1st Grade Learning Zone- Weeks 15-18 2019-20

What can we do to help?
So much!


Hello Families,

This blog post represents weeks 15-18 and marks the midway point of 1st grade. With December being a time of assessment, January acts as a checkpoint for the children’s growth, learning, and development. Upon returning to school I asked the children how they felt about their learning and they all stated that they felt they had grown. They also threw in that their ‘neural pathways’ had deepened 😉 . Their feelings were correct (which feelings always are) as the assessment data reflected forward movement for every child.

First semester progress reports will be sent out the first week of February and I am excited to communicate children’s growth and continued areas of growth with you families.

First Week Back

We spent our first week back from break reviewing all learning since September. The children remembered most everything that they had been exposed to (due to the continuous spiraling and weaving of subject matter across curriculum). The kiddos were very impressed with themselves and so were Gabrielle and I!

A recap of this review and a look at your child’s 1st grade first semester experience is below.

First Semester Review

  • Reading– phonics review, letter sounds, kinesthetic body movements, segmenting, blending, spelling patterns (CVC, consonant blends, digraphs, vowel pairs, & magic e), chunk spelling, decoding strategies, irregular sight words (snap words), featured authors, and words of the week.
  • Writing– printing foundations (formation, placement, sizing, & orientation), narrative story writing elements (writing across pages, using detail, and having a beginning, middle, & ending), simple sentence structure, and parts of speech (subjects, verbs, adjectives & punctuation).
  • Math– counting by 1, 2’s. 5’s, & 10’s to 100, graphing & data collection, number racks, number lines, parts & wholes, adding & subtracting, fact families, story problems, math games, strategies, & tools.
  • Growth Mindsets– persistence, resilience, flexibility, & optimism and the power of YET!
  • Social Emotional Learning– conflict resolution strategies (Meta-Moment), emotional awareness (Mood Meter), calming & self awareness strategies (mindfulness), social awareness (classroom charter, daily interactions, & the Rainbow Rule).
  • Science- brain parts (neurons & dendrites, neural pathways, 4 lobes, amygdala, hippocampus, & cerebellum), blood cells (red, white, & platelets), grams of sugar, rock cycle, crystal formation, and animals in Winter.
  • Project Based & Service Learning– plastic in our landfills and oceans, the Pacific Gyre Garbage Patch, & ways we can make a difference.
  • Geography– the 7 continents and where we live.

Their smiles spoke 1000 words!


The first week back also consisted of big emotions surrounding the Australian fires. The children shared feelings, and asked lots of questions. They were and continue to be processing the information they are hearing at home and at school. We are focusing on the humanitarian aspects of this tragedy and are being conscious about exposure. The kiddos were so moved by the impacts on the people, animals, & environment that they decided that they want to do something as a class & school to help. They have begun making signs, writing books, and composing & singing original songs.

Australia, Fires, & Koalas
Save Me!
Collaboration & a Big Sign
Save the Koala from Fire!
I Am Your Friend!
A mindful note for Australia

The class is working collaboratively with their buddies, student council, and administration to come up with a collective way to raise funds. As more details arise, we will keep you posted and reach out if adult assistance is needed. Thank you for all of your emails supporting our efforts in navigating this powerful & emotional current event, and for believing in this cause.

These kiddos are leading this charge and are unstoppable in their passion to help. Currently, Koala’s seem to be the main focus.

A Recap of Weeks 15-17 (week 18 was our first week review)

Hibernation Party

The big thing in December was of course our Hibernation Party. The excitement was almost uncontainable. The children put their stuffies into the Hibernation Cave and said goodnight for the season. We are already anticipating our Spring Wake-up celebration!

All snuggled in!
Pancakes anyone?
Thanks Nina!
Chelsea was the ‘icicle’ on top!
Thank you Chelsea for making our Hibernation party a musical one!

