Mrs. Stanley's January Newsletter

Curriculum and other fun "stuff"

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a peaceful and relaxing holiday break. I caught "the bug" that was going around, so I was glad to have the time to rest during our break - I needed every single day of it. It was wonderful to have our Spartans home for the holidays. They are back up at Michigan State, and we are all good to go now, excited to move forward in the new year.


We have cleared the hurdle of the first few months of first grade in Room 1118 and are really gaining momentum in learning! It seems as if the children are healthy once again, and READY to soar!

Welcome (again!) to Miss Shauna Mason

Miss Mason is now doing her "final phase" of her internship through Oakland University and will be with us full-time until April 21. If you haven't had a chance to meet her yet, please join me in giving her a warm Northwood welcome when you see her.

Social Studies

This month we will be learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the ways he made a difference in our country. The lessons he taught about being a peacemaker are important ones. To that end, we will make connections in our own lives on Bully Prevention and being a good OAK (Outstanding learners, Always respectful, Kindness counts, and Safety first).

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Expressions Math

We have completed Unit 3 in our Math series which featured instruction in Operations and Algebraic Thinking. We are now embarking on Unit 4 to learn all about Number and Operations in Base Ten. This unit begins with Place Value. You should have received the Family Letter explaining the content of the unit. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

English/Language Arts

In Reader's Workshop we are continuing to work on Informational reading. The children are being immersed in multiple "mentor texts" to see the different facets of non-fiction books. Instruction in Informational reading involves learning about various text features (headings, diagrams, labels, etc.) to understand how these books are organized.


Each child has a selection of leveled non-fiction books to read, (as well as a variety of fiction books) in their personal book bins. Remember, the children read independently, in partnerships, with me in strategy groups and in individual conferences.


The children are using text features as tools in Writer's Workshop as well. We are writing "How-To" books in class. Each child has written a list of things s/he knows how to do, what one would need to "do" this thing, the steps in doing it, and has made a rough draft of the book. Our goal is for each child to "publish"at least two "How-To" books before we move on to "All About" books.


Class READERS- Many children have been asking to read to the class. As I'm sure you know, we are very busy during the school day, however I love that they have the confidence to share in front of their classmates. I am going to put a schedule together so that one child may read a book to the class at the end of each day. I will send that to you. Your child is NOT required to do this activity at this time. During "March is Reading Month", reading to the class will be an assignment, so this will be good practice. If your child would like to participate in reading to the class, please help your child choose a book that is at his or her independent reading level (ie: easy for him or her to read fluently), not more than 10 minutes long and well-rehearsed.

Science

We received our new science kits last week and will begin our study on Matter this week: Solids and Liquids. This is a favorite unit for first graders as they begin to explore the properties of matter: colors, shapes, hardness, sink or float, viscous or fluid, etc. We will be writing a LOT in this unit, recording our observations and discoveries.

AIMSweb and Spelling Inventories

We will be giving our Winter reading, writing and math assessments this week and next. We have been practicing in each area, and I'm excited about the progress the children are making! We are also looking at the WTW groupings to adjust for instructional needs.

This and that...

There was a presentation on Friday by the Red Cross about the Blood Drive, which will be on January 27 at the Berkley Blood Donor Center on the corner of Woodward and Catalpa, beginning at 1:30 PM.


The Green Schools Committee also came to talk to the children about the importance of recycling, reducing and reusing. Please send your child's lunch/snacks in reusable containers if possible, or at least recyclable if not.


Thank you to the Stoller Family who donated a game to the class for Zoe's birthday! What a great idea! It is even more appreciated because of the indoor recess we will be sure to have during inclement weather.


Speaking of Weather... please make sure your child is prepared to play OUTSIDE, just in case. This means boots, gloves, hats, snow pants.


Gym shoes- Please be sure that on Phys Ed (gym) days (Monday and Wednesday) your child has the appropriate shoes to wear for running. Slip-on shoes can easily slip OFF during running and playing indoor games. Boots are never appropriate or safe to wear in the gym of course, so be sure your child has extra shoes in his/her backpack when s/he wears boots to school.


We can help! If you have any "trinkets" that you would like to purge from your storage, we could use smallish items for our treasure box! The children earn little prizes with our weekly classroom OAKS drawing, and the supply is getting thin. Keep us in mind if you're out of your mind with "stuff"! Pencils, stickers, little stuffed animals (McDonald's prize-size)...and the like.


Remember NO SCHOOL on Monday, January 19 to honor Martin Luther King Day, and also on Friday, January 23 for Records Day.


Report Cards go home on Monday, February 2.


Thank you for your unwavering support!

Kim Stanley