Weekly Communique

Wednesday Update- April 29-May 6 Week A

Hi everyone! I am so thankful to be on the mend. I was able to talk this week so that has been wonderful. 

Reading: Reading assessments may continue this week while I get the final kids tested. These tests are very in depth and take a long time to complete so thank you for being patient with me! 

Writing/Social Studies: We are finishing writing our letters to our 50 states and will work on addressing the envelopes and getting them into the mail.  The students have been enjoying this writing project. In conjunction with this in class assignment, I have an at home state report that will be due on June 1 or 2 depending on your class day.  The assignment booklet and directions sheet will be coming home tomorrow and Tuesday.  

Spelling: Week 30

Math: We will continue learning about attributes of shapes and move into learning about angles!  At home you can support this by taking the kids on a shape hunt to look for (trapezoids, circles, squares, rectangles, hexagons, octagons, spheres, cubes) etc.  We will be doing our own around the school. Students came home with their geometry pre-assessment on Monday, Tuesday families will get theirs on Tuesday. Please take a moment to look at the pre-assessment to see what we will be covering in class. 

Easy CBM Testing will be on the 18th and 19th of May. I know some families would like to practice on MobyMax to start preparing their students to be successful with using the computer for the EasyCBM test. If you need your log in, please let me know and I can email it to you.  

Hope you have all had a great week, remember no school on Friday!  Please turn in your payment for our field trip and fill out the form under the field trips page to the left to let me know if you are attending and how many will be attending as well. 

Enjoy the sun!


Wednesday Update- April 22-29 Week D

I hope everyone is staying healthy this week, thankfully I don't have strep, but that still hasn't prevented me from losing my voice. Hopefully that will be back tomorrow! 


  1. I have forecasted everyone for the 2015/2016 school year! Thank you for letting me grab you outside of our consultation appointments to forecast. It has been awesome getting this done with your support!
  2. Portland Children's Museum Field trip in May is rapidly approaching (did I just say MAY???). Please make sure to turn in your permission slips and pay Mindi Rew in the ASB office (in the library) for your children and additional siblings.  Please have everything turned in by May 8th. It will be required to have your volunteer form updated in the office to attend the field trip. Please ensure you have a current volunteer form in the office.
  3. Partnership times- please remember to fulfill your partnership time, it really means a lot to the class when you are present! Students learn better in smaller groups and recess/lunch is so much safer.  Thank you to those who have searched for someone to help cover their partnership times if there is an illness! The Facebook page is a great way to seek out other parents who would be willing to help. A super shout out to the parents who stay extra, come in on unscheduled days, and volunteer much more than their required time.  I appreciate all that you all do to help our kids learn in the best possible environment. 
  4. With SBA testing happening in the older grades (3/4th graders this week), testing students are required to come to school earlier than 8:15.  I will open my doors at 8:00 to help ease the transition for the older kiddos into the testing environment, so feel free to drop off the first and second graders at 8 :-) 
  5. Please make sure your child is not dropped off too early in the morning, I am not usually in the classroom until 8:00 and I worry that some students are waiting unsupervised in the hallway.
  Reading: Reading assessments will continue this week. It has been wonderful to have conversations with parents who are present while I am testing so I can give immediate feedback on the learning that is going on with the students. If you are available to help during reading time 8:30-9:30 that would be wonderful. With my new data, I am going to begin restructuring reading groups so everyone is in a group that is a great fit for them. 
Spelling: Week 29 Word List
Writing/Social Studies: We have been invited to participate in the "Great Mail Race". We received a letter from a 2nd grade boy in Topeka, Kansas telling us about his class project. They are writing a letter a school in each of the 50 states, mailing them out, and watching the responses come back into the classroom. In our digital age, this will be a fun project to connect with social studies (learning about other communities, postal worker). If anyone wants to help me organize this, I would greatly appreciate it!
Math: We have finished our unit on time and are moving onto geometry and fractions. As an introduction, students will create a "shape monster" after learning about the attributes of various shapes.  Last week, we combined math and writing. Students got to create a business and write a daily schedule for their "company". They were so creative! 
  • Engage NY Modules are in! T/Fri received theirs yesterday, M/Th will get them tomorrow! 

Wednesday Update- April 15th-April 22 Week B

Hello everyone, welcome back from Spring Break! It was a wonderful time of relaxation spent with my little family!  

Some updates:

  1.     Starting this week, I will be assessing student reading levels. I am starting with my first graders and working up through the second graders. As testing resumes tomorrow, it would be helpful to have some additional parents in the morning to help with reading groups and monitoring students during word work time. 
  2. With SBA testing happening in the older grades (3/4th graders this week), testing students are required to come to school earlier than 8:15.  I will open my doors at 8:00 to help ease the transition for the older kiddos into the testing environment, so feel free to drop off the first and second graders at 8 :-) 
  3. Portland Children's Museum Field trip in May is rapidly approaching (did I just say MAY???). Please make sure to turn in your permission slips and pay Mindi Rew in the ASB office (in the library) for your children and additional siblings.  Please have everything turned in by May 8th. It will be required to have your volunteer form updated in the office to attend the field trip. Please ensure you have a current volunteer form in the office. 
  4. On April 20th, Carson's dad will be coming to talk to us about the job of a firefighter.  I would like to open the class to the T/Friday kids as well if you would like to bring them in to listen to his awesome presentation. I will confirm a time and email that out ASAP.
  5. Forecasting- We are well underway with forecasting (I just have a handful of families left). Forecasting will take place during our scheduled consultation time, however, I am available after our program is over if you would like to forecast before your consultation appointment.
  6. Partnership times- please remember to fulfill your partnership time, it really means a lot to the class when you are present! Students learn better in smaller groups and recess/lunch is so much safer.  Thank you to those who have searched for someone to help cover their partnership times if there is an illness! The Facebook page is a great way to seek out other parents who would be willing to help. A super shout out to the parents who stay extra, come in on unscheduled days, and volunteer much more than their required time.  I appreciate all that you all do to help our kids learn in the best possible environment.  
  7. Early Release, Wednesday April 22nd, No school May 1st (unless we get a snow day).
Reading: Reading assessments will be occurring this week. At home, continue working on one StoryTown lesson per week. If you need help finding supplemental materials for novel studies or additional resources, please let me know!

