This week in reading we talked about how insect communities are similar to communities of people. We read, Honey Bees, and learned about the different roles that different bees play in the hive and how they work together. Students worked on describing the job of the queen bee and then wrote about it. We also practiced the skill of comparing and contrasting. Our snowman writing projects are complete. Students spent time this week working on a final draft and their illustration.
In Fundations we finished the unit about suffix -s. Throughout the week, students wrote and marked these words and built them on magnet boards. We also determined if the word was plural or a verb. Today, we started the new unit on the glued sounds: ang, ing, ong, ung. The spelling words went home today. Please help your child read and write these words.
During math this week we completed chapter 5. Students practiced using addition to check subtraction, finding the missing number and worked on story problems. We have been practicing using a variety of strategies to solve these problems. Students also worked together in partners to read story problems, decide whether to add or subtract and find the total. On Friday we played a new math game, Salute, to find the missing number. Next week students will take the mid-year test to assess their math skills up to this point. We will also start chapter 6 about place value.
Information went home this week about the 100th Day project that is due on February 5th. If you have any questions, please let me know.
On Tuesday the new sight word homework will go home and is due on Friday. Please help your child complete these activities.
There is no school on Monday (1/21) and Friday (1/25) is a half day.
There will not be a cold/hot read next week due to the short week.
January 11, 1019 Dear families,
In reading this week we continued with the topic of how plants and animals rely on one another. We reread the story, Life in the Forest, and discussed the author's purpose. Students also chose one animal from the story and wrote one fact, using evidence from the text. In small groups, students practiced completing a new response for our listening center. Also, students practiced reading words with suffix -ed, as it appeared a lot in our readings. On Friday, students took the weekly test. It is now the expectation that first graders take these tests independently. I will certainly support students as needed, but we spend a lot of time working on these skills together in class. We have been working together on reading sentences with sight words and answering questions about a story.
During Fundations this week we continued with suffix -s. Students wrote and marked these words. They also sorted these words by the ending sound. There will not be a new spelling list for next week, as we will be talking the Unit test next Thursday. Please continue to help your child read, write and mark words with suffix -s.
In math students continued to work on related facts. We practiced using subtraction facts to find a missing number in addition. Students also practiced finding different ways to reach the same total. We used addition, subtraction and addition with three addends to reach these equal totals. On Friday we started to learn about equal equations. Students needed to show their work to determine whether the problem was true or false (ex: 4+5=3+6). Next week we will continue with these skills.
There is no school on Monday (1/21) for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Starting the week on January 22, students will take home weekly sight word homework. As students are working to increase their reading and writing skills, it is so important that they can read and write these words. The homework will go home on Monday to be returned on Friday. I will send another reminder about this next week. If you have any questions please let me know.
Please continue to help your child remember the school-wide expectations each day: Be safe, be respectful, be prepared.
January 4, 2019 Dear families,
It was a short, but busy week in first grade. We spent a lot of time reviewing the classroom expectations and routines.
During reading, we read the story, Life in the Forest, about animals that live the forest. We discussed how plants and animals rely on one another and students gave some great examples. In small groups, we reviewed sight words and practiced nonsense words. A copy of the January nonsense words went home on Thursday. Please help your child read this word list to build reading fluency.
In Fundations we started the new unit about words with suffix -s. Students practiced tapping out the base word and then adding the suffix. They also determined whether the word was a plural noun or verb. The new spelling list went home today and we will take the spelling test on Thursday.
In math students spent some time reviewing fact families. We created a project where each student wrote their own winter story problem and then wrote the fact family to match. Students also solved problems and practiced identifying addition and subtraction facts that were related. On Friday we took the mid chapter checkpoint.
The book order is due on January 10th.
December 21, 2018 Dear families,
What a busy week in first grade!
While we did not start a new story this week, we spent a lot of time reading different gingerbread books. We sequenced the stories and compared them. The kids really enjoyed the different stories and the activities that went along. Students read and wrote a gingerbread man poem. Also, many students completed the final draft of their writing project about a community worker.
