Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Martino Messenger
First Grade News!

Important Upcoming Dates:

Friday, April 21st: No School - Teacher Comp. Day

Friday, April 28th:  Talent Show - 7:00pm

*** Monday, May 8th:  Field Trip to Denver Botanic Gardens ***
A letter about our field trip came home last week.  
If you haven't signed up for our Field Trip yet, please do so ASAP.

This needs to be done online.  Follow the directions below...

1 - click on this link to go to the district Rev Track payment
2. Click on "Elementary Schools" then "E-L"
3. Find "Gold Rush" and click on it
4.  Click on "Field Trips & Clubs"
6.  Click on "CLICK HERE to register for this class and follow instructions.

Wednesday, May 31st - Field Day!
1st grade will participate in Field Day in the afternoon, starting around noon.  Mark this on your calendars and come and watch the fun, if you can!  We will be looking for parent volunteers to help, if you are available!
**More details will follow soon. 

See below for notes about class placements for next year and how to get the new Gold Rush App!

Classroom Highlights:

Dear Parents,
It's been a while since I've sent you an update, so I apologize for the length of this newsletter, but we've been very busy in first grade!  I can't believe it is April and we have only six more weeks of school!  Wow!  Your children are growing and learning everyday.  Read on to learn about what your child has been up to at school.  

World Class Outcome: Creating meaning strategically in reading and writing.
Reader's Workshop:
Before break we incorporated what we were learning in Social Studies into our Reader's Workshop.  We were learning about Important American Figures and Symbols.  We researched an American Figure of our choice, then used a new website we found called PebbleGo.  The kids took notes, then chose a project - either a book, a poster, or a Sonic Pic, to present and teach their information to the class. We focused on the 4C of Creativity while we did our projects. Everyone did a wonderful job and really enjoyed this project!  You can see their work in our hall and it will come home soon!
Ask your child what it means to be creative.

During Book Club the class prepared and performed some Reader's Theatre plays about some of the Historical Figures we were learning about:  George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Everyone did such a wonderful job!  Thanks to all of our Book Club Moms who helped with this project!  It really paid off and the kids had a great time performing these plays for our class and their Book Buddies! 
Ask your child what play they performed and what they learned about the person their play was about. 

All year we've focused on a variety of comprehension strategies, including making connections, asking questions, and making predictions.  Before Spring Break we started focusing on making inferences and visualizing.  Inferring is the process of connecting what you know - your background knowledge - with clues in the text.  When proficient readers infer, they create a meaning that is not stated explicitly in the text.  We also practiced making mental images in our minds, or visualizing.  We talked about how important it is to "see" the story, poem, or images, creating a movie in our minds. They need to pay attention to this movie and if they discover that it has stopped, or they can't see the movie playing in their mind, they need to go back, find out where the movie stopped, and reread.  As you read with your child, discuss any inferences you make, and the images you see in your mind.  It is important for children to have this modeled for them!

We are also working on the comprehension strategies of determining importance, paraphrasing, summarizing and synthesizing.  These can be tough skills to master for first graders!  In fact, at this level it is really about exposing them to these skills and practicing them together.  We are incorporating what we are learning in Science, with life cycles, to learn about insects and write what we learn in our own words.  We will be taking notes, then turning these notes into summaries about a text we read.  We are also beginning research on an insect of our choice, paraphrasing the information, and creating a project to share what we learn with the class.  The class is excited to do this work!
Ask your child what paraphrasing means. (That is a big word and many of us are still learning!)
Ask your child to paraphrase what they read - tell it to you in their own words!  This works especially well when reading nonfiction.
Practice summarizing stories you read.  Model this for them!  They will get better at this skill with lots of practice and repetition!

