First Grade News

First Grade News

1-121 (Mrs. Giazitzoglou) & 1-122 (Ms. Volpe) 


 May 2019

Dear First Grade Families,

Wow, we can’t believe it's May!  We have had over 140 days of school and unbelievably, we are approaching our last month!  As the weather gets warmer, the flowers aren't the only ones blooming.  The children have been working hard and will really enjoy the remainder of the school year!  We have shifted our focus for the rest of the year to our community study and as the month progresses, we will be spending a good amount of time making and working on our final projects.


May 7th - Ms. Volpe’s Library walking trip 

May 8th - Mrs. Giazitzoglou’s Post Office walking trip

May 14th - Mrs. Giazitzoglou’s Library walking trip   

May 15th - Ms. Volpe’s Post Office walking trip

May 15th - Parent Engagement Evening, 4:30 – 7:30 pm

     May 27th - Memorial Day - No School



June 4th - Eid al-Fitr – No school

June 6th and June 11thClerical days - No School

June 13th - Poetry Publishing Party/Art Show 8:45 – 9:45 am

June 26th- Last Day of School (Half Day)


Now, here is what we have been working on and what we will be doing the rest of this month:


In writer’s workshop, students are currently working on their independent writing projects. Students are reflecting on all the types of writing they did throughout the year and choosing their favorite genre. They are working on pieces both independently and in partnerships, keeping in mind all the skills they learned in past units. In reading, we continue to analyze the characters in well-known fairytales, placing them on a character trait scale. We have been making sure to support our thinking with evidence from the text.  As always, please make sure to talk with your child after their independent reading each night. It’s so important that they understand what they are reading by discussing the characters in their books.

For our last unit in both reading and writing, students will explore a number of different styles of poetry. In preparation for our last publishing party and Art show in June, we will take a deeper look at poetry and will apply these writing techniques to our community study! We will celebrate our yearlong study of the Upper West Side community by writing poems about the special places we visited throughout the year, and use multimedia art as a synthesis of our learning. We look forward to seeing you at our celebration in June!



Now that we have learned how to identify each coin, we are learning to how to count a group of coins by counting on. Next we will work on how to make an amount with the least amount of coins as well as how to make change within a dollar. After that, we will tackle real world word problems using money.

            As always, continue to practice basic addition and subtraction facts at home, as well as making change at home. It’s important to keep these skills fresh in your child’s mind. We are emphasizing that these skills are used in daily life. J

            Thank you for your continued support. 



First Grade Teachers

First Grade News

1-119 (Ms. Volpe) and 1-121 (Mrs. Giazitzoglou)

 November 2018


Dear First Grade Families,


Spirit Week at Anderson has been wonderful!  The children have had a blast! Storybook Character Day was super successful as it was great to see the children’s enthusiasm for their books and costumes!  Thank you for all of your help and support in making these events possible! 


Important Upcoming Dates:

·      Tuesday, November 6th – No School - Election Day

·      Monday, November 12th – No School – Veteran’s Day

·      Tuesday, November 13th – Landmark West visit

·      Thursday, November 15th – Parent Teacher Conferences/ Dismissal 11:40

·       Tuesday, November 20th – Landmark West 77th Street Walk (No chaperones needed)

·      Thursday & Friday, November 22rd -23rd - Thanksgiving Recess

Upcoming Dates, TBA:

Open School Week

Raving Reviews Publishing Party


A Few More Notes:   

      Parent-Teacher Conferences are on Thursday, November 15th from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. & 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. We will have a half-day of school.  Please send in a snack AND lunch on this date.  We will have a combined eating time.  We are looking forward to meeting with all of you to discuss your children’s academic and social progress.   Please be sure to have an appointment scheduled with your teacher. If you are unable to schedule a time on Nov. 15th

please contact us as soon as possible.


Here is what we have been busy working on and what is to come in November: 



In writing, we are continuing our unit on reviews.  We have learned that writers write reviews to persuade others and to explain opinions in convincing ways.  Please stay tuned for the date of our upcoming Raving Reviews Publishing Party!


In reading, we have been continuing in our unit, Readers Have Big Jobs to Do.  We have been learning to think about words that fit/make sense, and think about the story in order to problem solve words.



