Ms. Winpigler's First Grade Class!

It is going to be a great year !

About Me

This will be my seventh year teaching. I have spent all of my years teaching at Hillcrest in first grade. I went to Notre Dame University of Maryland for my bachelor's degree in elementary education. In my years at Hillcrest, I have taken on a role of site coordinator where I now work for Notre Dame University and manage the college interns and their placement in our school. It was a wonderful opportunity to keep in touch with my alma mater. I was also nominated for Baltimore County Teacher of the Year award in 2013. I host our school's Bilingual Family Night, this event is currently the only one occurring in the state of Maryland! It has given me lots of opportunities to spread the word on this great event, and I was able to present at the Maryland PDS conference this past year to showcase this wonderful event!

I live in Canton with my dog Charlie, we love the city atmosphere. I was born and raised in Baltimore County, and went through the Baltimore County public school system. I am a HUGE Baltimore Ravens fan and love to do anything that keeps me active!

First Grade Thoughts..

I truly believe first grade is the BEST grade. The children grow so much throughout this year not only academically, but socially and emotionally. It truly is a blessing to be their teacher and to be part of this wonderful transition for them. We try to make first grade as interactive, engaging, fun and meaningful as possible. I try my best to create close relationships with all of my student's families, I believe that is so important so that the student's can have a successful year!

My Favorites

Color: Mint Green

Stores: Target/ Michaels

Food: Tacos

Books: Mystery

Hobbies: reading, playing with my pup, working out, shopping

Animal: OWLS :)

Please check back to this page for updates throughout the school year. I will be posting things that we are learning about and pictures of all of our fun learning activities :)

Thank you for visiting!

Ms. Winpigler

September Newsletter

Ms. Winpigler’s Beginning of the Year Newsletter

Hello, families! Welcome to another exciting year for your child! I like to send out a newsletter every month to keep you updated on what’s going on in your child’s classroom. J We strive to be a “green classroom” and I love post all of my newsletters!

Important Dates:

  • September 6- BTSN
  • September 12- Professional Development Day-No school for srudents

This is an overview of some of our classroom information. Some of this information was discussed at Back-To-School Night.


We work hard each day to practice our routines. Most of our routines are the same each day, as to provide the children with consistency, as well as responsibility. Each day, they are to go to their lockers, take out their homework folder, homework journal and their snack. THEIR SNACK SHOULD BE PACKED SEPARATELY FROM THEIR LUNCH EACH DAY. The children come in, answer the question of the day, take down their chair, sharpen any pencils, and get started writing in their Time Tracker Journal. Can you believe they know how to do this already? They do this every morning.

We have Wonders Phonics instruction almost every morning, as well as handwriting practice each day. I try to use many tactile writing instruments (paint bags, shaving cream, fun pencils, dry erase board, water…), so our work is not always on pencil and paper. Even for fluent readers, review and extension of phonics instruction is helpful in learning to be a better speller and writer. Please ask your child each day about what sounds they talked about today. At home, you can exaggerate the daily sound (count ten teeth, set the t-t-timer, etc.) to help your child hear the sound easier. If they can’t remember the sound from the day, review another one we’ve done.


Math is in the afternoon. This month, we are/will be learning about attributes, patterns, more than/less than, number recognition and correspondence, and comparing quantities. At home, you can make patterns with cereal, blocks, paint, etc. You can point out math in their environment and practice counting and writing numbers.

Our Class Moto

In our classroom, we place a strong emphasis on being respectful, being kind to others and being safe. We discuss safety in our room by walking, always pushing in our chair (surprisingly, not an easy task to remember), tying our shoes, picking up after ourselves and even others sometimes, etc. These are safety things that can be emphasized at home, as well. Please review Our Class Constitution with your child.