On Monday we had a local author, Dan Sadlowski, visit first grade. He read aloud his book, Finding Brooklyn, and talked about its message. The kids then had a chance to think of their own superpowers (real and imaginary) and decorated a cape to match.
During math we started a new chapter on addition and subtraction relationships. We spent a lot of time this week talking about fact families and how to use them to solve problems. Students also created their own fact family and wrote it on a gingerbread person.
Thursday was a very exciting day! In groups the kids needed to use teamwork to create their own life-sized gingerbread person. Thank you to those who were able to volunteer their time and send in craft supplies.
There is no school December 22-January 1
Please continue to read with your child every night and help them practice math facts.
The December homework is due on January 2.
December 14, 2018 Dear families,
This week in reading we focused on how animal communities work together. We read, The Big Circle, about a herd of triceratops that protects babies from a t rex. We also continued to talk about proper and common nouns. Students also started a new writing journal to practice sentence structure, fluency and comprehension. During Fundations we continued to work on words with the glued sounds am and an. Students wrote and marked these words, built them on magnet boards and completed word sorts. We will take the Fundations unit test on Tuesday next week.
During writing time, students are working on their first, big process writing project. We have been talking about community workers and each student picked the worker that they felt was most helpful. They started with a top down web to organize their ideas and started their drafts this week. Next week they will complete a final copy.
In math this week students spent time reviewing subtraction strategies. We practiced counting back and drawing a picture to find the answer. They also learned how to use the smaller number and count up to the larger number. We reviewed fact families and talked about how to use addition to solve subtraction. On Friday we took the chapter test. Also this week, students practiced fact fluency. Please continue to help your child practice math facts at home.
On Monday we will have a local author, Dan Sadlowski, of Finding Brooklyn visit our classroom. He is going to read aloud his book and talk to first graders about the message of the book. He is also giving families the opportunity to purchase his book at a discounted rate. The invoice will go home with your child on Monday and, if you choose to purchase, needs to be returned by December 20th with payment. This way, your child will receive the book before the vacation. If you have questions about this please let me know.
December 7, 2018 Dear families,
This week in reading we talked about people who work in our community to make it a nice place. We read the story, Who Works Here?, about community helpers and what their jobs are. Students chose a community worker from the story and wrote about what they do to help others. We also talked about proper nouns and special titles (Mrs., Mr., Dr.) and capitalizing these words. During the writing block students spent time brainstorming acts of kindness and writing about one way they could "light up the world with kindness".
During Fundations time students reviewed bonus letters, the glued sound all and words with digraphs. We also practiced the weekly sight words and wrote them in sentences. On Friday we started the new unit on the glued sounds am and an. Please continue to help your child practice the spelling words and words with the same skill. The spelling test
In math this week we started the chapter on subtraction strategies. Students talked about the chapter vocabulary and glued their cards into their journals. We also practiced the strategies of counting back and using addition to solve subtraction. Students learned how to draw a "count back" picture and how to put the smaller number in their head and count up to the greater number. Next week we will continue with subtraction strategies. As this is a short chapter, we will take the test on Friday. Please continue to help your child practice addition and subtraction facts. Students are working on our fact fluency each week and charting their progress.
Winter break is December 24-January 1.
We will be working on a gingerbread project on December 20th. I sent home more information today about the project and learning for the week before vacation. If you would like to volunteer that day, please return the form to school.
November 16, 2018 Dear families, It was great to see so many of you at conferences!
This week in reading we started a new unit about communities. We talked about things that families can do together and read the story, A Big Fish for Max. We discussed the characters, problem and solution in the story. Students also learned about common nouns. They created a mini project to show a person, place, thing or animal. During Fundations time we continued to work on words with bonus letters. We will continue with this skill next week. There will not be a spelling test next week.
During writing time students completed their "I am thankful for" writing. They used a turkey graphic organizer and then wrote a draft and a final copy. Students will be working on more process writing to create different writing pieces.
