Due to our testing schedule for the older kids, we have a small change to the Dates to Remember on my weekly newsletter.
Thursday, April 7th – We will be having our school pencil sale. Each pencil is 25 cents. The maximum for each child will be $1.
Friday, April 8th – Student Council Fundraiser for a Good Cause – $1 to wear a hat in school all day or bring a stuffed animal. (Please remember that the stuffed animal must be able to fit into a backpack. Thank you.)
I hope this newsletter finds you well rested from your Spring Break. To those observing, I hope you have a blessed Ramadan.
Thanks again for helping make Camp Read S’More fun. Thank you to my last few guest readers, Mrs. Kavalhuna aka Fancy Nancy, Mrs. Hamad, and Mrs. Fayad. The children loved hearing your family’s favorite books.
We are in the last stretch of first grade. We are working on the self-driven, independent application of concepts taught all year. We will also continue to expand our knowledge in all areas of learning. We will have the coach, Mrs. Abu-Rus, working in our room during our process writing time aka Writer’s Workshop. She will be coaching me so that I can streamline writing instruction. It will look like team teaching to the children.
Dates to Remember
Friday, April 8th – Student Council Fun Friday – With a donation of $1, your child can wear a hat in school all day or have their stuffed animal with them all day.
We will be finishing up a Writer’s Workshop piece about items used in the classroom in the past and inventions that have made teaching and learning easier.
We will also be working on Unit 7, Week 3. In this unit, we are learning about the past. Two weeks ago, we read a piece about games that have been around for generations. Then at the end of the week, we actually played some. It was so fun. I believe the two favorites were Down by the Banks and One Potato, Two Potato.
A note about reading instruction…our reading instruction for the Benchmark program is whole group and small group. In the past, all of my reading instruction was small group instruction. The Benchmark program is a combination of both. If you don’t have the book bag for small group instruction come home all the time, there are multiple reasons for that. If we have a short week, lots of students on vacation, or an unusual schedule ie March is Reading Month, I focus more on whole group instruction and text analysis. When there are few interruptions in the schedule, I am able to pull small groups. The Benchmark program provides for both. Please know that I am constantly monitoring your child’s reading progress.
This week we will have the long /i/ sound but it will be written with i in the middle, y at the end, and ight at the end.
This Module is incredibly short. We are already on lesson 5 out of 10. We are just touching the surface of geometry:
2-dimensional shapes with sides, corners, and right angles
3-dimensional shapes with faces, sides, vertices
We learned to make different polygons by using a triangle, rhombus, square, and trapezoid. We found the triangle to be very versatile.
Your child will need to know how to identify a hexagon, rhombus, trapezoid, triangle, rhombus, square, and rectangle,
We are almost finished with our Geography unit. We will learn about culture and how it is linked to geography. Then we will be moving on to the Past, Present, and Future.
Thank you for all of your support at home. Enjoy your last day of Spring Break.
It is the last week of March is Reading Month and to end with a big bang we have Spirit Week.
Yes, tomorrow is Pajama Day! If your child would like to bring in a favorite stuffed animal, that would be a fun reading buddy. Thank you to Mrs. Fadlallah, Mr. Eldirani, Mrs. Sabbagh, Mrs. Marjan, and Mrs. Sabbagh for being our guest readers.
Dates to Remember
Friday, March 25 – Last day of the 3rd Quarter and the beginning of Spring Break
Monday, April 4th – School resumes
We will be finishing up a Writer’s Workshop piece.
We will also be working on Unit 7, Week 2. In this unit, we are learning about the past.
This week we will have the long /e/ sound created by the vowel teams ee and ea.
We are temporarily skipping Module 4 and going to Module 5. Module 5 is 13 lessons, but per the school district’s math committee we will be completing only 10 lessons and concepts. It is a very short module. We will not have any math quizzes this week.
I think the kids like geography. We are having fun with the concepts and I am impressed with the depth of understanding. Last week, we made our own physical and human characteristics sort. This week we will be learning how the land and water can be modified.
I hope you enjoy your weekends and all week. I want to thank you for supporting our PTA fundraiser. I am overwhelmed by the classroom support it provided. I must be honest that I didn’t realize the details of it until I opened the email with all of the amazing donations. I am thankful for you. As soon as I have a moment, I will look at the shop and order things for the classroom. (Probably during spring break.)
We will be in our third week of March is Reading Month. Remember, if your first grader makes a poster from the Reading Month calendar, they are welcome to bring it in. Please be sure to watch for all of the activities on the calendar.
Thank you to Mr. Mustonen , Mrs. Bazzi , Mrs. Ettaher, Mrs. Moussa, Mrs. Hamood, and Mr. Rezik for being our guest reader last week. I must say we have had a fabulous variety of stories. I love it!
Our guest readers for this week are:
Monday – Mrs. Fadlallah
Tuesday – Mr. Eldirani
Wednesday – Mrs. F. Sabbagh
Thursday – This day is available for you!
