Monday, January 7, 2019

January 7

Parents, Family members and Friends, 

We have had a wonderful day back!  The students did an EXCELLENT job in remembering our class/school procedures and worked hard today!  I'm proud of them, of their hard work, self motivation, work ethic, leadership, and ability to work together!  

Here's what's on the horizon for the next few weeks:

*Assessments - These next two weeks, we will be assessing students on high frequency words, fluency, comprehension, math fluency and problem solving.  (Report cards come out at the end of the month.)

We started talking about communities today.  Our stories will focus communities (what places and who makes up a community).  We will also be focusing on long vowels.  This week we will focus on long i (all long vowels say their name).  In writing, we are working hard on publishing our animal informational text.  

In math we will be finishing up Module 2 (adding and subtracting strategies).  Students will focus on solving math word problems.  Students are required to "Read, Draw, Write."  Students must read the word problem, show/draw their work, and write a statement to answer the question.  Towards the end of this module, we will also be looking at units of a number; for example: 14 is the same as 1 ten and 4 ones.  

Don't forget to check their class dojo charts daily.  On the left side of the blog, you'll see upcoming events/important things to be aware.  

As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to call, stop by, email or send a message via Class Dojo.

Thanks for all you do! :) 

❤Mrs. Thigpen

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sunday, November 25, 2018

November 25

Parents, Families and Friends! 

I CANNOT contain my excitement to return to school tomorrow!  I'm excited because this upcoming week, we will begin a new unit in writing (Informational Writing) AND a new module in math (Module 2 - focusing on adding two digit numbers).  But most importantly I'm excited about returning to school with  my sweet 17 first graders! 

Here's what's new and some helpful suggestions as we continue through the 2nd half of the 2nd 9 weeks! 

Reading - In reading, we will begin switching our focus from Fiction to Non Fiction!  This will greatly translate into our writing unit.  Here is a helpful document filled with good questions for both fiction and nonfiction books; page 3 and 4 are questions for nonfiction books.  I'll be adding books to their Bag Of Books this week that are nonfiction.  Please take the time to read these books with your child. 

Writing - As mentioned above, we will be writing nonfiction books.  Reading and writing are directly correlated so encouraging your child to read informational writing will help them with their writing.  Here are some common informational texts you might find at home: recipes, ads, magazines (while most magazines may be above their reading level, children still learn from pictures and informational text features (captions, headings, labels) AND they can ask you questions about what they see).  Encourage your child to write about what they know or like (examples: They can write about animals, seasons, a person, or a "How to" book: make a PB&J, blow the perfect bubble, draw a Pokemon, care for a pet, decorate a Christmas tree, pick out the perfect outfit).  

Math - In math we are moving into Module 2! Module 2 focuses on adding larger numbers.  Up to this point, students have worked on and mastered adding numbers to 10.  Now we are working on adding all the way to 100!  We will be specifically working on making a 10 to add.  For example, if students add 2+3+8 , we will first add 2+8 to make a 10, then add 3 to equal 13.  Please don't hesitate to ask questions regarding the math homework/terminology/strategies! 

I've enjoyed this break greatly, and I hope you all have too! Please don't forget to check the Homework page for helpful math homework videos and students 2nd quarter sight words.  If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to to call, email, send a Class Dojo message or stop by! 

Taylor Thigpen

Sunday, November 11, 2018

November 11, 2018


We have officially finished the first quarter!  Monday, we will have been in school for 52 days!  Students did an amazing job completing the end of the quarter assessments and have remained focused during our lessons.  In these last three months, I am amazed at how the students have grown in their decoding abilities (sounding out words), counting and fluency, but most importantly I've seen them grow in their relationships with other, empathy that they have for one another, and their ability to problem solve when misunderstanding occurs.  I am blessed to be apart of this class and I'm excited to see all the ways they continue to grow!  
Here's all that has been going on in our class:

We are working through our phonics (decoding, segmenting words, consonant blends, short vowels and more) and reading/comprehension skills (sequencing stories, identifying author's craft, themes, character's emotions and problem and solution).  The current unit we are on is all about Friendship.  Our focus question is "What does it mean to be a good friend?"  Students have shared their own experiences and as we read stories that center around friendship we are finding out more and more how to be a good friend.  In writing, we will soon be finishing up our narrative writing unit.  Students are taking "Small Moments" and turning them into books.  This past week, we have looked at author's craft (what makes an author's writing special or stand out) and tried it out in our own writing.  
Here are some ways you can encourage/help your child in what we're learning about in class: 
  • Help them to decode words (don't tell them the word, encourage them to sound out letter by letter).  Make sure the text they are reading is "good fit."  We identify "good fit" books based on how many words students struggle to read (if it is 3-5 words on the first page it's too challenging).  
  • Ask them questions about what they are reading.  What happened in the beginning?; Why did that character do that?  Was was your favorite part of the story, why? Did the author do anything special in his/her writing to make it unique? 
  • Read to your child - While I want them to read as well, they need to see us reading to have an example and to be encouraged to read.  This will also make wonderful memories for them!  And don't be afraid to stumble over words (accidentally or on purpose), this will help them to know that we are all still learning and they can even "help" you read the word! 
  • Write a story with them about a small moment that you share with them.  This small moment can be a trip to the grocery story, a drive in the car, a trip to the bank, making food, etc.  Small moments are grand events; it can be BUT we zone in to one specific detail in the grand event; for example going to the fair is a grand event but narrowing it down to just one ride OR what you ate OR the game you played (not all of these) is a small moment. 
In math we have been working mainly on relating addition to subtraction.  Students have been working on subtraction word problems recently.  We have intentionally worked with also identifying the addition sentence that relates to the subtraction so that students can see there is more than one way to solve a problem AND how addition and subtraction are related.  
Here is an example of one of those subtraction word problems:  Dominic had 8 superhero toys.  He gave some to his friend.  Now he has 5 superhero toys.  How many superhero toys did he give to his friend? When solving these word problems, students have to provide a number sentence, number bond, and statement.  
For example:  8-3=5 or 5+3=8         8      3 superheros
                                                     /  \
                                                   5     3

You can help your child out specifically by helping them read their math homework (math homework is to assess their math skills not reading) and create word problems with them (we have only been working on word problems through the number 10).  Students especially enjoy when I read the problem for them, give them time to solve and then pretend to be a kindergartner that they have to teach; I call them Mr./Mrs. and they have to walk me through each step of the process.  

I've enjoyed the challenge and rewards of teaching first grade this year.  I GREATLY appreciate all that you do with your child(ren). Thank you! 

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns!  Below is also an update that was sent out this past week about some exciting news from my husband and me (in case you missed it in the email). 


Good evening parents and guardians,
I have some exciting news to share with you!  My husband, Kevin and I are excited to announce that we will be adding to our family come April 2019!  
I want you to know that while I am so excited about this new adventure as a family of four, I am also sad that I won't be finishing the school year with your child.  I have truly been blessed with a WONDERFUL class this year.  Please know that I plan to work as long as possible (my tentative due date is April 23).  A long term sub will be hired to take over the class (all long term subs have to be certified teachers). 
I have not told any of the students yet.  I plan to tell them the week of  Thanksgiving (November 19-20) when we will be talking about things we are thankful for. If you would like to tell your child sooner please feel free to do so! 
Thank you so much for your support!  Please feel free to email me if you have any questions, comments or concerns. 



Sunday, October 21, 2018

October 21, 2018

Good afternoon parents, families, and friends,

We have had two incredibly busy fun, learning filled weeks! 

During the week of October 8-12 we went on our first field study to the Public Library! I'd like to give a huge shout-out to our 3 fabulous chaperones!  I am ALWAYS happy to have parents/grandparents helping on field studies!  Our next out of school field study won't be until February 26 to see Dr. Seuss (the play) at the Koger Center.  The week of October 8-12 was a short week due to having Thursday off for severe weather.  We have been blessed this year by being spared when severe weather was called to effect us!  

This past week October 15-19, students worked incredibly hard on their library field study writings.  We used our field study as an opportunity to write a "Small Moment" story.  Students wrote about anything from using the bathroom at the library (there were really cool hand dryers) to listening to the puppet show to picking out books to the bus ride!  I've enjoyed hearing each of the students stories and what stuck out to them from our first field study.  Students are becoming better and better writers and their stamina is growing in how long they WANT to write for.  On Friday, students wrote for 25 minutes - it was so hard to ask them to stop for the day! 

