Archive for April, 2016

Updates for the week of April 18th

Good evening!

This week sure flew by!  I hope you all had a nice week and are set to have a relaxing weekend with your families.  Before the weekend gets away from me, I wanted to give a quick overview of our week in class…
This week in spelling and word works, we focused on -ee and -ea words.  This gave us the opportunity to talk about our vowel teams and also review our favorite vowel rule, “When 2 vowels go walking, the first one does the talking.”  Because my students have such big hearts, they were concerned about this weeks vowel  team and why the e wouldn’t let the other vowels speak on their walk.  Gotta love first graders!  Because  of the busy day we had in class, I didn’t get to finish grading all of the spelling tests.  I’ll complete these and send home next week.  As I walked around and watched the children take the test, I was pleased with their progress!
We had a lot of fun again this week with poetry and even did a five day poetry rotation with the other first grade classrooms.  In each of the classes the children visited, they learned a different poem type:
1.  Our first rotation was to see Mrs. Loring.  She worked with the children on their color poems and they used paint swatch cards to put their color poems on.  Super cute!
2.  The second rotation was to Mrs. Frye’s room where she taught the children to write “OUCH” poems.  Each child made a list of things that would make them say, “Ouch” and then they wrote those ideas into poems on giant band-aides.
3.  Mrs. Riggle taught the children how to write rebus poems while they visited her room and they returned with wonderful ideas and drafts of their poems.  Rebus poems are when you replace words with pictures in the writing.
4.  Their fourth rotation was to see Mrs. Bruch.  She did a “Perfect Town” poem with the children.  Those were actually sent home today, as many did not have time to finish them while in her room.  She said they were so excited about her lesson that they spent most of their time verbalizing ideas and not as much on the actual writing.
5.  In my room during rotation times, I did “Paper Bag Poetry” with all of the first graders.  Inside of paper bags were objects of all size, shape, texture, etc.  The children were not allowed to see in their bags while writing, but were only allowed to use their sense of touch to reach in and then write a list of adjectives to describe their object.  After they filled their lines with adjectives, the children reached in to discover what they’d been feeling.  The name of the object became the title to their poem.  They had an absolute blast with this and it gave us an opportunity to talk about how much freedom poetry gives us in writing.
Aside from our poetry rotations, we did a lot of work on poetry in our regular language arts times.  This week we talked about the three R’s to poetry: rhyme, rhythm, and repetition.  The children learned to write a couplet, a haiku, and diamante synonym poems.  I am absolutely blown away with how well they’ve done with all of these poem types.  There are so many components to consider while they write: # of syllables, rhymes, line length, subject matter.  I’m extremely excited for you to see the children’s final poetry packets that will be included in their end of year portfolios.  I encourage you to talk with your children and ask them what they’ve learned in their writings this week, what their favorites were, and if they can remember any rules to what they learned.
This week in math we worked again on fractions.  While it was my hope to complete this unit by today, we were unable to do so.  We will wrap up fractions next week.  We did talk about halves, thirds, fourths, and eighths this week and numerator and dividers.  The children learned that a fraction is part of a whole and what a part and a whole both look like.  Next week we will conclude our fraction unit with some fun, hands-on centers and I’ll be assessing the children.
Congrats to Eli Hettenbach for earning lunch bunch this week and to Jonah Papacek for earning the compassionate ribbon.
There is one week left in our “Hundreds Club” challenge.  I have had several more students reach 1,000 in their number writing this week and earn a lunch with me.  Next Friday will be the final day for this!
I have two boys very close to completing the Math Magician Challenge I sent home earlier in the year.  If your child started this program and would like to turn in any certificates of completion, I will accept those through next week as well.  Of course children are welcome to do this program anytime, but must complete by the end of next week for recognition and reward.
How are those animal projects coming?  If you need help, please let me know.  Just a reminder, this is a child’s project, please let them do their own work.  It’s great to help our children, but they learn so much more and have such a sense of pride when the project is truly theirs.  As I’ve told the children, I want to see what they are capable of creating b/c the rest of us have done first grade and I don’t want to see how artsy mom and dad are, at least not on this project.  When children are writing their reports, please be sure they are doing the writing and finding the information.  When children do their classroom presentations they are so much more confident when they’ve done the work and research.
Next Wednesday we are having a “Sidewalk Shel-e-bration”  More information will be sent home Monday about this.
Reminder that the purple medication forms that were sent home with every child this week are due back no later than next Wednesday.  I’m just missing a handful and would love to mark one more thing off my to-do list and make Mrs. Langenkamp happy in the process.  Thank you so much for helping with this!
If you’ve not yet returned the field trip forms for our upcoming field trip to Central Park, please do so as soon as possible!
Thank you to everyone for sending back spring pictures and/or money.  I’m pretty sure you are the only class that’s every had 100% return rate in all my years doing this.  Yay to you!!!!
In last week’s Maple Glen Newsletter, Dr. Montalone asked anyone who wished to do so to write him a learning styles letter.  This is a letter to help him make the best possible class placements for students going into the next grade level.  While you cannot request a certain teacher, you can describe your child’s needs, struggles, and learning style.  If you need any help writing these letters or describing what would be best for your child going forward, please let me know.  I’ve helped a lot of parents write these letters in the past and am happy to help you too!!!!
Have a wonderful weekend and please touch base if you have any questions or concerns.

