Saturday, August 30, 2008

Getting to know each other

Each day this week we created a hands-on graph to get to know one another and at the same time...had a lot of fun!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


our first birthday of the year!
I first want to say that I have nothing against birthdays...I really don't! It is OK to bring a birthday treat for the can even be sugary. But please be mindful of it's outcome...the kids WILL (I promise) go nuts when there is a special yummy snack times 22! It is best to bring the snack towards the end of lunch or else they will end up getting in trouble with the lunch ladies and they can run off the excitement during recess. You can also bring it at the very END of the day right before they leave to go home. I'm not joking...the kids will be wearing their backpacks ready to go home! The choice is yours. :-)

Busy Books

peeking into PP's busy book!
We have black/white composition books that we lovingly call "busy books." When the children have finished all assigned work and has a few free moments, they can get their busy books out and do WHATEVER they want with long as they keep busy! Many draw, scribble, doodle, etc. but I am pleased to see that a lot of them like to write!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


1st day self-portraits
We are so happy to have 3 friends in our classroom new to Mark Twain...Kobe, Joseph and Haven!

Reading Groups/Jobs

Today I felt brave enough to start our reading groups and job routine! I have not tested all the new kids yet (I have the ending year score from kindergarten). I told the kids the groups change ALL the time...they really do. Levels are constantly changing. I have one group of 3 or 4 kids work with me at the reading table while 5 other groups are working at their assigned jobs in various areas of the room. Jobs are basically centers. I call them jobs or else they will go hog wild! I see every reading group every day (except Fridays) and each group rotates through all 5 jobs daily. At Open House I will explain this routine further if you have any questions. It takes awhile for the kids to internalize how this routine works...they did a great job! I think we are ready to do it again tomorrow!

Can you believe it?

MM lost a tooth!

Treasure Box

Have you heard the news? I hand out "surprise treasure." The kids NEVER know when I will give it out...but I am always looking! I give it out for a different reason almost every day...but not too much! I want the children to be accountable for their actions all the time...not just on Fridays. :-)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tell it to the Prince

I told the kids about Prince today. Kids have a lot of tattles/stories to tell...and I am not always available to hear them! I told them to consider writing down the facts and zipping them into Prince's mouth or just whisper them in his ear. They agreed that it helps to just say what you need to say, get it off your chest and move on! I caught a few doing just that!

Spanish Spider Day!

The spider climber is very exciting for 1st graders because they are on the "big kid" playground now...and that means playing on the The Spider! Unfortunately, too many kids on the spider spells danger. To help with this, one class from each grade level plays on it each day. In 1st grade the day your class has Spanish ancillary is the same day your class can play on the spider. Today was our day! Only one rescue had to be performed...ask your child if you think it may be her. :-)

Fire drills and lost teeth

We had our fire drill today. For once ALL the students felt in their heart it truly was just a drill...there are always a few that will think it is real no matter how many times you assure them it is not! All went well, except a few that followed the wrong class back and were hand delivered by Mrs. Dauber! Oops! :-) The big excitement, Rachel lost her tooth during it all!

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of School

We had a GREAT 1st day! We read several of their favorites, Bono Goes to School...was about a monkey that had all sorts of problems at school, decided to make better choices and earned a star from the teacher at the end of the day. Look for your child's star...everyone earned it! We even read the 1st chapter of our teacher read aloud, The Trumpet of the Swan! We graphed our names according to how many letters were in them, shared what we did over the summer, drew our self-portraits and decorated our helper tags. All in all, the day was a big success...despite our power failure! The kids must be exhausted...

Welcome to my class!

Our Essential Agreements
Welcome to 1st grade! I am thrilled to be teaching your child. The first grade team has planned many fun and exciting lessons for your child. Our main focus is on reading and math, but we will be doing lots of science and social studies as well. At Open House I will explain further and in depth about what we have planned for the year and how we spend our time in the classroom. For now, I want to welcome you to my class and explain a few routines to get you and your child through the first few weeks in my class.

The first few weeks are tricky…we have to go over a lot of routines new to your child! This week we will start every morning with a fun activity sheet to help establish the routine of putting away their backpack, lunches, folders, information sheets, etc. and then getting straight to their desk to start their assignment. This will help them internalize our morning routine. Starting next week the children will be writing in their journals until 8:30. Soon, I will be soliciting for volunteers to stay during journal time each day so that I may work with small groups…so look at your schedules and consider helping out (we won’t start volunteers until be have Open house). Children LOVE to have their moms (dads and grandparents, too!) help out in the classroom…hint, hint!

