Dr. Seuss Week…

Good afternoon First Grade Families!!!!
I hope you all had a nice week.  We’ve been having a lot of fun here in our classroom with so many wonderful learning opportunities.
We have been working through all kinds of Dr. Seuss activities this week and had a blast with it.  But…we aren’t done yet.  While the school-wide dress up days are over, we will be continuing our fun next week with Green Eggs and Ham, a Butter Battle, and creating Oobleck.  We will also be diving into some of my favorites Horton Hatches the Egg, and Oh the Places You’ll Go!
With Green Eggs and Ham, we will have a taste test of some real green eggs and ham and graphing our likes and dislikes.  Students will also be making a page to go in a class book.  After reading The Butter Battle book, we will make real butter using whipping cream.  With this, we will discuss the phases of matter and how the whipping cream changes form due to rigorous shaking and temperature change.
This week in literacy we worked through several Dr. Seuss books including: Horton Hears a Who (also watched the video today), Cat in the Hat and Cat in the Hat returns (we made fun hats to go with these), Happy Birthday to You, and The Sneetches (with this we discussed diversity, equality, and kindness and tied it back to our Dr. King studies).
This week in math, we wrapped up our big place value unit and those practice booklets were sent home today with your children.  We will do a few fun center activities next week for math and will be moving into our geometry studies.
Spelling was tough, tough, tough this week.  Those tests will be sent home next week, as I just couldn’t get them all graded with everything else going on in the room on Friday.  The children should get huge hugs for a job well done, as they all worked hard on their words this week.  Thank you for all of your hard work at home helping your children study those tough words!!!
Last night I sent reading folders home with every child.  I’d written about these a week ago and then ended up home with sick children and never got them finished.  Inside of these folders are themed readers from some units we’ve been doing in class such as Dr. Martin Luther King or Penguins.  Several children have a leveled reader they can read through.  And, in the back of every folder are some fluency and comprehension activities the children may work on.  Several of you have asked how to help with comprehension and fluency at home so I thought some of these things might be helpful.  None of this is required work, but an option for helping to boost reading levels and keep skills strong over the coming months.  As I mentioned in a previous email, these books should be read multiple times and each time you should see improvement in fluency and understanding from your child, as well as their reading rate increasing.  If and when you desire more books, please return the folder to school and I’ll provide fresh books to your child.  Check the top of the books in your child’s folder.  If I wrote “RETURN” at the top, that book will need to be sent back to put back into a class set of readers.  If it does not have “RETURN” at the top, the book is your child’s to keep.
Have a wonderful weekend,

Cat in the Hat Day

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A few things you need to know…

Good afternoon!
I attempted a group email to all of you last night and received a ton of kickback/error messages.  So…let’s try this again!!!
Yesterday I sent home some information I hope you found in your children’s folders…
1.  A field trip and consent form was sent home for our next field trip to Interactive Academy.  When you send it back in, please be sure to send the school consent form, along with the waiver for Interactive, and the payment of $14.50.   If you need financial assistance, please let me know.
2.  2nd grade supply kit order forms were sent home yesterday, specific to gender.  I believe you can only order those kits online, but it sure does save a big headache digging through supply bins in the stores and lots of time standing in all those back to school lines come August!!!!  :0)
3.  Every student must return a form to let the school know if you are a military family or not.  If you’ve already returned this form, great!  If not, please mark those and send back as soon as possible.
4.  Tomorrow’s theme day is Crazy Hat Day and Friday is Horton Day so children are invited to wear pajamas on Friday to school.
Have a wonderful afternoon!!!

A Look at This Week…

Good afternoon!


I hope you all enjoyed the beautiful weather we had this weekend.  It definitely feels a bit more like February in Indiana today.


This is a really busy week at school again so I wanted to give you a quick overview of our week…


Specials include:







Today we are making one last switch for our PALS Groups (reading groups).  I reassessed all of my student’s reading levels over the last couple of weeks and moved students around based on their current reading levels.  Their groups look a bit different now than they have the first two trimesters.  It’s been amazing to see how much growth everyone has made in reading this school year and it’s not over yet!  :0)


This week I’m sending home some reading folders with each child.  Inside the folders will be your child’s current reading level, reading strategy sheets, a reading quilt with ideas on how to help with reading at home (with extras clipped in the back), some comprehension work your children can do at home, and several leveled reading books, along with theme books from things we’ve studied in class over the last couple of months.  Nothing in the folder is mandatory to do, but is just another resource to help your children with reading at home.  The books I send home should last all week, as children need to read multiple times for understanding/comprehension, accuracy, and fluency (all things that raise a reading level if done correctly).  Once your child has spent 4-6 nights working on the given books, feel free to return the folder and I’ll refill it with new books.  The books I’m sending home this round are all for you to keep at home.  I suggest getting a small crate or box to keep them in at home and encouraging your children to pull from this box/crate to read at night or before school in the morning.  Having familiar books at home helps to build confidence, fluency, and speed in reading.


