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University School

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Monday, November 20th - Homework

Homework tonight is a math sheet.  It is in the folder along with today’s classwork in math.  Please use the classwork as a guide.  We are looking for a labeled drawing, a number sentence, and a statement that answers the question.  We are working on using our academic vocabulary in math.  Problems like the ones we are working on tonight are called “addend unknown” problems.  This means we have to use the sum and the addend we know to find the unknown.  We have worked these types of problems before, but we are challenging ourselves to use the fancy math words when we talk about our problem solving and to explain our work using numbers, words and pictures. 

Happy Monday!

Noell

Wednesday, November 15th - Homework

There is no math homework tonight.  Today was a strategy sharing session.  We did not introduce any new skills, but we compared different approaches to problem solving and shared our thinking and our go-to strategies.  We learned that some of us do well with number bonds, others prefer drawing pictures, and quite a few of us have picked up the habit of using 5 groups.   Tomorrow we will apply the strategies of our choice and check for accuracy.

In addition to practicing those “bossy R” words, please listen to your child read our knock knock jokes aloud.  We are working on knowing when to pause when reading orally.  As I am conducting reading assessments this week, I am noticing that even my very top level readers need more work on using punctuation to guide their breathing and pausing when reading orally.  Today, we practiced taking a short pause when we see a comma and making a full stop at a period, question mark, or exclamation point. 

Tomorrow we will be performing Reader’s Theatre for the kindergartners.  We are excited to have an audience to read to!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, November 14th  

Tomorrow we are using knock knock jokes to illustrate the role of punctuation in guiding oral reading.  If you know any good ones that are first grade appropriate, please share!  The goofier, the better!

Also, if you have not sent in your permission form and/or money for the Bright’s Zoo field trip on Friday, please get that in as soon as possible.

Thank you!

Have a great Tuesday evening!

Noell

Tuesday, November 7th

We ran out of time and did not get homework written down in our planners.  Tonight’s asignments are:

RED folder – read your new book to someone at home.  Notice the sequence of events.  Come prepared to share with your group about your book.

Math sheet – .  Solve problems taking 9 away from a teen number.  You must draw a picture to show how you could use the make 10 strategy to solve. 

Spelling test on Friday.  Y as a vowel – long i or long e sound.

Happy Tuesday!

Noell

 November 5th

Last week in first grade, we:

  • Noticed the sequence of events when we read fiction and non-fiction and watched for signal words first, next, then, and finally.  We will apply this skill more next week as we practice reading more non-fiction. 
  • learned to use a bubble map to help us record important details from our reading. 
  • listened for the long i sound in words and learn long i spelling patterns.  We read, spelled, and sorted words.
  • reviewed proper, common, and possessive nouns and homophones.   
  • practiced past, present and future tense verbs.
  • kept working with the magic number 10 in math. 
  • learned even more about our state - Tennessee and famous people from Tennessee.

I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing weekend and enjoyed your extra hour of sleep.  I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!

Noell

October 29th

Last week we:

  • Read and performed a play.
  • Used punctuation, including commas, to guide our pauses when we read orally.     
  • listened for the long e sound in words and learned vowel teams that make the long e sound.  We read, spelled, and sorted words.
  • reviewed proper, common, and possessive nouns and homophones.   
  • practiced present and future tense verbs.
  • worked with the magic number 10 in math. 
  • learned a lot more about our state - Tennessee.

 

Thursday, October 26th, Skating Celebration

Hello parents,

We are excited to celebrate the last day of roller skating with our high school partners tomorrow. I wanted to let you know that media outlets have been invited to cover this “feel-good” story about the bonds being built between our first-graders and their high school partners. They will be arriving around 9 a.m. tomorrow to talk with Ms. Cradic and possibly a few of the children. They will also be shooting photos and video of the skating lesson and the treat bags being given to partners. If for any reason you do not want your child to be involved in the media coverage, please let me know before tomorrow morning and we will make necessary accommodations.

