Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Promise to Be Thoughtful

You may have heard that the Yarmouth Education Foundation has voted to fund Rowe's grant request to purchase and support the use of two iPads in each first grade classroom.  Did you know that our team felt both thrilled and honored to have received such good news in the very first round of YEF grant proposals?

Please realize that our teams teach with intention.  This means that we define our beliefs, align our practice and then we take action.  Therefore, we do not plan to load up on zillions of free apps (some of which are horrible) nor do we plan to create "gaming" stations when we receive the iPads after vacation.  Rather, we promise to thoughtfully align the use of iPads with our established practices.

What will that look like?  Well, I expect that our use of iPads will start out skinny as we begin to explore proper care and usage with our students.  We are already planning to expand the listening centers that we use within our Reading Workshops.   Each month I will blog about the new and varied ways we decide to use this wonderful tool.

The concept of Digital Citizenship should not begin with the issue of laptops in seventh grade.  Rather, it should begin with very tiny steps in primary school.  When you think of it, it's not often in education that we are given such an amazingly creative challenge.  I feel very lucky to have a front row seat in this adventure.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness

I've been thinking about a new kind of a "share" that I'd like to introduce after vacation.  In an effort to warm up the month of January, I thought we'd begin with a dialog about Random Acts of Kindness.

Everyday throughout the year, I watch first graders do kind things for one another. It might be as simple as picking up trash for a table mate after snack. Or putting a folder away for a friend who was picked up by a specialist. Or making sure that a classmate has someone to play with out at recess. Or picking something up that a teacher dropped...

To help kids realize that these seemingly little actions are actually Random Acts of Kindness, I thought that we'd start to make "I Statements" when we notice one happening. "I like it when you..." Please feel free to jump on the bandwagon and take note of what your first grader does at home to help out. My hope is that by our first Friday back, everyone will be able to share a Random Act of Kindness that happened at home and one that took place at school.

Wanted: Paper Towel Tubes



We plan to create scrolls in Everyday Math next week and will need an empty paper towel tube for each student. Please send in as many as you can! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pajama Day!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Digraph Detectives




If you've been helping out with our pink Word Power Cards, then you know that we've been working on consonant digraphs. A consonant digraph is two consonants together that make one sound such as "s" and "h" together make the sound of /sh/. Because a consonant digraph makes only one sound, they only get one tap. For example, the word "sh o p" has three taps even though there are four letters because there are only three sounds to the word.

We've been working on the following consonant digraphs: 
sh - ship - /sh/ wh - whistle - /wh/ ch - chin - /ch/ th - thumb - /th/ ck - sock - /k/

Soon we hope to film our first graders tapping out words with their fingers.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

First Grade P.E. Class

Have you ever had a chance to watch a P.E. symphony?  I have!  Prior to Thanksgiving break I had the pleasure of observing our class as they spent time with Meg Pachuta.  The students entered the gym and immediately began to warm up.  Next they practiced skills they would use in a game later in the period.  Prior to the close of the class, I enjoyed watching two games going on at the same time at opposite ends of the gym.  My favorite notes in the symphony were the kind words used to celebrate partnerships as groupings changed seamlessly throughout the time I was there.  Click on this picture if you'd like to watch the P.E. class from the comfort of your home!  Try to count the number of transitions your children experience as they warm-up, listen to instruction, set-up, participate in skills work, play cooperatively and pick-up throughout this 45 minute block of time.    

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Telling Time to the Half Hour

We are beginning to learn to tell time to the half hour. Please practice this skill with your first grader by logging onto a website that I have found both useful and fun.

Simply click on the yellow clock or look at this blog's sidebar under the heading CALLING ALL FIRST GRADERS. Below those words you will need to click on Time for Time. Once there, please follow these instructions:

1. You might want to ignore the "show digital" option for now.
2. Use either the + 1 minute or the - 1 minute button to line up a time to the hour such as 5:00.
3.  Advance the time by clicking on the + 1 button until the time moves forward by 30 minutes.
4. Help your child to read the time (and note the position of the clock hands) using the
following terms: 5 o'clock, half-past 5 o'clock, 6 o'clock, half-past 6 o'clock, and so on.
5.  I love the visual because it allows children to watch time move 1 minute at a time until it is half way around the clock.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Pilgrim Tradition

Tomorrow we will read "The Popcorn Book" by Tomie de Paola. Within the story, the children will learn of a Pilgrim tradition of putting five kernels of popcorn next to their plate on Thanksgiving Day. The Pilgrims put the corn next to their plates to remind them of how they sometimes had only five kernels of corn to eat before the Native Americans taught them how to hunt, fish, and grow corn. Every year the Pilgrims saved their five kernels to plant in the spring when the leaves on the trees were "as big as a mouse's ear". You could try this too.

