Friday, September 15, 2017

1st 9 Weeks: Week 4

Important Dates:

  • September 22: K-2 Stallion Assembly
-- 2 students will be chosen for the stallion award. Parents will be notified if their child is chosen.
  • September 29: Fall Picture Day
  • Conferences during October
-- Mrs. Whitney will be holding conferences after or before school these weeks. Conferences will be 15 minutes long. I am in the process of putting together a schedule for parent conferences and will have that emailed out soon!
  • October 9 & 10: No School for Students

Classroom Information:

  • RAZ-Kids online reading program will be set-up within the next week.  Your child will have access to it at home, as many did in Kindergarten.  
    • We do use the program in school during independent reading time and I will be monitoring student’s progress throughout the year on levels and comprehension quizzes.

Our learning next week...Week 5

Math: We will introduce the addition sign and reinforce the skill of counting-on with one and counting on with two with various activities and games.  Spiral skills from Kinder include comparing language to describe the relationship of numbers based on Place Value and counting efficiently.  

Science: unit on Changes from Heat. Students will learn about the effect adding or removing heat has on objects/materials through hands on exploration and teacher demonstrations. (Labs: crayon melting, ice cube melting, Kool-Aid freezing, water outside with chalk circle)

Reading:  Students are going to be introduced to Inferring.   Inferring is very similar to predicting, yet so vastly different.  It is making meaning of the text based on what is read (and understood) while using established background knowledge (schemas) to gain a deeper meaning of what lies beyond the pages of the book.  On the other hand, making predictions is using ONLY the information derived from the text itself (and bringing nothing more).  Students will gain valuable practice and insight into inferring through the use of a variety of books that will activate their background knowledge, allowing them to make connections and meanings of what is read.

Writing:  Through the use of literature (Punctuation Takes A Vacation) and authentic practice/writing, students are going to be introduced to the use of ending punctuation in writing. This week’s focus will be on the period, question mark, and exclamation point. Students will explore and discover how each “end mark” plays a special role within their writing, as well as when reading someone else’s writing. Students will also be introduced to capitalization of proper names, places, and beginning of sentences.

Phonics/Word Study:  Students will be reintroduced to long and short vowels over the next several weeks.  This week’s focus is on Short I and Long I.  Students will be hearing, seeing, and have practice writing various words that contain the different sounds of I.  They will also gain a further understanding into the “why?” the different sounds are made and how that sound changes words and their meanings.

Friday, September 8, 2017

1st 9 Weeks: Week 3

MATH SUPERSTARS: Math SuperStars will be done differently this year. Please look for the yellow flyer that was in your child’s green daily folder this week. Mrs. Whitney's class code for Math Superstars is: 844PVE The program starts on September 11 and there is already a tab, labeled Math Superstars, on my classroom website to access it.

RUNNING CLUB: Running Club is starting next Monday, September 11th. The 1st and 2nd grade club will be on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:10-7:30 am. No sign up is required and parents are welcome to walk with the kiddos!

SCHOLASTIC BOOK ORDERS: Book orders are due back Wednesday, September 13th.  Our Scholastic class code is HZR79. We have 2 orders so far.  Thanks for getting those in.  



Important Dates:



  • Sept. 11 Math Superstars online program begins (yellow flyer sent home)
  • Sept. 29  Fall Pictures
  • Oct. 9-10 No School for students
    • October 9: This day will be set aside for Parent Conferences.  Please be on the lookout for a Sign-Up Genius in the next couple of weeks to schedule your conference time.  Each conference will run 15 minutes.  Most conference times will be on this Monday with other times available before and after school on other dates if needed.  


Our learning next week...Week 4
Math:  This week we continue our graphing unit. We will continue to learn about Data Collection. The students will be introduced to forms of data collection with various types of graphs. There will be a different graph each week and a Graphing Math test on Friday.


Science: Students will continue to classify objects by their observable properties (larger/smaller, heavier/lighter, shape, color, and texture) through hands on activities. At the end of the week, students will be assessed on their knowledge of lab safety and classifying matter.


