A Peek at Week 15 & 16

Good evening! I’ll be praying for health and rest and a spirit of gratitude this Thanksgiving week! This has been quite a year so far and I’m so grateful for small bits of normal like being able to come to school each day. Your children are such a blessing to me and are a joy to teach! I look forward to a time when we can have all of you in the building too! We miss seeing parents!  Thank you for closely monitoring your children for symptoms and completing the health screening. We continue to pray for all of you who are in quarantine, sick, or caring for a friend or family member. We look forward to the day when we are all back together!!!!

COLD WEATHER RECESS NOTE: It’s that time of year…The weather is getting colder and winter is on its way!  Please send your kids with warm coats, hats and gloves so that they can have fun playing outside.  We do not stay inside unless temps are extremely cold (below 0).  Thanks!

Dates to Note:

  • Wednesday, November 25-Friday, November 27 – No School – Thanksgiving Break
  • November 30 – No School (K-8) – Teacher work day
  • December 1 – Virtual Expedition Kindergarten
  • December 21-Jan 3 – Christmas Break

BibleThis week we will read the stories of Samuel.  Our focus will be on: God kept his promise to the Israelites even though they were unfaithful and rejected his rule by requesting a king. At God’s direction, Samuel anointed first Saul and later David to be Israel’s first two kings. Saul did not trust or obey God’s commands, and the kingdom was taken from him. 

Math – Our focus will be on addition and subtraction problems that have an unknown partner instead of an unknown total. We’ll be working on story problems and listening for key words to know when we know a total or when we’re being told a partner. First graders continue working on the goal of fluency for addition and subtraction facts within 10. Xtra math is a great and simple tool for your child to get extra practice with fluency. I emailed the login information to you (moms’ email addresses) and will send a paper sheet of info this week. 

PhonicsWe are working on phonetic skills which are tools to help kids know how to decode words in their reading. Skill 1 helps us read CVC words (consonant-vowel-consonant) like b-a-t and CVCC words (like s-a-n-d) and shows kids that those words will always have short vowel sounds. We also continue to work on learning sight words – please keep practicing these at home.

Reading WorkshopOur focus this week is on schema, making connections and how this can understand how characters are feeling and why they are acting certain ways. We’ll be doing a mini-study of the book Balloons over Broadway. We’ll also be exploring non-fiction text features like captions, headings, table of contents, bold words, etc.

Writing Workshop: We continue our work of writing non-fiction books that teach facts about a topic that we are experts on.  We’re working on some ways to tell more about a topic – trying to answer questions that someone else might have, writing twin sentences, and using labels in pictures. 

Social Studies/Science – We continue working on “What is a Citizen?” This week we focus on rules and what makes them fair or unfair. We’ll also be talking about rights and responsibilities and consequences. Our focus the following week will be on whether there are times when it’s ok to break rules. We’ll talk about unfair and unjust laws and learn about some leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. who spoke out about unfair laws. 

Intervention Times

This information was in our beginning of the year packet but I wanted to remind you all that each day, the first grade teachers are supported by additional instructional staff to help us meet the individual needs of our students in reading and math. Your child might mention that he/she is working with Mrs. Henderson, Mrs. Van, Mrs. Rusticus, Mrs. Pifer, or Mrs. Holwerda. We work on individual skills in small groups and this is just one more way we work together to make sure the kids are growing! We are so thankful for our team!

Class Supplies: Now, I am collecting toilet paper tubes for a Christmas craft. Thanks for saving them! We are all set with paper towel tubes!

A Peek at Week 14

Good evening, I’m so grateful to learn that we will be able to continue to meet in person at school. You probably heard the Governor’s announcement that high schools will be moving to virtual learning for the next three weeks but K-8 schools can continue to meet in person. I am so thankful that we can still come to school.  Thank you for closely monitoring your children for symptoms and completing the health screening. We continue to pray for all of you who are in quarantine, sick, or caring for a friend or family member who is sick. We look forward to the day when we are all back together!!!!

Our FOOT FROLIC FRENZY day is TOMORROW!!!!  Please send in your pledge sheets this week.  We are running Monday afternoon.  We will be running during our gym class. Weather permitting, we will be running outside around the track.  Please have your child dress for the weather – layers and good running shoes will be important!. Make sure your child has a water bottle at school since we will not have a water station like in other years. All kids will get a GRCS t-shirt to wear (they can wear it over top of any other shirt they are wearing).  They will also get a special snack that day from the PTO.  If the weather is bad, we will be running in the gym.  Any students at home who will not be at school tomorrow are encouraged to do some running as well. Your shirts and treats will be saved for you!

COLD WEATHER RECESS NOTE  It’s that time of year…The weather is getting colder and winter is on its way!  Please send your kids with warm coats, hats and gloves so that they can have fun playing outside.  We do not stay inside unless temps are extremely cold (below 0).  Thanks!

