Wednesday, October 18, 2017


As I am in the midst of family conferences, I am writing this, and I just wanted to let you know how nice it has been, between both Open House and conferences, to start to get to know the families. All students have things they are working on, but they also have so many strengths, both academically and socially. It is clear that they are well cared for and supported by their families! Thank you! I can't wait for our Family Potluck on November 8th. Please rsvp if you haven't already.

Here's a quick look at our first grade learning: 

In reading we have started centers, where students do partner/group reading, guided teacher reading, independent reading, games and folder work. These centers are all differentiated and Ms. Bartolini, who does intervention also pushes in during this time to work with a small group. Students are working on digraphs: th, wh, sh, tch, and ch. Students are also practicing memory words like she, he, me, her, his, I and the question "w" words: who, what, where, when, why. These can be tricky. Watch for the pattern and memory word lists to come home as we start new units and you can practice with your child if you wish. Keep reading at home and let me know if the books your child is bringing home don't feel right (too easy or too hard).

In math we are working on decomposing numbers. Students are practicing structuring numbers and looking at the part/part/total model, where students are solving for the total and fr the missing part (or addend). Students are solving story problems and working with raw numbers. We have been playing Treasure Hunt at teacher time, to work on skip counting, both forward and backward.

Students have started their 3rd small moment story. This story will be done with less scaffolding than the two previous ones. The first one we wrote as a shared writing project about our farm field trip, the second was individual but all students followed a very specific writing process and it was paced. For this story, students are working more freely at their own pace. At the end of the unit we will share our stories and look for growth from start to finish through this writing unit. We will be wrapping this up next week. We will also be starting our family unit the week of the 30th. 

Your child may mention to you tomorrow when they come home from school that we will be having a teacher visit from the Netherlands. Yes, this is correct. A teacher from the Netherlands is visiting to learn more about schools in the United States. She will teach us about what her day looks like, observe and help in the room. I am sure we will learn a lot from her as well!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Open House Tonight!

Hello Families!

Just a quick entry this week because I am sure I will be chatting with you all in person both this week and next...

Hope you can make it to Open House tonight! It is from 6-6:25 and then the whole school will meet in the cafeteria at 6:30. Following that, the older kids will have their open house at 7:00. First grade open house is very casual. I may say a few (very brief) words and then will have a slide show playing with info about the year and there will be packets with info for families. Students will be the ones to tell you about what they do in first grade and show you their rekenreks and how they use them, as well as their letter to you. If you cannot make it, now worries! Packets will be sent home.

Another quick update is that tomorrow is Field Day! Students will participate in games in the morning and will have a surprise in the afternoon for getting more points than the teacher for behavior last week! Next week are conferences and I look forward to meeting with you all.

In two weeks we will be starting our family unit. Please let me know if you think this might be a difficult subject for your child. I want to be sensitive to all families and situations. Thanks!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Fun in our "Spare" Time

In first grade it doesn't seem like we have a lot spare time in our schedule (thank goodness for our weekly mindfulness), however, this week students took a break and went disco bowling at Spare Time Bowling in Northampton. Okay, so maybe not a total break, as students practiced their combinations of 10, but when learning is all fun, it's not so bad. Thank you to all of our chaperones across the 2 classes! 

As mentioned students continued their math work with combinations of 10 and practiced using the number line to solve story problems with the idea of "start, hop and land". We wrapped up this unit and students showed great progress on their assessments. Next week, we will start part-part-total with unit 3.

In ELA, students started "Adventures of Superkids", with secret decoders and an initial focus on digraphs: /sh/, /ch/, /tch/ and /th/ + /wh/ will be coming up next. Students continued to work on tapping and decoding. We also continue our daily work in Handwriting without Tears and students focus on one letter per day. We are working on using upper and lowercase letters, punctuation and finger spaces in our writing. Students continued their work on their personal small moment stories. Students brainstormed ideas, sketched their ideas, worked on a story lead, started their writing of the body of their story, including: first, next, then and last, and added details to make their stories stronger. We will continue to work on these stories into next week.

Students filled up their 2nd jar of pom-poms and won the teacher-class tally challenge. I have noticed a lot of growth with behavior and listening skills already! Students will celebrate this coming week-TBD!

Hope you all have a great 3-day weekend! 

Here are some reminders: 

  • Please return your conference sign-up sheet if you have yet to do so! Would love to meet with all of you.
  • Keep reading at home each night-reading logs are not required but keep up all the great reading!
  • Back to School Night is on the 12th at 6:00. Hope to see you there!
Wish List:
  • Extra snack
  • dry erase markers
  • chlorox table wipes
  • gallon size ziplockbags
  • hand sanitizer
  • tissue boxes

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Harvest Time

Students kicked off the week in Crocker Farm's community garden. Joined with Farmer Leila and Jenn Reese, who organizes science curriculum for the district, we harvested green beans and Nasturtiums, which are an edible orange spicy flower. Students did a great job despite the heat. Other grades were assigned to other veggies and all the vegetables from the garden will be combined for a meal and all students will be able to enjoy the veggies as part of a school lunch.