Please look for a packet of five kernels of popcorn, as well as, excerpts of the book to come home in your child's blue folder on Tuesday. We hope you enjoy them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

We've Been Busy During Our Science Period!


Please watch our latest musical slideshow!  You'll see pictures of the fun we've had working in the first strand of our Balance and Motion Science unit.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Technology is...

This year I am attempting to collect data of first graders' ever-evolving understandings of what technology is.  In September, I asked our students to tell me what they thought technology was by drawing and writing about it.  Later, we recorded their voices in a program called VoiceThread. 

I hope you enjoy their responses.  (You can speed up the slideshow by clicking on the right arrow below the VoiceThread screen.)

We used a FlipCam to video their responses to the same question in October.  For some crazy reason, I am unable to upload the tiny movie to my website.  As soon as I figure out a place to store the film, I will link it to this blog.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Science News From the Makers of Our FOSS Kits

Balance and Motion is the new unit we are studying in science.  We will be observing and comparing how objects balance, spin, and roll, and communicating orally and in writing the things we discover.  The processes of observing, communicating, and comparing are important thinking processes that your child will be using during our investigation of these interesting characteristics of objects and systems.

Your first grader may be interested in trying some things at home.  You might want to tie a string between two chairs and see how many paper cups, craft sticks, and other objects you can balance (use clothespins for counterweights).  You could make a big mobile by suspending a broomstick and hanging things from it, or make spinning tops out of Tinkertoys or other shafts and hubs.  Check your local toy store for tops and other spinners.  The possibilities are endless, and your child can be your guide.

We're looking forward to our new unit on balance and motion to provide lots of learning and lots of fun!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Word Power Cards


I'd like to take a minute to explain the yellow cardstock sheets that we will soon send home every night. Within this blog posting,  I'll ask questions that have been asked of me in the past and perhaps the answers will clear up any confusions you might have when you see the cards for the very first time.

1. How many times should my child read the sheet to me?  

Once should do it!

2. What if my child doesn't know all of the words?

It's meant to offer practice in tapping out unknown words. Your student will show you how to do this.

3. What if my child already knows all of the words?  

Ask her/him to read for speed. I call it WORD POWER.

4. Why yellow?

I've color coded each group of words and this beginning phonics unit has the most words. It just so happens that I had a ton of yellow cardstock.

5.  Why would you add one more layer of work for my child to do at home?

As you know, children improve their reading abilities by reading every day.  If we support this daily habit of reading with fast and easy word work, first graders will learn to problem solve tricky words sooner.  

There is a strut that kids develop when they begin to use a mixture of strategies to figure out the occasional hard word.  You'll see their eyes cross-check between the picture and the word, then they may reread the sentence and finally they might tap out the word.  Best of all, they will stop asking for parent help when reading and actually act insulted when you prompt them with a word they knew they could have figured out alone!  I live to observe this attitude!  For the record:  There are only about 12 words to read on each sheet of cardstock.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

I-Message Update

Did you have a chance to read our guidance counselor's October newsletter?  In it, Mrs. Gross tells us the steps of an I Message.  I wanted to blog about this information because it is a little different than the I Message steps I recently listed in a blog post.  To be honest, I like her words better and would like to repeat them in this post, as well as, provide a link to her website.  (Click on the jumping chick!)

The steps of an I Message are:

1.  LOOK THE PERSON IN THE EYE.
2.  SAY THE PERSON'S NAME.
3.  SAY HOW IT MAKES YOU FEEL.
4.  SAY WHAT THE PROBLEM IS.
5.  TELL WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE THEM TO DO INSTEAD.

When you ____________________________________________

I feel ________________________________________________

I want you ___________________________________________

WATCH US PRACTICE!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Lincoln Memorial

Have you ever looked closely at a penny?  I mean really, really closely?  We have!  That's because today we began to study our first coin in Everyday Math.  We learned that the head's side of the penny has President Lincoln on it and the tail's side has the Lincoln Memorial.  Did you know that if you look very carefully on some pennies you might see the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the middle of the Memorial?  It's true!

Two years ago while reading the teacher blog, Free Technology For Teachers, I learned that there is a virtual tour of the Lincoln Memorial.  Click on this penny if you'd like to visit Washington, D.C. from the comfort of your home!