Writer's Workshop:
We completed our unit on Information Writing.  I hope you all saw the folder that came home with all of their work from this unit.  The concepts we focused on included:
*Teaching readers about a topic
*Having a beginning that captures the reader’s attention
*Adding facts and details that teach about the topic
*Adding nonfiction text features to help teach readers, such as illustrations,
  labels, maps, charts, or diagrams.
*Thinking about questions our readers would have about our topic
*Using comparisons and examples
*Writing an ending

Everyone did such a great job!  I kept their chapter book and a final piece, one they did independently, as an assessment.  I will send this home at the end of the year.  

We began a new unit on sharing our opinions.  In both reading and writing, students are being critical thinkers and sharing their opinions.  We are discussing the importance of critical thinking when forming opinions and how our thinking is always improving based on others' ideas and new information.  We can use other opinions to make our own opinion stronger, or to change our opinion.  We will be forming opinions about their reading and participating in discussions that allow them to hear and analyze other points of view. 

We are also writing about our opinions. The kids acted as judges and wrote opinions about a personal collection. Soon we will be learning how to disagree politely and write about someone's opinion we disagree with.  Next, we will be taking on the role of reviewers. They will be writing critical reviews about restaurants, toys, movies, etc and supporting their opinions with reasons in order to persuade their readers.
Ask your first grader what an opinion is and which item in their collection was their favorite.  
Ask them to support their opinion with many reasons.

World Class Outcome: Create a process to solve a problem
We are completing another unit focusing on addition and subtraction. First graders are becoming more strategic mathematicians! We focused on how combinations of 10 can help solve problems more efficiently. Students are also learning to solve addition and subtraction problems in different ways. This ultimately enables your child to be a flexible problem solver. 

Soon we will begin a unit on collecting and analyzing data.  We planned this unit to correspond with our Opinion Writing unit.  The kids will be conducting surveys, asking their peers' opinions about a variety of topics.  They will create visual representations to display their data, and will interpret this data, stating what they can learn from it.  This is a fun unit! 

We will then focus on our last addition and subtraction unit.  This unit focuses on numbers, counting and quantity, the composition of numbers, and the operations of addition and subtraction.  Students will encounter situations that provide concrete models for counting by numbers other than 1 (Counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s).  As students solve such problems and think about ways to organize objects so they are easier to count and combine, they begin to make sense of what it means to count by groups.  
Play the math games sent home with your child often, especially the games that help them learn their math facts that equal 10... Tens Go Fish and Make Ten are two of those games.  They should be fluent with these (have them memorized) by the end of the year.
As your child works with numbers, ask them to explain how they got their answer.  When you can explain your answer you understand it at a deeper level.

Social Studies
World Class Outcome: Evaluate how actions impact sustainablility
Before break we did a study of Important American Figures & Symbols.  We incorporated this work into reading, which I explained above.  During Social Studies the kids really enjoyed working in groups to research one of six American Symbols:  The Liberty Bell, Mount Rushmore, The Statue of Liberty, The White House, The Bald Eagle, and the American Flag.  They worked in small groups, gathered facts, and collaborated to create a poster, book, or Sonic Pic about their symbol.  They then used their project to teach the rest of the class about their symbol.  Along the way we discussed the importance of working collaboratively together.  We reflected on our collaborative skills, filling out a rubric on how well we felt we collaborated.  
Ask your child if they remember what they learned about the American Symbol they studied!

World Class Outcome: Analyze the function of a system and the relationship of parts within a system
We completed our study of solids and liquids and began a unit on life cycles, observing the life cycle of plants and insects.  We have some wonderful creatures in our room, which you may have heard about!  Yes, mealworns!  When I first taught this unit I was a little leery about having these in our room, but they really grow on you and are amazing to watch transform!  Don't tell the kids, but they will turn into a pupa, and then an adult beetle!  It will be amazing to watch!  The kids LOVE their mealworms! We are watching them with scientific eyes, observing them, and recording our observations in our field notebooks. 

We also planted seeds and have watched with excitement as the sprouts peeked out of the dirt and began to grow.  We are also recording our observations of our plants and will notice as buds appear, flowers grow and turn into seed pods.  We'll watch as our plants go through their whole life cycle.  

