Holiday Homework and Notes for the End of Quarter 2

Holiday Homework: Holiday Homework was sent home yesterday (I sent a text to give y’all a heads up to look for the materials and directions). This is not due until 12/16. If you finish earlier, please go ahead and send it in so the students can do a show and tell before we display it in the hallway. This is a fun Mt. Bethel First Grade tradition (even our Walton Cadet, Ester, remembers making her holiday door when she was a first grade student here).

Giving Bags / Staff Luncheon: On Tuesday 12/10 students will be putting together Giving Bags with our TPV’s during the staff luncheon. There are currently 3 items still left on our giving bag list. Please visit our Shutterfly class site to sign up if you wish to send in our last 3 items. Thank you to the TPV’s for coming in to do this meaningful activity. Our character education word this month is KINDNESS and this is certainly a great way for our students to practice showing kindness.

Class Party: Our class party is on Monday 12/16 from 10:15 to 11:00 am. If you wish to sign out your student at the end of the party you may do so. There is a sign up on our Shutterfly class site if you would like to contribute to our supply needs or be a parent volunteer at one of our party centers.

Assessments: I am trying to get assessments completed in a timely manner. We will take our RI (Reading Inventory) and MI (Math Inventory) in the computer lab next week. These are not used for the report card, but used to show growth in the areas of reading and math. I am also working to complete 1 on 1 assessment in reading as well as wrap up social studies and begin our health unit on nutrition. I will do my best to balance out these assessments with some fun but meaningful academic activities.

News and Notes for December 2nd

Jacket Reminder – Please remember to send your child with a coat each day. We will have a fire drill in the morning once. The times of this drill can vary, but sometimes it is early in the morning. We will also be outside at recess MOST days from 10:45 – 11:05. If you look at the weather be sure to find the HOURLY weather forecast as it is much chillier at 10am than it is in the afternoon when the HIGH temperature of the day is forecasted. When the weather is below 40 we will likely be outside for 10 minutes, so please send your child bundled up. I will do my best to get the jackets home to you each day.

Snack – You may send a SMALL (1 or 2 item) snack for your child. This is something that is HEALTHY – please no chocolate or HIGH SUGAR items as we eat snack at 9am each day.

Save the Dates:
Class Winter Party – Monday 12/16 from 10:15 to 11am
Early Release – Thursday 12/19 and Friday 12/20

Math: This week in math we are graphing. I will also be working with students 1 on 1 or in small group to give re-assessments. I like to give re-assessments earlier in December as it is harder to get their best work the closer we get to Winter Break. As re-assessments are completed I will send home a copy to you.

G.O.A.L.: This week in OG we are learning that 1 syllable words that end in Y make the /I/ sound. As an extension today we also looked at 2 syllable words and saw that those made an /E/ sound. Students are only responsible for 1 syllable words this week. Example words: cry, shy, try, spy, why, etc. Our trick words are: ever, every, where, there, walk. I will be making time to assess the reading of trick words this week with those students still working on that goal.

Reading: This week we are studying the features of nonfiction/information books (maps, glossaries, index, caption, label, diagram, etc.). We are reading a book about Thomas Jefferson together, learning to identify the main idea of a chapter and identify 2 details from that chapter. I will finish up reading groups this week and towards the end of the week begin 1 on 1 reading assessment.

Unit Study: This week and next we will study the major contributions and character traits of Thomas Jefferson. Students will learn compare and contrast how their life is similar and different from the life of Thomas Jefferson.

Writing: Students are working on their very own informational/nonfiction chapter book. They are working on their own book, but also working with a partner of their choice to edit and revise their writing. When our books are complete we will work with our book buddies to publish and share our writing!

Wrapping Up Quarter 2: It is hard to believe that there are only 3 weeks until the next break and the end of our 2nd quarter. I try very hard to not have any assessments the week before our Winter Break, as I said before, students historically have not done their best work at that time. So, over the next two weeks we will try to complete our assessments and balance out that hard work with some fun but meaningful learning opportunities.

Thank you for sharing your children with me, they are a joy!

News and Notes for the week of November 18th

Thanksgiving Break: Next week is Thanksgiving Break and there is no school. I hope you enjoy a week full of food and family.

