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!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Hello Families.  I hope you have been able to enjoy this beautiful spring weather.  Not only are the plants and flowers blossoming, your children are as well.  Yes, that sounds really corny, but I am 100% sincere with that statement!  When we look back at where your children were in September and look at where they are now, it is pretty amazing.  I hope you have seen this progress at home as well.

Our Day of Play, which was on the Friday before vacation, April 13, was a blast!  Your children made blanket forts, played with cars and race tracks, many of the kids worked together to create a store, some children wrote books …  There were so many creative and exciting things happening in Room 4 on that day.  It is an excellent reminder of the importance of creative play for children because of the development of collaboration skills, learning to compromise, and problem-solving, just to name a few.

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

We continue to work on our How to Make Maple Syrup books and hope to finish in the next week or so.  These books take a lot of time and effort.

At home:  How is your book coming?  What is your favorite part of writing this book?  What do you find challenging about writing the book?

We learned the new sounds / spellings ue and ew.   The key words are ue – blue, ue – rescue, and ew – chew.
We added the following new trick words to our board: how, now, and down.

At home:  Ask your child about the word wall game we played.  (I gave them 6 hints about a particular word on our word wall.  With each hint, the children had to write down which word they thought it was.  It is really a fun way to get them to practice writing the words and thinking about the spellings.)

Readers’ Workshop: 
During this time, I am meeting with small groups where we work on comprehension strategies and/or phonics skills.  While I meet with the groups, the rest of the class has a menu of work to do, independently at their tables.   Independent Reading is always the last item on the menu.  It is rewarding to see how their stamina for reading has increased throughout the year!

At home:  Tell me about some of the books in your Independent Reading bag.  Why did you choose them?

Open Circle:
We had an open circle on apologizing and accepting apologies.  We discussed reasons why we would need to apologize to someone and reviewed the appropriate way to apologize.  We also learned how to accept apologies.  After we had this discussion we had children role-play how to apologize and accept apologies.

At home:  What did you learn about apologizing and accepting apologies? 

We continue our work with place value.  Currently, we are working on finding numbers that are 10 more or 10 less from any given 2-digit numbers.  We have been playing some games with dimes and pennies to help us develop a greater understanding of place value. 

At Home:  Ask your children questions such as, “What number is 10 more than 54?  What number is 10 less than 37?  What number is 1 more than 62?  What number is 1 less than 70?  If I had 3 dimes and 4 pennies, how much money would I have?  If I had 8 dimes and 9 pennies, how much money would I have?”
You could ask your child to draw you a picture to show how he/she figured out what 10 more or 10 less than a given number was.  We use a vertical line to represent a train of 10 and a dot to represent ones.  For example, this is how we would show the number 46:

We kick off our study of the Life Cycle of Chickens this Friday with our trip to the Natick Organic Farm.  On Monday, I will pick up a dozen fertilized chicken eggs for each first grade classroom. We will put them in our incubators and egg turners and learn about what is happening in the eggs each day.  I will send home an informational calendar next week so you may track this at home with your child.  We will be sure to have a time when families may come by to visit with our chicks once they hatch.

Happy Spring!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Hello Families.  It has truly been a pleasure to share your children’s progress with you at our conferences.  They have all worked so hard and should be very proud of their effort and resulting growth.

Here are some very important dates to remember:

• Friday, June 15 - Make Way for Ducklings Trip in Boston
9:00 AM-2: 00 PM We will take all parents who are able to join us.
•Thursday, May 31 - Math Games Open House – in Rooms 3&4
8:30 AM-9:15 AM
•Thursday, May 17 - Multicultural Potluck Dinner, Loker cafeteria
5:30 PM-6: 15 PM
• Friday, April 27 – Natick Organic Farm, Life Cycle of Chickens program
9:00 AM-11:15 AM

I will provide more information about each of these events as we get closer to the dates.