In math, we have been working on fluency in base 10 quantities, as well as addition and subtraction strategies.  We will continue to focus on number bonds, decomposing numbers into quantities of 10, using an open number line, partial sums, partial differences, split strategy, and the standard algorithm.  We also continue to explore word problems and showing your thinking when solving using pictures, numbers and words.


Social Studies 

We are excited about our upcoming visits and walks with Landmark West, on 77th Street!  We are continuing our discussion of the needs and wants of a community, as we prepare to take this learning to the Upper West Side. Stay tuned for future neighborhood trip dates!



We continue to explore air! Our focus this month will be "Wind Explorations."  We started with making simple kites and figuring out how we can make a wind indoors to fly our kites.  Next, we will make simple pinwheels, anemometers, and wind vanes to observe the speed and direction of wind outdoors. These creations will certainly bring the exploration to new heights!

Happy November to you all!

 First Grade Teaching Team

First Grade News

1-121 (Mrs. Giazitzoglou) &  1-119 (Ms. Volpe)

October 2018


Important Dates:

October 8th - Columbus Day. School Closed

October 17th - Big Writers Write Small Moments Publishing Party

October 30th - Spirit Week

October 31st - Storybook Character Day


It’s official --this is going to be a great year!  We love first grade, and this year’s first grade classes are off to a great running start!  For the past few weeks we have been busy getting ourselves organized while transitioning into 1st grade. 


Read on to find out what we did in September and our upcoming plans for October…



What is going on in the classroom?


Language Arts:

For Word Study we have started off the year with learning high frequency words that need to be committed to memory. After assessing all students, Word Study will be differentiated for students’ individual needs. Different groups will be working on rules that are appropriate for their learning needs.


During Reading Workshop, the kids have been eagerly exploring new books and finding “just right” books. We have also started our first unit on Building Good Reading Habits. We are reviewing a variety of decoding strategies that include: looking at the pictures to figure out a difficult word, skipping a word to read to the end of the sentence and then going back to figure out the word by using context clues, asking yourself, does this word look right, does this word sound right, and does this word make sense?, and looking for smaller words within a word, for example, small. Please encourage these strategies when reading with your child at home.

In Building Good Reading Habits, students are reading both individually during this time as well as in ability-based partnerships. By doing this they are able to tap into the positive effects of peer support to further promote skills for strategic reading.


One of the reading habits we are working on is to take a “sneak peek” at the book before reading.  At home, please ask your child to preview books before reading.  This will support students in their word work by tapping into their awareness of the entire story.  For example, if your child reads the title, looks at the cover picture, and reads the back-of-the-book blurb, this will help to set the stage in further comprehension of both vocabulary and storyline.



In Writing our first unit is on Small Moment; Writing with Focus, Detail, and Dialogue.  Our mini-lessons for the first part in this unit include that our lives are full of stories to tell, writers can plan for writing with touch and tell, sketch, then write, stretching words to spell them as we hear and record all sounds, and zooming in on the small moments.  In our second portion, students will be bringing small moment stories to life, with a focus on character, with bringing what is on the inside of the character out, including what characters think and feel.

Our mini-lessons will continue to help us to stretch and grow as writers.


**Please save the date: our first publishing party, Big Writers Write Small Moments, will be on Friday, October 17th at 8:40 – 9:10 a.m.


As we are generating ideas for writing, we are also working on remembering writing mechanics.  The children are reminded of when to use capital letters (at the beginning of words such as the days of the week, months, and names) and proper punctuation (periods, question marks, and exclamation marks).  Please reinforce these skills at home during all writing assignments. 



We will be working in our Handwriting practice by focusing on penmanship of published pieces during Writer’s Workshop. Please remind your children to hold their pencils properly and to start their letters from top to bottom.  It will be increasingly difficult to change their pencil grip and letter formation, as they get older.   In addition, please encourage neat handwriting at home, especially while doing homework.


Social Studies:

As we mentioned during “Meet the Teacher” night, we are exploring the theme of community.  We discussed the definition of community and came to a conclusion that our classroom is a community in itself.  As part of our social studies curriculum, we are creating a classroom map, discussing both cardinal and ordinal directions. In our field trips, we will venture outside of our room and into the larger Upper West Side community.


