Dear Fabulous First Grade Parents,
For those of you I haven't had the opportunity to meet yet, I wanted to formally introduce myself. My name is Caryn Allen and I am excited to be starting my 10th year of teaching here at Rio. I began my career teaching kindergarten for two years, taught 3rd grade for 5 years, then decided to switch things up and taught the 1st/2nd combo class two years ago, and last year taught the 2nd/3rd combo class. I am excited to be back in 1st grade and look forward to making this my home for quite some time. I was ready for the change and challenge of teaching the combination classes and now fully welcome getting to focus on one grade level again. I love my job and feel so fortunate to get to spend my days with your kiddos and our amazing Rio staff. This is truly a special place to be. On a personal note, I am the mama of four great boys! My stepson, Chase (25), who is adulting amazingly and owns his own business, Christopher (19) who just started San Jose State as a junior, Cameron (17) a senior at Aptos High, and Carter (13) who is in 8th grade at Aptos Jr. High. I am also the proud grandma to the sweetest little girl, Aurelia, who is 2 1/2. To say the least, life is full and I am never bored! I look forward to meeting you all at Back to School Night on Thursday, and getting to know you better over the course of our year together.
As for our first days of school, we are off to a great start! Our first full week went smoothly learning the routines and guidelines for our class. Please remember to drop off your child on the upper playground if you arrive at school before 7:55. Students are found roaming the halls and/or in the classroom without adult supervision. Now that they are in first grade, the class is working on being independent and responsible students. It would be very helpful (if you're not doing so already) to say "good-byes" at the bottom of the stairs so that your child can play independently and line up on their own when the bell rings at 7:55. This will help make a smooth and calm transition into the classroom. If your child is having a challenging time going to the upper playground on their own, you can encourage your child to join the line as we walk down to the classroom.
Math: Students took the Comprehensive Growth Assessment last week which informs my instruction so that I can meet each one where they are in math. This week, students will begin our first math module. They will become math "detectives" by finding groups of 5 in a picture and counting on from 5. This concept will help students add/subtract quickly by finding groups of 5 without having to count from "1". After students find groups of 5 and count on to find their answer, they will show their work in a number bond. Please review your child's daily math work found in their daily folder each evening. You can also help your child at home by learning math facts to 10. Flashcards are a great way to practice! I will be sending home a packet of each of the "homework" pages that correspond to our daily lessons. The pages are optional, but a wonderful resource to reinforce learning and provide extra practice for those who need it.
Reading: Students chose leveled books from our classroom library. They have several books in their desk that they will use for Reader's Workshop. The class practiced how to choose leveled books from our library and also practiced silent reading in a quiet area in the classroom. We will continue this next week. I'll talk more about this at Back to School Night.
Writing: Students did an amazing job writing similes for a fun writing/art project! They wrote about themselves and painted a water color background for their writing piece. I posted pictures, but you'll love the finished product even more when you see them at Back to School Night. They are darling! Students have also been writing daily about our class " Mystery Person". We are reviewing proper handwriting, capitals, punctuation, word wall words, sounding out words, and using and spaces between words. This week we will continue with Mystery Person (every student has the chance to be the mystery person for a day and we ask them questions to learn more about them, and then we write and send them home with a class book). We will also begin Writer's Workshop and learn how to gather ideas for our first "small moment" stories.
Growth Mindset: We practiced the routines of mindful breathing by having a calm mind and body. We "sat like a frog" and practiced breathing, sitting still and being present in the moment. Students continue to fill each other's buckets with compliments and kind words. I'm so grateful to have such a kind and compassionate class.
Physical Education: We have P.E. on Wednesdays. Please have your child wear sneakers on this day.
Back to School Night is on Thursday, August 29th. This as an adult only event so please have childcare set up for the evening. I'll go over curriculum, homework, volunteering, and answer any questions you may have.
Back to School Night: August 29th 6-6:30, 6:35-7:00 Principal’s Welcome/Parent
School Site Council: Tuesday, August 27th from 2:30-4:00 in Library
Have a wonderful week,