Our Week in First and Second Grade…

Happy Saturday, everyone!

We’ve had a wonderful week here in 1-2 Land, complete with reading groups, writing partners, math games, the Quiet/Safe Place Tool, fire trucks, and new songs. Here’s a closer look at what we’ve been up to…


  • We’ve finished reading aloud our first chapter book, Lulu and the Brontosaurs, by Judith Viorst.  The main character, a young, strong-willed, impolite, girl who does not like the sound of “no” travels into the forest to fetch herself a pet brontosaurus.  Along this journey she encounters characters that cause her to soften her ways.  Your readers eagerly identified Lulu’s character traits and then looked at themselves, making text to self comparisons.  This is a comprehension skill we will practice in whole group lessons as well as smaller individualized reading groups throughout the year.
  • Stamina:  We’re up to 30 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:  Parents are off-the-hook!  Well, just a little.  This week’s reading log is for the students to complete yet we still ask that you share in the reading process.  We’ve added “re-tell the story in your own words” to the ways in which you read a book.  Challenge your child to close the book and retell a familiar story.
Word Work
Read to Self








  • Your first and second grade writers are busy crafting personal narrative stories. We have learned how to come up with ideas for our stories, how to plan those ideas out across a five-page booklet, how to transfer the words from our minds onto the page, and how to use our pictures to add even more details to our words. Most recently, we have been working on bringing our stories to life by examining things that published authors do in their own books. These “craft moves” can be anything from using bold print to make certain words pop out of your story, to stretching out feelings and emotions so that your reader knows exactly what you’re experiencing, to using labels in diagrams to share more information with your reader than is evident in your words (see example below). These craft moves absolutely serve as inspiration for our own stories, and you should SEE the writing that is coming out of this classroom!


  • Your first grade mathematicians are conceptualizing story problems and playing a host of addition games.  We’re working towards automatically building combinations up to 20.  There are two new math games in this week’s homework for you to play.  Using equations and symbols to represent our thinking, students are practicing looking for groups of numbers rather than always counting all to solve addition problems quickly and accurately.
  • Your second grade mathematicians are counting a quantity in more than one way, using known facts to add four or more numbers, and continuing to work on identifying and recognizing coins and their values. New math games for this week include: Five in a Row (with 4 cards), Do We Have 100?, and How Many Pockets? Be sure to check in with your second grade mathematician to find out more about his or her daily math life!


  • Thursday, 9/28 – School picture day!
  • Thursday, 9/28 – All-School Harvest El Tioga. More info below!
  • Friday, 9/29 – No school. Teacher workday.


  • Thank you to Olivia and Samila for baking delicious muffins to share with our class today
  • Thank you to Lisa for joining us for math on Wednesday
  • Thank you to River for sharing her favorite children’s story on Wednesday and the sunflowers

OTHER CLASSROOM NEWS (There’s a lot this week!):

  • Thank you so much for volunteering your time and/or your culinary skills for next week’s All-School Harvest El Tioga. Here is the updated information:
    • All of the donated food needs to be at school by 9:00AM on 9/28. The soups and chili need to come to school already heated up in a crock-pot. To support everyone’s dietary needs, please make a label with the name of the item and the ingredients. (For example… Zucchini Bread: whole-wheat flour, sugar, eggs, safflower oil, no nuts)
    • Volunteers will set up, serve, and help with cleanup. Weather permitting, lunch will be served on the patio area outside the art room.  Arrive by 11:00 at the latest and leave around 2:00.
    • Please let us know if you have any questions about any of this!
  • We added a new tool to our Toolbox this week: The Quiet/Safe Place Tool. Every child has the need and the right to feel safe. Each of us needs to have somewhere we can go for comfort and safety, or to put some space between ourselves, others, and some of life’s more challenging moments. The Quiet/Safe Place Tool helps guide students to a place (either in themselves, or physically in the classroom or at home) where there is peace, comfort, and security. The signal for this tool is to put your hands gently over your ears like earmuffs and to close your eyes as you remember your quiet/safe place.
    • It can be challenging for kids to visualize an imagined quiet/safe place within themselves. It can help if they already have a spot at home that provides them with quiet and security (a spot in their bedroom, under a table, on Mom’s lap…). Take some time this week to chat with your first or second grader about his or her quiet/safe place… and you may learn a thing or two about your quiet/safe place as well!
  • As you probably have heard by now, Fridays are our official Toy Days. It is important for kids to have the weekly opportunity to bring and enjoy one small toy if they would like to. This is by no means a required thing to do! We have noticed, however, that first and second graders are missing support on the quantity of allowed toys on Fridays. Could you help us out as we build these routines for our school year? We would really appreciate the additional support. Here are our qualifications for Toy Day:
    • Friday is Toy Day
    • One toy may come to school
    • This toy must be small enough to fit in a kid’s shoe box
    • This toy must not have an on/off switch
    • This toy can come out during snack recess, lunch recess, and any available toy time that pops up in our day
  • Would you double-triple check this weekend that your first or second grader has one pair of dedicated inside shoes that live at school? The transition of seasons makes for some muddy playground experiences, which are excellent for outside shoes/boots. We protect the inside of our school by changing into inside shoes after all of our recesses. Thank you!
  • Nicely done on your first week of homework! Book bags and homework folders are in your child’s backpack this afternoon for round two. As a reminder, both the homework folder AND the book bag (with the books that came home!) are due back in school on Wednesday.

Woohoo! That’s our news from the 1-2 learning center! Enjoy your weekend, get a little more rest to try and counteract those nasty germs, and we’ll see you and/or your child back in the classroom on Monday morning!

– Kristina, Casey, and Katie