The End of First Grade Approaches!


Sorry about the lack of communication–life has been busy!  Well, the zoo trip went well, thanks to everyone who came up to Portland that day or helped in any way. We have been so busy this month. Ms. Kinney has done the majority of the teaching. I am taking back over starting this week. We have just about finished up our reading and math curricula. In the pictures above you can see students working as cooperative partners playing math games and measuring items (and people!) using non-standard units. One of our student’s grandparents gave us a generous donation of interior designer samples and students spent time participating in an open art studio, creating items out of fabric, tile, flooring, and counter material samples. We saw a lot of creativity and a LOT of glue was used!  We are also finishing up our Plants & Animals unit. We will be releasing the critters, plants, and microorganisms in our terrariums in the woods behind the school tomorrow.

The last few weeks are upon us!  Here is what’s coming up:

Thursday, June 7: EDGEWOOD TALENT SHOW. We are not performing as a class, but some of our students are participating.

Friday, June 8: NO SCHOOL. Grading day.

Tuesday, June 12: FIELD DAY. First grade will participate in the morning. 

Wednesday, June 13: FIELD TRIP TO TUGMAN PARK. Both first grade classes will be walking to Tugman to eat, play, hang out, and celebrate community. The field trip in embedded into the homework coming home on Friday. Please look for it and get it back ASAP. Join us if you’d like!

Thursday, June 14: CLASS PLAY. Friendly Neighborhood Helpers was such a success that we’re doing another one! We will be presenting The Nutrition Show: Hansel and Gretel Eat Right! at 6:30 pm in Cedar 1. Plan to be there!

Friday, June 15: LAST DAY.  All students will be dismissed at 11:45 and I will collapse in a heap.

Please let me know if you have any questions about any of this. Make sure that your child is dressed appropriately. Appropriate footwear is important, as we have several days of P.E., walking field trips, and field day coming up. Also, slapping on some sunscreen, especially on the morning we’re heading to Tugman would be a great idea. Looking forward to seeing you at our class play, if not before. 


Zoo Trip This Week!

Lots of science is happening in Cedar 1. We have been busy germinating seeds and observing them as they sprout and grow. Student gave their ryegrass mini-lawns haircuts and discovered that they grew back. They planted wheat seeds in transparent straws and watched roots and sprouts emerge. We are growing cosmos flowers in pots that will be coming home shortly to plant in home gardens.

We will be spending the day at the Oregon Zoo on Thursday. We will leave Edgewood on the school bus at 8:45, arriving at the zoo shortly after 11:00.  We will be leaving the zoo at 2:30. That should get us back to Edgewood between 5:00 and 5:30. Thanks to those of you that have volunteered to drive up and chaperone the trip. I have the following people signed up: CJ, Jordan, Michelle, Virginia, Angie, Sara D , Heidi and Heather H.  Let me know if any of you have changed your plans or if there is someone I need to add. Volunteers need to come to the classroom by 8:35 so you can meet the students who will be in your group at the zoo. Then you can get in your cars and head north!

Students and free to bring books, notebooks, art supplies, small toys, etc. to occupy themselves during our LONG bus ride. All students should bring a backpack to carry their personal items and a lunch. We will have cafeteria sack lunches in the classroom that morning if your child ordered one. I will bring some snacks, but it wouldn’t hurt include some snacks in your child’s backpack.  Please do not send any money with your child. Admission is already paid for and we won’t be buying snacks or souvenirs while we are there.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns about the trip. It went really well last year. The only real difference between this and any other field trip is the length of the bus ride. The students have studied so many animals this year. It will be exciting to see many of them in real life!

One last thing, please let your after-school child care providers know that your child not be attending on Thursday or will come to them after we arrive back between 5:00 and 5:30.


April Happenings


There is a lot going on in Cedar 1. Let’s get to it!

Our student teacher, Katie Kinney, is back and will be with us until the end of the year. She is finishing up to UOTeach program and will be taking over more and more teaching responsibility each week. I can’t tell you how helpful it has been to have another adult in the room! The students like her and respond to her well.  She has already dived in and started to plan our new science unit, Plants & Animals.

We started our unit by putting onion bulbs on wet cotton and observing the roots and shoots emerge. On Thursday we cut up carrots and radishes and planted the pieces of roots and stems in vermiculite to see which parts, if any, would grow. This week we will be planting rye grass and wheat. In the coming weeks we will create terrariums for pill bugs, sow bugs, and snails. This is a new unit for me (and the school district), so I’m excited to discover what’s in store. We will be trying to root cuttings, so if you’d like to send in cuttings of houseplants.

