June 11, 2016

The First Graders have finished their tour around the seven continents and four oceans this week.  The First Grade classroom was visited by some very special people over the course of the past weeks. On Monday morning, Claire’s mom Mary came in to teach us about Australia. The students learned about animals, culture and got to taste Vegemite and passion fruit yogurt~yum! Next on Monday afternoon, the First Graders traveled to the African continent and visited Ghana with Elizabeth, Liam’s sister. We saw authentic fabric from Ghana and learned a bit about colonization in Africa. DSCN5145DSCN5149DSCN5160DSCN5164DSCN5170On Tuesday morning, we were off to New Zealand with Elie’s dad. Tyee showed the class The Haka which is a dance of strength performed before rugby games by the New Zealand All Blacks. He also shared kiwis with us!  In the afternoon, Lucy’s mom and dad came in to present Japan. We got to see the interesting culture of Japan and watch Naoko dance in a Japanese musical production. It was amazing!DSCN5173DSCN5176DSCN5181On Wednesday, Emma’s mom and dad taught us about the rich history of Iran. The First Graders got to eat some sweet treats from Persia. So good! After Iran, it was back to Europe with a Skype session with our very own Andrew who left the school year early to travel in Europe. We caught up with him in Germany and got to see where he was staying and the view of a beautiful church off his balcony. It was so good to see Andrew! In the afternoon, Grammie San was back! This time Lucy and Griffin’s grandma showed us amazing photos from India, some beautiful needlework and a statue of a goddess. The students learned about the colorful dress traditions of India. So beautiful!DSCN5183DSCN5185DSCN5187DSCN5193DSCN5197On Thursday morning, we were visited by Daniela’s mom who told us about their adventures in the Czech Republic. The students were treated to authentic art and some delicious pastries. Next, the class was treated to a play about the 7 continents and 4 oceans put together by a few students who go to YDP after school. I love that they are playing and learning! In the afternoon on Thursday, it was off to England with Will’s mom. Tricia brought in some interesting books , newspapers and some chocolaty treats from England. DSCN5199DSCN5205DSCN5211DSCN5218

Finally on Friday morning, we visited Thailand with Teddy’s mom. It was a true adventure compete with interesting facts and costumes from Thailand. Kysa finished her presentation with some snack food very different from what we usually eat…deep fried crickets! I was amazing how many students were brave enough to try! DSCN5228

Thank you so much parents for sharing your time and travels with our class. Our Earth is such a fascinating place to explore! I believe the First Graders have seen  the amazing diversity of our Earth on our virtual tour of the 7 continents.DSCN5201

Wednesday, June 15th the First Graders will visit the Second Grade classroom for a sneak peek into what next year will be like with the wonderful Ms. Witka.

This final week of First Grade (sob), we will be reviewing all our units of study over the year and doing some final assessments. I am so proud of these amazing children. Thank you for all your support and collaboration in educating your child! I am excited for their next step in Second Grade but will miss the curious and loving nature of this group of students until I see them again in Fourth Grade!

I am looking forward to seeing you all on Thursday at 2:15  to celebrate this year with our End of the Year Party.

Coming up:

Thursday, June 16th – End of the year party at 2:30

Friday, June 17th  ~ Early Dismissal for last day of school.


June 3rd, 2016

The First Graders continued to travel the world virtually through reading books, investigating atlas, watching video and visits from parents sharing their authentic experiences. This week, our travels took us to Europe and South America. On Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Yuhas visited the classroom to explain some of the wonders on our First Grade Wonder Wall. The students learned about the earths seasons by looking at the relationship between the sun and the earth.  It was an interactive and curiosity driven lesson complete with a question and answer session. As Ms. Yuhas was leaving our classroom, one First Grader said “That was really interesting!” Love it!DSCN5086DSCN5089DSCN5091

On Wednesday morning, Charlotte’s mom came in to teach the class about Argentina. The First Graders saw the Argentinian flag and watched a tango. We also learned that our very own Portland Timbers have a Argentinian player, Diego Valeri! Later on Wednesday, we traveled over to Europe with Lucy and Griffin’s Grandma. Grammie San showed the students her beautiful photographs of Venice, Italy during Carnivale. Wow! The students made the connection between Carnivale and Mardi Gras while watching the wonderful masks and colors of the Italian celebration. Grammie San even brought authentic masks bought in a little shop in Venice.  We can’t wait for Grammie San to visit again next week when we head to Asia!DSCN5093DSCN5096DSCN5100DSCN5106

The First Graders and I are looking forward to more visitors this week!