Classroom Updates the Week of April 18th

Good afternoon!  I hope you are doing well and enjoying this beautiful spring weather!
I usually try and send my classroom updates and weekly news over the weekend, but our internet has been down at home again and I couldn’t get on to write you.  So, I wanted to take just a minute today to try and update you on a few things…
1.  I was out all day yesterday for appointments with my son.  Mrs. Lewton, an aide at MGES, was in the room in my place and paid your children a very high compliment on a job well done.  I appreciate their kindness and hard work in my absence and I know she did too.
2.  Next Thursday, April 28th, I will be in the building all day, but in meetings.  A sub will be in the room, but I’ll be checking in periodically to see how they are doing.  I am also out on May 6th for more medical appointments for my son.  I am so sorry to have to be away, but hopefully this is the last one for the school year-fingers crossed!
3.  If you have not already returned your spring picture packet and/or money, please do so NO LATER than THIS Friday!!!
4.  Thank you to those who have already returned field trip money and permission forms for our last trip of the year on May 11th.  If you’ve not already returned these, please do so as soon as possible so we can plan accordingly for the trip.  Also, today I am sending home an additional form for this trip, as they’ve just sent us a waiver that needs to be completed for each child.  Please complete this waiver and return to school by this Friday!
5.  This Friday is National Poem in a Pocket Day!  To celebrate, we will be wearing hand made pockets in first grade and inside each one will be poems the children will pull out to read throughout the day.  I’ve put an orange sheet regarding this event in your child’s folder tonight.
6.  Animal projects and animals were assigned a few weeks ago.  I’ve heard a lot of excitement from the children about things they are learning and doing over their assigned animals.  I can’t wait to see the final projects.  If you have any questions or need help, please get in touch with me!!!  The stories and writing projects we’ve been doing in class have also been centered around their assigned animals so at the end of the month they will all have some nice writing projects to also add to their final projects.  We were also able to assign 23 different animals this year so when children begin to present their information we will learn about a variety instead of repeating information.  This makes it a great deal of fun!!!
7.  This week in math, we are working through more fraction information and will wrap this up hopefully by Friday.
8.  Every August, the first grade teachers host an information night where we talk about things concerning our grade level.  After much consideration, we’ve decided to change it up a bit for next year and create a movie to show incoming families.  Instead of the teachers babbling on for over an hour, we are hoping to have this year’s first graders do all of the talking and show their excitement for first grade.  If you do not want your child to be a part of this video (seen only by MGES parents on Info Night), please let me know by the end of this week.  I’d like for as many to participate as possible, but also want to respect the privacy of those who wish not to have their child in the video.
9.  While it’s getting warmer outside, it’s gotten chillier on the inside here at MGES.  As I’ve mentioned before, our room temps are very unpredictable.  Last week the heat started blowing for the first time in our room all winter and goodness was it hot, hot, hot!!!  Today it’s like an arctic blast in here.  So….I’d highly suggest sending an old sweater or sweatshirt to school with your child in case he or she gets cold.
10.  As we near the end of the year, I could really use some help with final assessments, putting together writing portfolios, and cutting and sorting pictures.  If you have any spare time and would like to help, please let me know!
This week’s specials include:
Wednesday-Art, Thursday-Music, Friday-P.E.
Have a great afternoon and please let me know if you have any questions about anything at all!


Good afternoon!
I wanted to let you know that spring pictures were sent home yesterday with any child who had them taken.  Just in case you aren’t familiar with the spring picture process, I wanted to fill you in.  Picture packets are sent home with every child who was present on picture day.  If you do not want any of the photos, send the entire packet back.  If there are parts of the packet contents, you keep what you want and send the rest back with payment only for what you’ve kept.  All photos and/or money is due back a week from this Friday.  Thank you to those who sent their photos or money back today.
Mark you calendars because we have one field trip left for this school year.  Our class and Mrs. Riggle’s class will be traveling to Central Park in Carmel on May 11th for a day of outdoor learning.  More information will come home very soon.  =)
This week in class we kicked off National Poetry month with a video on types of poetry.  We’ve also been reading a variety of poem types in our daily circle times and have begun writing our own poems.  So far, we’ve written acrostic and bio poems.  Today the children completed a selfie poem.  It was a lot of hard work on their parts and I was proud of the work on this project.  Tomorrow we are diving into work on Haiku poetry and writing our own after reading Dogku a book I think they will thoroughly enjoy.  Over the next several weeks we will continue studying and writing different poem types and will also be doing a few classroom rotations so they can learn from other first grade teachers.
In math, we kicked off this week working on fractions.  We will continue our fraction study this week and most of next and then move right into work on measurement.
For spelling and word works this week, the children have been learning about Y as a vowel.  We’ve talked about how Y stole the sounds of long e and long i this week.  They have also been taught that one syllable words ending in a Y have the long i sound whereas two syllable words ending in Y have a logn e sound.  There have been a variety of charts, word sorts, and activities to go along with this skill.
Have a great week and let me know if you have any questions,