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…..

It’s Read A Thon Day!


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on March 3, 2017

We started off our morning meeting today in our cozy pajamas with our stuffed animals at our sides.  We had a new friend, Oliver, come visit who will be joining our class in a couple weeks when he and his family return to Leverett.  For our greeting today, we introduced ourself to Oliver, introduced our stuffed animal friend, and told one really cool thing about first grade.  It was a fun way to start the day.

Then we settled in for a long, uninterrupted time to get cozy and read books.  Surprisingly, there never seems to be enough time to do this is a regular school day.  Nothing makes a first grade teacher happier than to see so many young readers genuinely engaged in the joy of reading.  Success!  They have it down.  Many readers found a friend and got right to work.



Then our fourth grade buddies came in and it was time for us to be brave and read to them, or a chance for us to sit back and be read to.  Either way, the kids love this time with the older kids.

This week we have been busy at work making our own books, too.  Our bear research is complete, and now the children are using what they learned to create their own chapter books!  A huge task for these first graders, but they are doing it!  This week we worked on creating a diagram of the bear each child studied and a map showing where in the world the bear lives.

In math, we have started our study of place value.  Kids are playing a game called Base 10 Exchange, which helps them see the difference between ones, tens and hundreds.

For homework, your child is bringing home a mini book we made today that uses all decodable words we are learning in Fundations.  Ask your child to show you the digraphs, bonus letters, and base words with a suffix.  These are all word parts we are studying in Fundations.  Have your child read the story to you for homework, scooping the words as they read aloud with expression.  It’s great reading practice!

Have a great weekend!







Valentines Day


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on February 17, 2017

I often feel so lucky to be a first grade teacher.  One of those times is always on Valentines Day.  I wish you could feel the excitement in the room as the children make Valentines for family members, give Valentine cards to their friends and then sit down and read the ones they received.  So many hugs and children running around to say thank you to a friend for a special card.  I hope the pictures can capture the fun of the day.  AND…this year it was also the 100th Day of School on the same day, so we had several activities celebrating 100 and all the ways we can make 100.

Our bear research is also underway.  This week the kids started writing chapters for their book on bears.  We used notes from our research.  “Keep the treasure and throw out the trash” is a phrase we’ve been using to help kids understand how to find and remember the most important parts when reading a non-fiction text.  This week in computer lab, kids used Kid Pix to draw a picture of the bear they are studying.  This project is  part of our Life Science goal of studying animals and how they survive in their habitat.

Hope you have a wonderful winter break from school.


What a week!


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

What a snowy week!  I feel like I barely saw the first graders.  Despite the many snow days and delays, we’ve made time to share the awesome 100 days of school projects coming in.  This has been a wonderful way for your child to get comfortable speaking in front of the whole class, sharing his/her project and how it was made.

Today we took advantage of the snow and went outside to draw a winter picture of the tree that we are studying as it changes throughout the seasons.

Monday will be the 100th day of school and Tuesday is Valentines Day.  Get ready for a lot of celebrating next week.  It’s a fun time of year to be a first grader.  Enjoy your snowy weekend!

100th Day is coming!


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on February 3, 2017

Hello, First Grade families!  Our 100th day of school is quickly approaching and students have brought in things they made with 100 objects.  Each student has a chance to present his/her creation to the class and take questions and comments from the group.  What fun to see each child’s creativity and math thinking at work!  More pictures and presentations will be coming next week.  The timing of this project is perfect, as we just started talking about how numbers are made up of groups of 10’s and 1’s.  We are starting to count dimes and pennies.  And each child is getting more and more comfortable moving around the 100 board, adding and subtracting, and writing numbers.  

We also learned a new game called “Fishing For Tens”.  It’s just like playing “Go Fish”, but with finding pairs that add up to 10.  It would be a great game to play at home to help your child become very comfortable with combinations of 10.  

Here is some more math work from the week.  This was a game we played trying to break apart a number into a variety of different groups.  It helps stretch our thinking and makes us flexible math thinkers.  

Other news:

Report cards are being mailed home today.  If you have any questions or comments, please contact me.  I’d be happy to sit down and go over your child’s report card with you.  It’s such a joy to teach your children every day.  Writing report cards was a great way for me to reflect on your child’s strengths, challenges, and goals; all of which you will see in the comments section.

Our research on Bears in also underway.  Children have come up with research questions about how a bear survives in its habitat.  Then they use 3 sources to find answers to each question.  We’ll take this information to write a research paper and present what we’ve learned to others.  Your children are well on their way to being great readers and writers, and now researchers!  Ask your child which kind of bear he/she is studying.

Next week we will celebrate the 100th Day of School and the following week, Valentines Day.  Your child is welcome to bring in Valentines for each student in the class.  Here is a list of names:

Edgar, Danny, Ava, Mia, Elliot, Wyatt, Sammi, Lily M, Charlotte, Lily A., Justice, Zeb, Jayden, Asees

Have a great weekend!!



First Grade News


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

To honor Martin Luther King this week, our 4th grade buddies came in and helped us make a book about him.  We read books and talked a lot about words we would use to describe this American Hero.  Our buddies helped us come up with some good details.  We also practiced new ways to greet our friends in the morning.  

Sight word notebooks were sent home today.  When sight word sheets come home, encourage your child to add it to this notebook and practice these words at home.  Sight words are words we can not sound out and they are common words we use a lot so we have to memorize them!

We also started our unit on Bears and Habitats.  The children gathered in small groups and told stories of bear sightings.  Then we looked through some interesting bear books and drew pictures of their habitats.

We are writing and reading a lot of non fiction stories these days.  Ask your child about the things he/she is an “expert” about.  We are writing these stories at school now just like real authors of “expert” books.

Happy long weekend!

Happy New Year!


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on January 6, 2017

We eased back into our New Year in first grade by sitting down to paint snow friends.  It was a lot of fun to get out the paint and be creative.  They are now hanging in our classroom and look very pretty.

We also started a unit on reading Jan Brett books for Read Aloud time.  She has so many beautiful winter stories.  This week we read The Mitten.  Children worked with partners to create the characters in the story.  Then we painted, cut them out, labeled them, and created a winter scene for the bulletin board outside our classroom.  Come take a look at it!  It is based on the story.

We have some new math games in the classroom.  They are all reinforcing the math concepts we are working on everyday, adding and subtracting within 10.  By the end of first grade, we hope all first graders know combinations of 10, doubles facts, and +0 and +1 facts.  Here are some kids at work learning our new games.

We started a new unit in writing.  We are now writing non-fiction stories.  Today the kids spent a long time just reading non-fiction texts to become familiar with how they are different from fiction.

We also had a student teacher join our classroom this week.  Harper will be with us from Antioch University on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  We are happy to have her join our class for the next several months.

Have a great weekend!

Happy Holidays!


Posted by Alissa | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on December 23, 2016


We worked so hard this week to finish our books about our families.  After they were done, each child found a partner to read the book to.  We talked about all the ways our families are similar and different.  We have different traditions, holidays, favorite places and foods. Our families look different and believe different things.  But each family is special, loves us and is important to us.  What a great lesson to learn.  Deb helped us wrap the books up into pretty boxes, which you should have seen coming home yesterday with a snowman picture on top.  I hope you love the hard work your child put into making this book for you.  They were so proud carrying them out of school yesterday!  Happy Holidays to you all, see you in the New Year for more learning and fun.




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