Thursday, June 15, 2017


Hello 1C Families,
Summer is in full swing, and I am hoping that you have had an opportunity to enjoy our summer weather in Chicago. :) Each of us has plans of how we will spend the precious days until that "Back to School" email arrives, however, a non-academic summer can cause students at every grade level to digress two to three months in their academic skills. Half an hour or more set aside each day can help students close learning gaps and perform at higher levels during the upcoming school year. Summer is an ideal time for students to strengthen their academic skills while still having plenty of time left over for summer fun.

Here are some easy (and painless) review activities that your child can work on. Be sure to review the directions for each activity with your child (even if the instructions seem self-explanatory) and review the learning achieved at the end of each session, This is just as valuable as the activity itself!

Print and use this packet compiled by teachers at May Watts School:
Download these FREE math apps to phone or ipad:
First Grade Learning Games
By Kevin Bradford LLC
Reading, spelling, math, fractions, compound words, contractions, and more!
Includes 3 games provided for free, unlock all 12 through a simple in-app purchase.

- Patterns - Learn to identify repeating patterns
- Ordering - Place objects in order based on size, numbers, and letters
- Word Bingo - Help with reading and spelling skills in a fun bingo game
- Compound Words - Combine words to build compound words
- Advanced Counting - Count by 2's, 3's, 4's, 5's, 10's and more
- Add, Subtract, and Advanced Math - Help learn advanced math skills with fun falling fruit
- Contractions - Teach your 1st Grader how to combine words to make contractions
- Spelling - Learn how to spell hundreds of words with helpful voice assistance
- Fractions - Fun way to learn the visual representation of fractions
- Verbs, Nouns, Adjectives - Your child will learn different types of words
- Sight Words - Learn how to spell and recognize important sight words
- Compare Numbers - Advanced math topic that compares numbers to see what is greater or less than

1st Grade Math: Summer Numbers, Counting, Addition

1st Grade Math: Summer Numbers, Counting, Addition

By StudyPad, Inc.

What's New in Version 5.3.9
Introducing a Fun Summer Math Program for K-5: Splash Math now includes a lot of fun math games for your child's summer learning.
- 8 Week Summer Program. Start anytime and halt summer slide
- Starts with an assessment and then provides a weekly plan for the summer
- Set weekly goals as per your child's summer goals
- Helps your child get ready for the next grade and prevent the summer slide
- Provides regular email reports as well as comprehensive reporting dashboard
- A certificate of completion at the end of the program.

Encourage Creative Writing- Buy a plain notebook at the Dollar Store and let your child decorate the cover to make it theirs. Ask your child to write and illustrate a creative paragraph each week. As a parent, you can help by assisting him or her with choosing a "topic" (such as a family vacation, special outing or holiday memory) to write a paragraph about. Students can also benefit from using a thesaurus and changing several common words to more interesting words. This will make their writing more interesting while learning great new words at the same time.
35 Journal writing prompts:
This link offers many interesting prompts.  Your child may prefer to print a photo from an activity he or she participated in during the week to write about (a party he attended, a water balloon fight she enjoyed, a bike ride he went on, etc.).

Try these FREE learning websites:

And of course...
READ, READ, READ every day!
Your child can read to you, to a brother or sister, to a pet, to a stuffed animal, and you can read to your child, too.  Don't forget the fun in alternating pages - you read a page, then your child reads a page.  

Mrs. Czajka

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

5-31-17 TIME FLIES

This week month year has really flown by!  It seems like our beginning of the year Ice Cream Social and Meet & Greet just happened and now it's almost time to say goodbye.  But we still have a few more days as 1C...

 As we began our BOBCAT countdown of fun we have celebrated with many exciting adventures!  We began last week with a variety of Balloon challenges, Outdoor reading & sidewalk chalk, and Bubble experiments galore.  This week we continued the thrills with a day filled with Crafts, and an Athletic adventure- field day, of course!  A great time was had by all!  The week will wrap up with SMALL Toy Day on Thursday -students are invited to bring a small toy (no fidget spinners, please!).

Ask your child about the marble run they created today used sliced pool noodles.  So Much Fun!

Be sure to check backpacks tomorrow and Friday as many important items will be coming home.

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!