Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dear Parents,

Happy Easter!  May the graces and blessings of this beautiful season of Love be yours. 

We will be quite busy this short week.  There will be the usual adjustments to return to routine as well as the urgency to continue moving forward and complete the work of first grade before our time and energy run out.

I am aware of the challenges of time management as the spring season brings new demands on your family time.  I am changing the spelling homework, starting with this week.  The new words will be introduced and the pre-test  results will continue to be sent home, but on a different, floating schedule of time.  I will note the date of the upcoming spelling test (which will not necessarily be on a Friday) when the spelling words are sent home and on the weekly homework blog. .   The children will be responsible for spelling the words on the test only.   The work you and your child choose to do to learn the words will not be turned in any more.

The language arts comprehension pages will continue to be sent home and be returned completed on Thursdays; the math pages should be completed and returned the next day.  All official homework will cease after Memorial Day; I will remind you about this change closer to that time.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about these changes.
God Bless all of you!
Pam Claytor

This Week in First Grade
Religion:  We will learn of our responsibility as followers of Jesus as we discuss what friends do for each other.  

Language Arts: I will introduce dipthong words with ou, ow as the spelling rule this week. The children will read to apply strategy of rereading to monitor for comprehension as well as monitoring comprehension as it relates to poems. The will learn that some poems have rhyming words at the end of lines.  The grammar focus is to Identify the subject of a sentence. In writing we will collaborate ideas in an interactive writing experience: write a personal narrative about a bug . The study skills focus is to use the dictionary to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.

Math We will work on the addition facts when adding 9 to a number.  We will also work on Identifying one half, one third and one sixth  and then on using comparison symbols.

Science:  We continue to focus on the Chesapeake Bay habitat as we discuss the plant and animal life indigenous to the region.

Social Studies: The children will use the words past, present and future to describe changes that happen in your life, then tell how we learn about the past.

Monday, April 7, 2014

April 7,  2014

Dear Parents,

We celebrate new life in the Catholic Church in just 14 days – the life in heaven we are promised through the passion and death of our Lord.  This is the main celebration of the Catholic Church calendar.  I do hope that you and your children will have the opportunity to attend at least one, if not all three, of the services  of the Triduum.  They are truly powerful experiences.

I truly hope that you will help your child keep up during next week’s Easter break through daily home activities: reading together and by self, adding and subtracting while helping out around the house and in the kitchen, writing in a daily journal, spelling in the car, mental math (have your child make you problems!), taking a nature walk.  There are endless ways to practice all that your child has learned in daily activities around the house and on vacation!

It is my prayer that your families will be blessed with the graces of extra time spent in prayer and  the joy of the resurrection.  Happy Easter!

Mrs. Pam Claytor

This Week in First Grade

We will finally attend the play “Henry and Mudge” on Tuesday.  Please note that the children will have their lunch early at 11:00 AM, so we can leave on time.  They will have their snack when we return @ 2:15 or so.

We will focus on Holy Week in class this week.  I will also be giving a unit test in language arts and review math skills.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Dear Parents, 
As we continue on our Lenten journey, the children will be learning about the people of Malawi, who are served by CRS and the Rice Bowl giving campaign.  They will be happy to share a bit about Fr. Leo's cooking lesson on Tuesday or Wednesday and the connection they will make to the Malawi people.

I have also received a request from a member of my parish (St. John's) in Rock Hall.  Jack Bigelow is a Native American who makes a 5 hour "run to the Res" at least 2 times a year to take donations.  He has requested the following: non-perishable food, toiletries, personal hygiene items, school supplies, and of course Easter candy for the kids. If you would prefer to send grocery card, please pick one up from Food Lion.  If you are able, please consider sending your own donation to school by Friday, April 11th.  I will take them to Jack on Palm Sunday, April 13th. 

Finally, I would like to remind you that there is no homework this week, as we complete our testing.