In math we focused on making a ten to solve addition problems with teen numbers. Students learned about solving equations with ten (10+6=16). We also used a large ten frame to practice adding teen numbers when there is not a ten. We will continue with these skills and other strategies next week. Please continue to help your child practice math facts at home.
There will be no school Wednesday-Friday (11/21-11/23) for the Thanksgiving break.
If you would like your child to leave a pair of snow pants in school, please send a note.
November 9, 2018
This week in reading we worked on reviewing all unit 1 skills. Students talked about main idea and details, different types of sentences and finding facts. We reread the story, Animal Park, and wrote one fact about an animal from the story. Students also worked on reading all the unit sight words. During Fundations time we reviewed short vowel words with digraphs. Students practiced building, writing and marking these words. On Thursday we took the unit test. On Friday students started to learn about words with bonus letters.
Students began a new writing project this week. They worked on a turkey graphic organizer to identify people and things that they are thankful for. We then started a draft for this project. Next week we will work on final copies.
In math, we continued to talk about different addition strategies. We drew pictures and used manipulatives. Students practiced the counting on strategy and talked about doubles facts. We also learned a doubles song to help remember these facts. On Friday students took the mid chapter quiz and learned a new math game- Addition War.
There is no school on Monday (11/12).
Parent/teacher conferences are Thursday evening and Friday afternoon. I sent home reminder slips this week. If you have a question about your scheduled time please contact me.
Friday (11/16) is a half day.
There is no school November 21-23 for the Thanksgiving break.
We will not have a cold/hot read next week.
Please continue to practice the weekly sight words with your child. It is so important that they learn to read and write these words. If you need another word list please contact me or visit our classroom website.
November 2, 2018 Dear families,
What a busy and exciting week!
During reading this week we spent time talking about what we can observe by watching wild animals. Students read the story of the week, Animal Park, about a wildlife camp in Africa. We discussed different animals and, next week, we will talk about how they survive in the wild. Students practiced finding the main idea of a passage and supporting details. We also worked on blending nonsense words. Next week we will continue with the story and skills, as it is a short week.
In Fundations students focused on words with the digraph ck. We wrote and marked up words, built words on magnet boards and did a word sort. Next week we will continue with these skills and take the Fundations unit test on Thursday. I will not be sending a new word list home, but please continue to help your child practice words with digraphs. On Thursday I sent home a list of all the sight words we have learned up to this point. Please help your child read and write these words.
In math this week we started chapter 3 about addition strategies. Students learned the chapter vocabulary and worked in their math journals. We also reviewed changing the order of addends to solve problems. On Friday we practiced adding 1, 2, or 3 to a given numbers. Students are really working on the "counting on" strategy. They practiced doing this by using their fingers, drawing a picture and using manipulatives.
On Wednesday we had Pumpkin Day! Unfortunately, with our field trip being cancelled, the kids did not have their own pumpkins to use for the activities. Instead, they worked together in groups with a large, medium and small pumpkin. Students made predictions about whether their pumpkin would sink or float and how many seeds were inside. They counted the ribs on their pumpkin and measured how tall it was. Then, in groups, students worked together to scoop out the seeds from their pumpkin and count them by using ten frames.
There is no school for students next Tuesday (11/6).
The November homework log went home yesterday and is due at the end of the month.
There is no school on Monday (11/12) for Veteran's Day.
Friday (11/16) is a half day.
Parent/Teacher conferences are on November 15 and November 16. I will be sending out a reminder for your conference day and time next week.
October 26, 2018 This week in reading first graders talked about the different wild animals that they can find around their neighborhoods. We read the story, Get the Egg, about two kids that save an egg that fell from its nest. They also practiced identifying interrogative sentences and writing some of their own asking sentences. During Fundations we learned about words with digraphs (ch, sh, th, wh) and practiced marking these words by underlining the digraphs. Next week we will continue with digraphs and focus on ck.
Students completed their writing this week about how to carve a pumpkin. They used a graphic organizer to sequence the steps, then wrote a final copy. I will add this piece to their writing portfolios that will go home at the end of the year.
