Weekly Newsletter


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hi Everyone!

                First grade is currently studying the idea of Long Ago as our Social Studies Unit.  This week, we are learning about famous people who lived long ago but are remembered for the work they did.  We learned about the Wright Brothers and how they overcame many challenges and setbacks before building their famous flying machine.  We even had some primary source footage of the first flight.  We also learned about Harriet Tubman and how even though she made it to freedom, she risked her own freedom to help others gain theirs.  Next week, we will approach Long Ago from a more personal perspective and talking about family history.  You can help set your child up for this by sharing family stories.  We will read How Have I Grown?, Before I Was Your Mother, My Great Aunt Arizona, Song and Dance Man, and When Everybody Wore A Hat.  If you can pull out your own family photo albums, chat about when your first grader was a baby, talk about interesting family members and your own family story, it will build background and understanding for our work next week and allow for rich and stimulating conversations to emerge.



Happy Thursday!



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

bulletin board photoHi Everyone!  Please enjoy the attached photo of the nurse’s November bulletin board the K-Kids and 1st graders helped out with.  It was especially timely given Carter’s Dad’s visit to teach us about germs and hand washing. 


Tomorrow and Friday we will be going to the library for our STAR testing.  Friday is the reading test and I am not allowed to help at all with anything.  All I can do is walk around, smile, and offer encouragement.  Students have to read the instructions, the questions, and the answer choices before choosing the best answer for each question.  We have been practicing reading independently and I have been encouraging everyone to try reading their own math questions before asking for reading help.  A lot of times, they surprise themselves at how much they really can read on their own when they have to.  I will be giving everyone a pep talk about trying your best and using words you know to help figure out words you don’t know.  It would be good if they also got a little pep talk at home about giving it their best effort.   If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail or set up a conference time and we can chat about your child’s progress.


Happy Wednesday!



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Today was our surprise homework pass challenge.  We took a “pop quiz” on subtraction.  There were 17 questions on the quiz and a homework pass was available to anyone who got all 17 correct.  I am so proud to say that 8 people earned a homework pass to be used tonight or any night of the recipient’s choice.  There were a lot of very close scores, but 17 was the magic number.  Way to go first grade!  Way to learn your math!  This reflects hard work, attention to detail, and great effort.  I am very impressed!



Monday, October 12, 2015

Tomorrow we will begin our skating experience.  We need to leave school promptly at 8:00 to walk to Brooks Gym, so please do all you can to have your first grader at school on time.  It is also good if they have on tall socks and shoes that they can get off and on without help.  We will skate Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this week and next from 8:00 – 8:55.  In the event of rain or snow, we will still walk to Brooks Gym, so wet or cold weather gear may be necessary some mornings. 


Happy Monday!


Noell Brickell

Instructor, First Grade






Hi Everyone!

                First grade is not quite in full swing, but we are getting there day by day and inch by inch.  Here are some things that are happening in our room:


Morning Meeting

  • We have learned to look one another in the eye and say “Good Morning” while shaking hands.  Our eventual goal is to be as proper as two Presidents of the USA greeting one another for a game of golf.  Baby steps!
  • We are learning to listen to each other’s shares, ask good questions, make thoughtful comments, and remember and record important details about the share.
  • We have learned the Beanbag Boogie game, the Mack Chicken Dance Medley, and Stick to the Glue.  We also listen and draw music and tell stories inspired by pieces of art.
  • We read our News and Announcements chart orally together each morning to build reading fluency and confidence.



  • We are learning to navigate using the smartboard and the new interactive math programs to enrich our math lessons.
  • We are learning to use the materials in our classroom as math learning tools.
  • We are reviewing concepts of addition from kindergarten and learning how first graders show their work and talk about their math thinking.



  • We read and studied At the Top of My Voice by Felice Holman.  We borrowed her technique of using exaggeration and published our own book of first grade exaggerations.
  • We are currently studying A New Friend by Maria Fleming and working on using describing words to tell about each other in our new collaborative poem currently in the process of being written and illustrated.


Language Arts

  • We are reviewing (quickly) letter sounds and building skills we will need for our “Make A Book” center when it opens.
  • We are playing the Name Game to practice syllables, word study skills, and learn to spell each other’s names



  • We are learning about main idea and supporting details.
  • We are reading a non-fiction book about habitats around the world.
  • We are using other classroom resources to dig deeper into our research on habitats. 
  • We are learning that good readers learn new vocabulary words when they read.


Social Studies

  • We are working together as a class to create and agree upon a set of classroom rules.  We will vote on the rules, come up with how to help each other follow the rules, and consequences if rules are broken. 






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