Class Holiday Party: Our class holiday party will be on Monday, December 16th from 10:15 to 11:00. Our Room Parents will be in touch with the details.

Buster the Bus: Tomorrow our first graders will enjoy an informational safety presentation from Buster the Bus. Be sure to ask them all about it tomorrow night!

Math: This week we are extending our knowledge of solving word problems by learning additional strategies and by solving word problems with larger numbers.

Reading: Last week students chose a reading goal. We focused on our reading goal during the meeting of our strategy groups. This week we will have our guided reading groups where we apply the strategies we have learned when reading informational / nonfiction books. We have been reading an informational book about Benjamin Franklin as an anchor text. We have used this book to learn about informational text features, identify the main idea of a chapter and identify details in a chapter.

Writing: This week students are using their writing rubric to self-select a goal. I will work with these goal groups to help them make improvements in the area that they chose. We will work to build the volume of our writing this week as well. Last week

O.G.: This week are trick words are could, should, should, two and too. We took some time to learn about homonyms/homophones/homographs since some of our trick words are homophones. This week we will review previously learned skills and begin to talk about the letter Y and the different sounds that it can make. We will NOT have a final dictation on Friday as we will be having our STEM Day during that time.

1st Annual Veterans Parade Monday

Monday we will celebrate our 1st Annual Mt. Bethel Veteran’s Day Parade! Our specials guests will enjoy a breakfast and musical performance (thank you 2nd grade) before walking the halls behind their military branch flag. The students will line the halls to cheer on our veterans!

Please help your child dress in patriotic colors / attire for our parade. We have made a cute hat and an American flag to wave. If your child has any red, white and blue clothes that would be a terrific extra touch!

Our class wrote letters to be given our veteran guests on Monday. I copied your child’s letter and sent it home yesterday so that you could read their sweet messages. I am thrilled that our school is taking part of this opportunity to honor our veterans.

News and Notes for the week of November 4th

Election Day: This Tuesday is Election Day and there is no school for Cobb County students. The teachers will enjoy an amazing Kaegan Engagement Strategies institute provided to by our foundation!

Coat Season: It is officially coat season! Please be sure to send your child is a warm coat if the temperatures are low in the morning. We go to recess each day around 10:45. Please look at the HOURLY temperature (not the high temperature for the day) as the weather at 10/11am vs. the 3 or 4pm high temperature are quite different. If it is very cold in the morning be especially sure to send a warm coat. It is unlikely that we would have a long fire drill or emergency requiring us to be outside in the early hours, but I would highly suggest sending a coat appropriate for the early morning hours 7 or 8am) just to be safe. If the weather or wind chill is 40 degrees or below, students may go outside for 15 minutes if they are wearing appropriate clothing (per CCSD Cold Weather guidelines).

Class Dojo: I have printed a class dojo report for the past 2 weeks and have placed it in your child’s folder. I have updated the Class Dojo to reflect if they change their card to yellow or red during the day. Hopefully this will keep you better informed as it merges the 2 behavior system that we have in the classroom. I am not able to make personal notes on the dojo points when using my computer but can make notes when using my cell phone (when I have good reception). If you do not see a note of explanation please ask your child.

Sick Students: As the weather changes we often see a lot more students with illnesses in school. The rain and cold weather often keeps us inside and close together, which makes it even easier for us to pass along germs. If your child has a fever, vomiting or diarrhea you must keep them home until their symptoms have gone away for 24 hours WITHOUT MEDICATION. I know that this can be hard, please keep to the 24 hour rule so that we do not have a rash of students out sick this cold/flu season.

Trick Words: If your student is working on reading their Trick Word list an updated flash card set was sent home on either 10/31 or 11/1. Please be sure to look for this list, cut out the flash cards and practice them nightly.

