Mrs. Wallach's Firstie Flyer

Friday, December 4, 2015

Greetings from first grade!

I hope all is well as the holiday season amps up! Don't forget to take time to remind each other of what this season is really about. We're trying to do that here by leading a school-wide winter coat drive entitled: ONE WARM COAT. All gently-used winter coats that are donated will go to people in our community who need them to help stay warm this winter (with help from the Haven). We're collecting up until the 18th!

On an unrelated note - winter gear season is approaching. Many parents wonder how to deal with all the gear coming to and from school everyday. (So do I!) Your child may leave a pair of sneakers here at school once boot season arrives. They can come in each morning and change into their shoes for the school day, and leave again in their boots. I strongly encourage you to have sneakers available for the school day! Trudging around in wet boots all day is no fun!

Once the time comes for arriving in snow pants, hats, and mittens, we will hang those up in the classroom upon arrival, and children will be sent home in them at the end of the day. We do not leave those at school! Unless told specifically otherwise, I will always try to send your child home in the same gear they came to school in! Note - we do go out for recess unless the temperature gets REALLY cold (like below zero) so make sure everyone's bundled. It's also a good idea to pack an extra pair of mittens to keep in the backpack in case wet slushy snowballs soak little hands at recess!

News and Events

Recent News and Events

Norwich Inn visit - As part of our social studies unit on community, we visited the Inn on Tuesday to get a behind the scenes look into what goes on there.

Police officer visit - We also had a police officer come and visit our classroom last Monday to hear about how she helps the community.

Valley Terrace visit - Last Tuesday we went to Valley Terrace with our 4th grade buddies to play bingo with the residents!

Dan and Whits visit - We also visited Dan & Whits to get a behind the scenes tour.

Upcoming News and Events

Next week: Hour of Code - The entire school will participate in the "hour of code" project, which aims to expose all school-aged children to computer coding.

Tuesday, December 15th: Next Valley Terrace visit

Wednesday, December 16th: Holiday Concert in gym at 5pm (Please drop your firstie off in our classroom 10-15 minutes early and then find a seat in the gym. We'll meet you back in our classroom after the concert. Students generally dress up a bit for this special occasion.)

Friday, December 18th: Home Depot engineering project: Some folks from home depot will be coming in to do a wood working project with us as part of their community programming.

Academic Updates

Mathematics Focus

Making sense of and developing strategies to solve addition and subtraction problems with small numbers

  • visualizing and retelling the action in subtraction situations involving removal
  • subtracting one number from another, with initial totals of up to 12
  • developing strategies for solving subtraction problems
  • modeling the action of a subtraction problem with counters or drawings

Using manipulatives, drawing, tools, and notation to show strategies and solutions

  • using numbers to record
  • developing new methods for recording subtraction strategies


capitalization and puncuation


Writing Workshop has begun!

  • thinking about a story from real life
  • drawing and writing all about that story
  • adding more to pictures and words
  • starting a new piece when finished ("when you're done you've only just begun!")
  • using writer tools appropriately
  • "stretching out" tricky words and writing all the sounds you hear
  • writing for at least 10 minutes without stopping

Writing about reading

  • writing events that happened in a reading group book

Journal writing continues...

  • generating ideas
  • writing a sentence to tell about something true from your life
  • adding one or two more sentences to tell more details
  • drawing a picture to match the words
  • sharing with the class in a loud clear voice

Phonics and Snap Words

Phonics Concepts
  • "bonus letter" spelling rule (ll, ff, ss, sometimes zz)
  • glued sound: all

Snap Words

  • you
  • your
  • I
  • they
  • was
  • one
  • said

Guided Reading Groups

Recent Reads by Group:

  • Red Jaguars: Markets; Meli on the Stairs; The Sky; Homes
  • Orange Iguanas: We Live Here; My Puppy; Our Garden; A Day at the Park
  • Green Monkeys: This is My Town; The Gingerbread Man; Out for Lunch; Dinner for Maisy
  • Blue Barracudas: This is My Town; The Three Bears; The Puppets; Mix a Pancake
  • Silver Snakes: Markets; Apple Pie; Time for Lunch;

Social Studies


Who helps in communities? What do those community workers and helpers do?

How do people get what they need in communities?

Wants vs Needs

Read Alouds

Comprehension focus:

  • using prior knowledge to help understand
  • making connections
  • using performance to help understand

Classroom Needs

Right now we need...

Starting in second and third grade, students keep their own pair of headphones at school or in their backpack in a plastic baggie...if possible, it would be helpful to start that trend in first grade for when we do use the ipads or computer lab. There are communal headphones available but they are oftentimes being used or broken. If your child has their own headphones, you can put them in a plastic baggie with their name on it and send them to school so they can use them here!

Also, my sony boombox from middle school finally broke - and so our listening center broke along with it! If someone has an extra music player they no longer use, OR (even better) an old iphone or ipod that is no longer in use - we would happily take it off your hands for our listening center.