News From Mrs. Holder's Class

May 6 Newsletter

Spelling List: rainy, sunny, cloudy, foggy, snowy, windy, spring, summer, fall, winter
Challenge: humid, temperature, precipitation, degree, lightning

I believe this will be our last list of spelling words for the year. The last three weeks we will review high frequency words and probably do some dictation sentences.

The Burris Young Author’s Day will be held on the morning of May 17th. PTSO is providing doughnut holes, but we need to provide apple juice for our class. We usually break into groups to share stories and discuss the writing process and parents are always welcome to participate. Please let me know if you would be willing to provide juice or work with a small group of children for about 30 minutes.

Hat Day is also scheduled for May 17. Students are asked to wear a hat to school and make a monetary donation which will benefit ARF (Animal Rescue Fund).

In Social Studies we have finished our study on maps. Students should be able to use the compass rose, map key, and find our state on a map. Children have also been introduced to the seven continents and 4 oceans. Maybe if you travel this summer you could engage your child by asking them to help read the map.

My math class will begin studying fractions and the children always enjoy making a Fraction Monster! The remainder of the year will be spent reviewing important skills. Many of our math book pages have not been completed because they don’t match common core standards very well. Please use these extra pages as practice over the summer.


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April 22 Newletter

Spelling Words:

High Frequency: after, am, play, ride, where

Focus: Compound Words: without, nobody, someone, anyway, inside

Challenge: grandmother, thunderstorm, weekend, bookshelf, blackboard

Dress Code Reminder: Any student who is not dressed according to the dress code will be sent to the office. For elementary students, please remember the following: 1. No sleeveless tops or spaghetti straps unless covered by a sweater or shrug. 2. Shorts must reach bottom of pinkie finger when arms down by side. 3. Flip flops are highly discouraged and tennis shoes are best for the playground.

NWEA: We are taking NWEA earlier than I expected. First grade is taking the test this week, April 22. Please make sure students are at school unless they are ill.

Literacy Night: Literacy Night is this Thursday, April 25, from 6:00-7:00. This event is for parents only. I’m still finalizing the details but plan to talk about engaging your child this summer.

Hat Day: Hat Day will be May 17th. If students want to wear a hat to school, they need to make a donation which will go to support ARF.

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Apr. 1 Newsletter

I look forward to meeting with all parents this week for parent-teacher conferences. I will have examples of student work and report cards for you to see.

March is our last month for Book It so don’t forget to return any calendars this week. Although I don’t send home a calendar for April and May, I hope you will continue reading at home with your child. Practice is so important for first graders.

If your child is struggling with learning ten spelling words, please feel free to only have your child work on the five high frequency words. I would rather have students do well on a shorter list than struggle trying to do them all.

Thanks to all parents who helped at home with Young Author’s stories. Students were very proud when they turned their work in last week. Each child will get the chance to read their story in class. My college teachers read all the stories and chose one student to represent our class at the local Young Author’s Celebration. Congratulations to Lucas Workman for being selected as our winner!

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Mar. 18 Newsletter

Spelling Words for this week:

Focus: r controlled vowels (er, ir, ur): hurt, burn, germs, bird, faster

High Frequency: fun, here, new, off, old

Challenge: squirrel, surround, urgent, emergency, permanent

Our spring conferences will be held on Thursday, Apr. 4. I’ll be contacting you this week to sign up for a time. Since I had so much trouble with the google doc last fall, I will let you choose a time through email. If April 4th is not a convenient day, please let me know and I can try to schedule you another day after school.

Just a reminder that all students need to have their Young Author’s story brought to school by Monday, Mar. 25. I will ask college teachers to read all the stories and vote for their favorite. From those votes a winner from our class will be chosen to represent our class at the local Young Author’s event. Each child will get to share their story when we have our celebration at Burris.

EDEL pre-service teachers will be finishing up our study on economics. Our lessons have taught ideas on community workers, goods, services, producers, consumers, businesses, and income. Last week we role played being consumers and producers. Children created a business and were given a salary of $2 for working. Then each child had to decide where to spend their money and if they would deposit any money in the bank. My pizza business and the bank had the most money when we were finished. That led us to discuss businesses needing to sell something that is wanted by consumers and how sometimes it’s a good idea to save some of our money.

Science tutors started a unit on matter and will be teaching for the next month. Hopefully students will be doing some activities to see how matter can change.

