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!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Hello Families.  It was not easy to dismiss your children today!  While summer vacation is fantastic, saying goodbye to your wonderful children was hard.  They all have made so much growth and have much to be proud of!

As promised, here is a picture of our Trick Word Wall with all of the words we learned this year:

Also, Wyatt Cicarelli’s dad, Richard, made an amazing video of our Make Way for Ducklings Field trip.  Here is a link to view it:

Finally, the talented Andrea Defina put together a slideshow from our year together in first grade.  The class has already viewed it a couple of times and loved it.  I will send it to each of you in an email.

Have a wonderful summer!!!

Kathy Germaine

Monday, May 14, 2018

Hello families.  Wow!  Thank you for all of the thoughtful ways you showed us your appreciation this week.  We are spoiled by our PTO!  J

A few of nuts and bolts….
•We had to change the date for our Math Games Open House to Friday, June 1.  The time remains at 8:30 AM – 9:15 AM. 
•Due to scheduling conflicts and a packed calendar, we regret to say we are unable to find a date on which to reschedule our Multi-Cultural Potluck dinner.
•We will not be giving “official” homework for the remainder of the year but do expect your child to continue to read or be read to each day.    

Below is some of what we have done this week and questions you may ask your child at home.  

We have reviewed many of the sounds and spellings we have learned so far this year.  Much of our work this week has been with encoding (writing,) through dictation and letter tile work.  As we have worked on our writing, this week your children have been expected to utilize the word wall to spell all trick words correctly. 
At home:  When your child writes at home, have them check their work for trick words.  Here is a photo of our word wall to reference.

We continue to work on comprehension strategies as we read our “just right” books.  This is done through making connections, using our schema, making predictions, and thinking about the events that are happening in the story.

At home:  As you read to/with your child, share your thoughts about what is happening with your child.  This is a great time to model making connections, using your schema, making a prediction, and recalling what has happened in the story so far.

We are finishing up our unit on place value.  Recently, we have worked on adding and subtracting a multiple of 10 from a 2-digit number. (i.e. 67-30 or 52+40)  We have looked at a sample of students work for solving an equation and analyzing what they did and fixing any errors.  This is a tricky skill for most first graders!  It is important for all children to know that we learn from mistakes and when we analyze a problem, we are able to see where an error was made.

At home:  Show me how you would solve 71-30.  Is there another way to solve this?  How would you solve 52+8?  Is there another way to solve this?

We are more than halfway through the 21 day incubation period with our chicken eggs!  J 

We have worked hard on a secret (surprise) project that will be revealed this weekend.  J
Some of us have completed our How to Make Maple Syrup books while most of us are almost done.  We will bring those home at the end of next week.

Happy Mother's Day to our Room 4 moms and have a great weekend!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Hello Families.  Have you heard about the eggs?  Both First Grade classrooms are delighted to have received one-dozen (each) fertilized chicken eggs.  If all goes well, we will have some chicks hatch around May 21st.  Ask your child where we have the eggs in our classroom and what the forming chicks need to develop.

Below is some of what we have worked on in class and some questions you may ask your child at home.  I have also included photos from our field trip to the Natick Organic Farm where we learned about the life cycle of chickens, our Arbor Day celebrations, and the author/illustrator visit with Grace Lin. 

We added the trick words our, out, and about to our word wall.
We learned the sound /au/ spelled au and aw.
We have learned the suffixes ed and ing.

At home:  How does the suffix ed change a word?  How does the suffix ing change a word? 

Readers’ Workshop:
It has been a while since we have added new poems to our reading folders.  This past week, we added two poems that are about eggs, of course!  We practice reading the poems as a class, in pairs, and individually.  We have “scooped” one of the poems to show how we would chunk the words together as we read it. 

At home:  What does it mean to “scoop” a sentence/poem/story?  If I write you a sentence, would please show me how to scoop it?

We continue to work on place value.  We have revisited the symbols used to compare numbers (<, >, and =) and have also used the words that go with the symbols to compare two 2-digit numbers.  For example:

2 tens and 7 ones is less than 96     or    54 is equal to 4 tens and 14 ones

Yes, we are still working on our How to Make Maple Syrup books.  The class has learned about transitional words and is (hopefully) using these as we write our How to books.  These are the transitional words we learned:
first, next, then, after that, finally

Open Circle:
Ms. Pirelli spoke with the first grade about safety, specifically (but not the term used with the children), sexual abuse awareness.  A letter came home on Friday that details the video that was shown and the conversation we had. 
At home:  What can you do if someone is touching you in a way that makes you uncomfortable?  Who are the adults in your life you could speak with if you feel uncomfortable? 

Finally!  We have begun our study of the Life Cycle of Chickens.  J I hope you found the video I shared earlier this week interesting.  Each year I am amazed that all of that takes place in 21 short days!  Here is a link to that same video in case you missed it.

 At home:  Can you tell me what the life cycle of a chicken is?  Why is it called a “cycle?”

Thank you to our generous PTO for funding a visit from Rythm Kids on Friday, April 27!

Below are the photos from our trip, Rythm Kids, Arbor Day, and the visit with Grace Lin.  Please stop by a visit our Community Book Stop once it is officially open!


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!