Thursday, November 16, 2017


Our trip to Soundwaters today was awesome! Thanks to Kaylee's mom for chaperoning. We loved having you!

Here is what we learned about today:

When we got to Soundwaters we met Nick and Tim, our "tour guides" if you will. They showed us around and took us right out to the beach, where we learned about the different kinds of "filter feeders" that might be in the water. We looked for/found and sorted shells from oysters, mussels, clams and snails. The kids were allowed to keep one shell that they found and take it home, which I'm sure you saw today! They loved this activity, and we found out that in Long Island Sound, there are a TON of oysters. In fact, lots of fishermen use LIS to "farm" oysters -- they set cages up and "plant" oysters to grow. Once they are grown they pull them up and sell them to be eaten.

Here are the kiddos finding/sorting shells! Thankfully, it did not rain :) Yay!

Once we were done outside, we went back in the Soundwaters building and talked about plankton. We discussed the different types of plankton, and how Plankton from SpongeBob is actually modeled after a copepod (type of plankton). The kids were given special nets to go out to the water and fish for plankton! We brought the water back into the building, and kids had to look through microscopes to try to find the plankton in the water. This was SUPER cool!

Learning about plankton before catching them!

Getting ready to catch plankton!

Here's Osman, Alan and Nicole checking out what we found...

Catching plankton...

Gabby and Pragya checking out the plankton we caught.

Kaylee, Angelo and Merlyn checking out the plankton!

When we finished checking out the plankton, we had a few minutes left, so we got to do something really cool. The guide, Tim, took out one of their turtles and let her walk around so we could check her out. She is a diamondback terrapin sea turtle, and she's special because they are the only kind of sea turtles you'll really find in Long Island Sound. The kids loved her, and now I want a class pet. 🐢 😂

Shakira (the turtle's name :) walking around so our kids could check her out!

Finally, we went to the touch tank room with Nick. He showed us all of the LIS animals and reviewed the food chain with the kids. He discussed the rules of touching the animals and showed the kids how to pick them up. Finally, the kids got to touch/hold them! 

Brady checking out a sea star.

Alison and Alan looking at the sea stars, some mussels and a clam or two.

Pragya and Bella checking out some hermit crabs! 

Elodie and Kaylee holding the spider crabs.

I wish I had a picture of it, but when we were at the crab tank, Aiden picked up the crab the "wrong" way - he put her in his hand. It was pretty hysterical, because the crab grabbed onto his arm and sleeve and wouldn't let go. :) He had no fear, and thought it was cool, but we had to call Nick over to get her off. She was as wide as his arm! 🦀

All in all, a pretty successful trip! I know the kids had fun because when we got back to work and I mentioned writing about what they learned, they looked at me like I had just asked them to climb Mount Everest. Maybe tomorrow, kiddos. ;-)

Monday, November 13, 2017

BUNCHES of things coming home tomorrow....

Hi Parents! Happy Monday :)

I am sending home LOTS of things tomorrow (Tuesday 11/14) I wanted you to be aware of.

1. Family Traditions Assignment: It's not really a project, but a paper for your child to fill out with your help. Talk to him/her about your nationality - for me, I'm mostly Italian, for example - and then write about one tradition your family has. For me, it's making anisette Christmas cookies with my mom. If you need help understanding this, let me know! On the back of the paper, your child should draw a detailed picture of a family tradition and label the picture. For many families, there are things you do in your house that not everyone does, and it would be nice for your child to be able to explain in detail when he/she presents this assignment!

2. Thanksgiving Feast Signup: I scheduled our Thanksgiving Feast for Weds 11/22, from 11:15-12:15. Please sign up to bring an item! This is going to be a multicultural feast, rather than the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Please send something your child loves! Parents are welcome to join us that day. You will not need to send a lunch for your child as he/she will eat in the classroom. The only food restriction we have in the room is no peanuts/peanut butter.

3. Math Test: I am sending the Unit 2 math test home. The first half of it is the unit test, and the second half is the cumulative test, which is a review of what they have done already. Most of the kids did great. Please make sure to complete the unit reviews that I send home ahead of the test, as this will prepare your child for the same types of questions he/she will see on the test. Note that I also do a review in class the day before!

For those who did not sign up for a report card conference on Sign Up Genius, I'd really appreciate it if you would do that! I am going to print the list and send it home tomorrow, as well. If you need a translator, please let me know! I will have Claudia contact you, but I need to know ahead of time so she can make her schedule.

