This is my 26th year teaching in Wayland. Time sure does fly when you are having fun! During that time, I have taught both second and first grades. First Grade is a magical year of incredible growth!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Dear Families,

Thank you for sending in the necessary winter gear each day with your child.  Despite the ups and downs in the temperature, we have needed boots (and a change of shoes) each day.  When there is snow on the ground your child needs snow pants as well.  The children have had a ball playing on and sliding down the enormous snow piles on our playground.  It may not be a bad idea to keep an extra set of clothing, including socks and underwear, in your child’s backpack.  As the temperatures rise and the snow melts, we end up with a lot of wet children.  J

Our wonderful student teacher, Lisa Cusson, needs to have a video recording of her, working with a small group of children for her school.  A permission slip will go home on Tuesday and we ask that you return it by Thursday, January 18.  Please circle the appropriate choice at the bottom of the form so we know if your child may be included on the video.  Thank you!

Below is some of what we have worked on this past week and questions you may ask your child.

Has your child told you about the fairy tale plays we worked on this past week?  Each student had a role, or two, in a fairy tale play.  We worked on our phrasing, fluency, as well as paying attention to what is happening in a story as we practiced our lines together.  At the end of the week each group performed for the rest of the class.  The children were completely engaged and excited about this activity! 

At home:  As you read with your child, model appropriate phrasing, as well as intonation and expression.  As your child reads “just right” books to you, ask them to read the words as if they were speaking.  Have him/her scoop the words with his/her fingers.


This week we had a few people from the Wilson Reading Program come in and observe a phonics lesson.  They were very impressed with how neatly your children wrote and how well they followed the established routines.  Yay Room 4! 

This past week we learned the glued sounds, /am/ and /an/ and learned how to mark and tap them.

At home:  What are the key words for /am/ and /an/?  How do you tap those sounds in a word?  How do you mark those sounds in your writing?

We have added the following words to our Trick Word Wall; have, said, from.


We have begun our unit on measurement.  In this unit of study we are focusing on the following skills:
·       Measure the length of an object in a non-standard unit of measure (cubes, paper clips, etc.)
·       Ordering three objects by length by comparing the objects to one another
·       Compare the length of two objects by using a third object
·       Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to 3 categories and use this data to ask and answer questions about “How many?” and “How many more/less?”

At home:  Choose an area rug or space on the floor to measure.  Have your child measure the length of that rug or space with his/her feet.  Your child will hopefully remember to start with his/her heel at the edge of the rug/space and then proceed to take steps, heel to toe, to measure the length.  Ask your child how the measurement will differ if you measure the length of that rug/space with your feet.  Ask your child to explain his/her thinking.

Open Circle:

Just prior to the performance of our fairy tale plays, we had an Open Circle on the importance of speaking up.  We reviewed what we learned in the book, Decibella, and practiced using our “strong speaker” voice.  We briefly discussed the other meaning of “speaking up” and reviewed our Open Circles on dangerous and destructive behaviors and how to deal with annoying behaviors. 

At home:  Why is it important to use a strong speaker voice when performing the fairy tale play?  When is it not OK to use a strong speaker voice at school?



Monday, January 1, 2018

Hello Families.  Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a wonderful and healthy Holiday break.  I just spent some time cleaning our classroom tables to help us get our New Year off to a healthy start.  J

To help us ease into this week, I was thinking it would be fun to have an optional pajama day tomorrow.  We will still follow our usual schedule, but will have the option of cozy comfort.  PJs and bathrobes are welcome.  No slippers, blankets, or stuffed animals please. 

Thank you for all of the donations you sent in for the children at the Willis House.  Our box was overflowing with all kinds of fun kid toiletries from your families.  Wow!  Here are a couple of photos of all that was sent in:

Tomorrow your children will see a familiar face in our classroom.  Ms. Cusson will join us again, this time for her student teaching.  She is a graduate student at Western Governor's University and will be a great asset to our classroom!  Ms. Cusson had done a week of observation in October, for one of her field studies, and we are so excited to have her back with us for a longer period of time!  She will be in our classroom each day until end of April.
Below is some of what we have been working on, questions to ask your child, and some photos from our STEAM lesson the Friday before break. 


