Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Websites to Use at Home

First, I want to thank each and everyone of you that took time out of your busy schedules to visit with me during parent/teacher conferences.  It was great having the opportunity to discuss your child's educational progress with you.  It truly takes a village and I appreciate all of your support!  I wanted to share some resources with you all that we use in our classroom on a daily or weekly basis.  Some of these resources I discussed with some or all of you.


Earlier in the year I sent home information on how to login to Xtramath.  This is a website we utilize during math that helps us on fact fluency.  I resent this information for all families that have yet to sign up for the program.  All students have started on beginning addition.  Here is the link for this resource:  XTRAMATH LINK  Please use your child's student login to access their Xtramath lessons.


Thanks to a successful first grade movie night, I purchased a license to Raz-Kids for our classroom.  This is a great site where students can read book at their independent reading level.  The application contains a variety of books for each level that are bright, colorful, and engaging.  The students listen to the story being read to them, then read the book on their own.  Afterwards, they have comprehension questions to answer about the stories they are reading.  I receive reports on their progress as well and can assign them books and activities that match their need as a student.  The application is free to download on all devices and can be used on the computer as well.  I sent home login information with each child on Thursday.  Here is the link for this resource:  RAZ-KIDS

Reading Eggs:

This is a site we haven't quite used in class yet, but will be adding to our applications that we use in the classroom soon.  I will go ahead and add the link now and will be giving login information soon, so please be on the lookout for it.  READING EGGS

See Saw:

I gave all families the parent flyer for accessing your child's portfolio on SeeSaw.  We will continue to use this application to showcase our work in the classroom.  If you sign up for SeeSaw Family, you will be notified each time your child adds something to their portfolio.  SEE SAW

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Flexible Seating in the Classroom

As noted in my parent handbook, my classroom is beginning its journey into a flexible seating classroom.  Flexible seating is perfect for student-centered classrooms where the students are responsible for making their own choices.  Studies show that when students are given choices, they take ownership over their own learning, are more independent, and productivity increases.  All very great reasons to give flexible seating a try.  Students all begin the day at a start spot.  Once class begins and the students are working, they are given free choice to choose their own good fit seat.  We talked extensively at the beginning of the year what a good fit seat looks like.  Students that are sitting at a good fit seat, use the seat appropriately and work the whole time.  We also discussed that if you are having difficulty focusing at a spot, you have the right to find a new spot where you can do your best work.  In addition, any teacher has the right to move a student if they are not making good choices in the seat or completing their work.  So far this year, the kids have free choice during reading.  Next week, we are going to add in free choice during math.  As they continue to show me that they can be responsible students and choose the seats that allow them to do their best work, I will continue to introduce other times of the day that they may use our flexible seating options.  They have been doing a great job with all the seating options and I am so happy that I invested in the variety of seating for my little ones. Below you will see all the amazing options we have in our classroom for places to sit and work.  I hope your kids have been loving the choices they have in the classroom!

Friday, August 25, 2017

First week of Firsties

Well the first full week is in the books!  We have been working really hard learning all of the procedures and rules of first grade.  I am so proud of all of my little firsties!!!  We spent a lot of time this week building our stamina (the time your child can work independently) for read to self.  This is one very small component of our reading program in first grade.  Reading is at the heart of everything we do in first grade.  Before we can fully get started, the students must learn all the procedures for our literacy block.  One aspect of our reading program is our reading rotations or guided reading/centers.  After our whole group mini-lessons, the students break up into small groups.  During these small groups the students will go to the following centers: read to self, read to someone, listen to reading, computers, work on words, Promethean Board, and guided reading.  Read to Self is one rotation where the students will go to read good fit books by themselves.  These books are ones that are at your child's independent reading level.  This 10-12 minute rotation is a time where your child will be practicing their reading fluency.  While your child is reading to him or herself, I will be working on reading with a small group of students.  
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The students learned this week that some of the time, they will be asked to go read to someone.  When this is one of the rotations, the students will choose someone in their reading group to read with.  The students sit EEKK (elbow to elbow, knee to knee, book in the middle so they both can see)!  This week, the kids learned how to choose a book to read with our partner and how to read together.  The first way I teach the kids to do read to self is called I read, you read.  This is where partner 1 reads a sentence from their book and partner 2 reads the sentence after partner 1.  We talk a lot about how our books fit our needs and it is important to follow along and read with our reading finger so that our partner can see the words we are reading. 

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We have also learned about our math rotations and we have math centers in full swing.  During math, the students will rotate through four different stations:  guided practice with Mrs. Hogan, Math Fluency, Math Games, and Computer Math.  Guided math practice gives the student more practice with the skill we learned during the mini-lesson.  We also review daily the concepts that have been taught previously throughout the year.  Fluency is where the students will practice their math facts.  Math games will be a center set up with games that review previously taught skills.  Computer math will allow the students to work on Xtramath (you'll learn more about this later), or StarfallMORE math.  This will also be the time that one student plays a math game on the Promethean Board.  WHEW!  The kids have been so busy and I'm so thrilled with the progress they have made.  Enjoy your weekend and see you next week!

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Welcome Aboard Firsties!

Welcome to first grade!  I hope you all had a fabulous summer!  I spent my summer hanging out with my three beautiful daughters, reading lots of books (both children's literature and books for me!), we spent tons of time at the pool, went on a trip to Walt Disney World, and had lots of fun outside and inside just enjoying each others' company.  The school year is upon us and while I'm sad that the long days of summer have come to an end, I'm also super excited about the coming school year. 

