A Year of Grooming, Growing, Glowing, & Giving in the Patience Fruit Stand

It is nothing short of an honor to spend a year shaping little lives. This time of year is extremely bittersweet as I reflect on the time that’s passed and look forward another year to come. These first graders have truly grown this year, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to watch it happen! Thank you for your support, prayers, and love this year. We couldn’t have done it without our sweet families and friends.

Have a great summer, firsties. ‘Till I see you again . . .

Patience Glows

Thank you so much, families and friends, for coming to our 3rd fruitful event. Here are a few highlights!

Thank you, as always, for your support!


100th Day!


The 100th day was a big hit in first grade. I can’t tell you how many times I heard the phrase, “This is the best day ever!” LOVE.

The firsties entered the room through their favorite. thing. ever.


Honestly, I don’t blame them. Streamers are awesome and such a fun way to celebrate anything! Every time there was any opportunity to enter or exit the room, the firsties grinned and closed their eyes, allowing the streamers to tickle their faces and trail through their fingers.

Simple joys.

We started the day by making some awesome 100th day hats. Each of 10 strips contained a 10-grid and a space to write a number sentence. At the hat’s completion, each student had written ten number sentences that equal 10, with matching colored 10-grids, for a grand total of 100! They modeled them with flair and excitement!

Next, we celebrated some more through the Primary Department Fashion Show! Each student had created a t-shirt featuring 100 items. It was so much fun to see how different each collection was! They loved showing off their hard work!

At snack time, groups of firsties were given a heaping plate of ten different snack items and a sorting mat. They were challenged to sort ten groups of ten pieces of snacks for a grand total of 100 snacks! This was one of the highlights of the day, for sure! Who knew 100 could be so yummy?!

The firsties continued their 100th day celebration through a series of 100-based activities. At one station, the firsties were given a series of challenges to complete in 100 seconds. They tallied, counted, jumping-jacked, and wrote as many words as they could through 100 seconds to see how many they could do.


At another station, students were given a work mat featuring 100 pennies and a die. Their challenge was to roll the die, color the number of pennies indicated by their roll, and count the number of rolls it took to color all 100 pennies. For many firsties, keeping track of all of those rolls was the trickiest part! They had to remember to slow down and make a tally mark each time instead of rushing to roll again. Patience glows!

At a third station, students were given a clipboard, pencil, and recording sheet and challenged to first predict where they thought 100 steps from the classroom door would lead them and then take those steps and check their thinking. This is one of the office staff’s favorite activities to observe on the 100th day because they get to see how each firstie’s strategy is so different!


At the last station, students created a book celebrating 100 by making 100 on each page in a different way, whether by recording 100 tally marks, counting by 2s, 5s, or 10s to 100, or filling in collections of coins that make 100.


We also learned and sang a 100th day song and had a 100th day dance party.

Was your 100th day of school ever this fun? We’re over halfway to the end of the year, friends!

P.S. Special thanks to our 5th/6th grade friends, who plastered 100 adjectives describing our fashion show to our wall! They were awesome audience members!



Patterns, Patterns Everywhere!

This week, the Patience Fruit Stand has been filled with patterns! Firsties have been noticing patterns in the world around them, identifying and classifying patterns, extending patterns, discovering patterns in sound, and playing pattern games.

Patterns in numbers


Patterns in sound


Patterns in words


Patterns in writing


Patterns in reading


Patterns in color


Patterns in counting the number of shakes it takes to make butter in a jar . . .


Welcome to the Second Quarter!

It’s hard to believe we’re already two weeks into the second quarter. We have been busy studying all things FALL, and kicked off the quarter with one of our favorite fall holidays: Halloween!

Check out our Frankensnacks!


The Firsties read a book about Frankenstein, then followed a yummy recipe to create a Frankenstein-themed snack. They all said it was their favorite way to eat a rice-krispie treat.