Thanks,

Noell

Wednesday, October 25th, Homework

Thank you for pushing through and persevering through last night’s homework.  I know it is a tough concept to grasp.  We had a few light bulbs go off in class yesterday, and a few more when we went over homework again this morning.  I emphasized to the first graders that this is a thinking exercise that is stretching our math muscles by forcing us to think about numbers in different ways.  We also discussed the importance of drawing a picture even when you can solve the equation without drawing it out.  Creating a picture of the equation with its three parts is a part of the language of math and even the big kids taking really hard math upstairs are still required to draw pictures to prove their solutions.  We practiced some more math drawings in class this morning and tonight’s homework will involve a new twist on making 10.  Ten is a “magic number” and mathematicians are always searching out ways to make 10s. 

Happy Wednesday!

Noell

Monday, October 23rd, Skating Partners

Friday is the last day of skating with our high school skating partners.  (Please make sure your student is dressed to walk across campus.  Raincoats and umbrellas are encouraged if it is rainy.  Thank you!)

Traditionally, first graders like to put together a small treat bag for each high school student to say “thank you” for working with us.  I will need one person to send in some paper lunch bags for the first graders to decorate and others to send in a bag of candy.  We will write a thank you note and stuff the decorated bags with the candy we receive and deliver them on Friday.  Please reply all if you are willing to send in bags because we only need one package.  If you are sending in candy, you can send that in anytime between now and Friday. 

Thank you!

Noell

Friday, October 20th, Quick Recap,

Happy Friday everyone!

This week we have:

  • Skated
  • studied the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. 
  • listened for the long o sound in the middle of words and at the end of words.  We have read, spelled, and sorted words with the long o sound.
  • reviewed proper, common, and possessive nouns and learned about homophones. 
  • worked with addition and subtraction.
  • learned a little more about Tennessee, its flag and geography. 

 Noell

 Monday, October 16th, Roller Skating

We will begin our roller skating unit in PE this week and continue next week.  This changes our daily schedule.  In lieu of our regular PE times, we will skate in Brooks Gym from 9:05 to 9:55 Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week and next week.  It is very important for your first grader to wear socks and shoes that are easy to get off and on.  There will be plenty of helpers, but we encourage as much independence as possible.    In the event of a rainy morning, please send an umbrella or rain jacket as we make every reasonable attempt to get there and only cancel if weather conditions are truly dangerous. 

Thanks!

Noell

 October 15th

Hi first grade families!  Here is a quick snap shot of what we worked on in class last week:

We --

·studied book characters, looking closely at Sheila Rae, the Brave by Kevin Henkes.  We learned that even really brave people get scared sometimes.  We also saw some clever ways that Kevin Henkes used the illustrations in the book to help us understand the character of Sheila Rae’s little sister, Louise.  There was a whole other layer to this story hidden in plain view in the pictures.  Although the words in the book told us what happened from Sheila Rae’s point of view, we had to read the illustrations to see what was happening to Louise.  The story taught us how both sisters learned a thing or two from each other about what it really means to be brave. 

·listened for the long a sound in the middle of words and at the end of words.  We learned when to use ai and when to use ay for the long a sound.     

·reviewed nouns and verbs and talked about different kinds of nouns.  We learned about proper, common, and possessive nouns.  

·worked with subtraction.

·learned a little more about where on Earth we live -- Tennessee.

Saturday, September 9th, Personal Narratives

We have been hard at work crafting a personal narrative as our final ELA project this quarter.  A personal narrative is a true story about an event in a writer’s life.  We have taken our PNs through the planning and drafting stages and we will edit and publish next week.  The educational purpose behind this writing project is for me to be able to assess the students’ command of spelling and language arts skills we have been working on all quarter in an authentic way.  In other words, can they take the isolated skills we practice every day and apply them in real life?

I have gleaned a goldmine of information that will inform my grouping and planning for next quarter.  I know who needs more work on punctuation, who needs support with subject-verb agreement, who still doesn’t quite know when or how to use a silent e, and who is ready for affixes and r-controlled vowels.  The exercise of reading and marking up their drafts this morning has been fruitful and I’m ready to plug that data into my 2nd quarter curriculum sketches.

However, I am writing to share with you that your children are brilliant little authors.  My “just for fun” degree was in English lit.  I read a lot, so when I tell you that I have smiled so hard my face hurts this morning, it is a gigantic and most sincere compliment.  I cannot wait to get their final published work out in the hallway for all to enjoy!

