Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Room 7's Scoop 11.7.18



Dear First Grade Families,
I have truly enjoyed meeting with many of you at conferences and am looking forward to sitting down with each of you by the end of next week. It has been wonderful to share your child’s work as well as talk about his/her progress thus far.
During Conferences, I have been talking with a few parents about some great kids’ apps and websites on which one can practice math skills, reading, memory, problem solving, etc. through games. In class, we are using RAZ kids, this is a reading app that gives kids the opportunity to listen to and read books at their just right reading level. You just need to enter my username: tordonez and our class list should pop up.  The kids can listen to the stories, then read and record their reading, and finally take a quiz answering questions about the text.
Also, for handwriting practice, we have been working on the handwriting without tears  app called “Wet, Dry, Try” and there is another great handwriting app called Letter School. A fun way to practice sight words is Sight Word Ninja. Some great math apps are Number Lines, which practices addition and subtraction facts on the number line, and 10 Frame Fill, which provides children practice with fact families up to 10.  IXL (website and app): IXL is one of the few sites with great math content for younger kids that doesn't require a lot of reading. Each skill adjusts to your child’s level—if you get enough problems right, it skips to the end, but if you get some wrong you have to do more. Your child can do a few sets of problems per day for free, or you can subscribe for $9.99/month. Wonder Bunny Math Race is a comprehensive math computation practice app that builds skills such as speed and fluency as they add and subtract.  I hope this helps and I will have plenty more websites/apps to share with you as time goes on.

TURKEY HOMEWORK: Hopefully your child has already come up with some ideas for how to disguise their turkey and are sketching these ideas, choosing a favorite, deciding what materials he/she will need and ultimately creating the disguise. These are all steps in design thinking. We have assigned this homework over the course of a week and half, please help to keep your child working on it a little bit each night, so that they can turn it in on time next Wednesday when  they will present them to the class. Please contact me if you have any questions. 

NEW PHOTO DAY NEXT WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2018. Please find the form in your child's Wednesday Take Home Folder.

FRIENDSHIP FEAST: This month we will be discussing the history of Thanksgiving and will be reading many different versions of Stone Soup, a fable in which everyone contributes a small part to a meal and it comes together to be an amazing feast. On Friday, November 16 we will have a special Friendship Feast in our classroom. It would be wonderful if each child can contribute something to the feast.  We are asking each family to bring in one item off the list below.  Please try to contribute something that feels manageable to you. We have 22 students in our classroom, so you can keep those numbers in mind when making or purchasing items. All non-perishable items can be brought in at your convenience but no later than Thursday, November 15th. Perishable items can be brought in the morning of the 16th. Hopefully everyone will be able to make a small contribution, but altogether it will be a delicious feast! Here is the sign-up:https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b0e4daba629a20-friendship2

AUTHOR'S CELEBRATION: The kids have finished their Small Moment Stories and we would love to share them with an audience, YOU! You are cordially invited to come in and join us for a short, simple and sweet Author Celebration on Friday, November 16 from 8:40-9:05. We absolutely understand if your schedule doesn't allow for this but if you are able to come in, we would LOVE it!  


LAWRENCE HALL OF SCIENCE FIELD TRIP: After the Thanksgiving break, the first grade students will get to visit the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) in Berkeley. Their exhibits provide the perfect opportunity for our kids to have fun and be immersed in the worlds of science, technology, engineering, and math. We will be exploring the museum and attending the planetarium show as a culmination of our unit on the cycles of the moon. Today, in your child¹s Wednesday Folder, you will find the permission slip for this field trip. Please let us know if you have any questions!

READING:  Our students are continuing to explore and discuss making connections between books and their own lives.  Good readers make a connection to the characters, setting, events, problems or resolution of a story.  They relate it to their own personal life experience, to something or someone they know about or to another text (book, story, poem, etc.) that they have read or heard.  You can support the dialogue that goes on in class with questions at home:  Does this story remind you of anything from your own life?  Does the character remind you of yourself or anyone you know?  Does this book remind you of another book you know?  Good readers do good thinking and make connections when they read or hear a story. 

Keep Room 7 Healthy:  The flu season is upon us, and we want to keep everyone in Room 7 healthy.  At school we are working hard to remember to wash our hands frequently, cough into our elbows and to blow our noses into kleenex (not wipe our noses with our sleeves).  As it becomes colder, students will need long sleeves and jackets when they are out on the playground, and eating their snack/lunch outside.  Please be sure that your child comes to school appropriately dressed for the weather.  Also, please keep your children at home if they are not feeling well.  THANK YOU!