Coming up:

Friday, June 10th ~ Field day in the afternoon

Thursday, June 16th ~ End of the Year Movie Premiere and Party! ~ 2:30 pm  Please don’t miss this important closure to our year!

May 31st, 2016

When it came to beginning our virtual trip around the world, we logically began with the continent we are standing on: the North American continent. A person can’t travel around the world without some luggage and a passport, so each student has a suitcase and a passport to hold and record the important information they have and will be collecting. The students did research on the North American continent using this Listly I created to find which countries make up our continent and some interesting facts. Each student created a wonder for our Wonder Wall about the Earth as well as identified land and water on a class map of North America. Come on in and check both out! Our studies of Mexico included a Mexican fiesta complete with chips and salsa and the traditional dance, the Mexican Hat Dance. On Thursday, we traveled way south to Antarctica. The students learned this is the coldest place on Earth. We ate Popsicles to celebrate Antarctica. This week we are off to Europe and South America!DSCN4974DSCN4981DSCN4987DSCN4995DSCN4983DSCN4999DSCN5009DSCN5077DSCN5011

We had our first parent presenter on Friday before the Jog-a-thon. Cole’s mom came in to talk about her experience growing up in the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. The fascinating photos she showed had the First Graders enthralled. The students played instruments and learned a Native American song. It was loads of fun! Thanks to Mary! I have some parents coming in to present to the class about their travels around the world. Contact me to schedule your time.DSCN5017DSCN5071

This week in math, the First Graders have been practicing time on the hour and half hour. The students looked at an analog clock and a digital clock. This concept is a review for some students and brand new for others. Please take the time to practice time on an analog clock as it comes up in your lives at home. Thanks.DSCN4970

Spirit Week was a blast! Thanks for supporting our Madeleine School spirit at the Jog-a-thon! It was a success!DSCN5021DSCN5047DSCN5070

Coming up:

Thursday, June 2nd ~ Last Mass of the year at 2:00 pm ~ Join us!

May 22nd, 2016

Now boarding…As our year together in First Grade comes to a close, the First Graders began exploring the continents and oceans of the world as we take a virtual field trip! We began our studies in small groups working together to comparing a map vs. a globe. The students quickly discovered a map was flat and a globe was round. Together, we talked about how a globe is an accurate representation of the Earth as it is a sphere and a map is useful because it is easy to travel with. The First Graders learned that the Earth can be divided different ways, by hemispheres or by the seven continents and four oceans. DSCN4967DSCN4968

The First Graders read each other’s poems this week and practiced creating a meaningful comment. Check them out here and add your own! I am working on a hardback poetry book on lulu.com with all the First Graders poems included. Stay tuned for the link to purchase. DSCN4936DSCN4938DSCN4941

End of the year assessments have begun and I am meeting individually with each student to read. I am blown away by the progress each First Grader has made! After all these years teaching First Grade, it never ceases to amaze me how much each student grows over the course of this First Grade year in reading and writing! It is an honor to be a part of their journey. I will be assessing math facts coming up in the next couple of weeks. Please practice at home!DSCN4892

I hope you can come share your knowledge and experience with us by presenting to the class about your travels around the world. Contact me to schedule your time!

This will be the last week for spelling and Sunshine Math. Thanks for your support at home  with these skills.

Photos of the week…DSCN4891

Our field trip was great!

Our field trip was great!


Coming up next week is Spirit Week! Check out the schedule…

  • Monday, May 23 – Pajama Day – Wear your PJs to school.
  • Tuesday, May 24 – Tourist Tuesday – Dress up like a tourist exploring the world. Wear things like khaki shorts, Hawaiian shirts, sunglasses, and funny hats (but don’t wear the hats in the classroom, of course!).
  • Wednesday, May 25 – Way Back Wednesday – Dress up from a time period in the past. Medieval, 1980s, or World War II – it’s all up to you!
  • Thursday, May 26 – Dress Your Best – In honor of Mass on Thursday, put on your Sunday best. Come to school in a tie, bow tie, collared shirt, dress or skirt.
  • Friday, May 27 – Ready to Run – It’s time for the Jogathon! Come to school in running gear such as tennis shoes, athletic shorts, and a t-shirt. Get ready to run and support our school.

The First Graders are very curious about the world! This will be a fun way to end our time together.

