You are on page 1of 6

Welcome Back To

School!!!
~ from Mrs. Merrill
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

WELCOME TO 2015! I HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A HAPPY AND HEALTHY


NEW YEAR FILLEDWITH FABULOUSNESS!!!
I hope you all had a wonderful, fun, relaxing time with your families over
the holiday break and very happy holidays!!!!!
JANUARY FIRST GRADE NEWS
WE HAD THE BEST POLAR EXPRESS TRAIN TRIP
AROUND THE WORLD!
Check our website at
www.mrsmerrills1stgrade.weebly.com for a slide show of
all the teams in their countries having a blast! You will also
see pics of the informational team posters they
researched, created, and taught to the rest of the class. We learned
SOOO much and sampled AMAZING foods from countries around the
world thanks to YOU and all the hard work and help! We could NOT have
had this unbelievable experience without the major help of all the team
captains and the families who sent in spectacular snacks from around the
world! Thank YOU!
IPAD NEWS! We are sooooo fortunate to have a BRAND
NEW ipad for our classroom!!!! WOO HOOO!
UNBELIEVABALY AWESOME!!! WE ALL THANK YOU
FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR GRATEFUL LEARNING
HEARTS! Now, we can play Osmo learning games~ we have a word
building and math tangram learning game your children can now enjoy at
kingdoms! We can also use QR codes and record oral reading of books and
responses to reading and even their own stories!!! Kids can scan the code
with our new ipad and hear their friends read stories, writing, and

responses to books!! This is SPECATCULAR and we could NOT do this


before (or update or download ANY new apps or learning games with our
old original first ever ipad) ! We also get to use and keep 10 laptops in our
class, since I teach the extended day learning program. So.we can
continue using these at word kingdoms (having kids type spelling words),
at the creativity kingdom, and even during the math kingdom when your
children can work on XTRA math progress at school, too!!
REPORT CARDS ARE COMING HOME SOON!!!! Can you
believe that on Friday, January 16 you will get your
childs second quarter report card??? Watch your childs
book bag for their report card to come home!! The copy in
there will be for you to keep and all you will need to do is
sign and return the envelope showing you saw your childs
report card. Thanks!
WHAT ARE WE LEARNING ABOUT NOW???
CONTENT WORKSHOP: We will never forget the
celebrations around the world, especially with the Polar Express
Trip around the world, but now we are moving from a Social
Studies Unit, into a Science unit of study for January. We are
now starting a First Grade Science unit on Air and Weather!!! It
should be very exciting to learn all about the night sky, sun, moon, stars,
reason for day and night, seasonal change, and more!!! After learning
about the night sky, children get to choose a constellation for TEAM
PROJECTS! We will use the DEFINED STEM learning website. This is a
project based website of authentic, real world tasks for children to
create and present to audiences. (We use it with 2nd and 3rd graders in
the Extended Day After School Program). We will use the 1 st grade
ASTRONOMER project where kids get to choose a constellation, learn
about it, write what they learned about the story, draw it, look for it in
the night sky and finally create their OWN CONSTELLATION AND
STORY!

MATH WORKSHOP: We are ready to begin Unit 5 on Place Value (a


HUGELY important concept in Common Core) and will
move around Chicago Math, making sure we are truly
teaching the Common Core! Your children have NEW
kingdom groups for math kingdoms and literacy kingdoms
with new kingdom kings and queens! Mathematicians
in first grade need to know their 10 frames fluently. WE continue to
work on basic facts~ with continued practice and reinforcement on
doubles and quickly solving count ons-+1, +2, and +3 problems (not with
their fingers) Next we will learn doubles +1 basic facts! WE recently
took the Unit 4 Chicago Math Assessment (in your childs book bag) and a
2nd Quarter report card assessment for math. (You will see this when
their report card comes home). We continue to solve a number story
together first in math everyday. We ALWAYS write about our thinking
and showcase there are many ways to get the same answer. Some
strategies include drawing a picture, using a number grid, using a number
line, using tally marks, using 10 frames, using manipulatives (like cubes),
base 10 blocks, and more! Some solve problems in their heads, but then
need to explain how they solved the problem. Weve learned it is VERY
important for children to write about math. In common core, kids need
to be explaining their thinking~!
WRITING WORKSHOP: This week we want to conclude our
LETTER WRITING unit and publish their FAVORITE letter! To
do this, we will need your help! Your child will need an
addressed and stamped envelope so we can REALLY SEND
their FAVORITE letter that they want to publish in the mail!
The mailman comes to Madison and we would like to go to the office when
he comes later this week and give him our published letters! We write
letters for various reasons and hopefully our letters will work! Congrats
letter writers!
The next writing in unit will be a creative writing stud: WRITING
FICTION! For the first time, your children will get to create their own