Thank you for living such story-worthy lives and I truly cannot wait for you to read the narratives your littles have so skillfully penned!

Noell

Thursday, September 7th, Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher Conferences:  Friday is filled up and I have posted a Monday sign up for those who still need a slot.

Noell

 Wednesday, September 6th, Bowling

Friday is our bowling trip.  We are excited and can’t wait to bowl.  One way you can help us spend less time waiting in line and more time bowling is to make sure your child knows her shoe size.  I am putting “shoe size for bowling” as a homework assignment for tomorrow night, but you don’t have to wait until tomorrow to practice remembering that important number that gets you out of line quickly at the shoe rental counter.  

Thank you!

Noell

 Tuesday, September 5th, Parent-Teacher Conferences

Next Friday is designated for Parent-Teacher Conference Day.  Conferences are not required, but they are encouraged.   I am posting an empty schedule on the classroom door tomorrow for you to begin signing up for Friday slots.  These times are first come, first served.  There are not enough slots to schedule a conference for everyone on that day and I will not have everything ready prior to Friday.  If Friday fills up and there are more people who want conferences than available times, then I will open up more times the following week. 

Have a great Tuesday!

Noell 

 Thursday, August 31st

Tonight’s personal narrative planning assignment is “The Day I Lost My First Tooth.”  If your first grader has not achieved this milestone yet, it’s okay…just change the topic to another memorable first.  It could be…

My first haircut

My first pedicure

My first roller coaster ride

Really, truly, any first is okay.  The idea is to have a topic ready when they come to the teacher table for writing time.

Noell

 Tuesday, August 22nd, Non-fiction Books

We are reading non-fiction books about habitats this week.  Today we read our books for the first time and recorded the main idea.  Tonight, students will think about the main idea as they re-read and come to class prepared to discuss the book in our groups.  We will prioritize our supporting details by relevance to the main idea and record these as a group tomorrow.  I encourage thinking ahead and coming prepared to discuss, but leave those detail boxes empty until we decide together the best information to record.  Happy reading!

Noell

 Tuesday, August 15th, RED Folders Part 2

Today we recorded the main idea of our nonfiction books and we started looking for details in the text that support the main idea.  Our emphasis is on reading to learn.  Doing so requires learning to ask questions as we read and then rereading to find the answers to our questions and check our own understanding.    

Tonight, your student will bring home the same book again.  Before your child reads the book, it will help if you talk about the main idea and detail sheet in the RED folder.  Ask your child what is the main idea of the book and what supporting details we found together in class today.  Then as you read together, brainstorm some other good details you notice that help us get a better understanding of the main idea.  Tomorrow we will complete the sheet together in our groups. 

Thank you for your commitment to reading together at home!

Noell

Monday, August 14th, RED Folders

Hi parents and happy Monday.  I hope yours started out a little better than mine.  I had a before school dentist appointment that took longer than I had hoped.  When I came in, I told the first graders that I am unexpectedly getting my very own crown, just not the same kind the queen wears.  Ha! Ha! 

I am emailing to give you a little heads up on the RED folders.  This week we are working on using non-fiction text as a research tool with an emphasis on finding the main idea and supporting details.  To this end, students will bring the same non-fiction text home every night.  I explained to them this morning that we are going to become experts on the topics of these books and in order to become an expert we will have to read and re-read, really get to know the vocabulary, and make sure that we have pulled every ounce of information we can from the books.  This will take close reading and careful examination of the text.  Your job is to listen to your child read and try to ask some questions that will dig into the meat of the book and prepare your student for tomorrow’s discussion on the main idea of the book. 

Thank you and I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Noell

Thursday, August 10th, Special Activity

Good afternoon families,

              I have a special afternoon activity planned for first grade tomorrow and I thought it might be good to let parents know in advance in case your children come home with questions or comments.  As many of you are aware, I serve as an educational advisor on the Holston Conference South Sudan Advisory Team.  Initially, my role on the board was to advise on matters pertaining to schooling for South Sudanese orphans.  Shortly after I came on board, the area of South Sudan where we worked became very unstable and the children I was responsible for were relocated to a refugee camp across the border in Uganda under emergency conditions.

