Week Ahead in First Grade A

November 18th, 2019


Dear 1A Parents, 


Thank you to all the students and families involved with last week’s student-led Friday Choice! Students were excited to share; students were excited to try something new. 


Speaking of thanks, we are entering a time of reflection and gratitude. There is a large Gratitude Tree right outside our door and to the left of the fish tank. As the children find the words to express their thankful thoughts, we hope to bring light and love to the tree and to all who come to view it. Please feel free to add a written note of gratitude yourself. 


We will be visiting Portola Gardens on Tuesday, November 19th. Please make sure your child has sturdy shoes and a jacket as we will walk as a group to bring cheer to our local residents.


Also, this Thursday, the First Grade will be having Pajama Day! Please let your child come in PJs, but no slippers please!



Katie and Beverly



This week, we wrapped up our first unit of study, The Big Bang with our planet research projects. Each partner planet group presented their work to the class and then did a self assessment on working with a group and presenting information. 


This week we will be working on the Engineering Challenge. Big Question: How can you build the tallest freestanding skyscraper that can support a marshmallow at the top using only uncooked spaghetti and 12 inches of blue tape?



For the next few weeks, we will be doing a variety of unplugged activities to help the children better understand how to be explicit when coding through a hundreds chart. With the initial focus mazes, these activities will  help the students understand that they need to give clear instructions using a common language. Vocabulary includes left, right, debug, forward and backward during partner games and activities.  


What do you notice about the penny, nickel, dime and quarter? What does minted mean? How many different coins do you need to show the 53 cents? Now, how many different ways can make 53 cents. These are some questions we will be exploring as we dive into money. Through addition and subtraction games, students will learn how to trade and regroup coins. 



Last week, we continued exploring story elements using the acronym STORY:

Setting: where and when the story takes place

Talking characters: who the story is about

Oops, there’s a problem!

R attempts to Resolve: how the character tries to solve the problem

Yes, a resolution: how the problem is solved


Last week the children finished writing the final draft of a creation story of their own. The students began to read aloud their stories during Author’s Share and we will finish reading them out loud next week. We look forward to hanging all of this hard work in our first grade hallway, so please feel free to come by and read the stories! Last week we continued on with word work by splitting up into targeted groups and learning about specific blends and digraphs, short vowels, as well as long vowels. We read stories about Zeus and Cronus (Jupiter and Saturn respectively in Roman mythology). We then connected that many of Jupiter and Saturn’s moons were named after mythological creatures in these gods’ lives. We also wrote our Friday Letters. Thank you for taking the time to write back to your children and send these letters back to school on Monday. We really appreciate your participation! We look forward to continuing both of these practices next week.


Next week our focus will be gratitude. We started last week by reading, I’m Thankful Each Day by P.K. Halinan. We will continue to use read alouds such as Giving Thanks by Chief Jake Swamp and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein to spark discussion around gratitude and what we are thankful for. We are expressing this gratitude by writing our thoughts on leaves and adding them to our gratitude tree in our first grade hallway. Please feel free to come add a leaf yourself!


Social Studies

Last week we continued to build our awareness of emotions/triggers when we feel things are “not fair”. We were visited by “Nurse Penny”. She believed that being ‘fair’ means everyone gets the same thing. So no matter what the ailment -broken arm, cough, or headache- Nurse Penny gave the patient a bandage. One student mused, “That isn’t fair. You can’t give everyone the same thing because they all need different things.” We began our student-led Friday Choice series. Several students planned/prepared/executed activities to share with their peers. We had activities ranging from exploring motors to baking cookies. Lastly, we began our unit on gratitude by giving life to our Gratitude Tree in the hallway. We began to draw leaves of gratitude for our tree, and we invite all families to stop by later in the week and add their leaves of gratitude as well. 


Along with continuing our gratitude unit, next week we look forward to visiting Portola Gardens and sharing our thanks with the residents by creating art for them to hang on their walls. We will add words of gratitude and kindness for them. Please feel free to ask your children how this experience goes for them, encouraging to talk about what they enjoy about their visits and what may feel challenging. Thank you for engaging in this conversation at home!



First graders are learning about contour drawing and developing their artist's hand eye coordination. Continuing our unit of space and technology and adapting it to a lesson in portraiture, students are creating self-portraits of themselves as space explorers.  We will be discussing human proportion and breaking down complicated shapes. 



First grade will be learning descriptors. With the aid of this vocabulary, students will be able to verbalize information about themselves using simple adjectives. These vocabulary is introduced with a lot of movement games, songs, and art projects. 

Repetition is key so feel free to practice with your child at home! 


Students have improved dribbling using one hand as well as switching hands and dribbling stationary and in motion. This week we will continue our basketball unit with the Fingertip drill. This game allows each student to practice passing the ball back and forth between his or her hands in a controlled manner. We will work on passing the ball down low and then up high with s basketballs. Followed by a fun triangle passing game, which will encourage players to keep their eye on the ball so they can catch and pass it on, without dropping the ball. This takes practice and teamwork.

Katie Fielding
Beverly Sotelo

Tuesday, November 19: Portola Gardens Field Trip

Friday, November 22: C4 Day, Early Dismissal

November 25 - 29: Thanksgiving Break - No School

Friday, December 13: Drama and Music Performances for Gr. JK-2 @ 8:30 - 9:30 am

December 20 - January 5:  Winter Break - No School

Monday, January 6: All School Inservice - No School for Students


  • Please take a look at all these fun daily math resources!

  • 5 to 10 mins problem solving with either math games or Bedtime Math (bedtimemath.org).

  • 15 minutes per night of self-selected reading either to, with, or by your child.

  • Lastly, please remember to send your student’s Friday Letter back to school on Monday mornings.


© 2019 Alta Vista School

for curious young minds 

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