Each week, your child will receive 2-3 homeworks (Reading/Spelling/ and a Math). Please be sure to sign this EACH NIGHT. I check homework every Friday. IF A PARTICULAR ASSIGNMENT SEEMS VERY DIFFICULT FOR YOUR CHILD, JOT ME A NOTE (cursive is great)! I CAN THEN GIVE THEM EXTRA HELP. Your child is responsible for his/her own homework, as well as taking home/returning papers each day. Unlike kindergarten, we do not stuff folders in first grade. We remind the children every day to check folders, glue in homework and take home homework journals and folders, but ultimately they are responsible for following the directions. Please emphasize this sense of responsibility at home, as well.


We have many different jobs in our classroom. Your child will have the opportunity to be in charge of a particular task. Due to our class size, they do not have a job every week, but that’s not to say I don’t give them jobs doing other things. We work really hard on being responsible and the children LOVE having jobs.

Star Student of the Week

Each week, a new student is selected randomly to be our Star Student. You will get a specific packet with directions when it’s your child’s turn


We do celebrate birthdays in our class. If it is your child’s birthday and you would like to send in a small snack to celebrate, please send me a note in advance so we can arrange a time. I have birthday crowns for the birthday student to wear, and we sing. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT WE DO HAVE PEANUT ALLERGIES IN FIRST GRADE. Please be mindful of these children and their safety by providing peanut-free snacks/foods.

It is Baltimore County policy now that all baked goods brought in must be packaged with the ingredients listed. We can no longer have home-baked goods. This policy is to protect the safety of our little ones.

Behavior Management

On the second day of school, the children created their class constitution—their rules for their class. They made their own rules, so I feel they need to be responsible for them. Each child’s goal is to always be on green. If the student starts to make poor choices, he/she gets moved to yellow (stop and think time). If the behavior is not improved, he/she gets moved to red. The first time, this means 5 minutes taken away from recess. If the behavior continues, there will either be a note or phone call home. Many times, however, behavior stops at yellow. Please initial your child’s behavior calendar each night..

We also operate on a ticket system. When I “catch” a friend doing their work, or being kind to others, etc., I give them a ticket. The child writes his/her name on the ticket, places it in a designated basket, and each Friday, if they have earned at least 5 tickets that week, they may pick a prize from the treasure box. Sometimes, I also reward non-chosen friends if they have demonstrated exceptional behavior. We start from scratch each week. I also love to make positive phone calls home, so don’t worry if you hear me calling!

Please feel free to contact me via e-mail if you ever have any questions or concerns. My e-mail is

I look forward to a great year!


Amanda Winpigler

Our Class is doing great at practicing our Daily 5! Reading to Someone is a class favorite!

Who doesn't love a brain break!?! It is a great way to give our brains a boost!

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Our Family Classroom Tree is complete!

I love our family tree showing what everyone loves to do! The children love looking at their friends pictures and having their own pictures in our room!

October Newsletter

Ms. Winpigler’s October Newsletter

Important Dates:

  • October 3rd - School is closed for students- Rosh Hashana
  • October 12th- School is closed for students- Yom Kippur
  • October 21st-School Closed for students
  • October 28th- School closes 3 hours early
  • October 31st- Halloween Brunch- details to follow

Reading News:

  • Last month, we learned about Johnny Appleseed. We watched a movie, sorted true and false statements, sampled different apple varieties and read to perform a task in order to make delicious applesauce from scratch.
  • Our reading skills we have focused on and will continue to focus on during reading are:
    • Making predictions
    • Summarizing
    • Asking questions
    • True and False
    • Sequencing
    • Problem and Solution
    • Text to self connections
    • Comparing characters from multiple texts
    • Story elements
  • When we are reading a word, we also sometimes take “shortcuts”. This can happen if they know a word inside a word, they don’t need to say each sound. For example, my word is STOP. If I recognize the word top, I can just add that s sound to the word. I don’t have to sound out each individual sound.
  • Our order for reading a story: First, we discuss the vocabulary words, then we take a “picture walk” by looking quickly through the book (not reading). Then, we make a prediction of what the story is about (we link this to their background knowledge-“I know that dogs like to play fetch, and I see that there is a dog with a ball on the cover…I think the story may be about a dog who likes to fetch.”)Finally, we read the story together and practice the skill that relates to the story.