We will be starting our spelling program next week. Every Monday the children will be given a list of 10 spelling words…6 spelling words and 4 sight words. There will be a spelling test every Friday. I will also include several more challenging bonus words from current social studies, science. PYP lessons for those that are interested. J We will have daily lessons concentrating on these words as well as daily spelling homework. All homework will be due on Friday.

This year the state of Texas has adopted a new math program (Envision/Investigations) which will be new to everyone. It is very organized, thoughtful and many games are included. I have to admit that it
seems a bit simple in the beginning but picks up later. I will use this time to introduce all the routines we use in math as well as incorporate the other math program Mark Twain purchases in addition to the required program. I’ve used Chicago Everyday Math program for 7 years in 2nd grade and one year in 1st grade as I know it will prepare the kids for next year. Everyday Math homework is called “Home Links” and go right along with what we learn each day in class. Home Links also include weekly letters to the parents and answers for the homework for the following week…keep an eye out for it! Keep these as a reference tool…I know you will find these very interesting and helpful when working with your child at home. Home Links are sent home in the yellow homework folder and due the next day. They will be checked for completion.

A homework packet will be sent home in a yellow folder every Monday to give you an idea of what to expect each week. The routine will be similar every week. I am asking that your child (not parent) commit to reading at least 15 minutes each night (Mon. - Thurs.). A reading log will be sent home to list book titles read and a parent signature. Homework folders are due on Friday.

A red folder will be sent home on Tuesdays. It will have notes from the office about events around school, important dates/information, and ALL (except work I decided to display) of the work done in class the previous week. Please go over all work with your child. They are proud of their hard work and are eager to share their knowledge with you as you become more familiar with what is learned in class and how well he/she is doing.

The bell rings at 7:50 and class begins right away. Every child should be on time in the mornings. If not, a tardy slip from the office is needed to enter class. Mrs. Dauber is very strict about this and HISD policy reduces conduct grade one level for every 7 tardies on their report card.  If your child is sick and misses school, a note needs to be brought to me when he/she returns.

*** Please fill out all paperwork in the big manila envelope ASAP. The office really needs the information quickly and will hound me DAILY for it…hint, hint. J

Also, an eraser would be very helpful to have for each child but they were not included in the school supply for 1st grade. Pencil erasers just don’t work so great. White Magic Rub erasers cost 50 cents at the school store. I believe they are open every day before school.

I update our blog daily. The kids, parents, grandparents, etc. LOVE the constant and updated information about our class. Be sure to sign the media release enclosed in the manila envelope so I can include your child in this exciting experience! If you are not wanting your child involved in this project, please let me know in writing immediately. Much of what you see will be information concerning what was done in class each day, class work, quotes from the children, upcoming event information, etc. If you need a better idea of what I am talking about…visit and decide for yourself. Currently, it has a few virtual show and tell photos from last year’s class and their summer activities. Scroll a little further and you will see our last PYP planner on How We Share the Planet and the end of our year together. Look for a new look...soon!

I look forward to getting to know your children! I am confident that we will have a successful year! Please plan for a babysitter and attend Open House on Tuesday, September 9th so that I may explain how my classroom works in more detail and give you the opportunity to ask questions. Please know that I am very open to answering your questions and listening to your comments/concerns. I have time during my ancillary time at 1:10pm (except Thursdays), before school at 7:30am, and after school at 3:15pm to have parent conferences. I am ALWAYS available through email and it will be checked several times each day. My email address at school is Please do not hesitate to contact me.

WOW…that’s a lot of information. I look forward to getting to know everyone and sharing my class with you!

Thank you in advance for your support,

PS... The weather is very hot. We have a daily 30 minute recess after lunch. Children are permitted to bring a water bottle to take outside.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Shift Happens...

- Watch more free videos

I went to a IB conference this week. I really enjoyed talking with other IB teachers in our feeder pattern and learned a bit about what is going on at other PYP campuses, Lanier and Lamar. I thought I'd share the AMAZING (and frightening) video that was shown to us...something to think about!