Spotlight on Specials

2nd Quarter First Grade

The Exploratory Team

The teachers of these exploratory classes are committed to inspire the creative genius in all students through art, technology, library media, music, counselor and physical education.


During the second quarter, first grade students worked very hard to complete the following art projects:

Leaf Prints: During this lesson, students learned about different forms of print making and how leaves can be used to create a print. After printing leaves on a piece of paper, students made an abstract painting around their prints.

Contour Owl: After reviewing different types of lines, students learned how artist use lines when drawing. Students discussed that contour lines are lines that show the outside edge of a drawing and that continuous lines are lines that connect to one another. To draw a continuous line, students could not lift their pencil off their paper while drawing! Students each drew owl using the two types of lines and then colored their drawing in with warm and cool colored markers. I encouraged students to make patterns with the colors they selected.

Sun Mosaics: During this lesson, students learned how the ancient Aztecs created works of art inspired by the sun. Additionally, students learned that mosaics are made from fragmented pieces of glass or tile that create a picture. Students combined these two ideas to create a sun mosaic! Instead of using glass or paper, students made a mosaic from noodles.

Physical Education

The second quarter was filled with fun activities. We focused on aerobic activities in which students participated in activities that required them to be very active. We learned about our heart rate and how to find it; we got to practice that quite a bit! The students are getting really good at being able to find their heart rate when they are asked to. We were able to play games such as gladiators, which involves constant moving around, hula-hoop rescue and capture the flag relay- all very active games. The students did great! We then focused on throwing and catching. Students were taught to remember three key things when throwing: Step with opposite foot, aim at target, and follow through. Students got to practice throwing to targets, partners and even throw in game like situations. Our words for each week were energy, pulse, endurance, nutrition, aerobic, power and accountable. I look forward to the rest of the year!


In our library classes this quarter students were very excited to get to visit the Fiction and Nonfiction sections of our library to select books for checkout. Students in first grade check out an Everyone book weekly. Everyone books are ones that have lots of pictures – we call it the artists’ or illustrators’ section of the library. Their other book choice can be a “read to me” book. If your child ever brings home a book that you feel is inappropriate either for content or reading difficulty, have them return it to the library to make another selection. We identified differences between choosing books at the Book Fair and choosing books from the library and watched a video previewing some of the exciting books coming to the fair. We had fun viewing an online class in saying an “I PICK” rap which that class had posted on YouTube. We continued using the I PICK strategy in choosing good fit books. We read the story, Olivia by Ian Falconer and recalled details from the story to write and illustrate a sentence. We continued practicing correct use of shelf markers and placing books correctly back on the shelves.


During the second quarter, 1st Graders have been busy in Music class! Students worked with high/low sounds, listening, moving, same/different parts of a song, rhythm reading and writing, and we even started playing barred instruments (xylophones). Halloween/Fall is always a fun time in Music class! We used some fun Fall songs to learn about rhythm, play and create movement. Students spent time reading, counting, playing, and writing quarter notes ("beat"), eighth notes ("beat-and") and rests. We also began preparations for our Music Program, "S is for Sunflower"! Students are so excited to be on the Riverview stage for the first time on January 28th! Look for detailed information about this performance in Monday Folders! To finish off this quarter, we spent some time learning Winter Holiday songs for the school-wide sing-a-long!


In first grade we worked on our MS Word skills by typing our career day paper. We learned how to add a border, format the text size, save our paper and use special keys. Towards the end of the quarter we were able to get a quick introduction in computer coding through a series of interactive tutorials. Students participated in The Hour of Code a program sponsored by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and many other technology innovators to get kids excited about programming.


The second quarter of school has flown by and we have been busy learning about The Zones of Regulation. The Zones of Regulation is a cognitive behavior approach that teaches students self-regulation. The Zones of Regulation incorporates Social Thinking concepts and visuals to teach students how to identify their feelings and understand how their behavior impacts those around them, and learn what tools they can use to manage their feelings. We spent several weeks reviewing and learning about feelings and what events produce certain feelings. We learned that there are four zones; Blue, Green, Yellow and Red. The Blue zone describes when one feels sad, tired, sick or bored. The Green zones describes a person feeling happy, focused, and ready to learn. This is the zone where optimal learning occurs. In the Yellow zone a person may be feeling frustration, stress, anxiety, excitement, or even the wiggles. The Red zone describes a person who is experiencing anger and explosive behavior. We learned several tools to help us move and maintain in the green zone. The strategies we learned were lazy eight breathing, six sides of breathing and a calming visual chart. The students were given a copy of these strategies to use if needed throughout the school day. When we return we will be learning how to identify a problem and individual triggers we have that can impact our day.

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