Newsletters

My weekly newsletters are attached below,

with the most recent one always being the closest to the top.

Room 130 News

Dear Parents, March 20, 2018

In just a couple of days, Spring Break will be upon us! WHEW! How quickly has this school year passed?? Please take time over this special week to praise God for His Goodness and for having his Son, Jesus, die for our sins. I hope the long-awaited spring weather arrives and that everyone is able to truly enjoy this time of family togetherness and new life.

The last few weeks have been such fun! During the first full week of March we focused on our solar system and the planets, sun, moon and stars that inhabit it! We talked about the elusive Pluto, learned facts about the Earth and the other 7 true planets. This week I will send home our outer space pictures that have decorated the hallway and the Dr. Seuss-like creations that we made during our author study. In addition, we attended the fall musical, “Bye-Bye Birdie.” I was astonished and extremely pleased with the endurance of these kiddos, and how wonderfully well behaved they were for that hour and a half long performance.

I hope you all enjoyed the leprechauns that I laminated with the hope that they will be displayed every year at your house! The kiddos really enjoyed making the Holy Trinity too (especially the glitter part) and learning about how St. Patrick described God using the three leaves of the shamrock. We learned how rainbows form and completed many fun activities that week...especially our Pot of Gold math game, in which we practiced addition and subtraction facts without even realizing it!! We had an in-class scavenger hunt last Friday where we followed clues to find the treasure that the leprechaun left for us (golden coins and glittery shamrocks)! It was great fun!

This week we are working on understanding the Stations of the Cross. We are creating a booklet that we can keep to practice/memorize them, as I distinctly remember they will be tested on the order of them in third grade (and possibly before and many times after!). We will be heading over to the Church tomorrow to see the depictions of the Stations of the Cross there, and we have our PreK Mass with one of the fathers or deacons on Friday morning. We are also learning about the meaning of Easter and how it is celebrated around here and in other places.

April will bring our weekly alphabet letter study to a close. The first week of April will be about the letter Y, and the letter Z will be practiced from the 9th through the 13th. A librarian from the Indian Prairie Library will be visiting our class on Thursday, April 12th.

April 15 marks the beginning of the Week of the Young Child. That Monday our theme will be Music Monday, followed by Tasty Tuesday, Work Together Wednesday, Artsy Thursday, and Family Friday. More information will come about this special week as details get hammered out. Please mark your calendars, however, for the Family Mass in which you all are invited to attend with us on Friday, April 20th at 8:30am.

On Monday, April 23rd, we will begin our ABC countdown of the final 26 days until the end of our school year. Each day, a letter (from A-Z) will be designated and a particular activity or something fun will be planned. For example, P day might be wearing Pajamas to school, or on B day we may go outside and play with Bubbles… This countdown calendar should be released in early April!

Something new that Mrs. Moran and I are going to try, beginning in April, is to take our kiddos to the Computer Lab every Friday morning for approximately a 45 minute period. This will be every Friday when we don’t have Mass. We will supervise the children as they begin to exercise their independence in navigating their way around their own computer in plugging their headphones in, logging in and out, and playing a variety of different games and learning activities on their own individual computer at their own pace. This is different than their Tuesday morning computer instruction time, because there, they share a computer and take turns with a partner in completing particular tasks. I’m positive that they will truly enjoy this extra experience!

Have a wonderful and blessed spring break! See you back on Tuesday, April 3rd!

Most sincerely,

Ms. Cathy Garcia

News from Room 130

Dear Parents, February 28, 2018

Wow! February has come and gone in a blur! March begins tomorrow, and yet it feels as though 2018 has just begun. This week we will be studying the infamous Dr. Seuss, also known as Theodor Geisel or Theo LeSieg. We will read many of his books from The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back to Green Eggs and Ham and One fish two fish red fish blue fish. Our letter of the week is Uu, and we will be reviewing numbers 1-20 and our colors and shapes as well.

As the weather begins to get nicer, please send a sweatshirt/ hoodie/ sweater with your child to keep in the bottom of their backpack. Mornings are generally cooler and they may need to wear a winter coat to school, however, they may sweat profusely wearing that in the afternoon for recess. Having an option would be great in order to alleviate that problem.

Last week, we had fun learning about dental health and healthy heart habits. We conducted an experiment to see what would happen to an egg (enamel of a tooth) when placed in a cup of Coca-Cola and compare it to one placed in water. After discovering the discoloration, we learned the importance of brushing our teeth well in order to make those “ickies” go away.

We began this week with Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, and continued his adventures in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. The kiddos really enjoyed these fun stories! Today was Wacky Wednesday and we also read The Foot Book and Fox in Socks. In addition to our religion lesson (Jesus wants us to pray) tomorrow, we will read the Seuss classic, One fish two fish red fish blue fish. We will culminate our unit on Friday in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday by enjoying green eggs during our lunch period. We will eat in our classroom (even if they’ve ordered hot lunch or milk…) and try this delicacy. Green Eggs and Ham will obviously be read on this day.

On Monday I sent home 3 book orders from Scholastic. If you’re interested, please place your order online by Monday, March 5th. I will submit those orders that evening. Keep an eye out for the $1.00 book in each order, and there are always more great deals online! We are working on tying shoes here at school, and there are some marvelous books with laces to help teach the kiddos and for home practice. The ordering code is QPPHM. Otherwise, please send the order form and payment to me at school and I will enter it for you! Thanks!!

March promises to be another fun-filled (and quick) month, learning about the meaning behind St. Patrick’s Day, Jesus’ Resurrection, the Stations of the Cross, Palm Sunday and Easter. We will also learn about rainbows, Spring and outer space this month. Vv, Ww and Xx will be the letters we will be working with. Spring Break begins at the end of classes on March 23rd and goes through Easter Monday. We will return back to school on Tuesday, April 3rd (Mason’s birthday!). Shortly after that we will be beginning our ABC countdown to the last day of school!

