Great Year!


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on June 23, 2017

It’s been such a wonderful end to our year in first grade together!  Our field trip to Northfield Mountain, our Author’s Breakfast and the heroic rescue of our class pet on Wednesday.  It was a very exciting day in the classroom.  So exciting, the class sat down and wrote a story together about it.  I had to share it with you so you could hear the full story.  There was a lot of cheering in first grade.  Hope you enjoy reading it and hope you have a fabulous summer with your soon-to-be second grader!


Bob’s Rescue

(written by First Grade with a little help from their teachers)

Once upon a time there was a first grade studying ponds.  Their teachers, Deb and Alissa, said, “Let’s get some tadpoles to have as pets.”  So Deb went to Leverett Pond to collect a blob of frog eggs and brought them into the classroom.  Soon after, one of the eggs hatched into a tadpole!  All the other eggs didn’t hatch for some reason, and the children became very attached to the surviving tadpole in their tank.  Every day the kids put in new water collected from the vernal pool on the playground.  Every day they fed their tadpole frozen lettuce.  The tadpole ate and ate and grew and grew.  The children loved to watch the tadpole and would gather around the tank first thing every morning.  One day they started calling him Bob.  He got fatter and fatter.  Suddenly, someone noticed he had back legs!  He was growing!  The kids were so excited.  Soon, he had his front legs.  He started to breathe oxygen with his new lungs.  One morning, the children came in to see he had lost his tail.  Overnight he had become a froglet! The children admired their new friend.  Soon the whole school new about Bob the froglet.  Children and teachers would come down to the first grade with curious eyes and say, “Can we see Bob?”  The class was amazed and joyful.  Bob, their froglet, was famous at Leverett Elementary School.  Deb kept saying, “He is a frog now.  He can hop.  We should return him to Leverett Pond.”  Alissa kept saying, “Oh, can we keep him for just one more day?  He’s so cute.  The children would miss him.”  


Then one day……


Deb and Alissa arrived at the classroom early one morning.  They leaned over the tank to say good morning to Bob and discovered BOB WAS GONE!  They searched everywhere for him.  They looked under the rug.  They looked around the tank.  No Bob.  The principal, Ms. Lacey, was the first to respond to their call for help in the search for Bob.  She reached into the tank with her bare hands and removed the rock he liked to hide behind.  No Bob.  She reached in again and ran her fingers through the leaves and muck at the bottom of the tank.  No Bob.  He could not be found.  Deb and Alissa looked at each other and cried, “Where is Bob?  What will we tell the children?”  Soon after, the children arrived and a new day began in first grade.  Deb and Alissa shared the sad discovery with the children.  Everyone looked worried and sad.  So the children gathered in a circle, passed a magic wand around and everyone shared a hope or wish for Bob, their missing friend.  To cheer everyone up, Alissa said, “Let’s go for a hike in the woods behind school.  It will be fun.”  And the children lined up and headed outside for an early summer hike together.


An hour later, as the class was returning to first grade, two fifth graders, Levi and Maddie, came running down the hallway yelling, “WE FOUND BOB!  He was on the blacktop at recess.  We found him and brought him back to your tank.”  The children cheered and rushed back to their classroom to look for Bob.  Everyone peered over the edge of the tank and within seconds Bob swam by!  IT WAS TRUE!!  The teachers invited the 5th grade heroes to come in and tell the children all about their heroic rescue.  The first graders asked questions and offered comments of gratitude to the rescuers.  They were so thankful to have their friend safe and sound back in the tank.  


Then Deb carefully transferred Bob into a container WITH A TOP, and put him into her car so she could give him a ride back to Leverett Pond.  So that is the story of first grade’s amazing water animal, BOB, who is now back at home in Leverett Pond.


Or is he…….??!!??  😎





This Friday!


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on June 13, 2017

  This Friday!  Please come to our Author’s Breakfast.  Come meet the authors!!  All these fabulous authors will be presenting their work.

And….you will even get to meet this guy, Bob, our class tadpole.  Have you heard about him?  He’s growing bigger by the day.


Hope you see you Friday!


Author’s Breakfast


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on June 2, 2017

Have you heard about our class pet?  Here is Bob, our tadpole.  Deb brought in a whole blob of frog eggs a few weeks ago, but only one has survived.  We’ve watched him grow and now we can see his back legs forming!  If you look really closely, you might see them!


We’ve been working on some pond books to follow up on the things we learned on our field trip.  The bulletin board outside our classroom is full of animals we made who live in different levels of the pond habitat.

Authors Breakfast is coming soon and the end of the year is quickly approaching.  It’s hard to believe.  When I look back at the year, I’m amazed at the great work the children have accomplished.  It’s time to celebrate!  The children will soon be making invitations to invite you to our Author’s Breakfast on Friday, June 16, from 8:45-10:00.  Each child will pick one story he/she has written this year to read to the group and then we will have a breakfast celebration afterwards.  We hope you can join us for all or part of this special First Grade writing celebration!