Finally, another insect has just arrived in our room... caterpillars!  Don't tell your child, but we will watch as they turn into butterflies!  We will end our year by releasing our butterflies into the wild.  This is a super fun unit which the kids really enjoy!
Ask your child about their mealworms and plants and what they've noticed about how they are changing.  You can also ask:
"What makes an insect an insect?"
 And soon... "What are the parts of a plant?  What does each part do?"
"Can you tell me the lifecycle of your mealworm?  Your plant?"

Well, that should take us to the end of the year, which is just a short 6 weeks away! Wow!  It will be here before we know it!  

If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read through this, and for all you do to support your child at home!  I feel so blessed to be working with such wonderful families!  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me!

Finally, I've had a few questions about class placements for next year.  Jenny Brown, our principal, asked us to pass on the following information she has shared in her blog. If you have any questions about this, please let us know!  There is also information below about the new Gold Rush App!  This is a wonderful resource for all things GRE!

I will send information about end-of-year activities in May.  Until then, take care!

Stacie Martino 

Class Placement Process

Creating balanced class lists that meet the needs of all students is a difficult endeavor.  This process involves hours of thoughtful dialogue between classroom teachers, administrators, and other staff members.  We take this responsibility very seriously.  Our process for creating class lists is detailed below.

· Teachers identify the social and academic needs of each student.  They refer to existing data and record pertinent information to assist them in their decision-making.

· Teachers meet as grade level teams to form class lists that are balanced.  Balanced classrooms meet each student’s academic, social and emotional needs.  Teachers consider each child’s personality, academic strengths and needs and friendships.  Learning specialists and the specials team also collaborate with classroom teachers to provide feedback.

· Each grade level team types a draft of their class list, which is then submitted to me.  I review each child’s placement and ensure that all parent input has been considered. Classroom teachers approve any additional changes to ensure classes remain balanced. 

· Class lists are finalized in August to reflect the addition of new students.

This process is consistent across grades K-4.  Our 5th grade team collaborates with teachers at Cimarron Middle School to ensure students’ success in 6th grade.

We strongly believe that this detailed and collaborative process creates learning environments that benefit all students.  It is a delicate balance that takes tremendous thought by professionals who know and care about your child.  Please remember that our ultimate goal is always to create balanced classes that promote the success of each child.  Please also know that your child is placed in a classroom for very specific reasons and that our process benefits all students.  Because of the input and thought given by teachers, parents, and administrators, we are reluctant to make changes once this process is complete as moving one child can disrupt the balance of an entire classroom. 

We do value parent input and welcome any insight you wish to share about your child’s strengths, needs and learning style.  We will take into consideration all pertinent information that you share with me on or before FRIDAY, April 28th.  While we welcome your input, we cannot honor specific teacher requests.  Please put your thoughts in writing and address them to me (Jenny Brown).  I will accept either a letter or email (jjbrown@dcsdk12.org).

I cannot express enough how important it is that your thoughts are in writing.  As you can imagine, I receive a great deal of parent input and verbal information is nearly impossible to track.  Further, please direct all of this communication to me, as I am ultimately responsible for reviewing final class lists in July when teachers are not available.

New School App
Gold Rush has a new mobile app!  This is a great tool for getting all things GRE at your finger tips.  Click on the following links to download this app.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Martino Messenger

First Grade News!

Important Upcoming Dates

Monday, February 20th - No School - President's Day

Spring Conferences:  Wed., March 8th & Wed., March 15th
You can sign up beginning Monday, February 20th
Click here to sign up.
Make sure it says Gold Rush under schools, then click "go"
Password is:  Digger

Put on your calendar:  Thursday, March 9th 
Specials Showcase Performance
Click here to see the letter about this performance from our 
Specials Teachers.
Arrive 15 minutes prior to the performance, no sooner, please, 
as there is another performance before ours.