Testing Our ‘Trash Boat’ Prototype

The other long awaited moment was the testing of the children’s Trash Boat prototype. The day came to put the children’s boat in the water and it was an epic FAIL. Petra in ‘Marketing & Communications’ filmed this experience and you could hear the moans & groans of disappointment. However, immediately following, you could hear the beautiful chatter of problem solving conversations. We went straight to work and the 5th try was an epic SUCCESS; their boat floated. Everybody jumped for joy…even with the rain falling on their heads!

It’s OK…We’ll try again!
Teamwork and Growth Mindsets work every time!

Family Culture Shares

Family Cultures Shares have been a highlight of our classroom experience! We love getting to know our families on deeper level and take time after each share to discuss what we have learned. We ask the children social justice questions like, ‘why are culture shares important?’ and ‘how do they help us in our understanding of people?’. Along with all of this, we also integrate the anti-bias goals which help children develop strong senses of self, familial pride, comfort with others, & abilities to stand up for injustices. There are no words to describe the beauty of these shares and the beauty of this type of learning.

Mmmmm….Italian cookies!
Zoe & Family
It was this big!
Mosi & Family
Dad designed and built our house!
Curren & Family
My Dad’s art book!
Desmond & Family
And we have our own language too! Op!
Autumn & Family


We FaceTimed Sarah and it was magnificent! Oh how we love and miss her!

“Yes kiddos, I cut my hair”. I am working really hard in school and I have lots of homework!

Writing Workshop Publishing Party!

Our Writing Workshop Publication Celebration was a success and we invited the 2nd graders to join us. It was fun watching the 1st graders read their stories to them.

Great stories! Great food! Great company!

Earth Friendly Friday’s

‘Earth Friendly Fridays’ have become a ‘thing’. The 2nd graders are starting to wear environmental advocacy shirts too, and the preschool is adopting Earth Friendly Friday as well! Let’s keep this going!

Ethan & Kaden representing!

In Reflection…

Reflecting upon the first semester, viewing all of the assessment data and photo documentation, there has been tremendous social emotional & academic growth. Gabrielle and I are beyond impressed with these kiddos and their growth mindsets.

They are all living their truth and ‘discovering their individual potential to make positive change in the world’! (Gateway’s goal for students).

Upcoming For Week 19:

January Learning TargetGrowth Mindset– I will continue to be optimistic in my learning and will try hard things. Reading-I will look at and sound out every letter and slide through my words . Writing– I will explain ‘how to do something’ step by step. Math– Math Practice 3: I will show my work and explain my reasoning

Chunk Spelling: ‘ing’- (preveious…at, ot, et, ug, ip, ig, in, og, am, it, ap, up, ed, op, ill, ack, ash, & ad).

Snap Words– Begin practicing reading List 5 (sent home in Friday Folder)

Word of the Week: jargogled (prior words- shenanigans, rapscallion, hornswoggle, collywobbles, gongoozle, bamboozle, balderdash, gobbledegook, doppelganger, canoodle, hullabaloo, huggermuggery, & flummoxed ). 

Writing Workshop: Information Writing- ‘How To’ Books

Growth Mindset: Continued focus on ‘optimism in our learning’. 

Mindfulness: Focusing on compassion for the planet

Our December/January Features:

Artist: Autumn de Forrest

Author: Continuing with Jan Brett

Continent: Continuing with North America

Science: Continuing with Animals in Winter

Project Base & Service Learning: Reviewing our study of plastic in our world and planning for our service learning presentation to Kindergarten & NBCC.

Beginning a collaborative service learning study on Australia’s needs after the impacts of the fires with our Buddy Class and Student Council.


Wednesday, January 15th- Spirit Day ‘Dress like a Teacher’

Friday, January 17thNO SCHOOL. In Service Day for teachers

Monday, January 20- NO SCHOOL. Martin Luther King Day

Friday, January 24th– Piper’s Family Culture Share @ 9:00. Yay!

Every Friday– ‘Earth Friendly Fridays’- Where an earth or animal shirt

We are happy to be back and are enjoying these fantastic kiddos! That’s it for now. Have a wonderful week. 

Love & Peace,

Jonnie & Gabrielle