April 18, 2016

It’s a wrap! We finished our studies on birds this week by creating two blog posts showing knowledge of adaptation reflecting on our nest building project. Over the course of the last week, we heard oral reports from the First Graders showing their extensive knowledge of the bird they chose for their bird report. Taking that knowledge, the students looked at their bird and chose an adaptation specific to it and talked about it in the app Explain Everything. Next the students reflected on and wrote a blog post about the nest they designed and build with a partner. During Tech Time with Mrs. Anderson, the students took time to read and write thoughtful comments on each others posts. Please read and comment on their blogs here. The First Graders finished their paper mache birds by adding feathers and the birds flew home with each student. On Wednesday, the students explored Wonderopolis many posts about birds. It was a fun couple of weeks exploring all the different birds and how they are the same and different!DSCN4495DSCN4496DSCN4503DSCN4520DSCN4521DSCN4519DSCN4524DSCN4522


Next week, our class will begin using Talking about Touching: A Personal Safety Guide Curriculum for First Grade.  This program teaches children skills that will help keep them safe from dangerous or abusive situations.  Children also learn to ask for help when they need it.  The program is divided into three units:

  • Personal safety: This unit teaches children rules that will help keep them safe in potentially dangerous situations.
  • Touching safety: This unit focuses on teaching children to identify unsafe touches and say “NO!” and get away, and tell a grown up if someone tries to touch their private parts. Children are also taught not to keep secrets about touching.
  • Assertiveness and support:  This unit gives children a chance to practice getting out of unsafe situations and to ask a grown-up for help if they need it.

The curriculum is taught through a series of cards that are available for you to come in and check out if you would like to see how the material will be presented.

The First Graders are becoming amazing writers! I am so proud of their focus and stamina at writing time. The students are applying the 6 plus 1 traits of writing to their work. Each day after Writer’s Workshop, many students share their writing and we all get to point out good ideas, organization,word choice, voice, and now sentence fluency. If you don’t have a writing journal at home for your First Grader to be practicing, now is the time! DSCN4514DSCN4510DSCN4517DSCN4511

Coming up:

Thursday, April 21st ~ All School Mass at 2:00 pm ~ Join us!

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


April 10, 2016

This last week, we continued to focus on birds in science. We started the week listening to bird reports! Great job First Graders! The students learned and watched a movie about adaptation in birds and how their physical features and behaviors help them survive. Wednesday afternoon, the first grade artists  headed down to the art room to paint birds. Mrs. Galash prepares the right colors for each bird. She is so awesome! On Thursday, the First Graders worked on a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) project by designing their own nests with a partner. First we asked “How do birds build nests?” We watched two videos of birds making nests.  Then the pairs of students imagined the possibilities came up with 2 plans deciding on the best one to build. It was a beautiful day as we headed outside to find items to build with; sticks, twigs and moss. The room was a buzz with designing chatter as the partners built their nests. Finally on Friday, the students tested their nest to see if it could hold an egg and then contemplated how their nest could be improved. These students are excellent problem solvers and were able to articulate design process and reasons for their ideas on improving their designs. It is amazing how they have grown this year!!DSCN4413DSCN4423DSCN4421

Discussing nest design

Discussing nest design.

Collecting items to build nests.

Collecting items to build nests.

Building a nest.

Building a nest.

Testing a nest.

Testing a nest.

Clean up crew!

Clean up crew!

In math this week, the students continued to explore attributes of two dimensional shapes. The First Graders explored shapes by creating composite shapes with the shapes we have been learning with. Our studies in Geometry will continue into next week!DSCN4392DSCN4410DSCN4407 For the month of April ,the First Graders will be focused on the writing skill, Sentence Fluency. The idea of Sentence Fluency is to write sentences that show meaning and ideas as smoothly and clearly as possible. In First Grade, we will be focusing on experimenting with different sentence beginnings and creating sentences of varying lengths.  The First Graders will have learned 5 of the 7 writing traits and are reminded of each before they begin writer’s workshop.  I am very proud of their efforts in writing!