As we enter the holiday season, believe me, I know things can get really busy. I am going to try my hardest not to overwhelm you with activities/things to do, or to let you know FAR in advance so you have time to prepare. (With the exception of Thanksgiving, which completely snuck up on me! 😘)

Thanks again!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Would anyone happen to be/know a parent/grandma/family member who would volunteer to hem the curtains on my bookshelves?

Doesn't have to be perfect! :)

What's happening is they're long, and the kids are sitting on them (accidentally) during guided reading, and literally pulling the curtains down on top of them. I've gone through 4 curtain rods this year, so I figure it's time to hem them.

I have no sewing skills.

If anyone knows anyone or can do it for me, I would REALLY appreciate it.

Let me know! Thanks!
Friday, November 3, 2017

December Report Card Conferences

Hi Parents!

In order to allow ample time for schedules at work and with the kids, I have put up the report card conference schedule for December. I have many times open. Please sign up as soon as you have a chance, so I can work my schedule around this as well. Thank you!

Here is the link:


It was also emailed to everyone. Thanks again!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Change to More/Less


To end the week, I'm giving a small tutorial on the blog for those who are having trouble understanding Change to More and Change to Less. I mean you guys. The kids mostly get it. 😉

Basically, Change to More and Change to Less are a beginner's way of doing addition and subtraction... a stepping stone, sort of. 

The diagrams are made so that kids can see that the CHANGE, either adding or subtracting a number of things... makes the beginning number into a different ending number. 

We have been working on changing the "Change" diagrams over to addition and subtraction number models. In Pre-K and 1, the kids have to master addition to 5. In 1st, they have to know Addition to 10 fluently, and be able to complete addition to 20 in their heads. Many of them have a great foundation for this!

Here's Elodie and Bella working on solving one of the math word problems I made! 

We will practice addition and subtraction all the time in our class. Something you can work on at home to support this is to pose math problems and have the kids solve them with the correct language. Instead of shouting out the answer, make them say "2 plus 4 equals 6". This gets them used to it orally so they can transfer it to writing the symbols when we do number models (2+4=6). They usually think this is super fun, so I'd do one or two here or there to keep it exciting.

They also need to work on the beginning stages of missing addends. What does that mean? You pose a problem with a missing number, and have them solve it. Example: "Oliver, I have two forks here, but 6 people are eating dinner tonight. How many more forks do we need?" 

These are just some things you can do to practice informally! Hopefully this makes sense... Let me know if you have any questions!

See you on Monday!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Computer Lab!

Here are some computer lab photos! I am trying to get the kids used to using technology as a tool. In order to make 21st Century, "College and Career-Ready" kiddos, we have to conquer the fear of technology. I basically told them they can't break it. Period. I am, however, going to talk to them about how we don't click any websites without adult approval. (I just gave technology professional development to my colleagues on Weds. I am like the tech spokesperson here!)

This is Merlyn playing an ABC order game. This game gives good practice developing hand-eye coordination with the mouse!

Typing Rocket Jr. is fun... basically, the rockets come up from the bottom of the screen, and the kids have to type the letter to make them explode. 

These kids are playing Cup Stack. They have to type the letters to get the cups to stack up, and then to unstack. 

This game is 6 year old GOLD. You know the saying... the $100 toy cannot possibly be better than pots and pans. Give them some plastic solo cups... Trust me. You won't be sorry!

If you have time/availability to do this, putting kids on a computer is a great way to get them started at being tech savvy. One thing to note is that our whole district is going Google based. When kids hit 4/5 grade, they will be required to log into the computers and submit assignments through Google, with their student IDs. It is good to get them going now with the basics of computer operation.

Let me know if you have any questions!

All of these games, PS, are available on
my favorite website :)

Writer's Workshop

Hi everyone! 

So one thing I want to explain a little more about is the writing process. As a kid, you may/may not remember hearing "first draft, final draft, editing, revising"... and the list goes on. I am going to explain a little bit about what we are doing to shed some light on what I'm working on with your kiddos and so you understand their stories a bit more. 

First of all, right now we are working on the Mem Fox literacy unit. Mem Fox is an author who writes several children's books that you would know. Most famous are Koala Lou, Hattie and the Fox, and Night Noises (to name a few). 

