Dear Parents and Guardians,
Another great week is in the books for First Grade! The children continue to come together to form this new whole. A beautiful example of this was when one of our classmates experienced a bloody nose that needed my attention during painting. The children carried on, but with an awareness of the child’s needs and my inability to be more fully present to the painting experience. It was if they were each at the ready to step in and offer assistance—getting an ice pack for our friend’s neck, going to the office to gather another box of tissues, accompany the child to the restroom to wash hands once it was over—yet still fully engaged in their work with such reverence and care. Of course, we wish our friend did not have to experience a bloody nose, but it provided an opportunity for the class to rise to the occasion and support that friend.
We have moved into our second week of Language Arts. Thank you to Sr. Flannery (aka Marcella’s dad!) and Marcella for assisting our introduction of upper case and lower case letters! The children discussed the similarities and differences between Marcella and Sr. Flannery and then we compared that to letters. Just like they are part of the same family and are called Flannery, the B still makes the same “b” sound even though the letters look different. The children enjoyed this launch of upper and lower case letters.
The children heard “Simeli Mountain” which inspired our work with the letter M. To introduce the letters, we follow a rhythm of hearing a story, drawing an image from it the next day, and discovering that letter in the image on the third day. Sprinkled throughout, the children experience tongue twisters or alliterations with the upcoming sound. For example, “Merrily, merrily marches the minstrel. By meadows and marshes, over moutains and moorlands. Mice are amazed by the magical music of the marvelous melodies the minstrel makes.” The children also engage with the letter shape and sound through varied multisensory experiences.
This week, in our work with “m,” (with our logs cleared to the perimeter of the room), we listened for where we heard the “m” sound and moved in the room to show where we heard it. The last word they heard was Michaelmas and they caught that there are actually two places where we hear “m”!
I told “The Fisherman and His Wife” over a couple of days this week. We drew the image of the fisherman standing in his boat looking out at the flounder on Friday. The children are really working hard to properly use their block crayons to create beautiful bands and clouds of color. On Monday, we will discover our next letter and work with it. Now that we have a couple of letters under our belts, our rhythm of working with each letter will continue but usually take place over three days.
Middle School Test Prep Informational Meeting, October 1, 7-9pm
First Grade Parent Night, October 17, 7-9pm
In our classroom community and in our broader school community, we strive to provide windows and mirrors for all of our children. Children benefit from experiencing stories that relate to their own lives and stories that allow them to learn about others. Fairy tales and other stories provide this backdrop and include both archetypes and other characters and aspects of human life. In this vein, tomorrow we welcome Sophie LaBelle to Urban Prairie. Sophie is an author and cartoonist of comics and children’s books and is also known for her work in the area of transgender rights. I have invited Sophie to speak to the first graders about the tools she uses to illustrate and her journey to becoming an artist since our first graders have been exploring the ways to use our block crayons beautifully. She will also tell them a story from one of her books.
On a walk or a drive, invite your child to try to find objects that begin with a “b” or “m” sound. You could also say a word with one of those sounds and playfully invite your child to identify where the sound is found—in the beginning, middle, or end. (We hop onto our logs to show this or move throughout the entire room!)
Jack and his family brought in a bounty of apples from their weekend trip to an orchard, as well as some delicious apple streudel. We have been slicing up the apples throughout the week and enjoying them together! Thank you, Smart Family!
Thank you to Janine Farzin, Tom Lee, and May Reilly for joining our Work Day on Friday afternoon. The children worked outdoors doing laundry for several classes—washing, rinsing, wringing, and hanging. Most children needed to change into dry clothes after that!
Thank you to ALL the parents and guardians for attending or ensuring your child could attend our first festival! We missed one friend who had a long-standing out-of-town commitment—she was with us in spirit!
*Please send in a warm set of extra clothes. Many of your children wore their extras home after our laundry work on Friday.
*Please remember to send your child’s clean water bottle back to school tomorrow!
Please reach out with any questions! I am more than happy to make time to talk!