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1st Grade: Fall Newsletter

It has been a wonderful start to the school year in first grade! There have been many highlights, starting with the Rose Ceremony on the first day of school. Prior to the ceremony, the first graders got to know their 12th grade buddies while sewing a symbol on their pillow and playing string games.

So far we have celebrated four birthdays. Please join me in wishing them all a Happy 7th Birthday.

On September 27th, the children enjoyed participating in our Michaelmas Festival. The first graders were so excited to see Michael tame the dragon during the pageant!  We walked the school spiral and made Dragon Bread with our Buddies. They shared this tasty treat with the whole school to conclude the day’s events. Our class’s circle time has been filled with the singing of Michaelmas songs and poems.

Main Lessons:

The children started off the year with a main lesson block in form drawing. Throughout the school year, we will continue our study of form drawing; which provides a strong foundation for letter recognition and writing.

Now we are in a new main lesson block in Language Arts. We are learning letters and words through images and stories — enabling the children to connect the sound of that letter with the words from the story which share a similar sound. Together we draw a picture from the story, chosen to embody the abstract letter (bear for B, table for T, door for D, mountain for M, light for L, fish for F, etc.). After making a picture, we move on to the abstract form of the letter.

The first two letters the class learned were B and T. I told a story about a brown baby bear, who bravely went on a journey to get honey from the bees. She had to stand on a table, under a tall tree, to talk with the queen bee. She respectfully asked if she could take a tiny taste of her sweet honey. What a treat! Later that day, our Gardening Teacher, Jeannine Davis helped to enhance the learning process by telling a story of the bees, and the important work they do to help our plants grow!  Coordinating lessons with our subject teachers is a great way to make the learning of new letters and sounds resonate more powerfully with the children. In the afternoon, I taught a Beeswax Sculpting Class, and the children learned how to make bees.

My drawing with the Bear and bees is on the left, Ms. Davis’ drawing with the bee approaching a sunflower is on the right.

The children have been learning about the 3 types of letters. The tall letters are written up in the golden sun and stream down to the earth. The small letters live only in the green grass. Other letters dig down into the brown soil.

Inside and Outside the Classroom:

Our first drawing, which we did during the second week of school was based on our “Golden Rules.” Each rule denoted by a symbol. The dove represents truthfulness. The heart represents kindness. The crown represents respectfulness. The flower represents belonging. These symbols and rules are central to the first grade experience as we learn to be truthful, kind, respectful and welcoming towards one another. These lovely drawings by your children will be sent home next week.

I also recommend checking-out the bulletin board outside the classroom. There we have some nice watercolor paintings by the children. The paintings depict Michael’s golden sword in a blue sky. This wet-on-wet approach to painting allows the children to gain an understanding for how to work with color and form.

I appreciate your willingness to take turns doing our laundry, as well as contributing towards the “Nature Table.” Take laundry on the last day of the week (usually Fridays), and we will fold it together on Monday Mornings. If you signed-up for the Nature Table, please have your child bring-in his/her contribution on the Monday of that week. Your Nature Table contribution encourages nature exploration and is a simple act of generosity that beautifies our room.

Recess:

The first graders have been having fun doing a variety of activities during recess. We have recently started mid-week partnering, where 2 days a week you get to play with a new classmate during the shorter snack recess. This builds a class community, further develops friendships and social skills. It also allows them to learn patience while taking turns and discover new ways to play during recess.

Thank you for contributing towards a great start to our school year!