Writing/Social Studies: We are learning about Firemen and what they do for our community.  Students will be working on an informational piece in class about what to do in case of fire at home. Now would be a great time to talk to your children about fire safety, an escape plan, and how to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency. As always, we will continue stoplight paragraphing (1 green sentence for the topic, 3 yellow sentences for the details, and 1 red sentence for a conclusion.)

Spelling: Week 28 Word List

Math: We spent quite a bit of time on our money unit (which was a ton of fun!) and we have moved on to a little bit of telling time. We will work on this for the rest of this week but will move on to geometry. I believe this will transition well into simple fractions (partitioning shapes etc) so we will most likely blend these two units together over the course of the next three weeks (which would take us to May 8th or so, and we will finish the year with foundations for multiplication and division). New EngageNY books are coming, they are in the process of getting printed and ready for you! 

Have a great week, and I look forward to seeing you all in class! 

Wednesday Update- March 30th-April 3rd Week A

Important information: There is no school on Friday!  Spring Break is April 6th-April 10th

Reading: This week, I am switching the reading groups around to ensure that all students get to read with an adult during class time.  Many groups are moving up in reading levels, and I love watching their progress!  This must mean you all are doing some amazing things at home with them!  Please continue to work on one StoryTown lesson per week, and supplement with novel studies or other resources as needed. I am available to make suggestions if you would like!

Writing/Social Studies: We are continuing to learn about police officers and what they do for our community. Students continue to practice friendly letter writing and informational writing.  

Spelling: Week 27 Word list

Math: Now that we have just about mastered our coin values, names, etc, we are ready for our informal assessment. Students played bingo on Monday/Tuesday where they had various coin amounts on their boards (they even made their own!), and then they had to see if they had that value on their sheet.  For example, I would say "2 dimes and 1 nickel" and students had to find .25 cents on their game board. We switched to counting real coins where they would have 2 dimes and 1 nickel projected on the board and then had to count them, rather than reading the words. After spring break we will start our "telling time" unit. I didn't want to start something new right before our break.

Forecasting: I am completing forecasting during our scheduled consulting times. There was a pink paper sent home with the children that asks which program they will be going to next year. Please send that back as soon as possible to I can place your child in the correct program for next year. If you do not want to make a change, we will forecast right into the ClassLink Directed programs. Please go to riv.battlegroundps.org and complete the registration packet that is online.  Also remember to check your volunteer forms to ensure that they are up to date. 

If you would like to change programs, please sign up for an interview/forecasting appointment with the desired program teacher. The schedule folders are located in the main office. Meet with that teacher and complete a forecasting form. Then you will need to complete your registration packet online as well :-). 

Wednesday Update- March Week D

Reading: Students continued to work in reading groups. 

    Home: At home, please continue to cover 1 Storytown lesson a week.

Writing/Social Studies: This week we wrote an informational piece about how doctors help us and our community.  We also got to have our own police officer come and visit our classroom on Thursday and Friday! Students were able to get into the police car, ask him questions, and look at all of his amazing equipment.  He also talked to the students about gun safety, booster seats in the car, and the police officer's daily job requirements.  Students will write a thank you letter in class next Monday/Tuesday (March 30, April 1) to send him.

Spelling: Week 26 word list

Math: In class we have been learning the values of coins, coin names, and counting coins. On Monday/Tuesday students participated in coin sorting, value counting, and coin value games which were differentiated to their ability levels.  On Thursday/Friday students got to go on an Egg Hunt and find eggs that contained various coin and dollar amounts.  Students sure had fun doing this activity, especially since it was so sunny!

The kids have grown so much over the the past month, I am continuously amazed at their progress!

Wednesday Update- March Week A

Reading: This week all students will participate in a guided reading group.  Many students are making super progress in reading and I have had to increase everyone's reading levels for the groups! You students may mention that they have moved to a new group if they need to move up a level!

Writing/Social Studies: This week we are accessing background knowledge about a postal worker and how mail travels from one place to another.  We will begin writing friendly letters.  Here is a great resource for you if you would like to practice friendly letters with your students before they come to class.  Friendly Letter.  Next week on Thursday and Friday I would like to have the students deliver a letter to a teacher/principal/staff so they can pretend to be a mail carrier.  If you are able to be here at 9:30 to take a small group around the school to deliver their letter, please let me know!  If you happen to have any packages to mail, consider taking your child to the post office, or have them write their own letter and snail mail it to a friend/grandparent etc. This is an optional assignment, but would connect to what we are doing in class. 

Spelling: Week 23 word list

Math: This week we are working on capacity, which is how much an object can hold.  We got super messy and were using US customary units and nonstandard units to measure various capacities.  For example, I had a two liter bottle that students were able to use 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, teaspoons etc to see how many would fill the bottle.  If your children are still willing to take a bath, let them measure the capacity of various objects in the tub with measuring cups, bowls, drinking cups etc.  This will greatly reduce the mess and it will be a great introduction to fractions as well! Next week we will start our time and money unit :-)

Hope you all have a great week, I am really noticing the kids are becoming these amazing readers!  Keep up the amazing work!

Wednesday Update- February Week D

Reading: All students read in guided reading groups this week.  If you have a chance to read the book with your child at home, please send the book back in with your student so it may be reused.  Students continued to work on the same word work activities, with the inclusion of the math vocabulary words in the play dough center.

Writing: Students completed a book about their families. These are absolutely adorable and will be coming home soon. I have scored each students writing on an informational rubric.  I would expect 1st graders to score in the "2" range which is "developing skills" and 2nd graders should be scoring 3's "benchmark". In Skyward, all of the students received credit for participating in the activity.  On Thursday/Friday we will be presenting our timelines/family trees, so writing will be missed those days.