In addition, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a member from Landmark West.  Landmark West is a committee set up to preserve the Upper West Side. A Landmark West educator will come to our classroom and teach us about the architecture of the neighborhood.  In our first lesson, we will learn the differences between a cornice, arch, and dentils! Next stop, 77th Street, with history and architecture right outside of our school door!  For more information on Landmark West visit:



We reviewed consecutive numbers and discussed different ways to skip- count by 2s, 5s, and 10s, while we looked at patterns on the 100s chart. In addition, we have been going over four different strategies for adding numbers: counting on, making doubles, making 10, and using number bonds to decompose numbers.  Please practice the addition games located on our class website.  This will help your child gain addition automaticity!


This month we are beginning our unit on place value. We will be exploring the concept of value for each digit. Place value is the basis of our entire number system. A place value system is one in which the position of a digit in a number determines its value. In the standard system, called base ten, each place represents ten times the value of the place to its right. You can think of this as making groups of ten of the smaller unit and combining them to make a new unit. Ten ones make up one of the next larger unit, tens. Ten of those units make up one of the next larger unit, hundreds. This pattern continues for greater values.  The same digit in different place-value positions has different meanings. For example, the "2" has a place value of 20 in the number 25, but the "2" has a place value of 200 in the number 253.  Our goal is for students to recognize that every place has a value, ultimately bringing us closer to a future understanding of our unit on money. Students will explore many ways to show a number. For example, 256 can be shown as 2 hundred, 5 tens and 6 ones. However, it can also be shown at 256 ones or 25 tens and 6 ones and even 24 tens and 16 ones. We have been looking at expanded form as another way of writing a number by separating that number into an addition of individual place values.  


It’s been an engaging kick-off to Science in first grade with our first unit, Air is There! Mr. Moy is so excited to share what first grade has been exploring in Science!  The first grade scientists are learning how they can control air by using plastic tubes and safe syringes (to see air compression); vials and water (to trap air underwater); and balloon rockets (to observe jet propulsion).

Please visit the Anderson Main Web page, then go to “K-4 Pages” and use the dropdown to find Mr. Moy’s website. Please visit the site regularly for Science updates and news!


Upcoming Activities and Important Reminders:


Storybook Character Day is coming on Tuesday, October 31st.  For those who may not know, we have a wonderful tradition at Anderson: in lieu of coming to school in traditional Halloween costumes, the children are encouraged to think about a storybook character they would like to recreate and are asked to come dressed up on October 31st.  The purpose of this day is to encourage literacy and share our favorite books with others.  Please talk to your child about what character he/she might want to be.  Try to think of a character that your child really likes or enjoys.  You may also choose a sports figure or famous person-just remember that they will have to bring in a book about that person.



Label all clothing!  As the weather gets a bit chillier, your child is coming to school with a few more articles of clothing.  Please make sure that everything that comes to school is labeled.  We want to make sure that if these items are accidentally misplaced, there is a way for them to be returned.


Red Home Folder

Make sure to check red home folders when they come home.  Be sure to take out notices after they have been read. 




Please make sure your child writes his or her first and last name on the homework.  We want to establish this very important routine of writing the name, as this is a routine not only important for first grade, but in the years to come as well.





Thank you for your continued support.  Happy October to you!

Ms. Volpe and Mrs. Giazitzoglou



First Grade News

1-121 (Mrs. Giazitzoglou) & 1-119 (Ms. Volpe) 


                 September 2018

Dear First Grade Families,


Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year! We are so excited to work with your children over the course of the next year.  We are looking forward to your children having an exciting and successful first-grade experience as we help them grow emotionally, socially and academically.


          It is very important to us that your child is aware of the home-school connection. We encourage you to speak with your child daily about their school day and what he or she learned to further support and enrich their experiences in school. Part of creating a positive parent-teacher relationship is communication. We will be creating a monthly newsletter informing you of what is going on in our classrooms and throughout the school. These newsletters will include current curriculum, important dates such as field trips, half days, no school days, and classroom/school events.  In an effort to save paper we will be emailing these newsletters, as well as posting them to our grade’s website. It is very important to read these newsletters carefully.