I hope you all received your welcome letters from me in the mail.  If not, I'll tell you a little about me here.  I am in my 
twelfth year of teaching first grade (wow!) at CES.  I was raised in California my whole life and graduated from CHS in 2001.  I then graduated Summa Cum Laude from The University of Central Missouri with my Bachelors in Elementary Education.   I became a first grade teacher at CES and then went back to school and got my Masters from Southeast Missouri State University in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).  I am married to my college sweetheart, Kelly.  We have three amazingly beautiful and bright little girls, Lily, Elly, and Karly.  In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family.  I also enjoy photography, reading, and walking.

It is my goal to create a warming and welcoming environment for my students. I hope my classroom is an extension of home and that my firsties love stepping into our room everyday.   It is also my mission to instill a love of reading and learning in all of my students.  I strive to make learning fun and enjoyable.  I strive to differentiate all of my lessons based on each child's individual academic needs.  I promise to give 120% of myself all of the time.  I love my job and my students truly are an extension of my "family."  It is with great pleasure that I will be serving you this school year.

Welcome to first's going to be AWESOME!

*If your child will be in my classroom for the 2017-2018 school year, please go to the link below and fill out our open house Google form.  This form includes the information that you would typically fill out during open house and return to school.  Therefore, filling out this form will help open house move more quickly and efficiently.  It will also help reduce the amount of paperwork for you to fill out and return to school.  Thank you!

Open House Google Form

Monday, December 5, 2016

Thanksgiving Feast, Miss Clevenger, and More Updates

It has been awhile since I have written a blogpost, for that I am sorry.  I've been so busy lately.  I'm up super early this morning, so I thought I would add lots of pictures and a brief description about them.

On Tuesday,  November 21st, the first grade held our annual Thanksgiving feast.  In Mrs. Lee's art class, the students made necklaces, pilgrim hats and coifs, and Indian headbands.  Students wore these items to the feast.  Also, in class the students made name plates, place mats, and napkin rings.  We held our feast in the multipurpose room.  In the morning, the students went down and set up their place mats and other items where they wanted to sit during the feast.   A huge thank you goes out to all the parents that donated items and/or helped serve and clean up during the feast.  Another huge thank you goes out to Burger's Smokehouse for providing the meat and for our own cafeteria ladies for providing the mashed potatoes.  Another shout out goes to our custodial staff for helping to set up the feast too!  Here are some pictures of the feast and of us making the turkey cookies in the afternoon before Thanksgiving break.

Last week, we celebrated Miss Clevenger and the time she spent with us.  It was truly my pleasure to mentor such a sweet, kind, compassionate future teacher.  Miss Clevenger is certainly a one of a kind.  We will miss her dearly as the year progresses, but we will think of her often.  We were so blessed to have her in our classroom for the last 16 weeks.  We all wish her the best as she finds a classroom of her own.  Her future parents and students will be very blessed to have her in their lives.  On Monday, we threw her a surprise party.  Thank you to all the parents that donated for her gift.  She was given lots of teacher items such as post it notes, markers, pencils, pens, and stickers.  We also gave her a large box of books that she can put in her own classroom library, her very own teacher whistle for recess, and we made her a special book from the class.  Here are the pictures from the party and from her last day.  WE MISS YOU MISS CLEVENGER!!!

Here are some dates of importance as we finish out the month of December:

Friday, December 9th:  Last day for the PTO food drive.

Wednesday, December 14th:  The students will go out to the High School Performing Arts Center to practice for their Christmas program.

Thursday, December 15th:  Dress rehearsal at the Performing Arts Center (time to be announced); Program at 7:00 pm in the performing arts center.  Please have your child there NO LATER THAN 6:50 DRESSED AND READY TO GO.  They will meet their teachers in the high school music room.

Friday, December 16th:  Grinch Day, have your child wear GREEN!

Wednesday, December 21st:  Annual Polar Express Day; we will serve donuts and chocolate milk in the morning.  Students CAN WEAR PAJAMAS.  We will read the book in the week leading up to the 21st and watch the movie on this day.  This will serve as our class party.  SCHOOL WILL DISMISS AT 1:00 TODAY!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

All About Pumpkins

This week was our annual Pumpkin Investigations!  I love this time of the year and all of the hands on learning the kids get to be involved in. We completed some of our investigations in the multipurpose room this year.  Each teacher was located at a different pumpkin investigation station.  The students in first grade took turns rotating through each of the rotations. This year the students investigated the pumpkins weight and height.  In addition, they completed a force and motion and sink or float experiment.  The students first made a prediction at each station and then they completed the task to confirm or reject their predictions.   Then, we took our investigations into our classroom.  We read the book "How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin" by Margaret McNamara and G. Brian Karas.  When reading this book we learned that for each line in a pumpkin there is a row of seeds.  We predicted how many seeds would be in our pumpkin, then we cut it open, pulled out the seeds, and counted the seeds.  Our pumpkin at 456 seeds! The student then got to keep one seed to place in their book.  We also read a book called "All About Pumpkins" and learned some very important vocabulary words about pumpkins.  We then completed an activity  about the life cycle of a pumpkin.  Below are some pictures of our day. The kids had so much fun and learned a lot!!  I also will get back on and add pictures of our fall party from last week when I get a chance.  Thank you to all the parents who donated pumpkins for our activity, treats, and drinks for our party.  Also a big thank you to our parents that helped out with our fall party.  We appreciate all of your help!!!