During math we worked on taking away all or zero and finding all the ways to subtract from a given number. The kids used cubes and pictures to help them subtract. During our lesson time we will rarely ever complete the entire packet. This is not homework, but if your child chooses to do the extra work and returns it the next day he/she can earn buzz chips. On Thursday we reviewed subtraction concepts and then took the chapter test on Friday. The next chapter will focus on addition strategies.
On Monday (10/29) we will be going to Ioka Valley Farm. Students will get to see the animals, pick pumpkins and do some of the activities that Ioka has to offer. We will be eating lunch there and will return to school by 1:30. Please make sure your child dresses appropriately for the weather that day.
If you are volunteering for the field trip, please meet us at Ioka for 10:00.
On Wednesday (10/31) we will be having "Pumpkin Day". We are going to do many pumpkin-themed literacy and math activities.
October 19, 2018 This week during reading students talked about how animals take care of their babies. We read the story of the week, A Fox and a Kit, and talked about main idea and details. In small groups students worked on their poetry journals, word work and identified declarative sentences.
In Fundations we continued to read and write CVC words. Students used magnet boards and whiteboards to practice these words. We also wrote sentences with the sight words. On Thursday we took the Fundations unit test. Our next unit will focus on digraphs. A new spelling list went home today.
Students continued to work on subtraction concepts this week. They drew math pictures, used bar models and answered story problems to solve subtraction. During rotations students practiced math facts and used the computers. On Friday we took the mid chapter quiz and then learned a new game to practice subtraction skills.
The new cold/hot read will go home on Monday. Please help your child read the passage each night.
Field trip permission forms are due on October 24. Please make sure to include your child's lunch choice.
We will be going to Ioka Valley Farm to pick pumpkins on Monday, October 29 from 9:30-1:30.
The Boo Bash is Saturday, October 27.
If you signed up to be a Secret Reader I will be contacting you soon. If you would still like to sign up, please return the paperwork or contact me.
October 5, 2018 In reading this week we talked about how animals help people. We read the story, The Big Blue Ox, and described the characters and setting. During small groups, students practiced logging on to their Reading Street account. I will be sending home login information soon. Next week we will continue the the same story and skills.
During Fundations students are working on tapping out CVC words. They practiced writing these words on whiteboards and building them on magnet boards. The first spelling test is next Thursday (10/11). If you need another word list please let me know.
Students finished their fall writing piece this week. They described something that they can see, smell, feel, hear and taste during the fall season. Next week we will continue working on simple sentences and sentence structure.
In math, students reviewed and then took the chapter 1 test. We also spent time practicing addition facts. The kids are working on the routine of small group rotations in math at centers such as the computers, flashcards, math facts, games and the learning club. Next week we will start chapter 2 on subtraction concepts.
We started Enrichment this week and students will be rotating at the end of the day between my room, Mrs. Shove and Mrs. Farella's room. I will work on social studies concepts with students, Mrs. Farella will be teaching science and Mrs. Shove will be working on fact fluency.
There is no school on Monday (10/8) for Indigenous Peoples' Day.
The book orders are due on Tuesday. You can order through the catalogue or online.
Next Friday (10/12) is a half day.
September 28, 2018 This week in reading we talked about people who take care of pets. We read the story, Pig in a Wig, and discussed the plot. Students also learned about the subject of a sentence (the naming part) and practiced identifying it in a given sentence. The class is working very hard to learn the routines and procedures of small reading groups. They practiced completing independent work, word work and partner reading.
During Fundations we completed unit 1 about letter sounds and letter formation. Students also practiced writing the alphabet in order. On Friday we took the Fundations unit test. Next week we will start unit 2 about words with short vowels (CvC words).
Each Friday students will take home a list of ten spelling words. The first list went home today. The following Thursday, we will take a spelling test on the ten words plus an additional five words with the same spelling skill. We will not have a spelling test on weeks that we do the Fundations end-of-unit test. Please help your child read and write these words each week. If you have any questions, please let me know.