Growth Mindset: Here is a great article by Sal Khan about Growth Mindset. Check out https://www.khanacademy.org/talks-and-interviews/conversations-with-sal/a/the-learning-myth-why-ill-never-tell-my-son-hes-smart

:) Tara Ordonez

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS

PLASTIC FORKS: We are really in need of plastic spoons ( and forks too). Many students forget spoons with their lunch and we have run out in our classroom. Thank you in advance for your donations.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Room 7's Scoop 10.30.18



Dear First Grade Families,
  
I hope that you had a wonderful weekend and that you are gearing up for a fun-filled Halloween. I decided to send this out early, so it doesn't get lost in the hustle and bustle of Halloween. 

HALLOWEEN: On Wednesday, October 31st we are having our Halloween celebration at school. The school parade will be outside at 8:45 am. Our parade route will be similar to last year. We are asking all parents to stand INSIDE of the route to cheer our kids on. Please see the photo below for the route.

Please make sure to send your child to school IN their Halloween costume. We will walk in the parade and then change back into our regular clothes for the rest of the day, after our party. Please send your child to school with a bag that includes a change of clothes. We will repack their costumes into that bag as well. Our classroom party will begin at 12:45. Katie Colosi sent out a sign up genius last week for the items needed for the party and it looks like we are all set! Thank you in advance for your help with this and the donations, as we really could not do it without you! As a reminder, all families are welcome to attend our party and watch the parade, but we will only have enough classroom treats and crafts for the students in Room 7. Thank you for understanding.

SICKNESS: As you all know, flu season is upon us. Please remember that it is important to keep your child home if they have a fever over 100 degrees. The school is asking that all children not return to school until they have been fever free for 24 hours and have been off all medication for 24 hours. We are trying to keep all of the kids healthy. Thank you for your understanding.

NIGHTLY READING: Thinking ahead to November, it is important to remember that at this time of the year the children should be reading out loud to an adult for their nightly reading. Ideally, they would be reading out loud for 10 or more minutes each night. I would still like to encourage families to continue to read TO your children as well, but this would be in addition to their nightly reading.

 SPECIAL “HOMEWORK” PROJECT: 
In this week's Homework Folder, which will go home on Friday, you will find 1 special projects. These projects are in lieu of a regular homework packet, however, we would like your child to continue their 15 minutes of nightly reading. 
         The special project is due on Wednesday, November 14thThe instructions for this special project will be in Friday's Homework Folder.  Please have fun, be creative and enjoy the process! 

CONFERENCE SCHEDULING: Please make sure to mark your calendar for your conference and remember to find childcare. You will find the latest schedule at this link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b0e4daba629a20-parent1.   I look forward to meeting with you and discussing your child’s strengths and the progress s/he is making. I will hand out progress reports at the conferences.  Please remember there will be early dismissal (1:55) EVERY DAY for the 2 conference weeks.

FRIENDSHIP FEAST: During the month of November, we will be discussing the history of Thanksgiving and reading many different versions of Stone Soup, a fable in which everyone contributes a small part to a meal and it comes together to be an amazing feast. On the Friday before Thanksgiving, we will have a special Friendship Feast. Each child will contribute something to the feast and we will set a big long table in our classroom with tablecloths, flowers, handmade place mats and napkin rings, and our special feast. Here is the link to the Sign-up Genius: Friendship Feast Sign-Up Genius . Please try to contribute something that feels manageable to you, hopefully everyone will be able to make a small contribution but altogether it will be a delicious feast!


KIDDO!: Your contributions to Kiddo! bring so many important programs to our school. Because of your donations, our students are given regular instruction in art, music, dance, drama, poetry, and P.E. This year, my students and I also get help from classroom aides, library aides, and tech experts. Please know that your voluntary donations to Kiddo! every year – in any amount – help keep great programs and people in place at our school. Thanks in advance for helping Kiddo! support our schools.
Thank you for your support!
 