We have an artist-in-residence beginning ceramic lessons and activities beginning tomorrow, April 9.  She has requested a parent volunteer or two in the room during the lessons, so if you’d be interested in helping, we will be doing ceramics on April 9 (short notice!), 11, 16, and 18, from 9-9:45.

We are still learning about Asian animals, but very soon will need to move onto Australian animals because we are going to the zoo in less than a month!  Our field trip to the Oregon Zoo will be Thursday, May 3. We will be leaving immediately after the morning bell and arriving back to Edgewood around 5:00. I’ve heard from a couple of people that they are interested in volunteering. Please send me an email and/or sign up using the button at the upper right of this page. And a heads up that most likely won’t be room for all the chaperones on the school bus, so that would mean driving. Another heads up that you have to have a volunteer background check done and cleared before you can volunteer in any capacity. It’s good for two years, so if you’ve done it any time during the time your child’s been in 4J, you should still be good to go. I will send home permission slips for the trip in this week’s Home Folders on Friday.

That’s all for now. Have a great week.


Musical Play is This Week!


Hello Cedar One Families–

February flew by in the wink of an eye and the date for our musical play, Friendly Neighborhood Helpers, is already upon us!  Please join us this Thursday, March 8, at 6:30 sharp, right in our classroom. Please be on time as we’re going to get started right away. We’ll be out of there by 7:00 at the latest. The kids are VERY excited, and many of them nervous. It’s not a big production–I’m purposely keeping it simple–but you will enjoy it.

Our hundredth day of school was  a success. We had a Hundreds Museum and classes came through and saw the collection of 100 items that every student brought to school. We have been working a lot with place value in math, and the 100th day was a great opportunity to talk about the hundreds place. Last week’s focus in math was adding multiples of 10 to a number (e.g. 34 + 40).  See pictures of our 100th day here.

We have completed our Sound & Light unit in science. We worked with flashlights and mirrors to determine how light can be redirected using mirrors. We also talked about that we see objects by light reflecting off objects and being directed into our eyes. This led to the idea that light is necessary for us to see. 

In other news, we have wrapped up our learning about African animals by learning about hippos. Tomorrow we will start in on Asian animals. We will learn about the tiger, the orangutan, and the giant panda this week. Our study of animals will culminate with a field trip to the Oregon Zoo on Thursday, May 3. Edgewood’s first grade went to the zoo last year and it was a very successful day. Think of it as a normal field trip but with an extra-long bus ride. Parent chaperones are encouraged, but room on the school bus will be tight, so some carpooling will probably have to happen. Anyway, it’s a long way off–just wanted to give you a heads up that it is happening.

Thanks to everyone who has volunteered in the last few weeks. It is SO helpful to have another adult in the room, and the kids love having family members join them in their classroom community. You can sign up here or by clicking on the icon at the top of this webpage. 

See you Thursday evening!




Report Cards and Good Vibrations!

As of this week, first grade is half over!  Report cards went home today in the orange home folders. The report cards themselves are in a white folder that has a place for your signature. Please take EVERYTHING out  and just return the report card envelope. The easiest thing is probably to return it when the homework is ready to come back. As you look over the report cards, keep in mind that meeting the standard (M) is in regard to how a  6-7 year old would meet the standards. So meeting the standard for spelling, for example, doesn’t mean that they spell everything correctly, but that they are spelling words phonetically using their knowledge of letter sounds and how words are divided into phonemes. A lot of the common core standards are considered goals for students to reach in later grades, and as such, many of the standards that are on the fifth grade report cards are repeated WORD FOR WORD on the first grade report cards.  So when you see “Determine the meaning of unknown and multiple meaning words and phrases by using context clues, prefixes and suffixes, and root words,” that means at a developmental level for a first grader. We’re not expecting children to be inquiring about the language of origin to help them determine the meaning of a new word! An imperfect system, but that’s where we are right now.

In science we have started our Sound & Light unit. This week students discovered that all sound is caused by vibrations which are picked up by our “sound receivers,” better know as ears. Ask your child about hitting tuning forks on blocks of wood then touching the vibrating tuning fork to a ping pong ball hanging from a string. We also explored volume and pitched, looked at the piano strings on our classroom piano and made observations about what characteristics of the strings produced high and low pitched sounds, and discussed what sounds are easy to identify and why. Next week we’ll explore light, how it travels, and how it passes or doesn’t pass through certain materials. We’ll also explore how light is necessary for us to see objects.

