Thursday, February 15, 2018

Conference Sign Up

Just so everyone knows.....

Conference sign up goes as follows:

February 20 - 9:00am for parents with 3 or more children

February 22 - 9:00am for all parents

*** Also, you might remind parents that we will have childcare on Thursday, March 1.  Parents need to register children with Katie Peterson.
Sunday, January 21, 2018

New Year

The new year has begun and along with it we have been exceptionally busy in first grade. Traditionally the month of January is a time of year where students seem to start putting all the pieces together and great growth occurs. This year is following suit- and we are excited to see that the students are not only increasing in skills but they all seem to be genuinely excited about learning and wanting to know more. Our classroom community has become very supportive of each other and we are cheering each other on as we achieve new goals!

The new month brought on a new writing unit : OPINION Writing-specifically how to write a review. The tiny topic notebooks came home last week in hopes that the students would write down ideas as they saw fit. The goal is to have multiple items in the book that could  either be things that they feel good or bad about. We are trying to get the students to understand that their voice (through their words) can be a very powerful tool. We have been teaching them how to effectively write a review in order to persuade the reader to be convinced. We have read a few reviews for movies and books. What you can do as family members is- read any reviews that you may come across. The more they see and hear reviews, the better the students will understand that process. As I have been reading the reviews that are being written, I think that we have a class that have a lot of great opinions and strong points!

When we came back after break, in math we had a mini-unit in solid shapes. Overall, the students did well in their assessments so we are moving on. Before we went onto the next chapter on higher numbers, Ms. Madden and I felt that it was imperative to review how to add and subtract numbers up to 20 using the strategies that we have been teaching them. We are glad that we made that decision as we feel that it solidified their understanding.   We will be working on numbers for 20-40 next.

Next week we will be going to the Minnesota Zoo. It will be the start of our science unit of the ocean. We have been packing up the rocks in the room and will soon be studying the different zones of the ocean and ocean life. You will also start seeing more non-fiction books about the ocean coming home in the student’s book bags. As our next unit in writing will be our “All Abouts”, we will be writing about some type of ocean life. These books going home will be an opportunity for your child to learn some facts about certain ocean animals.

By now, I am assuming that the routine of reading each night has been established. Whether we have a guided reading assignment or not, we still would like to see that your child has had a chance to read about 15 minutes a night. We have been very pleased with our guided reading sessions with your children. They are all progressing and seem to be more confident in their reading.

In social studies, we will be talking about “CHANGE MAKERS” or people who have made a change in our society. So far we have Jane Goodall and Martin Luther King Jr. and we will be continuing the list in the next couple of months.

Last but not least, I wanted to let you know that we will be having a student teacher from South Korea in our classroom starting January 29th. Her name is Yena Jang and she is involved in a student teaching exchange through the University of Minnesota. The students will be learning a bit about South Korea in the upcoming week so that we can be prepared for her. We are very excitied about this opportunity.

Hope that everyone has recovered from the Vikings loss. Now we mover forward and get ready for the excitement in sharing our city with the rest of the United States. 
Friday, October 27, 2017

Special opportunity!

Just wanted you to know that next Wednesday the students will get a chance to hear the author Shelly Boyum- Breen durning Community Meeting.
You can get your child a book ordered and personally autographed if you order by Monday. Use the code BRECK17
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Service opportunities!

Breck Scares Hunger!  Students in gr. 1-4 will be bringing home a card this week that will help them participate in our All School Food Drive.  We are asking students to consider asking a friend or neighbor to donate canned or boxed food that we will then deliver to community partners.  Donations can be delivered to school Sunday, Oct. 29, or before school Mon. Oct. 30-Nov. 1

All-School Chapel: Tuesday, November 7
Next month in honor of All Saints' Day, our All-School Chapel will include a small tribute remembering people within or connected to our community who have passed away. 

