Mrs. Lahr's Classroom News

March 2016

We Have Baby Chicks!

It has been a very exciting week in our classroom! The chicks in our incubator began to hatch two days ago. When I arrived on Wednesday morning, I was greeted by one lone cheeper in the incubator, AKA "Diamond," who was still a little wet, but seemingly happy to be part of this big world. As the day went on, more and more hatched, and we learned a lot in the process. Chicks are born with an egg tooth, which they use to break open the shell during hatching. We learned that chicks do not need to eat or drink for three days because they absorb all of the fluid and nutrients from the egg sac during hatching. We learned chicks need to stay in the incubator for several hours after hatching until they are dry. Incubated chicks are born with down, and it does not keep them warm enough, so they need to be warmed by a heat lamp for 2 weeks after hatching until they lose their down and grow feathers. To survive, chicks need food, water, air, a habitat, and warmth.

Enjoy the videos and photos below to get a sample of our classroom experience! As of Saturday morning, we have 15 chicks! Adjust the volume on the video to hear the chicks peeping.

A Hatching Chick
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Our New Teacher

As most of you know, I will be going on medical leave this Friday through the end of the school year. I am very pleased to have Mrs. Heather Needham as my long-term substitute as I hobble my way through recovery with my walker and cane! Mrs. Needham has a range of teaching experience from early primary through middle school. She will be working alongside me this next week to get a feel for our classroom routines, get to know the "lay of the land," and begin to build a rapport with the children before Friday. Mrs. Needham will be issued her own district email address for school/home communication purposes. We will update you on all of the necessary details before Friday.

Mrs. Needham is going to do her best to maintain the status quo, but I've also encouraged her to use her creativity to do some fun and exciting activities and projects with the children. The hard part of first grade is over; they have all learned to read. The last few weeks can be more relaxed!

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In our upcoming unit, which Mrs. Needham will be teaching, students revisit the number sequence as they count and write numbers to 100 and beyond. Students work on achieving fluency with the two-addend combinations of ten, they are introduced to ideas about equivalence (8 + 5 = 10 + 3), and they engage in activities that highlight the importance of ten in our Base- 10 number system. As students work with contexts that provide opportunities to count by groups of 2s, 5s, and 10s, they think about ways to organize objects so that they are easier to count and combine, and they begin to make sense of what it means to count by equal groups.

Writing/Science/Social Studies

Next week we will finish our study of chick life cycles. Some other themes we will learn and write about are how insects survive in the rain, caring for koala bears, things that come from trees, and how strawberries grow.

Language Arts

In our current unit, students are learning and reviewing many strategies and skills that are useful to the proficient reader. We are covering story structure, drawing conclusions, asking and answering questions, summarizing, and cause and effect.

Guided reading groups have been changing often in recent weeks. I'm so pleased with the progress I am seeing, and it shows in the way the children are rapidly changing levels. The benchmark reading goal for all first graders is to be at level J, which is the 50th percentile, by the end of the year.

If your child makes it to level J by the end of May, it is equally important that he or she continues to read all through the summer to either maintain or increase his/her level to ensure your child enters 2nd grade at a level J or above. If children do not read during the summer, they typically lose ground (AKA, The Summer Slide), and return to school one or more levels below where they left off in May.

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Bringing Books to Life Week

Monday, April 4th, 8am to Friday, April 8th, 2:45pm

504 South Oak Street

La Crescent, MN


DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) will be taking place each day from 2:20-2:40. This is an opportunity for students to read a book of choice for 20 minutes each day (except Wednesday early release).

Storybook Character Day will take place on Thursday during the school day to show support for the big night! Children are encouraged to dress up as their favorite storybook character. Please refer to the flier that was sent home last week for costume suggestions and guidelines. Please encourage your child to also wear his/her costume that evening when you attend Bringing Books to Life.

A Storybook School Assembly is scheduled for students and staff at 1:45 on Thursday.

Bringing Books to Life Evening Events

  • Our 2nd annual Chicken Que provided by Premier Catering will take place on Thursday evening from 4:30-6:30 along with entertainment by Emma Blank. Tickets are available at the door while supplies last.

Friday Pajama Day: After a long night of reading fun, students and staff will get comfy on Friday for this last day of DEAR!

Play Day

Friday, May 20th, 8am

504 South Oak Street

La Crescent, MN

Schedule to be determined.

Storytelling in the Park at Myrick Park

Thursday, May 26th, 10:45am-2:30pm

Myrick Park Lane

La Crosse, WI

Four parent chaperones will be needed for this field trip. Please email me if your are interested.