Wednesday is our field trip to Clowes Hall.  We are very excited for this trip and to see Elephant and Piggie on stage for the first time.  Children will be eating a very early lunch before we leave Maple Glen.  The buses will be rolling out of MGES at 10:50a.m. to head to Butler.  Remember to send a healthy snack for your child to eat when we return to school Wednesday afternoon.  Chaperones, we just received parking directions for you today from Butler so I will be sending those home to you tomorrow.  They are also below in case you need to pull them up from your phone when you get to campus.  Chaperones need to plan to meet us at Clowes Hall by 11:40a.m.  I’ll be sending notes home tomorrow with all of the children with specifics about our trip and reminders on what you marked as your child’s lunch choice for the trip.



If part of your group is visiting us in VEHICLES (parents or other staff), you can park at the new parking garage at northeast of Clowes Hall at an hourly rate. Please visit https://www.butler.edu/parking/visitor-event-parking for parking rates and FAQ regarding the new parking garage. To park for free, please utilize the Hinkle Fieldhouse parking lot. If you park at Hinkle please allot time to walk a couple blocks to Clowes Hall. For your safety and the safety of others, please use the sidewalk to walk to Clowes Hall. Call (317) 940-9942 with questions.


This week in class we are doing some of the following things:

Science: wrapping up dental health

Social Studies: finishing our presidents studies and beginning economics

Reading: completing our Mo Willems author study and continuing to talk about author’s craft

Spelling:  CVCe words with long i

Math: problem solving and place value review work


Have a great week and I’ll be in touch.  Please let me know if you need anything at all!



Classroom News-February 2016

Good afternoon! I hope you’re enjoying this cold, snowy President’s Day!!!

I hope you all had a very nice Valentine’s Day. Thank you to all of the wonderful mom’s who worked together to put together another fantastic party for our class last Friday. The children had a great deal of fun as always. A special thank you to Laura Holt for heading up the room parent position this year and to the parents who helped by giving time, energy, money, etc. Your help is greatly appreciated!!! Friday was our last scheduled classroom party for this school year.

Last week Laura Holt, our room mom, stopped by with the most beautiful flowers for me from the class. Thank you to everyone for these! Somehow, Laura had all of my favorites wrapped into one gorgeous arrangement. You are all so sweet-thank you!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, I will be at Monon Trails for a conference all day. Hannah Walton will be with your children again while I attend this conference. If you need anything, please contact the office and the ladies up front will be happy to help. I will not have email access all day so please do not email me dismissal changes!!! Please notify the office of any changes so all of the children will be accounted for and safe after school.

Tomorrow your children are invited to dress in their favorite sports gear. Boomer will be visiting the school around 10:00 to kick off Random Acts of Kindness Week! I know they’ve been very excited about this.

Last week I emailed and notified you that homework would not be due until tomorrow due to our short week last week. The same thing goes for this week, as we have another short week together. I’ll have Mrs. Walton send the homework packets home with the pre-test Tuesday, but please know the children will have until next Tuesday to return that. Hopefully that helps some of you with your busy schedules. 🙂

The class has attained another Reaching for the Stars goal as a class. To celebrate this achievement, we will have a special Minute to Win It Game party the last half hour of the day on Friday. I’m very proud of the children for working so hard and achieving another goal.

Last week I scheduled another field trip for our first graders. Mark your calendars for March 31st from 11:30-2:30. We will be going to Interactive Academy in Zionsville as part of our nutrition and health standards. Before leaving that morning, we have a guest from the Monon Center in Carmel coming to school to do a nutrition lesson with the students. At Interactive Academy we will be exercising and playing games. They will also be having a healthy snack while visiting. This will be our first trip to Interactive as a grade level so we are excited for this trip.

We dove into our dental health unit last week for science. The students have been learning about how to properly care for their teeth, the parts of a tooth, and all about a dentist’s job. To help celebrate Dental Health Week, we invited a team from Growing Grins to come to our classroom and talk with your children. This team talked with the children about sugary snacks and how they stick to our teeth. They then practiced brushing teeth the proper way. We even started an EGG-speriment to test what different drinks/liquids do to the enamel on our teeth. Using eggs to represent teeth and the shell as the enamel, we are soaking them in Coke, tomato juice, grape juice, milk, coffee, and vinegar. Wednesday we will take the eggs out of the liquid and observe what each has done to it’s so called “tooth”. The children will practice brushing the eggs only to find they can’t remove the stains. Our dental health unit will continue in our science block this week.

