Mrs. Edwards' & Havens Class News

September 18, 2016


Room 304 Families,

Your weekly newsletter is delayed because I was camping and without any wifi. What's a girl to do!!!

We had another exciting week last week. Some of the highlights were our superintendent came to visit on Tuesday and on Friday we attended our first Pep Assembly, enjoyed a music assembly run by John Yeiser, earned our first ever marble party (aka Otter Pops and 10 minutes of free play outside), and completed our first STEM challenge! Our STEM challenge was about building a paper airplane. For the science component, we discussed potential and kinetic energy. We also talked about how wind can influence how far an airplane will travel. Our technology piece was watching a video on how to build a paper airplane. Our classroom ipads should be arriving this week so more technology can be used in the future! The engineering component was the construction of the airplane, testing it out, and tweaking it or starting over. Students had 3 papers they could use however they wanted! The math was focused on symmetry and how airplanes are symmetrical. We had so much fun and you can see some photos below.

We are looking forward to another fun week with this delightful group of students.

Readers Workshop

We have made it to 14 minutes of reading stamina! We are still focusing on procedures and expectations, as these are vital to the success of our reading instruction. Students learned the three ways to read a book and they are to look at the pictures, read the words, and retell the story. While the words are important, the pictures often help us paint a picture in our mind of what is happening in the story, how characters are feeling by looking at their facial expressions, and give information that may not be in the words. Please encourage your child to take the time to really look at the pictures while reading. After reading, your child should be able to tell you what happened at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the story. These details need to be in sequential order.

As we assess our students in first grade, they read a story at what we feel could be their independent reading level, retell the story, and then answer 4 questions about the story. Some questions are about details in the story, how characters feel, and/or an inferential question. We will be listening to each child read to determine their independent reading level. This means that your child reads 96%+ of the words correctly, can retell the story, and answer questions. So far, we have been very impressed with our first grade readers! We can tell that many of them did a lot of reading over the summer. Thank you!

Writers Workshop

During writing last week, we focused how to identify a run-on sentence and how to use our classroom word wall. To introduce run-on sentences, we watched a BrainPop video that the kids loved. They learned that a sentence has ONE idea. If their sentence has TWO ideas then the two ideas need to get stuck together with a comma and "sticky word" (aka conjunction) like and or but. Another option is to make their two ideas into two sentences by inserting a period followed by a capital letter. We then did a lot of practice and I was truly amazed at how careful students were about going back to read each sentence in each story they had written. They seem to love seeing their classmate's work under the document camera as we look at how well students are finding their run-on sentences and fixing them. They did so well, and I was one proud teacher!

We also talked about the importance of spelling the words on word wall correctly. At this point in the year, those words are the TK and kinder high frequency words. We now know these words as "No Excuse Words" because they have no excuse to misspell them since they are on the wall! The class got a nice giggle out of that! We also talked about the importance of sounding out the word and listening for all the sounds. In first grade, we really rely upon our best guess spelling because we don't want to skip using a fancy word just because we aren't sure how to spell it.


Last week we began our district adopted math curriculum. We are working on addition and subtraction concepts. Did you know that the two numbers we add together are called partners? We might know them as addends, and this term will be introduced, but to start off the year, "partners" is a more kid-friendly word! Your child's work will come home in Friday Folders this week.

In addition to working with partners, we also completed another story problem. I must say, we are impressed with our class's ability to explain their thinking! When these story problems come home, you will see that they are being evaluated in two ways: valid strategy and correct answer. In order to get credit for a valid strategy, a child must show his/her work and the work must make sense. In some cases, we will meet with the child to get a better understanding of what their thinking was. For example, for a problem that involved adding 4 and 6, some students did 5+5. A few students explained, "I took 1 from the 6 and gave it to the 4 so I could easily add doubles." Pretty advanced explanation for first grade, but a valid strategy! Some students stated, "I knew the answer was 10 so I just showed my work with 5+5." This strategy wasn't valid since there was no direct connection to the numbers given in the story problem. An equation showing 4+6=10 is valid as well as a picture of 4 items and 6 items equaling 10. In math we want students to know that there are many ways to solve the same problem and the strategy they use to get there is just as important, if not more important, than the answer itself.

Dino Dash Registration

Please sign up to support Tustin Public Schools Foundation AND our classroom. A portion of each registration comes back to the classroom so we can purchase books and classroom supplies.

Please sign up if you haven't already.

Upcoming Events

September 21: Dine Out Event at Pieology in the Marketplace

September 26-30: Book Fair

October 4: First Day of PE (Tues. and Thurs. please wear tennis shoes and bring water)

October 10-14: Fall Conferences

October 17: Picture Day

October 18: Donuts with Dad (7:30am-8:30am)

October 31: No School (Teacher Work Day)

November 6: Dino Dash

November 11: No School (Veteran's Day)

November 21-25: No School (Thanksgiving Break)

December 1: Make-up Picture Day