              “My” kids live very challenging lives in the camp.  They left their homeland, their home, their school, their church, and everything familiar and no one knows when or if they will ever go back.   We were able to get the older students into boarding schools, but the youngest are required to attend school in the camp where one teacher may have 100s of students and everyone speaks different languages.  Food is rationed.  They live in very humble structures.  And yet, in many ways, they are just regular kids.  They like to read, sing, play games, and play with toys they make from found materials.

              My fiancé is leaving for Uganda this weekend and he will be visiting “my” kids while he is in the country.  I have packed up little care packages for them and I would like to attach notes from the first graders because they absolutely delight in the idea that kids across the sea in America know their names and care about them.

Tomorrow I will share a little bit about their story along with photos from my recent trip over.  I plan to ask the first graders to write letters of encouragement to send to the children along with my care packages of school supplies.  I will share photos of the camp and of where we had school outside under a tree when I went over to teach.   I will show them that we had reading lessons and they worked on writing sentences and spelling and math.  We greeted each other in the morning with a song and a dance.  We took a lunch break.  We had recess and chased each other around and climbed trees.   Many of the things we did in Uganda were like the things we do here.  The focus of the lesson will be on our similarities.  But I will also explain that they miss their home and sometimes feel sad and discouraged about not being there anymore.  We have an opportunity to help by sending them happy notes and the good news that there are people across the world wishing them well.   As much as they need food and shelter and water, they also need connections with other children and acknowledgement that we have not forgotten them.

I will tie the presentation to our sentence writing and weather studies.  I will share about the 113 degree heat and the two mile walk to the well and I will share a really cool video I took of a dust devil if I can find it in my files.  I suspect that the first graders will be interested and eager to write to their new friends.  I am working on an interactive Skype session if we can get a signal, but it is difficult to achieve during the rainy season.  At the very least, I will be able to follow up tomorrow’s activity with a video of the letters being delivered and the children’s reactions to notes from their American friends.  Timing will be dictated by wifi availability, but I will keep you posted and share as I am able.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Noell

 Monday, August 7th, No School on Solar Eclipse Day, August 21st

Hello Bucs Family!

We have decided to use one of our "Inclement Weather Days" on August 21st to allow our students to be with family for the eclipse. Several folks have expressed a desire to drive to where this rare event will be more visible. So, since the 21st is a Non-Student Day, you can take that trip knowing classes are not being missed.

We had purchased special protective glasses for students to use in viewing the eclipse. Those glasses will now be available in the office for  our students and their families for $1.00 each while supplies last.

Also, as a reminder, Friday the 25th is also a Non-Student Day as it is a Staff In-Service Day.

Go Bucs!

Monday, August 7th, Morning Mile

The Morning Mile is tomorrow at 7:30.  It has been great to see so many first graders out there exercising and socializing.  We hope even more can join us tomorrow and Thursday.

There is a prize for the class who logs the most miles…

Last year first grade won.  No pressure.  J 

 Monday, July 31st, Spelling Test 
 

We took our first spelling pretest this morning.  Everyone has in, and, like, and mom.  These should be pretty easy review words.  I chose the remainder of the spelling words for your child based on errors made on the spelling test.   You will find a list of spelling words recorded in the planner.  We will have daily spelling practice in class, but I also encourage you to practice the words at home.  We will have a spelling test on Friday. 

 If you have questions, I am happy to answer them.

