Spelling and a Few Other Things

Happy snowy Monday! 
I've had a few families ask about the spelling words and RED words. The list of suggestions I gave are that your child can write the words in a sentence--must make sense, rainbow write them--write each word in a color of the rainbow, write them 3 times each, put them in ABC order, write them in fancy letters, and so on. There is also a spelling site called SPELLING CITY where you can type the words in the Spelling List column on the left and then click on the activities to practice the words. The site is free and you can also pay for the premium activities. This is a fun way to practice spelling. Check out https://www.spellingcity.com/
The words on the word list follow all the Orton-Gillingham (OG) rules, for example, catch-- -tch is found at the end of a short word after a short vowel and the sound is /ch/.
The RED words are words that do not follow any of the  rules and must be memorized letter for letter, such as, people. 
The spelling test that was in your child's Thursday folder last week was a pre-assessment to see what they remembered from OG. It does not count against them and was only used for my planning. 

Many thanks to those who have turned in field trip money and/or permission slips. All field trip money is due by Friday--the cost is $25 for all three field trips. 
Our student teachers and paras will be the only chaperones to the Arvada Center due to our activity schedule and limited classroom space at the AC. 
We will definitely solicit for help when we set a date for the museum and zoo. Thanks for understanding. 

On Thursday I will send out a list of student names in our class for Valentines, if your child plans on handing them out at our class party. Heidi Johnson is planning our Valentine's party and you can sign up using the link http://www.slyreply.com/app/sheets/tizgk45xbfsn/

Finally, I am waaaay late on my thanks--a big THANK YOU to Amy Pond and all the wonderful families who helped make our Winter Party a great success. You are all truly appreciated! Your gifts and kindness warm my heart, but just having amazing families is what I will always remember. Thank you!

Please remember, if you have any math concerns it's best that you email Mrs. B. Often times I can relay your questions to her, but on occasion I forget in the hustle and bustle of our day. She can be reached at sara_bryan-doherty@dpsk12.org.

Have a great evening and stay warm! 

Thursday Update


Happy Thursday! It's almost Friday--for some reason the week really seemed to fly by. Perhaps it's just the anticipation I'm feeling for the upcoming AFC Championship game on Sunday.
Either way, it's been quite a busy week.

Today the kids took a literacy exam so I can see where they are in their reading and writing skills.
They really enjoyed the assessment (WHAT?!) and I think they did well on it. I'll be grading all 51 assessments over the weekend.

Homework went home today. Please make sure you check your child's backpack for their folder/packet. While most of the work can be done independently, it's important to go over it with your child.

There is a spelling list attached to the packet as well as a brief note explaining the list and ways your child can practice spelling the words. You can also go to Spelling City and enter the list of words in the left hand column. There are a few free spelling activities your child can use. There is also a premium package that runs about $30/year. In the past, my students have really enjoyed the free activities so don't feel as though you need to pay for the services.

In the DLI packet, we are learning about action verbs. Your child's STAR sentence words are on the cover of the packet--these words are verbs.

Keep in mind, homework is meant as a reinforcement of what your child has learned and to get into the routine of completing assignments. It's a responsibility they still need help with. Some students will check off what they've completed each day on the weekly homework cover sheet, others have a special place at home where they complete their homework and know where to find it each day. It's whatever works best for you and your child.

I am finding that many kids are not spending enough time reading or being read to at home. While we all have busy lives one of the easiest ways to slow down and reconnect with your kids is to read together. I have so many wonderful memories of reading to my children each night--many of the books in our classroom were once my own children's books. It is so important to get in those 20 minutes of reading and here is why:

Reminder: Field trip money is due by February 5th. If you have sent yours in, thank you!
Our first field trip will be to the Arvada Center to see Junie B. Jones on February 17th. In years past we have been able to have several chaperones join us but because we are also doing the Theatre Arts Day space is limited. For our class, the chaperone will be Miss Mosley.
For those wanting to chaperone, our field trips to the Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Zoo will require LOTS of helpers. We would love for you to join us then in March and April. 
*An important note: any student on RED 3 or more times between now and the field trip will not be allowed to attend--no exceptions. 

Finally, my homeroom class has been having a difficult time completing work and staying on task in both our classroom and with Mrs. B. We've had several conversations about the behavior but I think a reminder from parents about school and class expectations would be helpful. 
I will be bringing back our Literacy stations next week, so hopefully that will help them to stay engaged and on task. As part of our How-to unit in Writers Workshop, the kids made slime yesterday and learned the importance of having the necessary materials and following the steps in order. It was a messy, but fun learning experience!
That just about does it. Have a great evening and I hope you all cheer on our Broncos this weekend!


Thursday Update

Oops! I mean Tuesday update! 
Since it's a Snow Day for us and I missed a few updates--my apologies--I thought I would update now and get ahead of the game. 

With just a few days left before we go on break the kiddos are getting a little antsy. Please give them reminders to continue to work hard and stay on task. I know, easier said...We are all antsy!!
Actually, they have been working hard and I am seeing such growth in their academic skills.

