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Classroom News

Happy Friday!
I wanted to give you a quick overview of our week and a few dates to mark on your calendar…
This week we have been really hard at work in the classroom.  I am super excited about all we’ve accomplished and covered in our time together.
In math, we’ve been working hard all week on non-standard measurement.  Students have used different non-standard items to measure and compare.  We’ve worked on customary units of measurement and also discussed the metric system.  Next week we will complete our standard units of measurement and do a few fun centers and hands on with measurement.
Thank you for your hard work helping your children on their animal reports.  I’ve been sitting and going through them with each child and have learned so much myself from their reports.  We’ve been working extremely hard this week at taking the information from their reports and transferring it to an informational piece of writing, their own hard back book to keep.  We’ve worked on the front cover this week and talked about how a cover can tell us so much of a story if it’s done right.  We’ve created a title page and illustrated it and also began writing an “about the author” page.  Today we worked especially hard and completed writing all of the words to our book.  Next week we will work to complete the illustrations, table of contents and dedication pages.
For social studies, we’ve been working really hard on map skills.  Children have worked with directions (north, south, east, west), learned to follow a grid, and worked with legends.  We’ve talked about the states that make up our country and gone on a map scavenger hunt.  This has been a lot of hard work, but the children have really enjoyed working with the maps and learning new things.  We will finish our map studies next week.
This was the last week for homework packets.  I can hear you cheering!!!  Also, the students took their last spelling test today.  As you know from studying with them, this week’s spelling focus was on the variant vowel -or sound.  We will use the next couple of weeks to review the spelling skills they’ve learned this school year.
NWEA testing, the final round of the year, will start on May 23rd for our class and conclude May 26th.  Be sure your child sleeps and eats well during this week and knows this test is NOT a race, as it is extremely important for them to take serious.
Congrats to Sloane Staley for earning the final Guiding Principle ribbon of the year!  And, congrats to Lucy Goldstein for earning the final Lunch Bunch award for this school year.
Congratulations to the two boys in our room who completed all levels of addition and subtraction on the Math Magician Challenge.  These two boys were Connor Brown and Maverick Beier.
Happy birthday to Stella Trogadis this week!
Please mark your calendars for the following dates:
5/17: I am out from 10-2 to attend a kindergarten trip with my son
5/18: Final Lunch Bunch of the Year
5/20: Team Sports Theme Day in First Grade and our Field Day
5/24: 4th Grade Talent Show Convo
5/27: First Grade Movie Day with Dr. Montalone and Indy 500 Theme Day for our Class (wear black and white)
5/30: No School/Memorial Day
5/31: MGES First Grade Zoo (invitation was emailed today)
6/1: Outdoor/Insect Theme Day for First Grade/I’ll be out in the afternoon to attend my son’s kindergarten graduation at MGES
6/2: Last Day Celebrations!

Central Park Field Trip

I hope you all have had a chance to enjoy this beautiful day.  We had an amazing time out at Central Park today and are sorry we couldn’t have you all there with us!
Thank you to Mr. Hicks, Mr. Holt, and Mrs. Beier for serving as our chaperons.  We appreciated you being there with us today and hope you had fun too!
I have several pictures to share with all of you, but will try to send them from home tonight, as it’s not working from here.  🙁
We started the day by hiking two miles through Central Park.  The children got down and dirty in the first five minutes there by searching for earthworms in the dirt.  They had the best time digging through the dirt and finding worms.  They learned how to figure out which end of the worm is the head and which was the tail.  Some even learned the hard way that worms…poop!  That was a learning experience they weren’t expecting!  Ha!
The naturalist that guided our group today spent time talking with the children about the different types of wood in their nature area and also pointed out all of the bird sounds.  The children had the opportunity to learn about different plant types and to smell and feel differences between the plants.  We found ant colonies and learned about the insects that are killing all of the ash trees here in Hamilton County.
After a nice, quiet picnic lunch, the children played a little tag and enjoyed some running time and then our guide brought out all kinds of fun creatures.  We saw a painted turtle, frogs, toads, and even a constrictor snake which some of our friends were brave enough to hold.  We even saw a toad eat a big, juicy worm and learned how they swallow.  I have a video to share with you so nobody has to miss this experience. LOL!
It was a very relaxed, laid back trip and it was fun to see the children so free in their learning.  We truly couldn’t have hoped for a better day to be outside learning and having fun.  The one thing they kept telling me they didn’t like was all the walking.  Soooo… I hope they are good and tired for you tonight so you can relax and enjoy the night with them!

