Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Room 7's Scoop 1.16.19

Dear First Grade Families,

This week, we have had some great conversations about Martin Luther King’s dreams, and about your children’s hopes and dreams for the world as well.  We learned in our studies that MLK Jr. began dreaming about how he wanted the world to be when he was right around the age of Room 7 students! We read books and had discussions about his life, legacy, and message of equality, love and compassion. Our dreams are hanging in the classroom.

Scholastic Book Orders: Please order your books by next Thursday, January 24th. I will place the order on Friday. 

To order books online:
   ENTER the Class Activation Code NFHZM
   CHOOSE from thousands of print titles, value packs, and Story Books
   SUBMIT the order to your child's teacher
   EARN FREE Books for you and the classroom too!

MATH: Our focus has shifted to place value and understanding (though we will continue to work on addition and subtraction throughout the year). Kids need lots of concrete, hands-on practice with manipulatives to be able to conceptualize numbers and their values. We will move from concrete work with manipulatives and pictoral images to more abstract numerical representations of numbers. Throughout the year we will continue to practice all of these skills. This is a foundational skill that we will build on as we go into adding and subtracting 2-digit numbers later in the year. Here is a great website to explain more about place value and to practice these skills at home.

INTERACTIVE ART SHOW FEBRUARY 4-8: Starting Monday, February 5, the multi-purpose room will be transformed into a vibrant art gallery, where you can peruse magnificent original works from EVERY Edna student.  Throughout the week, students will participate in special Kiddo! art classes held in the MPR. The classes are open to family members, so plan to join your junior Picasso or Rodin for what's sure to be a fun and exciting art project! Please join your child’s class  during their regular art time on Thursday, February 7 from  2:10-3:00. Here is the sign-up for Art Show volunteers: so much!
SPELLING: This is the time in the year where all of the first graders officially view themselves as writers. They have become great phonetic and inventive spellers and some of the children are moving to conventional spellings. It is the time where we can focus more on getting all the sounds in a word and making sure each word has a vowel (y sometimes pretends to be a vowel). Your child should still be writing using their best guess spelling but if you notice a lot of sounds missing or a lot of extra sounds you can talk to them about the word, have them try it with you and talk about the sounds. If it is a common word that they want to know how to spell, you can help them. So, YES, you can start to help your child  focus on their spelling from here on out.
     English is not a phonetic language and most of the words only follow the rule about 50% of the time or less. We are going to begin to focus on a spelling pattern each week. My hope is for the first graders to understand the spelling pattern, as it will help them to not only write but also read the words. Please have your child practice the words and as you read throughout the week see if they can identify words that follow the spelling pattern. You can even give them a highlighter and an old magazine or newspaper and have them search for words that follow the spelling pattern. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.
       We are beginning by focusing on long vowel patterns. This week’s long vowel pattern is the long a. We learned about “Super e” changing the vowel sound. Ask your child to tell you about “Super e”. Here is the link to a video we watched in class that will help you and your child understand how “Super e” changes cap to cape or tap to tape. Enjoy!

:) Tara

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Room 7's Scoop 1.9.19

Dear First Grade Families,

Happy New Year!!! I hope that everyone had a healthy and happy winter break. It is hard to believe that it is already 2019!! It was wonderful to see all of your little-ones Monday and I truly enjoyed hearing about all of your adventures over the vacation. I am looking forward to a wonderful 2019!  This week we are working hard to get back into our daily routines. 

MATH: We are continuing our work with subtraction, now to 20, and are working to recognize the relationship between addition and subtraction.  Multiple times throughout the week, we do "Number Talks" to practice mental math. During this time, we work on using different strategies such as: friendly numbers, snap facts, doubles, counting on or counting back, and other strategies to make adding and subtracting in our head easier. The idea is that the students are not only able to get an accurate answer but that they are able to use metacognition (“thinking about one’s thinking”), and speaking and listening skills to be able to verbalize how they solved the problem. We are also beginning to think about not only accurate ways to find the answer but also the most efficient ways to get the answer. It is absolutely amazing the flexible thinking that they use to do this, how many different ways they solve the problem, and how they can explain their thinking. A big idea for us is that “the cool thing about math is that there are multiple ways to get the same answer and you just have to figure out which way(s) make the most sense to you.” Ask your first grader some mental math facts today! Next week we will begin a fun and exciting hands-on math unit on Place Value.