Photos from the week!

Bird Report!

Bird Report!


Reading Pippi outside eating ginger snaps.

Reading Pippi outside eating ginger snaps.


Multi Cultural Festival

Multi Cultural Festival

Coming up:

Heifer Drive all week ~ Check Friday Footnotes for details

Tuesday, April 12th ~ St. Stevens Lunches~ Please bring in extra lunches

Thursday, April 14th ~ All School Mass at 2:15 ~ Join us!


April 3, 2016

Happy Easter! Our church has entered the Easter season. The First Graders spent some time reflecting on the celebration of new life won for us by Jesus through his life, death and resurrection. We spent some time outside observing signs of new life in nature to echo our religion studies of new life.DSCN4322DSCN4325DSCN4334

We have gone to the birds in First Grade!  We began our bird unit discussing what we know about birds such as what they need to live and then what we wondered about birds. Before spring break, our field trip to the zoo kicked off our curiosity about birds. It was a wonderful day and a special thank you goes out to the Mom’s who came out with us! Thank you Mary, Catherine, Kristin and Sarah!DSCN4236DSCN4240DSCN4244DSCN4248

The students spent thoughtful time pouring over hundreds of bird pamphlets deciding on a bird for their bird report. We spent  our tech time this week exploring birds online.  The students have listened to and read books both fiction and non-fiction about birds. The First Graders even learned a french song about a lark, Alouette. Our studies of the migration of birds provide an opportunity for the students to observe the globe and understand that our Earth is cold at the poles and warmer near the equator. The First Graders have shared with me their enthusiasm for the Bird Report Project.  I am so looking forward to hearing each presentation!  Next week, we will continue our bird studies learning about adaptation, habitat and how birds grow.  Friday, we traveled down to the science lab to create our paper mache birds. Thank you to the Moms who helped out! We ended the week by playing Migration Tag. It is all about birds!DSCN4312DSCN4314DSCN4345DSCN4346DSCN4361DSCN4364DSCN4365DSCN4371DSCN4374

The students will be painting their birds this coming Wednesday, April 6th with Mrs. Galash during art class. Mrs. Galash has requested 2-3 volunteers to help with distributing the many colors the birds of the First Grade need to create their bird report birds. Please let me know if you can stop by from 12:25-1:20!

In math this week , we entered into the world of Geometry. We looked at two dimensional shapes using vocabulary words such as sides and vertices to describe the shapes. On Friday, we created geometric bird houses for our art gallery that surrounds our room. Pop you head in on Monday morning to see the colorful display of squares, triangles, circles, rectangles and trapezoids!

The First Graders really enjoy learning about authors!  This week our focus has been on Chris Van Allsburg.  Mr. Van Allsburg’s books are perfect for teaching the reading strategy of inference.  We infer all day long.  Inferring is about reading expressions and body language but also can be applied to text.  Closely related to predicting, inferring meaning is finding meaning that is not explicitly stated.  For example when we predict we might ask “What will happen next?”  Inferring is more like asking “I wonder what the author meant?”  When we infer, we are using our background knowledge (schema) along with the clues and evidence from the text to make meaning of the text. I modeled how inference works while reading many books by Chris Van Allsburg.  The students realized they infer all the time they just didn’t realize it!

Some photos from the week:


Bird shirt for free dress!



Music Class

Coming up:

Thursday, April 7th ~ Middle school Mass only

Friday, April 8th ~ Multi Cultural Arts Festival ~ join us after community read if you can!

