Fall in Full Swing

Over the first two weeks of the first quarter, the firsties have jumped right in to seeing how patience grows.

They’ve been studying “how to” writing by reading (both good and bad) written instructions and attempting to follow them, and kicked off their inquiry through creating and writing about a snack mix! They used their new skills to create and write about a Frankensnack.

On Thursday, students learned about different branches of the US military and what it means to be a veteran. To thank those who have served our country, the firsties wrote letters either to service men and women they personally knew, or unnamed veterans who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms. You can check them out in the main hallway.

In math, the firsties have been practicing measurement using non-standard items, such as blocks, paperclips, and linking cubes. They’ve also continued to review and practice place value concepts, like expanded form, and graphing meaningful collected data.

After learning all about bats in science last week, during reader’s workshop, the firsties have been engaged in a character study of one of our favorite story characters: Stellaluna. They’ve learned how characters change, how one little event can start a series, and all about point of view.

We’ve been studying Moses in Bible, and how no matter how little faith the Istaelites had, God continued to keep his promises and take care of his peoole. The firsties weaved paper baskets like the one that held infant Moses in the river, created their own version of the burning bush using paints, wrote and illustrated their own books about the 10 plagues of Egypt, and created a depiction of Moses bringing the 10 Commandments.

It’s been a busy 2nd quarter beginning, and we still have so much to learn! Can’t wait to see where the quarter takes us!

Force & Motion

We’ve had another busy, yet full of fun, week in the Patience Fruit Stand! One of our focuses this week has been the study of force and motion. The first graders learned that force is used whenever one object acts upon another. We used the example of someone pressing half an orange into a juicer. Forces can either be pushes or pulls. When a force is acted upon an object, it causes that object to be in motion. We explored these ideas through a series of experiments.

1. In what ways can I use a straw to move a pom pom?

2. What materials can I use to move a book?

3. Which objects move down a ramp?

While working with the ramp, students noticed that some items moved on their own, without being pushed. They wondered what could be pulling them down the ramp.

The next day, we explored gravity. For homework, the students designed egg catchers, devices that would either protect an egg as it fell or cushion an egg as it hit the ground. On the playground, we tested each device.

We had a 100% success rate! Awesome! Students noticed that even if they didn’t push their egg catchers toward the ground, the items still fell. They learned that gravity always pulls objects toward the center of the earth. They were able to relate this discovery to the ramp activity, where even though objects were not pushed or pulled down the ramp, they still went down!

Grooming Patience through Community, Waiting on God, and the Order of Numbers

Last week, the firsties groomed patience through the Biblical account of Joseph. They learned that although life may seem like a roller coaster, God is ALWAYS working for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Joseph experienced many hardships throughout his life: his brothers sold him into slavery, his boss’ wife slandered him, and he was tossed into prison an innocent man. Although things probably seemed impossible to overcome, Joseph never relinquished his faith. He trusted that through the good and the bad, God was with him, divining a larger purpose for him. He was patient, and waited on God to provide for him.

In art, we completed a collage to illustrate the beginning of Joseph’s story. Each child created their own colorful coat design using tissue paper!

Through readers workshop, the firsties practiced word work. A “must-do” activity allows them to practice word building and solving skills at their own developmental level as they progress through more challenging skills. They can then make a “can-do” choice, including reading, writing, and stamping pattern or sight words, finding, reading and writing words they see around the room, building words with magnetic letters or letter beads, placing words in ABC order, attending to one letter at a time through rainbow writing words, and rolling dice to construct words using an onset and rime. Word Work is the final independent workshop choice first graders learn; next week students will begin rotating through multiple work stations each day! The firsties also focused on identifying and using fiction and nonfiction texts and began using their schema to make connections to the books they are reading.

The firsties are continuing to work on their personal narratives during writers workshop. Last week, they learned to work with a partner to plan their stories, checking for beginning/middle/end, beginning capitals, ending punctuation, logical spelling attempts, and sufficient details. They read one another their stories and used rubrics and checklists to ensure the inclusion of every important part. Students will continue writing and editing their personal narratives while many are publishing stories!