Room 4 first graders are very strong math students and have a good sense of their numbers within 10. As we focused on 10 friends and decomposing numbers within 10, I am so impressed with how much knowledge and how fluent they already are with these facts. Students worked on an apples problem and we able to find all partners of 10 ( 10+0=10, 9+1=10, 8+2=10, 7+3=10... 0+10=10) and look for a pattern and way to arrange their combinations in a logical way to ensure that they had found all of them, including reversals. I am looking forward to the bowling field trip on Monday which will directly tie into this work. We also played tricky teen number bingo, which looks at number reversals like 16 vs. 61. I have started pulling students to assess them on their individual understanding of number words/numerals, forward and backward number sequencing and structuring. This is part of the AVMR (add-vantage math  recovery) training and work that the K and 1 teachers did last year with Mary Lambert, our math coach. It has been very helpful and has really helped us to rethink our math curriculum and increase student understanding of basic number sense and skills needed for a higher order thinking math.

Students did an excellent job, wrapping up the review portion of Superkids (Welcome Back). We reviewed letters and their sounds, sounding out cvc words, vowels and consonants, manipulation of initial, medial and final sounds, blends and memory words. Next week we will start "The Adventures of Superkids" and start by reviewing digraphs: sh, ch and tch, and focus on new memory words. Please keep reading at home and when any Superkids reading packets come home in folders, it would be great if you could have your child read the story to you. These are decodable so great for most students. 

Handwriting has been moved to first thing in the morning to ensure students get their full 2 recesses. Practicing handwriting at home by writing letters or notes to family or friends is a great way to practice. Students are doing a great job as we work on using upper and lower case, finger spaces and being able to work independently. Some students are needing teacher assistance to remain focused during handwriting. We typically do 2 half pages per day (or 1 letter). In writing students are starting their 2nd small moments stories, which are personalized and individualized for each student. We will be working on these over the next 2+ weeks and then students will have the opportunity to share these out as authors. 

Just as a reminder, please make sure your child wears socks to school on Monday for bowling. We would love to have the following supplies donated to our classroom:  extra snack, table wipes, plastic gallon ziplock bags and chlorox wipes if you are able to donate. A huge thank you to families who have donated. I really appreciate it. You have been so generous!

** Please fill out the conference form and return it asap. I am signing families up for slots as they as returned. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Happy Fall!

Happy (almost)Fall! Students are already becoming more independent and rising the higher academic demands of first grade. I am, however, so grateful that we have the ability to have two recess breaks in our schedule. It is clear that students benefit from mental and physical breaks throughout their day. Speaking of which, this week, Ms. Baver (school psychologist) and Tobby Bobbit (guidance) visited our room to launch mindfulness for the year. Ms. Baver will be coming in throughout the fall to hell with lessons and students will respond in the Mindful School Journal. Ask your child to teach you what they are practicing in school and what a mindful body looks like. It is a great way to refocus, be “in the moment” and calm your body and mind. I look forward to learning more next week. We have also continued to work on our Second Step learning, which is our social and emotional learning. This ties into our mindfulness as students learn how to listen and follow directions.

In math this week students wrapped up their unit on counting and sequencing numbers. Students looked at “least to greatest” ordering and comparing numbers as well as counting on and skip counting on a number line. We practiced counting forward and backward. On Wednesday we took our unit 1 assessment and students did an excellent job, showing that they have a strong knowledge of basic numeracy and counting. We have started our new unit on numbers within 10, where students will learn about “10 friends” and be able to decompose numbers fluently. Students will also work on subitizing and continue to build on their addition and subtraction skills. I look forward to our bowling field trip on the 2nd of October. If you haven’t gotten your permission slip in, please do ASAP.

In ELA, reading and writing, students continue to review their Kindergarten skills, including letters and letter sounds, CVC words, memory words, writing sentences with a capital letter, finger spaces, and ending with punctuation. We looked at when we use a period, question mark and exclamation point at the end of a sentence and practiced with a movement activity. Students reviewed adding a “s” to make a word plural and an “apostrophe +s” to make it possessive. In writing students have done the majority of their writing for their first small moment story about the farm. Their next story will be one that they pull from their individual experiences rather than a shared one. They are doing a great job!

Permission slips must be in no later than Monday (25th). PLEASE turn them in.
Remember to send a note if you child’s dismissal plans change.
Please send a snack with your child daily unless you have donated to the classroom.
Picture Day is on September 28th.

Wish List:
Gallon size ziplock bags
Sandwich size ziplock bags
Chlorox table wipes

UPDATE! Reading Logs!

Hello Room 4 Families,

At our district meeting teachers met to discuss homework and research studies suggest that reading each night has a positive impact on student learning. There is also research suggesting that reading logs make reading more of a chore and less enjoyable. I like the idea of making reading nightly and having students learn about accountability, however, I think removing the reading log, may remove some of the stress and make it easier on families and more enjoyable. The other first grade room has also decided to “do away” with logs. Please continue to read each night with your child for 10-15 minutes. HAPPY READING! 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Room 4 Pajama Day and Ice Cream Party!
Congrats to Room 4 Students for filling your pom-pom jar! You are all SUPER kids! Keep up the great work! On Friday September 22nd students may wear their pajamas to school if they choose. We will have a special ice cream treat at snack time. If you have any questions, please email me:

Thanks, Ms. Pratt