Blue Discovery Math Sheets

Did you know that the blue Discovery Math sheets are part of a district enrichment series and are therefore optional?  It's true, they are!  Please do not worry if you have a busy week and are unable to work on one with your first grader.  Also, please realize that your child may do parts of each sheet--you should never feel pressured to complete every problem.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Reading at Home

Thank you for helping your children develop the nightly habit of reading their homework reading books. It's great to see so many returned each day. I wish you could watch as they eagerly pick out new titles, often following one another's recommendations.

Whenever possible, I have begun to encourage all students to choose unknown titles to read for homework each night. As before, the books should be easy to read so the kids are able to practice reading fluently at their independent reading level.

It is important to realize that your young readers may now run into unknown words when they read independently. If this happens, please urge them to problem solve the tricky words on their own. We usually use one of the following prompts:

*Try that again.

*What would make sense?

*What could you try?

*Does it look right?

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Welcome to Room 109!

Please scroll down on the right hand side of our blog to check out our Musical Slideshows.  We hope they're the next best thing to being here!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Eye Statements

We encourage children to attempt to solve their problems whenever possible. Since early September, we have been working on helping the students work out problems between themselves by speaking directly with a classmate.

It would be helpful if you would discuss this process with your children so that they continue to see a link between your homes and Rowe School. The following words are used to work through disagreements between children:

STOP AND THINK about what is bothering you.

LOOK at the other person and MAKE AN "EYE" STATEMENT, "I don't like it when you..."

LISTEN
to what she/he has to say.

MAKE A PLAN
together so that it won't happen again.

As always, thank you for helping.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reading Workshop

We've added a new layer to Reading Workshop. First graders are now beginning to read leveled books independently and to each other. They are learning to fill out booksheets to help keep track of the books they have read and to dictate "retells" to adults. In a retell, they list the characters in the independently read book, as well as, the setting and soon all will share a very brief retelling of what happened in the story.  Your child will now bring home a book to read every day. Please make sure that he or she packs it each morning so that others might check it out to read the following night.

At this point in time, just about all of the books are pattern books. Don't worry if your child needs a little help figuring out the pattern found on the first page of each story. Eventually, they will become better detectives and begin to develop strategies that will help whenever they need to problem solve tricky words.

The books will be memorized quickly, so it is important that your children point to each word as they read aloud IF THEY ARE BEGINNING READERS. This activity will help them to realize that when they read, they create a match between the printed word on the page and the word their voice says.

Check This Out!



Please click on the following link to read an update from our Music teacher, Erica Troy.

https://sites.google.com/a/yarmouthschools.org/rowemusic/

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Handwriting


We began to work in our new (to Rowe first grade) Handwriting Without Tears program last week.  To help me to understand the schema our students already have in the realm of handwriting, I asked the following question:  What is handwriting?  I thought I'd share their responses today because some are sure to bring a smile to your faces.  I enjoy their answers because they are all right depending on each child's unique perspective.

*It's when you use your hands to write.
*Handwriting is about writing pictures and stories.
*When you write sentences, that's like handwriting.
*You put your hand down and someone traces your hand.
*Handwriting is writing with pencils, markers, and crayons.
*You write numbers.
*Handwriting is math.
*Handwriting is using finger spaces.
*Handwriting is a creative thing you can draw.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Everyday Math Update

This week is a big week in that we have finished the 13th and final lesson of Unit 1 in Everyday Math. The purpose of this first unit was to help children become comfortable with a cooperative-learning environment in which they work together to build mathematical concepts. Another purpose was to introduce and establish routines that will be used this year and in the grades to come. You probably noticed that the unit also reviewed various mathematical concepts introduced in Kindergarten.

On Friday, I plan to send home your child's homework papers from Unit 1. Sometimes there will be corrections made to their work. Usually it's just a matter of flipping a number that is reversed. Feel free to have them self correct "flips" when you check their homework prior to sending it back to school for future units.

I will also send the Unit 2 Family Letter home today. Please note that at the very end of the letter there is a specific explanation of every Home Link for Unit 2. Being able to see the answers often helps parents to zero in on just what it is that we need you to help your child practice. Always keep in mind that the homework part of Everyday Math is important and the coaching you provide is VERY MUCH APPRECIATED!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Reading Workshop

Your children will have the opportunity to read books in three different levels during each week of this school year. I would like to explain the differences between each.

