JANUARY...Winter Adventures


With the New Year comes lots of new learning.

It’s January and we will start to pick up the pace in first grade and we will start seeing students grow and grow and grow. You can help by reinforcing concepts at home.

Continue to read each day with students, review vocabulary; being sure to review previous lists, practice math facts, and practice new spelling lists.

Look for resources in this newsletter to help!

I can't stress enough how important it is that students practice these new skills at home. Students will be assessed in spelling, math facts, reading fluency and comprehension and phonics skills which will play an important part in the letter grades they receive starting April on their report card.

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Acts of Kindness


This month the Community Service is collecting pet food and pet items for the Animal Shelter.

Please help...please send in pet food or pet items for the Animal Shelter in Germansville.

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January 4th Start reading

January 8th Three Little Pig Houses bring materials***

January 11th Reading Minutes Log Due***

January 11th Pledge Sheets due***


January 15th First Official Spelling Test

January 15th Mustang Meeting 2:10

January 19th Last Minutes Log Due

January 19th Math Kicking It Test

March 1st Pledge Money due

January 20th Mrs. Arnold at Science Committee Meeting

January 22nd Paper Mache...need volunteers...1:15***

Janauary 29th Early Dismissal 1:00

February 5th Three Little Pigs 9:30

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Shoemaker Read-a-thon

Our annual Read-A-Thon Fundraiser is here! Please encourage your student to participate! It’s our school’s largest fundraiser and a fun competition to get everyone excited about reading! Not to mention, fun prizes and a chance to earn free money for the Spring Book Fair!

Start reading January 4th through January 18th.

Record minutes on calendar and return calendars each Monday.

First calendar is due Monday , January 11th.

Get pledges. Pledge sheet due January 11th.


Our goal is to read the most minutes in first grade!

Read 25 minutes each night and be a Super Star Reader charm.

Read even more and try to be the star reader each week in our class with the most minutes.

Important Dates:

· December 21 - January 10: Gather pledges from family and friends

· January 4 -January 10: READ, READ, READ!

· January 11: Turn in Pledge Sheet and Week #1 Reading Tracker (Make sure student’s name is on reading tracker.)

· January 11 - January 18: READ, READ, READ!

· January 19: Turn in Week #2 Reading Tracker (Make sure student’s name is on reading tracker.)

· Week of February 1st: Collect pledge money

· March 1: Pledge money is due; (Please write one check payable to Shoemaker PTO with student’s full name and classroom # on memo line.)

Thank you in advance for your support! J

Assessment Time

It’s that time again when we are busy assessing students to measure their growth.

Students are being assessed on reading and nonsense word fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and math skills. Report cards will be available on HAC on February 8th. Student's will receive letter grades in math and language arts starting April.

We are doing Universal Screenings over the next 2 weeks and will not have WIN.

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The Three Little Pigs

This week we are reading and comparing different versions of the Three Little Pigs. Students will each receive a leveled Three Little Pigs reader's theater script to practice during Guided Reading, Read To Self ,Read To Someone Centers and at home over the next month. On Friday, February 5th our class will perform 5 different versions of the Three Little Pigs. Check out cute videos at Three Little Pigs Thinglink.

SPECIAL STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math)PROJECT:

On Friday, January 8th students will create their own house for the Three Little Pigs.

Using a variety of materials students will be asked to create a 3 dimensional house strong enough to with stand the BIG BAD WOLF TEST(Hair dryer).

I will provide some materials but additional materials are welcome....Please send in a ziplock bag with any materials your child might want to use to construct his or her sturdy house...popsicle sticks, straws, Leggos, small blocks, card board, milk carton, plastic carton, pop poms, cotton, pretzel sticks, marshmallows, etc. be creative. Houses will not be larger then 12 H X 11 W.

Three Little Pigs Reader's Theater

Friday, Feb. 5th, 9:30pm

4068 North Fairview Street

Macungie, PA

Please join us on Friday, February 5th at 9:30 for Mrs. Arnold's First Grade Production of the Three Little Pigs performed by the students i room 12. Please RSVP and let me know how many will be attending.

Please Sign the office and then report to Room 214.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

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Learning to spell is an exciting adventure! Our FIRST GRADERS are on their way to becoming SPELLING STARS!

With the Harcourt Language Arts program, spelling is integrated into the phonics program. We started the year learning about words with short vowels. We practiced spelling and writing words with short vowel sounds and are presently learning words containing bossy R… ar, or, ir, er, ur and ore.