Bible – This week we will continue reading about the Judges who lead Israel.  Highlights of this unit include: God showed mercy to his covenant-breaking people by sending judges to deliver them. The Israelites returned to a cycle of disobedience after the death of each judge. Ruth, a Moabite, came to Israel with her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth and Boaz shared a selfless love, and Ruth, a foreigner, became an important member of God’s special people. God made Naomi’s bitter and empty life sweet and full again.

Math – Our focus will be on addition and subtraction problems that have an unknown partner instead of an unknown total. We’ll be working on story problems and listening for key words to know when we know a total or when we’re being told a partner. First graders continue working on the goal of fluency for addition and subtraction facts within 10. We will begin using a math app called Xtra math for extra practice with fluency. 

Phonics – We’ll be practicing digraphs this week and how these combinations of letters make a new sound: sh, ch, th, wh, ph. We’ll also be introducing a new list of words that all first graders need to be able to read by sight. So far there are 8 lists of words that your child should know or be learning. We’ll keep practicing at school as well.

Reading Workshop– Our focus this week is on background knowledge and schema and how these things can help us understand what we are reading. We’ll think about these in the context of fiction and non-fiction texts.  We’ll also be exploring non-fiction text features like captions, headings, table of contents, bold words, etc.

Writing Workshop – We continue our work of writing non-fiction books that teach facts about a topic that we are experts on.  The kids are excited about this new unit and have a lot of information to share!

Social Studies/Science – We continue working on “What is a Citizen?” This week we focus on rules and what makes them fair or unfair. We’ll also be talking about rights and responsibilities.

Class Supplies: I’m still collecting paper towel tubes for math. If you have one that is not bent or peeling apart, we’d love to use it. We’re also working on gathering rocks at school. Each child is invited to bring a rock to school over the next few weeks. Rocks should fit into a child’s hand – no bigger!

Dates to Note:

 

  • November 17 – Growing Deeper: Racial Justice (7:00-8:00 pm) ** I highly recommend this event with Julian Newman! 

 

  • Wednesday, November 25-Friday, November 27 – No School – Thanksgiving Break
  • November 30 – No School (K-8) – Teacher work day
  • December 1 – Virtual Expedition Kindergarten
  • December 21-Jan 3 – Christmas Break

 

A Peek at Week 13

Good evening, parents! I’m so grateful for the beautiful weather this weekend and the chance to spend extra time outside. I hope you were able to be outside and relax some too! It hardly felt like November!!! At school this week, we will continue to focus on prayer for our country and leaders. I’ll share this resource once more: https://www.worldvision.org/christian-faith-news-stories/6-ways-pray-country-during-election

Bible – This week we’ll continue reading stories from Joshua as he takes over as the leader of the Israelites. Highlights of this unit include: The victory at Jericho belonged to God, not to Joshua. Rahab and her family were saved for helping the spies. God sent miracles to help the Israelites defeat their enemies. God helped the Israelites conquer the land of Canaan.

Math – This week we’ll be moving on to Unit 3 where we will focus on addition and subtraction problems that have an unknown partner instead of an unknown total. We’ll solve these with math mountains, circle drawings, and equations. First graders are also working on the goal of  fluency for addition and subtraction facts within 10.

Phonics – We’re working on digraphs this week and how these combinations of letters make a new sound: sh, ch, th, wh, ph.

Reading Workshop– This week we’ll begin a unit from the Comprehension Toolkit written by Reading Specialists Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis. Our focus will be on Monitoring Comprehension. This is a really good description of the strategy which I think is helpful for parents to know:

“When readers monitor their comprehension, they keep track of their thinking as they read, listen and view. They notice when the text makes sense to them or when it doesn’t. They distinguish between what the text is about – the events of the narrative – and what it makes them think about. Primary grade kids are always thinking about what they hear, see and read. They are noticing, wondering, making connections, and making judgements all the time. When they monitor their comprehension, they use that awareness to steer their thinking as they enter texts. They expect to interact with the pictures, the features, the words, and the ideas. Although retelling is a necessary skill for young readers, they need to go beyond retelling and merge their thinking with the text to come up with big ideas and underlying themes.

Above all, monitoring comprehension is about engagement. Young learners are more likely to stray from meaning when they are not interested in the content, find the concepts too hards, or don’t have sufficient back ground knowledge to understand it. They stay on track when they talk, draw, and write about their thinking, interaction with the text and with each other to gain understanding.”

Writing Workshop – This week we begin writing non-fiction books that teach others. First graders are experts in so many areas! It’s fun to see all of the things that they know. Thank you in advance for helping your child with the idea sheet that I’ll be sending home Monday – these are so helpful when we encounter “writers’ block” here at school.

Social Studies/Science – This week we start a new unit on “What is a Citizen?” Our first focus topics are on rules: who makes them and why we need them. Next we’ll look at the topic of fairness and whether fair means the same thing for everyone or not.

Class Supplies: I’m collecting paper towel tubes for math. If you have one that is not bent or peeling apart, we’d love to use it. Thanks also for the extra sandwich baggies. We’re all set for a while!

