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Friday, January 26, 2018

Happy New Year!

Dear Families,

Welcome back and Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed a happy, restful break full of all the things you love most. Thank you for the extremely thoughtful and generous gift card To Caress Day Spa. It is my favorite place to get a massage and I'm looking forward to it very much. Thank you also for all the other lovely gifts that came my way. I appreciate each and every kindness.

We've had a great week and a half back in the classroom and have a lot of fun things happening.

Mind-Up! We are delving deeper into our school-wide Mind-Up! curriculum and learning all about being mindful of our actions and learning how to calm our bodies, prepare for learning and focus, and make smart choices through a deep breathing practice. We are also learning about the parts of our brains and what each part helps us do, and how mindful breathing affects our neurological response.  Ask your children how their new breathing practice helps them in their lives in and out of school. I have heard several  stories about how they've used the practice at home already. Fun stuff!

Santa Cruz County Sheriffs Presentation: We had our second of four presentations Friday. Our topic was safety in public and at home against strangers and/or bullies. Please create a safety plan with your child in the event they get lost or are left home alone. Continue to review personal addresses and phone numbers with your children as well. We look forward to two more safety presentations from the Sheriff's Department this year. 

Writing: We have started our unit on Informational Writing. Students have begun by gathering topic ideas they believe they are experts on, rehearsing their topics orally with their new writing partners, and will complete a few drafts before choosing their best idea to take through publication.

Social Studies Writing: In isolation of our Writing Workshop sessions, we will be learning how to structure a proper paragraph using a topic sentence, details, and concluding sentence as we integrate writing and social studies while  learning about Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, and Harriet Tubman as we celebrate Black History Month.

Math: First Grade-Place Value and Money, Second Grade-Measurement and Money. All students- Fact Fluency.

Science: Our new unit is Plant Adventures: Structure, Function, and Adaptations. We will be working to get our garden bed going and growing with the help of Lauren Wall, Vivi's mom. If anyone else would like to help by volunteering here at school or donating supplies, please let Lauren or myself know. We would like to paint the borders of the bed, get soil, netting, etc. to keep the deer out, and then plant a vegetable garden so we can enjoy a salad party after we harvest. I am not a green thumb by any means, so your support is very appreciated. : )

Homework: For the next half of the year, we will continue to have a reading log and word wall words for reading and spelling. In addition, there will be an added element of addition and and subtraction fluency for both first and second graders. First graders should be adding fluently within 10 for by the end of the year and second graders adding within 20. All students will begin at the same level and advance through our fluency program as they successfully complete levels at their own individual pace. Your support at home is encouraged. Fluency can be attained a number of ways: repeated practice on worksheets sent home, flashcards, or apps. Please do what you find works best for your child. Information about the program will be coming home in homework packets next week.

Word Wall Words:      been     only     called     into     also

Field Trips: Our first grade field trip to Jacob's Heart was wonderful. Thank you to all our awesome drivers and chaperons.

Second Grade will be going to Elkhorn Slough on Friday, November 9th. I am happy to report that all field trip forms have been returned and I have a surplus of drivers. You are all welcome to attend, however, if anyone would like to opt out of this one, please let me know as soon as possible. I have enough seats for 23 students and we only have 10 second graders attending. I will have parents ride together if you all still want to attend. I will also give priority to drivers who have all their insurance information up to date in the office by Wednesday, January 31st.

Important Dates: Wednesday, January 31st is Hawaiian Day! Please show your school spirit by dressing in Hawaiian attire!

Again, welcome back to school! Wishing you all exactly the 2018 you're hoping for!


Caryn Allen

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Conference Schedule

Hello Room 7,

I am looking forward to meeting with you all during conferences next week. If you have not yet turned in your yellow feedback form, please do so ASAP. This will help ensure all your question are answered during our brief conference time. Here is our schedule:

Monday:               Tuesday:                 Wednesday:              Thursday:               Friday:
 1:05--Ayla            12:45--Sofia            12:45--Natalia          12:45--Sam         12:45--Rory
1:25--Isais               1:05--Jazmine        1:05--Jameson          2:25--Vivi           1:05--Cana
2:05--Kirani             1:25--Rylie            1:25--Tamara           2:45--Grant         1:25--Seamus
2:45--Rowyn            1:45--Xabi            1:45--Myra                                         1:45--Janeah
                                                              2:05- Aedan                                        2:05--Clayton

Have a wonderful week and enjoy the Friday holiday!

Caryn Allen

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Halloween Week

Hi Families,

We had a wonderful Halloween party yesterday. A big thanks goes out to Mrs. Moran and Mrs. Wall for organizing such a fun event for our kiddos. Thank you as well to all who sent in food and supplies, and to Mrs. Dudley, Mrs. Mintun, Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Rogers, and Mrs. Dresser for being awesome volunteers and helping everything run smoothly. What a fabulous afternoon!

Parent-Teacher conferences are the week of November 13. There are a few of you who are not yet scheduled. I will be calling you to do so. I will post our master schedule in the next few days. Please be on the lookout for a questionnaire to come home. This questionnaire will help ensure that you get all of your questions answered during our brief 20 minute conference time. I look forward to meeting with each of you.

We have our first whole class field trip to The Martinelli and Company Store in Watsonville on Monday, November 20th. Permission slips were sent home on Tuesday. Please return them ASAP. As a reminder, if you would like to drive, please make sure all of the pertinent driver information is up-to-date with the office at least 10 days prior to the field trip. That means by Friday, Novermer 10.