characters, settings, friends, family, and imagine adventures and trouble


for their character. Your writers will create ways to solve their
problems and get the character out of trouble. We will use Junie B. and
Henry and Mudge series books as mentor texts that help model using the
same pretend character in fiction books. We will have mini lessons on
adding details to our stories including how the characters met and
became friends, what they are afraid of, their characters passions, name
of their town, school, teacher, and more! We will work hard making our
stories come to life by making people move, talk, and adding details the
reader can visualizewhat the character sees, smells, tastes, touches,
and hears in this make believe story. At the end of the month, we want
to publish and celebrate a box set (using empty cereal boxes) of at least
2 fiction books in a series your writer created!
.
READERS WORKSHOP:
WE finished our LANGUAGE STUDY on strong verbs
and this week will learn about strong adjectives. Weve
charted and whole brain taught hand motions to teach the world that
strong verbs have ENERGY, ACTION, AND POWER and will learn that
strong adjectives DESCRIBE A NOUN: A PERSON, PLACE, THING, OR
ANIMAL. They are doing a fantastic job and we now need to try to use
strong nouns, verbs, and adjectives in our writing to make it sound more
interesting.
The Common Core Reading Team decided that children will have
studies on personal narrative, informational, and persuasive writing/books
3 times a year~ Fall, Winter, and Spring. So, for Readers Workshop in
December we revisited Personal Narratives with our WINTER unit of
study. We revisited the definition, booktalked and voted on new personal
narrative mentor texts, and text mapped these books we havent heard
before!

Our next GENRE study for January is a HOW TO


study. We will write the definition, book talk How to
books and vote for mentor texts. After learning the
structure, we will text map these books and chart the
purpose for writing in the How To Genre. Lastly we will
create our own class Shared Writing experience of How
to do something. After this 2 week study, your children
will be able to start writing in this genre during Writers
Workshop in February!
In January we need to focus more on WRITING ABOUT OUR
READING WITH EVIDENCE. WE continue to write about our reading
during Readers Workshop, and we all have MY WRITING ABOUT MY
READING books. Each book has different ways to respond to reading.
There are opinion text maps, lined pages for personal responses, and
informational webs for responding to informational books read. We have
ALWAYS written an introduction (strong opening), what we think
(favorite part, character, message, connection, who we recommend the
book to, etc.), told WHY (explaining our thinking), followed by a strong
ending. Now, we are ready to take it a step furtherWe will add a VERY
important critical Common Core element~ adding EVIDENCE FROM THE
BOOK TO SUPPORT OUR THINKING!!! For example, you may think a
character is golden hearted, or rude, or silly, and then need to provide
EVIDENCE from the book to support your statement. You may also
choose to write about the BIG IDEA~ main idea, theme, or message of a
story, so YOU NEED EVIDENCE to prove why you think the way you do!!!

BOOK-IT calendars AND VOLUNTEER SCHEDULES FOR JANUARY


ARE COMING HOME FOR PARENTS TO KEEP TRACK OF YOUR
CHILDS READING AND SIGN UP IF YOU WANT TO COME INTO
OUR ROOM SOME TIME WHEN YOU ARE FREE! Plus, keep watching
for the January Book Order~ we.love.books!!!! Thanks for
ordering! Online orders=FREE books for our room!!! Woo hooo!!!!

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT STARTS THIS FRIDAY!!! We are so lucky to


have our very own Peytons Mom as our 1st grade Junior Achievement
teacher!!! We will begin these realistic, authentic lessons with her this
Friday after Sunrise! Hip hip!
THURSDAY, JANUARY 12th: THEATER CLASS!!!! With Mr.
Brandon Thomsen!!!!!!!!!!! Let the drama continue.
MAD SCIENCE ASSEMBLY IS COMING! Thursday, January 15th
from 1:30-2:30, get ready to be amazed by science and
inspired to enter the MADISON SCHOOL SCIENCE FAIR!
FRIDAY, JANUARY 16~ LITERACY EVENING ACTIVITY: I
am sure more information will be coming about this fun-filled PTA
literacy loving event! And of course.WE WOULD BE HONORED
TO HAVEmore mystery readers!!!
THERE IS NO SCHOOL ON MONDAY, JANUARY 19 IN
HONOR OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY!
SOON IT WILL BE THE.100TH DAY OF SCHOOL!!!! Children
bring 100 day collections and more information will come home about this
fun day as it gets closer!
MYSTERY READERS ~! We have had a blaaaaast with our AMAZING
and very special mystery readers!!! We need more volunteers however,
if anyone wants to email me for ANY Friday. alisonlewis27@yahoo.com
thanks! We have thoroughly enjoyed the clues, suspense, and stories
from all the magical mystery readers so far!! Woooo Hoooo~ we are
lucky!
Please SEND YOUR JANUARY SNACKS AS SOON AS YOU CAN! WE
HAVE 25 KIDS~ THANKS!!!
Thanks again for everything and have a great January!! Mrs. Merrill