I hope you have all enjoyed the last few days as a taste of what’s to come this spring! I know we have...especially by going out for recess twice a day yesterday and today!!

As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please email me!

Fondly,

Cathy Garcia

News from Room 130


Dear Parents, February 8, 2018

Last week we ended with two fun days. Thursday was the 100th day of school and we made crowns, fruit loop necklaces, counted by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s (some did by 3’s as well), and shared our 100 items. Friday was fun because we read a few groundhog stories, watched Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow (UGH!) and made our own groundhog come out of a hole wondering if he/she would see his/her shadow.

We began this week with Clifford’s My Big World all about “Making Shadows.” I do encourage you to go online with your child to check this resource out. I wrote the password and web address on this week’s weekly take home sheet. The kiddos really do enjoy it and there are tons of activities/games and videos that are safe for them to play and watch.

We are working with writing the letter Ss and some are struggling with the curviness of it and instead want to make it sharp like a Z. Practice making S’s or snakes with them with play-doh or string to reinforce this skill.

On Wednesday we went on “A Super Sensory Vacation” with a family of mice to visit a farm. We concentrated hard on what we would see, smell, hear, touch and taste if we joined that mouse family in their travels. We are planning to continue the study of our five senses if there is, in fact, school tomorrow. Today we learned about sharing God’s Good News and that Jesus loves all of us. See the ribbon with hearts the kiddos are bringing home today!

Next week will be short but sweet. We will learn about some of our former Presidents on Monday, have Special Food Day/Spirit Day on Tuesday while we prepare our Valentine holders, and pass out Valentines and treat bags, etc. on Wednesday. Please remember to have your child sign each of them, but not label who they are for. Thank you! Also, in observance of Ash Wednesday, one of our Fathers will visit us and bestow ashes on our foreheads.

There are No Classes on Thursday, Friday, or Monday, February 15th, 16th and 19th. All bedding will go home on Wednesday the 14th to be washed over the extra-long weekend. We will be having a special guest visit us on Wednesday the 21st. A local dentist will be here to talk with us all about dental health. After eating all of our Valentine’s chocolates, that’s not a bad idea!

On Thursday, February 15th, I will be available for Parent-Teacher Conferences. I’m not making a schedule, nor requesting that all of you attend. Instead, if you have anything that you’d like to address with me, aside from how wonderful your cherub is, please email me a time when you would be available. cgarcia@stmarybg.org. I have already reached out to a few of you that I specifically would like to speak with. I have availability from 8am-12pm and from 1-3pm on that day. Again, these are optional. THANKS!!

Finally, please be sure to check out my website. I have downloaded my most recent photos, and all phonics songs from A-Z are there as well! Take a look if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to! Here’s another place you could check out with your kiddo!

Not sure if I want a ton of snow or not tomorrow...keep an eye on the weather and the website!

Stay warm,

Ms. Cathy Garcia

Room 130 NEWS

Dear Parents, January 26, 2017

Who knew that studying about the Polar regions (North and South Pole) could be such fun! Our kiddos are virtual experts on penguins, polar bears, seals, walruses and the environments that they live in. We have read some awesome fiction and non-fiction stories about each of these animals, and have thoroughly enjoyed things like the “Blubber Experiment” that we conducted, and learning about the purpose of the waxy feathers of the penguin. Next week we will wrap up this unit learning about the “coolness” of Eskimo homes, or igloos. Be sure to ask your children about each of these things.

Some of the stories we read were A Day In the Life of Slippedy Seal, Little Walrus Warning, Polar Opposites, and a couple of National Geographic Kids books entitled Polar Bears and Penguins! In addition, we learned about animals that hibernate and migrate during the winter, and how they keep themselves fed, warm, and happy.

Our religion lesson this week was about Praising God. We made “Peace hands” and have them displayed out in the hall. We learned that Jesus wants us to be at peace, and we all have the ability to be Peacemakers. We discussed what kinds of activities and feelings are peaceful, and what kinds are not, and are trying to “keep the peace” in our classroom so that situations don’t end up getting out of whack.

Because next week is CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK, after Sunday’s Open House from 1-3 pm, we will be showing our appreciation for each other on Monday, for our teachers on Tuesday, and for all of you parents on Wednesday. Please remember that Monday, January 29th is a Spirit Day and Special Food Day.

I am sending a gallon sized Ziploc bag home today, and I’d like you to please help your child select and send in a collection of 100 items by Thursday. If this baggie isn’t large enough, please be sure that the objects ALL can fit into their backpack in some sort of container with their name on it. Our 100th day of school is this Thursday, February 1st, and the kids are excited that it’s coming up so quickly!

For a Groundhog Day activity, I’d like at least 20 toilet paper rolls by next Friday, February 2nd. Over this weekend and few days next week, if you empty one, instead of recycling or tossing it away, I’d appreciate if you could please send it/them to school. NOT paper towel rolls, please. I don’t mind if they’re flattened...so don’t worry if you’re afraid of them getting crushed in the backpack.

Here’s where we stand for Valentine’s Day (Wednesday, February 14th). As a school, with Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday occurring simultaneously, we are unable to host formal “parties” in our classrooms. If any of you would like to send in a special treat for us to enjoy that day, please advise me in advance. Otherwise, we will simply pass out Valentine cards that day and read appropriate stories, and do related activities, etc. Please send a card for EVERY student in the class. We have 20 friends. I would MUCH prefer that names NOT be on them, as they’re not all reading and it will take a very long time for them to get passed out if we have to search out each labeled recipient. Thanks for your understanding on all of this!

Next week we will finish our Arctic/Antarctic unit, celebrate our 100th day of school and learn all about Groundhog Day. It promises to be a fun week!

Happy birthday to Maddie, and happy ½ birthday to Lylah! Those two special days were celebrated this week. I’m hoping to have a full class next week...we’ve had some illnesses and need to get and stay healthy!! Also, THANK YOU for all of the Elmer’s glue that was sent to school. It is much appreciated!!