:) Tara Ordonez

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Room 7's Scoop 10.24.18


Dear First Grade Families,

I hope you are all having a great week! This is such a fun and busy time in first grade and with parent conferences and the holiday season quickly approaching, there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon!  I want to thank you for taking time to read and turn in all paperwork, volunteer in class, and take such an interest in your child’s education. I  truly appreciate all you are doing and have done!  
We have a VERY busy few weeks ahead, so please read this week’s classroom update carefully for all the important details.


INSECT PRESENTATION: Keith from SaveNature.org visited us last Friday with some very special insects. We learned about and handled a Darkling Beetle, an Eastern Lubber Grasshopper, a Millipede, a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach and an Australian Walking Stick. We learned about special adaptations that these insects have to help them survive such as: releasing a toxic smell, camouflage, mimicry, etc. You can ask your child which insect was their favorite and why?

Halloween Parade
  • Parade begins at 9:00 led by Kinders and 5th graders and will go around our track. The parade is ONE lap. Parents, please keep the parade route clear by gathering inside the track area (on the turf, baseball field, or hill).
  • Photographs and cheers are most welcome!
  • Students come to school in costume, and change out of costume after parade.
  • Costumes may not include weapons or be blood-and-gutsy. Remember this is a TK-5 school event - please match your child’s costume to the context.
  • Kindergartners will parade with 5th grade buddies. Classes will walk in K/5, 1,2,3,4 order.
  • Immediately following the parade, we will meet in front of the classroom to take some class photos. 
  • Right after that the kids will get out of their costumes. Please plan to provide your child with a bag with his/her name labeled on the front so we can make sure their costume gets home safely. Parents, you are welcome to take the costume bags home.
  • Our Halloween Celebration will take place during a special center time from 12:40-1:55. 

·      Conference Scheduling: .    Please remember there will be early dismissal (1:55) EVERY DAY for the 2 conference weeks- November 5-16 At our conference, I look forward to reviewing your child’s progress report and discussing your child’s strengths, first grade academic and social goals, and any concerns/questions you may have thus far.  Don’t forget to mark your signup date and time on your calendars! 

Friendships, Recess, and  Mindfulness
During these first few months of first grade especially, we dedicate as much time as possible to helping your child learn valuable skills to navigate social relationships/interactions on and off the playground independently.  First grade recess is much different from the protected kindergarten playground- louder and bigger in EVERY way possible - and with more wonderful friends to play with comes more wonderful personalities to experience!  You may or may not have heard from your child about a social conflict of some form or other that they are struggling to manage or they may have shared tearful moments with you about a good friend “that wasn’t so nice today”. As heartbreaking as it is, please know that this is all part of your child’s social/emotional growth and a vital piece of learning to independently manage some of these new struggles in social relationships and interactions. Our goal is to provide a supportive, encouraging and safe environment to help guide your child during these rough spots and hopefully promote confidence and empowerment with making kind, thoughtful choices with friends in first grade.  

Here are a few things we do in class:
·     Role Playing and Social Stories- We often discuss and act out social scenarios (especially regarding conflict resolution, inclusive vs. exclusive behaviors, kind words vs. unkind words, etc.) to help kids learn how to use specific social tools.  Ms. Jen, our school counselor, has been sharing the fabulous kimochis program to guide us with this and students always look forward to her visit each week! We have been sending weekly handouts in our green Wednesday folders to help you know which tool your child has learned that week.

·      Zones of Regulation-These are 4 color zones (red, yellow, blue, green) that provide a visual guide to help students self regulate and suggest activities for emotional focus, awareness, and self control.  Ask your child about star fish breathing and to show you with their hand!

·     MINDFULNESS: Mindfulness is the act of intentionally bringing our attention and awareness to the present moment non-judgementally. In room 7, we practice mindfulness usually about once per day. Sometimes for just a minute or so and other times for a 15 minute lesson where we then journal in our Mindfulness Notebook. Ask your child to tell you which anchor spot they use to feel their breath. Or ask what are their anchor words (breathing in…, breathing out). Or see if they can talk to you about some of the different breathing that we have practiced such as “Starfish breath,” Lazy 8 Breathing, hot cocoa breathing, etc. 
         Mindfulness teaches us to notice our thoughts and feelings as they are happening. It inserts a brief pause between our thoughts and our actions, in which we have the time and space to respond rather than react. 

Thank you so much for all of your encouragement, patience, and guidance with your child at home in fostering their social growth and emotional well-being at school.