Tuesday, April 12th ~ First Grade in charge of St. Steven’s Lunches


March 13, 2016

This week, the First Graders put the finishing touches on their community buildings, posted a on our blog, recited a community march (it starts “I don’t know what you’ve been told” try it out on your First Grader to hear the words!), and learned from a community book. The students were introduced to important vocabulary such as rural, urban, and suburban communities. The First Graders took an assessment and brought home their important buildings to wrap up our studies.DSCN4169DSCN4181DSCN4170DSCN4177DSCN4180DSCN4173

Next week, begins our third and final trimester of First Grade.  The spelling homework sheet  will have a slight change in that I would like the students to write a complete sentence for each spelling word complete with punctuation and capitalization as well as interesting word choice.  Please encourage your First Grader to do their best work on their homework.  It is a great habit to get into.

Please plan on working on math facts as a part of nightly homework this final trimester. The First Graders should be using mental math moving away from using fingers to reach the target below. There are links to math websites on this blog as well as many apps for practicing math facts on iPads, iPhones or Androids. Let me know if you need some suggestions! First Grade Standards state a student should “Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10”. Here is a breakdown of what the students should know to be fluent by the end of First Grade:

Basic Fact Fluency – 3rd Trimester targets – 1 minute

Addition Subtraction
Not Meeting (1) 0-9 0-6
Progressing (2) 10-19 7-11
Meeting (3) 20-29 12-26
Advanced Achievement 30+ 27+

Remember: First Graders can practice spelling words at the SpellingCity website! There are fun games they can play that help them review previous weeks words and to spell this weeks words.

Some photos from the week!


Teaching us about Spirograph


Our Calendar Leader leading us.


Checking out an important building.

Coming up:

Wednesday, March 16th ~ Field Trip to Audubon ~Please pack a sack lunch

Thursday, March 17th ~ All School Mass ~ Join us!

Friday, March 18th ~ Talent Show at 1:45-3:00 pm ~ Join us!

March 6, 2016

Our community unit has taken over! We started this last week by focusing on our core community, family. Please check out the family portraits the First Graders worked very hard on over the last week. They put a lot of love into their work! We have talked about the different kinds of communities exploring the difference between rural and urban communities.  Each community relies on its members being good citizens. At Tech Time this week, the students visited the computer lab  to create urban and rural communities. Check out the site here. The First Graders have determined the most important buildings in our community via a brainstorming session. The students learned that businesses in our community provide either goods or services. Each student worked with a partner to create a building for our classroom street out of the recycled materials donated by you! It was our most successful project to date in terms of  working together with a partner using skills such as compromise and negotiation.  Please come visit the First Grade Street after school Tuesday or Wednesday. Buildings will be coming home sometime after Wednesday.DSCN4083DSCN4080DSCN4111DSCN4149DSCN4152DSCN4158

This week our class was able to connect with Mrs. Malchow’s First Grade class in Pulaski, Wisconsin to play a game called Mystery Number Skype! We tried last week but were met with technical difficulties so this second time we were really ready to connect. Our classes were able to connect on Twitter as well. If you missed our Twitter exchange, here it is. Ask your First Grader how Mystery Number Skype works!DSCN4148

On Monday for our religion time, we had the opportunity to meet with Deacon Mike over at the church to learn about the Stations of the Cross. The First Graders prayed and created their own stations by coloring the 14 stations. The finished product is displayed in the church under the beautiful mosaic stations. Please check them out! The First Graders did an amazing job leading Mass this past Thursday. I couldn’t have been more proud of the reading, singing and reverence shown by the students! Thanks for your support with practicing and coming to celebrate Mass with us!DSCN4084DSCN4115DSCN4114

We had more wonderful sharing experiences this week where we learned many interesting facts from each other. It was another wonderful week in First Grade!DSCN4094DSCN4145DSCN4134DSCN4132DSCN4140

Coming up:

Friday, March 11th ~ Half Day dismissal at 11:30

Tuesday, March 16th ~ Field Trip ~ please turn in your forms!

