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Friday, December 14, 2012

Grade 1 Gazette

What a wonderful job the children did at the holiday program!

Oh, how persuasive first graders can be! In writing this week we have continued on with our persuasive writing unit.  Last week the children wrote persuasive notes to Ms. Raynor asking for things they would like to change about school.  For example, some of the things the children came up with were having longer recess, having more P.E., bringing their pets to school, having a soda shop and having longer lunch.  This week we wrote a list of the things they wanted for Christmas and then they picked the item they wanted the most.  Next they brainstormed all the reasons why they think they should get the item.  They will be writing letters to Santa trying to persuade him. J

We have been discussing eating healthy and keeping a healthy body.  We have been examining food labels, tracking how many fruits and vegetables they eat at lunch and talking about the food groups.  At dinner talk with your child about which of the food groups (fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, dairy or fat) his or her food goes under!

For more information check out choose my plate
  • Classroom Holiday Party is Friday, December 21st at 2:45
  • Winter Break starts Saturday, December 22nd
  • School resumes Thursday, January 3rd
  • PTA meeting Monday, January 7th

Have a fabulous weekend!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Grade 1 Gazette

We are data collectors!!!  This week the students collected data on a topic of their choice.  They wrote their own question and decided how they would record their data.  The question had to have a yes or no answer.  Some inquiring minds wanted to know who likes Ninjago, who likes chocolate ice cream, who likes koalas,  who has their Christmas tree up, etc.  They surveyed their classmates a table at a time.  They only recorded those that said yes or those that said no, not both.  Their biggest task was to find out the missing part – the data that they did not collect.  They did a fabulous job!  They thought about what their whole was (how many students are in our class) and what part they had (how many said yes OR no) to help them figure out the missing part.  This equation was a great visual for them to help remember what they were collecting: part (yes) + part (no) = whole (all the students in our class).  Ask them about their survey!

Brown Bag Lunch
Don’t forget Tuesday is our Brown Bag Lunch!  You can bring lunch in or grab a school lunch.  The kids are so excited to have you come visit!  We hope to see you at 11:55 on Tuesday!

  • Brown Bag Lunch is Tuesday, December 11th at 11:55 in the classroom
  • TMP K-1 Holiday Program is Thursday, December 13th at 7 pm at Parkade Baptist Church – see the note from Mrs. Cox in the folder
  • Classroom Holiday Party is Friday, December 21st at 2:45 pm

Have a great weekend!

Mrs. Jackson, Ms. Phipps, and Mrs. Russo

Friday, November 30, 2012

Grade 1 Gazette

What a wonderful week back! 

Reading and Writing
This week we have had our eyes peeled for punctuation!  We’ve been on the lookout for quotation marks because we know that they tell us a character is talking.  We read The Polar Express, Auntie Clause and How the Grinch Stole Christmas this week and talked about how the author expected us to read these books.  Before we read we brainstormed about who the characters were and what kind of voices they would use.  It’s been so fun to notice all of the ways an author gives us clues to read in a certain way; punctuation, bold words, italics, and underlining.  We even noticed some authors place the words on the page in a way that gives us a clue, like the word “whoosh”, “whooshing” across the page! 

Not only do we notice these things in books, but we are starting to incorporate them into our own stories.  Chances are if you read one of our stories you’ll spot a bold word, exclamation point, or even some quotation marks! 


Please remember that your child should be reading their reading group books every night.  Research shows that repeated reading is one of the best ways to help children progress as readers.  Inside your child’s homework folder you will find the check-off sheet that should be completed together and signed by you.  Thanks for all of your help with homework!

  • The TMP K-1 Winter Concert is Thursday, December 13th at 7pm at Parkade Baptist Church. Mrs. Cox will send home more details later on.  She has asked that children wear holiday colors and dress nicely.  Please do not feel the need to buy anything special for this event.
  • First Grade will have a Brown Bag Lunch on December 11th at 11:55 in your child’s room
  • Remember to turn in your Book-It calendar

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Grade 1 Gazette

There will be no homework or Friday folders sent home next week due to the short week! Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! 

This week in reading we have continued to talk about what it means to be a fluent reader.  We discussed how fluent readers not only look at the punctuation to tell them how to read, but they also take over the voice of the character in the story using expression.  We saw that authors use quotation marks to let the reader know when the character is talking. We read 3 Billy Goats Gruff, 3 Little Pigs, and Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. We practiced using different voices that fit the characters when they talked. Next week we will start working on reader’s theatre (plays) to practice looking at punctuation and using expression. We will be showing the performances at our brown bag lunch!

