Class News

December 8
I our Signup Genius written up last night and ready to send out to you this morning but apparently it doesn't automatically save.  It is at the top of my list this weekend.  I apologize for the delay.

Your child can now access their ST Math account at home.  I have opened up the units we have covered thus far.  I would also encourage you to have your child working on the Xtra Math site.  Our focus for the next two weeks will be fact fluency.

Please help you child remember their book bags on their given day.  This week we had several children forget their books on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Then, on Thursday we had a slew of children wanting books.  We try to make the book selections meaningful and give each child guidance.  In order to do this as effectively as possible we divide the class into small groups (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays).  The math 'make and take' game is also place in bags on those days.  Thank you for helping with this system.

December 4
Our mathematical focus is switching from learning to add numbers with sums to 10, to fact fluency.  This is know the addition facts BEYOND using our fingers, counting on, etc.  This is know the basic fact just looking at it...seeing 4 + 6 and know it's 10.  The 'Make and Take' games will help students foster the fluency and accuracy.  Most any game using two dice would be helpful for students to use.  We will be reintroducing Xtra Math because this is the purpose of that app.

Check out the Spelling page for Unit 5 skills and trick words.

A Sign Up  Genius will be going out this week for our December events.  Please be on the lookout for this in your email.  Save the date - Thursday 12/21 (see below for details).

November 30, 2017
Today was spectacular!  Team 109 were true ambassadors of Bow Elementary.  Thank you to all the chaperones who joined us for the day.  The low adult:student ratio is critical in maximizing all the learning opportunities field trips afford our children.  Please remember if you took any good pictures please tag our Instagram account.  And now...on to DECEMBER!  Remember to put our morning of Night Tree activities on your calendar - December 21.  I will also be updating the Spelling link with unit 5 information very soon.

November 29, 2017
Tomorrow is our big day!  We are off to the museum.  The kids are very excited.  Thank you to all the parents who have volunteered to chaperone our trip.  We will be leaving BES at 8:30.  Please have your child bring their lunch along with a drink.  In accordance with school policy, all children must ride the school bus to and from the event.  However, if a parent wishes to transport their child a form must be signed in advance.  This trip is a culminating event to a week of science experiments focused on light and sound waves.

We are completing our unit in spelling which focus on the glued sound of all and bonus letters i.e. still.  Please be sure to check out Spelling page for details.

Jiji is making his way to everyone's home for a visit.  Please know that photos are a nice addition but NOT necessary.  The children look forward to reading the journal on Monday mornings.

December is a busy month.  The First Grade team is finalizing our Signup Genius for The Night Tree Walk.  So please be watchful for that coming in email.  In the meantime, if you would like to block off time the morning December 21st.  We will be making ornaments to use to decorate a tree for the animals.  Then, we will walk out to the woods about where our Fairy Houses were built, to decorate a tree.  Generally, at this time, the time frame is 8:45 to 10:15.  Please let me know if you can make it for this special event here at BES.


November 22, 2017
Thank you all so much for helping make our First Grade Feast such a wonderful success!  What a terrific way to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season!  These next few weeks are going to fly by so I wanted to get as much information out to you as possible:
  • November 30 - Dover Children's Museum: Please send your child with a bagged/labeled lunch and drink.  We need a box of graham crackers donated for our quick snack upon arrival.  If you are able to join us at the museum please let me know in advance so I can plan small groups.  You will need to pay your admission fee at the door.
  • December 21 - Night Tree Walk...held in the morning.  We will need volunteers to help make decorations for our 'night tree.'  Then, we will walk out to the area where our fairy houses were built, find a tree(s) to decorate for the animals.  Upon our return to school we will have a special snack.  More details i.e. time, supplies for the decorations, donations for the special snack plus hot cocoa will be forthcoming.  I wanted you to have the date for planning purposes.
  • December 22 - Polar Express day:  First Graders will be invited to come to school in their pajamas.  If someone would like to provide a special snack for this day, it would add a little something special for our last day before vacation.
We (Team 109) now have an Instagram Account because it is the quickest and easiest way for me to share pictures.  You can find us at learning_and_laughter on Instagram.


November 20, 2017
The First Grade Feast is tomorrow at 8:30!  The children have been preparing for this special time.  The Pilgrims should wear a white/light colored top and dark bottoms to help create the effect.  Thank you to all the families that graciously donated food and drinks for tomorrow.  All food can be brought directly to the lunch room where we will be meeting families and feasting.

