First Grade with Jennifer and Matt

Week of October 23rd with 1JM

on October 30, 2017

Dear Families of 1JM,

We hope you enjoyed your weekend and any Halloween festivities.  We would like to thank you for your participation in Tuesday’s La Marqueta with a Mission, organized by our friend and colleague Gloria Foti.  In addition, we are very grateful for the donations you have been making in support of the relief effort for victims Hurricane Maria — your contributions are greatly appreciated.

Our next Family Visiting will be this coming Friday, November 3rd, from 8:25-8:55am.  We hope to see you!


This week, the children of 1JM learned two new reading roles, the Creative Connector and the Super Summarizer, comprehension strategies that allow students to interact with the text while deepening their understanding.  In Tuesday’s lesson, we read “Dragons and Giants” from Frog and Toad Together and practiced being Creative Connectors to make text-to-self connections based on the story’s themes of being afraid and being brave.  Millie wrote that she sometimes feels afraid on Halloween, but she feels very brave when riding rollercoasters.  After writing their connections, the students drew pictures that represented their writing.  The next day, we introduced the Super Summarizer reading role, a long with the “5-Finger Retell” method of retelling a story.  We read “Cookies,” and in pairs, the children wrote their summaries using their new strategy.

In half groups, some students worked on additional reading strategies to use when decoding texts.  First, we reviewed “Eagle Eye, Picture Walk, Lips the Fish, and we introduced Skippy Frog,which helps children use context clues to figure out tricky words.  We read Stick and Stone  and Spoon (a class favorite) to model how good readers use these strategies when they read.  The children then practiced these strategies when they read in small groups and on their own.  Other students learned about the “silent e” rule for long vowel words.  The children practiced transforming short vowel words into long vowel words by adding the silent e.  Then, they brainstormed additional words that follow this rule.  Jana offered “chaperone”!  After this, the children went on a scavenger hunt around Room 20 in search of items whose names use a silent e.  The children shared their results with the rest of the group and worked on the “Silent e” chapter of Explode the Code.


Susan Schwartz, our Reading Specialist, visited Room 20 this week and taught a lesson on the “5-Finger Retell” method of summarizing, a strategy to use when reading and writing.  The children practiced this strategy when writing in their journals about their favorite memories of their week in 1JM.


This week, we continued to work on symmetry.  We read the book Symmetry that shows all things symmetrical in life, nature, language, and in objects all around us.  The children created their own symmetrical designs out of pattern blocks and replicated them on the other side of a line of symmetry.  Then, they drew and colored their designs.  In math with Monica, the children worked on a Halloween-themed activity that challenged the students to create as many Jack-o-Lantern faces as they could, using different combinations of features, such as noses, smiles, and google eyes.

Social Studies

The week, Kelly and Jaja worked with 1JM on two lessons from their “Glitch, Bummer, Disaster” curriculum designed to help children name their emotions, recognize emotions in others, de-escalate tense situations before they become “disasters.”  These lessons also show children how to “take the temperature” of their own emotions, bring clarity to the moment, and move on.  Jaja read When Sally Gets Mad, and she and Kelly facilitated a discussion on the variety of emotions Sally feels at different parts of the story.  The children brainstormed a list of of feelings and matched them to corresponding parts of the story.  Then, Kelly read the The Big Orange Splot, by Daniel Manus Pinkwater, which reminds us to embrace the individuality and uniqueness that exists in ourselves and in others, as well.


In the second robot lesson, Judith read the storybook Boy + Bot to the class. It’s a chance for children to think about and discuss how different robots and children can be. What do robots need to survive? How are the needs of a robot different from the needs of a little boy or girl? After pondering these questions through this sweet story, students explored the idea of making a code like one for a robot easy to understand. They wrote the same commands that make a Bee-Bot robot go but instead of commanding the robot, they commanded each another with the instructions. One lesson that they seemed to be learning was that both robots and people need their instructions to be clear!

Community Period

This week, our buddies in 4H visited Room 20.  We had a brief group discussion about the situation in Puerto Rico and the mission of Tuesday’s La Marqueta.  We then watched and listened to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Almost Like Praying.”   After this, the children spent the rest of the period at play with their buddies.

A number of friends from 1JM were in attendance Friends’ Lower School Halloween party and in full costume!  We wish you a safe and fun Halloween, and a terrific week ahead.


Friday, Nov. 3 — Family Visiting AND Book Fair

Thursday and Friday, Nov, 16 and 17 — Parent Teacher Conferences



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