Learning Update!


The kids have gotten quite good at finding books around the room that are ‘just right’ books to keep in their book boxes.  As the kids were reading this week, we noticed that some kids finished all the books in their book boxes and needed to start all over reading their books again.  This lead us into discussions of how readers set goals for how many books they will read each day.  And we introduced a bookmark that they used to set a goal and then keep track with tally marks to see how many books they actually read that day.


Before each reading block, the kids would think about how they did the day before and think about the book choices they had in their book boxes and then set a goal for how many books they would read that day.  We tracked our goals for a few days to see if our numbers were growing in how many books we were able to read each day.  It also helped us notice if we actually had picked books that were ‘just right’ for us as readers.  All in all, they spent a ton of time reading this week and building their reading stamina!


Way to go first graders!


We have been continuing our work on Small Moment stories this week.

We learned that good writers include the 3 W‘s in their writing:

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By including the 3 W’s on our first page, it helps the reader know what is going on in the story.

We also worked on sketching a quick plan of the beginning, middle, and end of our story before we even write the word, so that we can remember what we wanted each part of our story to include.


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.

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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).

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.  The prefrontal 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.

Crinkled Heart

Last week we wrapped up our discussion about kindness in our classroom and on the playground.  We’ve been talking about using a bug & a wish to stand up for ourselves, being bucket fillers who share compliments, and acting like a buddy, not a bully.

This afternoon we read the story Chrysanthemum, and used a paper heart to demonstrate what happened to Chrysanthemum whenever the girls in her class made fun of her name.  Whenever Chrysanthemum wilted from the bullys’ words, we crinkled the heart.  This happened over and over in the story.  Once we had finished reading, we tried to fix the heart with a band aid, but the wrinkles were still there and saying “I’m sorry.”.  The heart was a visual to show how our words and actions are hard to erase.

Ask your child about the crinkled heart and remind them to be a bucket filler at home and at school!


Learning Update


We are off to a great start with our wonderful math program.  During the first two weeks of school, we’ve been visualizing, representing, and breaking apart numbers using a variety of math tools: counters, stair steppers, and number cards.  When we break apart a number, we take a larger number and split it into two smaller numbers.  We call the two smaller numbers partners because when we add them together they equal the larger number.  So far, we’ve discovered the partners (and switch partners) for 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. (Check out the chart below!)  We have also used our knowledge about partners and patterns to solve addition (+0, +1, +2) and subtraction problems (-0, -1, -2).

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During our math routine, we have been hard at work practicing with our 120 number grid, money flip chart, number path , and secret code cards.  This routine involves a series of math activities that we will continue building on each day for the rest of the year to strengthen our students’ flexible with numbers.

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.


This week, we began readers’ workshop.  This is such a wonderful time in our classroom.  We have enjoyed reading some great stories together and we have started building the foundation of our independent reading time.  Readers get better at reading by practicing, so we focused this week on building their independence for reading by themselves (read to self time).  We are working together to figure out the best routines that will help us be successful during this time.  So far we have the following:


Just like great readers do, the kids have learned how to pick books that interest them and is  ‘Just Right’ for them.  We used the three strikes approach.  The students pick a book and then open to any page.  They read one page and every time they come to a word they don’t know, they would put one of their fingers up.  If they get to three fingers up, then that’s three strikes and that book is too tricky.  If they have fewer than three fingers up, then the book is ‘Just Right!’  It has also been fun to see their confidence and enthusiasm build with their independent reading time as we practice picking out and reading books each day.



During Writer’s Workshop, we have been writing small moment stories. A small moment story is a true story about you!

So far, we’ve learned that good small moment stories have a beginning, middle, and end. So, we’ve been writing across three page booklets and the kids have been doing a great job of stretching out their stories.

We also learned that good writers always keep working! We used the phrase “When you’re done – you’ve only just begun!”.  Good writers add details to their pictures and words, or they canstart a new story.


Remind your child that anything they do (soccer practice, reading a book together, play a game, visiting grandma and grandpa) can become a small moment story!!!

Clip Charts

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 8.24.05 PMIn Room 102, we are using a Rainbow Chart to monitor our class and individual behavior throughout the day. Each child now has their own mini Rainbow Chart to track his/her behavior choices. We also have a class chart which we will use to track our whole class behavior choices. Each child will color in the part of the chart where he/she ended the day to let you know how the day went. Green is Ready To Learn and your child will start on this section every day. He/she will clip up or down depending on the choices made throughout the day.  After you check your child’s blue folder, please be sure to sign the Parent Signature box on his/her Daily News.

To learn more about our positive behavior plan for this year, read this link posted on our First Grade Information Page: Behavior in First Grade.


Thanks so much!!!