In math this week we made turkeys to help us come up with different ways to make numbers.  After coming up with all the addition combinations, we thought about subtraction combinations that would also make their numbers. We displayed our math turkeys in the hall for everyone to see before the holiday. Take a look!


  • The TMP K-1 Winter Concert is Thursday, December 13th at 7pm at Parkade Baptist Church. Mrs. Cox will send home more details later on.
  • First Grade will have a Brown Bag Lunch on December 11th at 11:55 in your child’s room
  • No School on Friday, November 16th – Parent Teacher Conferences
  • Thanksgiving Break is November 21st – 25th
  • Cookie Dough Orders are Due back Tuesday, November 20th

Friday, November 9, 2012

Grade 1 Gazette

This week we looked at how punctuation is used in books and how it tells a reader to read the story.  We looked the same sentence written five different ways.  Each time it had the exact same words in the exact same order, but they sounded different because of how punctuation was used in the sentence.  Authors use punctuation to tell readers how they want their story to be read. 
This is what we talked about:
* when a sentence ends in a period, you use a normal voice
* when it ends with an exclamation point, you read the sentence with lots of feeling (that feeling can be excitement, fear, anger, joy, etc)
* when a sentence ends with a question mark, your voice goes up at the end of the sentence
* bold words and underlined words are to be read with lots of feeling

When reading with your child at home, point out the punctuation as you read and ask them how you should read it or how your voice changed when you read it.  Have fun with it!

Mark Your Calendar
  • The TMP K-1 Winter Concert is Thursday, December 13th at 7 pm at Parkade Baptist Church.  Mrs. Cox will send home more details later on.
  • First Grade will have a Brown Bag Lunch on December 11th  at the regular lunch time (11:55).
  •           No School on Friday, November 16th – Parent Teacher Conferences
  •          Thanksgiving Break is November 21st – 25th

Friday, November 2, 2012

Grade 1 Gazette

What a wonderful week in first grade!  Our classroom was full of phantoms, super heroes and fairies on Wednesday and fabulously dressed first graders on Friday!  In your child’s Friday folder you will find your assigned conference time.  We look forward to meeting with you!  Please return the form to let us know if you will be able to come to your scheduled conference time. 

In reading this week we read several books with missing words.  We used all of our reading strategies to figure out what the author had missed.  Below is a list of the strategies we used.  We will be referring to these strategies and using them throughout the year.
  • Look at the picture
  • Skip the word and think about what would make sense, then come back to fix it.
  • Go back and reread
  • Look at the beginning and get your mouth ready
  • Look for a part of the word you know
  • Sound it out (try different sounds for example sometimes "a" makes a short sound, sometimes it makes a long sound)

A Note from our Counselor Ms. Gibson
Below is a list of general developmental milestones that can help you understand the social and emotional progress a first grader will make over the school year. The average first grader is extremely  egocentric and wants to be the center of attention. Keep in mind that every child is different and may not fit perfectly into this framework.

Want to be the “best”  and “first”
Have boundless energy
May be oppositional, silly, brash, and critical
Cry easily
Show a variety of tension-releasing behavior
Are attached to the teacher
Have difficulty being flexible
Often consider fantasy to be real

Where they are going:
First graders are learning to understand themselves.
Encourage first graders as they:
Develop a positive, realistic self-concept
Learn to respect themselves
Begin to understand their own uniqueness
Gain awareness of their feelings
Learn to express feelings
Learn how to participate in groups
Begin to learn from their mistakes   


  • No School Tuesday, November 6th - Election Day and Teacher Work Day
  • No School November 21st - 23rd - Thanksgiving Break
Thanks! Mrs. Russo, Mrs. Jackson, Ms. Phipps

Friday, October 26, 2012

Grade 1 Gazette

October 26, 2012

The last two weeks we have been working on asking questions as we read.  We would stop and wonder after each page.  After reading the book, we would go back to our questions and answer them.  The questions that the kids asked were very thoughtful.  They ranged from the meaning of an unknown word to figurative language that they were unfamiliar with to questions about the time period.  Good readers ask themselves questions as they are reading.  Asking questions is a great thing because it means as a reader they are listening to the story and working hard to understand it.  When you are reading with your kids at home show them that you also wonder as you read and share your wonderings with them. 