 Noell

July 30th, Newsletter

Last week was a fantastic week in first grade.  We

  • Learned a few new morning greetings
    • Handshake, hug, or high 5
    • Seat Swap
    • Shoe
  • Studied the concrete poem “Popsicle, Popsicle” by Joan Bransfield Grahham
  • Reviewed –at, -am, -it, -et, and –ad rhyming patterns
  • Learned to play the word game Chunk Stacker
  • Studied the book An Extraordinary Egg by Lio Lionni
  • Began using our Reader’s Notebooks
  • Continued to use number bonds to decompose numbers
  • Found all of the pairs of 10
  • Solved number stories about adding to and putting together
  • Played a target game to practice math skills
  • Wrote our own original number stories
  • Played the mystery bag game with dinosaurs to help us understand missing part math questions.
  • Played 1- 120 number line squeeze.
  • Played Sparkle and a counting by 5 variation of Sparkle
  • Learned that the Constitution can be changed and changes are known as amendments
  • We learned the meaning of the words in the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • We learned the meaning of the words to the Star Spangled Banner and watched some memorable performances.  If your first grader came home and said that we watched Lady Gaga videos at school, this is true.  We watched her rendition of the National Anthem on You Tube. 
  • We learned the meaning behind the colors and symbols on the American flag and designed our own personal flags to reflect our own identities and interests.

It was a full week and we have another busy week in front of us.  This week we will:

  • Continue to review sight words and rhyming patterns
  • Bring home nightly reading books and use a reading log to keep track of our reading books
  • Write about the books we read at home in our reader’s notebooks
  • Take a spelling pretest and use the results to target “just right” spelling words to work on
  • Compare and contrast fiction and nonfiction
  • Begin a scientific study of Weather

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and I look forward to seeing everyone back again tomorrow.

Noell

Friday, July 21st, Fun Friday Idea 

First grade has a new art time on Fridays.  We now go to Art from 9:15 to 10:15 on Friday.  Today was our first experience with the new Friday schedule and it worked well.  The only hiccup I noticed is that we have this awkward chunk of time from about 8:45 until it’s time for art.  Tennessee mandates 90 uninterrupted minutes of English Language Arts (ELA) instruction and 60 uninterrupted minutes of math, so we have to move both of those to the afternoon on art days.  After some playing with different Friday scheduling possibilities and remembering some of the offers I have received from parents to volunteer in the classroom, I came up with the idea of Parent Share Fridays. 

For example, Zia’s mother is an artist.   One Friday, she could come in and teach a 30 minute art lesson from 8:45 – 9:15.  Another time, Dhruv’s father could come in and teach us about our hearts.  And Hazel’s mom could come and share about Political Science.  We have a broad range of interests and expertise in this group and I would love for you all to come in and share your passions with our class.   If this sounds like an opportunity you would welcome, please send me your ideas and Friday morning availability in an email and I will begin putting together a calendar.

Truly, it has been a fantastic kick off to a new school year.  Thank you for all of your hard work and have a wonderful weekend. 

Noell

Friday, July 21st, Week 2 

Week 2 is almost in the books.  We have:

  • Practiced reading “A New Friend” by Maria Fleming
  • Added “Sunflower, Sunflower” by Robert Heidbreder to our poetry folders
  • Learned to surround the reading of a poem with a “circle of quiet” in order to linger with the words and images and feelings for a few seconds before we begin our discussion
  • learned to “turn and talk” to our rug partners about the books we read together
  • discussed easy, just right, and challenging books and the importance of including all three in our reading lives
  • reminded ourselves how to take care of borrowed books
  • learned to use the classroom library
  • reviewed long and short vowel sounds
  • put together and taken apart the numbers 6,7,8, and 9
  • learned to use our daily planners to track homework assignments
  • set learning goals for our year together
  • written and agreed upon a set of rules for our classroom
  • learned the difference between rules and laws
  • learned that states have different laws and read some funny ones about coloring chickens, bringing skunks across state lines and singing on the street after 9 pm
  • learned that all state laws are based on the US Constitution
  • learned about the framers of the Constitution and how difficult it was for them to come to agreement

Shew, no wonder we are all tired today!

We will continue to study the Constitution, Pledge of Allegiance, and flag etiquette next week before moving into meteorology. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Noell

Thursday, July 20th, Homework

First grade went to the library yesterday and checked out books.  We had a lesson about easy, just right, and challenging books and the importance of reading all three types on a regular basis.  Tonight’s homework is to read for 20 minutes.  Your child can read the library book or any other book you have at home.  I have not yet conducted individual reading assessments yet to assign books specific to individual reading goals, so tonight is “free choice” reading time. 

Happy reading!

Ms.Noell

  Monday, July 17th, Math Fluency

Good afternoon!  Today first grade is celebrating everyone remembering their folders and planners.  I’m impressed!