Our Fall themes have completely taken over math, science, and language as well – we’re using it to drive poll-taking, graphing, analyzing data, and measurement! Here is a peek at what we’ve been doing.


Notice that some of these bats are upside-down. Many firsties wanted to show how bats really “hang out.” 🙂


The firsties learned many things about bats this week. We read several nonfiction books and articles about bats, learned about all their parts, and were amazed to learn that a bat can eat about 600 mosquitoes in one hour! We also learned that although some bats to survive on the blood of animals, there are no bats that suck the blood of humans. A few firsties were disappointed. HA! We decided to serve a mosquito meal fit for a bat to help us visualize 600 mosquitoes. We figured out that if we placed 100 mosquitoes on each plate, we would need 6 plates to hold them all.


In the spirit of all things batty, we’ve been working on a project focused on one of our favorite fictional bats: Stellaluna. We’ve worked on using textual evidence to retell the story with a beginning-middle-and end, making inferences, using adjectives to describe the characters, describing point-of-view, charting character changes over time, and writing a summary. Some of these tasks required working in groups and others required working independently.



We also met a very special classroom visitor: Gobbles the Turkey. Did you know that Thanksgiving is coming very soon? Gobbles is worried that he might be eaten! He is looking for a good hiding place so that he’s safe until after our favorite turkey-eating holiday. The firsties wrote him a letter letting him know that he can hide here until after Thanksgiving. He has tried out a new hiding spot every day! The firsties spend the first few minutes of each day searching for him! He also writes us a letter each day asking for advice, sharing his favorite turkey-themed literature, and discussing his observations of our classroom. Turkeys aren’t always the best writers, though, so we always edit his letters for him, hoping to teach him some writing conventions before he leaves us.


On Tuesday, November 8th, our nation’s adults participated in the presidential election. In that spirit, our school held its own election: the Kindergarten Pumpkin Election. The Kinders created pumpkins to reflect the characters depicted in books they read. CCA Saints got to vote for their favorite.


Regardless of the outcome, participation in a fair and free election is crucial to understanding the democratic process. The firsties were thrilled to have their votes counted and see their voices be heard!

Fall is here!

Or so the calendar says. The thermometer doesn’t seem to agree! 85 degrees, today! Shew!

Well, we’re still celebrating FALL! It’s been all apples and pumpkins around here lately, and we’ve been using them to study math, science, social studies, writing, and the Truth of God’s Word! Check it out!20160923_081943


The firsties worked very hard to test their circumference predictions for their own apples using yarn.


They tested whether their apples would sink or float after making predictions. Boy were they surprised by the result!


The firsties found the weight of their apples using counting bears and snap cubes, discovering the properties of balance.


After making predictions, the firsties measured the height of their apples using snap cubes!


The firsties taste-tested their apples and decided which type of apple they like  best, then graphed the class’ results.


Did you know there is a star inside every apple?


It wouldn’t be an apple celebration without a little cooking. We made homemade applesauce!


The firsties each created a glyph to describe themselves and then used the glyph to write about themselves.


Finally, it was time to do a little pumpkin investigating!


We also measured its circumference using the string method we’d practiced on the apples, opened up the pumpkin to feel and describe its insides, and ultimately baked its delicious pumpkin seeds.


Finally, we allowed nature to take its course and checked out what happens to pumpkins when they are left out. It was pretty gross. We learned all about rotting and decomposition. After that, we dumped our pumpkin by the playground fence so we could continue to observe our pumpkin’s slow return to the earth. Unfortunately, that was right before Hurricane Matthew payed us a visit, so our dear pumpkin was washed away.


We learned all about the pumpkin’s life cycle, created a glyph and wrote about them, and recorded our scientific thinking. We also read a few books about apples and pumpkins and recorded our thinking about them.


We hope you are immeasurably blessed this fall season as well!


An Ambitious Project

Midway through the first quarter, the firsties are getting the hang of how to be first graders. Lines are formed much more quickly, workshop rotations transition more smoothly, messes are cleaned up more efficiently, and our stamina while reading and writing continues to build each day. It’s amazing, really, to see these little ones grow in their independence after only a few short weeks!