Spelling: Week 22 Word List

Math: Students went on a true scavenger hunt on the playground where they had to use nonstandard units of measure and inches/yards (US customary). It was a beautiful and sunny day so the kids had fun hunting around the playground for the perfect object to measure :-) There are pictures from this event on the picture page. Due to presentations, math is postponed until the following week.

Social Studies: Students are presenting their timelines and family trees to the class this week. Please come on in and join us for your child's presentation.  They will start at 9:30ish and end around 11:30ish.  I will have a packet of review activities to break up the time between presentations.  I did have some students absent or not able to present today, so we will continue a few presentations on Monday and Tuesday. 

Wednesday Update- February Week C

Reading: All students got to read in guided reading groups. If you have a chance to read the book with your child at home, please send the book back in with your student so it may be reused.  Students continued to work on the same word work activities, with the inclusion of the math vocabulary words in the play dough center.

Writing: Students began to develop a book that is a biography of at least 3 family members.  Students are continuing to master paragraphing skills and writing to a prompt. Students really enjoyed writing this week because they knew a lot about what they were writing!

Math: Began our Measurement Scavenger Hunt! Students started measuring various objects around the classroom using teddy bear counters, unifix cubes, inches, and centimeters.  We will continue this throughout the week.

Spelling: Week 21 Word List

Social Studies: Please continue to work on the family unit at home. The packet of activities is optional, but it can aid in the conversation about family. The critical piece of this assignment is the timeline as this is a standard for both grades. The goal is for students to understand order and how order relates to their lives. A timeline is a visual representation of order. These can be as simple or as detailed as you choose. I am excited to let the students share their hard work with the class! Students will present their projects next week!

Wednesday Update - February Week B

Reading: Second group of students who have not read in a guided reading group will meet with me on Th/F. Your child may come home with a book that was read this week with worksheets that accompany the book.  When you are finished with the book, please return it with your child so we can put it back on the shelf. I recommend that you read the book with your child, and work on the worksheets together.  If you choose to use these books, please count that as part of your at home reading time! 

The students who have already participated in guided reading will have the following options:

 "Read Independently", "Read to a Buddy", "Work on Writing", "Spelling Puzzles". 

Writing: Integration of social studies (family unit) into writing paragraphs. Over the next two class days, students will work on a "stoplight" paragraph (2nd graders will work towards multi-paragraph essays). During the rest of the month, I plan to have the students write two pieces to completion (prewrite, rough draft, edit, final draft) on the following prompts, "What Makes Me Unique?" and "All About My Family" (biography writing). I will be sensitive to the needs of the children, so if we need to adjust the pace I will accommodate :-)

Spelling: Week 20 Word List

Math: We took a pretest on the first days of the week to help me guide instruction. The remainder of the week we will have time to connect to prior knowledge and explore some measuring tools. We will also begin to learn key vocabulary about measurement (measurement attributes such as capacity, length, height, weight, etc...). OPTIONAL at home activity: It would be awesome to have the kids go on an adventure hunt and find various measuring tools around the house (measuring tape, tailors tape, measuring cups, scales, yard sticks, rulers, etc.) After finding the tools, use them to measure items around your home and record the measurements on paper. If you do this, students are welcome to come share their findings with the class during math anytime over the next couple of weeks.

Social Studies: Please continue to work on the family unit at home. The packet of activities is optional, but it can aid in the conversation about family. The critical piece of this assignment is the timeline as this is a standard for both grades. The goal is for students to understand order and how order relates to their lives. A timeline is a visual representation of order. These can be as simple or as detailed as you choose. I am excited to let the students share their hard work with the class!

Parent Meeting - There is a link on the left side of this page titled "February Parent Meeting". I have attached all of the handouts from the meeting to this link. :)

The RHL ASB is sponsoring a free Family Movie Night on Friday, February 20, from 6:30-8:30 PM at River HomeLink in the small gym.

You can vote for your movie choice, the one with the most votes wins.

The options are:

o Rio

o Over the Hedge

o Ratatouille

Ballots are available on the table by the ASB office or you can respond to the all school email with their movie choice.

This is a bring your own seating event. Snacks will be available to purchase from the Yearbook club. Bring the whole family and come have a night of family fun!

After talking to multiple families, many need more time to work on the family unit for social studies. I want to be sensitive to your schedules and other academic expectations. The timeline and family tree, both required assignments, will be shared with the class on Thursday and Friday the 26/27. The additional packet that was on the website was sent home with Tuesday’s students (yesterday) and Thursday students will receive it tomorrow. The family packet is extended learning and is optional. I would encourage you to choose a couple of the writing pages and activities to work on at home, it is not a requirement.  You can bring any completed assignments from the family packet to a consultation to share them with me.  

I’m looking forward to the parent meeting on February 10th at 6pm. I have collaborated with Mrs. Avery (the ¾ directed teacher) to plan the remainder of our studies at home and school. At the meeting I will share a plan for math and social studies. I will also update you about reading and writing. We will save a little time for book inventory, however our main focus will be on preparing you and your child to be successful the last half of the school year.


Rachael Derbin

Social Studies Update
The social studies project was originally designed to be a joint home/school project.  Since we only have 3 hours and 15 minutes together with the kids, I decided that I could send this project home.  
So the goal of this unit is:
Unit Outline 1:  Families in Our Community

Essential Question(s): 

·         How do families change over time?

·         Why do families live where they do?

·         What are the roles and responsibilities that families have?

·         How do families meet their needs and wants?


Guiding Question(s): 

·         How do families in your community support themselves?



Required GLE

Suggested Examples



Understands and creates family timelines to show events in a sequential manner.

·      Creates and explains a timeline that describes family events over time.

·      Creates and explains a family timeline that describes changes to the family.


Understands how knowledge of family history can be used to make current choices.

·      Explains how a family marks celebrations using traditions and customs from the past.




Understands that when individuals and families make choices about meeting their needs and wants, something is gained and something is given up.

·      Explains that families make choices about the need for buying groceries based on cost, availability, family or cultural customs, and personal taste.