No Excuse Words
As we continue our handwriting practice, we are working on our no excuse words.  No excuse words are words that there is no excuse for spelling wrong because they are on our word wall.  No excuse words, or sight words, are words that are frequently in texts of all level and very common.  The unfortunate thing about these words is that most of them are not spelled the why they sound making them hard to read and spell.  Down below is the first grade list of no excuse words.  Please practice them at home and encourage your child to spell these words correctly when they write at home.



  • Next week is Spirit Week
  • Monday is Sports Day
  • Tuesday is Neon Day
  • Wednesday is Costume Day ****Students change into their costumes at 2:30; they   do NOT wear them all day
  • Thursday is Just Got Out of Bed Day
  • Friday is Dress Up Day
  • Fall Party is Wednesday, October 31st at 2:45 pm
  • Friday, November 2nd is TMP Mock Presidential Election
  • No School on Tuesday, November 6th – Teacher Workday

Friday, October 19, 2012

Grade 1 Gazette

October 19, 2012

Happy Grandparent’s Day! We enjoyed getting to spend time with all of the grandparents today.  It was a room packed, fun time!

Our mathematicians have been working on subtraction and different subtraction strategies we can use to solve problems.  We have also been solving addition and subtraction story problems.  After reading the problem, the first step is to imagine the problem in our heads and decide if the number is getting bigger or smaller (if we are going to write an addition sentence or a subtraction sentence).  What a tricky thing! After we decide, we are making sure we  

·        Write the correct number sentence
·        Use the correct operation (+ or -)
·        Show our work and thinking
·        Explain thinking

Descriptive Language
This coming week we will be talking about adding descriptive language to our stories, also know as sparkle words.  We will be using 5 pumpkins per class to help us do this.  If you have a pumpkin you would like to donate, it would be greatly appreciated! J

·        Fall Festival - Saturday, October 20th
·       Book Fair - Friday, October 19th & Saturday, October 20th 

·       No School – Tuesday, November 6th

Have a great weekend!

Ms. Phipps, Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. Russo

Friday, October 12, 2012

First Grade Gazette

October 12, 2012

At This Point in First Grade…
First graders are still emerging readers and we are working to develop reading strategies that they can use when they are reading independently.  It is important to note that it is common for such new and young readers to regress over the summer because their new reading skills were not completely mastered.  First grade writers are writing two and three sentence stories right now and most are working to add details to develop their story.  We are focusing a lot on handwriting right now.  It is important for all letters to be formed correctly on the lines so that stories are legible to all readers.  Our little mathematicians are just now beginning to grapple with the concept of subtraction and are solidifying their addition skills.  It is very normal for first graders to use their fingers and to draw pictures to solve math problems right now.  As the year progresses, they will begin to solve problems more efficiently. 

Book It
October’s Book It calendar is the folder this week.  (Better late than never!)  The goal is to read 20 minutes each night five nights a week.  We will just be counting the last two weeks of October.  Send the calendar back in with the homework folder the last week of the month and we will send home their personal pan pizza coupon!  Book It runs through March.

·        Picture Retakes are Tuesday, October 16th
·        Next Friday, October 19th  is Grandparent’s Day from 2-3 pm
·        Fall Festival is Saturday, October 20th

Have a great weekend!

Mrs. Jackson, Ms. Phipps, and Mrs. Russo

Friday, October 5, 2012

Grade 1 Gazette

What a week of fun and learning!

Ask your child what new facts they now about pasta, frogs, garbage, or healthy foods!  We have been reading lots of non-fiction books this week.  With each book we predict what we will learn by looking at the cover, title, and pictures.  We also pull any information we already have out of our background knowledge.  After reading we retell and recall the facts that we learned.  We have also talked about the difference between fiction and non-fiction.  When we retell fiction books we are retelling a story, when we read non-fiction books we tuck those facts we read away in our brains for later.

Math Facts
Knowing math facts fast and fluently helps us solve problems in the most efficient way possible.  Check out this math game that you could play at home.

