Friday, December 7, 2018

November and December Update

November and December have been full of facts and fun. 

We have been learning about our national holidays with videos, books and magazine articles. We have read and talked about Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, and Thanksgiving. We will continue with this unit as each new holiday approaches. This has lead up to our unit on Traditions. The children have learned that there are national traditions, religious traditions, cultural traditions and family traditions. We are reading from the book Family Traditions by Gretchen Super as well as reading stories about individual traditions. So far we have read:
Owl Moonby Jane Yolen
Pablo’s Treeby Pat Mora
Dumpling Soupby Jama Kim Rattigan
The Relatives Cameby Cynthia Rylant
Hanukkahby Miriam Nerlove
Ravi’s Diwali Surpriseby Anisha Kacker

We will continue reading books about traditions throughout the month. We will also be sharing our own tradition posters.

Deborah Pellerin, a reading specialist at Happy Hollow School, was a mystery reader in our class. She read the book Jessica and Rescue,a book about a young girl who has two prosthetic legs and her dog, Rescue, who helps her. We will be part of an on-line conversation with the authors Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes next Tuesday. The illustrator, Scott Magoon will be visiting our school later in the year as well. 

Our class also read, The Day You Beginby Jaqueline Woodson. We are going to watch an interview by Ms. Woodson on-line as well. Listening to the authors’ reasons for writing their stories as well as learning about their real life stories increases children’s 
comprehension and enjoyment of the text.

Both of these books are in the Happy Hollow Community Book stop. Parents and children are welcome to borrow a book from the Book Stop and read it with their families. There is a simple sign out procedure. Once you read the book return it so others can enjoy it as well.

SCIENCE: The children are turning into meteorologist. They are checking the weather several times a week and recording it in their weather journals. We will begin discussing the movement of the sun from east to west in the sky and the length of daylight as well.

NON-FICTION READING: We have been discussing the features of non-fiction books and how they help us gather information. We are reading non-fiction books and magazines and will continue to focus on this genre throughout December. We will discuss folktales and fairytales in January and then return to non-fiction later in the year. The children will be writing their own non-fiction books and folktales as well.

MATH: We are building math fluency by practicing our combinations of 10, double and doubles plus one math facts. We are using these number facts to help us solve addition and subtraction story problems. We have been working on story problems with a missing addend and the children are working on ways to show their math thinking. Here is an example of the type of problem they are solving.

Joe had 12 trucks. He gave some away and now he has 6 trucks. How many trucks did he give away? Show your thinking with a picture and number bond.  Then write a math equation that matches the story.

SPLASH MATH: The children are learning how to log on and use Splash Math. It is a math program that provides practice in most of the first grade math curriculum. A notice is being sent home today with instructions on how to access Splash Math. Feel free to use this program at home with your children.

Here are the general instructions on how to access Splash Math.
·     Username: wps then the child’s lunch code
·     Password: child’s lunch code only

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season.


Dear First Grade Families, 

December is a month of celebrations in our country and abroad.  In almost every home families are preparing special foods, decorating, entertaining, attending religious services, and participating in family, cultural, or religious traditions. As a first grade team, we have developed a homework activity that connects our discussions of families and traditions, and builds on children’s pride and enthusiasm.  
We would like each child to make a simple poster illustrating a special tradition in his or her family. The poster should include some statement such as: 
         “A tradition in my family is....” 

Examples from past years include such things as:  a family trip to grandparents, a regular 4th of July family reunion, parent/child breakfast at Mel’s, birthday celebrations , Passover, Christmas, baking cookies, having a special cousin over, Friday movie and pizza night, etc. 
Any family tradition that your child participates in and would enjoy sharing is a good topic for the poster. 
The goals of the homework are: 
•To affirm the strengths of cultural diversity and discover parallel experiences. 
•To nurture students’ self esteem and ethnic pride. 
•To encourage awareness and appreciation of many cultures and ways of life. 

The posters should be sent in to school by Monday, December 17th, so that the children can share them with their classmates. Please make this a simple and fun activity that you can share with your child. We know this is a busy time for families. Please keep the posters no larger than 12” by 18”, so we have room to display them all.