Other News:

  • October is Fire Safety month. Do a walk-through with your child of the fire safety plan for your home. Have a designated place for them to go and a plan of action.
  • We will be discussing autumn and Halloween vocabulary so be on the lookout for these words! We will also be studying skeletons and bones as we get closer to the end of the month.
  • Reminder: Mystery Readers come on the assigned Fridays from 12:00 -about to 12:30. Please let me know by Wednesday of that week about your book/activity selection. Don’t forget to sign in the office before you come down. If you are interested in being a Mystery Reader and have not signed up yet, please e-mail me at
  • Scholastic Books: Our class code is HQ79Q. You may go online to order books using our code to receive discounts and earn bonus points for our classroom library!
  • Volunteers: I sent an email to access my signup sheet for classroom volunteers, if you would like to sign up please email me and I can re-send the link!

Virtue of the Month: RESPECT

Thanks for all your support at home! Have a great October!


Amanda Winpigler

Pumpkin Carving!

We are having a great week. We have been reading non-fiction text to learn about skeletons, bats, spiders and the life cycle of a pumpkin. Here are some pictures of the student's helping me make our class jack-o-lantern!

November Newsletter

Ms. Winpigler’s

November Newsletter

Important Dates:

November 8- Schools Closed for Election Day

November 10- Report cards distributed

November 11- Conference Day- School Closed for Students

November 15- American Education Day for 1st grade

November 24-25- Schools are closed for Thanksgiving

Classroom News:

  • This month we are focusing on gratitude and being thankful.
  • Also, please be aware that with the cold weather approaching all students should dress appropriately, we will continue to have outdoor recess, weather permitting, throughout winter. We will not send a child out for recess unless they have the proper clothing. If it is below 60 degrees they must have a jacket.
  • We will have our Thanksgiving Day Feast On November 23rd. Please go to the sign-up genius that I sent out to sign up to bring in a food item for the day!

  • Character Trait of the Month: pride

Some great Kevin Henkes books are:

    • Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse
    • Chrysanthemum
    • Lilly’s Big Day
    • Owen
    • Chester’s Way
    • Julius- The Baby of the World
    • Julius’s Candy Corn
    • Lilly’s Chocolate Heart
    • Owen’s Marshmallow Chick
    • Sheila Rae’s Peppermint Stick
    • A Weekend With Wendell
    • Wemberly Worried
    • Wemberly’s Ice Cream Star

· The children have been learning Spanish each day during our morning routine. They should be able to tell you:

      • Days of the week (Monday- Lunes, Tuesday- Martes, Wednesday-Miercoles, Thursday-Jueves, Friday-Viernes, Saturday-Sabado, Sunday-Domingo) For an added challenge, the kids figure out what was yesterday (ayer), what is today (hoy) and what will tomorrow be (manana)
      • Our months -we’ve done September (Septiembre), October (Octubre) and November (Noviembre)
      • Counting
      • Misc. Words: bathroom (bano), boy/girl (chico/chica), maestro (teacher)

· Mystery Readers: Please remember to let me know your literature choice(s) for your visit by the WEDNESDAY of your week. If you need suggestions on books or topics, please let me know! Don’t forget to sign in at the office and let the secretary know so that she may “announce” your arrival. J

Happy November!


Amanda Winpigler

December Newsletter

December Newsletter

Special Dates:

December 22nd- Holiday festivities and special brunch (more information to come)

December 23rd- returning January 2nd- School will be closed for winter break !

Phonics News:

We have been/will be focusing on blends, special sounds and digraphs like /th/. /sh/, /ch/, /tch/, /ng/, /wh/, /ar/, /er-ir-or-ur/. We will be reviewing about the “magic e” (when you add an “e” to the end of a word and it makes the vowel long like in mate, cane, rake….).

Reading News:

We continue to use many of our reading strategies like questioning, predicting and summarizing. We are also identifying the beginning, middle and end of books (which is something great to do at home, too). Our class is really focusing on checking their own work to make sure that it makes sense. Please encourage this at home, as well. We are also working on answering questions in a complete sentence. Our rule of thumb with answers is: I should be able to tell what the question was just by looking at your answer.