Reading: Students will continue to retell stories using Beginning Middle End, sequencing, describing characters and setting. Students will also be introduced to inferring. (Inferring: making meaning of something through the use of prior knowledge [schema] and information provided/given.)  Students will learn how to infer feelings and emotions based on certain situations that arise in a book and how to construct meaning.  Inferring meaning will also be practiced through looking at pictures, using context clues, and discussing the theme.


SS Integration:  We will continue our “Good Citizen” PBL (project based learning). Students will continue exploring/discovering what they know about being a good citizen, the difference between rules and laws, the roles of community leaders, and our responsibilities to take part in our government. Students will then determine how they can share with others how to be good Sommer citizens.


Writing: Students will be introduced to ABC order. They will practice their skills with ABC order using a dictionary. Students will also practice using their Word Wall as a resource for spelling.

Phonics: Students will be reintroduced to long and short vowels over the next several weeks.  This week’s focus is on Short A and Long A.  Students will be hearing, seeing, and have practice writing various words that contain the different sounds of A.  They will also gain a further understanding into the “why?” the different sounds are made and how that sound changes words and their meanings.

Friday, September 1, 2017

1st 9 Weeks: Week 2

Important Dates:
  • September 4: No School - Labor Day
  • September 7: School Club Night
  • September 29: Fall Pictures
  • October 9 & 10: No School for Students


I am loving working with and learning more about the students every day. We are off and running into a great school year.  

Starting this week, our kiddos were also tested for beginning of the year (BOY) Benchmark testing in various literacy and math skills.  These scores are used as an instructional tool to help guide my teaching and help in meeting the needs of individual students.  Our school is also embarking on the BOY reading assessment.  This assessment is done one-on-one with me and will provide me with even more insight into strengths and areas of instructional needs for each child.  Testing started this week and will continue, on and off, for the next two or until all students are tested.  

Club Night is scheduled during the PTA meeting on September 7 that starts at 6 PM.  More information about the teacher led clubs will be shared at that time.  You may even be able to sign up for some clubs that night as well.


Also, our school is having Grandparents’ Day next Friday.  It is running a little different than years past in that the only grandparents coming for lunch are kindergarten because of the size of our school.  I am sorry for any miscommunications this may cause.  


Thank you for taking the time to read my blogs and staying informed with what is happening within our classroom.  Please let me know if you ever have any questions regarding anything.  We are all a team, working for the success of each child and I am so grateful to be here with y'all!  


Our learning next week...Week 3
  • Math:  We will collect data and organize data in up to three categories.  Students will represent data using tally marks and T-charts .  We will also determine what kinds of things we can learn about the world around us by collecting data.


  • Science: Students will work to classify objects by observable properties such as larger and smaller, heavier and lighter, shape, color, and texture. Students will look at similarities and differences in objects based on their properties.


  • Reading/Social Studies: We will continue setting up the expectations for Reader’s Workshop.  Students will learn what a “just right book” is and how to “shop” for books in my classroom library.  We will discuss, and I will model, what reading “looks like” when reading on own, with the teacher, and/or reading with another student.  At the end of the week, students will practice making predictions while reading a new story.   Over the next few weeks, we will we will also learn about the important symbols, customs, and celebrations that represent American beliefs and principles and contribute to our national identity.  Specifically students will explain state and national patriotic symbols, including the U.S. flags, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, and the Alamo  In addition, students will recite and explain the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States Flag and the Pledge to the Texas Flag, and identify anthems and mottoes of Texas and the United States.  Students will begin exploring/discovering what they know about being a good citizen and what it takes to be one through researching and investigating people in history who exhibited the traits of “being a good citizen”.


  • Writing: Students will learn that an author and/or illustrator may draw pictures to show implied space or things that don’t appear on the page, but can be inferred (are) there.  Students are invited to practice doing this in their own stories as well.  Students will also be introduced to various types of covers (wrap around, same as an illustration within book, completely new illustration, etc.) that authors create for their books and they they can too.