The firsties have been engrossed in several projects. The one that has most engaged them thus far sprang from their study of Noah. Although they have been learning about the patience of several Biblical figures, they seemed most interested in Noah. They wondered about his life and what it must have been like to follow God through something so incredible. They wondered what it was like to build an ark, to travel for such a long period with so many (stinky and loud) animals, and to trust God to fulfill His promise.

After reading the Biblical account of the flood, the firsties took note of each instruction given to Noah. Then they began to plan. Then they began to build.

20160913_11292220160913_11292420160913_11301020160913_11301720160913_11302020160913_11305420160913_11314620160913_11315020160913_11315320160913_11320920160913_11343120160913_13330320160913_13361620160913_133748This project continues to be ongoing as the firsties make discoveries, re-evaluate their thinking, discuss different ideas, and form new theories. They are working through math (measurement, addition/subtraction), Bible, physical science, social studies, and art concepts as they continue to pursue their ideas!

I can’t wait to see where their journey takes them next!


What is Patience?

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. – Colossians 3:12

But what is patience? The King James Version often uses the term “long-suffering.” Yikes. Who wants to suffer, especially for a long time? What kind of suffering, exactly, am I signing up for? These are some of the questions the firsties have been wrestling with these first two weeks. It sounds intense, but these ideas have emerged through almost everything we’ve been doing and learning!

Waiting is hard, but important work. It’s part of learning to collaborate with others, showing respect, taking turns, communication, perseverance, research, creative risk . . . the list goes on and on!

Here are just some of the ways the firsties have been grooming patience through their own exploration and development since the first day of school:

Flexible Seating


There are many spaces and places in which to work in the Patience Fruit Stand. What does where I sit have to do with developing patience? Ask the firstie who really wanted to use an exercise ball, but approached one after someone else was already sitting there! Making these kinds of decisions and working together to solve problems are part of learning to collaborate, make smart choices, have empathy for others, and respect one another. The firsties are also learning to be patient with themselves as they discover which areas are best to help them focus. Some firsties really need to bounce a little while they read, and others do their best writing lying on a yoga mat. Some feel their creativity flowing while standing! It takes time and practice to gain an understanding of self that will continue to develop as they grow!

Readers Workshop

20160831_09394120160831_09395620160831_09400120160831_09401520160901_094646020160902_10421920160902_10425920160902_10441620160902_10453220160907_09223820160907_09225020160907_09230120160907_09231820160907_09235420160907_093727Good readers don’t appear out of thin air. Good readers develop when children have ample opportunities to read and lots of access to varied reading material. Time spent engaging with meaningful and authentic texts is an important predictor of success, not only in reading, but also in life. Many parents tell me, “My child enjoys looking at books, but just can’t sit with them for long periods of time.” That’s where patience comes in. Reading for a long time without stopping requires stamina, and stamina takes time and patience to develop! Over these past two weeks, the firsties have spent their readers workshop practicing the routines and procedures that will enable them to engage with books for longer and longer periods of time throughout the year. They learned how to read independently – we call it “read to self” – and how to read with a partner (“read to someone”). The firsties created charts to help them remember to get started right away, work the whole time, use appropriate voice levels, and choose books that are “just right.” Children must be patient with one another when choosing a partner, coaching one another’s decoding skills, and asking and answering questions. All of these skills are crucial, and we spend a lot of time practicing at the beginning of the year to lay a muscle memory foundation for the rest of the year. We talk a lot about teaching our muscles to do things the right way (walking in the classroom instead of running, sitting “elbow-to-elbow, knee-to-knee” when reading to a partner, etc.).