·      Explains that when families make choices about moving, a new home is gained and an old neighborhood is given up.



Understands why families make decisions to move.

·      Explains that families may move to a smaller or bigger home when family size decreases or increases.

·      Explains that families may move when job opportunities become available.

Students should be able to present their timelines and family tree. Please use these two activities for your art requirements as well.  

Week 19 A
Hello everyone, hope you enjoyed watching the Super Bowl last night, it was quite the game!  

With only 33 classes left I need to ask for your help in making sure I am up to date on the reading evaluations for the kids.  Between now and the end of the year I plan on doing two reading evaluation for each kid in the class.

 I need to spend the next two weeks doing the evaluations and this is the process.  First I will have a sign up sheet for times after school and during Wednesdays to do the evaluations.  The testing takes between 20 and 30 min.

 Once the evaluations are done I will be putting reading groups together by ability level.  This will require five parents to run the groups per class.  Since two moms are in the classroom to help this means the kids will need three other parents to run these groups.  Our reading times should run fro 8:45 to 9:15. The official reading groups will start no later then Feb 16.

Reading: We will be learning about theme, characters, and events.  As requested above, I would like to be assessing students during this time so we can get reading groups up and running.

Math: 1st graders are using a number line to solve two digit by two digit subtraction (90-30 for example). 2nd graders are wroking on regrouping in addition by using manipulatives and a place value mat.

Writing: all students will continue to work on stop light paragraphs (green= topic sentence, yellow= details, red= conclusion).  

Lice Update
I spoke with the Nurse's Assistant today and she said that the lice cannot live without a host for 24 hours, and recommended that the classroom is vacuumed (which our custodians do this).  Please check your kids and remind them never to share brushes or combs, scarves, hats, coats, etc. I do not think we are able to spray down the classroom or anything (I don't think it would do any good...)  If I get any more literature on suggested procedures on delousing and cleaning the house I will share it. 

I think that to be safe, girls should wear their hair up (and I would use hairspray) to make their hair less habitable for the lice. 

A parent also suggested that kids keep their jackets and hats etc on their chairs only and to not hang these items on the coat rack (that area is a breeding ground).

Thank you for your help!

Week 18 D
Please mark your calendars for February 10th at 6 pm. We will be having a parent meeting that is required for all parents to attend.  In order to ensure your students' success in the program, please refrain from bringing children (nursing babies are welcome!). I will be reviewing at home expectations, in class expectations, partnership expectations, making sure all textbooks are up to date etc.  Please bring all of your students books so I can take inventory and so we can switch them out if you need to do that.

Reading: In class we will be covering reading standards 2 and 3 this week. We will be working on fiction story maps (characters, settings, details, problem/solution, etc.).  On Thursday/Friday we will study a character traits, actions, and feelings.  We will also look for words that describe what that character looks like etc. 

Writing: In class we are starting story mapping and paragraphing.  Students will create their own story map, illustrate and write a story according to that map.  We will begin paragraphing and apply that to their work. 

Math: We are covering numbers and operations in base 10 standards 4 and 5.  First graders will be adding two digit to one digit numbers (that includes regrouping).  Second graders will be exploring greater than, less than, and equal to symbols for three digit numbers. Second graders will also sort place value blocks, expanded form, and word form into those three categories. 

Social studies: Originally I wanted to do a family tree in our classroom but I am finding we will not have enough time to achieve that goal.  To support the social studies time at home, I have a small packet that I will send home for you to work on with the children. The big project will be the family time line and family tree.  I would like the children to create two posters (one timeline, one family tree) and be ready to present on February 12/13.

Thank you to all who have joined our Facebook page. Please feel free to post any questions or suggestions on there so we can all help each other :-)

Please make sure you are fulfilling your partnership times. I am finding that week D tends to be short on parents in the T/F class.  I rely on the parents to help me run guided reading groups, and math activities.  Parents are also critical with safety on the playground and in the lunch room.  

Consultations are happening every day at 12:30, if you miss your consultation, please plan to join us on the next day (even if it isn't your normal school days, you are more than welcome to join the group).  If you are unable to meet, then I do need to know so I can get your paperwork, and we can communicate via email. 

Please mark your calendars for February 10th at 6 pm. We will be having a parent meeting that is required for all parents to attend.  In order to ensure your students' success in the program, please refrain from bringing children (nursing babies are welcome!). I will be reviewing at home expectations, in class expectations, partnership expectations, making sure all textbooks are up to date etc.  Please bring all of your students books so I can take inventory and so we can switch them out if you need to do that.

Addition to Week 17
Please check out the Scholastic Books tab on the left of the page. This gives you the online information to order books online.  This way is so much easier than having me enter each order by hand.  When you order books through this code, our class will earn bonus points that will allow us to add more books into our classroom library. Thanks!

Week 17 C
Hello everyone! This week is a crazy one! We did not have school on Monday and have a week full of half days.  This Tuesday we focused on MLK JR and read a book about his life, made a timeline on his life, and read many books written by the 7/8th grade shared classroom.  The students loved reading with the big kids. We will be doing this on Thursday too! 

For the rest of the week, we will be reviewing numbers and operations in base ten, reviewing retelling familiar stories and asking good questions.

I will be using Facebook and have created a group (thanks Angela!!!) that is closed only to members in the class.  Please search for me on Facebook and add me as a friend.  This is my professional account so you will not be overwhelmed with my cute pictures of Liam :-).  If you are having a hard time finding me on Facebook let me know!

Hello Amazing Families! This is a social studies activity that we will be doing in partnership with class and home. I need your help! This is also for my National Boards (I will talk to you in consultations about this). I would like these two activities to be turned in by February 2 or 3 depending on your class day. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this I think this will be an awesome way to showcase our families!

I will be holding consultations Thursday and Friday starting at 10:20.  Please plan to attend!   

Hope you had a restful Monday and are ready to tackle this week!

Week 16 B
Reading: We are covering Reading Literature standards 1 and 2.  In Thursday/Friday's classes we are working on retelling familiar stories, and listened to a story that puts a fun spin on that.  We have also been working on asking key questions to help us with comprehension (who, what, when, where, why, and how).

