Thursday, May 18, 2017

Egg Drop

Room 4 students were flexible with their schedule, as we flipped Tuesday and Wednesday's specials time from afternoon to morning. This resulted in an extra recess at the end of the day, which I am sure the students didn't mind! On Monday students planted our flowers in the Crocker Farm Community garden with the help of Farmer Leila and a volunteer, Maryann. Students also did a great drop with the egg drop, spending Wednesday designing and sketching their package or egg drop "device" and then on Thursday students got to see how well their design work and if their egg would survive the drop. Be sure to ask your child about it and how their design worked. Which designs were the most successful? Why do they think they worked the best? Mr. Shea also popped in to share about his family and what is important in life. The kids loved seeing the photo of him at 3 months old and 5 generations of family. Next week Tara Luce will start mindfulness with our class two times per week. I am looking forward to this!


Students continue to work on contractions and long and short vowel rules (AND exceptions to the rule or trickers). We have been reading decoable texts and working on main idea and retelling. I have been pulling students to do their end of the year BAS assessment to check on their current reading level and students are really doing a wonderful job! The amount of growth is amazing! Thanks for your support at home with the reading. Keep it up!


We have started with our Embryology research papers and the collection of ideas and research for the paper. Students can wrtie about the egg, the chick or the chicken and it is an open-ended project where students are given the freedom to come up with their own question that they are interested in answering. Some students are working in a small group, a few in partners and most are working independently. 


Students explored coins this week and reviewed dimes and pennies and then learned about nickels and quarters. Students practiced adding coins and identifying coins. Students did independent practice and games. I encourage you to have your child help count out change at the store or at home. We will continue to practice this into next week.

  • We are out of snack and would love some donations to help us make it through the end of the year.Please continue to send your child with a snack. This is supposed to be a back-up plans should a child forget his/her snack.
  • If you haven't turned in your Look Park permission slip and $6, please do so asap. We need a permission slip from each child so that we can attend.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

Wishing all of our room 4 moms a very happy Mother's Day! Thank you for all your do for your children! You make our room 4 community awesome!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Growing Chicks, Growing Minds

Hello Families! I hope your child is teaching you all about chicks and sharing some of the experiments and activities we are doing in class. We have been very busy! Students have seen just how strong egg shells are, so maybe rethink the expression, "walking on eggshells"? Students also soaked eggs in vinegar, allowing us to take a peak at the membrane of an egg. Did you know an egg can bounce without its shell?! We also had an opportunity this week to candle the eggs to see the growing embryo inside our eggs. Ask your child to tell you more about their embryology unit!

Reading & Writing

In reading we have taken a look at homonyms and your verses you're. Students have practiced the memory words: first, many, too, down, work. We have also worked on distinguishing words with ay and ai, both which make the long /a/ sound. Students learned that ai goes in the middle of a word and ay goes at the end. In writing students have started looking at non-fiction texts and labeling text features. This is all in preparation for mini-research paragraghs they will write about a research question related to embryology. Students will work in pairs or independently and get to choose their question.


In math students looked at subtraction story problems with missing subtrahends and then solved story problems, both addtion and subtraction, across all settings and different missing parts or sums/differences. Next week we will learn more about coins.

Reminders/Other "stuff"

  • Remember to return permission slips for the Look Park celebration
  • Would love donations for Will's end of the year thank you gift and party
  • Please send recycled materials by May 16th for our egg drop project.
  • Wish list: snack, thin/black dry erase markers

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Egg-cellent Learning

We are diving into fun in room 4. Your child has probably shared with you the exciting chick unit we have started this week. On Wednesday we put our eggs into the incubator and we will learn about the development of an embryo as it develops and hatches into a chick after 21 days. Students have learned about the parts of the incubator and how they mimic the mother hen. Students have learned about the first 3 days of development in the egg and explored the shell of an egg and it's strength. You should definitely ask your child about the egg squeeze and egg stacking experiment! A calendar was sent home with your child, so he/she can track the hatching process at home too. Here is a video students will be viewing daily throughout the unit: A lot of egg-citement in science and here's a look at some of our other learning:


Students have started a new unit of Superkids. Students are learning about the letter y as a vowel. Students are learning that y can make a long /e/ and long /i/ sound depending on the number of syllables in a word. four example: funny make an /e/ sound and my makes an /i/ sound. Students are also learning about the spelling patterns: ai and ay. Our new memory words are: down, too, work, many, first. We will be starting the end of the year BAS assessment in the upcoming weeks and I hope you continue to read at home with your child. It is such a helpful piece to their reading growth and I know they love reading with you!


Students participated in a first grade "poetry slam" with the other first grade classes. Students had an opportunity to share their poetry and listen to all the great writing that is going on across the grade-level. Students have done object poems, color poems, shape poems, cinquaine poems, poems with similes and rhyming poems. This has been my favorite writing unit thus far because I feel like students really took ownership into their writing and each child's creativity and personality really shown through. They wrote some absolutely beautiful poems! I can't wait for students to share their writing portfolios with you at the end of the year!


Students have been working on story problems this weeks well as some review of previous material to ensure that they are retaining their math knowledge and skills. Students looked at simple addition and subtraction story problems and were asked to provide an equation and a label for their solution. Students were also challenged to write the question that would be asked, so for example: "Emmet had 6 green crayons and Stella had 8 purple crayons". Students then had to come up with a question your might ask, such as" "How many crayons did they have all together?" By doing this, students think about what part of the equation they are solving for. Students also looked at story problems with missing addends and subtrahends and adding together 3 addends. I did some work with grouping in small groups where students looked at dot grids and were asked home many dots they count. Students were told they could not count each individual dot and were asked to look for groups and rows or grouping and subitizing. Some students counted in groups by 2's-10's. Others used doubles facts or subitizing. I am amazed with all their diverse strategies and how they are able to share their ideas with peers!

Other Stuff:

On Wednesday we had the Amherst College Soccer Team read to us an awesome book they read. Be sure to ask your child about it.

Our high school volunteer, Will, will continue to work with us through May and will graduate in early June. I am hoping to do a gift for him and a pizza party. If you would like to donate $1-$3 to put toward the party and his gift please send in your child's folder by 5/15. I am having the students write a book with their college advice and then having a photo framed and signed with him and the students and perhaps something football related since he will be playing for Hamilton College next year. Ideas are welcome!

End of Year celebration information will be sent home in folders in the next week. Keep your eyes peeled. 

Wish List: white out, thin black dry erase markers, an electric pencil sharpener (our's has broken and was unable to be fixed).

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Back for the Final Stretch of First

Maybe I just didn't notice, but as students returned from their Spring vacation, I suddenly noticed how much they have grown. Not only do they look older but they are so much more mature. Did this happen overnight? Over vacation? It sure feels like it. They are ready for 2nd grade, but I am looking forward to spending these last 8 weeks together, stretching our brains a little more and celebrating everything students have accomplished this year. 

Here's a look at our week, both looking back, and looking forward to Friday:

Reading: Students have been working on wrapping up the Adventures of Superkids (first portion of the curriculum). We will finish up this week and should get through 4 or 5 more units by the end of the year. Students are doing a great job keeping up with the pace. Students have been working on compound words and contractions. Students have been practicing adding -ing, -ed, -er and -s/es endings to different syllable pattern words and learning rules to know whether or not the consonant needs to be doubled. Examples: hope->hoping, whereas hop->hopping or look->looked. Students have been participating in small groups with me on a daily basis, exploring leveled texts and group discussions to build comprehension skills. 

