22 Days of School

September is giving way to October up here on our Woody Creek mesa!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Can you believe we’ve only been in school for 22 days (18 in-classroom days plus the assessment week)? We’re on our way to a super successful fun-filled year!


  • Strategies:  What do you do when you get to an unknown word?  Use a strategy!  Your reader has been practicing the strategy of “chunking letters and sounds together” to decode unfamiliar words.  For example, the word alligator can be broken into smaller chunks and sounds: all i gat or.  Phew, but you’re not done yet. All i gat or doesn’t make sense. Now readers have to “think about story” asking themselves what would make sense?  Oh, an alligator can swim underwater for 1 to 24 hours if necessary.  You can see how decoding strategies layer on top of comprehension strategies.  No wonder these kids are tired! 
  • Stamina:  We’re up to 37 minutes of independent literacy time!! Students use this time to read to self, write about reading, and practice word work.  Teachers use this time to meet with small instructional reading groups.  Be sure to check in with your child about their reading groups and ask them to reread their new instructional books to you.
  • Reading Log Homework: This week’s reading log is for the students to complete, yet we still ask that you share in the reading process.  We’ve been focusing on the importance of slowing down and reading the pictures. Often times an author will share the juiciest details in the illustrations.  Authors who are also illustrators such as Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl, and Jane Yolen, to name a few, are excellent examples.
Chunking letters and sounds together
Writing about Reading: Venn diagram comparing Frogs and Toads



  • Your first and second grade writers are busily producing a high volume of personal narrative stories. With so many pieces of work piling up, writers have chosen one story that means a lot to them in order to revise it and make it stronger. In order to revise a story, writers must slow down and reread their work to make sure that it sounds the way that they want it to sound. As they reread their piece, writers are searching for places where they could add details, subtract repetitive or unclear words, and otherwise enhance their future reader’s experience. This revision process takes a lot of work, and all 1-2 writers are proud of the revising techniques that they’ve tried. Be sure to check in with your writer about his or her revision process. You may hear about including ellipses to add suspense, about using exact word choice to draw out a feeling or an experience, or using sound words (onomatopoeia) to add some “juice” to the story.
Using bold words and ellipses as revision tools


  • Your first grade mathematicians are diving deeper into conceptualizing story problems and exploring ways to share how they know.  Be sure to ask your mathematician if they count all, count on, or use known facts to arrive at the answer.  We will begin subtraction on Monday!!
  • Your second grade mathematicians are counting a quantity in more than one way, sharing strategies for solving addition and subtraction problems, and using numbers, pictures, words, and/or notation to represent a solution to a problem. Next week we will be solving comparison story problems with the difference unknown.


  • Thursday, 10/5 – Re-do: School picture day!
  • Thursday, 10/5 – Our second field trip! We are keeping it close to home and will hike up behind the school from 11-2:30 p.m. Please let us know if you can join us.
  • Friday, 10/6 – ACS Back to School BBQ.  Be sure to check the email from Jim regarding what to bring.


  • Thank you to Lisa for joining us for math & music on Wednesday
  • Thank you to Erin for sharing her favorite children’s story on Wednesday
  • Thank you to everyone for helping and supporting the Harvest El Tioga
  • Thank you to Margot and Brooke for the delicious cookies earlier this week


  • UGH!  The Quiet/Safe Place Tool came home in this week’s homework.  However, the icon to label your Quiet/Safe Place is actually the Breathing Tool icon. We’ll send the Quiet/Safe Place icon home on Monday.  Sorry for the mix-up.
Quiet/Safe Place icon
  • The Listening Tool was introduced in our classroom this week. We hear things all the time, but we don’t always listen. In order to listen and to make meaning, we need to use our eyes, hearts, and minds, as well as our ears. The Listening Tool teaches us to listen with our ears, our eyes, and our heart. More information will come home soon.
  • Parent job requests:
    • Set up embroidery hoops with squares of burlap for a future hand-stitching project
    • Thread needles with embroidery thread for the same future hand-stitching project


Enjoy the beautiful fall colors out there.  We’ll see you back at school on Monday!

– Kristina, Casey, and Katie