Enjoy the crazy changes in winter weather in Chicagoland...the sunshine really helps improve the mood around here!!

Warmly,

Ms. Cathy Garcia

Room 130 News

Dear Parents, January 16, 2018

We had a fun week last week...working with the letter O and learning about snowmen! We made lots of Oo’s and circles, made a snowman mobile, a melted snowman, and experimented with ice (freezing vs. melting). We had ice octopi in our sensory table (thanks, Colton!) for one day, and then we had our own version of snow (considering the warmth outside last week) with Styrofoam! We ended the week creating our own winter scene using all sorts of white goodies, from packing foam to cotton balls and batting, fluffy yarn and Q-tips to paper plates. It was very messy in here, but they had a blast!

‘Tis the season for lots of absences, so please be sure to email me (cgarcia@stmarybg.org) and copy the office (Mrs. Kempf) if your child will be absent from school on any particular day. Whether they are sick or have a doctor’s appointment or whatever, I especially would like to know why kiddos are missing so I know if I need to watch for symptoms with others (i.e. fever, rash, vomiting…). Thanks for your assistance with this!

The kids really have fun when we use the Clifford’s My Big World flyer by Scholastic. The password is Elmo4 if you go to the website...no login is necessary, you would just hit student and the password. Please check the resources out online...there are mini videos and games that the kids enjoy that correspond with what we’re learning about in class.

Our religion lesson last week was all about the importance of listening. We need to listen to God as the Disciples listened to Jesus. We learned that there are many reasons why and times when listening is especially important, and how many things there truly are around us that make noise that we don’t even normally pay attention to! In addition, we talked at length about important people who it is essential that we listen to...from parents to teachers and other people who try to teach us and protect us.

SCHOLASTIC BOOK ORDERS ARE DUE TOMORROW...either online or by sending the filled out order form to me at school. The online teacher code is QPPHM.

There is something that has been going on during lunch that is disturbing me and some of the parents in my class. As a general rule, the children are to eat their lunch and only their lunch. Sharing is not encouraged nor permitted. If your child comes home asking to bring extra chips, candies or other sweets to school to share with friends, please tell them that this is not allowed. There are children that are choosing to eat these non-nutritious items instead of the healthy choices that are in their lunch boxes that are packed lovingly and carefully by mom and dad. With the incidence of allergies on the rise, and parents who simply would rather their child eat only what is packed for them, I am strongly encouraging you all to not participate in this nor succumb to the persuasiveness of your child. Thank you all for your attention to this matter, and please contact me if you have any questions or comments!

Please be sure you are sending your kiddos to school with appropriate outerwear and their names on their things. If the temperature is 30 degrees (real feel) or higher, I more than likely will be taking the kiddos outside. I strongly believe in the need for fresh air, even if only for a few minutes, and will do my best to get out there daily whenever possible!

This week we will be making the letter Pp, and learning about polar animals, from penguins to polar bears! In addition, this Friday we will be making our first trip over to the Church (immediately following the 8:30am service) for our first lesson with one of our priests. We will be learning about the expectations of us while we are in God’s house, and learn how to behave, participate, enter and exit appropriately.

In case you’re actually reading this to the very end, I would love some bottles of Elmer’s school glue. All of our other supplies are plentiful, but there are so many projects and such that are just better with wet glue over glue sticks. I would much prefer Elmer’s to any other brand… and 6-8 bottles in total would be wonderful (so just grab 1 if you remember while at Walgreen’s or Osco…). Thanks for that!!

Reminders: We are hosting our first Parent Academy on Friday, January 26th at 6pm to learn about Internet Safety, and protecting your children from Cyberbullying and Sexting. See the St. Mary School virtual backpack for more information on this. Dinner is included!

Sunday, January 28th is our school’s Open House (from 1-3pm) and the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. If you know of anyone who is considering St. Mary School, this would be a great time to see what goes on and get some questions answered! Please see the memos from our school regarding Teacher/Student/Parent Appreciation activities that are planned for that week.

Hopefully the weather will warm up a bit, but at least the sun is shining!!

Fondly,

Cathy Garcia

Room 130 News

Dear Parents, December 15, 2017

First of all, I’d like to say GOODBYE to our friend Steffi who is set to move to California this weekend! We are all going to miss her! Also, thank you to Aahana for the birthday treats and gift (stencils or coloring book) that she passed out today.

This past week was Nn week and we focused on the Nativity from Monday through Wednesday. We read The Night Before Christmas on Thursday, and The Nutcracker stories today. We read different versions of each, examined the differences in the stories and in the pictures. I can assure you that this led to some very interesting conversations!!

We will not be learning about a letter in particular this upcoming week. Instead we will do some review activities of all the letters thus far, from Aa-Nn. On Monday we will learn about gingerbread men and do some activities with them. Tuesday and Wednesday will be about holiday traditions, Thursday will be our religion lesson about the fourth Sunday in Advent, and Friday is party day!!

REMINDERS: Next week we will be having Special Food Day/Spirit Wear Day or Festive Holiday Wear on Monday the 18th. Wednesday is our Polar Express Pajama Party. We will be reading the story, watching the movie, and enjoying hot chocolate with the fixings (thank you, Mrs. Moran), Oreo cookies, and some other treats. Please be sure to send the kiddos in their PAJAMAS on this day! We will be celebrating Elena’s 5th birthday on Thursday, and having our Christmas party on Friday from 9:30-11, immediately after watching the kindergarten program. It will be a very busy fun-filled week!

As always, please contact me if you have any comments/questions and please check out my website if you haven’t already!

Enjoy your weekend!

Fondly, Cathy Garcia

News from Room 130


Dear Parents, December 1, 2017

Happy December! The kiddos get so excited every time we change the month on the classroom calendar...it’s so innocent! It’s fun to see an empty calendar month with the dates appearing one by one.

