Remote Learning Opportunities!

First Grade Families,
We are writing this with such mixed emotions as we begin this journey!  We are heartbroken that we are not greeting your children at the door today, but also optimistic that we will find amazing ways to connect and help your children grow through remote learning. This is a work in progress and a learning process for all of us, so bear with us and let us know how we can help you!  We know this is long, but please read and save this email for reference as we get started!  

The First Grade team has worked on a learning plan for you and your child this week. We have created a website for you to refer to, click here to visit our new Remote Learning Site. On this site you will find  daily assignments, pages specific to each subject ( math, reading, writing) as well as links to specials (Art, Music, PE, Tech). There are other resources available, links for educational websites, ideas for brain breaks and a link to access our counselor Mrs. Fitch. We have also included links for writing paper, math pages and reading charts. Please know that we do not expect you to print these resources.  They are there if you want or need them. You can use ANY paper for writing and have your child solve the math problems on paper or a white board! We are hoping that as our learning continues we will add more resources to this site.

Each day we will send an email with the day's learning opportunities. We will also keep our website updated as well. You will receive a daily email by 9 am. The website is where you will find the resources you need for the day. If you have any questions about a specific assignment, please reach out to your child's teacher via email.  We would also be happy to chat directly with you or your child through a phone call or face time. 
All of the suggested activities are completely optional and are meant to serve as a resource for you. We realize each family has a different set of circumstances!  Please know that the suggestions we are giving can be done at any time in the day and can be combined together throughout the week. We want this process to work for everyone.  If you are struggling, please contact your teacher. 

We feel that the most important thing you and your child can do is read. You were given your child's current reading level at conferences. If you do not have this, please contact your child's teacher. It is important that your child is reading books at their current reading level. Research shows that children will regress in their reading level if they don't read daily.  It is important that this time is spent with you, practicing utilizing a variety of decoding strategies to figure out words they might get stuck on.  We find that many of the kids - especially those who might be struggling a bit - if left on their own, will pretend to read and just end up looking at the pictures.  On Raz-Kids or Epic Books the kids the kids can just flip through the pages, or even just listen to the books.  While it is great for the kids to listen to books, it is essential for them to be practicing the skill of decoding the words themselves, practicing the skill of reading. Please set aside at least 30 minutes a day to have your child read to you. They can read from the sites above aloud or do those sites at a different time. More time would be even better!  As with anything, the more you practice something, the better you become! You can break this time up throughout the day.

Every child and every family is different.  For some, daily structures that mimic our school day may help create routines that feel familiar and consistent.  For others, flexibility, shorter learning blocks, and self-directed use of time might best serve your family's needs.  You may consider sitting down with your child and having them help you plan their days and think about what area of the house they think might be best for learning.   Your child’s stamina can look very different at home and that is ok! We are ALL in uncharted territory here and we need to be patient and flexible with one another. Find what works best for your child and your family--and know that what works best might change from day to day!  

If you are finding your child is resistant to a particular assignment, do not battle with them. Find a way to compromise, go for a walk, take a brain break, play a game or adjust the assignment to better fit your child's needs, or your needs.  Each day might look different and we understand that. Another great resource is I-Ready. If there is a day where our assignments are not working for your family, read and then allow your child to do lessons on I-Ready Math & Reading. You should have your child's login information (it was sent home at the beginning of break). 

This is going to be a learning process for all of us, and I am here to support you and your child as much as I can!  I welcome emails from you or your child with any questions, celebrations, writing you want to share (screen shots or students typing) or anything else that helps you and your child feel supported and connected to me and to our classroom.  Please reach out with any questions, concerns or feedback along the way. Our resources and approaches may change as we settle in and figure out what works best to support each learner.  