  • Phonics:  Students will be introduced to the sounds of and practice using each of the following :

  • hard G = “guh” sound (gap, goat, gum)
  • soft G = “juh” sound (gym, giant, gel)
  • hard C = “kuh” sound (candy, cat, cup)
  • soft C = “suh” sound (cell, city, cycle)
  • Ticky Q = “qua” sound (queen, quail, quack)
  • Sound of S = “z” sound (cheese, season, easy)
  • Sound of X (extra, excited, extraordinary)

Friday, August 25, 2017

1st 9 Weeks: Week 1

Dear Families,

Important Dates:


  • August 29: Parent Back to School Night - *See information below
  • September 4: No School - Labor Day
  • September 7: School Club Night
  • October 9 & 10: No School for Students

*Teachers will run 2 separate, but identical, classroom information sessions in the classroom with administration sharing in the middle of the two time slots. Parents only need to attend one teacher information session. The first teacher session is 5:00-5:35 P.M. Administration shares from 5:40-6:00 P.M. and then a repeat of the teacher information session is from 6:10-6:45 P.M. You may choose which works best for you: 5:00-6:00 PM or 5:40 PM to 6:45 PM. If possible, we do ask that children do not attend. 


Our learning next week...Week 2

MathBase Ten & Number Patterns - This week students are going to be exploring tallies, the proper way to record them, and how they are useful when collecting/recording data. Students will also begin to practice the use of base ten blocks when problem solving and how it is a valuable tool when needing to represent numbers. Students will also start exploring place value while playing a “roll the dice” game and having to place numbers in order from least to greatest.
ScienceRoles and Responsibilities of Scientists: Investigating Materials - Students will explore the “job” of a scientist and come to the conclusion that it is a person who investigates various things to learn new things and to help us understand the world in which we live. Students will also learn what tools scientists use and how they are helpful. Vocabulary focus will include: safe practices, safety, safety contract, science notebook, hand lens, primary balance, goggles, thermometer, and investigation. Students will also begin learning how to record findings within their science notebooks through activities involving sorting.
Language Arts:
↪ ReadingRetelling, Characters, Problem & Solution - Students will be exploring different parts of a book (author, illustrator, title, pictures, cover) and how they are useful in being able to retell a story. It will also be through these, and beginning to read the story, how to stop and “think aloud” while working on making predictions. Students will also begin to look at the setting and how that play an important role in the overall retell and understanding of a story.
↪ WritingLaunching Writer’s Workshop (Continued) - This week’s focus will consist of generating ideas and sequencing the details of story while keeping in mind the “story across 5 fingers” idea. Students will be introduced to “when I am done… I’ve just begun!”. Through this students will know that there are different avenues to take when they call their own writing “done” such as: adding details, adding an illustration, starting a new story, etc. Students will also gain knowledge into what tools to use when spelling unknown words and what things can be done to fancy up their writing.
↪ PhonicsConsonant Blends - Students will be introduced to consonant blends and that it is when 2 or more consecutive consonants in a word whose sounds blend together. Students will explore l-blends (bl, fl, cl, pl, gl) and r-blends (cr, dr, tr, gr). Over the week, students will have practice with various l and r-blends through different activities.

1st 9 Weeks

Our learning this past week...Week 1

Math: Setting Up Expectations - As a class we will discuss what math, each day, is going to look like, sounds like, and how we act. We also be setting the expectations of what students’ math journals should look like daily and what needs to be included for each problem solved. Students will also explore what tools are (and might be) necessary when solving problems and what do when they don’t know what to do (when solving a problem).
Social Studies/Science: Rules, Laws & Setting Up Expectations - Classes will dive into learning the importance of rules and laws and why citizens have roles and responsibilities to follow within a community/society. Through reading Officer Buckle, students will brainstorm ideas of what it means to be safe and what it looks like, sounds like, and how one should act. Through this discussion classes will begin to create their classes’ mission statement. These ideas will be explored throughout the week using various texts that have different settings so students can transfer ideas and thinkings to various places of the own lives.
Language Arts:
Reading: Launching Reader’s Workshop - This week we are going to be introducing Reader’s Workshop to students. We will be discussing the different components are along with what it should look like, sound like, and how one should act independently and as a class during this block of time. We will also explore what makes a strong reader and begin discussion about strategies to use when coming to an unfamiliar word.
Writing: Launching Writer’s Workshop - Students will be introduced to the rules, procedure, and expectations of Writer’s Workshop. They will learn that they are authors themselves and that we all have a story to tell. Students will create a “heart map” that holds things of importance to them that they can use as a tool when writing. Students will also learn how to tell a story “across 5 fingers”, keeping stories on topic and focused.
Phonics: Rhyming - Students will build on their understanding and knowledge of rhyming words through knowing that they are words that sound the same and have the same ending. Students will continue working on rhyming throughout the week using a variety of activities.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

