Monday, September 30, 2013

October Here We Come!

Terry Fox Walk
Wow!  What a special week we had celebrating a Canadian Hero.  A visit from Terry's uncle, a 6km walk to and around Henderson Lake and raising approximately $4000.00 for cancer research.  Thank you so much for all your support and a special thanks to those parents who were able to join us as supervisors.  The kids did so great and loved the "high-fives" to students from the other West Side schools.  Awesome.

New Student
We'd like to welcome Gracie North Peigan to our classroom!  I've been so proud of the students in my class for being so warm and caring towards her, trying their best to show her the ropes.  Way to go!
Please be aware that Gracie has an allergy to peanuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.  We are encouraging students to be very NUT AWARE.  If you do plan on sending peanut butter etc., please remind your child about not sharing, and about washing hands afterwards.  Thanks so much.

Magazine Orders
Students who have submitted orders should have received a small prize today.  They are also entered in to regular draws for other prizes for the remainder of the fundraiser.

Home Reading
Home reading will start very soon.  There is a bit of a delay, (I thought we would be up and running today) as the Grade One classes are in the process of purchasing a licence to RAZ Kids, the online reading program.  Once that is put in place, a note will be sent home explaining the program, as well as other options for home reading if you prefer.  It's such an exciting program, my daughter LOVES it.  It has added an extra element of motivation to complete home reading each night!
In the meantime, please continue to practice your weekly sight words and read each night at home.  If you would like to borrow any home reading books of mine, please come and see me at any time and I'd love to lend you some!

Welcome Miss Crozon
We welcomed Miss Taylor Crozon to our classroom today!  She comes to us from the University of Lethbridge and will be with us Monday and Wednesday mornings until Christmas.  She is taking Education 2500 and will be taking on the role of observing, assisting and teaching small groups under my guidance.  We are so happy to have her!

Extracting Color
We are beginning to wrap up our Colors unit in Science.  This Friday we will be extracting color from flowers, leaves etc to create a work of art!  I will be providing flowers etc. for the project, but if you have some colorful ones in your flower beds at home that you'd like to cut and send in we would love it.  :)

Pop Tabs
Our school collects pop tabs and donates them on a regular basis to the Alberta Children's Hospital.  They are recycled and used to make wheelchairs.  I have a container in my classroom where we keep them on display.  Each month we take the container to an assembly and add them to the giant bin.  If this is something you'd like to participate in, we would love it!  Such a good lesson for students!

Show and Share
The Show and Share schedule has been completed and will be sent home tomorrow.  Everyone is so excited!

Important Dates!
October 2:  Our first Character Education assembly and an introduction to our MMH Families!
October 3:  The first of a series of lessons from Melanie, our MMH Occupational Therapist
October 15: PD DAY  NO SCHOOL
October 22:  Picture Retake Day
October 24 & 25: PD DAYS  NO SCHOOL
October 31:  Halloween!  Students are invited to wear costumes in the AFTERNOON.  No weapons please!

Monday, September 16, 2013

What a fantastic first couple weeks in Grade One!  We are settling SO well into our new routines and are becoming more independent by the minute!  There are a number of updates and reminders below:

1.  Terry Fox Walk:  On Friday September 27 we will be going on a Terry Fox Walk!  All Westside public elementary schools will be participating.  We will be walking to Nicholas Sheran Park, around the lake and back again!  We will be walking together with our Grade 5 book buddies, but I am also in need of some parent volunteers to walk with us.  If you are able to come along for this event, please make a note in your child's agenda or shoot me an email ASAP.  Thanks so much for your support!

2.  Mornings at MMH:  There is supervision on the playground at MMH from 8:05am until the bell rings at 8:20am.  If you are arriving prior to the bell, please direct your child to the playground rather than having them wander the school.  This way we can be sure they are properly supervised.  Thanks so much!  (In cold temperatures students will be invited in to the boot rooms)

3.  Meet the Teacher Night:  I was so pleased with the turn out at Meet the Teacher!  If you were unable to make it, no worries!  Please know you are welcome to come by and check out our classroom or chat at any time.

