Dear Families,

I wish you all a wonderful weekend.  We are going to our cabin tomorrow afternoon and I am really looking forward to some peace and quiet in the mountains.  Ron and I plan to take a long hike on Saturday afternoon.  
I am really looking forward to sharing next week with your children.  The Santa Lucia procession is one of the highlights of the school year for me.
1.  I sent home the gift exchange information letter with your learner on Monday 12/2.  Please send in the wrapped gifts when they are completed, you do not need to wait until 12/20.  Our gift exchange is Friday 12/20.

2.  The CLC Winter Celebration is Friday 12/20 at 10:30am.  Everyone is invited to attend.  Our class will be starting the show with our annual Swedish Santa Lucia Festival of Lights celebration.   We are asking for a $9.50 donation to cover the cost of the t-shirts, candles, and red ribbon for the girls.  And a $2.00 donation for the boys to cover the cost of the candles.  The girls can keep the outfit after the show.  The girls will also need to wear white tights.   There is an envelope in the classroom to collect donations.

The boys will wear a white button down collared shirt with khaki or dark colored pants.  Please send in your son’s white shirt by Monday 12/16 because we are having a rehearsal on Monday in our costumes. 

3.  Sharing topic for the week of  December 16 –  Bring in something special for any holiday celebration
Monday – Library and Field Trip
We had library time and our FT to the San Carlos Police Station.  I sent out a blog update on Monday evening about our FT.  When we returned from the Police Station we wrote about our experience on our FT reflection papers.   
Tuesday –  Writers Workshop
We had writers workshop and completed our personal narratives.  This has been a very long process that involved multiple steps over the past several weeks.  The learners used graphic organizers to draw pictures and write words about the beginning, middle, and endings of their small moments.  I also met with all of the learners over the past several weeks to complete the final step, learning how to edit their stories.   It was a wonderful learning experience for the learners to write and publish their first book.
Wednesday – letter of the week
On Wednesday we had our letter of the week story.  Our letter for this week was “I.”  The story took place on an imagination island where the four children in the story could make any wish come true that was in their imagination.  Please ask your learner about the story.  They all had a wonderful time drawing their pictures of the letter “I” story.  After recess we had garden time and music.  I sent you a blog update about our garden lesson on creating their own seeds.  For music this week the learners practiced the songs that they sung for you at the Family Holiday Potluck Celebration.
Thursday – Writers Portfolio and our Family Holiday Celebration
 We started the day with writing in our writers portfolios and our writing prompt was – “Some things my family does to get ready for the Holidays are…”  Then after recess we had our very special celebration with all of you.  Thank you for your support!

First Grade Language Arts time

We continued with our guided reading groups this week which includes: small group guided reading instruction, phonics lessons, and writing time.  During our phonics time we have learned how to stretch out the sounds we hear in our words when we are spelling.  So far this year we have learned the following sounds: M, S, F, B, T, C, R, L, D, G, P and the short vowel sound a and o. 
 Math in Room 10
During our number talks we continued to discuss  the different math strategies to use when solving our math equations.  We  had several conversations on what is a “friendly number” and the learners had several “ah”  moments. 
For example I gave them an equation such as  9+11+3 and then one of the learners shared that if your turned the 11 into a friendly number of 10 and add that extra 1 to the 9 you can quickly figure out that it is 20 and then just quickly add 3 to 20 and you get 23.  This might seem a little trivial to an adult but for the children it was quite exciting.  It allowed them to see how to add up larger numbers by turning them into a friendly number.  

We also had several number line math talks.  This is when I make a number line on the whiteboard and I start it at 25, and have it end at 95 and then they have to guess my number.   I put a box on the number line to give them a hint as to what my number might be… During this talk the room is filled with exciting mathematical thinking.  

Here is a list of the current strategies:
finding friendly numbers like 5 or 10
grouping the number which can mean – 4 groups of two can be 2+2+2+2, or it can also be 4X2 
writing a number sentence and then taking it a part to solve the equation
counting on from the highest number such as 25 + 4 you would start at 25 and count on to  26, 27, 28, 29

We also learned about more than, less than, and equals / the same as.