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Monday, December 10, 2012

Good Morning, 

Last week we read several Patricia Pollaco books.  We continued working on writing summaries using the beginning, middle and end.  This will be an ongoing task throughout this year.Two more weeks to go before our winter break.  

I need your help please.  I would like to create a portfolio that is easier for parents to store.  If you would send a 3 ring binder to school, I  will organize your child's writing for the year. The binders should be 2.5 or 3  inches wide. The binders should also have a clear pocket on the front for the students to slip in a title page. (Most binders have a clear cover.)

This week we will being introducing varied holiday traditions and customs including Hanukah, Christmas, and Kwanza.  Share with your children your traditions.  This week, our first Grade Team will be rotating rooms to learn about different holiday traditions.  In our room, I will be reading The Polar Express  to classes and discussing its importance to the spirit of the holiday. 

This week our class will be collecting can and perishable goods to donate.  First grade is asked to donate canned fruit and apple sauce.

Mrs. McGarry will be providing more information about our holiday party. 

In science, we will be learning about the properties of soil.  Some fun experiments coming our way.  If you would like to bring a small sample, of a different type of soil, to investigate in a small Ziploc bag please do so.  Thanks

Monday, October 29, 2012

November 2 is Field Day
First Grade's time is 8:15 to 9:45
Our team color is white.  Go Vazao's Vikings!!!

Students will need a sack lunch or they can purchase a sack lunch from the cafeteria.

If you are interested in volunteering to help monitor our class  please email me ASAP at .  Currently, I have one volunteer but would like more.  The more the merrier! 

This Friday, we will have our first mystery reader visit.  

November 1
Best Dressed Turkeys are due!
Remember to dress your turkey so that no one will be able to figure out that it is the Thanksgiving dinner turkey.

Thanksgiving Projects
Friday your child will have a sheet with directions for projects to complete and share. Each child only picks 1 project to complete and share with the class by November 15th.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

This week we will be celebrating Red Ribbon Week. Below is a list of activities/ suggestions for the week:

Please encourage your child to participate in the dress up theme day activities for Red Ribbon Week.  Daily prize drawings for children wearing their red ribbon.  Ribbons and safety pins provided on Monday, Oct 22. 

Monday, Oct 22:  Be the Captain of Your Ship:  All Deck Crew at HCE commits to being drug-free (alcohol, tobacco, and drugs) by accepting and signing the pledge card at school and home with a parent.  Wear RED to celebrate red ribbon week. 

Tuesday, Oct 23:  Bon Voyage:  Move Across Life and Put Drugs to Sea!  Wear crazy socks or shoes.
Wednesday, Oct 24:  Steer Clear of Drugs, "Clutch" on to Education!  Wear your favorite Sports Team Shirt and Enjoy a PEP RALLY from Houston Rocket's Mascot Clutch!
Thursday, Oct 25:  Torpedo Drugs!  Join the fight against drugs and Wear CAMO!

Friday, Oct 26:  Make Headway:  Wear a hat or fun hair accessories to school!  Navigate through life with a clear head, honoring your commitment keep off drugs.

This week is our conferences.  You child will be dismissed at Noon.  If you have a  change in transportation, PLEASE email me before 8:00 am.  I do not always have an opportunity to check email during the day.  To be on the safe side , I encourage all to email the front office as well.  Looking forward to speaking with each of you.  Thanks

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Good Morning,

This week we will begin our study of land forms.  Your child will be creating a flip book to share their learning with you soon.

Just a reminder fall conferences are soon approaching.  Please sign up if you have not done so. Thanks.  Looking forward to speaking with each of you.

In reading we will begin learning about the cognitive reading strategy of mental images: creating pictures in our minds as we read.  Reading is an active thinking process .  During read aloud time,we will begin reading chapter books and picture books ( without the pictures)  in order to create those images in our minds.

