Seasonal Celebrations

First Grade Families,

This year our First Grade team is going to try something a little different with our party schedules. We are going to have our Halloween Party with parents on Friday, October 27th from 12:45-1:30. More details will be coming soon! 

Something a little different will happen with our other two parties. We will enjoy a Holiday celebration in December and a Valentine celebration, but those celebrations will be run by the teacher and held throughout the entire school day. They will only include the students and teacher. We are hoping this helps to lighten your load, especially in the busy holiday months.  We are excited about some of the fun activities we plan to include in those celebrations. We promise to take lots of pictures and share them with you!

First Grade also takes a field trip to the John Ball Zoo that all parents are invited to join in May. We will send out a date in January or February so that you can plan ahead to join us if you are able.

Thanks so much!

Mrs. Foy

Art Prize

Last week I brought in my painting for Art Prize.  We took a photo with it.  They were full of questions.  Should you make it to Art Prize (starts today) try to stop by MoDiv on Monroe and Division.

Mrs. Foy

Mindful Listener

These past few days of Mind Up were spent focusing in mindful listening.  We started by introducing the students to a new part of their brain.  You may have heard your first grader talking about their Reticular Activating System (RAS).  Ok, typing that sentence just made me laugh, but ask your first grader about their RAS and see what they have to share!

A few weeks ago, we had the students focus as hard as they could on their sense of hearing for a short amount of time and then discussed all the things they were able to hear.  We came up with a long list, but that was just our sense of hearing.  All of our senses are busy picking up different sights, tastes, smells, feelings, and noises and sending them to our brains.  Our RAS is the part of the brain that gathers all those messages and decides which messages are important enough to be passed on to the rest of the brain and which things can be ignored.  We talked about how when they are trying to listen to instruction in the classroom, we need to train our own RAS to know how to ignore distractions like noises from other rooms, the hallway, outside, or friends sitting next to us and focus on the teaching.

To strengthen our ability to focus our RAS, we did some listening exercises and the kids had to work hard to focus on certain sounds and really ignore all other distractions.  We took note of what our body does when we are focusing really hard and came up with the following list:

If you were to walk the halls around first grade, you will often hear us asking the kids to show us what mindful listening looks like or to focus their RAS…you can use that at home, as well!

Great Behavior

Our class has been very good again!  We earned 10 stars last week so we are going to celebrate with “Bring a Toy To School Day” .

On Monday 9/25/17 

your child can bring a small toy that fits in their back pack, to class.  This toy can not have pieces that come apart like lego’s.  It should be durable enough to survive a trip on the bus and possibly some time on the playground.

Be sure to congratulate your child on their great behavior!

We are looking forward to some fun activities coming up this week and are hoping for great weather on Friday!!!

September 17 – Constitution Day


September 21 – Picture Day

If you are ordering pictures, please send in your child’s picture envelope on or before Thursday.

September 20 – Math Assessment

September 22 – Library Day

Don’t forget to send your child’s library book back to school today.

September 22 – Super “G” Walk-A-Thon

We are pumped up and excited to walk in support of our school!!!  Plan to dress your first grader in a superhero shirt/cape/costume and comfy shoes on Friday.  The first graders will be walking on the track from 9:45-10:30.  All parents are welcome to join us outside to walk on the track.  Donation envelopes can be sent in on or before Monday, September 25.

Finally, if you are interested in helping out as a sight word parent volunteer this year and have not already filled out this survey, please do!  It is okay for your younger children to come along with you when you help out during our sight word practice.  If you are available on a different afternoon send me an e-mail, I would love to have 2-3 parent helpers twice a week!  Thank you!

Sight Word Parent Volunteer Survey

Mind Up

You might hear your student talking about our MIND UP time during the day.  Mind Up is a curriculum that helps teach students about their brains and how their brains work in order to help them be more proactive in how they approach learning and social interactions.


So far, we have learned some key areas of the brain.  You may have heard your first grader talking about these three key parts of the brain: Prefrontal Cortex, Amygdala, and Hippocampus.  Thprefrontal cortex is what we call our WISE LEADER, it is where our smart thinking happens (math, reading, etc.).  Our Hippocampus is where our memories are stored, we called is our MEMORY SAVER.  And the amygdala is the part of our brain the helps us stay safe when we are in danger, we call it our SECURITY GUARD.


During our math time this week we continued to break apart larger numbers into smaller partners. We used whiteboards and markers, counters, stair steppers, and activities from our math workbook to visualize the partners, switch partners, and doubles partners for the numbers 8, 9, and 10. Challenging your first grader to write and show each set of partners in a variety of ways has helped to increase number sense and flexibility with these numbers.

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 2.05.11 PM

We also continued to use our knowledge of partners and patterns to practice addition (+0, +1, +2) and subtraction (-0, -1, -2) facts. This week in particular, we practiced adding and subtracting doubles partners (1+1, 2-1, 2+2, 4-2, 3+3, 6-3, etc.), and discovered that a number minus itself equals 0 (8-8 = 0).

Finally, thank you for helping your child complete the math homework that came home on Monday. We will continue to send home packets of work on Mondays and will give you a whole week to have your child complete them and return them to school the following Monday.


We talked about how important it is to plan out a story before we start writing it (so, we don’t put all the details on the first page and then run out of things to say OR to make sure that we know what we want to share on each page, in case we don’t finish the story in one day and have to come back to it another day). To help the kids make a plan, we created a new writing paper that includes a special box on each page for them to draw a quick sketch in. We practiced drawing a quick sketch for the beginning, middle, and end, before writing any words or drawing any pictures.


Our first graders have been working so hard to grow their reading stamina and we have reached right around 13 minutes of sustained reading. Our goal is 20 minutes, so we are close!  Eventually, they will have at least two 20 minute blocks of read-to-self time each day. As we worked this past week to problem solve any distractions that arose, we also were able to focus on some important reading strategies.


We talked about how important it is to warm up as we read. We know to look at the pictures and think about what might happen in the story, but we also focused on thinking about what words would go along with the pictures that we saw in the book. The kids were able to predict words they thought they might see in the book.  Then, when they went to read the story, they were able to read words that may have been tricky, but because they had predicted those words might be in the story, their brains were ready to read them. Good readers warm up to a story before reading the words, to help them be the best readers they can be.


Dear Parents,

All parents and grandparents are invited to be part of our classroom family! In first grade, volunteers work with students to help build sight word knowledge. The first grade teachers have developed a quick, fun method for teaching sight words and this proven practice has had a huge impact on our developing readers. (Read the attached directions to learn more.)

I am looking for volunteers that could help one or two afternoons a week, for about 30 minutes (2:45-3:15). If you are interested in helping, please take a moment to fill out this quick survey.

Volunteer Survey


If this schedule doesn’t work for you, we will need help with holiday parties and our zoo field trip. Thank you so much for supporting our first graders!

SW Volunteer Directions 2016-1iij2xw