4.  Sight Words:  Each week your child will be writing approx. 5 sight words in their agenda.  Please take 1 or 2 minutes each night to review these.  Sight words are ones that students should learn to recognize without sounding them out.  However at this level, being able to spell them correctly in writing is not necessary.

5.  Emergency Contact Corrections:  If you have changes to your emergency contact information from last year in kindergarten (even if you already changed them on MY sheet on the first day of school) could you please stop by the office and change the information there as well?  The district requires a signature in order for official information to be changed in the computer system.  Thanks!

6.  Agendas:  Please take a moment and initial your child's agenda each night.  While we may not always write in them each and every night, you will begin to see writing more and more, and this will eventually be how you record your nightly home reading.  If you ever have information for me, the agenda is a great place for it as I check them each and every morning as the students come in.

7.  Halloween Party:  I still have one open spot for someone to bring a veggie tray for our Halloween Party.  If you'd like to volunteer to bring one please drop me an email.  Thanks!

8.  Classroom Helpers:  Thanks so much to those people that signed up to help out for Home Reading or Helper from Home.  I'll be contacting you soon!  Home reading will start in October.

9.  Class Phone List:  If you haven't returned the form that was sent home last week and would like to be included on our class phone list, please drop me an email and I'll add you!  Watch for the phone list coming home later this week.

10.  Show and Share:  A Show and Share schedule will be coming home this week.  Each Friday, three or four students will be invited to bring in something to share with the class.  It's a great chance for students to talk in front of the class, and for me to watch for speaking and listening skills.

11.  Magazine Fundraiser Kick Off Assembly:  MMH participates in one major fundraiser each year.  Our kick off for this fundraiser will be at 8:45am on Wednesday.  Parents are certainly welcome, but if you are unable to make it, plenty of information will come home that day.

12.  Character Education Assembly:  On Wednesday Oct. 2nd , we are having our first Family Assembly of the year.  There will be a number of these throughout the year, as we begin to learn about the Leader in Me program, to be launched fully at MMH during the 2013 2014 school year.  All  students (grades 1-5) are divided up into Families.  Each Family consists of 1 teacher and approx.  25 students from all grade levels.  We meet monthly, do fun activities together, and gather in the gym to celebrate the months theme.  
Because your child was in Kindergarten last year, they weren’t placed in a “Family” yet, so this is a big step for them!  On Wednesday afternoon theyll meet their MMH Family (which is pretty cool), as this will be their Family until they leave MMH after Grade 5.  Im excited to catch up with my Family from last year, and also to welcome the new Grade 1s to the bunch! 

13.  Five Things About Me bags:  OK... These were AWESOME.  The kids had SO much fun talking about and showing off the things in their bags, and I learned so much about them and your families!  Thank you SO much for your participation!
What Have We Been Learning About?!

In Language Arts, we have begun learning about sight words, word families and are reviewing different blends.  We have been practicing printing and are also launching our Daily 5 program.  Home reading will start in October.  What does that mean?  It’s pretty simple:  Encouraging your child to read DAILY.  At MMH, we’re firm believers that reading daily significantly improves skills, in both comprehension and fluency.  The books are levelled, and they’re a mix of fiction and non-fiction. Later on, we will incorporate other books into the program.  Monday to Thursday, your child will bring a book home to read.  There will be a little note coming home with the first book that explains everything you need to know, and how to get in the swing of Home Reading.
The Daily Five is a literacy structure that teaches independence and gives children the skills needed to create a lifetime love of reading and writing. It consists of five tasks that are introduced individually. When introduced to each task, the children discuss what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like to engage in the task independently. Then, the children work on building their stamina until they are successful at being independent while doing that task.
The five tasks include: 
1. Read to self
2. Read to someone
3. Listen to reading
4. Work on writing
5. Word work

When all five tasks have been introduced and the children are fully engaged in reading and writing activities, I am able to work with small groups and confer with children one on one. This structure is effective, the results are amazing, and the children really look forward to Daily Five time. In a week or so, ask your child about Daily Five and see what he/she has to say. I anticipate your child will tell you about the class stamina, how we are working towards independence, and maybe you will even hear about some of the fantastic things your child has written, read, or listened to during our structured reading time. 
In Math, we have reviewed printing numbers 1-9 and are kicking off our unit in Patterns! Our goal is to get students to see, copy and create patterns in things around us, everyday life, nature, and numbers.  Often students don’t see the connection in patterns and numbers, so this is a great unit to begin with as we become more confident in Math. 

