Monday, May 22, 2017

5-21-17 OOH's AND AAH's

Today our very first butterfly came out of it's chrysalis!  This morning when class began all was quiet in our butterfly habitat.  This little critter must have really liked our camping theme, because by lunch time it made it's appearance. As you can imagine,  it was welcomed into the wonderful world of first grade with a chorus of ooh's and aah's.  We're hoping to see more butterfly friends tomorrow.

Did you hear about our Contraction Surgery last week?  My Firsties donned surgical masks as they joined two words to create a contraction.  They worked carefully to remove unneeded letters before placing a "bandage" (apostrophe) in their place.  Fun was had by all!

As I mentioned, we will be enjoying our camping theme for the final two weeks of school.  This will be a fun way for us to review skills and have some fun with our Firstie Friends.  Science experiments, STEM activities and more are planned.

The kiddos know that the end of the year is near and they are excited!  Some friends are nervous about being in a new grade next year with a different teacher.  A few students have shared that they will be going to a new school, creating sadness about leaving old pals behind and happiness at the thought of adventures that await.  Each child shows these emotions in different ways- changes in eating habits, changes in behavior, some may verbally express their feelings while others may not be able to identify their feelings.  No matter where your child falls in the array of possibilities, please know that keeping your home routine as constant as possible all the way until the end of the school year will help your child, your family at home, and the classroom community cope with the year end.  Some suggestions include:
1.  Even though it is lighter outside longer, keep bedtime constant- do not stretch it out.  Tired children have a harder time following directions, solving problems, and getting along with others.
2.  Keep sending a healthy snack and water bottle to school each day.  
3.  Help your child arrive to school on time.

Thanks so much for your continued support!  It means the world to me!

Monday, May 8, 2017


It is with the utmost sincerity that I say how thankful I am for the outpouring of wonderful notes, treats, flowers, and gifts you gave me last week during Teacher Appreciation Week!  I am overwhelmed by your thoughtfulness and  cannot begin to tell you how much I love working with your children. Thank you a million times over for including me in your child's life this school year.

Have you hear the latest BUZZ?  Has your kiddo told you what came MARCHING in on Friday?  Our tiny visitors are...caterpillars!!  Well, they started out as larvae, really, but by today they are almost all caterpillars.  Those tiny little BUGGERS sure were hungry!  They grew fast!  We will observe them, record their growth, and watch them as they complete their life cycle until they change into butterflies.  Keep checking back for more updates!!

We began a discussion about Cause and Effect today.  Understanding Cause and Effect is a necessary skill when reading a story, as well as when students are working to adjust their behavior and when looking at the Scientific Process.  We will be combining all of these areas as we study Cause and Effect this week.  Today we began with The Great Egg Drop and a story called Dog Breath- ask your child to tell you about the Cause and Effect in both.
                   Cause                                                                    Effect
Drop:      Mrs. Czajka dropped the egg.                             The egg cracked.
               Mrs. Czajka played catch with the egg.              The egg cracked.
book:   Hally Tosis (the dog) had terrible breath.            No one wanted to be by her.
            Hally licked the burglars.                                      The burglars fell over and were                                                                                                        caught.

Students had a substitute in the afternoon today, from after lunch until the end of the day.   We had a heart-to-heart discussion before I left about classroom expectations (our morning had a few bumpy moments) and how these expectations were the same whether I am present in the classroom or not.  I am looking forward to a wonderful note from the substitute tomorrow (I hope, I hope!!!!).

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

5-2-17 What A Day!

Our day began a bit gloomy, as the power outage in the Brookdale neighborhood also interrupted the power here at school during the arrival of students and lasted until about 9:30 am.  This made for some extra excitement as we prepared for our field trip to SciTech without lights!  It's not as easy as it would seem to keep an active group of 1st graders calm, cool, and collected while lunches are collected, bathroom trips are made, attendance is taken, and chaperones are updated.  Thank my lucky stars for our AWESOME chaperones!  These folks were amazing!  Going somewhere new on a field trip is always a bit scary (truth be told!)- will it be fun? organized? clean? worth the money?  age appropriate?  Having THE BEST chaperones today made the day go smoothly.

