Banana Sushi, Writers Workshop, and 1st Grade Time

For cooking time on Wednesday the kinders made delicious banana sushi. A big thank you to Deena and Jenee for planning such creative and fun cooking projects.   During writers workshop this week we worked on learning how to write persuasive letters. We had several lessons that involved learning how to write a polite persuasive letters that clearly stated the problem, and offered a solution. An important life skill! In the afternoon after lunch each day we have our language art centers. Here are some photos of our different centers: 

Listening center

Phonics with our parent volunteer Carla

Guided Reading with Colleen/Katie 

Field Trip: Gulf of the Farallones Visitor Center

We enjoyed a wonderful sunny visit to the Gulf of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center today. We learned all about crabs: their life cycle, how to tell if it’s a boy or girl, what they need to survive, their different body parts…we even held purple shore crabs and had a few lucky volunteers dress up as crabs for some interactive fun. We also enjoyed exploring the beach with a guide, hunting for and learning about sand hoppers and dipping our toes in the bay! Many thanks to our wonderful parent chaperones for making it all possible.

More pictures to come from our photographer Amy Chin, but here are a few to tie you over 🙂



April Curriculum Update

Writers Workshop Unit of Study for the month of April:
We started our new unit of study – Persuasive Writing: Using words to make a change
Here are a few upcoming lessons:

– Words are like magic wands: They can make things happen

– Convincing people: Providing reasons and consequences

– Don’t stop there! Generating more writing for more causes

– Writers reread and fix up their writing – Teaching children how to revise

– Teaching spelling strategies – How to use the word wall

– Learning how to write letters that reach readers

– Studying a mentor text – Using mentor texts for revision ideas

– How can we make our writing better – Choosing the letter we want to mail / publish

Science Unit of Study – Life Cycles – April to June

Unit concepts:
What do we know, what do we wonder, and what do we want to learn about life cycles?
What is a cycle?
What is your life cycle? What is the life cycle of a human?
What is the life cycle of chickens?
What is the life cycle of an insect?

Enduring understandings:
A cycle is circular, always in motion
The caterpillar life cycle
The Frog life cycle

The lady bug life cycle

Essential Questions:
– What is a life cycle?
– What are examples of the life cycles?


Readers Workshop Unit of Study: February to May – Readers pursue their interest in books and other text
Readers will study:

• Genre studies non-fiction, fiction, and fairy tales
• Individual author studies
• Character studies
• Learn how to infer within the text

Phonics Lessons from Pinnell and Fountas for April
These lessons are taught each afternoon during our first grade language arts time. The lessons are taught in a systematic order to support the children in reading and writing through-out the school year.
The topics that will be covered during April are: (although this a rough schedule depending on how the lessons go each week, sometimes we may need more/less time for a certain lesson)

– Recognizing long and short vowel sounds: a, e, i, o, u
– Consolidating knowledge about vowels
– Noticing different parts of a word
– consolidating knowledge about vowels
– learning phonograms – an, are, – at, – ay, and
– making plurals adding – es
– learning about contractions
– adding s and ing
– recognizing common consonant digraphs
– consolidating knowledge about phonograms
– continuing to learning about compound words

Unit of Study for Math – April
During the month of April we will be learning about combinations of ten, addition, and subtraction. The lessons will focus on combinations of 10 and they will include practicing routines, playing games, and solving story problems. The learners will also be learning how to develop different strategies to combine numbers, and solve word problems. Lastly they will work on refining their understanding of addition and subtraction.

Our lessons and activities will cover:
– Introducing 10
– Making 10
– Using the ten-frames
– Combinations of 10
– Solving word problems
– Dot addition
– Subtraction games
– Addition and subtraction story problems


During the month of April we will be learning how to understand the roots of our emotions. We will have several class discussions and mindfulness lessons on learning how to identify the feeling/feelings we are experiencing in our bodies.

The information below is from “The Way of Mindful Education” this is the book that I am using as my guide for our daily mindfulness lessons.

