Wednesday, October 14, 2020

 Hi First Grade Families,

Here is the link to our daily Zoom Meetings.

Can't wait to see the first graders in online class!

Take care,

Lise Weig

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Dear Room 2 Families,                                              November 19, 2019

Important Reminders 

Wednesday, November 27th: Students will be dismissed early at 11:30 am for Thanksgiving break.

We hope you’re all enjoying the month of November so far! We’re excited to share our learning adventures from the past few weeks.  

Language Arts

The children continue to blossom as readers and writers in Room 2. We are working on short vowels, digraphs (sh, ch, th, wh and ck) and will move into glued sounds (-an, -am, -all) next week during Word Work. Children are meeting with success as they encode and decode words, applying the rules they have learned in their reading and writing. We are so impressed with the increased stamina that is evident in their reading as children read leveled texts and old favorites in their book bags. 

Room 2 Is Reading….
Here are our latest book recommendations!

   A Peacock Among Pigeons by Tyler Curry and Clarione Gutierrez is a story about fitting in and loving yourself for who you are. The main character, Peter the Peacock, went out into the world because he never felt comfortable enough to be himself around the birds that were around him. He went in search of other birds who would appreciate him for his colorful ways, accept him, and celebrate all that he is. He met a diverse set of feathered friends who not only understood and accepted him, but celebrated all that makes him so special.  Our favorite line is, “Embrace who you are from beak to bird feet and never let anyone break your stride!”

We also loved All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold. This wonderfully illustrated book shares the beautiful, diverse individuals and families that create a classroom and school community. The kids in Room 2 were so observant of the illustrator’s detailed drawings. They were able to “step into the story” to connect with characters. They said it felt like Happy Hollow where everyone is welcome, everyone is safe, everyone is honored, and everyone is celebrated. Please let us know if you would like to borrow either of these books from our classroom. They are also available to be checked out from the Happy Hollow Community Bookstop.


Our math studies are centered on strategies to add and subtract.
In this unit of study we are focusing on the following skills:
  • Relating counting forward and counting back to addition and subtraction situations
  • Beginning to explore the combinations of 10 or 10’s partners
  • Mastering doubles facts (3+3, 5+5, etc.), and introducing the doubles + or - 1 strategy (7+8, 5+6),
  • Solving word problems with 3 addends 
Children are focused not only on solving equations, but on explaining their thinking and proving how they got their answers.


Our studies have included exploring weather instruments such as thermometers and anemometers. We’ve also learned about cirrus, cumulus, and stratus clouds, as well as wind. Our daily weather reports include observing the sky and reading and recording the temperature outside in degrees Fahrenheit. 

Last Friday, classmates worked in STEAM teams  (using concepts of science, technology, engineering, art and math) to create structures at least one foot high that could support a beach ball without it falling over! There was a great deal of teamwork, creativity, compromise, problem solving, turn-taking, and excitement in meeting this challenge.  Hope you enjoy the attached pictures! 

Winter Weather Ahead…

With snow flurries this past weekend and more on the way in the weeks and months ahead, please have your child prepared for the winter season. Please see the attached note regarding winter gear for first graders. In addition to the information in the letter, we suggest that kids have a spare set of clothes that can be left in your child’s backpack. Sometimes kids get wet from the snow and are interested in changing into dry clothes during the course of the day.  Also, toileting accidents can happen with so many layers to undo when nature calls! 


Please let us know if you would like to volunteer in class. We’d love to have you join us during math stations or to read a favorite story. Plus, it’s a great way to get a glimpse of your child in action in Room 2! 

Take care and as always, please let us know if you have any questions about the information in the newsletter or in our adventures in Room 2!

Take care,

Lise Weig  and Margie Cohen 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Hi Room 2 Families,                                                          Friday, October 18th, 2019

Important Dates:

Scholastic Book Fair: October 21st through October 25th

        Our class will visit the book fair on Thursday October 24th at 8:30 am

Happy Hollow PTO Movie Night: Friday, October 25th at 6 pm

Happy Fall! 

It has been such a pleasure meeting with so many of you for our parent-teacher conferences! I look forward to meeting with those of you whom I’ve not yet met with in the coming weeks. 

Readers’ Workshop

     We’ve started our formal Reader’s Workshop in first grade. Our Room 2 friends have done a wonderful job following a new plan, working with teachers either in a small group setting, or when reading independently and having the opportunity to confer with adults. Children are making nice transitions between the computer lab and the classrooms that they are working in. We are super-proud of each and every reader! 