For social studies this week, we will embark on our study of two very historical figures, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. We will be talking a lot about Presidential duties and the White House.

In math we’ve continued working on problem solving and the different types of problem solving strategies. We worked through more subtraction strategies and also reviewed place value and time.

We began our Mo Willems author study last week as well and what fun we had. This week we will continue working through his very popular Elephant and Piggie series. We will be talking about author’s craft: quotation marks, thought bubbles, motion lines, facial emotions, etc. This is a wonderful unit and opens up a ton of opportunity for discussion about texts and writing.

We spent a lot of time working on writing using adjectives. The children completed an adorable writing activity using candy conversation hearts. Each child was given a conversation heart glued to a piece of paper, all in random placements. Their job was to take that heart and turn it into a creative picture. They did an outstanding job with their illustrations and an even better job with their descriptive writing.

This is going to be another busy week in class, but I’m sure just as fun as last week. Please let me know if you need anything and I’ll be in touch with more updates.

Specials this week include:

Tuesday: Art

Wednesday: Music

Thursday: P.E.

Friday: Library

Have a wonderful week,

Christie Buonanno


Updates from our classroom…

Good morning!

I hope you and your family had an enjoyable weekend and had fun watching the Super Bowl.  It was good to see Peyton leave the field with a smile and another victory.

Another fun weekend event was our Maple Glen Winter Carnival.  It was so nice to see so many of you and your sweet children there having a good time.  I never got to venture away from the first grade pizza table to see what all was going on in the building, but it sure appeared to be a packed house with a lot of smiling faces on the students.  If you were able to attend, thank you and I hope you enjoyed it.

Last week was a busy one in our classroom.  We finished our penguin unit and also wrapped up a literacy study on Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester.  The children absolutely love this unit every year.  If you aren’t familiar with Tacky, he’s one wacky penguin that marches to the beat of his own drum.  He likes bright colors, he’s loud, and as the children describe Tacky, he’s obnoxious!  But, that’s what makes him fun for us in first grade!  We used all of the Tacky books to compare the author’s writing style and use of words in her writing.  We completed a fun character study on Tacky and tied it into our study of adjectives last week.  We also worked on doing character comparisons between Tacky the Penguin and his companion penguins by completing Venn Diagrams together, just one way students are learning to organize their thoughts in my class.  In addition to the fun literacy work we did, we also obtained a lot of fun facts about penguins including:  where they live, how they care for their young, what they eat, where they live, how they move, etc.

In math we dove deeper into our fact fluency practice and reviewed counting up and counting back in subtraction.  Again, we spent a lot of time also working through problem solving, both solving others problems and also learning to write our own.  It’s been fun to watch the children grow and develop in their problem solving abilities this year and to see how they figure things out on their own.

We practiced our handwriting several days in class.  Last week, the children focused on the proper upper and lower case formations of the letters: Dd, Ee, Ff, and Gg.  We talked about how lovely their work looks on their isolated handwriting assignments, but how it needs to look just the same when they write in journals, or on tests, etc.  Please encourage your children to take their time on their weekly homework packets, especially on the handwriting portion.  I’d rather see fewer letters done correctly vs. a lot of letters practiced incorrectly.

On Friday, the children kicked off Dental Health week for this coming week by listening to special guest, Doctor of Dental Health, Dr. Friedman.  I was unable to attend this particular presentation, as I was at a math training, but the children always enjoy this presentation.  I left a bag of goodies for each child for the sub to hand out on Friday.  Hopefully, those made it home to you.  Nothing too exciting, but who can’t use a new toothbrush and toothpaste?!?!?  🙂

I mentioned above that we really worked hard on adjectives last week in our grammar studies.  Adjectives are describing words and we learned to use these to describe nouns.  Students were also introduced to adverbs, words to describe a verb (quietly, quickly, happily, etc.).  Over the next few weeks, we are really going to be working hard to use adjectives and adverbs to enhance our writing.  This is difficult for a lot of students, but I have some fun ways to work through this with them.  One activity the children will be introduced to this week is “sentence stretchers”.  They learn to take a simple sentence and build on it line by line.  An example is below.

1. The dog jumped.
2. The brown dog jumped.
3. The grumpy brown dog jumped.
4.  The grumpy brown dog jumped quickly.
5 The grumpy brown dog jumped quickly on his house.