Math: Subtraction with numbers to 10 will be our focus for the next few weeks- learning strategies and exploring number stories using subtraction vocabulary- difference, less than, take away, and minus.  What do you use to help you subtract- number line, draw a picture, fingers, counting up, etc. 

READING FOLDERS: Thank you to everyone who has read, returned and received new books in your child’s clear Reading Folder. These are books that your child chooses that are at your child’s just-right independent reading level—meaning they should be able to read them independently and with relative ease and be able to use their reading strategies for any unfamiliar words. That said, leveling books is not a perfect science and each letter level contains a range of sublevels within it. So, sometimes the books may be easier or more challenging. Please have your child read the book several times. In this way, they learn to smooth out their reading, read with expression and to recognize unfamiliar words as they become more familiar with the text. They also recognize new details and develop a deeper understanding of the author’s message, the characters’ personalities and why they act in the ways they do. I have a new Prompting sheet for parents that will live in your child's Folder. Please use these prompts when your child gets stuck. As we talked about at Back to School Night, sounding out is an effective tool only about 50% of the time. So it is not the first strategy we go to or utilize when we come to a tricky word. When your child returns his/her folder to school, they will independently select new books to add to their folders. Happy Reading!

Have a Wonderful week!
Warmly,
Tara

ANNOUNCEMENTS & REMINDERS
SCHOLASTIC BOOK ORDERS: Scholastic Book Order forms went home in last week's homework folder. Please return them by Friday, November 2.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Room 7's Scoop 10.17.18



Dear Room 7 Families,

PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES:  Here is the link to the sign-up genius for Parent/Teacher Conferences: Parent/Teacher Conference Sign-upIf you have not yet signed up for a slot, please do so. If you have trouble finding a spot that works with your schedule please let me know and I will try my best to accommodate you. Please make sure to mark your calendar for your conference and remember to find childcare. I look so forward to meeting with you and discussing your child’s strengths and areas for growth, and all the great progress they are making. I will hand out progress reports at the conferences.  Please remember there will be early dismissal (1:55) EVERY DAY for the 2 conference weeks.

SCIENCE:  We have recently worked really hard to closely observe and draw precise details we see on different insects. Each child drafted a sketch of his/her insect. Then, in partnerships and with my assistance, each student received feedback and critiques about their draft and revised it to get it closer to the actual model. Our critiques focused being kind, helpful, and specific.  Once each child’s draft represented a precise drawing (this usually took anywhere from 2 to 10+ drafts) of the model and the kids had figured out the shape of the insect, they then worked on the pattern and details within the insects. Finally, they added color and outlined their insect. These are going to hang in our classroom and you can see the different stages of revision in each child’s drafts.
Throughout this insect unit we have been reading tons of non-fiction books about insects and spiders. We are not only gathering interesting information from these non-fiction texts but we are learning about the features of non-fiction texts such as: the table of contents, index, glossary, headings, captions, etc. 

HALLOWEEN: We are going to come to school dressed in our costumes (please remember no weapons or clown masks of any kind are allowed). The school parade will take place at 9am so your child will wear his/her costume to school in the morning and change out of his/her costume after the parade. Please plan to provide your child with a bag with his/her name labeled on the front so we can make sure their costume gets home safely.  Our Halloween Celebration will take place during a special center time from 12:40-1:55 on Wednesday, October 31. 

MATH:  Our main focus has been on number bonds and part-part-whole. We are also working on fact families and beginning to understand the relationship between addition and subtraction. Additionally, we are working on ways to make ten or numbers that add up to ten, and now will begin taking a closer look at subtracting numbers.  This includes working with word problems and using pictures to help us solve word problems, and finding the missing addend. At home, please practice the math facts up to 10. These will become the foundation for our math for the remainder of the year.

MATH CHALLENGE HOMEWORK: These are optional, open-ended tasks. They encourage flexible thinking about ways to problem solve and present answers, rather than simply requiring students to recall information. Open ended tasks encourage students to talk about how they will solve problems, and to articulate their skills and knowledge. Last week's homework had this open-ended task:
A. French Fries
The answer is 11 French Fries. What might the question be?
Sample Answers (in the form of a question):
a)My friend gave me 20 French Fries and I ate 9. How many do I have left to eat?
b)I ate 8 French Fries and then later I ate 3 more. How many did I eat in total?