This Week’s Book Recommendation…

     We will be reading an amazing variety of literature this year including both fiction and nonfiction pieces. My hope is to share some of the diverse books with you in our newsletters, as well as some of the conversations that we’ve had about the books. We’ll explore the selections during Open Circle, Read Aloud, and/or as springboards for language arts activities. Books will be available in our Happy Hollow Bookstop and/or in our classroom library. Children are welcome to sign out the books that have been recommended to share at home.

     This week, we read We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio, author of the very popular chapter book, Wonder This book celebrates the beauty and strength in both our similarities and our differences. Our favorite lines include, “I know I can’t change the way I look. But maybe, just maybe…people can change the way they see. If they do, they’ll see that I’m a wonder. And they’ll see that they’re wonders too. We’re all wonders!” The author encouraged us to “Look with kindness and you will always find wonder.” Each student then wrote and illustrated a way in which he/she is a wonder. Their sticky notes were placed on a big poster that is now proudly hanging in our classroom! We hope you’ll check out this book and enjoy it at home! J

Writer’s Workshop

   We’ve continued working in our journals, recording weekend activities, important personal events (playdates, birthdays, holidays, vacations, etc.) and interests. Children are focusing on creating complete ideas in their sentences, as well as starting each sentence with an uppercase letter and ending with appropriate punctuation. Children are also working on tapping out sounds in words, using their best-guess spelling when writing. 
    We read 2 great books by Chris Van Dusen titled If I Built A House and If I Built A School. Kids then created their own masterpieces with super cool and wildly imaginative rooms and furnishings! These mini posters inspired their writing, including labels and descriptions of the buildings. Yesterday, we read a book called Fall Is Here~I Love It!  We’ll write about the season next week in Writer’s Workshop. 


     Last Friday, students took a unit-end assessment for our Counting and Comparing unit. We call these assessments opportunities to “show me what you know.” We then use this data to determine math groups that will meet on Fridays for 40 minutes. These groups provide opportunities for practice, reteaching of skills, and extension opportunities in small group and large group settings. Our math groups will begin next Friday, October 25th.

Our new math is called Decomposing Numbers to 10. In this unit of study we are focusing on the following skills:

·       Conceptual understanding of solving word problems about putting together and taking apart situations (using story boards)
·       Learning combinations of numbers up to 10 beginning at a targeted number based on the results of Kathy Richardson’s Hiding Assessment
·       Understanding the relationship between addition and subtraction and use visuals to understand this relationship (turn around facts as well)
·       Use number bonds to understand the relationship between addition and subtraction (begin to introduce fact families)

Children will take part in a variety of activities during math stations that will provide appropriate support and challenge for each learner. We encourage you to take a look at the math papers that come home; these are good models to use should you be interested in working on math activities at home with your child.


     During the last 2 weeks, we have been exploring air during our science blocks.  Children have been performing experiments, working both individually and in partnerships to make sense of concepts described in the attached Science Newsletter.  On Monday, your child will take home his/her science journal. Please take a look at your child’s work and ask about the drawings and ideas that they have recorded. Next week, we will begin the next part of our unit called, Observing The Sky. Stay tuned for more science fun in the weeks to come!

Open Circle

In Open Circle with Mrs. Santomenna and Ms. Tazell, we have explored the concepts of including others, giving compliments, and positive self-talk.

     We hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead! As always, please let us know if you have any questions about your child’s school experience.

Take care,

Lise Weig  and Margie Cohen 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

September 13, 2019

Dear Room 2 Families,                                                                              Friday, September 13, 2019

Important Dates:

Sunday: September 15th:12:00 pm -4:00 pm Wayland Carnival Day: Wayland Middle School 

Tuesday, September 17th:School Picture Day

Wednesday, September 18th: Early Release Day at Happy Hollow: 11:30 am (no lunch will be served)

Thursday, September 19th: Curriculum Night, Grades K-2…

Note: Our K-2 Curriculum Nightwas originally scheduled for 6:30 pm but has since been changed to a 7:00 pm start time. 

     We've continued to work on establishing our classroom environment by familiarizing ourselves with first grade life.  Children have taken part in several “getting to know you” activities during Morning Meeting and Open Circle. We’ve practiced how to get into our Morning Meeting setting safely, calmly and cooperatively. We've discussed rules, expected behavior, and positive work habits during our first few meetings as well. Our class is also working on fostering friendships and creating connections between children by sharing what’s important and special to them with their Important Boxes.  If your child hasn’t made an Important Box yet, he or she still has plenty of time to do so. Please see the blurb below from our Move-Along Day Letter last June….