READING: At this point in first grade, your child should be playing a big role in their nightly reading. Please remember the importance of reading each night for 15 minutes and please make sure that your child is reading for a good portion of that time. I am seeing some Reading Folders come back really regularly--remember that this is a great way for your child to have just-right reading material. In addition you can use app: Kids A-Z or sign-on to RAZ kids and use the "KIDS LOGIN ICON" and then and enter my name for teacher tordonez. This is an online leveled book resource that has tons of reading material from different genre from which your child can choose to read you books.  Additionally, each week in library, the kids are asked to choose at least one leveled reader. Please let me know if your child needs some help choosing just-right reading material.  

DANCE: Today, we had our first of eight dance classes taught by Annie Leese Thistle, and sponsored through a teacher mini grant from Kiddo!.  Thank you for supporting Kiddo! and making this incredible class possible.
     The First Grade Dance Program follows the theme of "American Dance Through the Decades." It begins with soft shoe in the 1910's and culminates with 1970's disco. The classes begin with a basic jazz warm-up, working on building coordination, balance, flexibility, and strength. The dance steps and style associated with the specific decade are then incorporated into a dance during which students not only move and experience the style, but also become familiar with the music of the decade.  Each class allows the students opportunities to move freely and explore individual creativity with movement activities that offer a departure from concrete dance steps.  Students gain knowledge of past decades while honing physical, mental, and creative skills.  Their last dance class will also be a performance for the parents, so the students can showcase what they’ve learned.  Stay tuned for the dance performance date!
Annie own and runs, the Performing Arts Academy of Marin, where she teaches dance, voice and theater arts to children from 18 months to 18 years of age. (Visit <>  for a bio and additional information on her studio and work.)

* Please help your child remember that we have library each Monday and ensure that s/he is bringing his/her library books to school each week so new ones can be checked out. Students are allowed to have 5 books total checked out at a time, so the more books that are brought back the more new ones they are able to check out. 

Have a wonderful week! :)Tara

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Room 7's Scoop 12.19.18

Dear First Grade Families,

I hope you’re making it through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and getting ready to enjoy some relaxing vacation time. My wish is that you will spend meaningful time with your families, appreciating one another and the little moments. We have been busy working on special projects and activities, and at the same time are trying to remain thoughtful and compassionate and appreciating all the caring people around us. 

Around the holidays it is easy for us to fall out of routines as the busyness and holiday craze set in. This is when it is more important than ever for us to maintain our routines and the structures of our day so that our kids know what to expect and get plenty of rest. One can feel the "excitement" of the holidays in the children in class. We are working hard to keep things in our day structured and to stick to our routines. I truly appreciate your help with this. Thank you!

In addition, if your child is going to be leaving early for the winter break and missing some days of school, please let us know so I can have all of their projects ready to go home early. Thank you in advance.

HOLIDAY PARTY: On Friday, 12/21/18 from 10:15-11:45, we will have a holiday get together.  During this time we will make Gingerbread Houses. Thank you to everyone who volunteered to provide materials and/or help us in the classroom; we are so grateful to you. If you haven’t sent in your ingredients for the party, please do so at your earliest convenience. Please remember you are all welcome and invited to come in and join us for the festivities. Check out our sign up genius to see what else we could use for our party!  Here is the link: Holiday Party Sign-Up

CENTERS: Here is the link to our new centers sign-up. Centers Sign-Up 2019  We truly appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedules to join us in the classroom. One of our centers is always an independent center for the first graders to practice their skills of self-reliance, problem-solving, and working to finish activities by themselves. If you are unable to make a center time that you signed up for, please e-mail to the class to try to find a replacement. With only two volunteers on a day, this is even more critical to keep centers running smoothly. Thank you!

HOMEWORK: Over the break, please continue to set aside 10-20 minute period of time to read each day. This will help to ensure that the children do not lose all the incredible growth that they have made in these skills and that they are ready for the second half of First Grade when we return in January. Enjoy!

I hope you have a wonderful two weeks off relaxing and having fun!  Happy Holidays!
I will see you in the New Year!
Take good care, :) Tara

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Room 7's Scoop 12.12.18

Dear First Grade Families,

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who donated books to our classroom from the Book Fair! We are looking so forward to reading all of them! We truly appreciate it! 