Please practice handwriting at home with your child. They have learned how to correctly write the alphabet letters, so we are encouraging them to do their best printing! They should also be writing with a capital letters in the beginning of the sentence and punctuation at the end. With homework, let your child write first, then go back and edit together.

Fun reading ideas for home:

Keep a journal between you and your child. Write each other notes in it each day and keep it in a special place.

Write notes to your child on their lunch napkins.

Practice handwriting with cool gel pens, markers, fun pencils….

Other News…

We have been talking this month about feelings and how we can respect others. Please encourage your child at home to talk about their feelings and remind them that it’s okay to FEEL something, but not always okay to ACT upon it.

The children did a wonderful job on their Gratitude Turkey Placemats! They really worked hard and made some nice keepsakes to remember all the wonderful things they have in their lives.

Don’t forget about the Pizza Hut Reading Logs! They’re due at the end of every month. They earn a personal pan pizza for each month and if they participate every month, they get to have a pizza party!

Good Books To Read

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

The Mitten by Jan Brett

The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett

Claude Monet: Sunshine and Waterlilies by Steven Packard and True Kelly

This Is the Dreidel by Abby Levine

I enjoyed meeting with all of you at our conferences a couple weeks ago! Many parents had asked at conferences about an age appropriate dictionary for home. This is one of the ones we use in our classroom that the children really like: Scholastic First Dictionary

Happy December!

Amanda Winpigler

January Newsletter


Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and relaxing holiday. I know I did! The next few months are an exciting time for your child- the children are really becoming great readers! I am, as I’m sure you are, very proud of them and their efforts. Your support from home is wonderful, and it is just what they need to be successful!


  • January 16th - Martin Luther King Jr. Day- Schools closed
  • January17th - Schools closed for students

Spelling and Reading News:

We will continue our spelling program throughout the second half of the year. The words will get harder each week, so it is important that you study with your child. I encourage the children to practice their words each night. A quick 5 minute flashcard review here and there can really help your child. Here are some fun ways to practice at home:

· Flashlight words- write the words somewhere in the room, turn out all the lights, and have them light up the words

· Shaving cream (whipped cream finger paint…)- put your favorite squishy stuff on a cookie sheet and practice writing your words

· Paint your words

· Have a contest with a sibling (or parent)

· Go on a word hunt around the house- see if you can find any of these words

· Magazine words- cut out letters from magazines in order to write your spelling list

· Sidewalk chalk

· (pretty soon you can do…) Snow words: Write in snow with your fingers, sticks, paint…

· Use really cool markers, pens, crayons and paper to practice

· Write silly songs/poems/stories using your words

· Label things in your house that are from the spelling list


Other News:

We will continue to go outside for recess during the winter months. Please send in a winter coat, gloves, a hat and scarf with your child every day. If they are not properly dressed for the weather, we cannot take them outside.

Thanks for all your hard work at home! Happy January!

100th Day of School!

I can't believe we already made it to our 100th day! It feels like just yesterday that we all started together. We had a blast celebrating 100 days of school. We mastered 100 exercises, counted to 100 and created our very own 100th day snacks! We have all made such tremendous progress these past 100 days, I can't wait to see how much more we grow this year!
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Healthy Eating Assembly~

Shout out to Mrs. Woods for another fabulous assembly. We learned about the food groups and their special powers to help keep our bodies strong and healthy. Then we were able to make our own breakfast kabobs to try all the food groups together. It was a great lesson and everyone loved their special treat!
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February News Updates

Well it looks like we aren't having any snow days this year.... But that means we can just keep rolling through the year!

Important Dates:

February 14th- Valentine's Day

February 17th- Schools close 3 hours early

February 20th- Schools Closed- President's Day

February 28th- Black History Month Project is Due

I am so happy to see so many students practicing their sight words and turning in their baggies to get new words regularly. They are really working hard and it is showing! If your child has lost their baggie of sight words to practice, please let me know and we can make them a new bag so that they can continue practicing the words that they need to know.

