Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ukelele Time

Our class is learning to play the ukelele. We have several ukeleles to use, and would welcome more. Please let me know if you may be interested in donating or purchasing a ukelele

for your child, or for the class.

Tulips, Outside and Inside

We started our tulip project last week. Each first grader planted a tulip bulb, as a service project to beautify our school community.We are also participating in a nationwide project with our tulip planting. We will watch as other schools plant and record the progress of their bulbs as well. For more information about this project see

 We also have been learning about the parts of a bulb, and the structure and function of a bulb.We dissected some bulbs today, to get a clear picture...
Many thanks to Agway for a generous donation of bulbs.
Using the sense of smell.

Finding the bud

A cross section

Recording an observation

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Word Study Groups Begin This Week

What you can do at home:

1.   Each week we will send home some word lists and various header cards.  Have your child cut out the word cards and the different head cards.
2.  There will be directions on the header page that tells you what kinds of sorts the kids can do with their word cards.
a.   For example, they may be able to sort the words by vowel sound, beginning or ending sounds, or beginning and ending blends.  Sometimes students can sort their words in three or more different ways.
3.  Decide upon a way for your child to sort his/her cards.  Put those headers at the top of an open area (he/she will need some room to work).
4.  Let your child sort the word cards.  If he/she makes a mistake, don’t correct it right away.  You’ll have time to do that later.
5.  When your child is finished, go through each column and make sure he/she can pronounce each word and confirm that the word “fits” underneath the header.  This is the time to help them correct any mistakes.
6.  When finished, mix up the cards again and do a different sort if possible.
a.   If you can only do one type of sort, then try something called a “speed sort”.  Time how long it takes them to do the sort and see if he/she can beat the time.  They LOVE this!
7.  It is extremely important that your child can pronounce each word. Keep reviewing this if you find it is a little difficult.  They should know the meanings of the words as well.
8.  We will send home many different word sorts this year.

This is not official homework.  Nothing needs to be turned back into school.  We just thought this would be a fun, more productive, and a more meaningful way of studying spelling words with your child.  The days of copying word five or ten times each is gone.

Please do not hesitate to call or email if you have ANY questions or concerns.

ECO- Insect Museums and Sit Spots

On Thursday, we set off for Harrison field with two goals. We were going to create an insect museum with found objects. Each child would need to show the parts of an insect. Wow! We had some wonderful creations.


Each first grader then found their own "Sit Spot" in the forest. A "Sit Spot" is a place to be calm and quiet. It is a place to listen, watch, small, and feel connected with the natural world. It is a place to feel safe and comfortable. First graders took some time to find just the right "sit spot'. Then, they took out their field notebooks to draw, write, and describe their spot.



A poet hears a chickadee and writes" Big tree, chip, chik, nature, ah, I love, nature."


A Great Pumpkin Visit

Grandpa Kevin Companion, swung by Union School with his Great pumpkin last Wednesday. This year the pumpkin weighed over 900 pounds. Kevin told us that he had been growing a winner at 1400 pounds, but it just split open one day. Many thanks for this visit, and for the pumpkins for the class too!

Fantastic Insect Projects

Each month we will have an "optional" family project to enhance the learning theme. In October students brought in a variety of insect projects to share with their classmates. These projects are designed to encourage conversation, creativity and integration of learning. Our next project will involve our local community!




Sunday, October 13, 2013

Learning About Our Community

Last week, we had a chance to visit the Montpelier Fire Department. We were able to meet some firefighters, explore some vehicles, learn about fire safety, and also see where the firefighters "hang out". Many thanks to Lieutenant Pat, who also showed us how the fire pole is used.Thanks also go  to our chaperones Grandma Joan, Dave, and Bianca.
 Best of all, each first grader received a fire hat of their very own.
Am I scary now? Nooo

The new truck

Everyone gets in the ambulance

The kitchen, and the recliners!

Thanks Montpelier Fire Department, and Chaperones too!
On Wednesday, November 6th, we will visit the Montpelier Police Department. Please let me know if you might like to join us for that visit. Will an entire first grade class fit into the holding cell? I will keep you posted.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Insect Metamorphosis

In the morning, they were first graders, in the afternoon, the change began..
Anything Bug

Paper Wasp




Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

Rainbow Bug





Bug with Mandible


Pink Butterfly
We used authentic assessment, to see how much student's had learned about insects. Did they create 3 body parts? Did they include 6 legs? Did their insect costume include other features and structures of insects?