In math we are exploring the relationship between addition and subtraction, continuing  to work with fact families, determining the value of a digit by whether it is in the ones or the tens place, and working with comparison problems (Bob has 5 Pokemon cards. Jane has 9 cards. How many more does Jane have than Bob.)

We are doing well with our spelling routine. As a reminder to you, we take a spelling pre-test and words go home on a blue sheet with the homework on Fridays. The following Thursday students take a post-test on their individualized lists. And so on and so on. The kids did GREAT with the routine this week. They got it!

Valentines exchange will happen on Wednesday at 12:45 if you’d like to join us.

I have extended the volunteer sign up sports all the way to mid-June. There is a button at the top right of this webpage or click here to sign up: Thanks to everybody who has been coming in and helping. This job is too big for one person to do alone!

Have a wonderful weekend–





Short Week, Busy Home Folders

Hello Cedar One Families–

We had a short but busy week. There are a few things in the home folders that need your attention.

1. There is a yellow sheet to be filled out for our school directory (that I guess is still forthcoming). You all filled these out at the beginning of the year, but I got more in my box this week saying first grade needed to do them again. The telephone/address directory is a great resource for families and is all compiled and created generously by parent volunteers–so in my mind whatever slip up there was is forgiven! Please fill that out and get it back next week.

2. We are observing the phases of the moon during the month of January. There is a moon calendar in the home folders so students can record the appearance of the moon each day. Seeing as it’s winter, the sky is not always clear, so and are good resources for days when the moon is unseen for whatever reason. Today we were lucky to have a break in the clouds and see the waning gibbous moon over the western horizon before it set at 10:30.Tomorrow it will rise and set a little later, so it will be up in the morning and down by noon. 

3. We went on IXL today for the first time in math. IXL is a program Edgewood pays for and students can use it for free choice math time at home. The login information for your child (username and password) is in the home folders.

Have a great weekend!

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year, Cedar One Families!

I’m excited to get back into what I like to think of as the second half of the school year (even though we’re not quite that far in). I have big plans–big plans!–for your children.

We will continue our study of animals of the world. We have studied animals of North America, South America, and Europe. Next stop: Africa!  This week we will read about zebras and lions. Next week we will create some mixed-media lion art.

In math we will be beginning number talks. Number talks are part of the district’s new math adoption. It involves having class conversations about math in which all students participate.  Students will share different strategies for solving problems mentally. We will look at decomposing numbers (e.g. 9 + 5 is the same as 10 + 4 because 10 can be thought of as 9 +1, which would take 1 away from the 5), using “friendly” easy to add and subtract numbers (such as 10 in the above example), and other useful strategies for developing number sense.

Also in math we are finishing up a unit on shapes and classifying and sorting them by their attributes. This week we will work on the difference between a defining attribute (such as a triangle has three sides), and a non-defining attribute (such as the triangle is blue). Some heady math concepts for first grade!We have also been working on steps for solving story problems in math. You’ll see an example in the math homework coming home on Friday.

Around the turn of the semester spelling will be part of the weekly homework.  The handwriting and grammar parts of the homework will go away, so the homework shouldn’t be any longer. I do a somewhat complicated spelling routine with the students that allows students to have  weekly lists that meets each of their needs. Some students may have went for a spelling work, while another student has photosynthesis! We will practice spelling routines in class for a few weeks before launching the homework portion.

In science we will start a unit called Sound & Light. We will also continue our study of weather by recording the temperature each day and looking for patterns over time. We will do the same with the length of day, so students can see how the period of daylight increases as we move away from the winter solstice toward the equinox. And although not weather related (though it’s in the sky!) we will track the phases of the moon.

I am TENTATIVELY scheduling in a musical play performance for families on Thursday, March 1. Last year we did two plays and they were a rousing success. The students love them, they provide a lot of reading practice, and allow students who are theatrically talented to shine.  I’m still wavering about which show to do. I order them from a company that provides scripts and recorded music. I have some old standbys (Aesop’s Fables), but I’m aching to try something new. The play will most likely be a 6:30 (after dinner) and we always rearrange furniture in the classroom, so it will take place right in Cedar One.  So save the date!

