1B Class Update 2

October 2019

Family Update

Hello amazing families of 1B! We have welcomed October with open arms. Thank you to everyone who made it to Back to School Night and helped make it a big success. We know work schedules are hectic and we appreciate the unconditional support from your end. It was great meeting all of you and sharing about what is happening in First Grade this year. We hope you enjoyed the presentation and got lots of information. We are truly grateful to have so many actively involved parents.

As October comes to a close and the cold weather starts to settle in, we are busy as ever in our classroom. Many exciting things have been happening! Our amazing first graders continue to blossom with their learning skills. We had many events going on such as, Picture Day, building our Magnificent Thing projects, first trip to Fort Greene Park, October birthday celebration, and last but not least we celebrated our Halloween party. Have a happy and safe spooktacular Halloween weekend everyone!


1B Halloween Costumes

Morning Meeting

During morning meeting, it is a very important part of the day because not only do we go over the daily schedule and read the morning message for important announcements, we also work on community building. We share what we did over the weekend, how we are feeling, what we are excited for that day, set personal goals on how to become better learners, and discuss topics that our class is working on.

Introducing our class pet

This year, our class pet is a golden gecko. In order to make our gecko feel like a part of our 1B classroom, we started off by voting on a name for him. Then we went up to his tank to say hi and observe how he was doing. We check up on him every day to see if he has enough food, water, and light so that he can stay healthy. We really hope that he enjoys being in our class!
Big picture


Our 1B friends have been working super hard to practice how to spell CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words in Phonics (e.g. cat, dog, pin, etc.). We have begun our unit on consonant digraphs. A consonant digraph is two consonants that come together to make one sound. For example "s" and "h" together make the sound "sh." The five consonant digraphs we've been learning are: sh, ch, wh, th, and ck. When reading at home, you can practice tapping out words with consonant digraphs to help your child sound the word out. For example, the word "sh o p" has three taps even though there are four letters because there are only three sounds to the word.

Sight words are high frequency words, which means that they show up in our reading and writing most often. Also, most of the words cannot be sounded out. Therefore, students should memorize how to read and spell these words to help both their reading and writing progress in First Grade. Some students pick up on the words quickly in class while others require practice at home. Some ideas for practice at home are: making flashcards, writing them with special markers or on an easel, writing sentences using the words, or practicing spelling them in the car (out loud or written). Below is the link to a list of Kindergarten sight words for review and each week, the list of First Grade sight words will be updated throughout the year! Some ideas for practice at home are: making flashcards, writing them with special markers or on an easel, writing sentences using the words, or practicing spelling them in the car (out loud or written).

First Grade Sight Word Song


In our first module of ELA, our 1B friends learned that various tools (e.g. magnifying glass, spoon, paintbrush, etc.) do specific jobs but also that there are "tools" that people use "without hands" to help with our work. We learned about 4 habits of character: initiative, perseverance, collaboration, and responsibility (see video below).

We read The Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires, which was about a little girl who had a wonderful idea. With the help of her puppy assistant, she plans on making the most magnificent thing! She gathers parts, and hammers and nails until finally she finishes just what she wanted. Our 1B friends identified how the girl used the habits of characters to help her create a magnificent thing in the end (a scooter and attached cart she made out of junk).

We also read The Little Red Pen by Janet Stevens and Susan Crummel, which was about a red pen who couldn't correct a mountain of homework all by herself. None of the other supplies (stapler, eraser, pushpin, highlighter) offer to help but when the Little Red Pen tumbles in exhaustion into the Pit of No Return (the trash!), her fellow school supplies must get themselves out of the desk drawer and work together to rescue her.

After reading and examining the books, 1B put these habits of character to use by building our very own magnificent things! We even wrote about what tools we used and how we used the tools to help us do the work. In our writing, we worked on including a topic sentence, two details, and a conclusion. In the next few weeks, we will begin editing and revising our work to publish and share with you at Curriculum Share along with our magnificent things! We are so excited to show and tell you what we created! Additionally, we have been practicing how to use evidence from the text to support our our thinking in reading.

We will do this by:

  1. Looking closely at the pictures

  2. Rereading important parts of the text

  3. Listen carefully to the words

  4. Answer questions about the words and pictures

  5. Act out important parts of the text

  6. Talk with classmates about the text

To support your child with this at home, encourage them to prove how they know how a character is feeling by finding a picture or word in the book that tells them this information!

Note: The video below is 1B saying our "Habit of Character" chant!
Habits of Character
Big picture
Big picture
Day 3 - Revisions to our Magnificent Things
THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING ~ Kids Books Read Aloud ~ Bedtime Stories for Kids ~ StoryTime Read Along
The Little Red Pen by J Stevens


For the past two weeks, we reviewed 2D shapes during Core Math lessons and Math Block activities. We have been enjoying geometry where we identified 2D shapes (circle, triangle, square, rectangle, trapezoid, and hexagon) by their attributes: how many straight sides and corners they have. After students exhibited solid knowledge of shape attributes, we moved on to composing new shapes (composites) and decomposing complex shapes. For instance, we created a chart and asked our friends to find different ways to decompose a hexagon. Students came up with a variety of strategies like merging 6 triangles, or 1 trapezoid and 3 triangles, or putting together 3 rhombuses, They internalized the rule that there should not be any overlaps or gaps.