Friday – This day is perfect for you!
Dates to Remember
Wednesday, March 16 – Spring Picture Day! Wear your smile.
Friday, March 18 – 1/2 day for students
We will be starting Unit 7 next week. The theme is past, present, and future. It aligns with our Social Studies unit, but we need to finish geography first.
Words with the long /o/ sound.
We are finishing up data and charts this week. We will take our topic quiz and our end of Module 3 assessment. Then we will be starting Module 4 or 5. I really want to look at which one has geometry. We need that before our Spring NWEA. I might swap the order of these two modules.
Yes, I am a bit behind sending home previous quizzes. They will come home this week. Please understand that I have to draw out any errors. I don’t just mark responses incorrect.
The kids did a great job making their own landmasses and bodies of water models. They labeled them for a quick quiz too. I planned to go on hunt for physical and human characteristic on Friday, but it snowed. Ugh!
This week we will take a walk and look for human and physical characteristics and make a picture sort. We will also learn about the word modify. When the land and water is modified, it is changed. For example, cutting down trees and leveling land to build homes. Also to build a dam on a river modifies the river and floods valleys, like the Hoover dam.
Thank you again for all of your support and for the support through the PTA fundraiser. I appreciate you.
We will be hosting a parent meeting this Thursday 3/10 in the cafeteria at 9:15am! Based on the parent survey sent earlier this year, this is the most popular time of availability. Rest assured that our presentation will also be posted on our blog for your reference. The topic of our meeting this month will be higher order thinking strategies and assessment. We will be discussing the following:
-What higher order thinking skills are and why they are so important
-How to help your child develop these skills to be successful
-How these skills boost student achievement on assignments and assessments
-How assessment helps teachers guide instruction
We will have refreshments available and there will even be a raffle for some great games and resources to use with your child(ren) at home!
Thank you for all of the support during March is Reading Month. Yes, I know there are lots of extra activities but the kids really enjoy them. I want to thank Mrs. Moussa, Mrs. Hamadi, Mrs. Hider, Mrs. Rezik, and Ms. Dakroub for starting each morning of Camp Read S’more with a story.
This week we have:
Monday – Mr. Dave Mustonen from the administration building
Friday, March 11 – The kids will have a PTA sponsored program: Traveling Exotic Zoo
February Students of the Month
Congratulations to Zane H. and Scarlett! They are the February Students of the Month from our classroom.
Classroom Announcement for Transparency
We still have lots of quizzes and assessment catch-up occurring. Again, I would prefer you to keep your little ones home when they are ill. Just know that it takes me a bit to catch up on any quiz or test.
Also, if you are taking a family trip that occurs during the scheduled school days, unfortunately, I will not have the time to put work together for your first grader unless I have at least 2 weeks notice. I completely understand needing a break. My husband took our 8th grader to Colorado last week. It was her responsibility to make up the work that she missed. She is still working to catch up. It will be the same for your little one. Work will be in your child’s mailbox. They will need to catch up.
No, I did not send home book bags last week. Sadly, all of the distributing and collecting for the virtual learning day last Tuesday, threw a monkey wrench into our learning. Also, the March is Reading month activities this week took up quite a bit of time. We now have our routine and should have small groups this week. Please know that we read all of the time though. The Benchmark program has us annotating text, reading, and writing.
Also, grades for the 3rd quarter will be posted by March 25th. I will be assessing, with a Developmental Reading Assessment test, during the next three weeks.
We are on the last week of Unit 6, we will continue to discuss problems and solutions in fictional text.
We will finish up measurement this week. We have a quiz on non-standard units of measurement. Then we will move to understanding and reading data on charts and histograms.
The kids have had a blast finding their homes. They must know their address for us to visit via Google Earth. I have a few more kiddos to give it a try. Please practice with your first grader. Knowing their address is a graded content objective on the report card.
We started looking at landforms and bodies of water on Friday. We need to know the difference between a plain, hill, and mountain. We also need to know a river, lake, and ocean.
After landforms and bodies of water, we will look at the natural and human characteristics. Natural characteristics are trees, tall grasses in fields, etc. Human characteristics are streets, roads, bridges, sidewalks, etc.
The kids love the bake sales. They started with Fifth grade as the host and moved on down through the grades. On Friday, the second grade hosted a bake sale. I think first grade will be next. As soon as I know the date, I will send out the information to you.
Monday is the last day of February, but we are kicking off March is Reading Month. It has been 2 years since we have been allowed guest readers. I am excited to have special guests sharing their family’s favorite book. We will also use this opportunity to practice our interviewing skills.
March is Reading Month and Guest Reader Sign Up
Please check your email for a Sign-Up Genius to be a guest reader. Remember, I only have 1 reader a day. Please walk in with your first grader on your day. As soon as we have coats off and hands washed, we will be ready to listen to your story.
