Friday, February 5, 2016

End of quarter

Hello, families!

I am writing to you from my home (and in my jammies still!) on our first snow day of the year.  I always have mixed feelings about missing a day of school, but it does look pretty messy out there!
We are finished with the first half of first grade.  I am currently working on finishing assessments and entering the numbers (based on the Common Core Standards) and the symbols to grade learner qualities in the report cards.
I believe the report cards will be available for viewing online on Thursday, February 11th.

I am so proud of the students.  They are such hard workers and have shown so much growth.  I want you to understand that as the year goes on, the specific standards which we assess get more in-depth and rigorous.  You will not see the verbiage change on the report card, as the standards that are written represent the major "domains."
For example, in reading, within the "Foundational Skills" domain, one of the standards is to "read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension."  As the year goes on, our benchmark for grade-level text increases.
There are many specific standards to consider before I decided on one, single number to enter.

Enjoy the snow day!
Go Broncos!  Go Panthers!

Leanne Turenne

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January things...

Hello, families!
It seems like it's been a while since I've updated you on what's going on in the classroom.  Believe it or not, we are nearing the end of the second quarter of school!

In order to get ready for that, I will be giving the students a "Curriculum-Based Measurement" or "CBM" in reading/phonics and mathematics.  These assessments are used by administration and by us teachers to assure that the students are on the right path. For more info, see:

I will also sit individually with each student and determine their current reading level.  I will write the reading level in the comments section of the report card.  You will receive the report cards digitally through Aspen.

Today we went to MakerSpace and got into groups for a physics/engineering challenge.  Each group was given paper and tape.   From the paper, they created 4 cylindrical columns and 4 square prism columns.  These columns supported books.  The idea was to see which type of column (cylindrical or square prism) would hold the most books.
You'll have to ask your first grader for the answer.  The hardest part was trying to explain WHY.

We have started a new science unit called Air and Weather.  We have completed our first investigation where the kids used various tools to see what air can do.
Today, we wrote our answers in our science journals.

We are in the middle of our math unit about numbers and operations in base 10.  The students seemed to have mastered the greater than, less than, and equal symbols and we are now working on writing to prove our answer.  Explaining HOW we know our answer is tricky...and also an important mathematical practice standard!

I hope that you are enjoying this first month of the year.  We have already gained 30 minutes of daylight since the winter solstice...we keep track of sunrise and sunset times at school.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy 2016!

Today was our first day back.  It was so nice to see the students again.  I missed them a lot!

We are plugging away in our math unit and will be taking an assessment soon.  The entire unit focuses on the Operations and Algebraic Thinking standards.

This week we are listening to "The Kings of the Frogs" for our Great Books story.  It is an African Folktale.
We will have our discussion tomorrow and we will act out the story on Wednesday.

In science today, we did an activity to determine if the behavior of squirrels helps then survive in the winter.  We used pasta instead of nuts and the students were divided up into 2 groups:  red squirrels and gray squirrels.
Our data showed us that the gray squirrels had a harder time surviving.

In writing, we are working on adding more.  We are focusing also on approximate spelling and using the word wall (sight word wall) to help us.  We have begun talking about proper nouns this week and we will be sure to capitalize them in our writing.  And, as always, we will be sharing our writing and ideas with our writing partners.

I also wanted to mention that with the cold weather upon us, it would be a good idea to put some chap stick and some hand lotion in your child's backpack.  The dry air and heat can chap their skin, sometimes causing it to sting.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Last 8 of 2015

Hello families!
I wanted to keep you up-to-date regarding our first grade activities during these next (and last) 8 school days of 2015.

We have a couple of "non-academic" activities planned that I want to tell you about first.
1.  Pajama Day on Tuesday, December 22!  Kids can wear their pj's and slippers (but no slippers outside for recess!) if they want to.  This is completely optional.

2.  "Young Shoppers Store" is a student store set up by the fabulous Jamestown PTO.   They set up tables with lots of items that students can purchase as holiday gifts for their families.  Most gifts run between $1-5. I have signed our class up to go to the store on Thursday, December 17th.   Again, this is optional.  I can tell you one thing:  students light up from the inside when they think of others and give to others.  It is a fun way to budget money, too.  Also, I will have gift wrap, tags, and bags in the classroom so that the kids can wrap and tag and bring home the gifts.