Important Dates in September:

No School – Rosh Hashanah ­ - Monday and Tuesday, September 10th and 11th

Meet the Teacher Night – Monday, September 17th

No School – Yom Kippur - Wednesday, September 19th

As your child’s teachers, we are really looking forward to getting to know all about your children. Thank you ahead of time for your support and cooperation. We look forward to a wonderful year together!



                                                                                                   Your First Grade Teaching Team

                                                                                                   Mrs. Giazitzoglou and Ms. Volpe

Classroom Procedures


We will have snack time each day. Please have your child bring a small, healthy, and yummy snack.  Examples are fruit, carrots, yogurt, pretzels, small sandwiches, or cheese and a small drink. PLEASE TRY AND REFRAIN FROM SENDING NUTS AS WE ARE BEING MINDFUL OF ALLERGIES. Please do not send in glass containers or soda cans. Paper napkins and any necessary plastic spoons or forks are also required. PLEASE LABEL YOUR CHILD’S SNACK WITH THEIR NAME AND THE WORD “SNACK.” This helps to avoid confusion between lunch and snack.  Each class will determine the best timing for snacks based upon the schedule and individual class needs.



Each day your child will bring home his/her “RED FOLDER” labeled “Anderson News.”  In this folder, you will find notes from the teacher and the school. Your child should return this folder to class each school day containing any necessary responses to memos or dismissal notes.   Please be sure to remember to remove notices from the “Keep at Home” section of the folder every day. Place any school forms, permission slips, and/or notes to the teacher in the “Return to School” section of the folder.


In addition to the Red Folder, your child will also have a HOMEWORK FOLDER

(BLUE). Your child will take the Homework Folder each Monday and return the folder on Friday (for students who prefer no homework over the weekend) or the following Monday (for students who use the weekend to complete the homework).



We will be celebrating birthdays in class with students. We will celebrate birthdays by reading your child’s favorite story. You may come in to the class to do a read-aloud or you may send in the book with your child. PLEASE CONTACT US A WEEK IN ADVANCE TO SET UP A TIME FOR YOUR VISIT. We will celebrate with the whole class on your child’s birth date or in the event of no school, we will celebrate at a scheduled time close to that date. If you choose to send in something for your child’s birthday, it must be a non-food item. For example, children may donate a book to the class, give out pencils, stickers, bookmarks, etc.


Note that invitations to classmates/schoolmates to outside-of-school parties are not to be distributed on school premises or on the school bus. This is school policy. We wish to avoid having hurt feelings on the part of those children who don’t receive invitations or are unable to attend.


Health/Food Matters

If your child has a food allergy, please inform us immediately.


Even if the school has been previously informed of health issues, please be sure to inform us in writing if your child has any health issues (e.g. allergies, asthma, hearing/visual needs) or dietary restrictions that warrant attention from us and/or the school nurse.



All medication must first be cleared by the DOH on-site nurse, along with proper 504 documentation.  This helps to ensure the safety of all students.  At no time can medication be administered without DOE approved documentation.  This includes, but is not limited to: eye drops, cough/cold medications, aspirin, and topical creams.


Trip Volunteers

Parents volunteering to help chaperone class trips will be recruited in advance by the teacher.  Trip slips will have a section to indicate that you are hoping to chaperone, and after slips are collected, the teacher will inform parents if they are the specific chaperones for the trip. 



Anderson Homework Philosophy


The Anderson School assigns homework to correspond with what students are learning in their classrooms.  Homework is a support – not a substitute – for classroom instruction.  The amount of homework is grade-appropriate for Anderson students.  While homework is an important support for school learning, more is not necessarily better.  Too much homework can place inappropriate pressures on children and undermine intrinsic sources of motivation such as curiosity.


According to the philosophy of homework as defined by the Anderson School, the purpose of homework is:

·   to reinforce skills taught in class

·   to provide an opportunity for extended and independent learning based on content specifically addressed during class time

·   to provide the teacher with data to access the mastery of skills

·   to build stamina as a student

 Roles and Responsibilities of Parents

Parents are responsible for conveying to their children the importance of meeting expectations for homework tasks and deadlines, and helping their children learn to manage their time.

