With each level our brain gains more power in working with numbers! We are using this power to look for different combinations of the same sum within a story. For example, "I have 9 things on my plate. Some are peas. Some are carrots. How many peas can I have? How many carrots?" This week we used cubes to help us model combination stories like these. We drew pictures to represent the combinations as well as equations to match. Students shared out ways they represented their work and ways to thought about combinations. Some students began using a more organized strategy to try to find ALL possible combinations!









We have also been talking about this concept of stretching and growing our brains in relation to our work in social studies about having a growth mindset. This means being willing to try new things, make mistakes, and keep getting better at things that are hard for us. Sometimes when things are hard we feel like "I can't do this!" It feels frustrating. When we have a growth mindset instead we say "This is hard but I'll try my best!" We read a book to help us learn about the science behind the growth mindset and our brain called Your Fantastic, Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Grow It by JoAnn Deak, Ph.D. We shared lots of examples from our own lives about when something was hard but we kept trying, or when we made a mistake and learned from it.




We read a few books all together this week too. We read the book our class wrote: Fabulous Fox, Fabulous Fox, Who Do You See?, a book about letters and sounds: Alphabet Mystery by Audrey Wood, a book about teamwork: Swimmy by Leo Lionni, and a fun Halloween book: Big Pumpkin  by Erica Silverman.




This week our anticipation and excitement for Halloween continued to grow. We started learning and singing some Halloween songs together. We did a fun "spiderweb" greeting during morning meeting. We also began reading some books with this holiday theme. Next Tuesday is Halloween. We'll do more fun learning activities to celebrate during the school day and we'll have a special snack in the afternoon. Please remember there are no costumes or candy allowed at school.






We continue to have regularly scheduled mind and body breaks to energize when our engines are running low or when we need to expend extra energy (especially on rainy days), or calm down when our engines are running high. We also challenge our brains with cross-body exercises with Mr. Catman!










Dates to Remember:
Tuesday October 31 - Halloween - No Costumes at School
Thursday November 2 - Clothing Drive and Potluck Dinner 5:00-7:00 pm
Wednesday November 8 - Early Release at 12:15 (Teacher In-Service)
Monday November 20 - Family Conferences - No School for Kids
Tuesday November 21 - Friday November 24 - Thanksgiving Break - No School


Have a great weekend!
❤ Mrs. Fox