As for the world of academia:

Math:  We have begun a new math unit titled Understanding, Representing, & Solving Addition & Subtraction within 20. This is one of the units which addresses "operations and algebraic thinking." Again, as with just about subject a teacher introduces, there are students at all different levels of understanding. Therefore, this week I will continue with 2 days of guided math groups in order to meet the needs of all my students.
This math unit will bring us into the first week of January where I will give a review before diving back into the content. You can expect a math assessment to be sent home during the second week of January.

Writing: In writing, we have kicked it up a notch! We are on Unit 3 in the "Being a Writer" program, which is all about adding more. We have transitioned to using paper without a space for a picture and we continue to work with our writing partners (new partners for this unit) as they are a critical piece in helping us grow as writers.

Social studies: We will continue with our map skills activities. I have printed out a copy of the RI Social Studies Grade Level Expectations and will do my best to address them throughout the year. Looks like we are on track! If you are interested in taking a look yourself, click on this link:

I am in need of 17 shoe boxes; any size will do.  If you have one (or more) that you can spare, please send them in with your child.  We will need them on December 21st.

Clorox Wipes - or something of the sort.  I clean the tables every day after school and everyday after snack and find that the wipes are great!

Thank you!  
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and this warm weather!

Sunday, December 6, 2015


It's already December 6th.  My, how time flies!  As of now, the Patriots are tied with Philadelphia and I can't bring myself to watch!

I have enjoyed all of our parent-teacher conferences (I only have one more to go!).  I hope that you all have a better understanding of the first grade standards and what we do in school to meet them.  Please don't hesitate to contact me with questions and/or clarifications!

We have been very busy in first grade!  
In math, we will start a new unit called "Understanding, representing, and solving addition and subtraction problems within 20."

The math standards for this unit are all in the "operations and algebraic thinking" area.  As for mathematical practice standards, we will focus in on #1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them, #2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively,and #4 Model with mathematics.  This unit is for 15 days and it is also a critical area for first grade mathematics.  

Also, in order to meet the needs of all 17 of my students more effectively, I have decided to  have at least 2 days a week be devoted to math work stations.  I am lucky enough to have 2 parent volunteers for math on Wednesdays to help me out!

As per a few conversations during conferences, I have decided to weave some geography into our social studies curriculum.  We will start with learning about the compass rose.

Also, I have decided to start a social skills program called "Second Step."  First graders sometimes have a difficult time making friends, keeping friend, learning how to talk respectfully to one another, and managing anger.  I will do one lesson per week and I have a feeling that the the units of lessons will take us to near the end of the school year.  

I will send home the math newsletter and an informational letter about Second Step tomorrow.

Have a great evening!  Go Pats!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

November News

Hello families!
I hope you all had a nice weekend.  Today's weather was beautiful, in my opinion!
I wanted to let you know about a few things coming up in first grade.

1.  There is no school on Wednesday, November 11th, in honor of Veterans' Day. The students have learned about what a veteran is and about the 5 branches of the military.  We even made paper poppies last Friday to represent the Day of Remembrance for the soldiers who have died as they have fought for our country.

2.  The first quarter of school comes to a close on Thursday.  I have my first parent conference starting on that day.  I think that I have scheduled just about everyone for a conference.  I will send home reminder slips at least one week before your conference.  If you did not schedule a conference yet, please contact me.

A note about parent conferences. My primary focus is to communicate to you how your child in doing in academic subjects:  reading, writing, language, speaking and listening, mathematics, science, and social studies.  We will also briefly discuss learner qualities.  Each conference will last about 20 minutes.  If you feel that you need more time after we have spoken for 20 minutes, we can schedule another meeting.
I will have a draft of your child's report card with me so that we can use it to guide our conversation.
When report cards are officially "released," you will receive a message via email from our school's automated system.  You will then be able to view the report card online.
For most of  you, you will be able to see your child's report card before we have our conference.

3.  We will have our 2nd math assessment this week.  I feel confident that the students have a solid understanding of how to model and solve word problems.  They have also "discovered" the commutative property of addition.  I will send the assessments home when they are scored.

4.  I have sent home the first volume of our Read-Aloud Junior Great Books.  Please keep these at home.  We have been discussing the stories and poems, using the students' questions as a guide.  We usually act out the stories as well as do an art piece.
Our next story is Rumpelstiltskin by the Brothers Grimm.

I am very proud of this fabulous group of kids.  It is so nice to come to school each day and see their bright, smiling faces.

Leanne Turenne