Field Trip Fun


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on May 12, 2017

We had a wonderful field trip on Thursday.  Another teacher asked our class how it went when we returned to school and a student said, “It was fabulous!”  I agree.  We all went to the pond at Northfield Mountain to dig deep in the mud in search of small critters who live there.  At first, it was hard to see the small insects, but once we did, the excitement started to build and children started filling their buckets with water striders, caddis flies, water bugs, tadpoles….and lots of other bugs.


Then we brought our buckets inside to put the insects under a microscope so we could observe what we saw up close.  We drew pictures of the most interesting bug we saw and labeled it.

After our pond program we had lunch in a yurt!

Then we took off for a hike in the woods!  We found a balance beam to walk across and a huge rock to climb for a class picture.  Our day ended with a special snack and a bus ride back to school.  Thanks so much to all the chaperones who joined us and helped out all through the day.

We celebrated Deb’s birthday this week!  She will be retiring this year from LES and we sure will miss her!

We also had a special visit from local author, Micha Archer.  She came in to teach the kids how to make paper and then how to use the paper to make a collage illustration.  We will use our illustrations to make a class poetry book.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Happy Spring!


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on May 4, 2017

Spring is here and flowers have been arriving in first grade every day!   In honor of spring’s arrival we went outside to draw the tree outside our door.  We’ve been observing it all year and drawing the changes that occur throughout the seasons.     We finished our Light and Sound unit by doing a project with light and how it travels through objects.  The kids made beautiful stained glass art that is hanging in our classroom windows.

  Now we are moving on to our study of Ponds in preparation of our trip to Northfield Mountain next week.  Their program is excellent.  The kids will be finding insects and plants that live in the pond, bringing them inside to observe under a microscope, and then setting them free back into nature.  We’ll also have some fun hiking in the woods and having a picnic lunch together.  Watermelon and lemonade to follow.  This week we did a craft that helps us understand the water cycle and how water accumulates in ponds.     We also have tadpoles in our room!  Deb found these in the vernal pool on our playground.  Do you have a pond near your house?  If you find any frog eggs, please send them into school so we can observe them grow.  We promise to take good care of them, learn from them and set them free soon.


We have also moved on to Opinion Writing.  The kids each brought in a collection from home of valuable items.  Now they are giving out awards like “Most Favorite”, “Most Valuable”……  and writing their opinion as to why each object deserves the award.  First Graders LOVE the chance to write about their treasured objects and share their opinions with classmates.

Next week we will have a visit from a local author!  Today we went outside with Lani for a “story walk”, where we walked in the woods and read the story “Daniel Finds A Poem”, which is a book about a boy who writes a poem after a walk in the woods talking to the animals.  We all loved the chance to get outside.  The book is posted on trees behind the Leverett Public Library if you’d like to take your own story walk.  It’s a sweet story your child can read with you.


Happy Spring, everyone!

Science and STEM


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on April 12, 2017

We just started a new science unit on Light and Sound.  The children spent some time designing an instrument that would make sound.  Then they shared their work with the class.

Today we continued by doing some experiments that showed how vibrations can make sound and how they can make objects move.

In computer lab, Mrs. Gravina challenged us to work with a partner to build a car that can move down a ramp.  We will race them next week!  Lots of fun building challenges in the past couple weeks.













First Grade News


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on April 4, 2017

For the past two weeks we have been reading and writing about people who have worked for justice.  The kids have had some wonderful, thoughtful conversations together about fairness and justice.  This week each child chose one person to create a picture of.  They are hanging on our bulletin board along with all the writing we’ve done.  Make sure you check it out when you come in for conferences this week or next week!

People Who Work For Justice


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on March 24, 2017

We just began a new social studies unit called, “People Who Work For Justice”.  We are learning about famous Americans who worked for justice in our country.  We add these people to a timeline after we read, discuss and write about their lives.  So far this is who we have studied:

To better understand what a timeline is, the children made timelines of their own lives (thanks for your help!) and shared stories from important events in their lives with their classmates.

You may see small biographies like these come home in the reading bags for homework or hear your child tell you about a favorite person we’ve read about.  We are introducing some complex, but very important, vocabulary during this unit like:  admired, valued, fair, justice, slave, rights, courage, denied, vote ….plus many more words.  Ask your child which person has been most interesting to learn about so far.

Have a great weekend!

Bear Museum!


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on March 15, 2017

Thanks to everyone who made it in today to see our Bear Museum.  The kids were so excited!  It felt a little rushed with the short school day, but we made the best of it and it felt like a success.  I hope you enjoyed seeing your child’s work.  If you took your child’s research book home, please be sure to return it to school tomorrow so it can become a proud part of our classroom library.  It will return home again at the end of the school year.  Did you learn something interesting about Bears today?!?  Thanks for coming.

We also said goodbye to our dear friend Asees this week.  She and her family are moving to a new town and will be greatly missed by all of us here at LES.  Good luck in your new school, Asees!



Almost ready….!


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on March 10, 2017

This week we had a few new stuffed animal friends join us in first grade as we prepared for our Bear Museum, which is happening next week.  We hope you can join us next Wednesday, March 15, from 9-9:30!  You will certainly be amazed by all the writing the kids have done and impressed with the displays they’ve created to teach you about the four bears we studied.  Here is a sneak peak of what we’ve been working on…..

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