November was a great month filled with discussions of fall, harvest, Pilgrims / Native Americans and the journey of the Mayflower. We talked about turkeys (and read MANY fun stories about them) and the tradition of Thanksgiving and how it came to be. We discussed nutrition and the importance of eating balanced meals. We learned how to draw and recognize the letters Ii, Jj, Kk, and Ll, and the song for them expressing the sounds those letters make. Please see my website if you haven’t already for the words and tunes for those songs!

If you haven’t already sent back your child’s November reading calendar, please try to do so next week. I am sending home the new December one today.

We had a very entertaining assembly, or “fieldtrip” this past Wednesday. The kids enjoyed the humor and silliness of our guest actor/ storyteller/ juggler. It was fun to see some of them laughing so hard tears were glistening in their eyes, and cheeks were getting sore!

If you think any of the prior months were busy, get ready for this one! December is insane! We begin the month with our Holiday Bazaar on the 6th of December. If you would like your child to shop, then you must join them by entering through the main entrance at 8am, check in at the office and shop with them, and then drop them at my room. We will not be shopping as a class at all. If you don’t join them, they will be unable to go.

The Barnes and Noble fundraising event takes place on Saturday, the 9th of December. There are many fun things planned for that day. Please see the link full of information on this event in the virtual backpack or on my website under School Calendar.

Sunday the 10th is Daniel’s 5th birthday, as well as our Angels and Shepherds Mass at 11:30. Please try to arrive no later than 11:15 so we can be sure the kiddos are present and prepared to sing for us!

Sunday the 17th is Aahana’s birthday, and Elena’s follows shortly afterward on December 22nd. Happy Birthday, friends!

We will be having a special Polar Express Extravaganza on Wednesday, December 20th. It will be a pajama day for the kids (and they may bring a stuffed animal to school) and we will have a bunch of special touches that we will add *sparkle* to that day! More information to follow.

Finally, we will celebrate the end of our month together with a Christmas Party on Friday, December 22nd from 9-11:00am. Our volunteer parents are already hard at work preparing for that fun morning!

We will be working on the letters Mm, Nn and Oo, continuing to work with patterns, shapes and sorting, and we will also learn the Hail Mary. Today I have sent home our Countdown until Christmas. We made paper rings and connected them to a bell that will “ring” on Christmas Eve. Every night before bed, remove one link in the chain, and when the bell has been reached, they will wake up to Christmas Eve! We have Advent wreaths that are hanging in our classroom and we’ll “light” a candle each Monday morning. I will send these home so you can light the last 2 candles with your child on the fourth Sunday of Advent and the Christ candle on Christmas morning!

Have a blessed, yet busy December!

Fondly, Cathy Garcia

News from Room 130

Dear Parents, November 2, 2017

Our Halloween party was a huge success! Thank you so much to Mrs. Fernandes, Mrs. Klimas, Mrs. Wyatt and Mrs. Vileta for all of your help! The snacks were scrumptious, the game was a hoot, and the crafts were appropriately spooky! The kids had a delightful time, and one of them was even heard saying that this was “the best Halloween ever!” Quite honestly, I don’t know how many Halloweens she has experienced, but it’s awesome to rank so highly! I aim to have all pictures posted on my school website this weekend.

This week was a fast one, focusing on bats and the letter Ii. We read Imogene’s Antlers today...what if you woke up with a full set of antlers on your head?? But to date, I think the favorite book of the kiddos so far this year is Inside a House That is Haunted by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. This is a repetitive rhyming story with pictures to help retell it (a rebus story) as they read. If you can get your hands on it at the library or Barnes and Noble, you should. The kids all could probably “read” it to you, because it’s been nearly committed to memory!

During religion today, amidst learning that Jesus wants us all to help one another, we colored in a bookmark that was so thoughtfully purchased for our classmates from Mrs. Carroll. It reads, Christ lives here → _________’s heart. Thank you!!

We celebrated Sharvi’s birthday this week...having ice cream for our Ii week treat! Jhanani turns five tomorrow, and we will celebrate her birthday on Monday, Seraphine’s on Tuesday, and Rhiannon’s on Wednesday! I have so many early birthdays in my class. Happy Birthday to my to-be five year olds!

If you haven’t already, please look at the four Scholastic orders that I sent home last week. There are a couple of orders already queued up to be submitted online, but I would love a few more! Remember to enter the class code QPPHM at www.scholastic.com/bookclubs.

Reminders: Keep in mind that there are no classes tomorrow, November 3rd for a teacher inservice. Jingle Jubilee is on Saturday, November 11th, and the Wish Books were sent home today. Check them out to see if there’s anything you’d like to bid on even if you aren’t attending. Our next Special Food/Spirit Day is coming up quickly...it’s on Monday, November 13th. You should be receiving an email for conference sign up mid-week next week...they will be held on Monday, November 20th from 8am-8pm. There is no pre-school for that entire week in celebration of Thanksgiving.

Enjoy the warmer than normal temperatures this weekend!

Fondly,

Ms. Cathy Garcia

News from Room 130

Dear Parents, October 27, 2017

Our week this week has been consumed with PUMPKINS!! I brought some to class and we investigated their insides and outsides, counted the lines and seeds, felt the pulp, and carved them into very unique jack-o-lantern faces. Pictures will be online shortly!

We read some amazingly entertaining books this week...from Skeleton Hiccups to Inside a House That is Haunted. The Happy Hedgehog was a good one, as was The Biggest Pumpkin Ever. We read Itsy Bitsy Spider and made a spider craft with macaroni that we “painted” black in baggies, and read Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie today and did a cross-section of the inside of a pumpkin and labeled it.

There was an unannounced fire drill on Thursday, and we did very well!! Ironically, this tied in with our religion lesson this week about the importance of rules. We have them at home, at school and everywhere. If we didn’t, there might be chaos! We discussed the importance of staying quiet, walking in a line without running, and staying together. We then learned Jesus’ two rules: Love God with your heart, soul and mind, and Love others as much as you love yourself.