Retakes for pictures is Oct. 17, 2012

Your children last week were authors. They created their own version of the classic The Billy Goats Gruff.  Pictures will be posted soon!  I would like to encourage independent writers that spell words on their own.  Some of the writing will be "invented" but that is a productive stage for writers this time of year.  In the classroom, I encourage your children to do four things when they get stuck on a word:

  1. Say it
  2. Clap it
  3. Stretch it
  4. Write it
Your child also has a mini dictionary of words and is able to utilize our word wall as a resource.

In science we will study the effects on heat on matter.  We will perform a neat experiment with ice.

In math, we will continue working on part-part-whole in addition and subtraction by finding the missing part.

We encourage you to please wear pink on Friday. Ana

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hope everyone enjoyed their three day weekend.  Just a few reminders this week: 

If you have not yet signed up for a conference, please do so this week.  

Pictures orders are due Today!!!

The new spelling sort should be in your child's green folder.  Please sort the words with your child. These sorts DO NOT have to be turned in but should be used to manipulate at home as they prepare for our test on Friday.   They completed the sort today in class.

Poetry folders were sent home today.  Please listen to your child's reading and return them dated with a comment .  

This week we will continue working on text to text and text to self connections with fairy tales.  We will compare and contrast different  versions.

If you would like to order books on line through scholastic please click on link below:

There are some great titles to motivate your children :)

Thanks again for all you do to support your children at home.  


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Good Morning!

Let's just say I feel your pain.  This Saturday I spent my time sorting through your sorts of our math adoption.  I am happy to report we have 17 complete class sets of Topic one through twelve.  I will try my best to finish the rest.  :)   If you still have a math text,  please kindly return the sheets this week so that we may begin to incorporate the lessons into our math instruction.  Please sort the pages and fold them.    Again, thanks to all who volunteered their time to complete this tourtious task. Next year, we will have a "sorting party" after school.  :)


This week, we we will begin our study of Arthur books during our read aloud time.  We will continue making text to self connections and introduce text to text connections.  A text to text connection is the ability to actively think while reading by making a reference to a similar text.  Students will use the phrase, "This reminds me of the book ________because______.  Practice at home as you child reads or you read to your child their Arthur books.  Please remember to record your great reading on the yellow sheets sent out Friday.  They will be collected at the end of our reading drive.

Please review your student's progress report and return the form signed.  Thanks

This week as previously discussed, we will begin our formally spelling instruction.  Lists will be adjusted to best meets your child's individual needs.

Home readers will also begin this week.  Your child will select a book on their reading level, read them to you.  Please record their daily reading on the form .   A yellow contract was sent out last week.  Please return the signed form.   If it is a new book, please do a picture walk with your child prior to reading to text.  This will assist your child with meaning.

In science, we will continue our study of matter.  This week we will look at the properties of liquids.  

In social studies, we will begin our study of map skills, including cardinal directions, and bird's eye view.

Thanks again for all your support.  Ana

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's hard to believe that three weeks have flown by.  Open house is this Thursday evening.  Come see what great work we have done so far!

We have officially begun Words Their Way for spelling. Just a reminder spelling lists are individually generated based on your child's spelling needs.   They will/may be adjusted throughout the year to best meet your child's individual needs.  Each Monday your child will be introduced to a new list of words.  I will model how to sort the words based on spelling patterns.  Your child will bring the same sort to practice sorting the words at home.  During reading work stations, your child will have another opportunity to sort the words to reinforce the spelling pattern.  As a I challenge, we will encourage your child to sort the word list their own way, as well.  You will receive a copy of your child's list each Monday to practice. 

This week we will continue teaching your children to properly sort their spelling words into spelling patterns.  Next week we will formally begin spelling tests.  Spelling tests will be administered each Friday as well as the sight word list.  Just a reminder your child will be expected to read the list in random order in less then ten seconds.     

In science, we will continue discussing properties of solids.  