This week is going to be another whirlwind in class, as we have a lot to cover and will be keeping extremely busy with some of the below items…

In math, we will continue with our fact fluency practice and review of subtraction strategies.  Children will also be diving deeper into place value work with several new center activities being introduced for added practice.  Of course we will also be doing a lot of problem solving as we always do.

In science, we will be diving deeper into dental health and the children will be participating in a week long science observation to learn more about dental health.  On Wednesday, I’ve arranged for a group of dental health professionals from Growing Grins to come to our classroom to present a lesson to our class.  This was a lot of fun last year and I’m sure this years group will enjoy it just as much.

I’m very excited to say we are starting our HUGE Mo Willems literacy study this week!  Mo Willems is one of my favorite authors and there are so many different literacy skills to be taught and learned using his fun texts.  Children will learn a great deal about this author and how he writes and illustrates.  His pictures are used to tell so much of his story using motion lines, movement, expression, and speech bubbles.  I will be sending more information about what we learn as we go.  If you aren’t familiar with Mo Willems, he writes the Elephant and Piggie series and the Pigeon books that so many students have grown to love.  His characters are fun and quickly draw you in for more.  The play we are seeing at Clowes Hall at the end of the month is from one of Willems Elephant and Piggie books so this will be a great unit for us this year!

It’s my understanding that at some point this week we will be having a special guest appearance from Pacer’s Mascot, Boomer.  The children always love this!

I could go on all day about the fun things we have planned for the week, but I’m going to wrap this up so I can get my boys to taekwondo practice.

For specials this week we have:
Monday: No school
Tuesday: Art
Wednesday: Music
Thursday: P.E.
Friday: Library

Have a wonderful week,
Christie Buonanno

This week…

This week we have a lot going on and will prove to be a fun week for our students.
We are looking forward to our 100th day in first grade on Friday, January 29th.  The day will be filled with fun activities centered around the number “100”.  I sent home two letters concerning this special day last week so hopefully you saw those.  Children were asked to bring 100 small items in a paper bag that I sent home.  They are also invited to dress like super heroes on Friday for our “100th Day Superheros” theme day.
Tomorrow morning I will be at Washington Woods Elementary School from 8:30-noon for a math training.  If you need anything, shoot me an email and I’ll try to respond as soon as possible.
Specials this week include:
Tuesday: Library (please send books back)
Wednesday: Art
Thursday: Music
Friday: P.E.
Spelling words this week are long a digraphs, ai and ay.  We will be working hard on these digraph sounds all week.  Please continue to practice at home. 🙂
In science this week we are working through our penguin unit.  Today we dove into a few informational books to start collecting facts about penguins and building on the unit Mrs. Clary already started in the library.  Ask your children if they can tell you any of the fun facts we pulled from our texts today.
During math we will be working through subtraction strategies again, continuing to work in our math journals on word problems, and introducing geometry.
If you are chaperoning the upcoming field trip and have not yet turned in money, please know the chaperon fees are $10.50.  If you are unable to attend for any reason, please let me know so we can find an alternate adult to help us.
I’ll send you more updates as the week progresses.  I’m sorry this is short and to the point, but I’ve got to run out to get my little guy before the daycare closes.  Yikes!

Highlights from Last Week in Class…

Happy Monday to all of you!  I hope you had a nice weekend.
Last week we kept extremely busy in class and I wanted to just highlight a few things for you…
Social Studies-We spent the week talking about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the brave, strong man he was.  We spent time talking about how he helped change the world and the dreams he had for the people in our world.  Our conversations centered around equality, acceptance of others, kindness, hard work, and strength.  The children listened to several wonderful picture books about Dr. King and we also dove into some Scholastic Readers with factual information about Dr. King.  We talked about all the many ways we are different and how those differences make us special.  To demonstrate differences, we did a demonstration using two different colored eggs.  We observed the different colored shells on the two eggs and then broke them open to find out that the insides were identical.  The children talked about how the inside of the eggs were like their “feelings” and we all have the same insides and feelings even though we may look different on the outside and we shouldn’t treat each other differently because of our outer shells.
Reading/Language Skills- Last week we worked on summarizing information in books we read and practiced making inferences.  We continued using our winter/snow books for these skills.  We worked on identifying long vowel e sounds, differentiating long vowel sounds, and medial sound substitutions as review skills.  Other skills reviewed and practiced included: identifying long vowel i sounds, blending and segmenting phonemes, and initial sound substitutions.
Math-Last week we spent more time reviewing and practicing our subtraction strategies.  Strategies taught to the children for subtraction include: minus zero, a number minus itself, counting back, counting up, thinking addition, tens partners, doubles, and minus ten.  We also spent a great deal of time working on word problems in math and using words, pictures, and numbers to justify thinking.  We also continued our practice with place value all the way to the hundredths place.
Science-We were light on science last week due to our focus on MLK Day.  Luckily we had a surprise Super Scientist present a fun experiment to the class.  Landon Paradise and his mom came in and painted a volcano with the class and then used dish soap, vinegar and baking soda to demonstrate a chemical reaction to the class.  Of course they loved this!!!  Thank you Landon and Melissa for this fun time in class!!!