We learned about the glued sounds for “all.”  The key word for this is “ball.”

How do you tap out the glued sound “all?”  How would you mark this in a word?

We have the following trick words on our word wall:

a, and, as, be, for, has, he his, into is, I, me, of, or, one, she, the, to, they, we, was, you, your 

Readers’ Workshop:

We continue to practice retelling fiction stories that are in independent reading bags.  Each child has a bookmark with the retelling steps outlined on it, to use as they read.  I will send another one home this week for your children to use at home.


We have worked with equations that have 3 addends and learned to look for combinations of 10 to make finding the sum easier.

We have learned the steps to solve story problems so that we are able to show our thinking.

What is the first step to solving a story problem?
1.    Read the story 2 times
2.    Underline the important information
3.    Circle the numbers (“some” or “how many” is represented with a ?)
4.    Make a number bond (if there are only 2 addends)
5.    Draw a picture (setting it up in a ten frame helps) and label it with numbers and/or words
6.    Write the equation
7.    Write the answer, including the label (instead of “12” write, “ She saw 12 fish all together.”)

We were challenged to design and make a cup phone, based on what we learned about sound waves, for the Defina Toy Company.  (fiction J)  We learned about the engineering process and followed the steps to create the best phone we could.  We worked in pairs and groups of 3.  In order to present the best possible phone to the toy company, we shared our mistakes and successes before we adjusted our designs and models.  Here is a photo of the engineering process we followed as well as photos from our lesson.



Monday, December 11, 2017

Hello Families.  I hope you all found a way to enjoy our first snowfall this weekend.  My daughter and I loved seeing our dog’s reaction to his first experience with snow.  He is not a fan, yet…  I suspect it has to do with cold legs and paws.  We did try to wrestle him into little boots, but were not successful in keeping them on his tiny paws.  J

Please be sure your child has the following gear (labeled with his/her name) so he/she is able to enjoy our time outside:
snow pants
warm jacket
extra socks
shoes for the classroom (it keeps our classroom clean and our floor dry, which keeps us all safe)

Below is some of what we have worked on and questions you may ask your child at home. 

We added the following trick words to our Word Wall: you, your, or, for.
We learned about the bonus letters f, l, and s.  We learned that these go on the end of words that have one syllable and a short vowel before the final consonant.

As your child writes at home, remind him/her to spell our trick words correctly.  I have listed all of our other trick words in a previous blog.

Readers’ Workshop:
We are using the Mr. Putter and Tabby books to help us practice retelling fiction stories.  These are books that I read to the class.  We then go through the steps of retelling the stories together.
The main characters are…
The story takes place…
The problem is…
Some steps the characters took to solve the problem are…
In the end…

As you read with your child at home, go through the retelling steps with fiction books.  Doing this together will provide excellent modeling of this skill for your child.

We are now using the Rekenreks to help us with subtraction, specifically with combinations of 10. 
Here is a link to a Doubles rap to help us remember our doubles:

Most children are fluent with the doubles 1+1, 2+2, 3+3, 4+4, and 5+5.  Once we get to 6+6, 7+7, 8+8, and 9+9 it is a bit more challenging.  We discussed strategies for know these doubles quickly.  Once student reminded us that if you know 5+5=10, 6+6 will just be 2 more than that.  Also, if 10+10=20, 9+9 will be 2 less than that.

Open circle:
We talked about Double Ds this week.  Double Ds are anything that is dangerous or destructive.  An action could be destructive to school or an individual’s property or it could be destructive to a person’s feelings.  We reviewed how to deal with annoying behavior and explained the difference between an annoying behavior and something that is destructive to a person’s feelings.

An example of an annoying behavior is when someone is tapping a pencil or humming while you are trying to do work.

Some examples of a DD are writing on tables, running between the swings on the playground, or purposefully hurting another person’s feelings.

What are the steps to deal with annoying behavior?  How should you deal with a DD? 
We were clear with the children that they should always tell an adult if a DD happens.

Extra Fun:
We changed one of our bulletin boards into a winter wonderland.  I taught the class how to fold paper to make snowflakes.  We worked our fine motor skills by folding the paper and cutting out incredible snowflakes.  Our room was a mess but we sure had fun!