We use the word wall, word center, wall sound cards, phonics, and whiteboards, word families and other activities to practice our spelling words and to learn about spelling patterns and rules. Spelling words are sent home each week. You can help by reviewing these words at home, too.

Some fun ways to practice spelling words include: writing the words in shaving cream, writing the words in different colors to form rainbow words, look for words in the newspaper, write words that rhyme with the words, and write the words in sentences.

Spelling is part of the Language Arts program and does not get a separate grade in first grade but will factor into letter grades in Spring. As we begin the New Year, we will continue to practice spelling and writing the words in school. We will also encourage students to use these words in their own writing. We will take spelling tests each week to help prepare them for the second grade spelling program. Students will need to know how to spell the words on the weekly list and words that have that same spelling pattern(art, part, cart) as well as words from previous lists.These tests will be usually given every Friday, but we will leave room for flexibility in that schedule due to snow days and students being absent. Please start practicing the words at home! First official test will be on January 15th !Thank you in advance for your help!

Everyone can be a SPELLING STAR!

Click on link below to access SPELL CITY:

Reinforce and practice spelling words by weekly lists on Spell City. Start with the bottom list of words and work up. we are on list ...3/5 ar words.

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Dear Parents,

This year my students are going to be spending time daily practicing and learning our math facts, beginning in the operation of addition. Our class will keep working on these facts until everyone knows all the facts in this operation instantly, without any pause before answering. We will be using a fun and motivating program called Kicking It Math!It will take only a few minutes each day of class time, but students will keep working until they have mastered all the facts.

A fact is mastered when it can be answered instantly, without any pause. Kicking It Math! is unique because it teaches only 2 facts and their reverses at each level. For example 6+3, 3+6, 4+5 and 5+4. The program allows each child to go at his or her own pace, taking as many days to master those two facts as needed. Students are given an opportunity daily to show they have learned a set of facts by passing a test. Once students “pass” a set of facts, they color in the belt for that set on their “Belt Chart.” Once they have passed four levels, they will earn a belt token for their chain up until they become “Black Belts” in addition!

You can help your child progress and learn faster by practicing at home. Any day your child does not pass a set of facts, he/she will have that day’s practice sheet to bring home as homework. It will help a great deal if you will practice with your child for five minutes with that sheetand/or flashcards. Recommendations for how to practice are below.

Learning all the facts in an operation is a lot of work, but future success in math is dependent upon knowing facts so well that the answers come automatically without much thinking. You can also help by sharing with your child the importance of learning math facts. Thank you so much for your support of this critical learning goal. I will keep you notified of your child’s success in this important task.


Mrs. Arnold

Along with the discovery method of learning math, memorizing our Addition and Subtraction Math Facts is an important part of our math program. We will begin a new program called Kicking It Math where students will earn belts, just like in Karate, as they memorize the new math facts. Here are some math fact resources for you to help them practice at home in addition to the flash cards I will send home.... Use Please go to my website: or look for the addition and subtraction flash cards under the Math section or links below. You can copy and cut apart into flash cards or practice online. Over the next few weeks we will practice addition and subtraction basic facts and take math fact check up tests to see how well we are learning our facts. Please have students study the addition facts to sums of 10 or under. 1+1 3+5 2+4 5+5 etc.

Also, practice facts on Xtra math. Please contact me if you need your students log in .

I will give the first test on ...January 19th and students will then move through levels at their own pace . Students will have 2 minutes to complete 30 math problems. Students need to pass 25 + to move onto the next level. Students must pass 4 levels to earn a belt. Over the next few months, we will continue to test addition, subtraction and mixed facts to see how students progress… Look for updates on Homework Helper.

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Xtra Math

We are using a program called XtraMath to increase speed and accuracy in arithmetic. Each student is invited to spend a few minutes each day practicing math on a computer, tablet, or phone. If you would like to do XtraMath on a tablet or smartphone, look for XtraMath in the app store. The app costs $5. On a laptop or desktop computer, he/she can do XtraMath for free at

How to Practice with your child...

Practice Sheets-When your child comes home with a practice sheet, have him/her erase any work from earlier that day. Then have him/her read each fact (not just the answer) aloud along with the answer. If you hear either the slightest hesitation or you child makes an error, give them extra practice by immediately giving your child the answer and asking him/her to repeat the problem and the answer again. Your child should then back up three problems and begin again. If there is no hesitation or mistake, be sure to praise your child. If you would like to have them practice writing the answers, wait at least an hour or try again in the morning. When working on memorizing facts, two short sessions with time in between is much more helpful than one very long session.