My math class will quickly move through Unit 6 which is on math facts and then begin a geometry Unit. Plane flat shapes and three dimensional shapes such as spheres, cylinders, pyramids, cones, cubes,and rectangular prisms will be introduced. Children always seem to enjoy making 3-D shapes with toothpicks and clay as well as making flat shapes using geoboards. Lots of hands on learning! Mrs. Onieal said today her students were studying two-digit addition with regrouping.

Hard to believe we only have about 10 weeks left and lots to be done.

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Feb. 25 Newsletter

Spelling Words for this week:
Focus: r controlled vowels (ar): park, dark, large, farm, sharp
High Frequency: day, did, down, get, long
Challenge : argument, particular, spectacular, calendar, apartment

Thanks to the parents who helped with the Valentine’s Day Party: Mrs. Lembo, Mr. Stanley, Mrs. Sanchez, and Mrs. Lyons. It always delights me to see how excited the children get when they look in their sack and see valentines from their friends. Our writing prompt for the week of Feb. 14 was compliments. Students had to write three compliments to three of their classmates.

This week we will finish up our study of presidents, Washington and Lincoln. Pre-service teachers are now beginning a unit on economics and community helpers. Students are now familiar with community workers who produce goods and those that provide services. We are going to do some role playing this week and set up pretend stores and act out how these services are dependent on each other.

On Thursday I will be sending home directions for what students need to do at home for Young Author’s stories. The main idea for our story is “I have an imaginary friend.” Students completed a graphic organizer with information to include in the story. I would like to have all stories completed and returned to school by Mar. 22.

Hope everyone has a wonderful break!

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Feb. 10 Newsletter

Our Valentine’s Day party will be Friday, Feb. 15. Each child needs to bring one valentine for each child in our classroom. Please send valentines to school in a baggie or small sack. Sometimes students bring in small candy treats, which is fine, but please remember we have a student with peanut allergies.

Our comprehension focus in reading has been main idea. Most students are able to identify the topic of the reading such as Machines, but are unable to determine a main idea such as “Machines make work easier for people.” I found some visual strategies online so I’ll be using those in class soon. I’m sometimes amazed at the stories our first graders are reading. I have one of my husband’s Dick and Jane books from his childhood and see how easy the reading is in comparison to our basal readers. Two of the reading groups are reading biographies about Alexander Graham Bell and Ben Franklin!

In math this week my students will be doing two digit addition without regrouping. Last week we practiced the concept with tens and ones and next we’ll move to  the abstract problems on paper, emphasizing adding ones first and then tens. Please have a set of flash cards at home and practice facts to 18 until your child can do them with speed and accuracy!

Pre-service teachers have taught lessons on Rosa Parks, George Washington, and Abe Lincoln will be taught tomorrow. Lessons emphasized why we honor these great Americans and how they made our country a better place. If we have time this week, we are planning on doing a comical reader’s theater called “George Washington’s Teeth”!

In the next week or two I’ll be asking your child to work at home on a story for Young Authors. More information and directions will be sent as I get things ready.

Maybe the weather will be nice enough for the children to get outside this week. This long winter stretch is difficult but only a few more weeks until break!

If your child has not purchased headsets for the ipad, the school sells them for $10. If possible, please buy a pair.

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Jan. 24 Newsletter

After a much deserved winter break, the students and I are back in the school routine. Day 100 will be tomorrow! 

Our Social Studies focus these past two weeks has been MLK. Students wrote about their dream for the world and I was impressed with some of the ideas they thought of. Those papers are on our bulletin board so feel free to peek at their responses. Ask your child why I brought in 2 eggs (white, brown) and what we discovered about the inside! They should know what that activity symbolizes. 

We are finishing some winter stories where students could either pick a persuasive writing or an informational writing. Questioning has been a new strategy in reading. Good readers ask questions before, during, and after reading. Students are learning about answering questions by looking in the text, inferring, or looking at another outside source (internet, dictionary, expert) to find the answer. 

Topics in math include place value (tens and ones), comparing numbers using > < = symbols, addition facts to 18 and solving word problems. Students should be able to understand how ten ones are traded for one ten and ten tens are traded for one hundred. 

EDEL 350 students are here on Monday and Wednesday in both the morning and afternoon and will be teaching almost every day. We are happy to have Sophie’s mother, Mrs. Bolander, as an instructional assistant in our room from 9:00-10:00. Another set of helping hands makes the morning run smoothly. 


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Jan. 7 Newsletter

Hope all of you had an enjoyable winter break. I wanted to thank all of the parents who helped with our December activities: Mrs. Littleford, Mrs. Ogle, Mrs. Allison, Mrs. Sanchez, Mrs. Lembo, Mrs. Pasyanos, and Mrs. Devarapalli.