First Day of School

What a busy, but wonderful 1st day of school.  Here is a rundown of our fun but crazy day!  Since we are a jungle classroom we decorated binoculars and used them to go exploring around the school, classroom or recess.


We talked about how to sit in all the different seats.  We have already rotated to two other tables to try out what the seats are like.  We worked on listening to others by listening to what our classmates favorite things were.  Then as a challenge, Mrs. Whitney asked us to remember what someone else said or to make a connection with someone else.  We also learned what everyone did over summer.  


We introduced our 5 class rules. We even spent some time teaching them to a partner.  We will still be going over them throughout this week.  But ask your child what the gestures are for each of these rules.
Rule # 1 Follow directions quickly and quietly
Rule #2 Raise your hand to speak
Rule #3 Raise your hand to leave your seat
Rule #4 Make smart choices
Rule #5 Keep your teacher happy
We read First Day Jitters and talked about how everyone has jitters and this is okay.  It's okay to have feeling and its okay to be nervous, or excited, or scared a bit.  Then we drank some Jitter juice to help calm any jitters we had.  You can ask your child how they liked the jitter juice.  :)
Mrs. Whitney shared about herself, so we learned about her husband, family, etc.  See if your child can remember any information about the people in this presentation.  All About Mrs. Whitney.  We also did a shared writing about Mrs. Whitney and will be doing an all about ____ shared writing every day about a new person.  Here is the one about Mrs. Whitney.

We did some GoNoodle brain breaks throughout the day,
and chose a GoNoodle class champion to grow.  
We had Music and PE (We will have like this all week, normal specials schedule doesn't start yet.  I'll let you know when it does.)  We discussed what we want in a teacher.  The majority of the class said they wanted a funny, but nice teacher.  So we'll see how that goes!  :)
We did practice and talk about the usual cafeteria, recess, classroom expectations, routines, and practicing for dismissal.  But still all things we need to know and learn.
We ended our day with beginning to fill in our weekly reflection sheet.  As a class we came up with some ideas and wrote down what we felt we did positive with and what we need to grow on.

I look forward to another day tomorrow!  I will be posting pictures mainly through Class Dojo and big events will be posted here on the website!  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Welcome to 1st Grade!



Dear Family,

Welcome to 1st grade! My name is Mrs. Jessica Whitney and I am so happy to be your child’s 1st grade teacher. This will be a great year at Patsy Sommer. I know you will be amazed and excited to see how your child learns and grows.

I am looking forward to meeting you at supply drop off Friday August 18th in room A109 between 3:30 – 5:30pm. for last names that begin with A-M or 4:30-6:30 P.M. for last names that begin with N-Z in Room A109. During this time, I will provide you with instructions on how to label your child’s supplies and how to organize your kiddo’s cubby for the first day of school.

Before then, be sure to visit my teacher website Mrs. Whitney's Class Website. Here you will find information about our classroom, our school and all about me! If you want to get ahead, please fill out the 2017 -2018 Student Information Form or by clicking on the tab labeled Student Information Form at the top of my page. One of the questions asks how your child will go home from school and it is important that I am aware of the arrangements in advance.

I am looking forward to getting to know and working with your family this year. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.


Sincerely, 
Jessica Whitney
1st Grade Teacher
Sommer Elementary
(512) 704-0623