I will need one brave person to be our guest reader for our Zoom Classroom on March 1st. I will have you join us with your first grader. I will pin your screen so that all of the kids can see you. You will unmute your microphone and start our virtual day with a story. If you know the story you will be sharing, I will do my best to have the same story and have it on the screen while you are reading. If not, you can just show the pictures, in the camera, before you turn the page.
Please note that Wednesday, March 9th is a late start day. The guest reader on that day will join us at the late start time, which is 10:00.
I must stress that the treat for the kids is you, the guest reader! No goodie bags, edible treats, prizes, etc of any kind, please. This occurred in 2019 (we haven’t had guest readers in 2 years), and it moved from enjoying the story and presence of the guest reader to “What did you bring us?”
On Monday, I am sending home some March is Reading Month papers. The green top paper is the introduction. The white paper are the reading slips to track the daily reading minutes. The K-2 grade goal is 120 minutes a week. This must be totaled and signed by a parent. Each slip is entered into a drawing. Last, is the blue March is Reading Month calendar. This calendar has activites for home and some to bring back to school.
Our bulletin board is almost finished. The children are in sleeping bags listening to a story under the stars around a campfire. We are outside the Korte Cabin. As soon as it is finished, I will post a photo on the blog. Also, your child will earn stickers to decorate their sleeping bags as they return reading log slips of 120 minutes or more.
Mark Your Calendar
Check your blue March is Reading Month Calendar. I will do my best with reminders on the blog too.
Tuesday, March 1 – Zoom Classroom – 9:00 – 3:55
Wednesday night or Thursday morning – Make sure you have a list of at least 5 things you would need for a camping trip for the Thursday, “Fact in Your Pocket” day.
Our Zoom Classroom
Well…I’m not sure what to say other than, we will do our best. 🙂 I will send home chromebooks and charging cords on Monday. We have practiced using our Schoology quick links which include our Zoom quicklink button. I will open the waiting room at exactly 9:00.
In addition to the chromebooks, I will also be sending home the materials we will need for our virtual learning day. For this day to be a success, please:
charge the chromebook charged or plugged in,
have a quiet table top or desk as their workstation,
have your child’s backpack close to the workstation because all of our materials for the day will be in there, and
do not allow your child to use the materials on Monday night. We will need these for our virtual learning day.
I will do my best to make it a sucessful learning day.
3rd Quarter Report Cards
Believe it or not, the 3rd quarter is almost finished. The window for submitting grades for activities, quizzes, and tests closes on Friday, March 25. The trickiest thing for me is making sure we are caught up on quizzes and tests. Please remember that first graders must have all assessments read to them, because they are not reading assessments. I cannot just say, “Oh…you missed the math quiz. Take this, go a quiet spot and complete the quiz. Bring it to me when you are finished.” I must take time from reading groups to give a quiz or test that was missed.
Remember, I also need time to grade. So leaving early for a spring break could result in missing assignments and grades for your child. I completely understand if your plans for spring break require your child to miss a bit of school, but I cannot send work or assignments. The window for grades will be closed by the time your child returns. I hope that makes sense.
Also, I am really doing my best to keep up with grading and to send the finished produce home in a reasonable time. The early dismissals and absences make that tricky too. I completely understand when your little one is sick. Better safe than sorry, especially with masks off. It just takes me more time to align, collect, and grade everything. I am trying to be completely transparent with the hows and whys of the classroom. Again, your little ones is even a bit under the weather, please keep them home. Our mantra for the school your needs to be: better safe than sorry.
This message is just me being transparent about the “behind the scenes” of a first grade classroom. I thank you for your contant support. I also thank you for your understanding.
We are reading and writing about how you can learn a lesson from stories you read. Sometimes we call that the author’s purpose.
Due to our shortened weeks and many of our students absent, I suspended Writer’s Workshop for the past two weeks. Now that we have full weeks ahead, I will be implementing Writer’s Workshop into our week again.
I have had a few first graders ask for trickier words for spelling. I understand their interest to improve, but when reading journals and writing, I see a need to apply these patterns to our daily writing before changing things up. I hope you understand.
Long e and long u words with a silent e at the end.
We have been using centimeter cubes to measure in class. I will be switching between cubes and a centimeter ruler. At home, please use a centimeter ruler for lesson 5 and 6. Then the math switches to non-standard units of measurement. In the math book we will be using paper clips. They will be having the kids use large and small paper clips. I will do my best to send home the materials your first grader will need to complete the homework.
We took our end of the unit assessment on our Chromebooks on Friday. I will send home a paper to let you know how your child scored.
We are switching to our Geography unit. We will start with relative and absolute locations. A relative location would be a neighborhood or a city. An absolute location has an address. An address consists of the number on the house or building and the street name. I will be quizzing each student on their address by the end of the week. Please practice your address with your child. Thank you.