The learning objectives for understanding the roots of our emotions are:
– Learning to feel emotions directly in the body and letting them go
– Emotional regulation and letting go of difficult emotions
– Relaxation techniques and self-control

Disabilities Session

Yesterday we had our final lesson for our unit of study on our Five Senses. This was the special “Disability Session” organized by DeeDee Clarke. DeeDee has been doing this session for the K/1 learners since her daughter Emily Clarke was in my kindergarten class. Emily is now a junior in high school. It was an incredible experience for the children. The learners were divided into three groups and went to each station for 15 minutes. The three stations were:1) Mobility (wheelchair, walker, crutches)

2) Being blind

3) Adapted equipment
We had a wonderful follow-up lesson with the children this morning about what it would feel like to really have a disability that lasted more than 5 minutes.

Here is a description of the stations the children experienced on today: (written by DeeDee)
1) Being in a wheelchair — Demonstrate to your group how to sit in a wheelchair, put on/take off the breaks and steer. Position half the kids in your group at one end and the other half across from them (about 30 feet). Have each student use their arms to push the wheelchair to the other group. Have them put on the breaks, stand up and let the next learner do the same back the other way. They can also experience what it is like to walk with a walker and crutches. Budget your time so that each learner will get a chance to use the wheelchair before the time is up. 
2) Being blind — Talk to your group briefly about what it means to be blind. Show your group how a helper can assist a blind person to walk by holding the blind person under their arm and talking to them as they guide them safely. Pair up students. Blindfold one student and have the second student be his/her helper. Have the helper guide the blindfolded student around the courtyard to a target point. Help them switch blindfolds. Have them switch roles on the way back. Start the next pair. Budget your time so that each learner will get a chance to be the helper as well as the person who is blind. While the kids are waiting for their turn, there will be some books in Braille that they can look at and feel.
3) Adapted Equipment — Lead a short discussion on how sometimes people with a disability use special equipment to help them do things by themselves. First, show them a piece of equipment but don’t tell them what it is used for. Second, have them guess what it may be used for. Third, show them how it is used and then choose one learner to try to use it in front of the group. Adjust as time allows.

Button hook — a person with decreased us of one hand uses this to button his/her shirt

Reacher — someone in a wheelchair may use this to open a cabinet, get something down or put something up high

Sock Donner — someone who can’t bend at the waist from hip surgery or a back injury may use this to put on their sock

Key Holder — someone who can’t use their hands very well can use this key holder to make it easier to open locks

Long handled shoe horn — someone who can bend at the waist from hip surgery or a back injury may use this to help get their shoes on

Medicine holder — someone who can’t remember very well may use this to help them keep track of their medicines

Here is a list of some of the things that the learners shared about our session on what it would be like to have a disability. 

Taxi’s Birthday, Cooking, and Writers Workshop 

This week we celebrated Taxi’s 3rd birthday. The learners had so much fun singing her the Happy Birthday song. Taxi seemed to love the celebration too! Ron also read them the book “If you give a dog a donut.”

After the mini celebration Ron began the process of interviewing each learner about their class play character. He will also come next week for his second round of interviews. 

For cooking the 1st graders made delicious rosemary shortbread.  I highly recommend it. They also made watermelon smoothies. The learners certainly loved both items on the menu this week.

We continued with our writers workshop lessons and this week they centered around thinking of topics that can make our school a better place. 

Our current unit of study is learning how to write opinion pieces. 

Magic Book, Math, and Leprechaun Traps!

This morning we learned all about the letter O. We drew a detailed picture in our magic book. The learners had fun creating a list of words that begin with O.  

During math we have been learning about measurement. Our lesson for today was learning how to measure with different units. 

The Leprechaun Traps are ready! The first graders set-up the traps that all of the learners created with Katie on Tuesday. Hopefully we will catch a leprechaun this year!!! 

Meet Oreo Our new class pet!

Room 10 has a new class pet – a guinea pig named Oreo. The learners were beyond excited to meet her this morning. A big thank you to Mandy for doing all of the research to find us such a lovely guinea pig. She is very calm and loving. I really appreciate all the time and care that Mandy spent on this project. We went through quite a process to name her today and I believe by the end of our class meeting everyone felt good about her new name. Enjoy the photos! 

For cooking time today the learner had a wonderful five senses cooking/science lesson about their sense of taste. Fun was had by all! Thank you Deena and Jenee!

For writers workshop we had a fun lesson about had to add suggestions, warnings, or tips to our how-to books.