Below is some of what we have worked on lately and questions/suggestions for home:

We learned the following vowel teams:
oa, oe, ow, ou, oo

At home – Can you tell me the spellings, keywords, and sounds of each vowel team?
(oa-boat, oe-toe, ow-snow, ow-plow, ou-trout, ou-soup, oo-school, oo-book)

We added the following words to our Trick Word Wall:
any, also, many, some, could, very, would, too, should

Readers’ Workshop
We have gone back to working on comprehension strategies for when we read fiction texts.  Once we identify the problem in a story we look for steps the characters took to solve the problem. 

As you read at home with your child, talk with him/her about the problem the character(s) is having and look together for some steps the character(s) take to solve those problems.

Writing Workshop
Has your child asked you about tapping a sugar maple tree in your yard to make maple syrup?  We are in the process of writing our “How To Make Maple Syrup” books.  Once your child has finished, we will send the book home and you will be able to follow the steps and make your own syrup next year.  J

Did your child teach you about zibs?  Our unit about place value began with a lesson in counting by “zibs.”  This was actually counting in base 4.  This lesson (hopefully) helps children understand why we write numbers the way we do. 

At home:  What does it mean to “zibify?”  How would you count in base zib? (one, two, three, zib, one zib and one, one zib and two, one zib and three, two zibs, two zibs and one, etc.)

We then related this to counting in base ten.  Our small groups and games have focused on counting specific quantities of cubes, making ten-trains with them and looking at how many extras we have.  For example, if we had 32 cubes, we would have three ten-trains and two extras. 

At home:  Ask your child to tell you how many tens there are in any given 2-digit number.  How many ones?  Please keep in mind this is still a relatively new concept for our first graders and we may not all completely understand it yet.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Hello Families.  It has been an interesting couple of weeks with the snow, power outages, and snow days!  I hope you have all fared well with all of the power outages and downed trees.

Below is some of what we have been working on and pictures from our math open house as well as our field trip to the sugar shack.


These are all of the trick words we currently have on our word wall:
a, and, are, as, be, by, do, does, for, from, has, have, has, he, here, his, into, is, I, me, my, of, one, or, put, said, she, the, they, there, to, try, two, was, we, were, what, where, who, why, you, your

The class has learned the following glued sounds: unk, ink, and onk.

At home:  Ask your child to tell you the spelling, key word, and sound of each glued sound.

Readers’ Workshop:

We have continued our study of the features of non-fiction texts.  So far, the class has learned about title, headings, table of contents, index, glossary, words in bold, photographs, captions, illustrations and labels.  We have spent some time looking at these features in many different books and leaning about how they help us as readers. 

At home:  As you read non-fiction books/magazines at home with your child, ask him/her to point out these text features.

Science:   We have LOVED learning about the process of making maple syrup!  We have collected enough sap from our trees to boil once and taste the syrup we made.  Yummy!  The class had a wonderful trip to the Land’s Sake Farm sugar shack.  We got to see the truck pull up to the sugar shack with a HUGE container filled with sap.  The evaporator was boiling away and the shack smelled of maple syrup.

Here is a link to their website:

On Friday, a paper was sent home about our trip and had information about their sugaring off event.  Here is a screen shot about that from the Land’s  Sake Farm event calendar online.

Math:  We have completed our current unit and will start our unit on place value next week.  Some of the recent lessons we covered in small groups were about different ways to find the difference between two numbers and which way is most efficient.  Sometimes counting on is more efficient and other times counting back is more efficient. 

At home:  Ask your child how he/she would solve 16-9.  Is it easier to count up or back or to think of 9 as 10?  Which way is most efficient?

Social Studies:  Mrs. Kaplan came in again this week to continue the work she started with us on the Zones of Regulation and how our engines are running.  Today the class was challenged to think about what others’ thoughts are about us when we are in the blue, green, yellow, or red zones.

At home:  When you are in the yellow zone, how do you think others are thinking about you?  What about when you are in the green zone?