Writers Workshop

20160830_09251420160830_09261420160830_09265720160830_09273520160830_09393820160830_09394520160830_09394820160831_10485820160831_10490620160831_10491820160831_10581520160831_10582620160831_105837We have been grooming patience in leaps and bounds through writers workshop. We are learning to be patient with one another while sharing our stories, and patient with ourselves as we try to think of writing topics, organize our writing, and use appropriate letter-sound correspondence and letter formation. It can sometimes be tough when we have to wait for share time instead of shouting and sharing at the moment an idea pops into our minds! We are learning to control our “volcanoes.” Just as we practiced building stamina for reading, we also practiced building stamina for writing! Sometimes it’s hard to write when we know we aren’t spelling every word just like the dictionary. It takes lots of training to allow children to trust their ears when sounding through words so that they aren’t asking for someone else to help them spell all the time. It takes patience to stop and think on our own, listening to the sounds in words and writing them down, instead of raising our hands at an unfamiliar word. The more children are writing authentically, about things they are learning or topics they find interesting, the better writers they become.


20160908_162558We learned about Creation, Adam & Eve, and Cain & Abel over the first two weeks of school. The firsties read the Bible to find out the truth of these events, then created their own books to show what they had learned. When learning about Cain and Abel, the firsties demonstrated that Cain had a heart that was bubbling over with anger and jealousy instead of patiently calm and obedient like Abel’s.

Math Workshop

20160831_13073220160831_13073620160831_13085520160831_13140420160831_13140920160831_13145820160831_13162120160831_13273920160831_13401020160906_13122320160906_13270920160906_13314920160906_13322020160906_13381520160906_13495020160907_13305820160907_13314920160907_13393420160907_13480520160907_13490820160908_13391920160908_13400920160908_13411120160909_13403220160909_13403920160909_134048Math workshop requires the same stamina building and procedural practice as its reading and writing counterparts. They learn that the manipulatives we use to represent mathematics concepts are tools, not toys, and should be handled carefully to help solve problems. Children do math in small groups, in partners, and independently to practice the foundational concepts and skills they need in order to creatively problem-solve.


20160901_14134720160901_14135020160901_14141120160901_14142920160901_14144020160901_14144920160902_13285120160902_13290720160902_13291020160902_13291620160902_13292320160902_13293920160902_13322020160902_133446The firsties worked very hard to capture their features through self-portraits. They needed to patiently examine their faces and hair in order to truly observe their physical appearances and represent their findings using watercolors. Patience and problem-solving were needed when the paint didn’t look exactly like a flesh color, or when blue dripped next to a freckle. The final pieces are hanging next to the first grade classroom door, so check them out when you have a chance!

One of the most important musical concepts, one to which we will repeatedly return, is steady beat. We used children’s literature, folk songs, and even syllabication chants to help us find and keep a steady beat. Often, children impatiently rush the beat, or switch to clapping/tapping the rhythm. Patience is required to find the beat and see it through to the end!

Listening and following directions requires patience! In P.E., we utilized teamwork to pass balls and hoops of different sizes from teammate to teammate over, under, and around one another, then sharpened our listening skills as we followed the leader while playing “Mirror!”

Grooming patience takes time, focus, and stamina, but it lays the foundation for everything else we need to learn and do through the year.




What a Great Year!

We learned, we laughed, we loved one another. See how we groomed, grew, glowed, and gave patience from the inside out!

Patience Gives

“You must do something to make the world more beautiful.” – Miss Rumphius

The firsties have been working on a class service project this quarter, and are ready to share their work with you and ask for your help!

Check out their commercial!

They have done everything from choosing the project, doing their own research, designing fliers and posters, involving and inviting teachers and students to participate, labeling donation bins, drafting facebook posts, to writing the script for the commercial!

Now they just need your help. 😉

The Soap Drive will take place from May 16th – May 27th.
The Patience Fruit Stand Firsties are partnering with Clean the World to host a Soap Drive! Please bring in new, wrapped soap and a dollar (for shipping). We’ve invited the whole school to help us, so place your soap in any bin located in the school lobby! Thank you for making the world a better place!