Tuesday, September 30, 2014


This week we are working on doubles in math.  Many are "getting it" and some are having trouble with it.  The idea of doubles is if you have 30 can it have a double fact?  Well, yes because if you take 30 erasers (or whatever you have around the house) and divide it into 2 even groups, there are 15 in each group. So 15+15=30  BUT 30=15+15 also!  Paying attention to those signs is a really important part of the process too.  So after realizing what doubles are (addends that are the same number), there is really more to this.

Try this with your child.  They should be able to do this!
Ask them if 17, 14, 5, or 8 can be doubles.  How do they know? Can they explain it to you?
Can they show you how they figure out this problem (draw a picture or use manipulatives)?
Can they write a number sentence? (example: 3+3=6 or 6=3+3)
Can they explain what doubles are?

The students made some amazing discoveries today that honestly blew my socks off!  They are thinkers and are truly starting to explain the thoughts in their heads.  One student connected doubles to Monopoly.  When you roll doubles you get to roll again. When you don't roll doubles, you don't get to go again.  BRILLIANT thinking these kids do daily!  Be proud! :)

Important Info

We were asked today to be sure to share that if your child is a walker and you meet them every day, to be sure to know that they will be sent walking even if you aren't there.  If you are not comfortable with your child walking home alone if you are not there, please arrange to have them as car riders instead.  Also, please remember that the school opens at 7:30 for students to enter.  Sending students into the building prior to 7:30 does not ensure that there will be someone in the classrooms to watch them.  We want all students to be safe and secure.  THANK YOU! :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

spelling words for Oct 3 test

1. star
2. far
3. jar
4. car
5. par
**6. shark**

Number 6 is  a bonus word

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Friday, 9/25....WAHOO!!!!!

We have filled our character card chart!  Tomorrow, Friday, September 26, 2014, we are going to celebrate with a movie and popcorn party at the end of the day!  WAHOO! They may wear comfy clothes but not pajamas for this one.  :)  Please congratulate your group for this amazing work!

If anyone would like to send in popcorn or juice boxes, that would be great!  In fact, if you could email me that you are doing this, that would be great so I don't have to buy it and we have too much!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Papa John's

Thursday, tomorrow, is a Papa John's PTO night. Check your child's planner today for a sticker with more information!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Spelling List

The spelling list came home today in planners.  The words are orange, green, brown, purple, black.  Two of the words are repeats because they were highly misspelled last week. So for those that learned them, it should be a bonus.  For those that didn't, they will have the chance to learn them. :)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Subject Updates

After progress reports coming home, I want to share a few important things with you! :)

Reading: The end of the first grading period goal is a DRA of 6-8. (Preferably an 8)  I just finished the DRA testing today, Tuesday, September 16, 2014.  That is why the progress reports are coming home on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.  We will shortly begin guided reading groups to work with your child and others at a similar DRA level.  What does this mean for you?  It is possible to look up books through Scholastic Book Wizard online and get DRA levels and leveled book suggestions.  It is possible that your local library might be able to help with this also.  We will also use this information when finding books in the library from now on.  I do allow them to find one on level book and one free choice book that you can read with them if it isn’t on their level.  Also, I am attaching a comprehension sheet that can be used with any book.  One side is for fiction and the other side is for non-fiction.  Please don’t just read with your child.  Please talk about the book.  This is almost as important as reading.
Writing:  Again, we have been writing a lot.  We are working on getting the letters formed correctly and on the line.  This means that using capital letters should only happen at the start of a sentence OR for a proper noun.  Please encourage your child to use lowercase letters when proper to do so. Punctuation at the end of sentences is also what a first grader should be able to do by the end of the first grading period.
Math: We are learning to do basic addition and subtraction. PLEASE encourage your child to show their work.  At this age it means, draw a model to represent the equation.  It is not enough to simply know the answer.  They have a test coming up the beginning of next week.  They need to know the following vocabulary: sum, addends, and difference. We have been working on this in class.  The homework for the next week will really focus on this!  Again, please be sure that they are modeling their work on the paper and not just using their fingers.  I tell them I cannot take their fingers with me when I look at their work.  Another big thing in math is the realization that much of what is written they CAN read!  Reading plays a huge part in math. Even though we read them together, having the words on the page can sometimes be a stumbling block.
Social Studies: We are working on our character.  How can we fill someone’s bucket and why do we have rules?  The hardest part with this is writing.  If your child is having trouble writing sentences this impacts some of what we do in social studies.  Also listening and hearing what is said is important here too.
Science: We are working on properties and the ways we use the 5 senses when we talk about properties.  We have discussed sink vs float as well as used our senses with sour Skittles and animal crackers.  Writing is a big part of science also.  We have to be able to write our observations down and show what we know.