Dear Parents, 
I can't believe it is already February!  The year is flying by!  We've continued to be busy first graders!  I would like to share all of the learning that has been going on in class... and let you know what your child will be working on in the upcoming weeks.  In blue you will find some ideas for you to use to begin a discussion with your child about their learning.  

Classroom Highlights


Before break we enjoyed reading and discussing a Jr. Great Books story, The Elves and the Shoemeaker.  Jr. Great Books provides an opportunity to read wonderful literature while developing comprehension, critical thinking, and oral and written language skills.  I really enjoyed our class discussions and was so impressed by the deep thinking and insights from my group of first graders!  We will be reading and discussing more Jr. Great Books stories soon.  

We are connecting our Information Writing Unit with some work in reading by focusing on nonfiction books.  We've talked about the difference between fiction and nonfiction and began looking at nonfiction text features.  These include things like photographs and illustrations, captions, headings, labels, diagrams and charts. We will be looking at how authors of nonfiction books use these features to teach their readers.  

In Writing we finished our work in our Narrative Writing Unit before break by publishing one of our stories.  I hope you saw the folder that came home with some of your child's writing from this unit.  I included a letter that explains some of the concepts we covered.  

We began our next writing unit on Information Writing, or writing "teaching books."  We've talked about what they could write about.  I told them it should be something they know a lot about or something they love to do, and something they care about - something they are passionate about. Our topics range from How to Take Care of a Dog, to All About Star Wars, or American Girl Dolls.  The kids love sharing their expertise!
During this unit we look closely at various nonfiction books and study the strategies authors use to teach their readers, then try and use these in our own books. 

Concepts we will be focusing on include:
*Writing a book that teaches readers about a topic
*Having a beginning that captures the reader's attention
*Adding facts and details that teach about the topic
*Adding nonfiction text features to help teach readers, such as illustrations, labels, maps, charts, or diagrams.
*Thinking about questions our readers would have about our topic
*Using comparisons and examples to add details
*Writing an ending

The kids love Writer's Workshop!  I often hear, "I love writing!" or "When can we write?"  I love it!

We've also been discussing the need to focus on spelling, conventions, and neatness.  I don't expect first graders to spell all words correctly.  But if a word can be found on our Word Wall, or in a book we are reading, or somewhere in the room... I expect that they use these resources to help them spell words.  The kids each have a "Mini Word Wall" and a "Word Bank Book" where they can find words they might be spelling.  We also do "word work" everyday, focusing on spelling patterns.  We've been working on silent e words and other vowel combinations that make the long vowel sound, such as ai, ay, and oa. Beginning soon we will also do daily editing - checking sentences for corrections on capitals, punctuation, sentence structure, and grammar.  Hopefully all of this work will transfer into their writing! 

When your child is reading nonfiction books at home, point out some of the text features and discuss their purpose... Why did the author choose to put this text feature (map, diagram, labels, chart...) in his/her book?  What does it help teach?  How can you use this in your teaching book?


Last week I was fortunate to be one of three Gold Rush Teachers, along with our administration, to attend a math conference at Stanford University. As you may remember our staff did a book study on Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler in the fall.  The research Jo shared about math is really fascinating!  Click here to see Jo talk about brain research and how important it is to make mistakes. (Click on Four Boosting Messages from Jo and her students.)

Some other research Jo shared that I thought was especially interesting for first graders was what researchers call "Finger Perception" - Here is an excerpt from an article on finger perception: 

In a study published last year, the researchers Ilaria Berteletti and James R. Booth analyzed a specific region of our brain that is dedicated to the perception and representation of fingers known as the somatosensory finger area. Remarkably, brain researchers know that we “see” a representation of our fingers in our brains, even when we do not use fingers in a calculation. The researchers found that when 8-to-13-year-olds were given complex subtraction problems, the somatosensory finger area lit up, even though the students did not use their fingers.  This finger-representation area was, according to their study, also engaged to a greater extent with more complex problems that involved higher numbers and more manipulation. Other researchers have found that the better students’ knowledge of their fingers was in the first grade, the higher they scored on number comparison and estimation in the second grade. Even university students’ finger perception predicted their calculation scores.  (Researchers assess whether children have a good awareness of their fingers by touching the finger of a student—without the student seeing which finger is touched—and asking them to identify which finger it is.)