Math Workshop gave the firsties the opportunity to apply what they have learned about decomposing numbers to solve and illustrate word problems, use place value concepts, and demonstrate building and writing numbers in both standard and expanded form. This solidifies their understanding of our base-ten numerical system as well as place value, setting the foundation for working with much larger numbers in the future. They are also continuing to track the days of the year, reinforcing place value concepts by bundling straws in groups of ten and regrouping coins by 5s and 10s. The most popular calendar time activity is still allowing children to create their own difficult questions about the passage of time. What month will it be in 80 days? Do you know? The firsties figured it out last week!

In music, students practiced good singing posture and learned about their diaphragm. They learned that when breathing correctly, their lower abdomen should expand while their shoulders stay still. Take a deep breath. Notice what your chest does. Notice what your shoulders do. For proper breath support, your chest and shoulders should stay relatively still! Is your abdomen moving? If so, good! You’re breathing correctly! The firsties loved pretending to be Hayden’s snooty and proper audience members when listening again to the Surprise Symphony. They learned all about his life, then practiced being surprised when the dynamics changed.

Just like Uncle Jed, we are all part of a community, not only at school but also in our neighborhoods, cities, state, and country. The first graders listened to a story about a little house that was happy living in the country, but as time passed and the city grew around it, it noticed all the changes that were happening that made life different. The firsties compared and contrasted three types of communities: rural, urban, and suburban. They watched video examples of each and described what made each unique. They began working on projects to illustrate each type of community, which will expand into next week, when they will begin the research they need for their class project.

The firsties experienced what they called their favorite PE game on Friday. Ask what happens when you get hit with a rotten egg!!

A Day in the Life

It’s hard to believe that we’re three weeks into the school year already, but here we are! If you’re wondering what it’s like to be a first grader, we thought we’d give you a “day in the life” experience as a guest in the Patience Fruit Stand.

Upon entering the room, firsties quickly and independently take care of administrative tasks. They greet their teacher and friends, put away their snack or lunch and GO Book, hand in any money, and choose a lunch chart option: packed or school lunch. They then immediately check their finish up folder for any unfinished work from the day before.

Flexible seating options allow firsties to choose the most comfortable area for them to work, whether they choose to stand, use a table and chair, table and pillow, or clipboard and carpet, yoga mat, or circle chair.

After all unfinished work is completed, they then make a morning tub choice. Morning tubs are inviting collections of blocks, shapes, tubes, and cubes for constructing, as well as journaling prompts, sound and letter activities, and problem-solving challenges. This time has quickly become precious to the first graders, as it is fleeting, and they work hard to make sure they can get the most out of their time!

At morning meeting, students have been learning to greet one another in foreign languages. This week, the saints learned to say “Good day, my name is . . . ” in Portugese, Sweedish, and Icelandic. We always start the day with a greeting and a prayer. This sets the tone for the day, helps build our classroom community, and reinforces important skills, such as active listening, taking turns, oral language, and respect for others.

During Readers Workshop, this week the first graders have been learning to read to a partner. They have been working to build their stamina and read for longer and longer periods of time. Ask your firstie to explain how to sit “EEKK,” what it means to be a good coach, and how to solve a problem with a partner.

Throughout the day, the first graders enjoy several “brain breaks,” moments of music and movement that allow the brain processing time and the body to release any pent-up energy! Koo Koo Kangaroo and the Zumba Crew are some of our favorite choices! Ask your firstie to tell you their favorite song and teach you their favorite dance!

During Writers Workshop this week, the firsties have been learning several different strategies for writing the sounds they hear in words. They know how to “stretch out” a word in order to identify all of the sounds, and know to make sure they write a letter (or letters) for each sound. They know if they skip a sound, the word doesn’t make sense! While stretching words, they can use their ABC charts in their writers folders to see how to form each letter correctly. Sometimes they might come across a word they recognize from a book, or one they’ve spelled so often they know it “in a snap,” as we say. In that case, we can write the word from memory, or check the word wall to see if it’s a sight word we have collected. We can also use patterns or chunks we already know to build new words. Today, the firsties realized that knowing the word “like” also helps them know how to spell words like “bike,” “Mike,” and “hike!” With “pot,” they can spell “hot,” “not,” and “cot!” Words are amazing! We added a middle and end to our class story this week while each student completed stories of their own.