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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!

Updates

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,
Christie

Mark Your Calendars

Important Dates…
*PLEASE RETURN THE GREEN COPY (SIGNED) OF THE REPORT CARD
*3/28: School Supply Kit Orders DUE
*3/29: Spring picture day
*3/31: First Grade Field Trip to Interactive Academy 11:40-2:00
*3/31: Kroger Receipt Slam Dunk contest over (Turn in Kroger receipt bottom with your child’s name on it by this date.)
*4/1-4/10: No School (Spring Break)
*5/30: No School…Memorial Day
*6/2: Last day of school

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to all of you!

What a beautiful, warm day!  I hope you and your children had a wonderful weekend, a blessed Easter and a relaxing day.
Last week at school was extremely eventful and this coming week will be no exception.
Tomorrow we will begin our study of time in math.  While we’ve already begun to learn the parts of the clock, the hour and minute hand, and how to tell time to the hour and half hour, I’m anxious to push your children a little further with our studies this week.  Our time unit is coming after the conclusion of geometry last week.  The children were all assessed on the required geometry standards at the end of the week and did a wonderful job.  They all really enjoyed this unit and we were able to do a great deal of manipulative work and center activity with it.  Our time unit will be no exception to that!  I can’t wait.
Last week in science we studied the water cycle and had a great deal of fun with this.  Did you know that every drop of water on earth is billions of years old?  That is one of the many things we learned last week through a variety of movie clips, books, and hands on experimenting.  We discussed evaporation, condensation, vapor, and rain.  To demonstrate how the cycle works, we did two experiments.  For the first one, we filled a clear jar half way up with water and then the top half of the jar with shaving cream.  Then, we put food coloring on top of the shaving cream.  This demonstrated to the children how when a cloud gets heavy from water vapor, it then begins to rain and this is when the food coloring broke through our cloud (the shaving cream).  For our second experiment we drew the water cycle on a clear ziplock bag and put water in the bottom of the bag and then hung it in the window.  Over the course of the week, the children were able to observe the water evaporating and raising up the sides of the bag only to again fall back down as rain.  We had a lot of fun!  This week we are excited to jump into our nutrition and healthy body unit in science!!!
Last Monday, we had visiting author, Aaron Reynolds, visit us.  I wrote about this earlier in the week.  It’s always a lot of fun to hear an author read their own works and explain where their ideas came from.  Mr. Reynolds also shared with the children that he had over 300 rejection letters from publishers before someone finally liked his work.  We talked about how someone else’s opinion should never discourage us from following our passions or our goals!!!
This week for specials we have the following:
Monday: Music
Tuesday:P.E.
Wednesday: Library
Thursday: Art
Friday: No School (spring break)
Thursday we will be traveling to the Interactive Academy for our third field trip of the year.  I’ll be sending letters home to chaperones tomorrow with more information.  To everyone else, please be sure your child wears active wear on Thursday and tennis shoes.  We are very excited for this trip.  This will be the first time we’ve traveled to Interactive as a grade level, as we’ve replaced our annual trip to NIFS with this trip.  We will be leaving school at 11:40 and returning at 2:00.
Friday I sent home yellow folders with your child’s animal study project in it.  Please put this in a safe place and let me know if you have anything I can help you with.  Hopefully the information provided is enough to get you started.  Truly, while it looks like a lot, it’s not too bad.  I’ve provided login information to PebbleGo and that sight will likely provide you with most if not all of what your child needs to complete the writing portion of the report.  I did want to mention that on the left inside of the folder, I stapled a “notes” section.  This is for the children to take notes and will serve as their rough draft.  The final copy papers were on the inside right pocket.  Here is the exciting part….  I will be sending the entire homework packet home each week for anyone who so wishes to continue with our regular homework routine or wants the added practice for his child.  But please know, the packets are no longer due and I will ONLY be grading the spelling tests on Mondays and Fridays.  Hopefully this will allow your child more time to really focus on his/her animal project and not cause you immense stress.  🙂
I wanted to mention now that Old Man Winter has seemed to move out of here, we will be going out to recess every day unless it is raining.  As you well know, our Indiana weather is extremely unpredictable and the temperature can change in an instant.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE continue to send a coat, jacket, or sweatshirt each day so your child is prepared for whatever weather may hit us!  The unpredictability of temperatures is no exception even in our classroom this time of year.  We never know if it’s going to be hot or cold so layers may be the best option going forward.
Aside from the field trip Thursday, our schedule for the week is normal.  Please remind your children that spring break doesn’t start until Friday.  Last week they were fully amped up so I’m anticipating this week to be just the same.  Who can blame them this time of year?!?!  I know some of you are leaving for an early spring break so if I don’t talk with you, have a safe enjoyable break!!!!
Please let me know if you need anything this week and take care,
Christie