 Thank you for embracing this challenge with us!  I know that this is a time of uncertainty and high anxiety for everyone--above all, I want your child to feel cared about, connected, safe, and happy!  Please remember that we are in this together!!  Please don’t hesitate to contact your teacher anytime you have questions or concerns!
The First Grade Team


Dear Parents,

What a crazy time we are living in!  I hope this finds everyone enjoying some quality time with family - and staying healthy!

I can't believe it is almost April!  Read on to learn about what we were working on before our break.  

Classroom Highlights:

Reader's Workshop:
Before Spring Break Book Club groups prepared some Reader's Theatre plays about some of the Historical Figures we were learning about, such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Everyone did such a wonderful job!  Thanks to Mrs. Stahlecker and Mr. Greenlaw who helped the kids with this project!  It really paid off and the kids look forward to performing these plays for our class and their Book Buddies! 

For most of our time before break we were focusing on reading nonfiction.  We learned about things good readers do to become "super smart" nonfiction readers:  

We are also working on the comprehension strategies of determining importance, paraphrasing, summarizing and synthesizing.  These can be tough skills to master for first graders!  In fact, at this level it is really about exposing them to these skills and practicing them together.  We practiced retelling what we learned from our nonfiction texts.  We tried to give a "3 Scoop Retell" - 

We practiced these skills when doing research about an important American Figure or Symbol.  As we read, we worked on determining which facts were the most important and took notes.  We then worked collaboratively with a small group to create a project that would teach others about our topic.  

*Ask your child what paraphrasing means. 
(That is a big word and many of us are still learning!)
*Ask your child to paraphrase what they read - tell it to you in their own words! 
*Practice summarizing stories you read.  Tell the most important facts  or events from the book.  Model this for them!  They will get better at this skill with lots of practice and repetition!

A couple of weeks before break we began our last unit, reading fiction.  This unit focuses on learning about story elements - characters, setting, plot, problem, solution.  

So far we discussed the tools readers use when reading nonfiction.  Including taking a "sneak peek," predicting, and retelling by determining the 5 or 6 most important events and using these to summarize the story or chapter.  

A future goal is to discuss character traits and support our opinions of a character by citing evidence from the story. We will also discuss the lesson or theme in the story.  This can be tricky!  
*As you read with your child stop before, during, and after the book and discuss predictions, ask questions, and determine important events.  
*Talk about the setting and stop and notice when the setting changes. 
*Discuss the lesson or theme in the stories you read!
*You might also discuss characters and their personality traits.  Talk about evidence from the text that support your opinion about a character. 

Writer's Workshop:
We completed our unit on Information Writing.  A folder with their work will come home soon.  The concepts we focused on included:
*Teaching readers about a topic
*Having a beginning that captures the reader’s attention
*Adding facts and details that teach about the topic
*Adding nonfiction text features to help teach readers, such as illustrations,
  labels, maps, charts, or diagrams.
*Thinking about questions our readers would have about our topic
*Using comparisons and examples
*Writing an ending

Everyone did such a great job!  The first grade team is thinking of having the kids use what they've learned about writing these "teaching books" to write some new books at home, during their remote learning time.   

Ask your child what they learned about writing a nonfiction teaching book.  What do good writers include in their books to teach their readers?
(See chart above for ideas!)

 Our most recent math "Topics" or units focused on developing the concept of tens and ones, which is a key foundation of our base-10 number system. We worked on strengthening the kids' understanding of the place value system and used this understanding to compare 2-digit numbers, with the math terms and symbols of "greater than," "less than," or "equal to."  We then began adding a 2-digit number to a 1-digit or 2-digit number as students add within 100.  Students find answers using concrete models, drawings, properties of operations, and strategies based on place value.  

We noticed patterns, like...
                           3 + 5 = 8
                           30 + 50 = 80

                              3 tens  + 4 tens = 7 tens
                                     30 + 40 = 70

 Student can also draw a model of the tens and ones as lines and dots.  Then, if you have enough ones (dots) to make a new group of ten, add those.  Then count the tens and ones.