Bible this week has been all about Noah. The firsties explored one of the most beautiful illustrated books about Noah after reading the Biblical account. Many were surprised to learn that even dinosaurs were on the ark! They memorized Genesis 6:8 and discussed what it means to “find favor” in the eyes of someone, then quickly concluded that it’s not important to impress others; only God’s opinion matters. This is why Noah was able to ignore his hecklers and follow God’s instructions, even though they might have seemed strange at the time. They were given a few materials and asked to construct arks of their own. The firsties will finish up these amazing projects next week.

At P.E. today, the firsties and second graders played “Noodle Tag,” an exciting game that invites zigging and zagging, ducking and reaching as some children chase others to tag them with noodles. Once frozen, the “un-freezers” tag the frozen to release them.

Our math workshop continues to show firsties how to rotate through learning stations efficiently. They are learning that voice level matters! It’s hard to think when friends are loud, although sharing ideas and talking about math thinking helps our brains to grow and develop. They worked on journaling in math, using number puzzles to create 100s charts, made 2D shapes using geoboards, compared numbers, identified numbers that appear before and after, played number guessing games, and developed addition and subtraction skills. They’ve also become calendar time experts. One of our favorite calendar activities is for the helper to ask the group questions, such as “how many more days until Tuesday?” or “What month will it be in 30 months?” These questions, posed by students, are not only wonderful glimpses into what they’re wondering about, but also a peek into their developing minds and understandings about time, numeracy, and problem-solving skills. And yes, one of the firsties was able to figure out what month it will be in 30 months after we discussed how 12 months are in a year. Once they saw groups of 12, they were able to count from 24 to 30. These kinds of investigations help children see numbers as flexible groups of other numbers, which builds the foundation for higher-level math and critical thinking later in life.

Our science investigations have continued to center on understanding what science actually is. This week, students learned about molecules and how they move, conducting their own discovery of capillary action. They also learned that science exists to answer questions about the physical world, but is limited to what we can physically observe. Today the firsties asked “who can build the tallest marshmallow tower?” and designed prototypes and tested their designs to see what worked and what didn’t work. They didn’t realize they were exploring physics and other engineering-related tasks while executing their challenge!

Today, the first graders also attended their first Chapel of the year. They learned the purposes of the Pledge of Allegiance, the Pledge to the Christian Flag, the Pledge to the Bible, and the Honor Code Pledge. They heard the story of Little Pot and how the Potter has designed all of us to be fruit pots, growing and sharing the Fruit of the Spirit with others. The firsties collected the most fruit and brought Fruit Pot back to the Patience Fruit Stand with them. They also worshiped through song and dance!

At the end of the day, the firsties counted their happys and saddys and realized that they’d earned a treat. Our daily routines and procedures are much more familiar now, and learning to follow directions quickly, raise their hands, and make smart choices, is paying off!





Welcome to the Patience Fruit Stand!

Slide1I’m so excited to welcome the 2017-2018 Patience Fruit Stand Firsties! It’s going to be an exciting year patiently grooming, growing, glowing, and giving, and we’re so excited to celebrate our year of jubilee with each and every one of you!

Let’s see what we can expect in first grade this year!

To learn more about Mrs. Rhodes, click the image above.

open house presentation2017

You’re already here! Way to go!
Click the image above for more information about S.W.A.G. tags and other classroom policies and procedures


These are just a few things we have in store this year. For more insight into some of the different ways first graders will be learning this year, click the following image.

How is my child learning image

I couldn’t be more excited to partner with you this year for the best interest of your child. Thank you for choosing CCA and for allowing me to be a part of your precious one’s growth and development! It is truly an honor. I will continue to pray for you and your families.

Let’s have a great jubilee year!

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 . . .

Spring Has Sprung!

The last few weeks in the Patience Fruit Stand have been incredibly busy! We’ve been getting our hands dirty (literally!) through several investigations. My blog space is completely full, which means I can’t upload pictures; however, I can embed links, so I created a quick photo video! Enjoy!