Poetry folders were sent out last Wednesday.  The poems are an effective way to learn high frequency words and increase your child’s reading fluency.  Each week we will read poems in varied ways: normal, whisper voices, patterns, fast and slow etc.  Just ask your children they can model it for you.  J

At home please have your child read the poem tracking their reading with either their “ sharp pointers” (fingers) or reading with their eyes.  Your child may also circle any new word they learned to read.  Thanks for all your support.

Still need parent volunteers to help sort our new math adoption.  Please let me know if you can help.  Thanks to all those who have already volunteered.  Most appreciative.

I need your help. I would like to begin inviting each of you to serve as a mystery reader in our classroom. What is a mystery reader?  A mystery reader is a person who would like to volunteer to come to read to our class during our snack time each Thursday afternoon .  You will provide three clues about yourself and our class will guess the mystery.  Your will select a favorite book to read to our class.  Please let me know if you would like to volunteer in an email at


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dear parents , 

I have several things to share this week.

Thanks so much for taking an active part in your child's education.  It is a true partnership.  

This week is color week.  Your child is encouraged to come to school dressed in the following color order: 

o   Monday- Red
o   Tuesday –Orange
o   Wednesday yellow ( Picture day, may or may not wear yellow. Not my best color. hahaha ) 
o   Thursday- Green
o   Friday- Blue

This Wednesday, September 12 is our picture day.  We will take our pictures at 8:50  a.m. Come with a smile.  

This week we will begin homework.  Your child will be expected to return daily their green folders.  The kids are expected to read 15 to 20 minutes each night as one part of their homework. We will be sending level readers home soon. Please continue to read to and with your child for enjoyment, outside of their assigned reading time.If your child does not complete his work , he/she will be expected to complete assignment during recess. 

Our library day is Wednesday.  Books will be collected each Wednesday morning.
I will be sending out scholastic book orders for you to purchase just right books for your children.

I will share our monthly newsletter via email in order to be green. Be on the look out :)

This week, I will begin our formal guided reading lessons and introduce our spelling sorts procedures.  Next week, we will begin sending sorts home to begin our spelling Friday tests.

We will begin our math workshop approach to teaching math.  Your children will interactivity participate in math tubs reinforcing concepts learned the previous week.  I will conduct small math groups based on your child's individual needs.  

    Tomorrow, we will conclude our senses study by conducting a nature walk with our I touches by synthesizing the senses learned last week.   

    This week we will begin of our study of solids.  At home you may begin brainstorming objects .  We will perform various experiments this week.

    Please don't hesitate to ask any questions.  I am just an email away.  Ana

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dear Parents,

We are off to a great start.  Hope everyone has had a restful weekend. Thanks to all for such a warm welcome to Hunter's Creek. 

This week we will have our curriculum night for first grade at 6:00 pm.  More details to follow.

In class, we will continue establishing routines and procedures.  We will discuss characteristics of good readers and create a jot list of ideas during our writer's workshop.

In social studies, we will begin our study of citizenship by discussing important members of our school community.

In science, we will study the five senses by participating in several hands on activities.

In class we will continue building our classroom community by incorporating TRIBES activities.   My goal is to fill your child's bucket by catching them doing well.  On Fridays, I will have lunch with children that make good choices through the week.   By now your child has told you about our class mascot, Alfred.  Each day a student will be selected to care for our mascot.  

I invite to follow my blog.  My goal is to try to keep you informed weekly. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Good Afternoon,

I just want to take the opportunity to thank you for this year.  Your children have worked hard and are ready to begin their summer holidays, as well as enter fourth grade.

 I am planning a little end of the year celebration, but I need your help ! We will be having a sundae celebration as a reward for good behavior.  I will purchase the gallons of ice cream if you could please volunteer the extras such as paper bowls, ice cream toppings, spoons, and sprinklers.  Please let me know if you would like to help out.  Greatly appreciated.

We are finishing up loose ends: completing our study of Tall tales, our seven continents flip books and completing our end of the year reading assessments.