The biggest thing that I want to share about where we are so far is all of the positive behaviors that I see out of each and every child in the room.  No one is perfect, but this group of kids is one to be proud of!  They are hard workers and want people to know that they care about themselves and others! This is a difficult skill to teach and they already have it.  If I have one big favor from all of you it is to remind them how smart they are regularly!  They often seem to forget this important piece and they are each and every one SO smart! We all bring different talents to the table which makes us our own smart, unique beings.  The self-esteem will help take them a long way in all of their subject areas—along with the work we do every day! 

Thank you for being part of our learning team this year! If you have any questions or need any further information, please let me know!  As always, I post regular updates to the webpage.  If you forget where to look, it is on the cover of your child’s agenda and you can also google: firstatnorth.blogspot.com

Friday, September 19, 2014

Playground fun! Help needed!

The students LOVE to go outside and play on the covered court.  However, we don't have any balls or jump ropes to play with.  If you would be willing to send in some basketballs, sidewalk chalk, or jump ropes, that would be fabulous!  The kids would really appreciate it!  (Items can be gently used...)

Important Homework Notes...sent home Friday, 9/19/14

A few IMPORTANT notes about homework:

1.       Homework is a review.  What I send home is what we have already covered each week.  If your child needs much assistance with the homework, please let me know that as they should mostly be able to do this work independently.

2.       Reading, beginning in October, will be done nightly.  There will be a goal of minutes read for the month.  Each month the total minutes will go up.  Without reading nightly, reading cannot improve.  This reading should mostly consist of your child reading to you. If you would like to read to your child that will help their reading too, but please be sure that they are reading to you at least 4 nights a week. Please talk about what is read. Comprehension is KEY to success. Reading isn’t fun if we don’t think about and understand what we read.

3.       I want your child to be able to be a kid.  I want them to play games, run around, and be involved.

4.       If you would like more homework, please have your child keep a reading journal.  Have them write the title, author, and then write about what they read.  It could be a summary, a retelling using beginning, middle, and end or first, then, next, and last as they retell it.  You could have them talk about the setting or the characters.  They could connect to books they have already read and events that have happened in their lives.  The key to this connecting is to talk about specific things that happened in the book and not just talking about the book in general.

5.       There will be spelling words every week.  The tests will be on Fridays. These words need to be not just learned for the test but remembered and used in their writing correctly.

6.       Today, sight word “cards” are coming home.  The ones that are marked are the ones that your child knows.  To know a word they must instantly be able to say the word.  If they have to think about it or sound it out, it is not counted as being “known”. The reason for this is because they are sight words.  They are commonly seen in reading.  If you have to stop to think about each word you see, you cannot focus on understanding what you read.  When your child knows a page or two, send them back in and I will check in with them. (This may take a day or two.) The ones they know instantly, we will put a sticker next to it.  When this whole set of cards is known, we will move on to the next set.  This is the first 100 words.  We need to make it through 300 words this year.  The goal is for this set to be known by the end of September.  That is soon.  Some are going to make it…some will keep working.  We work with these words in class also!

7.       Please let me know if you ever have any questions!  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Please be sure that you are reading with your child at least 4 different nights a week!  Also, please talk about what you have read! :)

Progress Reports and general info about conferences

Progress Reports are coming home Wednesday, September 17, 2014. DRAs got completed today (9/16). There is a note attached to it about where we are in learning so far this year.  Conference times are also on there if you have one scheduled.  I am booked.  If you read this and see your child's progress report and would like to wait until December to come in, I will be giving first priority in December to those parents that I didn't see this time AND those that I have concerns with.  Then I will open the December left over times up to those I saw this time.  As always, if you have any questions, please let me know!

Friday, September 12, 2014

This week ending Sept. 12

This week the kids did an amazing job on their spelling tests!  Nest week's words came home in their homework packet!

On the same note, we get compliments everywhere we go!  The cafeteria ladies can't get over the cleanliness of the tables and floors when they leave as well as the FABULOUS choices they make while they are there.  We were also the recipients of the purple pallet in art for this week by earning the most character points out of all of the younger elementary classes.  WAY TO GO!  We have so much to celebrate as this year gets rolling!  This class is such a joy to be a part of...compassion, friendship, hard work, ... ABOUNDS!  Thank you for sharing them with me every day!

We have been talking and writing about our 5 senses in science.  We have been working on observing while using them.  It is amazing the words they come up with when they apply these skills!

In math we are using models to add.  This is the important part.  It isn't simply adding that is enough.  They need to also be able to SHOW that they know what those numbers are.  Please encourage this.  Fingers are not enough as I cannot see that they understand it.  Also, please encourage them to read as much of the directions and the problems as possible, Many of the students can read most of the words.  They just haven't fully become aware that they can read the words!