Their INDEPENDENT level books are the easy to read titles they will work on alone in class. Each of these has a booksheet that goes with it. The booksheets help the children stay organized and focused. We bundle these up and send them home at the end of each month. A reading book in this level will soon be sent home every night to read for fun.

The books students will read with me in their GUIDED reading groups are written at their INSTRUCTIONAL level. These are challenging and will offer me a chance to see what strategies the children use and exactly what I need to teach next. (I try to choose a book that will offer one challenging word on each page.) If a child is stuck on a word, I will prompt him or her to use strategies that will help with that particular word. There is also a mini-lesson that arises out of the reading and helps prepare the students for the next level.

The book that each student will read on our classroom ibook or on my ipad is called a SHARED title. It is read as a read-along. There are patterns that emerge that the children will identify and which, ultimately, will help when they chime in with the reader.

PLEASE CELEBRATE YOUR CHILD'S SUCCESSES and realize that the books they begin to bring home next week are supposed to be easy and fun. Remember, they soon will be working on more challenging material with an adult who can determine what the next teaching step is and who will assess their progress weekly so that each is able to move through the levels as quickly as possible.

Coming Very Soon: A Harvest Activity

One way or another, we are going to take part in a first grade harvest activity on Friday of this week.  The original plan was for us to visit the Yarmouth School Garden to learn more about the foods that we eat in our cafeteria.  That trip will be canceled if it rains.  Not to worry!  In the event of rain, one of the activities--corn shucking--will be brought to Rowe so that we can learn more about corn, harvesting and preparing local food for Friday's lunch.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wanted: Monarch Caterpillars



Has anyone seen monarch caterpillars around town?  Our caterpillar viewing station is ready and waiting for donations!  We'll also need a bag of milkweed leaves.   Thank you for helping in our search!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

FYI


Grace Shi invited every student in our class to her birthday party.  I believe that she may have forgotten to include her name on the card.  I hope this helps clear up any confusion. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bunny Hop


Tonight our students will bring home a game called Bunny Hop. It allows the children to practice counting up and back on a number line.

Directions:

1. Each player needs a number line and a bunny marker. Players take turns rolling the die and moving the bunny the number of spaces shown on the die.

2. Both players hop to the carrot--20--by rolling the exact number. Then they hop back to the bunny's hole--0--by rolling the exact number.

3. The first player to get to the carrot and back to the bunny hole wins.

Please encourage your children to talk about the movements, making statements such as, "The bunny hopped 4 spaces from 6 to 10."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Me Bags

On Monday, the students from Room 109 will bring home an empty Me Bag. A Me Bag is simply a paper bag that has your child's name on it. You'll also notice a number 3. The 3 is meant to remind the bag owner that he/she needs to bring 3 items from home that will help to describe a bit more about himself/herself to the class. Anything goes as long as it fits into the bag and is not valuable!  It'd be great if the bags could come back some time before the end of the week. We'll try to look at 5 each day.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day Two

My warning to the class this morning was to put their seat belts on because Everyday Math was going to be jammed with activities.  The warm-up involved a whisper/shout count by 1s and then jobs were assigned so that we could begin to learn to collect data as a daily number routine.  We played a whole class game called "Monster Squeeze".  (Tomorrow morning we'll play the same game with pennies instead of monsters.)  

I should probably warn you that I read the book, Yes Day to our class.  It's a ridiculous story about a boy celebrating his annual "Yes Day" with his family.  In the story, a boy's parents can only say, "Yes," to all of his requests.  A few of our students now hope to start a "Yes Day" tradition at their homes. (Sorry!)

At the beginning of Writer's Workshop, I read four short titles from the Tom and Pippo book series.  Pippo's facial expressions in the books are hysterical but the real reason I like to use these texts is because they help children to realize that many authors do not write about big events.  Some of our most talented writers detail the small, everyday events that take place in all of our lives.

Toward the end of the day, we started to work on a classroom paper quilt as part of a community building activity. Many later shared that this was their favorite part of today.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day One

Day One was busy, busy, busy! We read a story titled Yo!  Yes?  It's about two boys who met and ended up playing together even though one of them was very shy. Later, we read a story about a teacher with first day of school jitters and yes, I did admit that I had had the jitters before school began today!  I'll try to post most of our READ TOs on the Shelfari bookcase found on the sidebar section of this blog.