College teachers will start participating in our room the week of Jan. 14. Some of the upcoming lessons I’ve assigned them to teach this semester include the following topics: Famous Americans, economics, matter, and maps.

During Daily 5 students have started taking Accelerated Reader tests and these give me a comprehension score for their independent reading. We’ll try doing these each week so I can provide feedback to you. The Purple Group will continue reading The Green Book while working on new vocabulary, inferring answers, and comparing and contrasting the Earth and an unknown planet. The Blue and Yellow Groups are also focusing on comparing and contrasting and will be reading a nonfiction story on simple machines. Students in the Green Group are learning about long vowels, sequencing, and will be reading stories about community workers and dinosaurs.

In language we’ll be discussing main ideas and supporting details. I plan to have students write either an opinion paragraph or informative paragraph about the winter season. Sometime this month I’ll be thinking about ideas for Young Author’s stories and probably will be sending an assignment home. The Burris Spelling Bee will be Jan. 23 at 3:00 and is open to all grades. If your child would like to participate and would like a list of words, please let me know.

My math class will be finishing Chapter 4 this week and testing. Chapter 5 skills include place value (tens and ones), number stories, problem solving, and addition facts. As we study these topics students will have opportunity to practice skills by playing partner games.

The Burris playground equipment can be slippery and dangerous during the winter so we do stay inside many days. Our choice of classroom toys is limited so if your child has a favorite toy he /she is welcome to bring it to school.

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Nov. 29, Week 16 Newsletter

December is going to be a busy month! We’ll be incorporating three holiday themes in December: reindeer, Santa, and Holidays Around the World. 

We’ve been reading informational texts about reindeer and caribou and we’ll be writing about what we have learned. As we’ve looked at these books we’ll be exploring text features such as Table of Contents, index, glossary, captions, and diagrams. No discussion of reindeer would be complete without comparing Santa’s magical reindeer to other reindeer. Students will need to use what they learned about reindeer to write a persuasive letter to Santa convincing him they would be a good reindeer elf.

As we talk about Santa and being Naughty or Nice, we will emphasize good citizen traits.

The week before break we will discuss holidays other than Christmas and hope to have visitors come and talk about holidays they celebrate.

This week in reading two groups took unit tests. Those papers will come home before we leave for the holiday. This week we wrote sentences using our spelling words. Applying capitals and punctuation in their actual writing still seems to be a problem area for some students. 

My math students have been counting combinations of dimes, nickels, and pennies. Gather some coins and have your child practice at home. 

One last request from all of you. I realize many first graders like to give holiday gifts to their teachers and I love receiving them. But as I did last year, I am requesting no gifts. I’ll be talking to students about this being a time to give to others who are in need.  The best gift they can give me is to donate to a charity. Have them drop some money into the Salvation Army bucket or bring a new unwrapped toy to put in our Toys for Tots box here at school. 


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Nov. 9, Week 13 Newletter

Our Thanksgiving Play will be on Tuesday, Nov. 20, but I’m not yet sure of the time. Another teacher also signed up to use the auditorium on this day so I will let everyone know as soon as possible. This week we will practice without our scripts so please help your child if he or she has a longer part. If any students have any Indian items such as bows and arrows, costumes etc. please send them to school. We will be making headbands so everyone will have a costume.

In math class we have been learning to tell time on the hour and half hour. Some students are still confused about half hour times and get the hour wrong (7:30 instead of 6:30) If you would like a small clock to practice at home, just let me know because I have some old ones I don’t use anymore. We’ve also been using the the number line to do addition and subtraction. We continue working on memorizing our facts to 10 and the latest strategy has been learning the doubles (3 + 3) and doubles plus one (3 + 4). Next week we will begin counting dimes, nickels, and pennies.

Reading comprehension skills we’ve been working on have been main idea and character, setting, and plot. Main idea is usually hard for most students. The Green Group will study the last short vowel sound (u) and have started decoding words with consonant blends. The HA group has been using glossaries to understand the meaning of words and next week will be learning to write a persuasive paragraph. A writing assignment will be coming home this week.

Our EDEL 350 students will be finishing up this week. Students will be going to centers to learn about different jobs and either goods or services provided by these workers in our community. They will also be creating a map of our classroom and learning about map keys. SCI 397 teachers will be concluding our study of soil and earthworms. Students have naturally enjoyed observing earthworms and we even had students down on the floor last week trying to move like a worm!

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