Neuroscientists often debate why finger knowledge predicts math achievement, but they clearly agree on one thing: That knowledge is critical. As Brian Butterworth, a leading researcher in this area, has written, if students aren’t learning about numbers through thinking about their fingers, numbers “will never have a normal representation in the brain.” 

Isn't that interesting?  I've always told the kids that it is OK for them to count on their fingers.  But there are also some exercises kids can do that do not have good finger perception.  We will work on this in class.  

In our conversations about math we realized that there are always new things we can try  - and we are eager to implement some in our classrooms and talk with our staff about what we learned.  But we also realized that our math program, Investigations, is rooted in research and teaches so many fundamental skills in a way that promotes student success in math.

We will be completing our third unit on addition and subtraction soon. Please continue to play the math games I've sent home.  These are a great way for the kids to learn their basic math facts.  There are also many apps and games for the iPad or other digital devices the kids can use to learn their math facts.

Most of the kids have been completing the Sunshine Math sheets that have been coming home for homework.  I encourage everyone to try these problems!  You may need to help them read the problem... we talk about how important it is to read the problem more than once.  If they are not sure how to solve the problem you can offer some ideas, or even show them how you would figure it out.  Encourage them to do the thinking!  You will notice that this math covers many concepts we haven't yet covered in class.  If they seem too hard for your child, just have them try the ones they can handle.  Remember, this is optional. Have fun with this!    

Our next unit is on measurement.  This will include telling time to the hour and half hour, and an introduction to fractions.    

As your child works on math problems, including the Sunshine Math, talk about different problem solving strategies they can use to figure out the problem, including drawing a picture, acting out the problem, making a chart, or using objects they can manipulate to help them. 


We completed our unit on Rocks and Minerals.  Hopefully you saw your child's "Field Notebook" come home a couple of weeks ago. We started our next science unit on Solids and Liquids by looking at various types of solids and describing their attributes.  After exploring more with solids, we will move on to liquids.  Next month we will begin a unit on life cycles where we will observe the life cycle of meal worms and later, in the spring, butterflies and plants.  

Ask your child if they can tell you the different sizes of rocks we learned about.  Also, where do we see rocks used in the world around us?  Hopefully your child shared the work they brought home in their Geology Field Notebook.

Social Studies:  

We began a unit on American Heroes and Symbols with a discussion about Martin Luther King Jr. We also learned about Rosa Parks and Ruby Bridges.  In February we will learn about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for President's Day.  Our Book Clubs are working on Reader's Theatre plays about these historical figures.  We will also be learning about historical landmarks, such as The Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell, and Mount Rushmore.  They will be working in small groups, using an online research website called Pebble Go to help gather facts about one American Hero or Landmark, then share their information with the class.

Have a discussion about Martin Luther King Jr.  
Ask them to tell you what they know about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  It is fun to see what they think they know before we begin a topic!  


The kids enjoyed meeting the robots Dot and Dash, purchased with Digger Dash funds raised in the fall.  They worked together to "code" or program the robots to light up, make noises, move, and follow a set of instructions.  They loved this and learned the basics of computer programming, working as a team, collaborating, and critical thinking through inquiry.  So awesome!  We will be able to go back to the STEAM lab soon and advance our skills with Dot and Dash!

I've enjoyed sharing some of our learning with you!  I hope you enjoy talking with your child about their work!  

I have a wonderful class and I feel so blessed to share my day with your child! I can't thank you enough for all of your help and support everyday!  My door is always open so please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!  

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Important Upcoming Dates!