Writing: Students have written some beautiful poems so far this week. After reading poems throughout last week and this week, students stepped into the shoes of poets and wrote about an object, looking at it as if it were something else. A asparagus stalk became a paint brush, an eraser a piece of gum, a stapler is a shark, and many more. Students them moved on to write poems about colors. We wrote one together about the color orange: Orange is soft, firey and cozy. Orange is smells like apple pie, pumpkin pie, Orange tastes sour and sweet. Orange is October...." Students will continue to create poems with shapes, similes and metaphors and rhyming/rhythmic poems.

Math: Students have wrapped up the unit on place value and they did such an amazing job on their assessments! I am so proud of them! Today we started data collection and graphing and next week we will head into story problems, looking for the sum, subtrahend, missing addend and subtrahend.

Wish List: We would love some thin black dry erase markers for students to use on their whiteboards. We have gone through several boxes this year and we are out.  

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Happy Spring!

We've finally turned the corner and it feels like spring! I know students are looking forward to their spring vacation and I hope you get to spend some quality time with them. Here's a quick look at what we've been up to and/or where we're headed:

Math: We are finishing up place value and students are working on adding two 2-digit numbers, using the jump and split strategy. Students are becoming experts on solving these problems, both with and without an open/empty number line. Students will be wrapping up the unit and starting data collection and graphing when we return.

Reading and Writing: Students have been reviewing vowel teams and contractions. Here are some examples: is not--> isn't, could not--> couldn't, we are--> we're, will not--> won't, I have--> I've. Students understand that the ' takes the place of a letter or letters. Students have been building compound words, like rainbow and mailbox. In writing, students have wrapped up their realistic fiction and we have started to discuss poetry. The poetry unit will be in full-gear following the vacation.

Science: Students finished learning about shadows and have started to learn about opaque, transparent and translucent. Students will explore more about light and reflections following the vacation. Students have also done some planting in our CF community garden, but due to rain, students have planted inside and transported the plants outside. Students will also have the opporunity to plant with second grade teachers this spring, as to harvest the vegetables in the fall, when students are in 2nd. The 2nd grade is most involved with the planting and care of our garden as it ties in with their curriculum. In early May we will get our eggs and start to explore eggs, chicks and chickens.

Have a great spring break!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Vowel Teams

This week in Room 4 students were excited for a shift in weather, as temperatures are warming up. Students transitioned from sound to light, wrapped up their realistic fiction stories and celebrated filling the pom-pom jar with a "Book Character Dress Up Day".Be sure to ask your child what characters they met at school. Here are some highlights from this week:

ELA: Students worked on reading and writing cvvc words, where a "vowel team" makes the long vowel sound of the first vowel: ai, ea, ee, ie, oa, ue. Students also worked on memory words: would, could, some, one, were, new and practiced should and come as well. We worked on reading in small groups and retelling stories and students reviewed nouns, verbs, pronouns and learned more about adjectives. Students reviewed endings: -ing,-ed and -es/s.

Writing:Students finished writing their realistic fiction series and had the opportunity to share their stories in small groups. Students worked on sharing as an author and being a good audiance. I encourage and challenge students to keep writing stories at home! Students will start learning about poetry next week and following the break we will start writing our own.

Math:In math students have been working on adding one and two-digit numbers together using a long bead strand and on an open/empty number line. Students have been breaking apart and decomposing numbers in order to make their jumps. Students also compared two and three-digit numbers, determining the greater. Students have been building numbers with different manipulatives and showing numbers in different ways, demonstarting their understnaidng of conceptual place value.

Science:Students did experiments with a tuning fork and a glass of water and ping pong ball. Students saw how the vibration, caused by sound waves, can move solids and create sounds. Students also made rice and sugar "dance" when placed under a speaker. We are now in the process of learning about light and students have read some about light as well as explored flashlights and sunlight, with shadow play and exploration.Student scientists are doing a great job recording their observations.

Other Info and Reminders: 
  • Thank you for the recent snack donations! Room 4 really appreciates it! 
  • April 14th is a holiday and there will be no school, which will fall right before our week of spring vacation.