Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April and the end of the 3rd quarter!

Hello, families!

The third quarter's end is upon us.  With that, I will be working on report cards over the weekend and wrapping up some quick assessments this week.   I believe that you will be able to look at the report card via Aspen next Thursday, April 14th.

Over all, I am so proud of these students!  They are all great readers and writers, mathematicians and scientists!  We have a lot of fun in school (at least I think so!) and because of our good relationships among each other, we are more likely to be ourselves and take risks.

Here are some things that we are working on....

In mathematics - We have been learning and practicing addition strategies.  Such strategies are counting on (for equations with +1, +2, and +3), doubles, doubles +1, doubles -1, and making 10.  Once we get those squared away, we will practice them with subtraction.
I will give the students a math assessment next week so that when they come back from vacation, we can start fresh with a new unit.

In science (...this is where I get excited!!!) - We are observing many parts of the weather!  We log the temperature 3 times a day and our class meteorologist (the leader of the day) determines the weather and charts it on our calendar.  We have also been tracking the moon phase.  There is a great website that we look at for this:

Next weekend, your first grader will responsible for viewing the moon at night (or before bed!) for 4 nights in a row.  I will send home this homework on Friday.

In writing - Students just finished a narrative piece of writing.  The piece has a beginning, middle, and end.  We have shared our writing with our partners and gotten feedback.  Yesterday we were editors and looked through our writing to check for periods (or !?)at the end of all of our sentences, capital letters and the beginning of each sentence, and checked for our sight words to be spelled correctly.
Today, the students created a cover for their text - with an illustration, a title, and a "written and illustrated by:" line as well.

After vacation we will start informational writing!

I hope you enjoy the upcoming vacation; maybe the weather will warm up!

Leanne Turenne

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March happenings

Hello, families!
We are very busy in first grade.  Today is day 120 of school.  Where does the time go?  Our third quarter of school ends on day 135.

In mathematics, the students took an assessment on unit 3.1 last week.  It's focus was the geometry standards:  "reason with shapes and their attributes."  This is not a critical area in first grade.  
The unit that we just started yesterday is all about operations and algebraic thinking: "Solving all addition and subtraction problem types within 20."  One of the major goals for this unit is to get kids fluent in their addition and subtraction facts to 10.  If you have flash cards at home, it would be a good idea to break them out and use them with your first grader.  By year's end they should be fluent (meaning quickly and accurately) in such facts.

In writing, we have been writing stories with a beginning, middle, and end.  We have added feelings words and made sure that our sight words are spelled correctly.  This week and next week we will write another story while adding exclamations and feelings.

Science has been really fun.  We've talked about Gabriel Fahrenheit and his thermometer scale.  We've been recording the weather this week and continue to record our morning temperature.  We will be checking the temperature three times a day to see what part of the day is the warmest.
Next week we will go outside to see the moon in its third quarter and draw a picture of it.  I plan to have the students use the MakerSpace's green-screen to create a "News and Weather" report over the next couple of weeks. 

That's about all for now.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Mrs. Turenne

Monday, February 22, 2016

What's happening

Hello, families!

I wanted to send you a message about what's been going on in our first grade classroom.

In reading, I have started a series of short lessons on reading informational text:  finding the main idea, answering comprehensions questions, going back into the text to justify answers, etc.

In writing, we have started to write silly animal stories.  After hearing a book called Sheep on a Ship, students have thought of an animal (or animals) as their story character and then they had to think of a setting that would make a funny story.  For example, one student wrote about a snake going to the spa.
Tomorrow we will work on the stories some more and then share them with our writing partners.

In mathematics, we have begun a new unit on 2-D and 3-D shapes.  The students will be responsible for knowing the names of the following 3-D shapes:  rectangular prism, cube, cone, cylinder, and sphere.  We will be sorting shapes by different attributes, such as size, color, and shape.

In science, we are into our study of air and weather.  We are focusing on air presently and our focus question for today and tomorrow is "How can we use water to show that air takes up space?"  The students are using barrels and plungers (think syringe) with flexible tubing.  This science unit is a lot of fun for me!  I hope the kids enjoy it just as much!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentine's Day & the 100th Day of School!

Hello, families!

Boy, what a week!  Snow, another 4-day weekend coming up, Valentine's Day, and next Wednesday will be our 100th day of school!

A word about each:

1. Snow.
The kids have been prepared for recess out in the snow, so THANK YOU!  They have been getting more efficient in changing from snowpants and boots into sneakers 3 times a day!

2.  Valentine's Day.
Many classrooms are way ahead of me on this one.  If your child has made Valentine's for their classmates, you can send them into school tomorrow or on Tuesday (when OUR class will do our formal exchange, as opposed to tomorrow).  We will plan for a fun afternoon full of Valentine-learning.❤

3.  100th day of School!
The 100th day of school is planned for Wednesday, February 17th, unless we get more snow days!  I have a project for the kids to work on for this special day.  It involves a collection of 100 of the same objects...all to fit inside a 1 liter soda bottle (with a cap!) go through your recycling bins!😀
Instructions will come home tomorrow.

That's all for now

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.