“There are some children in our class who you may know already and others that you will be meeting for the first time. We’ll spend time getting to know each other in the first few weeks of school. One way to introduce yourself to the class is to make an Important Boxto bring with you on the first day of school. You can ask a family member to help you make your box or you can put it together on your own. An Important Box is a shoebox filled with things that are important to you or about you. Examples of things that might go in your Important Box are pictures of people, pets, or places, a special rock or shell that you found or is part of a collection, a model or special art project that you’re proud of, or a ticket to a baseball game. Include anything that tells us about what is important to you! Be sure to include a picture of your family so that you can introduce them to us. You may decorate the box any way that you want to. Please include up to 7 items in your box. We will be sharing these boxes during the first weeks of school.”

     The past 2 weeks have been busy with lots of other activities as well. During our first fire drill of the year, kids did a great job getting out of the building quickly, safely and quietly. Many thanks for supporting your children in these first weeks of transition into first grade. Kids have come to school well rested and eager to participate in activities.

Who is....?

 Here are the folks who will be a part of your child’s first grade experience this year:

Margie Cohen: I am excited and honored to introduce you to Margie Cohen, our Room 2 Teaching Assistant this year! With a wealth of experience as an educator and parent, Margie is a second teacher in the classroom who provides support, wisdom, experience, love, and care to these fabulous first graders. Though I’ve known her for years as a Happy Hollow colleague, this is the first time I’ve had a chance to work with her closely in the classroom setting. What a gift she is to our classroom community!

Ginette Coffey: Mrs. Coffey is our special education liaison. She will be in the classroom for some language arts and math lessons. She will also run small groups during Reader’s Workshop and Math Groups (Math RTI or Response to Intervention) 2 times a week. Even if your child is not on an education plan, he/she may occasionally work with her. 

Christine Hayes: Mrs. Hayes is our reading specialist. She will work with small groups of children during Reader’s Workshop. She will help with reading assessments next week. She will be meeting with small groups of children several times a week (beginning mid-October) as determined by the results of our literacy assessments. 

Deede Bergeron and Laura O’Brien: These 2 ladies are my first grade classroom teacher colleagues. Your child may work in a math group or reading group with one of them or both of them during the school year. The children will see them on field trips, in the hallways, and on the playground as well. 

Julie Pond (Room 1) and Terri Vitti (Room 1B): Ms. Pond and Ms. Vitti are first grade teaching assistants in the other two classrooms who also help out on the playground and in the cafeteria during lunch. 

Leslie Basterache: Ms. B. willspend Wednesday mornings from 8:30 am to 9:15 am in Room 2 while we attend a first grade teachers meeting (PLC: Professional Learning Community).

Shaila Ahmed and Lynn Kennedy:Mrs. Ahmed and Mrs. Kennedy are our Happy Hollow building substitutes. They may occasionally help out in class if they are not assigned to another classroom on any given day. They LOVE first graders and always enjoy spending time with us!

Beth Santomenna:  Mrs. Santomenna is our guidance counselor this year. She will join us Friday mornings for Open Circle.

     We've been enjoying literacy experiences through a number of read-alouds. Several of our class favorites during read-aloud include:

A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech
Beautiful Oops! By Barney Saltzberg
Hunter’s Best Friend at Schoolby Laura Mallone Elliott
Missing Math: A Number Mysteryby Loreen Leedy
If…by Sarah Perry
Jack’s Talentby Maryann Cocca-Leffler
Which Would You Rather Be? By William Steig

     We really enjoyed our reading adventures this week. Children are welcome to borrow any of these books from our classroom library if they wish to share them with you at home!

     Another great resource for borrowing books is our Happy Hollow Community Bookstop! Yesterday, we took a little in-house field trip down the hall. We showed the kids how to sign out books and several choose to do so during our indoor resource. When your child has finished sharing the book at home, please have him/her return it to school and we will assist them in returning it to the bookstop. We encouraged kids to borrow books during recess, at the end of the school day, at BASE pick up, etc. The bookstop has an AMAZING selection of diverse books; true treasures at Happy Hollow.

     Our reading program is off to a smooth start! The children have quickly become familiar with the structure of Reader’s Workshop in first grade.  Each child will have a selection of appropriate reading material in his/her book bag in the next few weeks.  They are currently enjoying a selection of leveled books and a variety of picture books, reading words and pictures to the best of their ability. We've been listening to children read various leveled books as we assess their current skills. What an exciting time for first graders as they begin to embark on their journey into reading, or as they continue to discover the wonderful adventures that books provide us with! We will start small group work in the coming weeks after all the literacy data has been collected, analyzed, and groups have been formed. Children will meet in small groups to reinforce/practice skills, strengthen fluency, and learn comprehension strategies. We will have more on that in the coming weeks and will share your child’s information at our conference. 