Students had the opportunity to explore the multitude of hands-on exhibits on three floors of the SciTech museum, ranging in areas from bubbles to space to light to ancient times, to speed and acceleration and everything in between.  Each group also learned about insect characteristics during a demonstration/mini-lesson taught by the SciTech staff.  Students then participated in a series of center activities to reinforce their insect learning.  A good time was had!

Thanks to everyone for their support- from packing disposable lunches, to signing permission slips and paying for the trip, to chaperoning.  I truly appreciate all that you do for your children and for me.  Brookdale is such a great place to learn!

Monday, May 1, 2017

5-1-17 Our Field Trip Is Almost Here!

Our field trip to SciTech is tomorrow, Tuesday, May 2nd.  If your student did not pre-order a sack lunch through the lunchroom please remember:
  • all food items need to be in disposable containers
  • to include a drink
  • have everything in a disposable bag- NO LUNCH BOXES
  • to write your child's name on the lunch bag
Thank you to the many people who volunteered to chaperone.  We had so many people offer to assist that I could not accept everyone's help- this has never happened before!  What an awesome group of parents!  Please make sure that you checked your email to confirm that you are a chaperone.

We can't wait until tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

4-25-17 We are BUZZing About Insects!

1C is learning about insects in our continuing study of nonfiction text features and how to use them as we research as well as how to apply them to our own writing.  Ask your child what an "entomologist" does!  Your child should also be able to tell you a few ways to identify an insect.  We have just started our study of the bee.  By the end of the week I hope that students will see the bee as a helpful friend, rather than a scary foe!

In math we are learning about the attributes of shapes (sides, corners) as well as how to compose shapes from other shapes.  We will be learning about fractions, too (how many equal, smaller parts are inside each shape).  This will be super easy for 1C, as we discuss this each week as part of our Mystery Bag activity.

We are all looking forward to next week's field trip to SciTech.  Don't forget to send in those permission slips.  Thanks to those who already have!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

4-19-17 Welcome to SHARK WEEK in 1C!

We are taking a bite out of nonfiction reading with a week-long study of sharks.  Yesterday we discussed several cool features of sharks that give them the ability to float.  Their well-designed fins, made of cartilage, help in this department.  After careful observation and reading about their specialized fins, we attempted to duplicate shark fins with dough.

Next, students read that sharks have oil-filled livers that aide their ability to float.  We tested this theory with plastic bottles.  One bottle was filled with water and one was filled with oil.  Students predicted what would happen when the bottles were placed in a tub of water.  The oil-filled bottle floated, showing how the shark's liver increased it's buoyancy in water.

Students researched the varying lengths of different kinds of sharks yesterday and used multiple 1 foot lengths of paper to create a line of paper the same length as the shark they researched.  This was a great way to end our measurement unit and to put our measurement skills into action!  While some sharks are only a few feet long, others are 30+ feet long, so this was not an easy task for my kiddos!  Today students used their paper representations to determine which shark was the longest and shortest.  We took this one step farther and students were asked to measure and find something in our school that was longer than their shark, shorter than their shark, and the same size as their shark.  This really helped the kiddos to comprehend the sizes of these amazing creatures as well as to practice lining up endpoints, compare sizes, adding, and working together.  Their excitement was contagious!

Of course we HAD to talk about shark teeth!  Students researched how the shape and size of shark teeth gave us some information about what that particular shark might eat.  Students then created their own replica of a shark's mouth.  CHOMP!

I just can't wait until tomorrow because SHARK WEEK CONTINUES! 

Monday, April 10, 2017

4-10-17 A Morning with Kwame & Randy!

Today was our author visit with Kwame Alexander, poet, educator, and New York Times Bestselling author of 24 books.  But this was an author visit like no other Brookdale has had!  We were singing and moving along with Kwame and Randy Preston, his guitar-playing poet friend, by 9:15 am.  We had so much fun we just couldn't stop the excitement the rest of the day!

Each kiddo did bring home a short homework assignment today.  It is due on or before Thursday.

It's the season for runny noses and we have run out of tissues!  If you have any extra boxes of tissue at home we would greatly appreciate it if you could send a box or two in to school.  Thank you for your generosity.