KIDS READING A-Z: Many of the first graders are enjoying listening to, reading, and completing a comprehension quiz on books at their just right reading level. The link to RAZ KIDS is on our class website. If you click on the link and enter "tordonez", our class list should appear and your child can enter his/her password. There will be just-right reading material at their reading level. They can record themselves reading the book. In addition they can work on using their points to build a robot. This incentive is not something they can do during class time but is something they may want to work on at home. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Have a terrific week!

:) Tara Ordonez

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Room 7's Scoop 10.10.18


Dear First Grade Families,
For the next few weeks, students will begin a more detailed study of the moon and patterns in the sky. We hope you all are having fun, or at least not getting too frustrated, making your own observations of the moon each day together.  I understand that visibility has not been ideal and now it's the New Moon, but all that is actually teaching us things about the sky and its patterns. This coming week we should see much more of the moon. Remember that you don’t only have to look for the moon at night, it is often visible in the afternoon or in the morning.

FIRE SAFETY: Some Mill Valley Firefighters came and talked to us about fire safety on Tuesday. You will find fire safety materials in your child's Wednesday Take Home Folder. Please take the time, with your, child to about important emergency preparedness. Last year, we saw first hand how important it is to have plan in light of a disaster.

PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES:  Here is the link to the sign-up genius: Parent/Teacher Conference Sign-Up  (you will also find the link on my blog). Please make sure to mark your calendar for your conference and remember to find childcare.  If you have trouble finding a spot that works with your schedule please let me know and I will try my best to accommodate you. I look so forward to meeting with you and discussing your child’s strengths and the great progress they are making. I will hand out progress reports at the conferences.  Please remember there will be early dismissal (1:55) EVERY DAY for the 2 conference weeks.

HALLOWEEN: We are going to come to school dressed in our costumes (please remember no weapons of any kind are allowed). The school parade will take place at 9am so your child will wear his/her costume to school in the morning and change out of his/her costume after the parade. Please plan to provide your child with a bag with his/her name labeled on the front so we can make sure their costume gets home safely.  Our Halloween Celebration will take place during a special center time from 12:40-1:55.

Reader’s Workshop-  We have built up our Reading Stamina to 20 minutes of silent Read-to-Self time. The kids have now earned the ability to begin to test out different “Book Nooks” for themselves. Each child has already learned and are utilizing many strategies to figure out tricky and unknown words. Inside their Reading Folders, that went home on Friday, they each have a special bookmark with all of the Reading Strategies we are practicing in class. See if your child can tell you about them and show you how to use them.

Math- We have been working with breaking a number into 2 smaller “parts”, or part, part, whole, using number bonds and dominoes to show our thinking.  We continue practice using a number line to solve equations and in our work with number stories. 

Phonics- We continue our study and review of short vowel sounds in words. This week’s focus is short I – sit, rib, trip, crib, etc. A fun game to play in the car or on the fly with your child is the rhyme game with our weekly phonics pattern.   For example, you say a “short I” word and your child can think of as many words they can that rhyme with that word. Continue to say different words for your child to rhyme and the word that had the most rhymes is the winner!  For an extra challenge, ask your child to tell you the rhyming “chunk” and play chunky monkey- for example in “trip and flip”, the chunk is “ip”.  Have fun!

MUSTANG STAMPEDE-  This Sunday, Oct. 14, from 12-3 is the wonderful Mustang Stampede.  A Huge Thank you to all of our amazing first grade parents for helping with this event and contributing toward our “Date Night” Rodeo Barrel for the silent auction. We look forward to seeing all of you there!

DISTRICT WIDE EMERGENCY DRILL -  We wanted to let you know that that on Wednesday Oct. 17th, we will be conducting our routine practice district wide Emergency Drill. Your child will learn the routines of what to do in the event of an area emergency. We encourage you to talk to your kids about the reason for this drill and the types of emergencies we prepare for- earthquakes, fires, etc.

INSECT DISCOVERY LAB VISIT- On Friday, October 19th, first graders will have a first hand look at amazing live insects with a special visit from Insect Discovery Lab. We can’t wait!

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS:
·      Thank you for sending in egg cartons. We do not need anymore at this time. 
·      Calling all envelopes and old stationary. We are looking to fill up our writing center with envelopes, cards, etc. The kids are loving writing letters during Quiet Time and free-write periods. If you have any laying around, please send them in.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, and concerns.  Have a terrific week!
:) Tara Ordonez