We made Hh’s and the numbers 1-8. Next week will be #9 and the letter Ii. Even though it is a shortened week with Halloween and the teacher institute on Friday, November 3rd, we will still practice a letter (i is an easy one!).

Remember that tomorrow is our Little Saints Mass at 4:30pm. If you and your child could please be in the Church by 4:15, that would be great. We have a reserved section right in the middle. If you didn’t send in a response but are now free, please join us as well. See you then!

Please send your child in their costumes on Tuesday morning. Please remember no masks or weapons are allowed. We will be in a parade first thing in the morning, go trick-or-treating at the rectory, and then have our classroom party. This will be from 9:30-11am. It is also a Special Food Day. I’d like the kiddos to either bring something to change into or wear clothes under their costumes for the afternoon. If you are sending something (treat bags, perhaps) for your child to share with the rest of the class, please do not put names on them, as that takes up valuable time when passing them out. We will be making a craft, playing a game and enjoying special snacks in the morning. Please only send an afternoon snack on that day.

Keep in mind that conferences are coming up on Monday, November 20th...a sign-up will be sent out shortly! There is no pre-school on that day, and the rest of that week is off as well so you all can enjoy your Thanksgiving break.

I hope to see many of you at the Jingle Jubilee on Saturday, November 11th! It sounds like it’s going to be even more fun than in the past. I’m really looking forward to it!

Enjoy your weekend!

Ms. Cathy Garcia

News from Room 130

Dear Parents, October 20, 2017

It’s beginning to look a lot like Halloween! We’ve got ghosts flying in our classroom and in the halls, pumpkins in and jack-o-lanterns out… Next week we will delve into some pumpkins, examine their inner pieces/parts and eventually carve them into jack-o-lanterns! We will practice the letter Hh and its sound, and the number 8, specifically. It’s going to be a fun but messy week, I think!

This past week we had a surprise visitor. Mr. Haglund, a father of a child in Mrs. Georgen’s class, came and showed us all of the gear firefighters wear and spoke about the work firefighters do. It was very entertaining and informative, and a nice recap of what we learned about last week!

We worked on the letter Gg, reviewed how to form many numbers from 1-10, learned the new G song about water gurgling down the drain, and how to spell Ghost to the tune of B-I-N-G-O. We made ghosts, talked about what our own ghost might eat and what that could do to his/her color, and made colorful glasses to wear (thank you, Mrs. Carroll!). These will be going home on Monday, as they were still wet at the end of the day on Friday. Be sure to ask your child to tell you the story of The Chocolate Chip Ghost because we spent time retelling it in order with the beginning, middle and end as well as creating our own ghost art project!

My sister returned a train table to me that I had given her when her twins were littles, and it arrived in my classroom last Sunday. That was a nice surprise for my kiddos...to be able to move much of the floor play up higher. I found a ton of superhero toy figures at home too, and some Cars (from the movies) also found their way here. Boys and girls alike; all were excited about these new arrivals!

On Tuesday, October 31st, the kiddos may wear their Halloween costumes to school, and change into spirit wear for the afternoon. Our party will take place prior to lunch so that my entire class can participate. That day is also the Special Food Day for the month of October. That following Friday, November 3rd, there will not be classes because the St. Mary’s staff will be participating in Professional Development.

Mark your calendar for December 9th. That is our yearly Barnes and Noble fundraiser. I am and have been collecting some of our artwork to display there for that special day. There will be at least one project displayed at the store from each child in my class. In case you don’t or haven’t gotten something sent home that I’ve written that we’ve done here, if it’s not hanging inside or outside of our room, it’s possible that it has been pulled for that event. We will get those projects back afterward.

Remember to put your child’s name on EVERYTHING!! I really don’t want to send unclaimed, unlabeled things that I know belong to children in my room to the school lost and found.

Enjoy the beautiful weather, and have a wonderful weekend!

Sincerely,

Ms. Cathy Garcia

Room 130 NEWS

Dear Parents, October 13, 2017

Happy Friday the 13th! October is in full swing, and the kiddos are definitely used to how things are done around here! On a typical day, we generally have 8-10 nappers, while the others just hang out and rest on their mats after reading their books. I think if a bit of the fidgeting might settle down we may have more who nap. Please try to remember to send their bedding the day after the weekend we send it home to wash. Thanks for being so great about sending nutritious snacks; it really does make a difference in the attention span of the kiddos!

Over these past 2 weeks we have focused on the letters Ee and Ff, and the numbers 5 and 6. The jolly phonics lyrics for each letter are on my website, and the kids really enjoy singing them! We had a classroom full of elephants last week and read some great elephant books; Elephants Aloft, Eleanor’s Enormous Ears, and Elmer in the Snow. We talked about the importance of our ears and eyes and looked into the different environments that we spend time in.

We had a very special morning on October 4th learning about St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of animals. We each were blessed and had our favorite stuffed animal blessed as well by Father Rich. This was a very touching event in our class! We discussed the similarities and differences between pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns and created a craft for our hallway/classroom displays. We have had 2 more Religion classes; one focused on how God helps us all in many ways, and the second one, yesterday, was about how Jesus invites everyone to God’s house to celebrate Him during Mass.

I was out this past Tuesday, but the substitute and Mrs. Moran did a fantastic job talking about Fall, the differences in leaf types, and how trees change through the seasons. They read the book little tree by Loren Long. It’s a good one, if you can find it at the library or bookstore! The past three days have been focused on Fire Safety. We’ve discussed things to do if we are on fire (stop, drop, and roll), what number to call in case of an emergency (911), worked on AB and ABB patterns, made bookmarks to remind ourselves to check our fire alarms at home (and change those batteries) to be sure they work, and made handprint fires warning ourselves not to touch fire because we may get burned. Today Clifford taught us about the gear firefighters wear, what items are in a fire station and examples of items to be extremely careful around in case they are hot. These biweekly Clifford lessons are found online to accompany the packet we send home. Go to www.scholastic.com/mybigworld. When you get there, click on sign in and then STUDENTS. My classroom password is Elmo4. There are fun activities and videos found there that the kids really enjoy!