Next week we begin our study of Light and Sound.  Would you kindly let me know if you plan to join us on our field trip to the Dover Children's Museum.


November 1, 2017
I hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween.  As we look at November please refer to our classroom calendar for special days and donations that are needed.  There is a lot happening in the month and teamwork/communication is important to ensure we have supplies and are prepared for the events.  We have library the 3rd and the 17th this month.  Please help your child remember to pack their books so they are fully prepared for Mrs. Brewster's lessons.  Everyone is signed up for Parent Teacher Conferences.  Should anything come up and you are unable to meet please email me so I can plan accordingly.  Appointments are scheduled back to back so please be curtious to others by arriving on time and understand our time together is limited to 30 minutes.  If we would like to further our conversation we can always schedule another time to meet.  Our Book Pal feast is on November 21st.  We will attend the feast as Pilgrims.  To help create the roles, first graders are asked to wear brown or black pants/skirts with white tops.  We will need food, drinks and plates/napkins donated to bring to the feast.  Please email me if you can send in Thanksgiving plates and napkins (20), juice boxes or water bottles (20), mini muffins (40).  I look forward to meeting with you to discuss your child's transition to first grade and their academic and social development.

October 24, 2017
The excitement is building and the count down is on!  While we don't 'celebrate' Halloween, we will be making it a special day for First Graders.  For part of the special day, I was hoping for a few donations: festive napkins and plates, a healthy snack and small sweet treat, along with small water bottles or juice boxes.  If you can send any of those items in for our special snack it would be greatly appreciated.

We have begun Unit 3 in our Fundations/spelling program.  The Home Packet was sent home yesterday.  These are papers that help communicate what is happening in the classroom.  The packet also supplies you with materials to practice at home.  As with all homework, these are voluntary opportunities to extend your child's learning.  Please see the spelling tab for more details.  Tomorrow, all students will be bringing home their Math & Reading bags.  Within the bag you will find a note about the books and the math games that will be sent home.  Your child has a name tag on the front of the bag that indicates what day of the week to return the bag.  It will be a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday - beginning next week.  I neglected to request all the page protector sheets come back in the bags so we can reuse them for the next game.

Friday is stuffed animal day in room 109.  The children came up with the parameters - 1 stuffed animal, it must fit in the backpack, only kind words can be said about other people's stuffed animals.  The animals will come home Friday (no sleep overs).

October 16, 2017
Last call to email and be a part of the Team 109 Friendship List.  Parent Teacher Conference times were emailed out this morning.  I am looking forward to discussing your child's transition into first grade as well as their progress.


October 14, 2017

Conference schedule update - I am waiting to hear back from a few teachers regarding sibling conference times.  Hopefully, they will get back to me this weekend and I can send out conference times.  Enjoy the weekend.

Several parents have contacted me about volunteering in our classroom.  First of all - thank you!  The following message was included in the most recent BES & Beyond 

VOLUNTEERS AND CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND CHECKS Volunteers at BES are highly valued and integral part of the educational setting.  However, under Bow School District Policy (IJOC), any person who will be in direct contact with students and not under the direct supervision of a School District employee will be subject to fingerprinting and a criminal records background check.  For more information click on this link and it will give you step by step instructions.

I will be looking for Parent Volunteers who have completed the requirements listed in the link above, to come in during our Literacy block - roughly 9 to 10 AM, Tuesday through Thursday.  It would also be helpful if you review the Volunteer information posted on the Volunteer tab of our website.

October 11, 2017

Parent/Teacher Conferences are right around the corner.  I will be contacting you by email to confirm our time.  Currently, I have put together a tentative schedule but am looking to arrange sibling conference times.  If you have another child at BES please let me know so I can be sure to connect with that teacher.  Otherwise I will be making the final schedule by the end of the week.


October 5, 2017
What an absolutely glorious day to build fairy houses!  Thank you to the parents who came and supported our students as they engineered these beautiful homes in the BES forest.  I would encourage families to go out onto the path and look for Team 109 Fairy Village.  The collaboration and teamwork between students was quite a site.  Mrs. Kurtz came in this afternoon to lead the class in another opportunity to problem solve and build.  Ask you child about their invention to 'bob for apples' without getting our faces wet.  Mrs. Kurtz read a story to the class, The Apple King, that had a problem that needed to be solved.  And then, we posed a problem to the students to solve (see the attached file below).  Again...very impressive group of thinkers!

Coming home today is an order form for BES Spirit Wear.  Just a reminder to be checking out our class calendar for specials, library and other special events.  The spelling tab will keep you updated on our spelling focus.