This past week students also tackled MAP testing.  MAP testing is a State Standardized Test.  This test measures students individual achievement in the various strands of Math and Language Arts.  The students spend about an hour on Tuesday and Thursday morning completing this assessment.  This assessment IS read to the students in first grade but will NOT be read to them in second grade. I will be sending home the students scores this week along with a chart that explains scores. 

This upcoming week students will be completing more assessments in preparation for their upcoming report cards.  

In ELA this week, we are going to talk about l, short o, and b. We will continue to review high frequency words, these particularly seem to be a challenge for students: said, what if, ​of, ask, just, who, use, and our.  A complete list of the high frequency words can be found under the "Homework" tab.  We are going to continue to work on writing by asking questions to help us add detail to our writings.  In reading, we are working on sequencing using sequencing words (first, next, then, last, etc.) and making connections to the text.

In Math this week, we will be working on math facts through 10.  The goal is for ALL students to be fluent in their math facts through 10 by the end of first grade.  We will also work on solving word problems by identifying the parts/whole and the unknown number. 

On Friday, we will have a 1/2 Day (dismissal will be at 11:30).  We will be doing an activity with leaves - please feel free to collect and send in any leaves (any color/size). 

Thank you so much for all you do to support your children!

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns!  

Saturday, October 6, 2018

October 6th

Hi families and friends! 

These last two weeks we have been busy busy busy!  We have started and gotten into the swing of our small group rotations!  If you don't know, I love small group rotations because it allows me to meet with groups of students and focus on skills they need.  While I meet with a group of 4 students, the other 13 students are spending time our class library, reading with a buddy, doing phonics/word work and working on Lexia (a self-paced individualized online reading program).  In between small group rotations, we have mini lesson on phonics, shared reading, and writing!  I can confidently say that students have enjoyed small groups!  We also have begun small groups in math! 

I've greatly enjoyed meeting with several of you over the past two weeks and showing you some of your child's great work!  Thank you for taking the opportunity and time to meet with me! 

We have a lot coming up over these next two week!  Check the calendar on the blog, class dojo updates and your child's behavior chart for daily happenings!  

Just as a reminder, you can check the homework tab for helpful videos to complete the math homework.  I also sent home students' logins and passwords for various websites that students are free to explore on at home; the Open Court website has phonics and reading tools (this is our reading/phonics curriculum); Reflex Math is a math fluency website; Zearn is a math website that has lessons and games reflects what we are learning in class using the same curriculum we are using. 

As always, please feel free to call/stop by/email/message me through dojo if you have any questions or concerns! 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

September 23

Good evening parents, family members and friends,

This past week was filled with students receiving their good fit bag of books, getting logged onto their chromebooks for the first time, exploring L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, and S, reading poems, exploring the parts of 7, 8, 9, and 10, making play-dough number bonds, and working on our writing!  

Despite having a week out of school, students came back ready for a full week of learning together!  I'm so proud of their hard work, their kindness towards each other, their desire to set a good example for others, and I'm proud of them for remembering our class procedures after being away for a week!  Weeks like this past one, make me fired up for the upcoming weeks and months I get to spend with your child!  They are so eager to learn alongside of each other and I'm excited to see their growth throughout this upcoming year!

A few reminders as we go into this next week:

- Parent/Teacher conferences are beginning!  Please don't forget to sign up for a time/date.  Thank you to the 9 parents that have signed up so far (50% of the class)!  If one of the times don't work for you, please contact me and I'll be happy to work out another day/time!  I'm also happy to have phone conferences if you're unable to attend in person.  During the conferences, we will go over your child's academics, behavior and class participation.  If there's anything specific you want to go over please let me know ahead of time so I can be prepared!  

- Remember to check the class blog/homework page for helpful hints/videos with the math homework.

- Friday is a half day - dismissal begins at 11:30.  Please send in a note/email/class dojo message/call if your child's transportation will be different that day.

- Saturday is the Killian Family Fun Day from 11-2!  I will be running the ticket booth all day so make sure to stop by!  We'll have food, games, face painting, a game truck, bounce houses, fire truck and ambulance and more!

Thank you all for making these first 18 days an AMAZING start to this 2018-2019 school year!  Please don't hesitate to call/email/stop by if you have any questions or concerns.

Taylor Thigpen