Then we compared and contrasted 2D and 3D shapes. Students have been studying the various 3D shapes (spheres, cubes, cones, rectangular prisms, cylinders, and pyramids) and their attributes: faces, edges and vertices. We will be working on categorizing them based on these attributes. You can practice shapes with your child by looking for them in your home or neighborhood! As one of our 1B friends said, "3D shapes are everywhere!"

Moving forward, we will also be exploring various types of word problems and practicing how to represent our thinking in a number bond and number sentence. At home, have "math conversations" with your child about whether they are joining/adding two parts together or taking away/subtracting to find a smaller number with daily objects found at home!

IB - Family Diversity

During Inquiry time, our friends shared their family pictures and answered questions such as:
  • Who are your child’s immediate family members?

  • Who are the primary residents in your child’s household?

  • What are some important dates or events for your family?

  • What are some typical weekly routines in your household?

The students were then able to give their own interviews to other friends and learn about how many members were in their immediate family, how many pets they have, what special foods they eat, and what holidays they celebrate with their families.

Lit Block

During Lit Block, we focused mainly on reading skills. We worked on skills such as picking the perfect reading spot, how to work on ignoring distractions and why it is important to re-read stories. 1B continued to show these strategies throughout the week by adding on what we have learned. Independent reading is a time that we look forward to in order to both learn new words and show our new skills. In addition, Lit Block included strategies to use when working on our story writing skills. Students created a “heart map” which allowed them to gather ideas that interest them for story writing. They then practiced sketching ideas to remember what our stories will be about. We worked on ways to enhance our writing by using these strategies and trying to add multiple punctuation marks (.?!) in our stories.

Our school-wide Lit Block has officially begun at BPCS! It's a big change from Kindergarten where Lit Block occurred only in the classroom. Starting this year, we are moving across classrooms in all grades in order to read with students on our same levels. That means that students of the same level are grouped together regardless of what grade they're in. We have Lit Block 4 times a week this year for 1 hour each.

Just a reminder that while some kids are aware of their reading level, other friends are not, so we try our best to not emphasize the "level" as much because we know that students can get self-conscious in comparison to other friends. It definitely gets harder as the kids get older since they like to talk and share information so we just let the students know that it's best to focus on self-improvement and progress no matter what anyone else is doing.

Math Block

Math Block occurs on Wednesdays! During this hour, students are placed in small differentiated groups and rotate around the classroom through 3 stations that are either independent, semi-independent, or teacher-led. Each station is designed to strengthen the students' number sense and challenge them to solve problems by thinking about already-taught math material in a new way. It was hard in the beginning, but also lots of fun!
Big picture


Last time during "Second Step," our social-emotional curriculum, we learned that repeating things to ourselves helps us remember them. We repeated the rules by saying, "Eyes watching. Ears listening. Voice quiet. Body still." This week, we focused on something called, "self-talk" which is when we talk to ourselves in a quiet voice in our head. Even though some friends may distract us, we can still do our work by using self-talk and our attent-o-scopes. We learned that self-talk helps us learn and that we should ignore anything else that is distracting us.

We also discussed three different ways to ask for help: passively (looking down, whiny, quiet), aggressively (rude, angry), and assertively (looking at other person, sitting up straight, respectful, calm). We learned that when we get stuck, first we should try one more time by ourselves. Then we should ask another student for help. If the other student can't help us, then we should ask the teacher.

Town Hall Meeting #1


Fort Greene Park

Big picture
Playing at Fort Greene Park
Fort Greene Park sign up

Please join us on Wednesdays from 9:15-10:15 am as we play at Fort Greene Park!

Spooktacular Specials

Español with Maestro Sahil

It has been such a pleasure being your child’s Spanish teacher! I am so pleasantly surprised by how much of the language and related cultures your children have been taking in! We have been learning the basics but also expanding on the language, specifically connecting to the current inquiry unit about “Family Diversity.” In these photos you will see how the students have drawn themselves engaging in a special or routine activity with their families. We read a book called ¡A comer! (“Let’s Eat!”) and I asked the students to not simply draw their family but draw their family doing something meaningful. They also aimed to write “Yo soy un/una/x hijo/a/x sincero/a/x” (I am a sincere child) so they can practice using the verb “Soy” (I am). I felt like this was better, more meaningful, than simply having them draw themselves. Students have also been practicing saying their names to introduce themselves in Spanish in full sentences. At home you can practice asking them, “¿Cómo te llamas?” (What is your name?) and the students should respond, “Yo me llamo ___.” I have also made it a point to introduce authentic music in the classroom. One song they have loved is called “Guantanamera” by Celia Cruz. We used one of the key lines in the song to develop their writing. I would love for you to listen to this song with your child to reinforce what they have been learning in school!