This week we came up with adjectives to describe fire trucks and completed a circle map together detailing what items are found in or on a fire truck. Many cities are celebrating Fire Safety Week this weekend with open houses at the local fire stations… Check and see if your fire station is participating! The kids would love that to culminate our unit!

It seems to be getting harder and harder for me to write the complete daily reports for the kiddos. Without having daily specials and such, I’ve decided to try something new. Beginning this upcoming week, on October 16th, I will place a colored paper in their folder on Monday. It will be double sided with note sections for each day. Their job for the week will be listed, and their behavior will be circled. If comments are necessary I will write them, and as time allows, I will make notes on the daily activities. In sending home newsletters weekly, I feel like much of the information is repeated anyway. On the back page there is a section for parent comments. I assure you that I will read that section daily in case you’d like to jot a note about a change in your child’s schedule on a particular day, or respond about behavior… This will lessen my copy paper load and hopefully be equally informative. Let’s try it for a week or two, and then please give me your comments on it, if you have any to make. Thanks again for your support!!

This week we will be learning how to make the number 7 and the letter Gg. We will be adding ghosts to our jack-o-lantern decorations in the hall (bats and spiders will be forthcoming!).

Date Reminders: *Fall picture retakes will be on Wednesday, October 18th. *Unity Day will be celebrated on 10/25. Please send the kiddos in orange on that day!

*Our Halloween Party will be held on the 31st from 9:30-11am. Feel free to send treat bags if you’d like. Parent helpers have already been notified and will let me know if your help is needed in donating food/snack items for the party.

*The 31st is also a Special Food Day, so the kids can wear spirit wear under their costumes (or bring it to change into), since for the afternoon they will be costume free.

*Hopefully you’ll be joining us on Saturday, November 11th for Jingle Jubilee! It promises to be a ton of fun!

Other reminders: *The weather is changing and the afternoons are warmer than the mornings. Sometimes clouds roll in over the sun or vice-versa. Since the weather in Chicago is so unpredictable, please be sure your children are dressed appropriately. *If you send boots, please include their tennis shoes in their backpacks. * Please LABEL all items of clothing with your last name, at the least. *If you send them in short sleeves now that it’s fall, a sweatshirt or hoodie should be in their backpack in case of weather changes. We will go outside any chance we get as the kiddos really need fresh air!

Please contact me with any questions/comments and be sure to check out the photos on my St. Mary teacher website (Enter through the St. Mary School website). Much information is posted and updated there regularly.

See you next week!

Sincerely,

Ms. Cathy Garcia

News from Room 130

Dear Parents, September 29, 2017

Another week has come to an end, and the weather has shaped up nicely along with it! D week has been fun. The acorns have disappeared (most of the kiddos chose to take a bagful home), but the fun didn’t end there! Mrs. Vileta sent in some miracle growing dinosaurs that we each “grew” in a bowlful of water today in order to observe this really cool phenomenon. The kids loved that! We made a doggie craft with paper leaves, practiced our upper and lower case Dd’s, and played with play-dough this week.

We read a bunch of books this week. Some about squirrels, some about the new season of Fall that we are in, and some about random things that begin with D (from dogs and donuts to dinosaurs and dragons). One of the favorites this week was If You Give A Dog A Donut, and we had donuts that day as well!

Next week is a special one. Aside from learning about the letter Ee and the number 5, it is also Homecoming week at St. Mary School. On Monday, October 2nd, it will be an all school PAJAMA DAY. Tuesday the 3rd is SPORTS DAY, where the kiddos should dress in gear from their favorite team (Go Cubbies!). Wednesday the 4th is St. Francis of Assisi Day, and the kids are all allowed to bring in a stuffed animal (that fits in their backpack) that will be blessed by a Priest or Deacon in our classroom, since St. Francis of Assisi was the Patron Saint of Animals. On Thursday, October 5th, the children may choose to dress up as their favorite SUPERHERO. Finally, Friday the 6th will be a Spirit Day when the kiddos should wear our school colors (black and gold). Also, be sure to keep in mind that next weekend is another long one, with No Classes on Monday, October 9th in honor of Columbus Day.

Going back to the memo above about “bring your favorite stuffed animal to school day,” I would really like for that to be the last day that my students bring a stuffed animal of any sort to school. They really are causing problems, with kiddos being upset because they didn’t bring one, getting upset because I won’t allow them to be brought out to recess or to specials classes, and insisting that these animals or blankies accompany their owner to every classroom activity. The only way I will allow them is if they’d like to keep one on their rest mat for the week (but it needs to be small). They may then be brought home every weekend. The caveat is that the animals will stay on the nap mat for the entire week. I really could use your help and support on this one. Tuesday will be the 30th day of school, and I feel that a significant enough adjustment period has passed for the kiddos to be used to coming to school by now and that these “security blankets” of sort aren’t necessary anymore.

On the night when I met the majority of you folks, I sent each of you home with a Reading Calendar with an apple on it for each day of the month. Sunday marks the beginning of October and I just sent home a pumpkin calendar for this month. Please be sure to send it back when it is complete, and if you could return September’s calendar on Monday, I’d appreciate it! Keep reading to these kiddos, and before long they’ll be reading to you!!

Enjoy the reprieve from the heat, and have a wonderful fall weekend!

Most sincerely,

Cathy Garcia

News from Room 130

Dear Parents, September 22, 2017

Wow! This week flew by!! We had fun learning about the letter C and the sound it makes. We played with castanets daily for our new little jingle to the tune She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain:

We are clicking castanets, /c/-/c/-/c/!