Winter Party!
Our Winter Party will be Thursday, December 15th from 8:30 - 9:30.
Thank you, Kaylee Broux, for planning it for us!

**Please have your child bring in a wallet sized picture of themselves 
to be used with one of the crafts at the party.

Please click here to sign up to send in needed supplies... Thank you!

Electronic Progress Reports (EPRs) 
EPRs will be released to parents on Saturday,  December 17th,  through Parent Portal

Winter Break!
No School December 16 - January 2
We will see you on Tuesday, January 3rd!

Dear Parents, 
I can't believe it is already December!  We have been super busy in first grade! It was great to see so many of you at our Thanksgiving Celebration of Learning before our Thanksgiving break.  The kids were so excited to show you some of the ways we've used technology in our classroom!  We just finished our Social Studies project, comparing our Thanksgiving to the First Thanksgiving using a new app we learned called Adobe Spark.  I am working on "approving" their project so it will appear on their Seesaw page.  

A great way to see what we are doing in class is to be sure to sign up on Seesaw so you can see what your child is posting on their page.  Here are the directions for signing up:

In Seesaw your child has his or her own learning journal, and you can get notified when your child adds new items. It's completely private -- only you can see your child's journal outside of class.

Click on https://app.seesaw.me/s/906-354-840 to sign up -- it takes just 30 seconds.

Once you sign up, you can download the Seesaw Parent app for iPhone or Android, or access your child's journal on the web.

**If you have more than one child using Seesaw, or want to add a new class/school year for your child, follow the link in this email, then click 'Sign in' tab at the top. You do not need to create a new account.

Please let me know if you have any problems or questions about signing up!

Here are some highlights about our recent learning in class:

Literacy  World Class Outcome: Create meaning strategically in reading and writing

One overall theme throughout the year in reading is teaching the kids that reading is not just about reading the words.  We also think about the information... Reading is thinking!  I say this to them all of the time!  Listening and reading involve thinking, and nothing matters more than the thinking we do when we read, listen, and view.  

As you may recall, we were working on a comprehension strategy called "Making Connections."  This is when something we read or view reminds us of something in our background knowledge - something we've experienced, or something we've read or seen.  We continued Making Connections as we read nonfiction text.  We can connect what we know (or think we know) about a topic with any new learning.  We've talked about listening to our "inner voice" - the things we are thinking in our mind when reading.  We might hear our inner voice say, "Wow!"  "I didn't know that!"  "I used to think ____, but now I think ___" or "Gross!"   

We are also practicing the comprehension strategy of Asking Questions. Curiosity is at the heart of teaching and learning.  Questions spur curious minds to investigate and open the doors to understanding the world.  As young readers read nonfiction and meet new information, they brim with questions. As we read nonfiction, we practice writing down what we learn and what we wonder.  Sometimes we find the answers to our questions as we read, but sometimes we don't.  We call these "lingering questions."  These questions can spark further research and inquiry.  

**You may have seen the kids sharing their thinking about a book in Seesaw.  

Ask your child to listen to their inner voice and to think out loud, sharing what their inner voice is saying as they read!  
Discuss what you learn and questions you have, then have try and discover the answers together!

Of course, we continue to work on decoding strategies too!  I can't stress how important it is for your child to read every day!  The best way to become a better reader is to read a lot... at least 20 minutes each day!

In writing we've been continuing with our small moment unit, writing stories from our lives.  We discuss how writers use various strategies to help our readers understand our writing.  One strategy we've been practicing is to bring our stories to life - making people talk, move, think, and feel.  We are also trying to tell our stories in "itsy-bitsy steps"  - writing what happened first, then next, then next and using lots of detail.  Next week will look closely at mentor texts and notice things authors do in their writing that we can try in our own writing... things like "pop out words" (bold face words), elipses (...), and onomatopoeia (words that show sound, like "ding" "whoosh" or "clickety clack." We are also focusing on editing our work, correcting spelling and adding punctuation.  We will be finishing up our narrative unit before Christmas, then move on to writing information pieces about topics we are "experts" on.  