That’s all for now–


Ghosts, Goblins, and Parent-Teacher Conferences

This week we learned about bats, explored how water can be used to show that air takes up space, counted large numbers by making groups of ten, and sang Halloween songs.

Now onto some business: Some important papers went home in the home folders yesterday. There was a green sheet which tells you when your scheduled parent-teacher conference time is. Please send back the sheet confirming that time works for you. All conference time changes need to go through the front office, not through me. Please remember that there is no school Thursday, November 9 due to conference nor on November 10 due to Veterans Day.

Also look for the snack/volunteer schedule for November in the home folder.  Please look over both. Let me know if you want times added or removed on the volunteer schedule–I never seem to get it quite right!

Our school’s Harvest Lunch is on Thursday, November 16. This is a special Thanksgiving-style lunch families are invited to come to. If you’d like to come, please fill out the form (also in the home folder) and return it to me or to the office.

Lastly….Halloween!  I am throwing together a Halloween activity time on Tuesday from 1:45 until the end of the school day. There will be several easy and hopefully fun activities for the students to rotate through. Feel free to join the class–I’ll need an adult at each activity. Students can, and are encouraged, to wear costumes, but cannot have a mask on during the school day and no weapons, including plastic fake ones, are allowed.

Happy Halloween!

October Marches On!

October has been a busy month in Cedar 1!  The month started off with a bang with Edgewood’s annual Fun Run. It was a beautiful day and such a good time running and walking around the track with everyone. If you haven’t sent back your Fun Run envelope…it is now past due!  But it’s never too late. You can still send it to me or give it to the office this week.

We have started our science unit Air & Weather.  So far we have explored various object to see how air interacts with them, we have determined that air is everywhere, even in a seemingly empty container, we have made parachutes to investigate air resistance, and today we will use big syringes and rubber tubing to find out about compressing air and air pressure. The science kit we use is very hands on, and the students are loving it (see pictures above). 

We are wrapping up our study of North American animals. So far we have read about black bears, cougars, owls, raccoons, squirrels, wolves, monarch butterflies, and opossums. Next up, just in time for Halloween, crows and bats! In November we will start learning about South American animals and geography.

Thanks to everybody who has come in to volunteer! The support has been very welcome–an embarrassment of riches.  October’s volunteer schedule was a first draft. Please email me if you haven’t already done so, and let me know if the times on October’s schedule work for you or if there are days and times not on the schedule you’d like to come in. I need to make a volunteer schedule for November this week, so please let me know ASAP. 

Also, some of you filled out a parent-teacher conference time request form at Curriculum Night. If you didn’t, the form went home in Friday’s home folders. It is yellow. Please fill that in and get it to me ASAP (again!). Conferences start on November 8 and I need to get a schedule made. I will send home your conference time in THIS Friday’s home folders.

I feel like I’ve given you homework!  Have a great week and as always let me know if you have any questions or concerns. 


September Final Stretch

There is a lot going on right now in Cedar 1. We learned about the seven continents and have started our year-long study of animals with North American animals. So far we have read about owls, cougars, black bears, and raccoons. We are spending a lot of time learning how to read and write independently during the time of day we refer to as Daily 3 (Read to Self, Read to Someone, Work on Writing). We have completed a couple of art projects, have jumped into our new math curriculum, worked in our handwriting books, read poems and sang songs, learned some math games, listened to a lot of great books, and learned many vocabulary words. 

The Fun Run is coming up on October 6. Last week pledge envelopes were sent home. This is an easy fundraiser which raises a lot for our school. It is a fun event (hence the name!) and anything you can do to help would be appreciated. Another fundraiser which our class, as a primary class, benefits from is popcorn sales on Wednesdays. We cannot start offering Popcorn Wednesdays until we have more volunteers to help pop, bag, and sell. Please let me know if you are interested in doing this on Wednesdays. 

Speaking of volunteers, on the back of the October snack schedule (going home this Friday) is my first attempt at a volunteer schedule based on what you wrote on those blue volunteer sheets a few weeks ago. Please look it over and let me know if I either put you down for a time you couldn’t make it, or if I left you off entirely. Accept my apologies for any case. I always treat the first volunteer schedule as a draft and a work in progress.

I’ve posted some pictures of Cedar 1 students hard at work on the Photo Galleries page (click the link in the menu above). There are also images of this week’s art project.

I’m really enjoying getting to know your children. We are off to a great start this year!

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