Week of January 4th…

Good morning!
Welcome back!  I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and had a nice restful time with your families.  It was wonderful to see all of your children back in class yesterday.  We jumped right back into the swing of things and kept very busy as usual.
Just a few quick things to get us started for the week…
We’ve begun the January contest for “Box Tops for Education”.  Please send in as many box tops as you can between January 4th and January 29th.  There is a contest going on between classes and the class that brings the most will earn 15 minutes of extra recess time.  This is huge to the children!!!  🙂  Please put them in a baggie with ‘Buonanno’ listed on it.  Box tops can be found on: General Mills cereal, Pillsbury rolls, Go-Gurt, Betty Crocker fruit snacks and cake mixes, Hamburger Helper, Bisquick, and Huggies.  For a full list of products, go to boxtopsforeducation.com
This weeks specials include:
Monday: Art
Tuesday: Music
Wednesday: P.E.
Thursday: Library
Friday: Art
This week in class looks like…
Math:  We are reviewing fact families and subtraction strategies all week.  Children are finding missing parts in their fact families and working with number bonds with totals up to 20.
Science: This week in science we are learning about the three types of winter animals: migrators, adaptors, and hibernators.  We will also be doing an experiment so the children can see how blubber or fat on an animal helps to keep them warm.
Spelling:  This weeks words are focused on the digraphs -ch and -wh.  To help us work with these sounds, we will be doing a great deal of writing and word play.  The -wh sound always tends to be harder for the children so we will weigh a bit heavier in our work with that.
Writing:  We are working on writing beginning, middle, and ending story responses and building detail in our writing and retelling of stories.
PALS: The students started in their new reading groups yesterday.  They will remain in these new groups for approximately nine weeks before rotating again.
Reading:  All of our stories this week are about winter and snowmen.  We are working on story elements and recalling facts from what we read.  Students are also working to identify the main idea and also central message in stories.  Of course we put some fun craft and writing activities with each story as well.  We’ve also begun working again on inferrencing.
Grammar: We are currently reviewing parts of speech: nouns, verbs, and adjectives.  We’ve also been working on alphabetizing to the third and fourth letter in a word.  Yesterday we worked with making words plural and learning when to us -s or -es.  This week we will also be working with antonyms and synonyms in our daily review work.
Yesterday I sent home the flash cards for addition I promised you before break.  Things got busy and I spaced sending them.  So sorry!!!
More information and updates to come as the week progresses.  Have a wonderful day!

A few things to know…

Good afternoon!
I wanted to let you know a few quick things before heading out for the day…
1.  The children have finished their Christmas gifts to all of you and are on their way home with them right now.  I’d HIGHLY suggest getting those from them and opening them RIGHT AWAY, as they are breakable and I’d hate for their hard work to be destroyed.  My fingers are crossed they survive the bus rides home today-yikes!!!
2.  In the children’s backpacks, they have Grinch Dust from today’s special Grinch Day in first grade.  You might also want to get this away from them before your house is shining brightly in green glittered oats.  Just a word of experience!!!
3. The children who have been part of garden club this year are also bringing home their bulbs for you to plant and grow at home.  I’ve placed those in plastic baggies so the dirt won’t hit your floors first thing through the door.  Happy planting and growing.
4.  Tomorrow I am sending home a full set of addition and subtraction flash cards for everyone.  My hopes were to cut and assemble them for everyone, but reality struck and once you see the stack you’ll know why.  It would take me the rest of the year to cut and assemble them for everyone.  This might be a great activity to keep your kiddos busy and then they can put them aside to practice with once finished.
5.  The all school sing will begin at 2:30 on Friday.  The class party will follow at 3:00.  Please know you are welcome to join us for both or just part of something if that works out best.  We’d love to have you!
6.  Tomorrow is P.E.-please have your child wear tennis shoes so Mr. Pribbeno can reward the class.
7. Friday is library day.  Please send library books back so your children can check out new books to read over break.
8. Friday is also pajama day for first grade.  We ask they do not wear slippers, but regular school shoes.  Also, please be sure the jammies are still nice and warm because we will go out to recess as long as it’s not raining.