Again thank you so much for all your support and kindness the year.  I will miss MDE and your children,  All the best to you.  Ana

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dear Parents,

Celebrate!  The STAAR exam is now behind us.  A big thanks to all of you for you continuous support at home.  I am confident your children shined on our exams.

We will begin a study of Tall Tales this week.

This Friday we will have our annual Field Day.  Please come and cheer on our class.  More details to follow this week.   Our scheduled time is 10:35am to 11:25am. 

Our final animal project is due this Thursday, May 3, 2012.  Your child will present their research to our class. 
We will continue our study of the seven continents. Your children have asked about bringing some artifacts from their many travels.  They are free to do so.

It’s hard to believe that this school year will come to close in a short month.  I need your help.  Our supplies are becoming scarce.  If you could please purchase glue sticks for the next few weeks, I would greatly appreciate.  I will purchase some for this week.  Thanks in advance for your help. 

In the next coming weeks, we will celebrate and learn about India and participate in Junior Achievement lessons.

I am most thankful to all of you for making this year such a success.  I truly appreciate your warm welcome and support. Ana

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dear Parents,

I had to raffle off our crawfish earlier than expected for fear that our last critter would not survive over the weekend. Thank you for your quick email replies.
This week we will review test taking strategies for the STAAR.  Please encourage your child to take their times reading.  Yes, the test is timed, but I want your child to carefully take the test, record their thinking, prove answers and not rush through the exam.  

Please review the following strategies at home:
Source: Strategies that Work pages 244-245

While taking the reading test:
*   Look for and carefully read all directions.
*   Read the title of the page
*   Skim and scan (Notice the genre , the topic, the length)
*   Scan the subheadings to get an idea of where information can be found
*   Identify the genre
*   Review the questions
1.    Read the questions first.  Keep the questions in your mind as you read.
2.    Remind them to fill in the answer right away rather than finish the entire passage.
*   Think about prior knowledge ( Thinking about what you know will help connect new information)
*   Pay close attention to the first paragraph to get the big picture.
*   Re-read the end passage carefully.  It often contains a big idea or conclusion
*   Re-Read to check understanding if something does not make sense
*   Eliminate answers you know to be incorrect
*   Cross out the unreasonable answers-fewer to choose from

This week we will continue our animal research projects. I am extending the due date until after our exams.  More information to come after STAAR.  Thanks for your patience. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter to all!
It is with great sadness and admiration that I forward a message from Mrs. Watson:

From: Watson, Anick
Sent: Friday, April 06, 2012 7:22 AM
To: Woodson, Elizabeth (Beth); Harkey, Linda; Harrington, Alix
Subject: mom

Dear Beth, Alix, Linda,

Mom passed away this morning at 10:40.  She was a very religious person and I think that she would have liked the idea of leaving this earth on Good Friday.  It is hard for those who are left behind, but she is at peace now and not suffering.

My brother from Australia and South Africa will not get here until Monday.  This will be the first time since 1965 that all nine of us will be in the same country.

I am eternally grateful to Duncan and Patti for allowing me to leave my job for a short while to be with my mom and family.  Thank you to all of you for taking on the extra work in my absence.  I am grateful to the staff and parents for all their support.

I will keep you posted.  Please pass on the information to the staff and parents.

Thanks again for all your help.

Please keep Mrs. Watson in your thoughts as her family gathers to celebrate the life of Mrs. Simone .  Thank you.

In math and reading, I will continue reviewing test taking strategies for our STAAR test. 

This week we will continue working on our ecosystem project.  Your children have been busy working in groups researching the plant and animal life of various ecosystems: ocean, grasslands, ponds and lakes, salt marches and forests.  This week they will finalize and present their findings to our class. We will also discuss the importance of food chains .

We will also begin researching an animal of choice. Your child will select an animal, discuss its particular ecosystem, eating habits and some interesting facts.  They will have the choice to present the information using:
§  Google docs ( Presentation)
§  PowerPoint
§  Poster board to present information.