It is hard to believe that Halloween is behind us and that it is already November! I am thankful for each one of your families and for your support this year! Mrs. Bain

News and Notes for the week of October 28th

Foundation Patron Drive: Our annual MBESF patron drive ends this THURSDAY. The foundation provides so many opportunities that enrich your child’s education. The foundation provides our school the opportunity to use the SeeSaw program to share our learning with parents. There is SO MUCH that we do during the school day that, before SeeSaw, could not be easily communicated with parents at home. Now, parents can see video and pictures of our shared learning experiences. On Friday, our Book Buddies came to our room to teach our class how to use SeeSaw with our FOUNDATION FUNDED first grade iPad cart. Students were able to share the writing pieces that they chose to collect in their First Grade portfolio. Without SeeSaw, parents would not see these pieces until the end of the year. With Seesaw, parents are able to see (and some hear) their child’s self-selected best writing piece. Please consider donating to the foundation this week. Your $125 donation truly goes a long way! Our class is currently at 50%, let’s aim for 100%. Click here to donate:

Scarecrow Day: First Grade’s annual tradition is Scarecrow Day, which we will take part on Thursday, October 31st. Please see my previous blog post for details and sign up to help out on the class Shutterfly Page that our amazing room parents have created.

Math: Our class rocked our study of Place Value. This week we move onto our study of addition STRATEGIES. Our goal is to teach students many STRATEGIES this year that can be use with larger numbers and even other math concepts. I encourage the students to see this work as MORE than getting the correct answer, but using a strategy to get the correct answer. In quarter 1 we added numbers up to 10. In quarter 2 we will add numbers up to 20 using our strategies.
Our strategies this quarter will include:
counting on (we can do this hands-on using our OG math blocks)
using a number line
making a ten (5 +5, 6 + 4, 7 + 3, etc.)
doubles (2 + 2, 3 + 3, 4 + 4, 5 + 5, etc.)
doubles plus one (if I know that 2 + 2 = 4, then 2 + 3 = 5)
As we will do at the start of most every week, an assessment will be used to group students so that their math can be tailored to their needs. Most Fridays, the students will be assessed to check their progress. If your child has not mastered the material (YET) we will continue to practice and they will have an opportunity to be assessed closer to the end of the grading period (for Quarter 2 that would be in December). If you wish to have your child practice math at home I strongly suggest using our MobyMax program. Students have personalized math assignments waiting for them (you can find this in the assignments tab) OR they can choose any of the 3 math icons (in the library section). If you would like to better understand MobyMax, please see my previous blog post on MobyMax.

Reading: We will continue our study of nonfiction / informational texts. I will try to get some of these home to you in the book baggie each week. If you are in need of MORE leveled book please use the Reading A to Z / RAZ-Kids online program. Updated username and password cards were sent home last week. I suggest recording the password in the back of your child’s yellow folder on the last page (you will find a recording sheet for your child’s passwords there). I have it on my to-do list this week to update your child’s reading level in this program, so look for that update later this week.

GOAL TIME: This week in our phonics study, students will begin a month-long unit on BLENDS. Blends are 2 sounds that stick together. In this unit we will study blends that come at the beginning and at the end of the word. This week we will study L-blends that come at the beginning of the word: bl, cl, pl, sl. Some example words are: block, black, clock, clip, plan, plus, sled, slug. Words will be 1-syllable and at times will include previously learned skills (for example: the word clock has both the cl beginning blend and review -ck at the end of a word). We will practice these words daily with a variety of activities. We will also continue our study of 5 trick words each week. Though the first grade standard is to READ these trick words, we will extend each by practicing our spelling and writing of these words.

Writing: Students self-selected their best narrative writing from Q1, have shared it wiht you through SeeSaw and have added it to their First Grade Portfolio. We will use our portfolio to collect our best and favorite work this year. Students will be able to take home this amazing collection at the end of the year! This week in writing we will work on our Informational Writing. Last week, students wrote a beginning piece on their own so that I could formulate strategy groups based on their needs. This week they will work with me to select a writing partner. If you would like to help your child in writing you can work with them to write a list of writing ideas for informational writing. You can do this by answering the question… What am I an expert? Children are experts on all sorts of things from sports that they play, activities that they participate in during/after school (clubs, Scouts, dance, etc.), famous people that they know (from history or current times), to animals that they love. If you compile a list with your child please send in the list on a piece of paper or a sticky note and I will help them add it to their Writer’s Workshop folder.

Scarecrow Day

First Grade’s Scarecrow Day is coming up on Thursday, October 31st. Students are invited to dress up as a scarecrow and enjoy some fun scarecrow centers and snack.