Foot Frolic Frenzy: The Foot Frolic Frenzy is coming soon! Here is a fun video that tells more about the FFF! This important event raises money for  so much of what we do at school. This year’s fundraiser will also help offset additional COVID expenses. Now more than ever, we would love your support. Reach out to grandparents, aunts/uncles, and family friends to help raise money for our school. You can connect over the phone or use the email form below.

Dates to Note:

  • Week of November 16 – Foot Frolic Frenzy (our class will be running their laps during PE class)
  • November 17 – Growing Deeper: Racial Justice (7:00-8:00 pm)
  • Wednesday, November 25-Friday, November 27 – No School – Thanksgiving Break
  • November 30 – No School (K-8) – Teacher work day
  • December 1 – Virtual Expedition Kindergarten
  • December 21-Jan 3 – Christmas Break

 

A Peek at Week 12

As we begin the month of November, I think of Thanksgiving and I think of the upcoming election. I am so thankful for each of you and your precious kids! Thank you for meeting over conference time and for the continued work you do to lead your kids! I am so grateful for 12 weeks of in-person learning! As we look ahead to the election on Tuesday, I’d like to invite you to join our staff in prayer and in spirit. We will be gathering in prayer Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 3:30. Please join us from your home, work, or wherever you find yourself at that time. 

If you are looking for some ideas of how to be in prayer, I will share a link that I am using with my kids this week. 

https://www.worldvision.org/christian-faith-news-stories/6-ways-pray-country-during-election

 

Birthday Treat Update: Food birthday treats are now permitted as long as they come in individually wrapped packages. Please remember that we are a peanut free school and tree nut free classroom! 

Bible – This week we’ll begin reading stories from Joshua as is chosen as the leader of the Israelites. Highlights of this unit include: The victory at Jericho belonged to God, not to Joshua. Rahab and her family were saved for helping the spies. God sent miracles to help the Israelites defeat their enemies. God helped the Israelites conquer the land of Canaan.

Math – We continue working on addition and subtraction facts to solve story problems. This week we will focus on how addition and subtraction are related. We’ll also learn how to write equations in the vertical form. We’ll be done with this unit at the end of the week.

Phonics – We’ll work with reading and spelling a new list of words that first graders should have memorized. These sight words are key words that your child needs to know to keep reading more and more books. Please continue working on the Most Common Words lists. We are currently working on learning the words from list 7.  We’ll also be working on digraphs this week and how these combinations of letters make a new sound: sh, ch, th, wh, ph.

Reading Workshop–  We’ll be doing a mini-book study on Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant. 

Writing – We will be wrapping up our unit on narrative writing and will have a writing celebration this week. 

Social Studies/Science – This week we’ll finish our science unit on Space Systems and will begin a Social Studies unit called “What is a Citizen?”

Class Supplies: I’m collecting paper towel tubes for math. If you have one that is NOT bent or peeling apart, we’d love to use it. Thanks! Also, a box or two of ziplock baggies would be great!

 

Foot Frolic Frenzy: The Foot Frolic Frenzy is coming soon! Here is fun a video that tells more about the FFF! This important event funds so much of what we do at school. This year’s fundraiser will also help offset additional COVID expenses. Now more than ever, we would love your support. Reach out to grandparents, aunts/uncles, and family friends to help raise money for our school. You can connect over the phone or use the email form below.

A “Copy and Paste” Foot Frolic Frenzy Email 🙂

Dear (RECIPIENT),

GRCES is hosting our 11th annual Foot Frolic Frenzy and we would love your help! Though the event will look a bit different than it has in the past, our students and teachers would love your support this year! The Foot Frolic Frenzy is our largest fundraiser and helps fund so many important things including technology, playground equipment, classroom libraries, and, this year, additional COVID19 related expenses. 

Would you be willing to sponsor (INSERT YOUR CHILD’S NAME HERE) this year? To minimize person-to-person contact, the PTO is strongly encouraging online giving at http://www.grcs.org/frenzy  If writing a check is preferred, please make them payable to Grand Rapids Christian Schools with ‘PTO Foot Frolic Frenzy‘ in the memo line and mail them directly to:

GRCES Iroquois 

1050 Iroquois Dr. SE 

Grand Rapids MI 49506

We are so thankful for the love you already show our kids. Pledges for the event are requested by November 16. Please consider supporting our school in this way. You are a blessing to our family and to GRCES!

Thanks!

(INSER YOUR FAMILY’S NAMES HERE)

 

Dates to Note:

  • Week of November 16 – Foot Frolic Frenzy (our class will be running their laps during PE class)
  • November 17 – Growing Deeper: Racial Justice (7:00-8:00 pm)
  • Wednesday, November 25-Friday, November 27 – No School – Thanksgiving Break
  • November 30 – No School (K-8) – Teacher work day
  • December 1 – Virtual Expedition Kindergarten
  • December 21-Jan 3 – Christmas Break