First Grade Connections October 20th, 2016

We hope you have recovered from Pumpkin Festival weekend and are well on your way to preparing for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Can you believe how quickly time is flying? The first graders have found their groove and we are finally running like a well oiled machine (almost).

Our first field trip to Arata's Pumpkin Farm and Hay Maze was great! Thanks to our drivers/chaperones for making it possible. We are looking forward to our Pumpkin Science and Math activities next week and our Halloween assembly, parade and celebration with our 5th grade learning buddies on the 31st.

P.S. We know that candy is everywhere right now but PLEASE do not send any candy to school with your child.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Hanepen, Lesley Stevens and Vienna Klingele

 Here's What We've Been Up To:
 Writing
 Math
 First graders have been having fun with Number Bonds. Number Bonds are another way to think about numbers. We can break numbers into parts to make a whole. For example, we can break 4 into different parts (e.g. 2 and 2) to make the whole, 4.  We have also been solving addition facts and practicing counting strategies: We can count on from the greater number in order to solve a number sentence. We using connecting cubes and number lines to help us.
 Word Study
 Our Word Study program is designed to complement our reading program thus we have been busy looking at initial consonants. The students have been examining stories to find words and pictures that begin with specific letters. They have been brainstorming words and completing word sorts in their new Words Their Way journals that reinforce the sounds.
 Social Studies
 Science
 THE BRAIN:  We are continuing to learn about the brain and how it helps us learn. Did you know that the brain is actually GRAY not PINK? So far we have learned about the prefrontal cortex (Brain Boss), the amygdala (Traffic Cop), and the hippocampus (Memory Keeper). Last week we learned that t he amygdala decides what goes to the "upstairs brain" and what stays in the "downstairs brain." The upstairs brain helps us react "mindfully" by calmly paying attention and making good choices. The downstairs brain is the emergency brain, that helps us react quickly in emergencies, when will either FLIGHT, FLEE, or FREEZE. We learned your hippocampus (Memory Keeper) holds on to information like a filing cabinet. In order for your hippocampus to hold onto information you need to be focused, otherwise, it won't do it's job properly.  We are also learning about the Senses and how our senses help us to keep our Brain Boss running just right so that we can learn and grow. We have been practicing mindful listening, mindful seeing, mindful tasting and mindful smelling. In order to be mindful, we have to really focus on the sense we are using and what we are trying to detect using that sense.   ** In the pictures the students are mindfully watching as they add food coloring to warm water.
 Innovation Lab
 The first graders have been visiting the iLab on Thursday afternoons to create, build and explore with various materials. We have been working hard on expectations and routines in the iLab. In order to make the most of our time there, we have been practicing mindful listening and using our Brain Boss. We are working on being able to clean up and rotate quickly between stations so each student has a chance with each material. We have been noticing a great deal of cooperation and collaboration between peers and groups. Way to go!
 Upcoming Events
Halloween Celebration
Monday, October 31st

We will begin our Halloween Celebration with a  K-8  A ssembly in the gym at  8:30 a.m., followed by a  Costume  Parade across the blacktop and around the field. Parents are welcome to attend. This will be a great opportunity for students to showcase their costumes and for parents to take photos!

All students should come to school in their costumes. Please make sure your child brings a labeled bag to take his/her costume safely home, as well as comfortable clothes to participate in regular school activities after the festivities.

As a reminder, we are a K-8 community and students are asked to wear school appropriate costumes. Please remember to leave weapons and/or other costume props that violate school rules at home.

Field Trips

Our next field trip will be to see the ODC perform the Velveteen Rabbit at the Novellus Theatre in San Francisco in December. More details to follow.

Velveteen Rabit
 Homework
Optional Homework Packages

 Thanks so much to Mike Casterline (Kendal's dad) and Kate Haley (Zackie's mom) for volunteering to be Mystery Readers!