I’m going to once again email the links to learn our states.  They will take a test this Thursday.  Thanks.

This week we will begin our study of the 7 continents.  They will create a book of interesting facts over the next few weeks starting with Africa.  Stay tuned.

Over this past year, your child has completed many projects. I have not returned some of their fabulous work.  Don’t worry--I have been busy collecting all their projects so at the end of the year, they will have a portfolio full of memories of their third grade experience.  This will be part of my end of the year gift to them.   
As always thanks so much for your continuous support.  Ana

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Week of March 26, 2012

Good Morning,

Countdown begins! Just a reminder, our STAAR exam for third grade will be on April 24, 2012 for math and April 25, 2012 for reading.
In preparation for our STAAR exam, I will be planning lessons to meet the individual needs of your children in both math and reading. Spelling homework will be limited so that your children are exposed to the “format of our test”. Children will complete mini reading passages, actively interacting with the text by recording, connections, asking questions, wow moments, inferring, and recording important information on the “sidelines”.

In math we will continue conducting experiments to study the concept of probability. Your child with apply the following vocabulary to varied exercises: less likely, more likely, certainly or impossible by conducting experiments.

In math small groups, I will be reviewing the concepts of subtracting with zeros. It is very important that your child subtract the problem in “order” beginning on the ones side (right side). I have noticed some students understand the steps but are not subtracting in proper order. Also please encourage your child to prove their subtraction calculations by adding the facts as a way to prove their answers. 

Multiplications facts are complete. Your children are now concentrating on division facts. Way to go!!!

I will be emailing you a copy of the United States map and list of states. In the next few weeks, we will take a short quiz on our thirty states. I am going to TRY to enclose the files here. Best bet is to check your email. 

Exciting News! We have 3 iPads and 4 Netbooks in our classroom! This week as a class we will come up with some expectations and a contract for using the devices. That way, our devices will be treated well and will last a long time! That contract should be coming home soon in their homework folders.

Thanks again for your continuous support. Ana

Monday, March 19, 2012

Week of March 19, 2012

Hope everyone had a relaxing Spring Break!  I know I am refreshed and ready to see your lovely children.  They were missed.

I would like to thank each of you for your help last week.  I was so proud of your child’s biography project.  It is evident your children felt the same sense of accomplishment.

This week in reading, we will continue our study of Caldecott Award Winning books.  Your child will write about a time they feared something and about a wonderful memory.  I will be modeling the process.

In small groups, I will continue to work on good reading strategies for our STARR Test.  We will continue working on inferring information from text by incorporating our equation----BK +TC = I (Background knowledge plus text clues equals inferring).  Ask your child. J

As they read this week for their daily twenty minutes, ask your child if they have a question in mind BEFORE they read.  As they read, they may find supporting facts to answer their question.  This is a valuable tool to help prove their answers. This strategy is helpful with both fiction and nonfiction text.  Our goal is to have active thinkers as they read.

In math, we will continue discussing 3-D shapes and the importance of probability.  This week your child will construct their own models using toothpicks and marshmallows. They will apply their understanding of the definition of vertex, face and edge of shape.  At home you may hunt your own shapes and discuss their attributes.

In the next few weeks, we will concentrate on identifying the thirty states for third grade.  A complete list will be sent in their white homework folder. We are getting a new white folder this week! J  This week we will have a pre-test to check our understanding.  Currently in our math station rotation, your child is actively playing games on our active board to test their state knowledge.  Below are some helpful sites to help your child learn the states:
 Sheppard Software  This website has several tutorials and games in order of increasing difficulty!
States Find  a little bit slower paced game that gives you plenty of time to think! 
Name that State!  Choose the name of the state that is pictured.
Statetris  Be's addicting!  Played similarly to the traditional game "Tetris," position the states in their correct location as they are falling.  (It has different levels of difficulty), Have Fun!
Again, thanks so much for your continuous support.