     We’ve also introduced 2 of our Reading Strategy Beanie Baby Buddies, Eagle Eye and Lips the Fish. Eagle Eye reminds kids to look at the pictures for clues to help figure out unknown words. Lips the Fish cues kids to get their lips ready; to say the first few sounds of the word out loud and then read to the end of the sentence and say the sounds again. More strategies to come next week!

Writer’s Workshop

We’ve used several books to jump-start our writing activities these past few weeks. 
Kids shared ways they can “fill someone’s bucket” with acts of kindness after listening to the story Have You Filled Someone’s Bucket Today?by Carol McCloud. We connected it to putting jewels in our classroom jewel jar for making good choices and being kind and inclusive with classmates, friends outside of school, family members, and more. We also wrote a book called Things I Like; this activity gave kids a chance to share their interests in written form. We can’t wait for you to see them at Curriculum Night! Ask your child about his or her “Which Would You Rather Be” idea that we worked on this week. Today, we created our first entry in our journals. 

Word Work/Phonics and other Literacy Information

   We’ve started our word work program, Fundations. We’ve reviewed some of our consonants and vowels and have worked on forming the letters with sky-writing and on white boards. Kids will also work with magnetic letter boards to reinforce letters and letter sounds. They have carried over routines and practices nicely from kindergarten and are becoming familiar with first grade expectations during Word Work…BRAVO to this amazing group of learners! J


      We’ve also been reviewing counting and writing numbers through 40 (counting forwards and backwards). A great activity to practice in the car is starting at a given number and counting backwards. For example, start at 24 and count back to 16, or start at 40 and count back to 27. It’s also helpful to start at 40 and count all the way back to 0. If your child has mastered counting through 40, continue along the number road and do these same exercises with greater numbers for a challenge. We’ve also been playing games and doing activities which review and reinforce concepts of greater than, less than, and equal to. Here are the math standards for our current unit:

·      1-1 correspondence and counting objects accurately
  • Counting accurately up to 40 and recording the number properly (our year-end benchmark is to count to 120)
  • Counting on from any number within 40
  • Counting backwards within 40
  • Comparing numbers within 40

In October, we will begin our unit, Decomposing Numbers To 10. I will share more about this unit in our next newsletter. There is always plenty of practice for students as well as extension activities!

Homework and Important Papers Folder

     Each day your child will bring home his/her “Homework and Important Papers Folder” with notices and completed work. Please use it to return any notes or forms to school. We'll send some of your child’s work home to you once we’ve taken a look at it. We'll be keeping some pieces for your child’s portfolio, which will be very helpful when looking at your child’s progress during conferences. Please check your child’s folder at the end of each day, (or ask him/her to open the folder and share the papers with you) asking questions about our activities so that you can get a general feel about your child’s day.  We'll be sending newsletters home with explanations and details about various activities and upcoming events.  You may want to read certain parts of the newsletter with your child to remind him/her of our activities if your child is one to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” when asked about his/her day. This is more common than you think so we'll do our best to provide you with as much information as possible so you’re feeling fully in touch with your child’s school experience. Paper copies of newsletters will be sent home at first and then we’ll be posting letters online on the Happy Hollow website. Please let us know if you prefer paper copies; we will be happy to send one home with your child.


     Many of the children have been asking for homework. They are so eager to show us how grown up they are! We told them that homework for first graders in Room 2 consists of 10-15 minutes of reading each day, either independently or with a family member. As we’ll explained at Curriculum Night, kids may read on their own or they may read to an adult or a sibling; they may even read to a family pet or stuffed animal! ANYTHING that makes them proud to be a reader and gives them plenty of practice. Again, it is equally valuable to be read to, so if your child is tired after a long day, reading to him or her will offer a valuable voice in tone and fluency. Plus, you get the treasure of curling up together with a book! Lots of outdoor play and family time are also wonderful ways to spend time after school. Building strong bodies, appreciation for others and for nature, fostering creativity and strengthening confidence all enrich the whole child.

     We will be looking for parent volunteers to help out in class this year after we’ve had some time to establish routines within the classroom and to get to know the children. We’ll have parents in as volunteers beginning in mid-October. This could be anything from helping out with activities, sharing family traditions, to being a Guest Reader in class. We love having parents in class, both to help out with activities, and so that you can see how the children learn and grow in their school environment. Keep an eye out for emails about signing up to help in class. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 508-358-8641.  
We hope you all enjoy the weekend ahead!

Take Care,
Lise Weig and Margie Cohen