In Social Studies, we will finish talking about groups that we belong in, and we’ll move on to learn about students’ families.  
In Science we are learning about Primary and Secondary Colors!
In Health we began by learning about germs and how to best stop the transmission of germs in school.  We are now moving on to pedestrian safety as we prepare to go on our Terry Fox walk next Friday.  Safety City is coming to visit our classroom on September 25 and we are SO looking forward to it!
In Computers we are practicing using our very own log ins and passwords!  
In PE we are focusing on safety and rules and fair play, preparing to launch our first unit soon!
Once again, our classroom is a busy place.  While I know many parents are trying to encourage independence in their children by dropping them off outside in the morning, and setting up a meeting place in the afternoon (which is GREAT), please know that you are always welcome to stop by for a chat, or a look around our room!  Email or call me if you ever have any questions about anything at all. Thanks again for all your support with our program.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


September 3
What a fantastic first day!  I can't tell you how excited I am about the new year.  I met 19 absolutely fantastic kiddos today and can't wait to jump in with both feet.  I'd imagine you had some tired kiddos at home this evening.
I realize this morning was tough for some of you (don't lie, I saw a few tears), and that I didn't get a chance to chat more than a few seconds with some of you.  What a busy few minutes!  Please know you are welcome in my classroom at any time!  If you're ever wondering about the progress of your child, would like to snoop in their desk, or see any work hanging around, please feel free to come on by!  After school is a great time to catch me for a chat!

A few things have come up since the handbook was printed. Enjoy the read!

1. Photo Day Procedures: No order form or money is required for tomorrow's photo day. In a few weeks you will receive a preview of your child's photos, and will be given the option to purchase photos at that time.
2. Agendas were sent home today. This is going to be a very huge part of your child's Grade One year. There is a $10 fee for each agenda. There are no school fees.
3. Our first fire drill will be at 9:45am on Thursday. We will be outside practicing prior to this to be sure it is a positive experience when it happens!
4. Meet the Teacher Night is next Thursday evening from 6-7pm. This is a Come and Go event. If you are unable to attend the evening, please feel free to come and tour our classroom at another time! You are always welcome.
5. Library: Each Tuesday we will go to the library for a story with Ms. Renner. Afterwards, students are able to choose two books to sign out. One will stay at school in our bookshelf, and the second can be taken home for the week. Please return the books to our classroom each Friday, so they can be organized and we can be ready to take new ones the next week.
6.  Inside Shoes:  Please be sure your child has a pair of running shoes that can be left at school.  These shoes are left in the classroom at all times.  Children have a special rack under their desks to store them.
7.  Morning Procedures:  Just a reminder that the classroom door will usually open when the bell rings in the morning.  Children are welcome to play outside until then, there is supervision on the playground.  They will be invited in through the Grade One doors by the teachers.
HAVING SAID THAT...  The City of Lethbridge is going to be working on our playground this week.  (Great timing I know.)  If it is difficult to come in through the Grade One doors, please feel free to use another door and I'll meet you in the classroom.  Not sure how this is going to go!)
8.  Agenda $:  You can hand in your $10 for your child's agenda to me, or to the office, whichever you are comfortable with.
9.  Water Bottle:  You are welcome to send a "sipping" water bottle with your child to school.  It's great if they don't have to leave the classroom to get a small drink.
10.  Lunch:  Please let me know if your child doesn't seem to be eating enough during the school day.  While I try to watch them as closely as I can in the lunch room, it's hard to tell how much is "normal" eating for them, and there are the distractions of other children, so if you have a question, just let me know and I can encourage a bit more.  Thanks!

If you have any questions at any time, please feel free to come in and chat with me or shoot me an email.

Once again, I am so looking forward to working with your family in this upcoming year!  Go Grade One!!