Writing: We have written an opinion pre-assessment on Monday and Tuesday, the rest of the week we have been presenting the country reports.  All students have presented in my M/TH class, we have a few kids left for T/F.  Please come and support your kids if you are available to attend!

Math: We have reviewed the Numbers and Operations in Base Ten standards 1-3. Students have been creating a toolkit in their journals that covers place value, comparing numbers, and expanded/standard/word form.  This has been a great review for most kids. You have been doing a rock star job at home!

Social Studies: At home this week, make sure to study Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because we have that day off.  Perhaps you and your family can make it a day "on" and volunteer a local organization?  

Some key details: I really need to make sure that I have at least two parents in the classroom at all times.  Recently I have been alone on the playground and relying on parents who volunteer regularly outside of their scheduled times. Please double check your consulting schedule and parent partnership days. It is REQUIRED that you support the classroom once a month.  If you are available to help more often please let me know. In math I have been splitting up the first and second grade students because of the different expectations. In reading I have been breaking the kids up into small groups to read with the available parents while I have been assessing reading levels.     

Week 14 A/C
We will be holding double consultations this week for anyone who is scheduled for week A or C.  We will have our consultations at the typical time.  The only thing that might be a problem is finding a place where we can host all of our families, so we will most likely be in the commons area.  

EasyCBM testing for all students on Monday/Tuesday during 2nd period. 
    1st grade students will have: Math test on the computer, Letter Sounds, Word Reading, Passage Reading (all administered one on one).
    2nd grade students will have: Math test on the computer, vocabulary test on the computer, reading comprehension, and passage reading (one on one). 

Since we will be testing heavily during Monday and Tuesday, I will definitely need the help from parents during class time :-) Please let me know if you are going to be volunteering when you come into the classroom.

Globe Trot Scott is sending us a package on Monday and Tuesday from Italy!  We are going to be reading about La Befana and compare her with Santa Claus.  Then we will get another package from Scott on Thursday and Friday!  The kids are loving this activity.  I have been using this during reading time because Scott sends a book (where I model a comprehension strategy) and then they do some writing about what they have learned from this culture.  Since we do not have time to do the art activities that come along with this, I have them copied to the back of the children's work, so you can finish these at home if you are needing to fill your social studies requirements. 

Writers Workshop is going amazingly well! The kids are loving this time.  We are continuing to work on small moment stories, and students will choose one to take home and finish over Winter Break.  

We have wrapped up learning about Even and Odd numbers in class and will be starting a new unit on Numbers and Operations in Base 10 when we return in January.  

Thank you for all that you do for your kids!  

Required at-home Social Studies Project
Please fill out the form below by 12/3

County Research Project

Social Studies Project
Due date: 12/ 18 (Thursday)  or 12/19 (Friday)
Please click on the link above. Students may choose ANY country they would like to research. This project should cover 2 hours a week of our social studies research.  Students may also choose to create a website. If this is the case, please view the following video:

Build a website.mp4

On the last day before winter break, students will be presenting their projects to other students at RHL.  We will have a celebration of learning on that day as well. If you are willing to help run the celebration, please let me know!  

Week 13 Week D

If you have not consulted with me for the month of November, please be sure to attend one of this week's consultations.  Monday/Thursday families, I will be holding consultations at the beginning of block 3.  Tuesday/Friday families, I will be holding consultations at the beginning of block 4.  Please come with the paperwork ready. This can be found under the consultations page.  

This week, we are starting our new Holidays around the world unit.  This will have a home piece to it as well. 

    For writing: continue to write personal narratives and write about holidays in France.
    For reading: read and listen to holiday songs from France, then read about France's holiday traditions. 
    For math: https://learnzillion.com/lesson_plans/30-analyze-the-same-data-set-using-both-a-picture-graph-and-bar-graph

    For writing: continue to write personal narratives and write about holidays in Uganda.
    For reading: read about Christmas traditions in Uganda http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0099SH782/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o02_?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    For math: Subtract within 20 by subtracting in parts https://learnzillion.com/lesson_plans/517-subtract-within-20-by-subtracting-in-parts

At home:
    Reading: one lesson of Storytown per week. Each family is working through this at their own pace, so I am recommending at the minimum 1 full lesson a week.
    Writing: Students should be writing 45 minutes daily.  The social studies project will cover this requirement. 
    Math: Continue to do one lesson a day from Engage NY.  Remember, if your child is sick, you can always use the exit tickets to monitor progress. If they already have the concepts, feel free to move them along!
    Social Studies: See the next post for directions for our Culture Fair projects (this will incorporate writing).  

Growth Mindset

November 24, 2014 ClassLink 1-2 Directed Meeting Notes 

* Mrs. Derbin opened the meeting by asking, “What is one academic success your child has had thus far this year?” It was encouraging to hear the positive growth the kids are displaying both academically and socially. 

 *Mrs. Derbin wants us all to know that her weekly communiques are going to be posted by Monday mornings at the latest at https://sites.google.com/a/battlegroundps.org/mrsderbin/weekly-communique, so please check the website regularly. She will be giving us an overview of what the children are learning during class time each week.

 *Daily School-Day Schedule – Posted at https://sites.google.com/a/battlegroundps.org/mrsderbin/weekly-communique under “Week 11 Week C” (You have to scroll down within the “Potential Schedule” spreadsheet to find this).

Keep in mind that the M/Th class has science during block 3, whereas the T/F class has science during block 4, so the schedules vary a bit. 

Mrs. Derbin gave us a description of what she is teaching during each segment of the school day: 

*The school day starts with calendar time and morning meeting, which includes a lot of math. The students use the number rope to work with different ways to make larger numbers (i.e., how to make 20 from different smaller groups). 