I hope you are all enjoying the joy and excitement of the holiday season so far!  We are having so much fun learning about different holidays around the world. Ask your first grader about some of the holidays we have studied so far. This next week, we will also share our own special family traditions and talk about some of our favorites. Talk with your child about some of your favorites and why they are special to you!
READER’S WORKSHOP:  A couple of weeks ago, we began a nonfiction reading unit during Reader’s Workshop. We have been talking about how much we can learn from the books that we read, and are using lots of strategies to become super smart readers. This unit talks a lot about slowing down while we read and really noticing pictures to help teach us about what we are reading. In addition, nonfiction reading requires students to use deeper levels of comprehension skills and a slower pace when reading to fully grasp text concepts and facts. The students have been so excited to read non-fiction books and have been sharing facts that they are learning with reading buddies and me with great excitement. Some of our favorite nonfiction books from the classroom library are our National Geographic readers, which  provide a wonderful variety of subjects and learning topics for students.  Ask your child some of the interesting facts they have learned so far.

MATH: We are continuing our work with addition and subtraction practice to 20, using our doubles strategies and making 10 to add.  We also continue to practice with missing addends and subtrahends in fact families to help students understand relationships between addition and subtraction.  Ask your child to teach you about a fact family and how/why the numbers  are "related".

KIDDO CHALLENGE: It is not too late to donate to Kiddo!  Please make your tax-deductible donation to Kiddo! today. Donations of ANY level and amount are greatly appreciated and helpful. You can also contribute monthly by setting up a payment plan. If you've already given, THANK YOU!

Click on the link below for our new Centers sign-up for January-June 2019: Room 7 Centers Sign-Up Jan.-June 2019


* PAJAMA DAY on Friday, December 14. School Council has announced an Edna Maguire Spirit Day this Friday. Your child can wear their pajamas to school. Please make sure they wear P.E. appropriate shoes. No stuffies allowed this time, thank you for your understanding. 

* Our classroom holiday party will be on Friday, 12/21/18 from 10:15-11:45am.  Everyone (including younger siblings) is welcome to attend!  If you are interested in donating an item, here is the sign-up: Rm. 7 Holiday Party 12.21.18. You can send in donated items as soon as you have them and please send them no later than next Wednesday. 


Have a great week! :) Tara Ordonez

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Room 7's Scoop 12.5.18

Dear First Grade Families,
WINTER HOLIDAY TRADITIONS: We have started a unit on the winter holidays, traditions, and symbols. Our study teaches us "that traditions are diverse and they unite people". This unit intertwines literature, art projects, activities, and discussions about the symbols and similarities and differences in the holiday celebrations. Most of the traditions use light in some way to celebrate the holidays. The most essential elements of winter holidays are an emphasis on community, togetherness, caring and responsibility. If you have any special holiday traditions that your family would like to share with the class, please let me know and we can arrange a time for you to come in and share.

READER’S WORKSHOP: This year, you may have heard the kids talk about Reader’s Workshop. In our classroom, we use Lucy Calkins Reader’s Workshop and parts of the Daily Five Program to drive our instruction and time. Reader’s Workshop and Writer’s Workshop are literacy structures that teach independence and give children the skills needed to create a lifetime love of reading and writing.
     With a short month and the busy holiday season approaching I always like to put out a reminder as to how important it is to continue to read with your child every night. This is such an important time of the year in your child’s reading development and the nightly practice is a great way to continue to build your child’s confidence, competence, and excitement about reading.  As a reminder, in addition to reading to your child, at this point in the school year your child should be reading to you nightly. Thank you so everyone who is turning in your child's reading folder independently. They love choosing books for themselves. Enjoy!

HOLIDAY PARTY: On Friday, 12/21/18 from 10:15-11:40, we will have a holiday get together.  During this time we will make Gingerbread Houses. Please know that you are all welcome and invited to come in and join us for the festivities.   Thank you SO much to everyone who volunteered to bring items for our celebration. Here is the link to our sign up genius:

BOOK FAIR: The Edna Maguire Book Fair begins next week (Dec 3rd – 7th). Students visited the Book Fair with their buddies on Monday, Dec. 3rd and created a book wish list. First graders will only be permitted to “shop” before or after school with an adult this year. Please do not send cash to school with your child for book fair purchases. 


* Kiddo Participation Day is on Thursday, December 6th! If you have not had a chance to donate to Kiddo this year, now is a great time to do it. Please remember that you can donate any amount, we are just hoping for as much participation from our Edna families as possible.