God Bless,


May 15th, 2016

It was another busy wonderful week in First Grade. We spent the week immersed in poetry. The process of writing the poems begins with thinking creatively. Looking at a shell, marble, rock and feather as what they could be. The idea of opening your mind to possibilities is the underlying lesson here. Innovative thinking will be an important component in each students success.  I was so impressed with the initial brainstorming this group did! These are some deep thinkers who aren’t afraid to let their ideas flow.  The Seventh Graders visited our classroom to listen to the First Graders practice reading their poems slowly and with volume. It was another example of how awesome The Madeleine students are. The Seventh Graders were so encouraging and complimentary to our First Graders, it was touching. Even with practice, it was not easy for the students to get up in front of a room full of people and read their poems but each one did. Wow! I am so proud of their courage! The First Graders have added their poem with a picture of the item they wrote about to their blogs. Check them out hereDSCN4799DSCN4801DSCN4802

On Tuesday afternoon, the classroom was visited by a wonderful poet, a grandfather to Madeleine students Jackson (2nd) and Gavin Diani (K), Mr. Gunther Hoffmann! Mr. Hoffmann presented the class with some of his published poems and  talked about what inspires his poetry. It was awesome to have Mr. Hoffman share his passion for poetry to the students.  Here is one of his published poems shown below with permission from Mr. Hoffmann;


   Most precious gift God giveth thee

Is that of your own family.

So cherish it with all your heart;

Life goes by fast, too soon we part.

Gunther H. HoffmannDSCN4827

Thank you so much for coming to our Poetry Reading on Friday afternoon! It was packed in here and the First Graders read their amazingly authentic poems loud and proud. We worked hard all week getting ready for the big event. Thank you to all the Moms who came and helped set up for the reception and to Meg and Dan for taking photos!

Grandparents and Special Friends visited our classroom and accompanied us to Mass on Thursday afternoon. It was a perfect event!DSCN4867DSCN4874DSCN4862DSCN4868

Coming up:

Tuesday, May 17th ~ Field trip to see Snow White~ Uniforms please

Thursday, May 19th ~ All school Mass~ Join us at 2:00pm

Next week is Spirit Week. Please check out Friday Footnotes for the schedule.

God Bless,




May 8th, 2016

During the month of May, we honor Mary, the mother of God. We started the week celebrating with the whole school at our Monday morning assembly with each grade presenting a statue of Mary a beautiful bouquet created by the students from that grade. At the end of Monday, First Grade celebrated in our class community with our own May crowing of Mary complete with prayer circle around our statue of Mary. This week the First Graders looked at the devotion of the Holy Rosary which is a tradition treasured by the church for many centuries. The students looked at the holy beads, review/learned the Hail Mary and prayed a decade of the Rosary. We will be praying a decade each day and students are welcome to bring in a Rosary to pray along.DSCN4673DSCN4701DSCN4696DSCN4705DSCN4779DSCN4787

This week concluded our studies of the Earth and the natural resources she provides us. The students learned that people use and must protect the Earth’s natural resources. In the last two weeks, the students have traveled to the science lab, hypothesized, observed, recorded, listened to speakers (thank you to Molly Briscoe and Darwin from METRO) and wondered about our wonderful Earth and how we can protect our precious resources. The students reviewed our responsibilities to reduce, reuse and recycle to minimize our use of those resources.  We concentrated our discussions on pollution.  The First Graders made many connections to their own lives while we have been studying the 3 R’s.  The students have been singing and dancing to 3 R’s by Jack Johnson! Ask your First Grader how he/she can help take care of our Earth. DSCN4628 DSCN4632 DSCN4640DSCN4656DSCN4665DSCN4652DSCN4742DSCN4759DSCN4767DSCN4751DSCN4669

We are working away at creating poems to read at our Poetry Reading this Friday at 2:30. Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Some photos from the week:


Practicing spelling words


Sharing writing



Coming up:

Thursday, May 12th ~ Grandparents Day with Mass at 2 pm

Friday, May 13th ~ Poetry Reading at 2:30!


April 23rd, 2016

This week in First Grade, the students began studying the Earth. The Earth is composed of land, water and surrounding atmosphere. The First Graders read about and created posters showing the different land forms and bodies of water that make up the Earths surface. Natural resources make up the surface of the Earth and we have a responsibility to use and protect the Earth’s resources as a gift from God. Gabrielle Rossi from Rossi Farms visited the classroom on Friday afternoon to share how her family farm uses and protects the gift of soil, plants and animals. The First Graders were thrilled to feed and pet Pumpkin and Marshmallow, Gabrielle’s goats. I hope your family enjoyed the yummy potatoes Gabrielle shared with the students!DSCN4551DSCN4556DSCN4557DSCN4577DSCN4580DSCN4586DSCN4594DSCN4585

Photos of the week…DSCN4565DSCN4568DSCN4573DSCN4575DSCN4542

Coming up:

Thursday April 28th ~ First Grade leads Mass~ Join us at 2:00 pm

Friday, April 29th ~ No School