* Writing – Mrs. Derbin has eliminated the “morning work” because it was sucking up too much time. Instead, the class starts right away in the morning with a mini writer’s lesson. Mrs. Derbin is using Lucy Calkins’ writing program, for which she has attended a training workshop. After the mini lesson, the kids have a Writer’s Workshop where they write about something they’ve experienced personally so they already have access to a wealth of information. We all looked through our child’s writing notebook to see each child’s “Small Moment” writing samples. One sample from each unit will be taken to completion (through final draft stage), whereas the others will remain at the level of a drawing for prewriting and some daily writing. Mrs. Derbin is providing a variety of paper options with different line spacings to help each child be successful. Several kids are reporting that Writer’s Workshop is their favorite part of the day. 

*Snack Time – Please send snacks that are easy to eat during snack time (not oranges that need peeled, or messy puddings, or items that are very sugary). 

*Reading – Mrs. Derbin starts with a reading mini lesson based on the CAFE model (c=comprehension, a=accuracy, f=fluency, e=expression). They may work on a comprehension strategy, how to be more accurate, how to read with expression, or how to use vocabulary words. Then the students move to guided reading and word work. Mrs. Derbin is trying to get each child into a guided reading group once a week, but that depends on the number of parent volunteers in the classroom. The guided reading is a time with a parent where they read a leveled book together and work on comprehension. The other options available to the kids are word work stations (working on sight words, etc.). 

*Math – Mrs. Derbin discussed EngageNY specifically because a majority of families are using this curriculum. She wants to make sure everyone knows that you don’t have to do ALL of the work with each lesson. A lot of the beginning matter and teacher planning is really meant for kids who have no baseline knowledge. If your child is doing fine, skip to the concept development part because that is the main content area for the lesson. You have multiple choices for assignments – the kids do NOT need to do all of the work – either the Problem Set or the Homework, not both. If your child is excelling, let them complete the Exit Ticket as a pre-assessment. If they’ve got it, move them on; if not, slow down. Also, if your child is ill, feel free to catch them up by using the Exit Tickets in the same way. Flag the lessons you’ve skipped and if you want to loop back to them later in the year, you can do that. For those who are frustrated with the amount of repetition of number bonds, Mrs. Derbin wanted to encourage us to keep working on that number fluency, because what we do now with number bonds is really setting our children up for success later on. Also, regarding the current pacing schedule for EngageNY, 2nd graders should have module 3, and 1st graders should have module 2. If you do not, please get these modules from Mrs. Derbin. 

–For those families who are still using the MathConnects curriculum, Mrs. Derbin would like you to use at least some pieces of EngageNY along with it because of the vocabulary and the way Common Core authors ask their questions. The new Smarter Balance Assessment has difficult and deep questions using this new set of vocabulary, so if you haven’t been using the Common Core vocab with your children, they may struggle with the testing. Mrs. Avery agreed that the language is the biggest shift with the Common Core. The new assessments expect the kids to understand this new language and vocabulary. Mrs. Derbin noted that 2nd graders struggled more with the new vocabulary at beginning of year, but 1st graders coming from Mrs. Whithorn’s classroom were familiar with the vocab and it didn’t pose a challenge to them at all.


–LearnZillion piece – LearnZillion is a free resource which Mrs. Derbin has been using for part of the daily math lesson. She has been utilizing the 2nd grade standard for a given topic, showing the 2nd grade video, and then going around with 1st graders to make sure they’re getting it at their level. She is doing this because the 1st and 2nd grade standards are very similar and one just builds on the other (for example, adding fluency within 10 for 1st graders and adding fluency within 20 for 2nd graders). The students have been working on graphing with pictographs and using arrays to skip count quickly. 

–Rocket Math piece – We looked at our student’s Rocket Math folder and Mrs. Derbin explained what the kids are working on. The first several pages were focused on “How Fast Can You Write?” The students were simply to copy numbers as quickly as possible and see how many they could write in a minute. The latter pages are leveled with letters. Eventually, your child will work from A all the way to Z. The top half of each rocket math page is a 5 minute practice set. The bottom half is what they are tested on. The idea is for them to race the clock. They all think they are getting 1 minute to work the problems, but Mrs. Derbin is actually giving them 3 minutes currently so they can feel successful (don’t tell them J ). Once they complete all of their addition levels, Mrs. Derbin will pretest them on subtraction . If they’ve got it, she’ll move them on so they can have some experience with multiplication before they go on to 3rd grade. Mrs. Derbin has the Rocket Math papers in the classroom so your student can practice at home if you’d like. Thanks to the parents who are making sure there are copies of upcoming levels available. Mrs. Derbin wants the kids to be successful as they work on improving their fine motor skills in writing, so the number of problems expected to be completed depends on the kid. If your kid is struggling with math fact fluency, bring in flash cards or rocket math worksheets or some other fluency practice at home. Memorization is key. 

*Consultation – Mrs. Derbin will usually be in Room 7 or in Room 15 (her office). If you miss your consultation appointment, just join in on the next one. That way, the files will stay up-to-date. Also, pay close attention to the A, B, C, and D weeks on the RHL Calendar. During December, A and C will double up, as will B and D. The consultation form is on website at https://sites.google.com/a/battlegroundps.org/mrsderbin/consultations, or if that doesn’t work, she can print you one. Also on that web page, if you scroll down you will find a Consulting Tracking Form – any red marks mean the paperwork for that month isn’t yet complete for some reason. It may be that you’ve missed or that your appointment is still upcoming, or it may mean that some paperwork is missing or misplaced. Please talk with Mrs. Derbin to resolve past “red marks.” 

Mrs. Derbin will be available to consult during 4th block today, Nov. 25, if anyone wants to meet and consult. 

We looked through our children’s files at the meeting and ensured all the monthly progress evaluations were signed and up-to-date. (She asked us not to sign December’s in advance – she’s just prepping ahead of time). We will finalize the addendum to each child’s WSLP during the next round of consultations. 

*Daily Non-School Day Schedule – Mrs. Derbin has given us an idea of what’s now expected at https://sites.google.com/a/battlegroundps.org/mrsderbin/weekly-communique under “Week 11 Week C.” 