* PICTURE RETAKE DAY: Picture retake day will Jan. 17th.  So, if parents did not like there pictures they can get them retaken this day, if still not happy they do offer a refund. And, children who were absent will be taken this day also.  More info to follow soon

Here is our new Centers sign-up for January-June 2019. Room 7 Centers Jan.-June 2019
·          Plastic water bottles: If you have any 12 ounce plastic water bottles, please send them in. We need them for a special project! Thank you!

Have a great week! :) Tara Ordoñez

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Room 7's Scoop 11.28.18

Dear First Grade Families,

I hope that you had a relaxing and fun Thanksgiving holiday with your family and friends! I truly enjoyed conferencing with all of you about your children and am always so thankful and appreciative for the support and involvement of our Edna Maguire parents. Thank you for all you do at home and at school to help your child be a happy, successful first grader!

As December approaches, I am excited about  all of the fun holiday activities and events in the coming weeks. This is always such a fun and festive time with first graders! This month, we will be learning about different holiday celebrations around the world and sharing our own family holiday traditions with our classmates. If you would like to share a favorite family tradition with room 7, please let me know.  

HOLIDAY PARTY: On Thursday, December 21st at 10:15, we will have a holiday get together.  During this time we will make Gingerbread Houses.  There will be a sign-up genius for materials needed and volunteers. Please know that families (including younger siblings) are all welcome and invited to come in and join us for the festivities.

Writer’s Workshop:  In Writer’s Workshop, we have started an exciting new non-fiction unit, working on All-About Books. This is an important unit for a number of reasons: most of the reading and writing that you and I do is nonfiction.  In the years to come, your child will be asked to write nonfiction, in almost every subject area of the school curriculum.  But it is an important unit also because the kids are being given the chance to teach each other what they know. 
    Each child begins by choosing a topic they feel they are an expert at and break it down to describe different important things to know about that topic. The kids are the experts and are using a “teaching” voice to write their non-fiction books. It will be exciting to see all the things our first graders know and to learn from their wonderful work.  It is rich intellectual work and the class is stepping right up to the task and doing an incredible job. The first graders are already proving that they know a ton about a wide variety topics. We have books being written about The Marines, tigers, food, Dogs, school, etc. Ask your child what his/her expert topic is.

Math: During math time, we have been working on the relationship between addition and subtraction, fact families, and finding the missing amount in an equation. We are also working on different strategies for adding two and three numbers at a time. We have been focusing on making a “friendly” number of 10 to add. For example if we are adding 8+6 we might break the 6 into its two parts of 2+4 and then add the 2 to the 8 to make 10 and then we know that 10+4=14. Or if we are adding 7+5+3 we might add the 7+3 to make 10 and then we know that 10+5=15. 
      Also, we are working on the  concept of doubles and doubles +1/-1. For example if we  are adding  7+8 we might say, “I know that 7+7=14 so 7+8 is one more so I know it’s 15.”  The first graders are doing an excellent job making use of these strategies and explaining which strategy they used to solve a problem. Your child should be practicing math facts to build his/her accuracy and efficiency on facts to 10. You can help your child with this important work. There are also tons of fun apps that help children build their math fluency through games and flashcards. Here are some math apps to check out: Math Bingo, Wonder Bunny Math Race, Operation Math and Tic Tac Math Trilogy. 

ReadingOur phonics focus this week are the digraphs-sh,ch, ph, wh, and th.  (Or the “H” brothers as your child has learned to call them!)  We will continue becoming voracious readers during reader’s workshop- keeping track of how many books we read with tally marks, re-reading text to check for understanding, and  pausing after reading a page to deepen our understanding and connection to text.

·   Edna Maguire Book Fair begins next week 12/3-12/7! 
    Students will visit the book fair with their buddies on Monday, 12/3, to create a book wish list. First graders will only be permitted to “shop” before and after school with an adult this year. Please do not send cash to school with your child for book fair purchases.

* PICTURE RETAKE DAY: Picture retake day will Jan. 17th.  So, if parents did not like there pictures they can get them retaken this day, if still not happy they do offer a refund.
And children who were absent will be taken this day also.  More info to follow soon

·          * We are collecting about 40 big brown paper grocery bags (with and without handles). Please send in any that you have lying around your house. Thank you in advance!

·       *  Our classroom holiday party will be on Friday, December 21st at 10:15.  Everyone (including younger siblings) is welcome to attend!  An e-mail will be sent out requesting supplies for the party.

Have a great week! :)Tara Ordonez