On Friday we completed our writing project. Students worked very hard to create a mini book about their dream pet. They wrote about their pet's shelter, what they would feed their pet and how they would help it to get exercise. They also made a cover for the book. Next week we will start a new writing project about fall.
During math students have been learning about a variety of addition concepts. This week we focused on adding zero to a number, changing the order of addends and writing all the ways to make a number. Students also logged on to their Go Math account this week to practice playing math games online. We are also working on the routines and procedures for small group math time. Next week we will review chapter 1 concepts and take the test on Wednesday.
Our apple tasting will be on Monday morning. The kids are very excited about this activity!
We will be going to Lakeview Orchard on Thursday, October 4 from 9:30-11:30. Please make sure to fill out the permission slip along with the $5 fee and return to school by Tuesday.
If you plan to volunteer for this field trip, please return the paperwork to school and make sure that you have a current CORI.
The October homework log will go home on Monday. Please continue to read with/to your child and to practice math facts. The homework log is due at the end of the month.
There is no school on Monday, October 8 for Indigenous Peoples' Day.
September 21, 2018 This week in reading students focused on the topic of what pets need. We read the story of the week, Sam, Come Back, and talked about the characters and setting in the story. Students also practiced reading and writing the weekly sight words. Every Monday, students will cut out flashcards for the sight words to keep at home. We also continued to practice working in reading groups and the expectations during small group time.
During writing time we are working on make a small book about pets. Each student chose a dream pet and named it. Then they wrote about what kind of shelter that pet would need. Next week we will continue with our book and create a cover page.
In Fundations students continued to work on identifying letters and sounds. They also practiced their handwriting for specific letters, writing their names and sequencing the alphabet. I will continue to send home occasional handwriting practice as we are working on letter formation. Next week, we will finish unit 1 and will take the unit test on Friday.
Students worked very hard during math this week! We talked about different math concepts and used different tools to add. Students practiced drawing a math picture, using bar models and used cubes and counters to help them count on. We also worked on story problems and tried to find the important information and key words in a problem. On Thursday we took the chapter 1 checkpoint. We also played math games to reinforce addition skills. Next week students will continue to learn and practice addition concepts.
The first week of October we will be working on many apple-themed activities. Please return your child's permission slip so that he/she can participate in the apple tasting on October 1st.
September 14, 2018 It was nice to see so many of you last night at the Open House. If you were unable to attend, I sent home paperwork from last night regarding our schedule, curriculum and goals for first grade. Also, if you would like to volunteer, but were not able to sign up last night please let me know. Please make sure that you have a current CORI check. Volunteering will begin in October.
Monday and Friday (8:45-9:00) for the cold/hot reads
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday (10:00-11:00) to help with differentiated reading groups
Secret Reader- we can choose a day and time together (more info to come soon!)
This week during the reading block, we worked on many review skills. Students read stories throughout the week and we focused on describing characters. Then, each student picked their favorite character from a given story and wrote about why he/she was their favorite. We practiced reading review sight words and sounded out words with short vowels (CvC words).
During the Fundations time, students worked on letter sounds and practiced their handwriting. They are working very hard to use the lines on the paper to make their writing neat! We will continue with these skills next week, as we take time to review each letter of the alphabet. Also, we practiced sequencing the alphabet. Students use the Fundations magnet boards to practice this skill.
In math, we started the first chapter focusing on addition strategies. We practiced addition facts up to 5 and drew pictures to help add numbers. Students also completed their first math journal entry with their vocabulary cards. On Tuesday and Wednesday we took the beginning of year assessment. Friday is our math game day. Students worked with a partner to play the game "Race to Trace" and "Rainbow Math" to practice their addition skills. Next week we will continue to with addition strategies.
Friday (9/21) is a half day.
Next week we will only have snack on Monday (9/17) and Wednesday (9/19) as we transition out of snack time. I will send another reminder next week about the last couple of days.
Wednesday (9/19) is the relocation drill. Please remember to send your child in sneakers on this day.
Please continue to help your child remember the BEE expectations.