God Bless,


February 28, 2016

Wow! We packed a lot into a short week last week! Can you believe there have been 100 days of school already this year? We celebrated our 100th day on Tuesday this past week with the Kindergartners and the Second Graders. We started the day in the Parish Hall with a movement video counting to 100. Then Ms. Savery read a book before each class took turns rotating around the Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade classrooms. Each teacher had an activity for the students. In the First Grade classroom, the students used the iPad minis to time how long it took to do 100 jumping jacks and 100 sit-ups. The classrooms were abuzz with activity and it was a blast!  There was a lot of counting going on!IMG_6887IMG_6946IMG_9732

At math time, we have been reviewing understanding of place value up to 100. The students had many opportunities to count sets of connecting cubes into groups of tens and then identify the ones leftover when determining the quantity. Each day, the weather leader leads us in guessing what the temperature outside is using the math vocabulary of greater than or less than. This past week, the students reviewed the math symbols for greater than and less than.

Our sharing this week has been wonderful! Thanks for sending your First Grader prepared to present in front of the class. DSCN4020DSCN4022DSCN4062DSCN4047

Many mornings a week in the First Grade classroom, the students practice their handwriting for 15 minutes.  Research suggests that proficient writing skills improves letter recognition and supports reading development.  Each day we work on posture and pencil grip to create good writing habits that will support legible writing.  Writing legibly is one of the keys to academic success and is becoming second nature to these students! Please encourage your child to take their time and write letters correctly when doing spelling homework.

For the month of February, the First Graders have been working on word choice in their writing. The students have listened to stories read out loud and have learned about adjectives. The students wrote adjectives describing each other on our our wonder wall. Come in and check them out! When writing the story of Noah’s Ark from the animal they choose’s point of view, the First Graders were reminded to use interesting word choice and they certainly did! I hope you can take a moment to read some of the fabulous stories of Noah’s journey outside the classroom. DSCN4025DSCN4029IMG_9734

*Date Change for bringing in recycled cardboard! Please send in the recycled cardboard boxes you have been collecting in this Wednesday. Thanks!

First Grade will be leading Mass this coming Thursday, March 3rd for the primary grades. Please check your First Graders Friday Folder for Mass readings to practice up to Thursday. I hope you can join us! The First Graders lead Mass again on Thursday, April 28th.

Some great photos from the week:

Saint of the Day book

Saint of the Day book


Coming up:

Sharing week continues!

Wednesday, March 2nd ~ Send in cardboard boxes!

Thursday, March 3rd ~ First Grade leads Mass at 2:00 ~Join us!

February 21, 2016

This week in science, the First Graders learned about the 3rd state of matter, gas. Ms. Yuhas helped out with a lab to show how gas can be produced by a chemical reaction and that gas takes up space.  As we reviewed  the states of matter, our scientific wondering lead us to thinking about how matter changes states. How does a solid change to a liquid? How does a liquid change to a solid? We explored how matter changes from one state to another by observing and hands-on experimenting.  We found that  a force of energy in the form of heat or cold is required to change the state of matter through observing a lit candle (from solid to liquid) and then making ice cream (from a liquid to solid). Each First Grader created a blog post to show his/her knowledge of the 3 states of matter. I hope you can take a moment to watch, listen and comment on these blog posts. Please remember not to use last names when commenting. We will wrap up our unit on matter Monday with a final assessment. DSCN3941DSCN3945DSCN3955


Hold onto those cardboard boxes for another week please! I will be asking for them to be brought in next Monday, March 7th. Thanks!

The First Graders practiced retelling a story through an author study of Emily Arnold McCully. They worked in small groups to determine the important parts in the beginning, middle and end of the book there group chose. I am so proud of the team work and quality of the conversations in the groups!

Some moments from our short week…DSCN3960DSCN3963DSCN3966DSCN3975

Coming up:

Thursday, February 25th ~ All school Mass at 2:00 ~ Join us!

~Science Night 6:00 pm

Thursday, March 3rd ~ First Grade leads Mass at 2:00 ~ Join us!