This month we are focusing on friendship and kindness with it being Valentine's Day.

We are also learning about famous Black Americans and their contributions to our society. I am very excited about seeing the student's black American projects once they are finished. I will be sending home a presentation schedule soon, we will be presenting in March!



Ms. Winpigler’s Class


March 17- St. Patrick’s Day

March 18- Absolutely Incredible Kid Day- do something special for your child to demonstrate how incredible he/she is!

March 20- First day of spring

March 25- Maryland Day


Due to weather, we have had a good bit of indoor recess. The children love to use the dry erase boards and we have gone through many markers. If you are able to send in a few dry erase markers for the kids to use, we would appreciate it. We also plea for tissues and wipes!

The children have done a wonderful job of turning in their Pizza Hut readers logs at the end of each month. March is the last month for the logs. Children that have completed their logs each month will be invited to a special pizza party with Ms. Winpigler If your child has done all but one month, you may read extra books this month to fill in the empty one.



Ms. Winpigler

Dr. Seuss Day!

We had so much fun celebrating Dr. Seuss' birthday! We had a tasty treat, read about his life and lots of his books!


We are loving our STEM center and STEM challenges! We were challenged this week to build the tallest standing tower using 10 pipe cleaners! They did a great job working in their teams to complete the challenge.

April Newsletter

April Newsletter

Important Dates

  • April 22- Earth Day
  • April 20- Report Card Distribution
  • April 10-17- Spring Break

Reading News

The children are coming along beautifully with their reading and writing. Their writing journals show their growth throughout the past few months. The children have been learning to write in order to perform a task, opinion writing, explaining the author’s point of view, as well as personal narratives. We have been reading a variety of books. The children have been reading lots of non-fiction text about animals and folktales from around the world.

Author of the Month: Shel Silverstein

Misc. Notes

· April is National Poetry Month! You will see many poetry activities come home this month.

· The children will be bringing home art smocks over spring break to wash them. Please be sure your child has his/her art smock back at school for art class on Thursdays. Thanks!

· Homework: After your child has completed his/her homework, please go back and edit with them. Answers to questions should be in complete sentences and there should be correct spelling, punctuation and capitalization. Please remember to initial homework every week.

· Pizza Hut Logs: Children whom have completed every month of their Pizza Hut Reading Logs will be invited to a special pizza party in May. They will get a note to go home as the day approaches.

Happy April!

Ms. Winpigler

May Newsletter

Ms. Winpigler’s May Newsletter

Important Dates:

May 14th: Happy Mother’s Day!

May 12th: Zoo Trip

May 24th: Fish Release

*We are able to bring as many chaperones as we would like (no small children, though, please) on our trip.

June 9th : First Grade Picnic: Parents are welcome to join us on this day: I will give more details in the next couple of weeks


  • I will be sending home another copy of the class information list (in case your original has disappeared) so you’re ready for summer playdates!
  • During the months of May and June, the kids will have an opportunity to be our Story Reader (to show off those magnificent reading skills, of course)! Each child will be assigned a day and they may choose the story to read to the class. Please help them choose a school and length (10 minutes, tops) appropriate book that they can read well. Help them remember to bring it in that day. They will be getting the schedule soon!
  • In Reading, we focused on developing Voice in our writing by reading text with different emotions and identifying the way that authors use word choice, punctuation, and how they convey emotion to the audience.
  • We discussed ways that we could help the earth and wrote haikus for Earth Day.
    • We read stories about inventions and inventors and learned how to read and write good directions.
    • We also learned about Mexico for Cinco de Mayo.
  • In Science, we have been project engineers for Under Armour! We are helping them create new gear for children that can help with daily problems using animal and plant parts to help!
  • In Math, we have been learning patterns, expanded form, place value, counting up to 120 by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s, and our addition and subtraction skills.
  • In Health, we will be learning about the food pyramid and making healthy food choices.
  • This is our last month for volunteers. Thank you to all the parents/grandparents who have donated their time and energy into helping our class. We appreciate it!