Tens Go Fish
 Use a deck of cards with the face cards removed.  This game needs two players.
  1. Deal 5 cards to each player and put the remaining cards in a draw pile.  Players will look at the cards in their hand for any two cards that can be added to make 10.
  2. Any “matches” (cards that total 10) can be set aside.
  3.  Players alternate asking each other for cards that will help them add to 10.  For example: If player 1 has a 2 card they would ask their partner for an 8.
  4.  If the partner being asked doesn't have the card in their hand they will tell their partner to “go fish.”
  5.  Play continues until all cards have been matched.
Dates to Remember
Friday, October 19th – Grandparent’s Day and Book Fair
Saturday, October 20th – Fall Festival and Book Fair
Wednesday, October 31st – Fall Party and Parade

Thanks!  Mrs. Russo, Mrs. Jackson and Ms. Phipps

Friday, September 28, 2012

Grade 1 Gazette

We had another fabulous week in first grade!

In writing this week we have been working on adding details to our stories! We are working hard to make sure we think about who, what, when, where, why, and how as we write.  We are going back to our old stories and adding these details so our readers know all the information about what happened in our story.  

Dates to Remember
Monday, October 1st PTA Meeting
Friday, October 19th Grandparent’s Day
Saturday, October 20th Fall Festival

Homework folders will go home on the first day of the week and are to be turned back in on FRIDAY. There is a sheet in the folder for you to sign and to say what day your child did the assignments on. Thanks for taking the time to read the directions with your child!

Thanks!  Mrs. Russo, Mrs. Jackson and Ms. Phipps

Friday, September 21, 2012

Grade 1 Gazette

Thank you to everyone who attended Open House on Thursday!  We had a great turnout and I know the kids were so excited to share their classroom with you.  We hope you enjoyed it as much as they did!

“Cupcake” Stories
In first grade, we have been talking about the parts of a story and what makes a story a good story.  Well, since we all love cupcakes, we compared a good story to a cupcake.  We put all of the ingredients of the cupcake together and each ingredient was a part of a story. 

cake mix = our writing idea
eggs = capital letters, good spelling, and punctuation
icing = details and sparkle words
cupcake paper = the ending, it holds the whole story together
sprinkles = the lead, it captures the reader’s attention

We will refer to the cupcake model throughout the year because it is a great reminder and visual for writing.

Homework Is On the Way!!

Homework folders will come home for the first time on Tuesday.  In the folder will be the homework assignments for the whole week.  The folder is to be turned back in on Friday.  First graders are just beginning readers and they might have some trouble reading the directions, so please take some time to read the directions with your child.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Grade 1 Gazette

It was a busy week in first grade!  We are working very hard to get ready for Open House on Thursday, September 20th.  We have so much to show you!

It is so exciting to see all of the thinking and talking that is happening in our classroom during math.  We’ve been talking a lot about the importance of sharing our thinking and listening to others during math.  We know mathematicians can do some of their best work when we talk and listen to other mathematicians. 

This week in math we played math games to help us find ways to make 8, 9, and 10.  After finding ways to make 8, 9, and 10 we asked ourselves if we had all of the ways.  What a tough question!  To help us answer we decided we needed to organize our information.  We charted how to make 8, 9, and 10.  Take a look!  Most of us agree that there’s always one more way than the number you’re making.  So there’s 9 ways to make 8, 10 ways to make 9 etc.   

Dates to Remember
Thursday, September 20th - First Annual Open House
Monday, September 24th - No School - Teacher Collaboration Day
Don’t forget to send your open house form back by September 17th!

Thanks!  Mrs. Russo, Mrs. Jackson and Ms. Phipps

Friday, September 7, 2012

We had a fabulous week in first grade! We are still working on our routines and expectations, but are really starting to get them down! J

We are really getting the hang of writing workshop and building our stamina! We are writing narratives, real events that have happened in our lives.  We have been brainstorming ideas to write about such as going on vacations, playing outside, playing with pets, playing sports, and doing things with our family.  We have talked about special memories different objects have and memories from our neighborhoods/yards. There is a heart map activity going home that will also give your child more ideas to write about and will be fun for you to do together!

Also in writing workshop we received our very first writing tool! Students were given a spacing stick to help them to always remember to put spaces between their words. We have done a great job using our writing tool and they are looking forward to getting more!

Dates to Remember
    Tuesday, September 11th - School Picture Day
    Wednesday, September 12th – Room Parent Meeting
    Thursday, September 20th - First Annual Open House
    Monday, September 24th - No School - Teacher Collaboration Day
·        Look for the heart map activity in your child’s Friday folder.
·        Don’t forget to send your open house form back by September 17th!

Thanks!  Mrs. Russo, Mrs. Jackson and Ms. Phipps