Dress Up:
Students are invited to dress up as a scarecrow.
NO OTHER COSTUMES are allowed on this day.
Participation is completely optional.
My advice is always to keep it simple and comfortable for your child, but you are welcome to go all out.
***Please have your child wear tennis shoes as we have PE and recess on Thursday.
**Please send your child to school in his/her costume. We can not change in/out of clothes/costumes during the school day.

Overalls with a plaid shirt
Jeans with a plaid shirt
straw hat

Volunteers Needed:
If you would like to volunteer we need help in a few different areas…

CENTER VOLUNTEERS – parent volunteers are needed to help run the centers (centers are already planned, we promise to make it easy for you to help out)

CENTER PREP – we need parents to help prep the centers ahead of time (I will send home some things that need to be cut out in advance)

SNACK ITEMS: parents are needed to help send in supplies for the snack.

If you are willing to help out in ANY or ALL of these areas please sign up on the class Shutterfly page. If you are not connected our page please email me and I will forward your email to our 2 amazing room parents. I am looking forward to seeing all of the cute, smiling scarecrows on Thursday!

7 Days left to contribute to the Foundation

Dear Parents,
There are only 7 days left to make your annual contribution to our amazing Mt. Bethel Elementary School Foundation. I’m not sure if you saw my posting outside of our classroom during conference week, but I wanted to share some of what your contributions support – things that you may not see easily. One thing you may not see is our WORLD CLASS TEACHER TRAININGS. Truly, these trainings have an impact on your child’s education each day. Very few schools can boast their teachers are all trained in Orton-Gillingham…. let alone trained in O.G. phonics AND math!!! Please consider contributing this year so that these world class trainings can continue.
Mrs. Bain

News and Notes for Quarter 2

MATH: We will be focusing on a new skill each week in math this quarter. We will build up on our prior knowledge from Quarter 1. This quarter we will count to 120, understand place value from 20 to 99, solve word problems to 20, learn addition and subtraction strategies, understand the equals symbol and collect data to make graphs. Students will work with new math partners in quarter 2, use MobyMax on classroom computers, play a math game with our Walton Cadet or Wednesday volunteer, work with Mrs. Bain in small group and have a choice of 9 differentiated math centers. Students will take a PRE-assessment on Monday that will be used to make small groups and lesson plans. On Friday students will take an assessment to check their progress. This week we will build upon our quarter 1 study of place value (up to 20) to learn about place value from 20 to 99! Students will begin by building bigger numbers with our O.G. math blocks (thank you FOUNDATION). Students will then learn to represent those blocks with drawings (draw O.G. blocks). Students will also learn to show a number in different ways (numeral/number, word/written form, number bond, number line, t-chart, tens/ones, drawing, tally marks, pictures, etc.).
*I will include more details on the other areas of quarter 2 math in future posts.

READING: We will be reading INFORMATIONAL / NON-FICTION books in Quarter 2. This 9-week curriculum is divided into three main areas that are called “bends”. BEND 1: Students will first read to become super smart about topics and practice using their comprehension strategies (previewing the text, predicting, noticing the structure of the text and synthesizing information from multiple sources in a text [picture / print / text boxes]). BEND 2: Students will continue their work with comprehension with a focus on VOCABULARY. Students will learn strategies to decode unfamiliar words and understand new vocabulary. They will use their new vocabulary with their partner talks. BEND 3″ Students will build their fluency by studying the draft of reading. Students will re-read texts using a smoother voice and sound like an expert.

BOOK BAGGIES: Please remember to send book baggies back each Monday so that I can send home both non-fiction and fiction books. It is important that your student read these 4 books each night. The first time they read will help them decode unfamiliar words. The next time they read they will build fluency. The following time they read they will build their comprehension. Remember that these texts are “on level” so your student should only be decoding 1 word out of ever 10-20 words (I know this seems “easy” but there is plenty of data to support how practicing reading at this level builds up readers without frustration).

G.O.A.L.: This quarter in “GOAL TIME” students will learn several new O.G. patterns, practice their trick words and learn a few new ELA skills. Students will begin by learning the FLOSS / FLSZ rule. Students will learn that after a SHORT VOWEL in a 1 SYLLABLE word the letter F, L, S and Z are doubled. Examples: puff, hill, mess, jazz (see photo for more examples). Students will also learn to spell these words with nonsense words (chuff, kess, huzz, etc.). After studying the FLOSS/FLSZ rule this week, students will spend the next 4 week studying beginning and ending blends. We will end this quarter studying compound words and when the Y says I (more detail in future posts).