September 7, 2018 First graders have been working hard all week to learn and follow the classroom expectations. We practiced using different classroom materials, learned how to use our classroom library and learned about trading in buzz chips.
The morning block will be our ELA time, so students have been working on many community building activities through reading and writing. We read many new stories and created mini projects for each one. Students also wrote about what is going to make their year in first grade a great one! They have been getting into the routine of working on a journal prompt for their morning work. The kids also took a reading baseline test to assess their beginning of year skills.
In the afternoon students have been completing many math activities. We reviewed the days of the week and sang a fun song to help remember them. Students practiced writing their numbers on whiteboards. They also worked on two glyphs this week. This is a way to show information, based on answering different questions. We also completed a “Math About Me” project to answer questions about age, birthdays, number of pets, etc. On Friday I gave a quick numbers assessment to check students’ handwriting, number reversals and number sequence. We also played a fun math game “race to trace”.
We have been going outside for an extra recess in the afternoon most days, as students adjust to the new school year. Starting next week, our extra earned recess time will be on Fridays.
Also next week we will be diving right into academics. We will continue reading stories from the review unit and will talk about characters. Students will start Fundations next week too. This is our phonics program. The first unit focuses on letter sounds and letter formation. During math we will start with addition strategies, as well as take the beginning of year benchmark test.
Starting next week I will only be sending an email blast of the weekly newsletter. If you prefer to have a hard copy please let me know and I will make sure to send it home on Fridays.
Looking Ahead: -Picture day is Wednesday (9/12) -Open House is Thursday (9/13) from 6:00-7:30 -Please continue to help your child remember the schoolwide expectations: -Bee Safe -Bee Respectful -Bee Prepared
August 31, 2018
Can you believe that the first week of school has already gone by? Although it was short, we were very busy! This week we have talked about classroom, playground, hallway, and school expectations. We have been going over many of the classroom routines and procedures such as, bathroom breaks, taking care of classroom materials, fire drills, etc. We have also spent some time getting to know each other and establishing our classroom communities.
Breakfast is available for all students every morning before the school day begins. It is provided by the school, so please do not send in breakfast foods. The monthly lunch menu will be available to view online. This year our lunch is at 11:30 so, students will be having an afternoon snack break at 2:15. Students can bring a healthy snack and water or juice. No candy or soda please!
Birthdays and holidays are an exciting time for students. We ask that parents keep our Wellness Program in mind and do not send in classroom treats. Also, if you plan to send in birthday invitations there must be enough for the entire class. The cafeteria also celebrates birthdays each month.
Dismissal time is 3:15. It is very important that you send a note or call the school if there is a change in your child’s routine.
It has been a very busy, but exciting week in the classroom. You all have very special children who are going to be a big part of the class. I have high hopes for a great year ahead of us. Thank you for all the classroom supplies that have been sent in! They will be used throughout the school year. Please fill out and return any paperwork, as they are important pieces of information. I will be sending a weekly email blast each Friday (sometimes Saturday morning) about happenings in the classroom and upcoming events. Again, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
August 9, 2018
Welcome to first grade! My name is Mrs. Phillips and I will be your child’s teacher in Room 13. I hope you have been enjoying the summer and the rest of what it has to offer. This will be my second year teaching at Williams Elementary and my sixth year teaching first grade in Pittsfield. Before that, I taught kindergarten in North Adams. I love teaching first grade and am so excited for the new school year!
It is my goal this year to help your child grow academically and socially. They will build their independence and have many opportunities for creative thinking. We will be reading many stories together, working on writing, practicing math facts and playing many new games. Students will be working toward fluency goals in both reading and math, so it is very important that they are reading and practicing math facts at home and in school every day.
I will be sending a letter home the first week of school with more, detailed information about the new school year. Also, feel freeto visit the classroom website- I will be updating it shortly. Open communication between home and school is so important, so please contact me with any questions, big or small. I also attached a student information sheet. Please fill this out and send it in with your child on the first day of school. I look forward to meeting you and to starting a new year with your child. Enjoy the last few weeks of summer!
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