Some ways that you can help your child at home:

  • Encourage writing--Have them write grocery lists, thank you notes, letters to family members, creative writing--anything that gets your child to write.
  • Reading--Oral reading skills take practice and the best way is to practice reading out loud to you, a younger sibling, or a stuffed animal--especially if they are apprehensive readers.
  • Comprehension--Ask your child to tell you about the characters, setting, events in the story, what their favorite part is and why, and ask them to tell you what the book was about.
  • Fluency--It's perfectly fine to read to your children, even if they are good readers. They need to hear you reading and using expression, reading with correct speed, paying attention to punctuation, and enjoying reading. 

Many thanks to all those who came to our Literacy/Math Night last week. We know it was a lot of information to throw at you in such a limited time. However, we hope it gave you a glimpse of what first grade kiddos need to know. 

We have been reading several versions of the Gingerbread Man in Readers and Writers Workshop. On Thursday we will decorate gingerbread cookies to wrap up our unit.
We had a sign-up for items which is now closed. However, if you can donate any of the items left on our list we would greatly appreciate it. I need to get rid of the 60 gingerbread cookies I made!
Here is the link that shows what is needed. Please email me with anything you can donate. Thanks!
Hernandez/Bryan-Doherty Sly Reply

Ms. B had her reconstructive surgery last week and is recuperating with her family in Minnesota. She will be back mid-January ready to go for the second half of the year. Thanks to all who have sent her well-wishes and good thoughts. 

Finally, on this snowy day I would like to thank you all for a great first half of the school year. Your support and kindness are much appreciated. Stay warm and enjoy your time with your kiddos!

QUICK Thursday Update


No homework went home tonight. Please expect a homework packet in your child's folder tomorrow. There will be a note explaining the homework and a cover sheet with a weekly calendar explaining what your child should work on each night. 

With the holidays coming up, Mrs. Walker and I will be teaching a Gingerbread Man unit over the next couple of weeks. 
We would like to do a cookie decoration craft and are asking for your help. If you would like to donate to our class "craft" please click on the link to donate to our class (our class and Mrs. B's).

Ms. Hernandez/Mrs. B Sign Up

Also, you can check out Mrs. B's blog to see what the kiddos are working on in Math/Science/Social Studies.


I will update in full this weekend.
Have a good evening!

Thursday Update

Happy Friday Eve!

We are one day away from a much needed Thanksgiving break! Some of you have already begun your travels to vacation destinations or to visit family for the holiday. Safe travels if you are spending the holiday elsewhere. 

This week the kids began learning about the Writing Process while writing about Thanksgiving.
They were a bit taken back (and somewhat unhappy) to learn that the process includes rewriting the edited piece. However, seeing the look of accomplishment on their faces when they compared their rough draft or sloppy copy and their neatly written published piece was priceless. It was definitely a lesson in grit!

As a reminder, when you see your children making backward letters and/or numbers give a gentle reminder that it's backwards and/or point out if they made the letter/number the correct way somewhere else on their paper so they can refer to it. 

Also, we have been working on starting our letters in the correct place--from the top, using one smooth motion to write letters (except to cross a t and dot the i and j), many lowercase letters begin with 'magic c'--a, c, d, g, o, q, and s, and dipping letters like g and j dip below the line. 
A couple of great apps for kids to practice lowercase letters and numbers in a kinesthetic way are Letter School and Handwriting Without Tears, the handwriting curriculum we use. You can download them for your iPhone or iPad.  

While some believe that kids learning handwriting is a waste of time because of technology, there has been much research to indicate its importance in reading development, brain processing, and fine motor skills. Technology is great but it's not always reliable. 

Finally, your child should be using pencil to complete the reading log. 

I am thankful for the opportunity to work with your children-- it is an absolute joy to watch them learn and grow. I am also thankful to have such a great group of supportive parents. 
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you enjoy your time with your families. 


Good Evening,

I hope you all had a relaxing weekend and enjoyed some of the beautiful weather. We're in for a big change this week so be prepared for any delayed start mornings. You can check here for more info on the DPS Weather Announcement

Our first week of platooning went very well! The first couple of days were just like the first days of school but we made it and it will only get better. 

Here are a few pictures of the kids working in small groups in math--a happy group of busy little bees!

In Writers Workshop the kids have been learning how to use a teacher voice and their fingers to keep organized in order to teach someone all about a specific topic and its facts. If your child hasn't already done so, ask them to do it for you! They are great!

This week's Specials schedule:
Tuesday--P.E.--Don't forget those tennis shoes

This Friday is our Thanksgiving Luncheon. Make sure you have purchased your tickets ahead of time. Please note--our lunch time will begin at 11:30.

This month's Personal Success Factor (PSF) is Gratitude. Tis the season for giving thanks--please talk with your kiddos about gratitude. We have so much to be thankful for and one of the best ways for kids to understand and express thanks is by seeing others demonstrating gratitude and appreciation of others (and things).  

Finally, report cards are scheduled to come home on Friday. Be on the lookout for them.
Have a great evening!