Enjoy the long weekend!

October 2, 2017
Time is marching on!  We have just completed the first unit in our spelling program.  Check out the Spelling tab for information about unit 2.  There is also a home pack arriving tonight that contains the highlights and some practice papers.  These are activities for you to do and expand upon at home and do not need to come back to school.  Our mathematics focus is mastery of the number 4 and the two addend combinations that equal 4.  Students have been introduced the number constancy, the correct number formation, visualizing the number and multiple manipulatives to engage and help master these five fast facts for 4.  This week we will introduce the number 5 with all the same activities.  By the end of the week, students should be well on their way to mastery of the six ways to make 5 using two addends.

Our Fairy House building/Woods Walk is Thursday morning.  If you are planning on joining us please email me.  I would like to have the opportunity to buddy children up with another child whose parent isn't available to join us.


September 14, 2017
Today we reviewed the letter c.  The children are practicing the letter formation, picture associated with the sound, and the sound made by the letter.  Coming home today are the remainder pages of the 'Home Support' packet.  You can find a unit overview on the Spelling tab above.  You will also see students' idea books in backpacks.  There is a letter tucked inside with directions.  We did some examples on the first page.  Subsequent pages should have one idea/picture.  We will be using these ideas to write 'small moment' stories.  During math, students independently logged into ST Math and got right to work.  The children also played Bunny Hop, honing game playing skills of taking turns, playing fairly and by the rules.

September 11, 2017
We are beginning to focus increasingly on academics.  A couple of the Daily 5 literacy activities have been introduced and students are working on their stamina.  Our spelling program was introduced and we are review letters - sounds and formation.  Our iPads are due to be in the classroom this week and students will begin ST Math.  Last week we spent time as a class talking about Jiji, the math skills and problem solving.  To foster the home/school connection we have a stuffed Jiji as a class pet.  Beginning this Friday, one lucky student will get to bring Jiji home for the weekend.  Jiji has a journal and specific directions are in Jiji's backpack.  The kids are very excited to have the opportunity to bring Jiji home.  When it is your child's turn please be sure to send Jiji back to school on Monday.

September 8, 2017
The week has flown by!  We are gelling as a team.  Children are feeling more comfortable and therefore able to help others.  I am in awe of your sons and daughters and how caring and thoughtful they are being of others.  The class has been coming together several times a day to check in on how our day is going.  We take some deep breaths and talk about our feeling using the Zones of Regulation.  I would encourage you to checkout this site to help develop your child's ability to express their feelings.  The Zones gives children a color to identify their emotions with since emotions are developmentally difficult to put into words.  In addition to the Zone, Responsive Class strategies are being implemented to develop our sense of community.  This link has information again, that may assist you in supporting your child's understanding the connection between academics and the social/emotional development.


September 5, 2017
Happy Tuesday!  Hopefully everyone was able to enjoy some extra family time with our 3 day weekend.  Thank you!  Your children were ready to be here and got right into our new routines.  We shared several All About Me bags and made connections.  Students realized they have a lot in common with classmates.  The lunchroom uses a number code system.  When your son/daughter makes a purchase they put their personal numbers into the system using a key pad.  The children are learning these 5 digit numbers and becoming increasing independent in the cafeteria.  Blue folders are now in your child's backpack.  This folder is where anything from school and going home, or coming from home to school should be placed.  Also, the season is changing.  Students should be dressed in layers to be most comfortable.  As the day goes on, and the kids are running and playing, things heat up.  Thank you for helping your child dress for the transition between summer and fall.


September 1, 2017
Is it REALLY September?  Our first (partial) week is done and can comfortably say it's been a success.  Emotions that the children are sharing are typical and to be expected i.e. missing the family, scared for fire drills.  We are making a point to discuss these feeling as a group so everyone has a better understanding and to be assured they are not alone in their feelings.  The class was introduced to our team jobs and class jobs today, as well as Take A Break.  Ask your child to explain this special place in our room where we can take a minute, recognize a situation and make a plan.  Please know this is a positive way to help children to recognize their feelings and learn how to address them and move forward.  I had requested contact information for our Friendship List.  The PTO is creating a school-wide Family Directory for the first time.  This will replace our individual classroom lists.

August 31, 2017
Day 2 is in the books!  We are focusing on community as we navigate through our first few weeks.  Many more names were learned today and a bit more of our routines.  Just a friendly reminder to return the yellow information forms ASAP.  We rehearsed our fire drill plan today.  Your child may find it comforting discuss this procedure with you at home.