In language arts we have been working to get DRAs done (hopefully the beginning of the week)!  We have been reading to self, reading to someone, doing word work, writing, and using the listening center.  They are coming right along.  Reading groups are close in our future.

In social studies this week we reviewed our classroom rules and worked to incorporate our new friend into our routines.  We also talked about heroes and why they are our heroes to observe September 11th.  Their writing is displayed in our room. Stop by and check it out!  They came up with some good ones.  (While writing we are working on telling why and giving details so this supports that work also!)

In writing we have been working on capital letters and punctuation in all sentences.  We have also been working on proper formation of letters on the lines.  While working on this we are also adding details--either to create a picture OR to support our ideas from the text if we are writing about a book.

Please be sure that you are checking the planners nightly!  The conference sign up papers came home Thursday in the planners!  Speaking of conferences I have middle times (like 4:15ish-5:15ish) open if you are interested in coming this round.  If your child is doing well, you do not have to come this round...we have more in December.  Please know that I cannot meet with all parents on this night as there isn't enough time.  We can make other arrangements if needed.  Slots are filling up fast.

Again, these kids are amazing!  Keep up whatever you are doing at home as it is working! :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Hello! Today conference forms came home in the planners today.  If you are interested in a conference please sign up.  If you think all is well and you would like to wait until December's conferences, that is fine too.  Please know that if there is ever an issue, I will be in contact with you.  We are still in the data collecting phase of what we are doing.  As I get it all together, I will be sharing it with you.

From Wednesday, 9/10...

We had our first library day.  Normally we will go to the library Friday mornings.  Each child can check out 2 books unless they still owe a book from last year.  The goal is for 1 to be a "just right book" on a first grade level and one to be a "free choice" book that might require adult help to read.  Because it was our first time and it was the end of the day, we ran over with choosing books so our agendas didn't get filled out.  Everyone had a fabulous day!  Also, there is a fundraiser for the school Thursday night, 9/11, at the ice cream place in the Winn Dixie plaza.  Check the planner for the label about times and the name of the ice cream place!  As always, thank you for understanding that sometimes our learning and excitement gets in the way of the routine of filling out the planners.  Please know that if there was ever a day that you need to know about a poor choice when this happens, I would let you know by a phone call or email!  Otherwise, please know we will make it up the next day.

On the same note, please be sure that you are checking your child's planner nightly and initialing it or signing it.

Spelling test on Friday as well as the homework folder being due!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Personal CD players or headphones?

Does anyone have any personal CD players or headphones (not ear buds), or AA batteries that you would like to donate to our listening center?  If so, please send them in. THANKS!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Homework Folder....forgotten

The homework folders were sitting on the table at the end of the day today...they will come home on Monday.  So sorry!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Week of September 2-5, 2014

Spelling words for September 12, 2014 test
This week’s words will review the short a sound.

Monday is picture day! Forms came home last week in the Thursday folder.  Please send them back to school if you haven't already if you are interested in purchasing pictures.

Please be sure to return the Thursday folder the next day.  Starting this week, all work done in class will go into their mailboxes to come home on Thursdays as well.  This will be an important day to check that Thursday folder for important information and to check to see what we have done at school each week!

I hope to have this blog updated every week on Thursday.  Please note that sometimes life happens and it may be Friday, but that is my plan.  That way when the Thursday folder comes home and/or the Homework Folder on Fridays, you will remember that you need to check this.  As I said in the newsletter last week, if you cannot access this easily, please let me know and I will print a copy for you.

This week we have been working on adding and subtracting within 20 in math. This will continue into the next few weeks as well.

In Language Arts we are working on our routines and getting the Daily 5 up and running.  We are also doing DRAs to find out what reading level each student is currently on.  We have been talking about the beginning, middle, and end, characters, and setting.  These would be wonderful things to discuss as you read at least 4 days at home each week!

Today, Thursday, was a truly amazing day!  Every student in the class was on task, listening, following directions, working hard, raising hands, ... Even in art and at lunch!  Please chat with your child about this and reiterate how marvelous it is!

Homework folders will come home on Fridays and are due back the next week on Friday, completed.  Please be sure that your child is reading AT LEAST 4 nights a week as well as completing the other homework that is assigned.  Spelling lists come home today.  They need to be able to spell them correctly to get credit. Your child will be writing these in their planner.  If you need a copy of them, please check here.


Please send in a snack if your child would like one.  They will have time for a snack after specials.  PLEASE NO PEANUT SNACKS as there is an allergy in the room next door and we share bathrooms/air space.  This was mentioned in the newsletter that went home on August 29. Water bottles are also a nice addition to the day.  They can keep them at their seats.  Please only send water though as it isn't sticky when it spills. They are hungry, hungry, hungry by 9am every day!

Specials Schedule Change

This week we have a new specials schedule.  It is written in your child's planner/agenda.