**You may have seen the kids sharing one of their books in Seesaw.  

Ask your child to share how they are bringing their stories to life when they write!

Math  World Class Outcome:  Look for and make use of structure:  
    I can see and understand how numbers and shapes are organized 
and put together as parts and wholes.

We just finished our unit on geometry.  This unit focused on two dimensional shapes and the relationships among them.  Our goal was for students to describe shapes according to their attributes (triangles have 3 straight sides and 3 corners), and to understand that shapes can be put together or taken apart to make new shapes. Students were asked to observe, describe, compare, classify, represent, and build with 2-D shapes.  We used what we know about shapes to recognize them in the world and to use geometric vocabulary to describe them. 

**You may have seen the kids describing a shape on Seesaw using an app called Chatterkid.  They found one of the shapes we learned about in our classroom, then made it talk, describing the shape and its attributes.  

Ask your child to find geometric shapes in the world and describe them using our math language!

This week we will begin a new unit on addition and subtraction.  We will be working on developing strategies for adding and subtracting numbers by counting on or back, solving problems that involve adding more that two numbers, and finding many different combinations for the same number.  We will also begin to work with place value as we represent the teen numbers as a group of ten plus a group of ones. 

I am sending a letter about this unit's goals home in your child's Homework Folder.  Please look it over!

You may have read in Jenny's blog about the book study our staff did on a book called Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler.  This is such an interesting book and helps to describe what is important when teaching math.  

Jo Boaler talks about the importance of having a "growth mindset"  - the belief that one can learn more or become smarter if they work hard and persevere.  When people have this growth mindset, they may learn more, learn it more quickly, and view challenges and failures as opportunities to improve their learning and skills.  In contrast, in a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They may learn less than they could or learn at a slower rate, while also shying away from challenges.  

There is a great website called YouCubed where Jo Boaler describes her theories and provides many activities and resourses for teachers, parents, and students.  Here are a couple of videos or articles I thought you might be interested in.  I encourage you to take a look!  

Parents' Beliefs About Math Change Their Children's Achievement:

I often get asked about why schools teach math so differently than we learned math.  Our addition and subtraction unit begins to form the basis for understanding numbers at a deeper level... having good number sense.  When we have good number sense we can take numbers apart and put them back together in new ways to solve problems.  Jo Boaler helps explain it here: 
What is Number Sense?

I thought this was interesting too:

Social Studies  World Class Outcome:  Analyze how patterns emerge over time
We finished up our discussion about the First Thanksgiving and how it compares to Thanksgiving today.  The kids made a presentation on a new app we learned called Adobe Spark, where they explain similarities and differences between their Thanksgiving and the First Thanksgiving.  After Winter Break we will begin a unit on American Heroes and Symbols with a discussion about Martin Luther King Jr., as well as Rosa Parks and Ruby Bridges.  In February we will learn about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for President's Day.

Science  World Class Outcome:  Demonstrate the process of inquiry:  identify a problem, generate questions, and investigate solutions to the problem.
We will be finishing up our unit on rocks called Pebbles, Sand, and Silt.  The kids really love working with the rocks and feel like real scientists!  This unit is designed to introduce concepts in earth science while practicing the process of inquiry. The activities provide experiences that heighten students' awareness of rocks as earth materials and natural resources.  They will come to know rocks by many names and in a variety of sizes. 

Notice rocks around home and ask your child to describe their properties using "rock words" like smooth, rough, shiny, dull, sharp, chalky, light, dark, speckled...

Our next science unit is on Solids and Liquids and will begin after Winter Break.

I've enjoyed sharing some of our learning with you!  I hope you enjoy talking with your child about their work!  

I have a wonderful class and I feel so blessed to share my day with your child! I can't thank you enough for all of your help and support everyday!  I am looking forward to amazing things in 2017!