We are clicking castanets, /c/-/c/-/c/!

We are clicking castanets, clicking castanets,

We are clicking castanets, /c/-/c/-/c/!

We also talked about the fact that sometimes the letter c can sound like an s, and be sure to ask them about the sound that is made when a c and an h are together: ch-ch-ch!

Some of the stories we read this week were amazing, and can’t be topped, like Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Our craft for that story came out soooo cute! Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom DeLuise is another great story that the kids really enjoyed. We read Tomie dePaola’s “Charlie Needs A Cloak”, Cookie’s Week by Cindy Ward and Tomie dePaola, and If You Give A Cat A Cupcake by Laura Numeroff. We ended the week talking about Chirping Crickets, by Melvin Berger, and read Clifford Keeps Cool by Norman Bridwell.

We also read The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri and From Acorn to Oak Tree by Melvin and Gilda Berger. We will continue our study of squirrels and acorns next week, and the kiddos truly enjoyed manipulating about 2,000 acorns in our sensory table this week! Many have started to sprout, some had caps, and others were capless... some were various shades of green and/or brown. Many thanks to Colton and his P’s for their amazing donation of all of them from the oak tree in their front yard!

We began our Religion Program today, entitled Seeds. Each week there will be a lesson that we will work through that corresponds with that week’s Gospel. My intention is to have religion time every Thursday morning (when we have no specials, but while everyone is here!). The mini-lesson packet will come home the day we complete it, and I am sending home the book accompaniment as well for you to use at home to continue your study as a family. Please do not send that book back to school.

Guess what? I believe that my website is now live, and if it isn’t yet, it should be, worst case, by Monday. Here it is: https://sites.google.com/stmarybg.org/prek4garcia130/home

Please check it out at your earliest convenience, and check it regularly. Old newsletters can always be found there, the St. Mary School calendar is linked, and I will update photos whenever I can.

Reminders:

*Monday the 25th is Spirit Day and Special Food Day.

*Please save Box Tops for Education, and send them in for the next contest. With a full class of 20, we could be a contender!

*Make sure your calendar is marked for November 11th and the Jingle Jubilee!

*Keep your eye out for your child’s class pictures. They should be coming home this week. If you didn’t order yet but would like to, you may send money in upon receipt of the photos.

*Portillo’s Night is on Thursday, September 28th from 5-8pm at the Dundee Road location. Come support St. Mary’s School!

Stay cool this weekend, and please shoot me an email any time you have a question or comment about what we’re doing and such! (Happy Birthday to Nathan!)

Sincerely,

Ms. Cathy Garcia

News from Room 130

Dear Parents, September 15, 2017

This week we focused on the letter Bb and the number 2. Just for your knowledge, we use the terms upper and lower case, not capitals or large and small letters… We have become experts at writing the letter Bb!

We read MANY books this week from Bugs, Bugs, Bugs!, Busy Beavers, and Butterfly, to It’s Not Easy Being A Bunny, Pete the Cat; Play Ball! and The Berenstain Bears Count Their Blessings. We read Mr. Bear’s Picnic and Mr. Bear Babysits, Just a Baseball Game, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, and some stories about Biscuit the puppy.

Next week we will be learning about the letter Cc, the number 3, and studying about squirrels and acorns. If you and your child happen to find any acorns this weekend, please send them to school in a baggie on Monday, if possible. The more the better! Also, if you have a stuffed (plush) squirrel lying around the house, please send that in as well for an example.

Remember that there are no classes for the kiddos on Friday, September 22nd. It is a staff institute day. Instead of sending home their bedding this current weekend, I have decided to wait until next Thursday to give you all a three day weekend to wash and return it all.

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but we have a sensory table in our classroom. For the first 2 weeks of school I had pink rice in there with a variety of measuring utensils (cups, spoons, funnels, nets…). The second week I hid some mini toy aliens in there for Aa week. This past week we had soft blocks in there from Mon-Wed, and on Thursday and Friday I surprised them by filling it with bubble solution and a variety of bubble wands to BLOW BUBBLES IN THE CLASSROOM! It was so fun.

I guess I’m letting you know that I’d like to do special things as often as I’m able, but these things are costly. I would love some donations of creative sensory table materials, from cotton balls to sand, aquarium rocks to uncooked (colored, if possible) rice and pasta (of various types). If you have a fun idea that corresponds to a letter of the alphabet, please let me know and if you’re able to donate it, I’d be ever-so grateful! (Cotton balls by this Wednesday, if you have an abundance at home, for C week!)

Did your child tell you that we went bowling in the hallway?! It was another activity that was an absolute blast! BINGO with colors and shapes was played on Friday. We also learned 2 little songs in the past 2 weeks; one for A and one for B.

To the tune of Skip to My Lou we sing:

/a/-/a/! Ants on my arm.

/a/-/a/! Ants on my arm.

/a/-/a/! Ants on my arm.

They’re causing me alarm.

And to Camptown Races we sing:

Bring your bat and bring your ball. /b/! /b/!

Bring your bat and bring your ball…

To the park to play!

Each week I’ll try to remember to send you our little tune!

Enjoy the weather and have a wonderful weekend!

Fondly,

Ms. Cathy Garcia

Room 130 News

Dear Parents, September 8, 2017

Another week has passed and we had a ton of fun! We read MANY stories about apples; both fictitious and non-fiction. We tasted three kinds of apples and enjoyed some apple juice along with them. Yummmm!

We read Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss, Visit to an Apple Orchard by Melvin and Gilda Berger, The Biggest Apple Ever by Steven Kroll, Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, Up, Up, Up! It’s Apple-Picking Time by Jody Fickes Shapiro, and 2 books entitled Apples with one written by the Bergers above, and the other by Erika L. Shores.

We used some of the apples to paint with. Apple halves with red paint were used for the apple itself, and apple quarters to paint the stem and leaf. We learned what apple seeds are called (pips) and talked about what happens to the flower on an apple tree before the “apple” actually begins growing. We sorted apples by color and size and voted on our favorite tasting apple. It truly was a toss-up!