Elkhorn Slough Update: We will be trying to reschedule our second grade trip in the spring. Unfortunately, poor air quality prevented us from attending.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of the week! Happy November!

Caryn Allen

Monday, October 9, 2017

Hi everyone,

I hope you all enjoyed the beautiful, long weekend and maybe had a chance to view the fireworks last night. I traveled to Long Beach with several of my Rio colleagues to attend the Cotsen Foundation for the Art of Teaching annual conference. As always, it was a wonderful day of learning and inspiration that I get to bring back to our classroom. I'm looking forward to implementing many new engagement strategies, CGI (cognitively guided instruction) methods in math, and attended an amazing session on punctuation that has really shifted my perspective on teaching punctuation. It was time well spent for sure!

Language Arts: Our word wall words this week are:  went, who, will, want, why

In writing, we will be finishing up our narratives, focusing on creating endings that stay close to the "Big Thing That Happened", spelling strategies, and punctuation.

Math: Both grade levels will be focusing on CGI problems, learning how to explain their thinking, and using various strategies to problem solve.

Second grade will be studying place value, and first grade will continue with fact families and subtraction.

Second Grade Field Trip:  Our field trip to Elkhorn Slough is this Friday, October 13. We will be leaving school at 8:15 and returning at 1:15. For the first time in my teaching career, all parent drivers have their information on file and up-to-date in the office without any extra phone calls and pestering from me. Thank you for being so on top of it! It truly makes my job a lot easier.

First graders will be in the capable hands of our substitute, Lisa Bird, while we're away.

Harvest Festival: I look forward to seeing many of you at our Harvest Festival Friday evening.

Have a wonderful week!

Ms. Allen

Monday, September 25, 2017

Week of September 25-29

Hello Room 7!

I hope you all enjoyed the weekend! We've had a busy couple of weeks in all areas. We have been deep in the study of similes and students are getting adept at writing them and recognizing them in literature. Students wrote similes about how they feel while doing a favorite activity and we've begun a class book modeled after the book Quick As a Cricket  by Jan Brown. We've also been learning and talking a lot about how to "grow" our math brains and learning to share our thinking about numbers and problem solving.

This week we will begin rotating classrooms for RTI (reading instruction). Students will have an hour of reading instruction Monday-Thursday. In class, students now have personal book boxes and will learn how to select books at their "just right" level for in-class reading. I'm looking forward to having the one-on-one time during RTI with each grade level for math and certain areas of grammar and language wall.

Math: 1st: We are continuing our study of addition and using various strategies to solve addition problems and will move into our study of fact families and subtraction as well. We are also learning how to show our work/strategies used when answering word problems. We will begin learning the Read, Draw, Write approach to solving word problems.

2nd: We are learning  about sums and differences to 20, how to use a number rack in solving problems, and doing an application problem each day that requires students to use the Read, Draw, Write approach: read to unpack the problem and find out what information is necessary to solve it, draw to help solve the problem and show your strategies, write an equation representing the problem, and respond in a complete sentence to answer the question thoroughly.

Writing: We have written several drafts of the ideas we gathered the last couple of weeks and have learned to add characters and dialog into our personal narratives. Students have now chosen one of those drafts to take through to publication. Students will begin to revise their original drafts to add a strong beginning that hooks their reader through action, dialog, and/or setting. They will learn the strategy of  writing the "Show, Don't Tell" way when describing strong emotions, how to add more to their writing by using "twin sentences", and how to write a strong ending that stays close to the "Big Thing That Happened" in their stories.

Our Word Wall Words this week are:      WHY     WHEN     WHERE      WHICH      MAY

Have a great week!


Monday, September 11, 2017

Dear Room 7 Families,

It was a pleasure to meet so many of you at Back-to-School Night last week. If you were unable to attend, I sent home information that you can peruse to become up to date about our happenings here at school. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything. The best way to keep informed is to subscribe to our blog posts. I will do my best to update on a weekly basis. 

Here's what we're up to this week:

Homework: Please make sure to listen to your child read and fill out your reading log each evening. I recommend a minimum of 15 minutes for first grade and 20 minutes for second grade. Reading logs are due each Friday.
Our word wall words for this week are: 

favorite, once, made, nice, yes

All first graders will have a reading quiz on these five words each Friday. Second graders will hvae a spelling quiz on each of the words each Friday. First graders who would like to challenge themselves and take our spelling quiz my do so. Please refer to the homework page I sent home. 

Bridges Home Connections books have already gone home with second graders. They will be sent home with first graders on Monday. Use this book at your discretion and at your own pace to support the math we do at school. Moby Max is another great math resource that your child can access at home. I sent program and login information home with you or your child last week. 

Second Grade: Permission slips for our field trip to Elkhorn Slough on October 13 are due ASAP. If you are planning to volunteer to drive, please make sure that you have a current TB test, fingerprints, volunteer driver form and accompanying documents all on file in the office by the end of September (or sooner!). 

Wish List: Many of you have asked about donating to our class. Thank you! I am always in need of tissues, paper towels, baby wipes or sanitizing wipes. The best way to support our classroom on top of these items is to make a cash donation which will help offset costs I have already incurred setting up our classroom, and help me to purchase supplies to support our art and science studies. Gift cards are always welcome as well. I often purchase supplies from Palace, Staples, and Target. Thank you so much for your support. 

Have a great week!

Caryn Allen

It was a pleasure getting to know all of you