             25 + 17
You can make a group of ten out of the ones.  Make a ten with 5 + 5.  You'll have 2 ones left over.  Now you have 4 tens and 2 ones left over.  So, 25 + 17 = 42.
Using this model is a great visual for kids as many need this concrete representation to understand place value.  The 2 in 25 is not just a 2 -- it stands for 2 tens.

The kids also used a 100s chart to help them add a 2-digit number with 10.  Doing this helped them see patterns so they could move to adding these equations mentally.

                             33 + 10 = 43
                             43 + 10 = 53
                             52 + 10 = 63

*Play the math games sent home with your child often, especially the games that help them learn their math facts. **They should be fluent with these (have them memorized) by the end of the year.
*Skip count by 10s, but start at a number other than 10.  (25, 35, 45...)
*Add 10 to 2-digit numbers mentally.  (Ask "What is 47 + 10?)
*Notice patterns with numbers.  Look at a 100s chart together and look for patterns.  Math is all about patterns! 
*As your child works with numbers, ask them to explain how they got their answer.  When you can explain your answer you understand it at a deeper level.

Social Studies
Before break we did a study of Important American Figures & Symbols.  We incorporated this work into reading. During Social Studies the kids really enjoyed working in groups to research either an American Symbol (The Liberty Bell, Mount Rushmore, The Statue of Liberty, The White House, The Bald Eagle, and the American Flag) or an important American Figure (Amelia Earhart, Jackie Robinson, Wilma Rudolph, Helen Keller, and Harriet Tubman).  They worked in small groups, gathered facts, and collaborated to create a poster or a book about their symbol or figure. Along the way we discussed the importance of working collaboratively together.  We reflected on our collaborative skills, filling out a rubric on how well we felt we collaborated. 
Ask your child if they remember what they learned about the American Symbol or Figure they studied!

Well, as you can see, we've been busy!  If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read through this! 

As we enter this uncharted territory of "remote learning" please know that I am only a phone call - or face time - away!  I would be happy to talk anytime - to you or your child!  Please let them know that they can reach out to me anytime!  You can always contact me with any questions or concerns - and please let me know how your child is doing!  I will miss seeing them everyday!  

Thank you so much for all you do to support your child at home!  I feel so blessed to be working with such wonderful families!

Sarah Wilson


Upcoming Events:

-Parent Teacher Conferences will be held on Thursday, October 3 Wednesday, October 9.   
-Digger Dash Pledges are due October 25
-Halloween Parade is on Thursday, October 31! More information to come. I am in need of parent volunteers to help with ideas and set up, send me an e-mail me if you are interested! 

We learned good habits for solving tricky words. If your child gets "stuck" on a hard word, don't just tell them the word, instead try:
-Checking the picture
-Look at ALL the parts of the word
-Get a running start
-Check it! Do a double check, does it make sense? Does it look right?
-Try it two ways..use the short vowel and the long vowel sound.
-Crash it together
-Do a s-l-o-w check
I bet your little reader can show you how to do a few of these strategies next time you are reading!


We have been hard at work learning different strategies to help us add and subtract. Students know they can:
-Draw a picture
-Use a tool ( cubes)
-Add to subtract, if  4+2=6 then 6-2=4
-Use their doubles, if 4+4=8 then  4+5=9
To help your child, continue to play the math games we send home. I also recommend practicing addition and subtraction facts to 10. It is important that students memorize these facts. It does not have to be fast, but the more facts they know the better mathematicians they will become! If you feel your child has mastered their addition and subtraction facts to 10, start working on facts to 20!


We are still focusing on writing small moment stories. We have learned that it is important to unfreeze our characters. Our characters should think, feel and move on each page. I have had a few students tell me that writing time is their favorite part of the day! This makes me so happy. Be sure to ask your child what story they are working on. 


We are becoming Geologists in our room! This exciting new unit will have us exploring and learning about rocks and minerals. Be sure to ask your little Geologist what they have learned!

Looking forward to another wonderful month!