Just a few updates from class…

Happy Monday to all of you!
I hope you enjoyed your weekends.  My hope was to get some classroom updates out to you over the weekend, but things were a little nutty in the Buonanno home this weekend and I never got the job done.
Before I forget, I wanted to mention that you need to take a close look at tonight’s homework packet, as there is a sheet attached to it that needs to be returned by this Wednesday.  The first grade classes are going to assign their annual research projects this Friday and in order to do so, we are asking that each child choose an animal to study.  I’ve included a list to choose from, but if your child has a mammal they’d like to study that is not on the list, please just let me know.  Children will be assigned an animal on a first come, first serve basis so get it in fast, fast, fast!!!!
You’ll notice when you see the spelling list this week that the words are incredibly easy in comparison to the last few weeks. So…breathe easy on spelling a bit this week.  😉
You might have noticed when your child brought his/her Friday papers home last week that there were a great abundance of them.  Thank you for being patient with me as I caught up on what seemed like a mountain of grading.  On top of that work, I hope you saw a lot of the fun things the children did in class last week as well.
Last week we dove deep into our study of geometry for math.  Each year I like to start our geometry studies off with learning about 2-D or plane shapes.  Most of these the children learn in pre-school and kindergarten, but it helps us move smoothly into the study of 3-D or solid shapes, which we are studying this week in math.  Last week we talked about the traits of a 2-D shape, the vertices and sides.  This week we are talking about the traits of 3-D shapes: vertices, edges, and faces.  What’s been so much fun with this unit are the great number of hands-on opportunities the children have had for learning.  Each morning we’ve begun our day with math centers.  Every table has been given two buckets and in each bucket there has been a different task to complete.  We’ve done: shape spinning and graphing, rolling dice for shapes, shape puzzles, drawing and charting, geoboard tasks, etc.  I’ve been very proud of the hard work the children have put in, as I’ve pushed them hard in math.  We’ve had wonderful conversations about 2 and 3 dimensional shapes and how shapes are all around us in our everyday lives.  This week we will continue our study of solid figures, discuss polygons, learn about open vs. closed shapes, and end the week with a shape hunt.
Next week we will begin a unit on TIME in math.  I am excited to dive deeper with the class into a topic we’ve just brushed on in class this year.
Last week was a tough week in spelling, as many of you probably noticed by spelling test scores.  Inflectional endings (-ed, and -ing) are always a tough concept to grasp.  We are continuing our work with past and present tense words this week and will be doing a lot of hands on work with this concept as well to help the children better understand it.
We will dive into our weather and water cycle studies this week again, hopefully wrapping up by Friday.  Next Monday we will work through our nutrition and healthy body unit in preparation for our fun trip on Thursday.
Today our class had the opportunity to hear visiting author, Aaron Reynolds, speak about his writing and to also hear him read one of his favorite books.  Mr. Reynolds was a fantastic presenter and was full of energy with the children.  They had a great time!  He read them Nerdy Birdie and gave the background of how he came up with this story.  He explained it came from him being a “nerd” or an outcast in school and how he felt from that.  It was a very cute story and connection to the book for the children to hear.
Next week is our trip to Interactive Academy.  If you signed up to chaperone this trip, please plan on meeting us at the facility at 11:50a.m.  There were around 8 parents who volunteered and I’d very much like if each of you joined us for this fun trip.  I believe I mentioned it before, but they ask that parents remain up top on the track to view their children in action.  They will not allow the parents into the gym for activity time, but you will be able to see everything from up above.  I’ll send chaperones more information later this week.
Reminder, if you want new books for your children to read at home, please return the green reading folder I sent a couple of weeks ago and I’ll place new books in it and return to you right away.
Have a great afternoon and I’ll be in touch this week,
Christie Buonanno

Math Monday-Centers

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Super Scientist’s Lemon Explosion Experiment

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