First Grade News

January 17 - 30, 2017


We're off to a new year in reading! Our unit is titled, "Readers Have Big Jobs to Do"! During the next several weeks we will encourage students to "be their own reading bosses" and to take charge when something doesn't seem right (a confusing part or tricky word). We will learn new and more sophisticated strategies for reading and understanding hard words, using the cues, "Does it make sense?" "Does it sound right?" "Does it look right?" Towards the end of the unit, we will pull all our monitoring, problem solving, and vocabulary development together to practice reading fluently in more complex texts.

Students should continue reading 10-20 minutes reach night while completing their reading log. They can read a book from home, from school or log on to Raz Kids!


Thank you for sending in your child's collections! They have many opinions about the items they collect which is a great way to start a unit of Writing Reviews. We carefully reviewed our collections, chose the "best in show" and gave reasons to support our choice. The students will transfer this work into writing reviews of all kinds - movies, videos games, restaurants, toys, etc.

Throughout this process we continue to focus on building writing stamina, focusing on revision, elaboration and editing. The final goal is to publish a mini-kid-version Zagat guide to restaurants, books, or other reviews!

Some books that are inspiring our classes towards this work are the Ike LaRue series, the Pigeon books by Mo Willems, I Wanna Iguana, I Wanna New Room and I Wanna Go Home and Earrings by Judith Viorst.

Design Lab Friday!

Throughout the next several weeks we will be exploring a new aspect of design - coding! Many of our children have experience with various coding apps and tech toys involving simple programming. Our goal is to introduce domain specific vocabulary, review some coding favorites and explore new technologies through hands-on instruction, coding stations and problem-solving group work.

Many of our favorites include:

-bee bots


-scratch jr.

-Dash and Dot

-Sphero & Ollie



This is the time of the year where we focus on gaining FACT POWER! Students in first grade should begin to know their addition and subtraction facts through 18 "in a snap". We will practice strategies for becoming more confident in knowing our basic facts. These facts will help us as we begin to venture into larger numbers.

The fifth unit Everyday Math is called, "Place Value". Students will learn how bigger numbers are composed and how each digit's value is different depending on the place it falls within a number. This may seem like basic information, but it is critical to have a deep understanding of place value (i.e. how the number 63 is not a 6 and a 3, but actually a 60 and a 3).

We are also excited about the growth children are making in explaining their answers and understanding how their brains solved a problem!

Special Area Teachers SATs

Spanish with Maestra Guadalupe

After a small break from our regular schedule due to the All School Program and the winter break, first graders are continuing their practice of the Spanish language with our Interests and Leisure Activities Unit. First grade students are currently practicing how to answer the essential question:
¿Qué te gusta hacer? (What do you like to do?).

To describe activities we like to do we are using these vocabulary words in context: to run, to run a bicycle, to go to the park, to dance, to read, to draw, and to play sports.

Our coming unit in first grade will be about feelings in order to express how our day is going. To encourage the use of the Spanish language outside the Spanish class we are also resuming the implementation of the Spanish Lower School question of the week. Please ask your child this week’s question at home:
¿Cuál es tu fruta favorita?
Responses: Mí fruta favorita es _________.

¡Muchas Gracias!

Science with Mr. Burton

First grade students started 2017 by planting seeds in one of our hydroponic growing towers. These seeds, both Malva and Mallow, are two of the host plants for the Painted Lady butterfly. After a couple months, the plants should be large enough to support several caterpillars. At that time, we’ll learn more about the butterfly lifecycle and metamorphosis. Until then, we’ll be working with properties of matter and exploring solids, liquids and gasses.

Technology with Mrs. Ogden

We are using our iPads to research! We are beginning to learn how to gather information to learn about a topic, then use what we’ve learned to create something that illustrates our learning.

Apps We Are Using:

· Book Creator

· Seesaw

· Symbaloo

Key Terms:

· Research

· Post

What You Can Do:

· Check out your child’s Seesaw page. Comment on their posts and discuss the posts with your child. If you have trouble getting to your child’s page, please contact your child’s teacher.

Media Center with Mrs. Vermillion
January is an exciting month in the media center. The American Library Association of Youth Media Awards will be announced from the Georgia World Congress Center Monday, January 23, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. The Caldecott, Newbery and Coretta Scott King medal winners will be chosen. Students are learning about illustrators’ techniques which they use to create a picture book.

Physical Education with Mrs. Ritz

We are jumping into the New Year with jump rope skills! There are a multitude of benefits to rope jumping but we focus primarily on its contribution to cardiovascular health. Much more will come your way as we prepare for our Jump Rope for Heart event in March.

Jumping is not our only quest. We will continue throwing and catching. The skills of volleying and dribbling will be integrated into our practice this month and carried over into February. It’s always a fun and invigorating time in Lower School P.E.

A reminder that athletic shoes are required for participation in P.E.

Ask your child about...

  • who won the "best in show" from their collection.
  • their favorite part of coding/programming.
  • practicing their addition and subtraction facts.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

1/25 Assembly - Hispanic songs, dance, reports

1/29 Ms Tate's Birthday :)

1/30 Mrs. Varela's Birthday :)

2/1 Assembly - Dallas Black Dance Theater Troupe performance