August 30, 2017

WOW!  Your children were READY for today!  It was busy from start to finish, so don't be surprised if bedtime is a little earlier for the next few school nights.  We gathered on the front lawn, straight off the buses, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  Then, we came into the classroom for our Morning Meeting.  The children are familiar with the Zones of Regulation (feeling green, yellow, red) but we took the opportunity to review these terms and what is meant by them.  We have a glitter jar at our Take A Break center and discussed how it is used.  Mr. B was able to join us for a good part of our meeting.  We toured the building and practiced how to walk safely and quietly in the hallways.  Our morning recess is directly before lunch (10:15 - 10:45 with lunch from 10:45 - 11:15).  After lunch we had a few minutes of quiet time before Mrs. Rader's class joined us for a read aloud First Day Jitters.  We took the opportunity to talk, again, about feelings.  There was a little time to work on our first day of school crowns and then we went to afternoon recess.  Upon our return, there was a whole school assembly, a brief time in Art class and then dismissal.

If your child comes home with a concern, please email me.  I will be checking my email frequently this evening to answer questions so everyone gets a good night's sleep.  Please know, we checked in frequently with all the children about how they felt the day was going.  Smiles were all around...though some children were pretty tired walking out the door this afternoon.  Take care and please be in touch.


August 28, 2017
Tomorrow we will have Open House, from 4 - 5:30 .  This is the opportunity for students to become familiar with our classroom.  It is a time for families to see where your children will be spending most their day.  A scavenger hunt type activity will be used to help navigate through our classroom. To front load you, there will be a slip of paper for parents to write their hopes and dreams for their child, to me.  It will be exciting to see and meet our team 109 families.  I will be available to answer all your questions so everyone gets a good night's sleep.

Looking at our schedule, the afternoon recess time is short.  Please have a quick 'grab'n go' snack packed for your child to eat on the way out to recess i.e. cheese stick, granola bar, box of raisins, go-gurt.

August 14, 2017
The classroom is coming along.  Our 'Family' board is ready to pictures.  Please bring a family picture to Open House so we can add it to our display.  

August 5, 2017
The calendar has turned to August and the countdown is on to the beginning of school.  I will be updating our site on a more regular basis.  For those who have ordered school supplies through our PTO, supplies will be delivered directly to the classroom.  If you are purchasing your own supplies you can find our list of items on the BES homepage under the 'What's Happening' column.  Feel free to email me with any questions.

The following is an email just sent to all Team 109 families.  If you did not receive it please email me.
Dear Families,
    I am your child's first grade teacher and am working on setting up our classroom and communications.  A strong home/school connection is proven to foster student achievement and email is one avenue we can use to connect.  You are receiving this email because of the contact information in our BES system.  If you would prefer not to receive emails at this address, or I have emailed in error, please let me know by responding to this email.
    We have a class website, too.  I try to update this site on a daily basis, especially at the beginning of the year.  I would ask you to visit the site and bookmark it for easy and frequent visits.  On our site you will find information about our specials/links to those teachers, what we are working on in spelling/math/writing/etc., special events and so forth.  If at any point throughout the year you are wondering about events, information, forms, etc., please access this site.  Most likely there will be a post with the necessary information.  If it isn't there, by all means please email me directly.
    As children develop relationships they will want to get together with friends outside of school.  One way this can be made easier is by developing a 'Friendship List.'  Your personal contact information can only be shared if you give me permission to do so.  If you would like to have your child's contact information on our  Friendship List, please email me with the following information: your child's name, parents' names, email, phone and address. And, state it is explicitly for the purpose of the Friendship List. 
    I am excited about the upcoming year and am looking forward to getting to know your child.  Please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns you may have about first grade.


Welcome to First Grade!  This is where you will be able to locate all things relevant to Team 109.  You may find it helpful to bookmark this site and visit it frequently.  

One of the first things children want to do is arrange play dates.  Friendship List - Past families have found it helpful to have a 'Friendship List.'  Please email me your contact information if you are interested in having your child be a part of this social list - child's name, parents' names, street address, telephone #, email address.

Xtra Math - We utilize technology in a variety of ways and Xtra Math has been proven to help students learn their fast facts.  This site allows children to practice their facts both at school and at home.  The children will be introduced to this program some time in September.  If you would like to familiarize yourself with the site i.e. learn how it works, skills covered, download the app click on Xtra Math and go to the site.  If you would like to start your child this summer please email me.  I will send you their pin number.
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Martha Hickey,
Oct 5, 2017, 11:04 AM