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October Newsletter



HALLOWEEN TUESDAY OCTOBER 31, 2017  (see Denise’s upcoming email for more details)


  1. Monday: Science
  2. Tuesday: Music
  3. Wednesday: Big Blocks
  4. Thursday: Library
  5. Friday: Art and P.E.



First graders have been practicing reading quietly and independently for up to 16 minutes every morning!

Also, they are also practicing reading their just-right books- which don’t feel too easy or too hard, but may have a few tricky words. Each student now has their own book box with approximately 10 books. Each week, students will switch those books for new ones from the Classroom Library. (More info on that to come). Additionally, each week, we visit the School Library, where students choose one book to keep in the classroom for the week.

In reading, we try our best by…

  1. Staying in our quiet bubble
  2. Staying focused on reading the whole time
  3. Using strategies for tricky words
  4. Taking care of the books
  5. Never giving up

We have been reading with partners, discussing books, and making predictions. This month, Class 304 will study the features of fiction (characters, setting, problem, events, and solution/tie-up). At home, you can ask your child to talk about the books they read, name their favorite part, what they think about the characters, and/or if they liked the book and why.



First graders were very excited to begin writing as soon as they entered the classroom! Students have practiced quiet and calm independent writing; creating imaginative fiction stories and informational non-fiction pieces.

First graders have been working on building independence in writing. Students have paper choice in the writing center, and they use the writing chart to support their process.

“If I think I am done writing, I can…”

  1. Re-read my story. Does it make sense?
  2. Check punctuation, spelling, and finger spaces.
  3. Add details to words.
  4. Color illustration.
  5. Start a new piece.

Our word wall allows first graders who need help spelling a tricky sight word. We have added familiar kindergarten sight words and will begin learning new first grade sight words soon! Other words can be spelled with invented spelling by stretching out a word and listening for the sounds, or tapping each sound in the word (ex: c-a-t).

This month in writing, we will review letter formation and begin writing narrative pieces about students’ personal experiences.



In math, we have been looking closely at math tools, many of which first graders are familiar with from kindergarten, including ten frames and the bead string. As they count the days of school, first graders are noticing patterns on the bead string, ten frames, and the hundreds chart.

The class has also been working on how to be helpful math partners. When playing a game or sharing one task, first grade mathematicians must work together by talking it out, sharing supplies, and stopping to agree or disagree with each other’s ideas.

This month, we will work on our doubling unit. We started by posing a question… “There are 21 kids in our class. When we walk in two lines down the hall, will everyone have a partner?” Students had to demonstrate how they knew their answer to be true by representing their thinking on paper. Some kids began thinking about how to ensure all kids have a partner by adding a teacher to the line. Eventually, kids will construct understandings about doubles facts, realize that all doubles are also even numbers, and that they are made up of groups of pairs. At home, you can look for things that come in doubles and count how many pairs and how many single objects.


Students have been talking about their feelings. Together, we read books about characters’ life experiences and discussed that we all have emotions, and that events in our lives can make us having certain feelings. Feelings can be less or more intense, and may even feel out of control. We can feel emotions in our bodies. Students wrote about times in their lives when they felt happy, sad, scared, and angry. We bound the work into feelings books, which are now housed in our classroom book display shelf near the rug area.  We will be creating a peace corner this month that students can use when they are experiencing out of control feelings.