Flash Cards–When using flash cards with your child, use only 12 flash cards at a time (9 cards should be cards with facts that your child has already mastered. Brain research states that it is better to learn a small amount of new material mixed with a larger amount of mastered material. Cards are numbered at the bottom to let you know what order to switch new cards in. Start with the original 12. When your child is able to answer all 12 correctly in a cold read (the first time you practice), switch out #s 1-3 for #s 13-15. You will repeat this process each time switching out the oldest cards for newer ones as your child masters new facts. Do not rush to swap out cards, make sure your child has really mastered the facts. The old cards will go into a review deck which should be used every 4thtime you practice.

Spend about 2 to 3 minutes running through the cards. Your child should read each fact (not just the answer) aloud along with the answer. If you hear either the slightest hesitation or your child makes an error, give them extra practice by immediately giving your child the answer and asking him/her to repeat the problem and the answer again. Have your child repeat the fact and answer three more times. Put the card back three cards from the front so that your child has an opportunity to practice it again.

Math Fact Automaticity

What is Automaticity With Math Facts?

When students first begin learning math facts, they learn them to the level of accuracy –they are able to solve the problems correctly, if they take their time and concentrate. As they continue practicing, they develop fluency –the ability to solve problems quickly without making mistakes. The final stage is automaticity –students are able to solve problems quickly without errors and without much conscious attention. A student who has automaticity with math facts is able to perform other tasks at the same time (problem solving, multi-step problems, etc.). Students who have automaticity in decoding are able to read flashcards of the word without even thinking about it. Likewise, a student who has automaticity with math facts can’t help but to say the answer when they see the math fact.

Students who lack automaticity with math facts often complete higher leveled math problems riddled with tiny computation errors. These errors stem from not knowing their math facts to the level of automaticity. The student can either focus on the steps of the math problem, or focus on solving the math fact correctly, but they can’t do both. Helping students learn math facts to automaticity will improve their ability to learn and retain higher order math skills because they won’t be distracted with remembering their math facts.

How this program works: Rather than the usual sequence of learning math facts by factor (all the ones, fives, nines, etc.), this program introduces 2 new facts (and their reverses) per sheet so that students do not have too many to learn at a time. Students often fail to learn their facts because they are asked to learn too much at one time. When facts are introduced too quickly, students begin to confuse what they have already learned with newly introduced facts.

In addition, some of the more difficult facts are introduced midway through the sequence rather than at the end so that students have more time to work with them. Research seems to indicate that students often have more difficulty with these facts because they don’t have as much time to work with them, and they are learned late in the sequence when students have more facts they are trying to keep track of.

We will be making Paper Mache Penguins and Insects on January 22nd at 1:15.

HELP! I need 3-4 volunteers with clearances to help make the paper mache' portion of our Paper Mache' Penguins and Insects Projects on Friday January 22nd at 1:15-2:30. Please e-mail me if you can help. Please bring an extra large old t-shirt to wear over your clothes in a bag. We get very messy!


Scientists who have traveled to the Antarctic to study penguins have found them to be very interesting to watch. They are sometimes described as clown-like birds. I invite you to find out more about these interesting birds by visiting the following website: Thinglink: .

Using the information you find under Penguins, please complete 1 of the following activities below and return to school by Monday, January 25th.

  1. Pick a penguin and write a report about that penguin telling at least 5 facts about that species of penguin (example: Rockhopper Penguins: how it looks, what it eats, where it lives, etc.) Fill in the info on the report form and then write 5 interesting facts on the back.
  2. Write a story about a penguin. Give your penguin a name and include facts about real penguins in your story. Fill in the form on the report and write story on the other side.
    (example: There once was a penguin named Patty. She liked to eat fish and krill. She loved to toboggan down the hills of snow.)

3. Make a penguin diorama. Cover a shoebox and make a penguin scene using drawings or clip art of penguins. Write at least 3 penguin facts on and fill out report form. Please write your report or story on the attached paper. You may also make it into a book. You may include pictures from the computer or illustrations. Use your imagination. Have fun learning about penguins!

4. Please write your report or story on the attached paper. You may also make it into a book. You may include pictures from the computer or illustrations. Use your imagination. Have fun learning about penguins!

5. Take an Extra Challenge…Do two projects…report and diorama!

Students will share their projects with the class and should be able to read them by themselves.

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Click the links below for resources for to help at home.

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