Next week, we will be focusing on the letter Bb. We will continue to practice writing our first names, and some children will begin working on their last names as well! We will talk about bullies, bubbles, balls, and BINGO. I’d like to culminate next week by wearing BLUE and/or BLACK on Friday, September 15th.

Thanks for being so supportive thus far; you all have been wonderful and your kiddos are lucky to have you all! I am blessed to be sharing them with you in your absence.

The children loved figuring out who the 5 clues belonged to...the majority of them knew it was them! Mrs. Moran and I loved learning more about each of them as well!

Have a wonderful weekend, and I hope to see you all next week!

Most sincerely,

Ms. Cathy Garcia

NEWS FROM ROOM 130

Dear Parents, August 31, 2017

Another week is winding down, but I wanted to get this note out to you a bit early this week. This Friday, September 1st (tomorrow; can you believe it?!) we will be taking an all-school photo out on the football field. In order to look like our older SMS counterparts, we are being asked to dress in a “school uniform-like manner.” This means the staff and Pre-K kiddos should also wear solid dark blue, light blue or white shirts (otherwise think neutral, like tan or something) if at all possible. Preferably without patterns. Thanks!

We’ve had a great week so far, learning how to write the letter Aa and the number 1, practicing spelling and writing our names, writing and drawing about ourselves and our families, and reading books “All About Me” and about different kinds of families. My favorite book this week is entitled One Family by George Shannon. We’ve also read How Have I Grown? by Mary Reid, Is Your Mama A Llama? By Deborah Guarino, Big Mama and Grandma Ghana by Angela Shelf Medearis, Mom’s Secret by Meredith Costain, Just Me and My Dad, When I Get Bigger, and When I Grow Up all by Mercer Mayer.

Since this current week was predominantly about ourselves and our families, I would like to enlist your help in a fun favor. Can you please use the included large index card and list 5 “clues” about your child (i.e. I have 3 sons, I live in Rolling Meadows, My favorite ice cream is chocolate, I have one brother and one sister, and I really dislike bananas.) I’d like to stress that the clues you give should be pretty obvious to your child, but put their name on the card just in case. Each morning next week during Circle Time I’ll read a few of them and have the kids guess who it is, and usually they’re able to pick themselves out. It’s also a fun way to get to know each other better!!! Thanks for your help with this!

I will be sending home 2 book orders from Scholastic this Friday. Please take a moment to peruse them with your child and perhaps make it a monthly treat to have them choose one book. Keep an eye out for the monthly $1.00 book! There is no tax required, and often times they are less expensive than the bookstore. You may order online with class code QPPHM, or send cash or a check payable to Scholastic Book Clubs to school with the order form and I will submit the order. Please be sure all orders are placed by Friday, September 8th so we can all get our orders at the same time. The entire order gets shipped here to school, and the kiddos will bring home their own books. Every order placed gives us credit toward purchasing more books for our classroom library!

Remember that there is no school this Monday, September 4th, and enjoy your long weekend!

Most sincerely (and loving every minute of my new job…)

Ms. Cathy Garcia

News from Room 130

Dear Room 130 Families, August 25, 2017

What a wonderfully busy week we had! The Pre-K 4 students in Room 130 have done a great job getting to know each other and learning the rules and routines of our classroom and St. Mary School.

I am working on a paperless format for sending weekly reminders, updates, and keeping you all in the loop of the happenings in Room 130. Next week I plan to email my correspondence. Please be sure to respond to the test email that I sent yesterday.

We have some rules in our room: We are nice to others.

We listen when others are speaking.

We help keep our classroom clean.

We play safely.

Some of the books we read this week are: Chrysanthemum and Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes, How Full is Your Bucket? (for Kids) by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer, and Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud.

Our focus this week has been on getting to know one another, being kind and forgiving of others, taking turns and talking things over instead of reacting negatively.

There are some children who haven’t brought in a change of clothes or a set of headphones to keep at school yet. Please do at your earliest convenience.

Our class list for Birthday invites and Valentines, if you choose to send them, is as follows. Please keep in mind that if you send something for one child, you need to send something for all. We can pass invites out at school if all of the classmates are invited. We currently have 20 students and two teachers in our room: Ms. Garcia and Mrs. Moran.

Boys: Sarvesh, Cooper, Daniel, Colton, Nathan and Mason.

Girls: Rhiannon, Gianna, Lylah, Elena, Kaylee, Sharvi, Madelyn (Maddie), Jhanani, Keelin, Aadya, Steffi, Aahana, Madison, and Seraphine.

*If you choose to send treats to school for your child’s birthday, we would prefer for them to be nut free. I’m pleased to let you know, however, that we don’t have any defined food allergies in our room! That’s quite unusual!

Please try to keep snacks healthy...no chips, cookies, or other sweets. We much prefer the children to have fruits/veggies or even ½ a sandwich during snack time! Crackers, string cheese, yogurt and applesauce are also common snacks. I’m not so keen on fruit snacks, however. I’d rather those be eaten with lunch. We have about 5 children who have ordered milk with their daily snack. Mary Lynn in the office can help you with ordering that if you’re interested. I believe all you need to do is send a $90.00 check payable to Quest for daily milk during snack time.

This Monday, August 28th will be a Special Food Day and the kids may wear their Spirit Wear!

Virtus Training is being offered here at St. Mary on Wednesday, August 30th from 7-10pm in the Marian Room. Please keep in mind that if you are planning on volunteering with our class in any capacity, you need to be Virtus trained.

We can always use helpers in the lunchroom!! Even if your schedule opens up at the last minute, please come and help!! Lunch is daily from 11-11:30am. For questions, please email ltomassetti@stmarybg.org.

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments...my door is always open!

Most sincerely,

Ms. Cathy Garcia