Tomorrow I will send home the second letter for Unit 1 in Everyday Math. The program starts out slowly. Today we talked about our Math Concepts board which I also call our Numbers board. Then we discussed classroom jobs. Many of the jobs tie in with math data that we collect and organize daily. There was a little bit of time to explore our math tubs during our rainy day morning recess. The numberline is reviewed tomorrow through a fun game that some may have played last year. It's called "Monster Squeeze".

Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Birthdays At Rowe

Six children in our class have September birthdays.  As a result, I thought I'd better blog as quickly as possible about the new Rowe decision to celebrate classroom birthdays in ways that do not involve food.  Please take a minute to read the following paragraph from Ellen Honan's newsletter that further details the thoughts behind this decision.

"Along with specific allergies, we must also consider various other medical conditions and nutritional needs of our students. This year we are requesting that food not be sent in to celebrate your child’s birthday. Each teacher will honor your child’s special day with a classroom celebration that will not involve food. There will be times throughout the year when we will celebrate with healthy snacks, but we have made a school decision to eliminate food for birthdays. We thank you in advance for respecting this request."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thank You And A Little More!

Thank you for breaking away from your summer/work routines to join me in welcoming your children to Room 109!  Isn't it amazing what one little visit to a classroom can do?  I believe that we were able to help to take the edge off most anxious feelings that may bubble up for your children over this last weekend before school starts.

My only regret with such an overwhelmingly high turnout is that I was unable to chat with children and parents as much as I am in the habit of doing.  Therefore, I thought I'd take a few minutes to tell you a bit about myself.

I have taught most recently in grades one and two in Freeport but have also worked as a Reading Specialist in Naples and Bridgton, Maine.  Early in my career, I taught first and second grades in Londonderry, Vermont and later as a middle school content area Reading teacher in Springfield, Vermont.  I honestly feel that my greatest professional honor is to receive siblings of former students and it is, therefore, my hope to see many of you in the years to come.

On a personal note, I live with my husband, Jim Lincoln, in South Freeport.  Our daughters, Tara and Molly, have gone through the Freeport School System and have completed college.  Tara has recently finished a Masters in Library Science and is presently working in Boston.  Molly has just finished her undergraduate degree in Spanish and will be teaching in Spain this year.  Our dogs, Keza and Lola, are ten-year-old sisters who love summer because we are able to give them so much attention.  We fully expect the "Monday Mopes" to begin next week when they realize that the school year has begun and they are, once again, left to their own devices for the entire school day!

I hope this information about me helps a bit.  As a parent, I vividly remember how odd it seemed to turn my daughters over to people I knew so little about.  Thirty-three hours a week is a long time.  Please realize that I am available to answer questions you may have.

Sincerely,
Terry Lincoln 


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Don't Forget...

...that you have a chance to drop in for a visit on Thursday, September 1st between 8:30 and 10:00. You'll be able to meet some of your first grade classmates, your first grade teacher and to check out your first grade classroom.

If you think of it, bring your post card and we'll pin it to the bulletin board inside our classroom. Are you in trouble if you forget it? OF COURSE NOT! You can simply bring it in on the first day of school.  Please do not worry if you have lost your card.  I have an extra calendar just waiting to be cut up for spares!

See you soon!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Hope This Sounds Familiar!

My name is Terry Lincoln and I would like to join the Rowe School team in welcoming you to the exciting year of first grade!  This will be a year of tremendous growth for your child!  We're not sure who's more excited for the year to begin, or who has more "butterflies", the children or the teachers!

September 1st offers an informal time for you and your child to visit our classroom. You're welcome to drop by anytime between 8:30 and 10:00 to visit the school, see our room, find your child's coat hook, and visit with other families. I'm looking forward to meeting each of you.

I'll be using this blog to keep our home/school communication up-to-date.  You'll notice that the posts on the left are organized in chronological order.  I'll try to blog at least once a week.

I like the idea of a blog format because it allows me to post short, focused first grade updates as often as necessary.  My hope is to share pictures, observations, slideshows, and student work in an attempt to offer a bird's-eye-view of our very busy weeks in grade one.

Please note that I will use blue Home/School Communication folders for messages that need to be read as soon as possible.  Student work, first grade team notices concerning class trips, sign-ups for conferences, and last minute classroom requests will be tucked into this folder that will go home with your child every night.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Fun Ideas



Explore nature.
Go for a bike ride.
Start a collection.
Take photographs.
Write a postcard to a friend.
Read!
Visit the beach.
Make a comic book.
Go to a playground.
Play a board game.
Take a walk.
Go camping.
Put on a show.
Visit a library!