Tumbleweed Times Week 3

News from Ranch 25 - September 16, 2016

First Grade Happenings

In math the week, we focused on ways to make 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. Look through the math pages to see examples of this work. You can read more about this module by going to Math News: Grade1, Module 1, Topic B.

This week I have started to teach the Daily 5. "The Daily 5 is a framework for structuring literacy time so students develop lifelong habits of reading, writing, and working independently." This week we focused on Read to Self and Work on Writing. Students are practicing these tasks for longer and longer periods (building stamina) and fostering independence. So far, the students are doing a great job!


The MindUP Curriculum teaches brain-focused strategies for learning and living. The goals of the program are:

  • improve children's self-control and self-regulation skills
  • strengthen children's resiliency and decision making
  • bolster children's enthusiasm for learning
  • increase students' academic success
  • reduce peer-to-peer conflict
  • develop children's positive social skills, such as empathy, compassion, patience, and generosity
  • infuse classroom learning with joy and optimism

That's a really tall order for one program, but we are having a great time so far, and I am hoping to see some great results this year. I will continue to keep you posted on how it is going, and I'll occasionally send you some great parenting articles (like the one at the end of this newsletter) that will help you support what we are working on in the classroom. Thanks!

Friday Folders & Homework

Thank you for helping your child get his/her Friday Folder to school this morning. We had 100% returned! Yay!!

Once again, reading with a parent and practicing spelling words are the only homework assignments for next week. In addition, "All About Me" poster needs to be completed and returned by Friday, September 23rd. Don't forget to add photos and fun stuff (stickers, glitter, etc.) to the poster.

You will see the first spelling test in today's Friday Folder. You may be surprised by your child's score. Taking a spelling test is hard at the beginning of the year for first graders. They have to remember how to spell the word, how to write the word, how to write the sentence, how to stay on the line, which way the letters should be facing, which letters should be capital, which punctuation to use, etc. It takes lots of practice at home. At this time, I suggest practicing each school night.

Each week a spelling practice sheet is sent home with the words and dictation sentences for the following week. You do not have to return this sheet to me. This sheet is just one way to practice the weekly words. Your child may also practice the weekly spelling words in any of the following ways: write the words in dry jello or salt on a cookie sheet, orally spell the words many times, use magnet alphabet letters, rainbow write the words (each letter in a different color marker or crayon), write each word 5 times, spell the words on an iPad or iPhone using a writing app, or give your child a practice spelling test. You can search the internet for more fun ways, or just check out this site: 10 Ways to Make Spelling Practice Fun.

Computer programs such as RAZ Kids, Compass Learning, and DreamBox are listed as homework too. Some of these programs are not up and running yet, so I do not expect students to be working on them. I will let you know through our weekly newsletters when you should start working on these computer programs. Thanks for your patience!

Charleston Wrap Fundraiser

Our PTA's only fundraiser starts today and continues through Friday, September 30th. A large envelope will all the information is in your child's backpack. We had a kick-off assembly yesterday, which encouraged students to sell lots of items so they could win big prizes. I'm sure you will be asked lots of questions.

Ranch 25 Reminders

As we end the third week of school, here are just a few reminders:
  1. Volunteers will not start until October. Let me know if you didn't get a chance to sign up, but are interested. I'll let you know what is still available.
  2. Sign up for Remind to receive reminder texts. (i.e. "Library books due tomorrow." "Wear red for Red Ribbon Week.", etc.) I promise not to send too many texts!! So far, I only have 7 families represented. (I only need one parent from each family to sign up.)
  3. Check out the classroom wiki page. There is a link to some great first grade resources.
  4. Do you want your child to be invited to birthday parties? Make sure the parents in our class have your contact information.
  5. Please help your child memorize his/her computer password. This 4-digit number is listed in box #1 (Computer and Classroom Wiki) of the password sheet in the center of the Friday Folder. This number is used as a password for many websites and apps. It is also the number used to buy hot lunch.

See the links below. Let me know if you have any trouble with anything.

Parenting Tip: Optimism 101

Optimism can feel like a big, blurry topic. But when you look closely at what is actually happening day to day for the optimist, you find they are:

  • Willing to try new things
  • Planning for the best outcome
  • Comfortable with success and failure
  • Filled with confidence in their ability to try again

Parenting strategies can influence how much our children exhibit these four characteristics and thereby how much they enjoy their lives!

Some parents are described as helicopter parents. They are always hovering and solving their child’s problems. Other parents are like lawn mowers, clearing the path of potential obstacles in front of their child.

As parents we want to protect our children from disappointments and failures. But, according to the Penn Resiliency Project, kids who are over-protected are less likely to develop optimism.

The next time you feel that urge to hover or clear the path, consider taking a deep breath and a step back. Instead of solving the problem, offer support and optimistic guidance.

One of the best ways to do this is to reflect your child’s experience and ask great questions.

For example:

  • You feel like Jenny doesn’t like you. What are some ideas about what to do?
  • You are really scared about your test. Do you remember what’s worked before when you felt scared?
  • You are so mad that the team lost and I don’t blame you. That passion is what makes you such a good player. You like to think ahead. What ideas do you already have brewing for the next game?

Note: Tone counts! Make sure your reflections come from a place of kindness and your questions from a place of genuine curiosity.

The preceding article was found at the Brain Child Blog (which is no longer a live link).

Next Week's Curriculum Focus

1.3 Reading Theme: Growing Up

Essential Question: What are the important events in the story? (This is a good question to ask when reading with your child.)

Comprehension Skill: sequence events

High Frequency Words: be, ride, run

Phonemic Awareness: short i

Vocabulary Words: adult, change, imitate, learn, practice

Spelling Words and Dictation Sentences:

be, ride, run, pin, win, sit, miss, kiss, spin, skin, quit, six

I will fill the bag with hats.

Did you see the pig in a wig?

Writing Genre: personal narrative

Math: Sums and Differences to 10

Social Studies: Rules and Laws

Important Dates

  • Ice Cream Social - Friday, September 16, 5:00-7:00 PM
  • Volunteer Workroom Training - Monday, September 19, 8:35 AM
  • MAP's Testing (Language Arts) - Monday, September 19, 8:45-9:45 AM
  • MAP's Testing (Mathematics) - Wednesday, September 21, 10:30-11:30 AM
  • Pancake Breakfast - Friday, September 23, 7:00-8:15 AM
  • Minimum Day - Wednesday, September 28, 12:02 dismissal
  • Picture Day - Tuesday, October 4th
  • All School Monthly Assembly - Friday, October 7th, 8:35 AM

Email Errors

If you received this message by error, or this is not the correct address to use for school communication, or if you would like to add an additional address, please email me and let me know.

Mrs. Baldwin - tbaldwin@sbsd.net