If you would like a loved one remembered, email Alexis Kent with his or her name, their connection to Breck and a photograph. Please submit the name(s) and photograph(s) by Friday, November 3rd to

Monday, October 23, 2017


This is pretty much a “magic” word to the students in this first grade classroom. They just can’t seem to get enough of them. The students are extremely inquisitive and love the idea that they are “rock scientists” ! Over the MEA weekend, the first grade teachers spent a lot of time reorganizing our personal and shared rock collections. In doing this, I found all sorts of lost treasures that had been sitting on a storage room shelf and when the students came in and saw the new treasures, they were thrilled. Our ultimate goal in this science unit is to learn what a scientist is, what a scientist does and some healthy habits that a scientist procures. Because the rocks are such a motivator, the students are easily learning to be thoughtful, observant, curious and perseverant scientists. We have had many experiences with rocks from going to Hedberg’s Aggregates where we saw a multitude of different kinds of rocks in diferent shapes, colors and sizes. We have used our classroom microscopes to closely identify many properties of rocks and minerals. We have even painted our pet rocks that now sit in our front window. All of this excitement is infectious and the students seem to be thrilled with the latest observation or find! Thanks to the support from home, the rock collections were a huge hit. We have placed those rocks in our rock boxes that we will store in the classroom and have sent their empty rock bags home with them so that if they find any other rocks they have a place to store them.

We have started our math enjoyment this week. As the note stated, we suggest that whatever game we send home at the beginning of the week, it should be played throughout the week to help establish math fact practice. We are hoping to see more automaticity with the math facts and we felt that sending home some games would make this enjoyable. The dice that your child will be receiving should stay at home in a safe place, as we will be asking you to use them at multiple times in the school year. 

This week we will be finishing our “small moments” in writing and choosing one that we feel that we could fancy up for publishing. More about that in a couple of weeks!

Hopefully the guided reading book bags are going well for you. If your child does not come home with a book bag and lesson for that night, we are encouraging parents to find a book and read to their child for that night. So much can be learned by listening to someone else read., so even though you might feel that your child is gaining enough skills to read on their own, you shouldn’t let go of that tradition.
Sunday, September 24, 2017

Observing Like A Scientist

This week, we have been busy learning how to observe like a scientist. We started by watching and listening to Jane Goodall explain that observation is necessary to be a thoughtful scientist. Motivated by her words, the first graders were given magnifying glasses and then microscopes and set out to look and observe everything from items in the classroom to rocks. The excitement in the air has been infectious. For every discovery, it has motivated the students to look for more. By the time that we went on our field trip to Minnehaha Falls on Friday, they were primed and ready to observe and record! Even in the heat, the students were sounding like scientists and were able to describe something that their scientific eyes were able to see. Below you will find a video of the day. There were too many pictures to place them individually on the blog. Enjoy!
Saturday, September 16, 2017


We have only been in school for 14 days, but it seems as if we have packed months of learning into each and every one of those days. If your child is coming home exhausted every night, (the teachers are too) is because we are taking in so much and trying to find our place in our new environment. I truly believe that for each child  to have a sense of belonging, they need to have an understanding of the community itself. So much of what we do during the beginning weeks of school is the understandings of what makes our school, our classroom and our friendships come together. This can come in the form of learning the rules, getting to know the people and the history of the place/community. The foundations that we are learning, will help the students understand that this place is where they can  belong and also know that it will be a safe place to take academic and social risks.

Homecoming has been a time for the students to learn about the history of Breck. Being in the unique situation of being a teacher who went to Breck, I take great pride in this community, and love teaching the first graders about the beginnings and the growth of this school. On Friday morning we went on a historical walk throughout the school and we located bits and pieces of the schools history that are hidden in different places. We found a door, a part of a gym floor, some dishes, old uniforms, a bell to name a few of the items that came from old campuses and settings of the school. The students seemed captivated and almost seemed to take a sense of pride in knowing that they were a part of a community that has grown over the years.

As the day progressed, the students made banners for their lockers and then took their pompoms and their pennants down to the Anderson gym to be a part of the Breck homecoming festivities. There, the first graders were able to cheer and support the homecoming court (many of who were our personal first grade senior buddies!). Even though it was extremely loud, the first graders seemed to understand that they are a part of this community, taking pride in singing the Breck fight song and the alma mater.

As the year proceeds, we will have so many more opportunities to take pride in our school and within ourselves. The main reason why I love teaching as much as I do, is because when you see a student take pride in what they have accomplished, it is a moment that represents possibilities and hope.

I know that more than anything, the blogs that I write will be ones that will provide information for you, but I also know that you want to see pictures. So I will do my best to show your kids "in action". I hope that you were all able to enjoy some part of the homecoming festivities!