Because of the scheduling changes, 2 hours/week of schooling at home need to be added. She suggests we spend 30 minutes on fitness, 45 on writing, 45 on reading, 70 on math, 40 on social studies, and 30 on arts each home day. She reminded us we can always combine the social studies and arts components. 

*Social Studies – Because of the reduction in class time, Mrs. Derbin decided something had to give somewhere with subjects covered in the classroom. The social studies projects were eating up too much time, so there wasn’t enough class time to get the basics covered. Also, because the kids are learning to read, rather than reading to learn, she didn’t want to give them social studies reading assignments in class. Additionally, she wanted to make sure there was clear differentiation between the Directed and Shared programs, so we are keeping reading, writing, math, and science as classroom pieces and making social studies a home piece. She sent Evan Moor books home with the kids on Monday and Tuesday for them to start working on. Some of the 2nd graders have already done the green book, so Mrs. Derbin is going to make something else available to you. Additionally, for those who like to dabble in curriculum, there are sites such as Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook where for free or for a minimal amount of money, you can access some great teaching tools (one mom mentioned some great Power Points that are available for free). You are welcome to select your own social studies materials. The emphasis for 1st and 2nd grade is family, community, culture, and who you are. There may be an additional element of choosing a culture, writing a report, and bringing it into the classroom at some point. 

Mrs. Derbin also gave us a preview of her plans for incorporating a bit of social studies guidance into class time via “Globetrotter Scott.” Packages from around the world will be coming into the classroom and the kids will expand on these teasers by exploring different cultures via packets that will be sent home. 

*Language Arts at Home – Please continue to focus on grammar (especially punctuation), spelling (please feel free to modify and adjust - use what works for your children so they can be successful with spelling). In December, something may come home from the writing folder to be finalized. 

*Reading at Home – Each child should be reading or being read to at least 20-30 minutes daily. With so many kids, we have many different reading levels represented. If your child is reading at an advanced level, feel free to move them beyond StoryTown. Mrs. Derbin has that whole bookshelf of printed level readers and she’d like us all to be accessing them with our children. Another resource option she’d encourage us all to take a look at is something called “Close Reading.” She has lots of resources for this, and you may also find many more on Teachers Pay Teachers or elsewhere. The idea with a Close Reading Selection is that the child will read it, figure out the key vocabulary, answer text-dependent questions, and come away with an increased depth of knowledge. Because these are printed, the kids can feel free to write directly in their stories and interact with the text right on that page. 

*Volunteering – Please make sure you make your scheduled volunteer time, and please come in extra, too. The kids also love having you in the classroom. A suggestion was made that those who can should feel welcome to put our names down to volunteer regularly during one of the open slots. Whether or not we are able to do that, we should make sure we are in the classroom during our regularly scheduled volunteer times. Also, with the schedule change, both morning and afternoon volunteer slots should now include the lunch hour, so please plan to cover the lunch period on your volunteer day. 

We really do need more parents involved to help the kids at lunch – there have been times when there are no parents, which becomes a major safety issue. Mrs. Meek reiterated the need for help in the lunchroom every day. Mrs. Meek would be willing to coordinate making sure we have adequate supervision for safety and social activity in the lunchroom. One person can’t do it all! She asked if we would consider committing to 11:30 – 12:30 for lunch supervision. If everyone could take a lunch period, we could have it covered better (maybe 4 parents per lunch?). A parent commented that there is a need for information on what is expected of parent volunteers at lunch time. Mrs. Derbin is going to put lunch help suggestions up on the website so our duties are more clear. The following suggestions were discussed at the meeting. Parents should help opening pouches, etc. One parent should take the hot lunch kids through the line while another takes the cold lunch kids to their tables. The hot lunch kids should be taken right to the front of the hot lunch line – the older kids tend to roll right over the little ones, so we are there to be an advocate for them. Also, as we walk them through the line, we should make sure they get one item from each of the required food groups. Throughout the lunch time, parents monitor for safety issues, as well as helping the kids with whatever is needed, and then clean up the tables for the next group before we leave. 

*As you volunteer, please don’t worry about bringing your younger children. Babies are always welcome in the classroom. J Mrs. Derbin understands having extra kiddos in the classroom and it makes it fun. 


*MobyMax – MobyMax is an optional, additional, online curriculum for reading and math during the primary grades. The kids must log in (their log-ins were sent home tucked into the Bumble Bee morning work books with the big B on the front). Then, they get assessed and begin working. The computer determines what level they are working at, then backfills anything the need to learn and/or practice. There is also a fact master for math fact fluency practice. This is NOT a substitute for your regular math curriculum. If you’re concerned about too much screen time or if it doesn’t work for your child, you do not have to use it. However, if your child is motivated or driven to practice through the program, feel free to use this fun tool. NOTE – your “math hours” on your monthly consultation log should note how many hours the kids are physically doing math curriculum separate from how many hours they are doing computerized instruction. 

*Kudos – Mrs. Derbin and Mrs. Meek both gave kudos to all the parents. They feel like you are doing an amazing job. They appreciate your support. Also, parents gave kudos to both teachers – we appreciate that they are stepping into a brand new program and they are figuring out how their teaching styles work best in this environment – thank you to our wonderful teachers! 

*Folders – at the close of the meeting, we were instructed to return the student files, the writing folders, and the rocket math folders. If any accidentally made their way home with you, please make sure they get back to school soon.

Week 12 Week D

Consultations will still be held this week on Monday and Tuesday if you are able to attend. If you are not able to make it, please attend the next available time :-)

We are working on the "beginning" "middle" and "end" of "how to catch a turkey". Students will make a turkey craft, write a three step story, and then read a silly story about Thanksgiving.  

We have half days on Monday and Tuesday!

Week 11 Week C

Wow what a crazy few weeks it has been. Sorry for my hiatus from the website, there have been so many things in flux and change over the past few weeks.  