May God be with you in all you do this week,
 Mrs. Pam Claytor 

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014
Dear Parents,
A quick reminder that this is our standardized testing week.  As you read in the note sent home on Friday, we will be delayed in beginning our testing.
The children had several practice sessions during the past two weeks.  I am hopeful that they are comfortable with the process and confident in their skill.  The best way to support your child is to give her or him plenty of physical play time, a reasonable bed time, and a good breakfast.  She will also need a healthy snack each day. There is no homework this week; however reading and math practice are always important and can be accomplished through games J.
Our Lenten journey continues this third week of lent with positive attitude.  When we accept and forgive others, follow God’s commandments, and show our loyalty we are walking with Jesus toward heaven.  As we also give thanks for our many blessings, we make extra effort to help those who are less fortunate.  This is a good week to renew efforts to fill the Rice Bowl from both our plenty and from our own need.
We begin the work of our third trimester with the need to replenish some of our supplies.  Most of the children had 3 sets of crayons and have received the third set recently.  Some children are in need of a new set, either because they needed theirs earlier or didn’t have 3 sets to begin with.  Many of the children have also used up their pencils, expo markers, and pink erasers.  I would appreciate your help in sending in new supplies, sharpened, and labeled as needed  - I am sure your children will tell you what they need when you ask them J
Something from Sacred Space by the Irish Jesuits to think about this week:  The crucifixion is important, not just as an event, but as the unending mystery of how, through the crucifixion and resurrection, Christ continues to offer the hope of salvation to the faithful throughout time.
Mrs. Pam Claytor
This Week in First Grade
Religion  As we work on understanding that the Holy Spirit teaches us to pray, the children will discover how the Church prays to the Holy Spirit for guidance.  They will write their own petition prayers this week.  St. Patrick’s life and some legends will be shared.
Language Arts  and Math  I will be combining these subjects as I connect math activities to three favorite children’s stories:  Millions of Cats, Strega Nona and Caps for Sale.
Science   We will learn about the different kinds of rocks and how they were formed as we move forward on our unit.  We will also explore and compare different soils, identifying the components in order to recognize the importance of the different types of soil as a natural resource.
Social Studies   We are now focusing on the concept of time.  The children will be working on timelines for their lives, remembering various accomplishments and the age they were when they made them.  It would be helpful if dinner conversation would include the special stages (and the age your child was) the children have completed (crawling, feeding oneself, walking, talking, throwing a ball, jumping, etc.)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dear Parents,
     Happy St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph Feast Days!  While we celebrate the wonders of the connection of St. Patrick with the Irish today, we will also celebrate St. Joseph on Wednesday, often with Italian connections.  The children love sharing their various cultural heritages and these special occasions give us a great opportunity to learn more about world cultures.
     Speaking of world cultures, we continue to learn about the children of the world who have not got enough to eat, proper clothes to wear, or actual homes to live in as part of our Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl education.  The children are anxious to help others, both through prayers and the gift of treasure.  Please allow them to earn the funds they place in their “Rice Bowl”.
      I am sure there are still some snow fans out there who are delighting in this never-ending winter and I am happy for them.  I, however am ready for the routine that my students crave.  Let’s hope that the spring equinox on Wednesday will bring us that relief!
      Let us together pray for the grace and renewal that following the Lenten practices of abstinence,  prayer, and almsgiving will bring us.
Mrs. Pam Claytor
This Week in First Grade:

Religion  The children and I will review the chapter we have just completed on the ways the Holy Spirit helps us to pray and be kinder, more patient children of God.  We will then discuss the joys of Palm Sunday before we turn our focus to the passion of Our Lord the following week.
 Language Arts  The tricky r controlled vowels will be focused on this week as we look at ar.  The children will blend these sounds, as they build familiar words containing  ar.  Kids’ Inventions  is the main story this week; this is an article that was published in Time for Kids magazine. The children will practice generating questions as a means to comprehend what they are reading.  The study skills focus is on synonyms.  They will use both a dictionary and thesaurus to find information.  Grammar skills include using color words to add to our writing and proofreading sentences for punctuation and capitalization. 
Math  We will have fun drawing congruent shapes and designs this week.  We will also practice measuring and drawing line segments to the nearest inch – they would love the opportunity to practice this around the house! Counting any grouping of coins together is another skill to be practiced – you can also help with this at home J.
Science   We will explore and communicate the differences that can be observed in various rocks.  This is a popular lesson as the children find rocks all around them. Please allow your children to bring a rock to school.  We will be looking for the building blocks of the rocks: the minerals, which are natural resources.
Social Studies   We recently completed the unit on the world of work.  We will now begin to explore the concept of history through making our own life timelines.  The children will appreciate the opportunity to review their family pictures, particularly ones of themselves from infancy to the present as well as those of yourselves as children.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dear Parents,
     Our third trimester is officially under way!  The children are such hard workers, always curious and quick to make connections; of course none of us can believe how quickly our time is moving as we proceed through the first grade year.
     We begin the work of our third trimester with the need to replenish some of our supplies.  Most of the children had 3 sets of crayons and have received the third set recently.  Some children are in need of a new set, either because they needed theirs earlier or didn’t have 3 sets to begin with.  Many of the children have also used up their pencils, expo markers, and pink erasers.  I would appreciate your help in sending in new supplies, sharpened, and labeled as needed  - I am sure your children will tell you what they need when you ask them J
     We are trying to slow down and appreciate the Lenten journey we are on, with the hope to focus on renewal.  Each day the children and I reflect on a new aspect of our journey, based on the readings of the day.  It is helpful to take time at the end of the school day to note one good thing that has happened. This is a good conversation starter, even if your child simply notes that the sun was shining.  It is a very simple beginning of the Examen from St. Ignatius Loyola and a chance to focus on the gifts of the day.
     I pray that you and your family will find that special opportunity to pray together in thanksgiving this week.
Mrs. Pam Claytor

This Week in First Grade
Religion  We will be discussing Lenten actions on a daily basis during Religion time.  The children will learn about the fruits of the Holy Spirit as they discuss ways to use them to follow Jesus.        
Language Arts  We will be building and blending long i words that have i, y, and igh. The  comprehension focus will be on visualizing and reading to identify the problem and solution in a story. The story this week is The Kite, which is from the Frog and Toad series.   Adjectives will again be a grammar focus this week, as the children learn that adding –er and –est to an adjective will give them a way to compare nouns.  The writing focus is on personal narratives as the children write to tell about a personal experience.
Math  As we practice adding 10 to a single digit, then 10 to each successive number, we are practicing mental math.  The children love to add 3 digits in their head!  Try this in the car, always starting with 1, then adding two more single digit numbers.  You will be helping your child to prepare for double digit addition, with regrouping!  We will also work on comparing and ordering numbers to 100, counting by 100s, sums of 10 addition facts, and identifying a missing addend this week.
Science   We will explore ways to classify rocks, identify the ways people use rocks and minerals, and make connections to caring for God’s creation, especially the Chesapeake Bay.
Social Studies   We will discuss the differences between needs and wants, goods and services in the work world.  The concept of buying, trading, and saving will be introduced.