November Post, 1st Grade Hamsterdam

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Hi all!

November was quite a full month in Hamsterdam! We went to the Sustainable Food Center, had a whole week off for Thanksgiving, and then lost half the class to the flu, viral infections, etc.! As such, we did have to postpone the Family Festival, but it is back on for January! Here’s a snapshot of what we learned about in November….

In Science, we continued learning about matter and their properties, but began delving into living organisms with plants. We learned the parts of a plant, and began asking the question what makes something living/nonliving. We also, thanks to their questions, learned about states of matter via the Atoms, as solids (squished together), liquids (kinda close), and gases (very far apart). We learned two songs in science, and practiced our states of matter with our bodies and games often.

In Social Studies, we shared our heirlooms from our families, and built Family mobiles. We also learned about the seven continents and five oceans, exploring each one’s animals and plant lives with a small drawing project. We did briefly talk about Columbus in October, and he came back up with Thanksgiving. We debated some the good and bad about what the Europeans did when they came to America, and it is so fascinating to see how engaged, articulate, and insightful young students can be about “complex” issues.

In Reading, we began really focusing on reading whole sentences, rather than just words. We learned about “scooping” words into phrases as we read, and will continue working on this throughout the year (Ms. Lane MAY have made up a silly song called “Scoop, scoop the words” using the beat from Salt-n-Pepa’s Shoop, so hopefully your kids will know that song a little bit more by the end of the year!) We continued learning about bonus letters (ff, ll, ss), and continued our tapping out trick words (you, your, I, they, was, one, said) as well as practicing digraph words and bonus letter words like path, pick, shut, tell, fall, and puff. Finally, we really worked on our phonics by playing “change a letter” at centers and Morning Meeting, a great skill for them to develop more and more!

In Writing, we began our narrative story form with the S.T.O.R.Y. method! And the students learned about the writing process by first planning their story using that (Setting, Talking Characters, Oops! Problem!, Resolving Attempts and Yay! Solution!), wrote it down and phonetically sounded out their ideas as best as they could. We learned what a sentence is, what a sentence always starts and ends with, and wrote our first Fruit Poem, “A Pomegranate,” using mindful eating and scientific observations to describe what we saw, felt, smelled, heard, and finally tasted. We continued our study of poetry with fall acrostics for Thanksgiving. We also wrote informational paragraphs about thanksgiving.

Of course, we continue to work on social and emotional skills every day in First Grade. We are really working on self-regulation and “using our words” to express our problems and feelings. We use the safe place and other strategies to calm our bodies and our emotions throughout the day. We continue doing mindful activities, meditations, and yoga as often as we can!


When science experiments don’t go as expected!
Mr. Levine came to be a guest reader!
Playing their new favorite game, Subtraction Bingo!

When you find an exclamation point in the sky, you tell the teacher! I loved this!
A few from our amazing trip to the SFC!

Just organizing rocks and opening nuts at recess…a day in the life of a curious first grader!
Observing pomegranate seeds!

Their sensory descriptions of a pomegranate. So imaginative!
The final result of our pomegranate poem: I combined all of their lines into one cohesive whole- they will be doing that on their own later this year!
Mrs. Schwartz also came to read to our class!

An example of some Morning Meeting fun!
We wrote Fall acrostic poems and water-colored them. This is one of my favorite pictures of them all!