Starting with the most important...  The new schedule.  In this schedule, I have included a suggested daily plan to ensure you are getting all of the required hours for the various subjects.  I have also included the schedule for the kids when they are in class.  The only way I could really see how the day would work, I broke it down into five minute increments so you can really see the amount of time they are getting.  As I am working towards getting the kids ready for third grade, the math time will turn into a direct instruction with practice time rather than math centers.  I felt that having the reading centers and math centers was a little too chaotic.  I think Mrs. Meek will focus on science, and I will be able to send home some social studies activities that you will be able to use to meet that two hour a week requirement for social studies. 

Potential Schedule

Now that the schedule is pretty well set, here are the academics to be covered this week:

Reading: Comprehension strategy "check for understanding" and choosing a just right book. Students will also be going through guided reading groups at their reading levels and working on various activities when they are not engaged in a reading group.  Some activities are read to self, read to someone, and word work (sight word games, tactile activities, flash cards, chalk board practice of sight words etc.) If anyone has good games, or old board games that can be written on with sight words, let me know and I can work them into my rotation.

Writing: We are doing writers workshop every day.  We are completing a writing pre assessment on a small moment (personal narrative).

Math: Pictographs, adding/subtracting within 30, and group work.

Reading: comprehension strategy "back up and reread". Continued guided reading with students who were not met with on Monday/Tuesday, and read to self, read to someone, and word work.

Writing: Mini lesson: "Today I want to teach you that when authors write a Small Moment story, they think of an idea (maybe about things they do or things that happen to them), then they plan, and then they write the story across pages of a book."  And teach how to write a story: 1) Think of an idea (a thing you do, a thing that happened to you) 2) plan. 3) write!

Math: Solve various problem types using data presented in bar graphs and pictographs. https://learnzillion.com/lesson_plans/31-solve-various-problem-types-using-data-presented-in-picture-graphs-and-bar-graphs

I will be sending social studies activities home with the students on Thursday/Friday.  I will work on getting other activities sent to the print shop (or ones I can share through email) to assist with the social studies piece at home.  

Thank you for your continued patience, and support!

Week 6 Week B

Important: If you have not paid for your field trip, please do so today! You will not be able to pay at the gate of BiZi Farms. T/Fri families, I have your permission slips, and will post them to the field trip page. Please print them out and bring them to school tomorrow!  

Also, T/Friday families, if you are planning to not attend the field trip, please make sure to have your children picked up by 10:30 as there will be no adult supervision.

Math concept: Numbers 0-100 hundreds chart. Visualizing a number based on what was heard. Decomposing numbers.

At home: Engage NY Lessons 

    1st grade: Lessons 16-20 Module 1

    2nd grade: Lessons 6-10 Module 2

Reading: StoryTown Lesson 6 (unless you are moving at your own pace!)


    In class: Begin research project on farm animals. Students will learn about gathering facts, capitalization/punctuation. 

    At home: Research information for your child's specific animal.

Social Studies: Students will focus on their family structure this week and how they contribute to their families.

Spelling: Week 6

You may purchase tickets for the field trip in the ASB office now! We are good to go for the 14th! Please make sure to sign up on the form on the field trips page :-)


Hello everyone,

Spirit Week begins next Monday. We are doing class competitions again this year for classes that meet during block 2 (Kinderskills C -we will work something out for this group). The winning classes will get a pizza party. There will be a winner from each of the three categories. The three grade categories are:

Grades K-4

Grades 5-8

Grades 9-12

Please remember this is a student driven event, please let them plan and implement it. Encourage your kids to participate. We will be sending out score sheets to all block 2 teachers. Please fill this sheet our during second block. An ASB student will be coming around each day at the end of block 2 to pick up your score sheet.

Here are the days:

Monday – Sci-fi Day –NO WEAPONS (including toy ones)

Tues – 80’s Day

Wed – Western Wednesday – NO WEAPONS (including toy ones)

Thurs – Twin Day

Fri – Hippies vs Hillbillies

Week 5, Week A

Early Release: Wednesday and Thursday. Students may order a sack lunch, but we will be finished prior to a typical lunch time.  Students need to be picked up at 10:55.

Field Trip, October 14th! Please check the "field trip page!"

2nd grade families, I have the 2nd module in the classroom ready. I know some students were absent, and one student left their copy on their desk, so double check and see if you have your copy.  :-)

Math: Engage NY
1st Grade: In class lessons Module 1 (13 and 16). At home lessons (12, 14, and 15)
2nd Grade: In class lessons Module 2 (2 and 5). At home lessons (1, 3, and 4)

Reading: Charlotte's Web. We only finished Chapter 4 this past week (the spider webs took so long, but were totally worth it, so we will continue with Chapter 5, 7, 8 and 12, 13 in class. Please read chapters 6, 9, 10, 11 with your students at home. We are continuing to work on our Lap Books in the classroom. Students will be finishing their "All About Wilbur" mini books, and finishing their story setting activity. 

Writing: We will continue to establish our barn animals report in the classroom. I am still working on the details, but students will need to do a majority of the research/writing at home.

Social Studies: Finish our pocket book for our unique selves, and then start working on our family pockets.  

Spelling: Week 5. Make sure students are working on 1-2 pages per homeschool day and bring spelling test scores to consultations. 

Week 4 Week D 
Math: Engage NY  
        1st Grade: In class lessons (8 and 11). At home lessons (7, 9, and 10) 
        2nd Grade: In class lesson (8 and assessment). At home review Module 1 with your child. End of Module Assessment on Thursday/Friday, 2nd grade only.  If you are opting out of the Engage NY curriculum at home, make sure your students are completing 3 lessons (on non school days) and bringing in chapter assessment scores to monthly consultations.

Reading: Read aloud "Charlotte's Web" and starting a thematic unit that focuses on character, setting, and plot. Students will be making a Lap Book that includes research, study of Roman Numerals, and character traits.  
    In Class: Chapters 1, 2, 4, 5
    At Home: Chapters 3, 6

Writing: In Class introduction to Informational Writing (research) on barn animals to connect with "Charlotte's Web". 

Social Studies: Studying about being an unique individual and how we fit into our families and community. Art project of hand and foot prints, measuring activity, graphing activity (in class). If these are finished by the second half of the week, we will work on our families, generations before me, and "where do I live".