Sunday, March 19, 2017

Maple Sugaring Newsletter

Dear Room 2 Parent(s),                                            Sunday, March 19, 2017

    The beginning of March has certainly been busy here in Room 2! Our curriculum has provided a rich and diverse set of experiences for these wonderful first graders. We wrapped up our penguin studies, embarked on our maple sugaring unit, and have started a new unit of study in math!

Welcome, Ms. Bullard!

      We’ve had a fabulous time getting to know Ms. Markiyah Bullard! Ms. Bullard is a student at Framingham State University. She is working on her Field Study placement so she spends several hours, one day a week, with us. The kids are so excited to see her when she arrives each week and have warmly welcomed her into our Room 2 community!

Maple Sugaring

     Children have enjoyed learning about the process of maple sugaring. We discovered that people have been making maple syrup and maple sugar for hundreds of years! Native Americans first discovered how to make maple syrup and taught the art of maple sugaring to the early colonists.
      We tapped a sugar maple tree in front of Happy Hollow with the other first graders and have rotated the daily collection of sap. Ask your child about the process of tapping the tree, the tools used, and what kind of weather is needed for sap to run in the trees (warm days and cold nights). Did you know that you need 40 cups of sap to make one cup of maple syrup? Once the sap is collected, syrup is made by heating the sap until it boils. Water in the sap turns to steam. The sap becomes darker, thicker, and sweeter as the water is boiled away, and it eventually turns into syrup. On Friday, we had a chance to boil 12 cups of sap. After boiling all day, we were able to taste some super-sweet syrup. I cooked it a little longer than usual so it was a little more like the consistency of maple taffy…..yum! Kids came back for seconds and wished for thirds! It was such a popular activity that we may try to boil some more later this week.
       We are very excited about our Pancake Breakfast on Tuesday, March 21st. If you haven’t had the chance to send in a check for your child’s breakfast ($3.50, made out to Happy Hollow School), please do so tomorrow. A pink notice was sent home last week; let me know if you need another and I can send one to you with details about the breakfast and volunteering. Thanks so much to the many volunteers that will be joining us! Parents can come to help serve pancakes, take pictures, and clean up once the breakfast is finished. This is a fun event and a great way to celebrate our unit of study, enjoying one of nature’s many treats here in New England!



     We have had loads of fun working on many hands-on experiences with addition and subtraction activities over the past month. Last week, we started to explore place value. Here are the concepts that we will focus on during our unit of study:
·       Read, write, and represent numbers within 120 and count on from numbers within the sequence
·       Understand place value of two-digit numbers
·       Mentally find 10 more and 10 less of a two-digit number
·       Compare two 2-digit numbers using place value understanding and the <, >, and = symbol
·       Add a 2-digit number and a 1-digit number and add a 2-digit number and a multiple of 10 using place value understanding
·       Subtract a multiple of 10 from a multiple of 10 using place value understanding.

Open Circle
     To get into the green zone, helping ourselves get ready for learning, we’ve practiced some 2-minute meditations and deep breathing during our Mindful Moments and Open Circles with Mrs. Santomenna, our school Guidance Counselor. We use in class, putting on one of the calming background scenes with quiet music during our work time to help us stay focused.
      We’ve also continued our work learning about ways to defeat the Unthinkables. In addition to Rock Brain, Wasfunnyonce, Worry Wall, and Brain Eater, we have talked about Energy Hare-y, Glassman, Space Invader, and Body Snatcher. Ask your child how these Unthinkables can get in the way of his/her learning and what strategies he/she could use to defeat the Unthinkables.

      Kids have been doing an amazing job during Writer’s Workshop this past month! Our focus has been on writing nonfiction pieces. They’ve finished their All About Penguins books and have worked on writing letters and How To books as well. Children used graphic organizers to write their How To Tap A Tree book. Kids will be choosing their own topic for their next how-to book, thinking about something they are good at that they could teach to a friend. We’re still working on our Monday journal writing as well, which is a reflection of your child’s weekend or another event that he/she has been eager to share on paper.

       Our next unit of study will focus on some magnificent creatures…WHALES!! It’s a great opportunity to incorporate aspects of reading, writing, math and science into an exciting learning adventure.


      It has been such a pleasure to meet with so many of you for our Spring Parent-Teacher Conferences. I look forward to meeting with those of whom I’ve not yet met during the next 2 weeks. As always, please contact me with any questions, concerns or other information that will be helpful to me in supporting your child in his/her school experience.

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead. Thank you all for your continued support!

Take care,
Lise Weig J

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