Parents should use their discretion when assisting their children with homework.  It is acceptable to help your child, but do not “do” the work for them.  If you have concerns about your role in homework you should write us a note or ask for clarification during “Meet the Teacher Night.”


                               First Grade Homework Policy


First grade students at the Anderson School will have weekly homework packets to help reinforce and review classwork or preview an upcoming learning unit. Homework will consist of literacy and math activities. At times, assignments in other areas will be given. Your child will bring home the Homework Folder each Monday and return the folder on Friday (for students who prefer no homework over the weekend) or the following Monday (for students who use the weekend to complete the homework).  In addition to the homework packet, there will be a word study quiz each Friday.

On average, students in the first grade will have 20 minutes of homework each night.  Each child's work pace differs, and varying levels of comfort with assigned materials will impact the time some assignments take. At the end of each packet, there is a “Homework Checklist” to help your child check over their work.

In addition, students are expected to do at least 20 minutes of independent reading each night.  Students are also expected to record their reading in their reading log. Reading logs will be handed in with the homework each week. In addition to these 20 minutes, we encourage shared reading and/or reading aloud to your child.


Nightly Routines


Students need to establish a routine that includes a time and place for homework. A parent or caregiver should be available at home to model responsibility and to provide the appropriate atmosphere for homework. If a child is spending more than thirty to forty-five minutes on one assignment on any given night, parents should step in, help their child pack up materials, and include a note to the teacher.  A note on the homework assignment explaining difficulties can go a long way in helping a teacher individualize instruction for each student. 





          Anderson School Procedures


School Arrival

It is imperative that your child arrives at school on time each morning. Even being a little late for school can cause anxiety in a child (and parent), in addition to missing morning routines and opening lessons. You and the Anderson staff want your child to profit by getting the most time at school. 


We will be picking the children up at 8:20 a.m.  Elementary students will walk in the entrance door closest to Amsterdam Avenue on 77th Street.  Students will enter the auditorium and wait for the teacher.  


Please note that if your child does not go to the classroom with the teacher, he or she must stop at the main office in room 102 to get a late pass.  If your child does not obtain a late pass, he or she may be marked absent for the day. If your child will be having school breakfast, please be sure to drop him or her off no later than 8:00 a.m. so there is adequate time for your child to complete his or her meal before school starts. 



Dismissal this year is at 2:35 p.m. In the red folder is a “Dismissal Notification Form” which we are requesting that you fill out and return once you are certain of your child’s day-to-day dismissal procedures.  In first grade, we will start to expect your child to take on more responsibility in their daily dismissal schedule.


Any change in dismissal procedure, whether it is for one day or longer-term, must be reported in writing immediately. This is especially important for the children who take the school bus home. If there is a change in the busing procedure for that child on a particular day, a note must be backpacked to us; otherwise we have to send the child home in his/her normal manner that day. In the event that a note is forgotten, you must call the office in a timely manner (212-595-7193) and fax  (212-496-2854) in a note stating the change. This is school policy and must be

adhered to strictly.  This policy was created for the safety of the children. 




In addition, if you and your bus child have invited a non-bus child to your home (for a play date, etc.) the non-bus child may not take the bus home with your child. A parent/guardian must pick up both children from school.



The school has requested that you call the Anderson office (212-595-7193) to inform them when your child will be absent. When the school’s voicemail picks up, there will be an option to report a child’s absence. Choose this option and leave a message with any pertinent information.


Once your child returns to school, please be sure to also write a note stating your child’s name, classroom number/teacher, date, and reason for absence.  Please also submit a doctor’s note if applicable.



Parents sometimes wish to take their children out of school for a week-or-more trip, or a few days before a school holiday. Please realize that your child will be missing lessons if this occurs and consider the message conveyed to your child—that school can be missed now and then in favor of a time away. School is obviously a priority for your child during the academic year; he/she should come to school every day (except during illness).


Blue Emergency Cards

Blue emergency cards will be sent home today to parents who did not fill them out during registration.  This needs to be filled out by you and returned as soon as possible. Please note that your child will only be released to those persons listed on this card.  Please inform the office and classroom teacher of any changes that must be made on the blue card throughout the year.