The Firsties’ First Week

It’s hard to believe that the first week of school is already done, but WOOO, have we been busy!

The first few weeks of school are all about building community and learning classroom procedures and routines. I tend to take my time establishing our learning environment, which includes showing children what the expectations are and how they can reach them. It’s much better to take the time now than to wait until there are problems!

Pictures are worth 1,000 words, or something like that :), so here is a little photo tour of some of the things the children have been learning and doing this week:

Here, a few firsties build stamina while learning to read independently. They have learned that good readers can read three different ways: looking at the pictures and making up a story that makes sense, looking at and trying the words, or by retelling a familiar story by looking at the pictures.  They have also learned why it’s important to choose our own books, that we should choose things to read that reflect our own interests, that we choose books that we can comprehend, that we should choose books in which we know most of the words, and that there is a purpose for reading.

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DSCN1379Lena is shocked by something she read in this book!  🙂

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The firsties are learning how we use our daily calendar to keep track of the days of school.  They are learning number concepts, such as ways to build numbers, place value, how to use number lines, how to count and write money, and how to keep and tell time.  We also use our calendar to keep track of our daily weather patterns and graph lost teeth.  We are making and extending patterns, spelling the days of the week and months of the year, and playing math games together.  It’s a fun time that is chock-full of learning!

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Every day we begin with a morning meeting and message.  I write a letter to the students each day.  This gives them authentic repeated exposure to the parts of a friendly letter.  We use this time to build community, sing, read poetry, fiction and non-fiction texts, and search for punctuation marks or sight words in our morning message.

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In Writer’s Workshop we usually spend lots of time free writing.  This week we learned how to brainstorm ideas for writing and what resources we have in the room to spark ideas.  Here, students are collecting words from around the room to use in a story.

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Kylie plants “seed” ideas into her writer’s notebook.  This is one of the firsties’ favorite times of the day.  Many beg each morning to start right away!

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This week we worked with lots of graphs, both in our morning work as review as well as with other language and literacy activities.  After reading First Day Jitters, we made “jitter juice,” tasted it, and graphed our experience.  As you can see, only one taster didn’t like it, and two firsties weren’t interested in trying it.  Trying new things is always something to work on!  🙂

DSCN1371Our social studies learning is revolving around learning good citizenship.  In first grade, we call good citizens “peacemakers.”  We brainstormed together lots of ways we can be peacemakers.  As you can see, the firsties drew on their prior knowledge of the fruit of the spirit!

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We created a David character from the book No David! and wrote about ways we can be peacemakers at school and at home.

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These are only a few highlights of the week (the things I remembered to grab my camera and take pictures of – haha!).  We also learned the seven days of creation in Bible and created a 3D book to help us remember what God created each day.  In science this week the children were amazed to see that sherbet actually floats in liquid!  It was interesting to see how the liquids and the sherbet eventually blended together to create the jitter juice.  In math we explored some of the manipulatives (blocks, linking cubes, etc.) to create patterns and shapes.

I’m so excited for the rest of this year!  It is going to be fabulous!

Welcome, 2013-2014 Firsties!

Welcome, 2013-2014 Firsties!

There is nothing more exciting than a brand-new school year! Well, maybe a tropical cruise (HA!), but for teachers, the beginning of a new year represents so much: a fresh start, a chance to meet a whole new set of eager learners, and the thrill of organization! I mean honestly, who doesn’t adore the scent of a freshly sharpened pencil? Anticipate the first opening of a row of newly minted crayons? Bliss.

Anyway, this first grade teacher simply CAN NOT WAIT to meet all of the new firsties! Families, your child should have already received their welcome gift and a little “all about me” banner. If they’ve already filled it out, bring it with you to tonight’s 2013-2014 Parent Orientation. We will hang it with pride in your child’s assigned work spot so that everyone in our school can get to know each other.

Did I mention I was excited? I’m excited.

Come at 7pm to hear a little about how we can work together to make your child’s first grade year the best year ever! See you tonight!

Still the one . . .

New year, new blog title! As we pull together our school theme and work toward continued school-wide unification, we are making some changes. Check out the first grade classroom’s awesome awning (can you believe Mrs. Stephens made these HERSELF?!? with a little installation assistance from Mrs. Finch).

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Firsties and firstie families, we have a great year ahead of us. I absolutely cannot wait to get started! Here is a little “sneak peek” of what you will see on the first day of school:

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We have so much learning and exploring to do together! Don’t forget that Parent Orientation Night is Thursday, August 22nd at 7pm. I am continually praying for each and every one of my sweet students and families, and I can’t wait to see what this year has in store!