TRICK WORDS: If your student is working towards their goal of reading the Trick Word list please refer to the individual flash cards that were given out during our conference. Choose 5 words to practice each week. Words should be read “in a snap” and should NOT be sounded out. Please also refer to the handout for some fun practice ideas. If your child has already read the trick words list then we will extend in class by practicing our spelling of these words. In case you would like another copy, here is a link to all of the Trick Words that we will study this year: sight words 2018 2019 first grade BAIN

WRITING: We will be writing INFORMATIONAL text in Quarter 2. Each Monday we will review our NARRATIVE WRITING by writing about our weekend in Weekend News. This 9-week curriculum is divided into three main areas that are called “bends” that will take your child from writing informational picture books to creating multiple information chapter books! BEND 1: Students will learn to make informational picture books. Students will learn to re-read their texts and revise them independently. They will learn to use their TEACHING VOICE and how to show it in their writing. Students will begin the important task of looking over their work and the writing checklist to set a GOAL in writing. BEND 2: Students will learn to progress towards writing chapter books. Students will learn to include pictures that teach, use fancy words and other non-fiction text features. BEND 3: Students will learn to write with greater independence. Students will look over their writing and set goals. Students will also learn research skills by studying photographs and asking questions. This bend will also have a focus on writing conventions (punctuation).

MobyMax Math Contest

MobyMax Math Contest: Students have begun using MoxyMax each week during our math workshop. Students are encouraged to use MobyMax at home for a few minutes each night. In an effort to encourage students to use MobyMax during this early release week I have started a MobyMax Math contest just for our class. This contest runs from tonight through Thursday night. Students will enjoy a reward on Friday of being able to choose their own flexible seating ALL DAY on Friday. Students will earn points for solving problems in ANY of the 3 MATH AREAS: Math, Fact Fluency or Numbers.

MobyMax PLACEMENT TESTS: Most areas in MobyMax begin with a PLACEMENT TEST. It is very important that you DO NOT GIVE ANY HELP to your child if he/she completes a placement test at home. Giving help to your child during a placement test will defeat the purpose of MobyMax, which is find learning gaps and fill them. If your child asks you for help duiring a placement test please tell them to take their BEST GUESS and remind them that it is OK not to know, the placement test is trying to figure out what they do not know… YET.

Differentiated Assignments: I have gone in and “assigned” different practice activities for the students based on their report card. I will be adding some more throughout this quarter as we learn new concepts. Some assignments can not be completed before placement tests are completed. I will try to sign out our iPad cart this week so that students can finish placement tests at school.


When your child logs into MobyMax they have some tabs they can click on across the top. The tab on the top left shows the LIBRARY. The three green squares are the math areas for our contest this week.

The next tab shows student ASSIGNMENTS. I have gone in and made assignments for individual students. These are different for each student and are targeted to areas in which your child may need a review or extension of a skill.

The next tab is all about FUN! Students can earn game time for every 20 minutes of practice. They can also see the CERTIFICATES and BADGES that they have earned. You can also click on the last tab to design your own Moby the Whale!


Parents can use their student’s login number to sign in under the PARENT TAB. On the sign in page you will see: AS A STUDENT / AS A TEACHER / AS A PARENT across the top. Your login is the same as your child’s. This can be found in the back of the yellow folder. This will show the number of minutes your child has used MobyMax, give you a pie chart of which subjects they practiced and has a graph to show growth at the bottom of the screen. BE SURE TO CLICK ON THE BROWN ‘MORE’ BUTTON TO SEE EVERY SUBJECT AREA (including Math Facts).

MobyMax will show you a visual graph of which math facts your child has mastered (green) and which facts they are close to mastering (yellow). They also show the total percentage as well as a graph. Once your child has mastered addition they will move on to subtraction (then multiplication and division) (there is a tab for each area across the top).

I know that it may take a few minutes of your time to login and get familiar with this program, but I think you will find it well worth your time (as well as your child’s). MobyMax

1 2 3 27