In our math work, we have a fluency component which involves timed work.  You might see some incomplete math pages coming home.  This is okay.  We are timing ourselves to see how many problems we can solve before our timer goes off.  Then we challenge ourselves to get through more tomorrow than we got today.  You can encourage your first grader’s progress by reviewing at home.  Fluency work is usually based on homework from the night before.

Right now, these are just for practice and not recorded as we are learning the routine.  Later on, we may track scores for the purpose of charting progress.  Our goal for each day is “better than yesterday.” 

Happy Tuesday!

Noell

 Monday, July 17th, Class Rules

Our class worked together to come up with a list of rules that we need to follow in order to be good citizens in the first grade community.  As a class, we decided that our rules for the year are:

  1. Focus – look, listen, and think
  2. Be safe
  3. Treat others with respect
  4. Take care of our school

This is a short list, but we all agree that following these 4 rules all the time is the best way to meet all of our goals for first grade.  Each student signed an agreement to follow all 4 rules every day.  We will keep this agreement posted in our classroom to remind us of our promise to each other.  As issues and challenges are inevitable, we will use our rules and our promise to problem solve and work through situations as they arise.  In the event of repeated or serious conversations about rule violations, parents will be contacted either through e-mail, a phone call, or a note home.   

As we all naturally prefer prevention to reaction, please have a conversation at home about our class rules, what they mean, and what it looks like when you are focused, being safe, treating others with respect, and taking care of our school.   Tomorrow we will discuss which of our 4 rules poses the greatest challenge for each of us and ask our friends for support and strategies to help us stay on track in that area.  For me, staying focused will be the hardest rule to follow.  But I know that some first graders are very strong in that area and I look forward to hearing their tips on sharpening my focus.

Have a great evening!

Noell

 Monday, July 17th, Homework

Happy Monday first grade families!

              Welcome back.  Thank you to everyone who remembered to bring your folder back today.  If you forgot, that’s okay, just send it back tomorrow.  Today, we are adding a daily planner to your child’s routine.  Each day, we will write our homework assignments in our planner.   Please check your child’s folder nightly.  Empty out the “keep at home” pocket and check for important messages and paperwork.  Tonight’s homework is math work.  Your child will be making a set of flash cards to keep at home to help memorize addition facts.   Please utilize these not just tonight but throughout the year as we work toward mastery of basic facts with speed and accuracy. 

              Thanks to everyone who came out on Friday.  First grade had a great showing.  We are off to a great start and I can’t believe it is already the second week of school!

Have a great week!

Noell   

Thursday, July 13th, Sharing

Dear first grade familes,

          Next week, we will begin “sharing” in first grade.  Sharing is a part of our Morning Meeting in which students share news and respond to each other by asking questions and making comments about shared news.  The practice of sharing helps us develop communication skills and get to know each another better.  It also encourages habits of inquiry and gives us a comfortable platform to practice public speaking skills. 

          In first grade, we sign up for a share day at the beginning of each month and send a calendar home.  Your student will have a turn each month to share something with the class during our Morning Meeting.   Your student is in charge of choosing news to share that is appropriate for the group.  Photos or small objects can accompany the news and photos can always be e-mailed to me for display on the smart board during the share. 

          Some examples of good sharing topics are…

          Pets (accompanied by a photo, collar, etc)

          Achievements (riding a bike, a new martial arts belt level, etc)

          Talents (sing, dance, play the ukulele, etc)

          Big news/ changes (new house, new car, new baby siblings, etc)

Really, any school appropriate topic is okay for sharing time.  Sometimes they are lighthearted and sometimes they are more serious.  This is a student directed activity.  A share should last 3 – 5 minutes with time at the end for the listeners to ask questions and make comments about the topic.  My intent is for sharing to be a fun and informal time and it should not involve any cost or prep beyond deciding on a topic to share about. 

          In the event that a student is absent or forgets about her share day, we will do our best to squeeze it in the next day or as soon as possible.  July share calendars will come home tomorrow in your child’s folder.  Please make note of your child’s scheduled Share Day for July.  I look forward to learning more about this new group of first grade friends!

 

Happy Thursday!

 

Ms.Noell

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