We are learning about Personal Narratives during this unit. Mem Fox mostly writes Narratives, but for little kiddos, Personal Narratives are the best place to start. A child is going to be much more able to write a story about something that actually happened to them than something they make up. That's mostly because they are still so worried about their inventive spelling that they lose track of their stories unless they are really familiar with the details! Here is a chart explaining what a personal narrative is. 
Image result for writing process anchor chart

I love personal narratives this year. I mean, LOVE THEM. The kids are storytellers, they just need a creative outlet to tell their stories! We are working on the following "required" elements in their storytelling: 

Now, your child may not be able to do all of these right now. I promise... they will get better and better at it! The dialogue is super hard for them. We are working on adding it in, but only one child has done it so far. Don't worry! They will get there. They're 6. And writing 3 page stories. I'm proud!

During writing, we go through the writing process as follows: 

They have never done this before. Not fully. They have gone through some of the steps, sure... but the end result? Fabulous!

What I do want you to note is this: 

Editing looks different for little kids. DO NOT correct every word. Focus on one thing you think you can help them improve on, and only do that one thing. Trust me. This saves SO. MUCH. frustration.

Publishing at the beginning of the year is going to be all about learning that a computer is a viable option for small children to use to type things. My kiddos and I went to the comp lab today to practice using the keyboard and mouse. We played a typing game to prepare them for using the keyboard! Tomorrow, we will be using the computer to "publish" a cover for our very first stories! 

This is a lot to think about but just know that first grade writing will make them grow leaps and bounds. When they can successfully navigate the writing process on their own, we're setting them up for future success! :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Jogathon... Part 2!

Last Friday, our Jogathon took place from 1:30-2:00 on the field. The kids had 30 mins of jogging/walking on the field, and asked parents and family members to sponsor them. Many thanks to all who sent in donations -- the PTO (teachers included!) members are very grateful for the awesome things that money will go towards for our students.

Here are some jogging photos! I tried to get all of the kids, but (and I am sure you know this...) they move so FAST! :)

This is the only one I have to comment on... we have a 5th grade kid who dressed up as our school mascot, Kota the tiger... and ran around the field chasing the (willing) kids. It was hysterical!

Jogathon... Part 1!

For those of you who didn't get the chance to see the CT Dance pictures from Jogathon, here they are:

But really, their faces? :) HA! I don't think many of them were sure how they felt about this at first.

Sorry for the blurry pictures! I was trying not to get trampled :) 

These two must take dance - together? They knew EXACTLY how to pose at the end of their little performance :) Also, check out Bella's rock star moves over there!

She had the kids making shapes with their bodies.

Kaylee and Nylah, working at getting those dance moves down!

They had a great time, and we want to thank CT Dance for volunteering their time to come in and teach our kids some healthy habits!

Dreambox Contest

Hi parents! 

Dreambox is having a contest, which begins 10/30 and ends on 11/17. The kids have to log time on Dreambox and complete as many math lessons as they can!


I would really like to get them excited about it, and the best way to do that is to create a friendly competition!

Here is a little more about the challenge: 

New to the Math Challenge?
For those of you who are new to the DreamBox Math Challenge, it’s a biannual competition held every spring and fall that attracts thousands of classrooms from all 50 states and across Canada.
Students from everywhere eagerly compete to complete the most DreamBox lessons over the course of several weeks—starting this year on October 30th and ending at 11:59 pm (PT) on November 17th. As usual, there are some fun prizes up for grabs—including DreamBox backpacks, Chromebooks, and more—plus it’s also a great way to get your students excited about math. For complete details on prizes and who’s eligible to compete, read the terms and conditions here.
Be sure to check this blog and your inbox in the coming weeks for more details as we get closer to the kick-off date. We’ll be featuring tips for how to get the most out of your Math Challenge experience, and hosting a live webinar on the first day to set the ground rules and walk you through the basics.
Last spring, the Spartanburg County School District pulled off a hat trick. For the first time in Math Challenge history, teams from one district took three titles—including the Grand Prize in the Small Class Category. Altogether, Spartanburg classrooms completed 6,570 DreamBox lessons. Will they be back to defend their title? And, will your district give them a run for their money? Time will tell. Get registered, and get ready!
Please let me know if you have any questions! Again, from 10/30 - 11/17, math homework is not required, as long as your child is going on and completing a Dreambox lesson (or 2, or 3)!

How IS the homework situation working out? I have not been giving much... Just checking in to see how you're doing. From the looks of it, the kids are doing just fine! I check it every day and it is rarely incorrect. Let me know if you need anything! Please remember to have your child read every day. Practice makes progress! Thanks!