Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Nutcracker and Final Week Before Break...

This week marks the final week of school on the 2007 calendar. Students can look forward to the completion of Unit 4 in both Open Court Reading and Everyday Math. End of unit assessments will be administered on Tuesday and Wednesday, as time permits. Skills isolated on the Open Court assessment include letter sounds, letter combinations, vocabulary, and comprehension abilities. Skills being tested on the math assessment include measuring to the nearest inch, counting money, odd and even numbers, temperature readings, and domino counting and addition.

The Nutcracker Ballet was a very exciting event for everyone involved. I want to thank the parent volunteers for chaperoning and the students for their tremendous behavior and cooperation during this special event. Below are pictures of the girls and boys, respectively, in their ballet attendance attire.

During the final week of December look for significant amounts of review material as it is important to recover many of the skills learned throughout the first four months of the school year. A two week winter break opens the possibility for students to fall out of their academic routine and habits. Please continue to read, work with numbers, and talk with your child about school related things daily over winter break.

*** Winter Party ***
Room 108 Parents are throwing a party to welcome the 2007-2008 Winter season on Friday, December 21, 2007 at 1pm. The timing could not be better as the 21st of December is the winter solstice and will have the shortest amount of daylight in the 2007 year. Children will be doing some arts and crafts activities and collecting their belongings before the break. Parents are welcome to attend and join in the fun!

Stay warm out there and I will see you on the black top!
Mr. Reynolds

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Report Cards and other...

I would like to say "Thank You" to all the families that have helped me to create a hard-working, motivated first grade classroom. All the children in my classroom brought home their first grading period report card and I must assure you all that each student has already made significant individual gains in the first four months of the academic year. Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of the first grade classroom is knowing there are still many skills to learn and hone. I ask you all to continue helping me in the development process to ensure each student achieves a significant amount of personal growth throughout the next grading period.

Next I would like to extend a word of "appreciation" to the Room 108 Art Appreciation parents. Lori Malinksi, Paula Hurtado, and Carrie Bankes infused our classroom with an excellent array of Henri Rousseau artwork and awareness. Rousseau created a number of jungle themed pieces of work that fit in very well with the growing jungle theme in our room. After viewing many different Rousseau characteristics students were able to utilize many different artistic materials such as stamps, construction and wall paper, oil pastels, magazine cut out, and others to produce their own rendition of Rousseau inspiration.

Below is an assortment of pictures of Room 108 Art Appreciation work.
(pictures courtesy of Carrie Bankes)

Two final notes: 1) Scholastic December book orders must be turned into Mr. Reynolds by Tuesday, December 11 to ensure delivery prior to winter break.
2) Our class will be attending a performance of the Nutcracker Ballet on Thursday, December 13. For many of the children this may be their first formal ballet experience and I am asking for each child to dress in an appropriate manner for such an event. Many people have put in a lot of hard work and practice to present this performance (there will even be a live orchestra!) and out of respect to them I feel the audience should look and behave in a manner that will reflect this.

Thank you for your time and support in creating a successful first grade experience for our students. Please remember to bundle up for the cold weather!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

December is here...

and so is the colder weather and first snow! Wintry weather brings a change of scenery both outside the classroom and in. December brings with it the Nutcracker theme that will peak with all of first grade attending the Nutcracker Ballet on December 13.

Open Court Reading recently introduced the phonetic letter combinations wh-, ch-, th-, and sh- and also qu-. As these combinations become familiar, focus will shift to vowel/letter combinations and sounds such as oa, ou, ea, and aw. We will continue reading in the themed big book "Our Neighborhood at Work."

Everyday Math has now progressed past the initial "exploration" period of rulers and thermometers and is beginning to focus on smaller units both these instruments offer. Measuring things to the nearest foot and inch will becoming commonplace as well as reading temperatures (in degrees Farenheit) to the nearest degree. Time-telling, both analog and digital, will move to reading clocks to 15 minute intervals.

You should have all seen by now a "Four-Square" writing activity. "Four-Square" writing can applied in a number of ways but at this point is being utilized for themed writing of four sentences. How "Four-Sqaure" works: A blank piece of paper is folded and unfolded horizontally and vertically. A topic is then written in the center. Each square then has a category for which each student picks (from a list on the board) words of their choice. These words are then arranged into a complete sentence in the corresponding box on the back side of the paper. When all four sentences are complete, students are given lined paper to "publish" their writings. Published writings are occasionally displayed in the hallway and/or classroom. This has been a productive activity for modeling the early stages of writings. It is my hope that modeled writing will help to mold more complete sentences and thoughts in students' journal entries.

Hope all is well in the homes and please send your children to school prepared for the weather. We will continue to have morning and lunch recess as the weather permits. All children should have a warm coat, hat, and gloves. Stay warm!