Mrs. Smith :)

Letter and Sound Practic

At school, we have been practicing all of our letter names and sounds.  It is essential for early readers to be secure with the names and sounds of each letter.  This knowledge is most important for blending and decoding words.  That is why I am asking for your help at home! Your child is coming home with a stapled set of letter cards to use for at home practice. Please practice 5 minutes everyday.

  1. Cut the letters apart.
  2. We are practicing reading the letters by saying the name and then the sound of each letter. Ex: B says /b/, P says /p/, V says /v/. Watch this link to practice correct letters and sounds.
  3. Have your child read the cards.
  4. As they read them, have them sort the letter cards into Easy and Tricky piles. Put the Tricky cards aside.
  5. Have your child read through all of the Easy cards with you. If your child has trouble with any sounds, pause and read that sound together. Put that card on the bottom of the Easy pile so that the card is read again.
  6. Finish reading the Easy pile (only the Easy pile!) until your child can read all of them.
  7. Now choose  2 cards from the Tricky pile. Teach your child these two sounds. If necessary, draw a clue on the back that might help or add a hint that might help .
  8. Add these cards to the Easy pile.
  9. Read through the Easy pile cards two more times just as you did in Step 2.
  10. That’s it! Using two paper clips, secure the Easy and Tricky letter piles separately so that they are ready for the next practice session.

*Some of these letters and sounds might be tricky at first so we are hoping in the next few weeks to move all the letters and sounds to the Easy pile.

**Keep these letters and sounds in a safe place. Continue to practice these cards everyday all the letters and sounds are easy.  If your child has time to do this again later in the day, even better! The more your child practices these letters and sounds, the easier they will become.

Thank you for helping your child grow as a reader!

First Day of First Grade!

Before our exciting first day, here are three important reminders…

Blue Folders – Please send the blue homework folder (received at Open House) back to school on Tuesday. You can place all of your child’s important papers inside and I will make sure that they are delivered to the correct locations. This folder will be used to transport important notes and homework every day. Please help your child empty this folder each night and look through the papers together. You can use the blue folder to send lunch money or notes about transportation changes. **If your child has an appointment at any time during the year and will be arriving late or leaving early, please email me beforehand or send a note to school.

Lunch Choice – Please discuss your child’s lunch choice together each morning before he/she comes to school. Your child can choose either the Blue or White lunch (Sept. Lunch Menu) or he/she can bring a lunch from home. Milk can also be purchased to go with a packed lunch. Choosing lunch is always our first task of the morning and your support at home helps your child to be quick and confident when making this choice at school.

Water Bottle and Snacks – Please make sure to send two healthy nut free snacks and a filled water bottle (no juice please) to keep your first grader fueled every day. Morning and afternoon snacks are essential for maintaining energy and attention. Please do not send candy or sugary snacks. High sugar foods cause an energy crash that makes learning difficult. If your child ever forgets a snack, we have a great supply of graham crackers! For more information on snack ideas, you can click the Healthy Snack link found on our First Grade Information page.

Thank you! Looking forward to seeing those wonderful first graders on Tuesday.

Parent Survey

First Grade Families,

I can’t believe it is already the end of July! I am getting so incredibly EXCITED to meet my new first graders and I want to learn more about you!!!  In fact, I’ve already begun sprucing up our classroom library and changing around our classroom set-up!!

I would love your help to get ready for this upcoming year too!  Below I’ve included a link to a parent survey for you to fill out:

All About Your First Grader

All responses will be kept confidential and will help to prepare myself and our classroom for the first day of school.


Mrs. Smith

Supply List

I am so excited to be your child’s teacher next year!  I know that back to school sales will be coming soon and if you are as eager as I am to catch all the good deals, check out the list below to see what your first grader will need for this coming year.  I will provide most of the essentials, but we need some help!

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Welcome to First Grade!!!

Welcome to First Grade in Room 102. I am so excited you are here and can’t wait to meet you! Please take some time to explore all of the pages, posts, and links on our blog. I am in the process of updating information and links as well as calendars for next year. While you are looking around, be sure to sign up for email updates by filling in your e-mail address in the subscribe by e-mail rectangle located on the upper right-hand column. Our class blog will be the site for information about school supplies, special events, pictures, curriculum, assessments, and so much more. A school supply list will be posted on July 1. Later in the summer, I will provide information on the blog about the August open house.

And, don’t forget to stop in to OPEN LIBRARY this summer. The Library will be open for checking out books on June 14, 21, 28, July 12, 19 from 10-12pm and Final Book Check In on July 26…I will be dropping by summer Library a couple times with my daughter, Lucy, and I hope I get to meet some of you new First Graders!

Also, remember to sign up for email updates on the Georgetown School Blog.  The school blog will provide updates all summer long about school wide events and important details about open houses and calendar dates.
Enjoy your summer and I can’t wait to meet you all!!