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Dear Parents and Guardians,

The first graders and I enjoyed our week and have been looking ahead to the Festival of Courage next week!  We are all getting ready and excited for the first fest at our new building and our first fest as a class at Urban Prairie. Please be sure to join us on Saturday, September 29 from 3-6pm for this momentous occasion!  See below for all the details!

Upcoming Events

  • Festival of Courage, Saturday, Sept 29, 3:00-6:00. (Work Day, Friday 1:00-3:00.) See details below.
  • Grade 1 Parent Evening, Oct 17, 7:00pm
Classroom Highlights
It has begun—what the children have been waiting for—our first Language Arts Block! Our first story, “Snow White and Rose Red,” provided an opportunity to draw a scene from the story where the bear was returning to the woods in the spring. The following day, we looked for something hiding that might be saying “b.” The children were able to find the shape of B hidden in the shape of the bear’s body. “From stars to stones down the bear’s back. Back to stars and around the bear’s chest and touch the back. Then around the belly of the bear curving around to the back.” We walked it, we learned the sign for B in American Sign Language, we listened for the sound B makes, we created a list of words that begin with the sound “b,” and we listened for where in words the children heard the sound “b.” Of course, we called it a B, but our focus was much more on the sound than the letter so that the sound a letter makes is more strongly associated when they see it. B consistently says “b,” but if we say B when we see it in a word, it would be extremely challenging to actually figure out what we are reading.  The children had so much fun listening for “b” throughout the day and flashing their B in Sign Language to let others know that they heard our the “b” sound!
While drawing the bears in our Main Lesson Books, I was able to observe how children were manipulating their block crayons to create the image.  For some, this was quite challenging so we’ve spent a bit of time exploring new ways these special tools work. You may have seen a few papers come home from these explorations where we were creating bands of color and clouds of color.  Each side of our block crayon has a special name–papa bear, mama bear, and baby bear.  The children have learned how to properly hold these block crayons to allow the edge of these different sides to make the colors appear on the page.  It can be tricky to balance mama or papa bear just right to make a beautiful, even shade of a color, rather than a harsh line with a bit of light color next to it. The children have really enjoyed learning how to use the block crayon with more control so they can create images with more ease.
The children, at this time, are only using the primary colors to draw. This allows the children to explore the colors that are hidden within red, blue, and yellow.
This week we used one of our Star Classes for our first Nature Studies class.  We took a walk around our campus and stopped to explore two trees at the end of summer.  After using all of our senses to observe each tree, we shared with our walking partner some of what was noticed.  These trees have yet to change color, but it will be fascinating to take a close look at each of them throughout the year to observe their changes.
Festival of Courage–NEXT Week!
In our circle, the opening part of Morning Lesson, we have been learning all sorts of songs, verses, and games.  The children just found out that some of these songs and verses are actually a part of the Festival of Courage Pageant!  Now that they know, they are excited (and maybe a bit nervous) to share this with others.  We will be the Waters in the Pageant so your child will need to wear a blue shirt, any pants, and comfortable shoes.  You may send in this shirt, labeled with your child’s name beginning Monday.  It can be kept at school so you can have one less thing to remember on Saturday.  Plus, we will then have it for our Dress Rehearsal on Friday.
I look forward to seeing you all on Saturday for the Fest!  It would be wonderful to see many of you on Friday as well for our Friday Work Day in the afternoon.
Below are details for Saturday that were also sent out by Ms. Avellone and the Festivals Committee.
Friday Work Day – Sept 28, 1:00-3:00 pm
We welcome all volunteers to come work alongside students. We still have a to do list for our new campus that includes unpacking, beautification, and practical work. Your help makes a huge difference, and it’s a blast to hang with the students.
Festival of Courage – Saturday, Sept 29, 3:00-6:00 pm
  • Pageant: The event opens with all the grade school students performing our brand new pageant. (Student arrival time: 2:50). DON’T BE LATE OR YOU’LL MISS THE DRAGON!
  • Feats of Strength: Obstacle course, hang time challenge, games, and more!
  • Live old time music band and dancing: We will a professional dance caller to teach us fun and simple barn dances.
  • Pie Cook-Off – Make, taste, judge, maybe win!
Sign-up here to help out at the Festival. Your half hour of work enables the faculty to enjoy the festival as well.
  • flatware, plates, and filled water bottles for your family
  • lawn chairs
  • sunscreen or sun hat
  • $1 bills for pie cook-off tasting/voting spoons
  • pie for the cook-off
  • potluck dish
  • dancin’ shoes

Home-School Connection

As you encounter the world, invite your child to be on the lookout for words that have a “b” sound. Ask them whether they hear it at the beginning, middle, or end.
Supplies Needed
If you have scrap paper we could use, please send it in. I’m looking for white paper that is blank on one side that can be used to try our block crayons when attempting to create an image.

Mosquitoes have invaded our play lot! And our first graders are super sweet and have been bitten over and over. If you would like, please spray them before school to avoid more bites. I did share some natural mosquito repellant Friday, but wanted to invite you to do it in case you would prefer your own version.

Liz Avila