Music with Mr. Kramer

For the first few weeks of school, First Graders reviewed the musical skills they learned in kindergarten. They sang, played musical games, folk danced, and moved creatively. You may have heard them singing “Try Everything” by Shakira, the spiritual “We Shall Not Be Moved”, “Bobolinka”, which is a song and a dance, or "Ickle Ockle" which is a dance and a name game. Recently, First Graders have used the rhyme “2, 4, 6, 8” to begin playing drums and working in musical partnerships.
Big picture

Musical Theater with Ms. Wangerin

1B is alive with the Sound of Music! Our 1B performers have been having an absolutely wonderful time in Musical Theatre. We are reading our morning message with a variety of expressive voices since we recently learned that as performers we may have to portray a voice other than our own. 1B has been experimenting with there library voice (whisper), snake voice, cow voice, and of course Monster and Ghost voice, just in time for Halloween.

Our vocal warm-ups have had us visiting the farm and warming up like a cow, cat, sheep, and horse. Stay tuned for more animals coming to our farm very soon. Ear training is an essential tool to help with hearing and matching pitch as well as identifying intonation in sound. This skill is something we utilize daily and benefits us in all other subjects!

Additionally, our 1B performers have been exercising to build muscle and stamina all the while working on some fancy dance moved that we will incorporate into our main performance at the end of the term. Please check out two of the many songs we have been working with, below. Have a dance party!

Finally, our special song "Let's Go Fly A Kite," is coming along and turning into something special. If you'd love to hear and see a little of what your performer has been doing, go ahead and check out the link below. I can assure you, the moment they hear it, they will start to perform!

Let's Go Fly a Kite Lyrics from Saving Mr Banks
Monster Mash (Lyrics)
Sheb Wooley -- The Purple People Eater Original Version


  • Please join us on Friday, November 15th, from 1:45-3pm for our Fall Curriculum Share with a fun presentation and performance by 1B to showcase all the learning that has been happening! We will also end the share with a Family Potluck so please read this flyer for more information and click the link below to sign up if you are bringing in something.
  • Family conferences will be held on Wednesday, November 20 and Friday, November 22. While we will have a regular school day on Wednesday, there will be no school on Friday, November 22. Please make childcare arrangements for your student(s) on that date, or consider joining the PTSO's Kid Movie Date (see below in PTSO section). To sign up, use the link below.

  • We are so excited that BPCS Book Buddies Community Volunteer program has begun! Family members have the opportunity to read to 1st grade students and help foster the love for reading. Additionally, the community volunteers assist with school requests, as needed. One of our recurring requests is to help us sort our lost and found once every end of the month. This includes going through the Lost & Found, distributing items with name tags to students/classrooms, and then bag and mark what is left over for donation. The program will run every Tuesday and Thursday from 9-11am, with 30 minutes slots for you to sign up. If you can volunteer for more than 30 min, you are welcome to stay longer. To sign up, use the link below.
1B November Potluck Extravaganza

Sign up to bring something to our first Curriculum Share potluck!

Family Conferences Sign Up

Enter 1B classroom’s entry code: 6951126096

BPCS Book Buddies Volunteer Sign Up

Community volunteers will support staff and students in a variety of ways.


  • Please send students with a water bottle so that they are able to drink throughout the day without leaving the classroom. The water bottles will be sent home daily to be cleaned and washed.
  • If you haven't already, please send your child in with an extra change of clothes in a ziploc bag with their name labeled in case of emergencies.
  • Additionally, please share a family photo with us, which will be displayed on our IB bulletin board throughout the family unit. Feel free to email your family photo to dtes1b@brooklynprospect.org or send your child in with a hard copy. Thank you for your support!
  • We have created an Amazon wishlist of classroom items we would love to have. If you choose to donate something, we want to thank you in advance and would really appreciate if you could tell us the itemized list in order to ensure that we receive the items. Thank you so much everyone!

Important Dates to Remember

  • Tuesday, November 5 - Election Day (No school)
  • Thursday, November 7 - Family Coffee (Grades K-2)
  • Friday, November 8 - Multicultural Potluck (PTSO)
  • Monday, November 11 - Veteran's Day (No school)
  • Friday, November 15 - Family Coffee (Grades 3-5)
  • Friday, November 15 - Fall Curriculum Share (1:45-3pm)
  • Wednesday, November 20 - Family Conferences
  • Friday, November 22 - Family Conferences (No school)
  • Monday, November 25-29 - Thanksgiving Break (No School)

Contact Us

Please feel free to reach out to us if you ever have any questions or concerns!