Posted by Stacey Mead on 10/7/2020 7:00:00 PM
We completed our last hybrid week! Both groups of students are so excited to be in the room together. We have rearranged some furniture, given students new seats, and done all we can to get ready to welcome everyone on Monday!
Responsive Classroom: Each day, students begin with a morning meeting, with the goal being to meet students’ needs for Belonging, Significance and Fun. We greet each other, share ideas (sometimes about school and sometimes not!), play a group activity together and then read the message. This is a crucial time of day for us to work together to build our classroom community, for students to practice social skills, and for academic content to be reviewed or previewed. This week some activities we tried were: Do what I say and not what I do! and Going on Vacation We also practiced tracking while reading the message and listening to the thinking of others.
In addition to the practice of morning meeting, Responsive Classroom focuses on the importance of students gaining both social/emotional as well as academic skills to support them in school and life. This week, we finished our poster about what Cooperation could look and sound like here in our classroom.
Math: The past few weeks in math have focused on becoming “five-wise” and “ten-wise.” This is the idea that students are beginning to recognize 5 and 10 as quantities or groups, rather than amounts that they need to count from 1. We are using models such as ten-frames, number racks and tally marks to strengthen this grouping skill. We are playing games like: Quick, Look!, Spill those Beans and Finger Talk.
In addition to these math concepts, students participate in Number Corner and a Number Talk each day. These portions of our math block are to strengthen students’ mental calculation abilities as well as to foster conversations around math. The calendar collector specifically targets the practice of looking for patterns while building upon various math concepts. In September, our calendar collector focused on the math models of ten frames, popsicle sticks and tally marks. October has just started, and so far we have seen groups of colored apples appear on the calendar cards.
Science: We began the year thinking about how scientists gather information. We did some observing up close outside, and included labeled sketches as well as questions with our observations. This past week we have started our first official science unit, How Plants and Animals Survive. We began by learning about the parts of plants, and completed an experiment with celery and food coloring to see specifically how the stem of a plant brings nutrients from the ground up through to the leaves and flowers.
Reading: 1st graders have focused on some decoding strategies that careful readers can use when they get stuck on a word. So far we have talked about using the pictures, thinking about the letters and sounds, asking what word would make sense, and using what you know about word families. In Reader’s Workshop, students have practiced using some of these strategies. We have also been working on identifying just right books, as well as discussing all the reasons readers read. Students have book bins in the room with collections of books - some that they have determined to be a “just right” match to the words, and others that are based on topics that interest them! While Reader’s Workshop is happening, I am also assessing to determine instructional next steps for each reader. This information will ultimately inform small groups in the near future:)
Writing: Our first writing unit of the year is: Small Moments. We have read some small moment books together (The Roller Coaster and The Snowy Day), and we have done some brainstorming activities to think about how writers get ideas. Students are now in the finishing stages of their first small moment stories. They have thought about three parts to their stories: Setting the Scene, Telling the Most Exciting Part, and Telling the End. Now writers are putting their stories into polished books!
Chromebooks: Students have done a fantastic job gaining the habit of bringing chromebooks to and from school each day. We know that there may be times when students need to transition to some at home learning, whether it is from illness, Covid19 exposure or a whole-school shift. If you would like your child to continue to bring the chromebook to and from school each day, I am happy to support that.
If you would prefer that they not have to do that everyday, I am proposing an alternative: I will plan to use the chromebooks in school on Mondays and Fridays only (for now). So, if you would like to plan on only sending it in on those days and keeping it at home Tuesday-Thursday, please feel free to do so!
Headphones:As we use chromebooks more and more at school, there may be times when students can listen to something. Unfortunately, the school is not able to provide a set of headphones for every student. If you have headphones or earbuds for your child, please send them in their backpack, labeled. Please let me know if this is not a possibility for you, and I will do my best to locate some!
Seesaw: Even though we are returning to in-person school all five days, we will still use Seesaw periodically. The hope is that students will continue to gain familiarity and dexterity with Seesaw and the chromebook in general. While we are at school full-time, there will be no “at home” assignments.
RAZ-kids: Students are now set up with RAZ-kids accounts! Your child logged into this website at school, and should still be logged in on their chromebooks. Students “saved” the login info on their chromebooks, and as a back-up, they have this info taped to their home folders. We will use this throughout the year. The link was sent to students in Seesaw (they can find it in their inbox) and can also be found here: https://www.raz-kids.com/
Nuts and Bolts
Dismissal: Kindergartners and their siblings will still be picked up at the entrance to the school on rte. 128, while all other pick-ups will continue to happen out front. The only change is that now parents picking up out front will park and walk over to the school building to collect their child from us.
Breakfast: Breakfast is available and offered to all students each day, free of charge. Please let me know if you do not want your child to eat the school-provided breakfast.
Prepare for the Weather: As the weather starts to change, dressing in layers will be even more important. We were asked to share with parents that students will be having outside recess everyday, unless it is thunder/lightning, or below zero. Your child should have an extra set of clothes - these can stay at school in their bin unless they are used and need to come home to be washed. A raincoat is also a good idea, and can certainly be left on their hook here. Please label all items.
Snack: Please send in a daily healthy snack and drink. We will now have our snack each morning at 9:20.
Our Schedule: Next week our schedule will be different, since everyone is back together all five days. Our schedule is linked here, and has been updated on our class website. You should also have seen a paper copy of this come home!
Birthdays: Birthdays are a very special time and I am happy to have your child share their special day with our class if they choose! My hope is to have a connection from a special adult for the birthday student that can be shared with the class. This could be:
- a video with a short message
- a video reading of a favorite book
- a visit from a special adult in the school!
- any other ideas are welcome!
If your child has a summer birthday, they can choose when we celebrate this year:) Please reach out ahead of your child’s birthday to let me know how you would like us to recognize this day for them!
Outside of School:
Your child should be exposed to reading every night. This can include you reading aloud to your child or them listening to an audio book. Your child will not receive weekly homework, however, I may periodically send home special projects throughout the year to work on together. Students will always have time in school to work on projects as well.
Please make sure your child has the following items each day:
*2 facemasks and small tupperware container to store their masks
*water bottle labeled with their name
*extra clothes in their backpack
Picture Day October 22nd (for our class)