January 2017 Newsletter
It is hard to believe that it is January 9, 2017 - WOW! Time is going by very quickly.
We have had a great week at school – everyone seems happy to be back and to be with friends. We are getting back into a routine and are ready to do some serious learning! Second semester will be exciting in all curriculum areas. Please read on for an update:
If you were to walk into our classroom during language arts, you would find a group of confident strong readers. During a recent conversation with my group I asked, “How is reading going for you?” Their response was “Great.” “It is fun!” Their interest is high and they enjoy reading books that are “just right” for them. They also enjoy word games, word work and conversations with peers. We continue to focus on comprehension and will learn the terms “schema” and “inferring” soon. The more we focus on books and reading as a part of life, the more we become ongoing learners and life-long readers!
Thank you for your support in reading. We hope you find the home reading log a useful tool to document books that are read at home.
Each day someone asks, “Do we have Writer’s Workshop today?” It continues to be a favorite part of our day. Our focus for the next few weeks will be “opinion writing.” We informally began this unit by having several classroom debates. We debated questions like, “Should Breck School serve dessert every day?” “Should first graders take naps” – once we learn how to verbalize our opinions, we will begin writing them.
Our yearlong study of the earth and how it is ever changing continues. We have reviewed our brainstorm of “What would you like to learn about rocks?” and added a few details to our journal. We also enjoyed using the rock tumbler before break and watched how our rocks “changed.” The Children’s Museum came and presented “Rock On” a hands on learning experience. We displayed our rocks in the “First Grade Rock Museum” and enjoyed receiving comments and compliments.
Soon we will begin our focus on the water portion of the earth - specifically, oceans. Students will brainstorm what they already know about “What is in the ocean?” As we bring in books, films, posters, and guest speakers, students will have the opportunity to record information in their Ocean Journal. As a part of this unit we will visit the Minnesota Zoo. Our visit to the Zoo will be soon - February 1st .
Social Studies are an integral part of our everyday lives at school. We continue to talk about current events, family news, school events or special holidays. It is an interesting time for these first graders to be developing a sense of self and a sense of community. This month we will be learning about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and will focus discussions and activities around his life story and the contributions he made to our society.
Our new C.A.R.E. is “tolerance” – understanding and respecting each other’s differences. “I accept you for who you are!”
Valentine’s Day is exciting for first graders. We will celebrate on February 14th – it will be a red, white and pink non-uniform/casual day. Students will be asked to bring valentines for all classmates (I will send a letter home in a few weeks with more specifics). Our school policy is that no candy or edible treats are allowed in valentines.
Dates to Remember:
Jan. 16 Martin Luther King Jr. King Day (No School)
Feb. 14 Valentine’s Day Party
Feb. 17 NO SCHOOL – Faculty Workshop
Feb. 20 NO SCHOOL – President’s Day
As you can see, our days are full. We appreciate the enthusiasm your children display each morning as they enter the classroom. Thanks for giving them extra rest and appropriate outdoor clothes.
Marie Murphy and Tara Madden