We are confident that this unit is a wonderful way for children to develop new insights and respect for the rich diversity of their friends, classmates, and other cultures. 


Deede Bergeron
Laura O’Brien
Lise Wieg 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Update on our Fundations Program

Fundations is an important part of our daily routine.  It is a systematic and explicit language arts program that teaches letter formation, letter sounds, word blending, and many aspects of word and sentence structure. Earlier in the year, I sent home a sheet outlining how we instruct students in letter formation as a guide for practice at home. This post will give other resources you can use with your child as they go through the program. I will be updating you  periodically as we go through the units of this program so that you are aware of what they are learning and how to support them.

Here are the letter-keyword- sound cards the children have learned to help them recall letter names and sounds. We also practice a particular action for each card. Ask your child to show you how we practice our sounds.

The children are introduced to "trick words" (sight words) that are tricky to sound out and spell. Here is or list of words to date.

We have introduce and practiced the rule that a sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a period, question mark or exclamation point. Children recently learned names should also be capitalized. They are still learning what proper names are and that they include names of the weekdays, months and cities, countries, etc.

We recently introduced our first spelling rule.

That's where we are to date. I will keep you informed as we go through our units. Have a great week.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Science in the Classroom

Science News

Our class is beginning a study of air and weather that involves observing
patterns in the day and night sky. Students will be looking for evidence
that air is matter—that it is something real. Students will explore the
properties of air using parachutes that they engineer to deliver cargo
safely to the ground. Students will work with plastic syringes and tubing
and observe how air can be captured, how air can be compressed, and
how air under pressure can move things around. Students will observe
daily weather conditions such as temperature, cloud cover, and wind
conditions, and will analyze the number of hours of daylight over the year. They will be recording all this information on a class calendar and in a science notebook. Students will also observe and record daily changes in the appearance of the Moon over a month. They will be observing the Moon during the daylight hours and at home during the evening.

You can help your child learn more about patterns in the day and night sky. Share with your child the time of sunrise and sunset each day and try to observe these outdoors at least once during each month. Look at the night sky several times during the night and observe the movement of the stars and the Moon in the sky. You might discuss weather reports in the newspaper, on the Internet, or on television. If you
have an indoor or outdoor thermometer, read and record the temperature at about the same time each day and look for patterns. Or, you may want to watch the temperature change over the course of one day. Does it happen that way every day? Weather is an ever-changing story. You can guide your child’s scientific inquiry by helping him or her make observations and by nurturing his or her natural ability to ask questions based on those observations. Don’t be surprised if you end up with a lit 
of questions much longer than the initial observations. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Information on school start times for next September, 2019

Dear Parents,
Here are some upcoming meetings to inform parents about the options for school start times for the next academic year.
School Start Time: The School Committee is holding the following forums for parents.
  • October 10 - morning meeting with parents (in Wayland)
  • October 17 - evening meeting with parents (in Wayland)
  • November 5 - evening meeting with parents (in Boston)
  • November 19 - target date for final decision
Just a note that when you click on the scenarios, it does not indicate that Elementary students will enter the school buildings at 7:30 a.m.  

Laura O'Brien

Monday, August 27, 2018

Welcome To Room 1

Dear Parents and Children,

We are so excited to start the new school year with you. The room is set and ready to begin our year. Remember to bring in your All About Me Books the first week of school so we can start learning about each other. We hope you all had a fun and restful vacation.

Here are a few details about the start of the year.

Welcome to First Grade!
Just a few details about starting the year.
Home/School Folder:To help with communication between home and school, each child has a home/school folder that goes home with the child each day and returns to school each morning. All correspondences should be put in the folder to prevent any information being lost on route. The folders should be checked each evening. The children will have a morning and end of day routine for making sure that the folders are taken home each day. 

Health Concerns: Please be sure to send in a healthy snack and drink each day with your child. Snacks eaten in the classroom may not contain nuts. However, peanut butter and other nut products may be eaten at lunch in the cafeteria because nut free tables are available. Candy and gum should not be sent for snack.

E-Mail: I prefer to communicate through e-mail.  You can contact me at: Laura_O’

Class Blog: Our class has a blog called Mrs. O’Brien’s First Grade Class.  You can access it through the Happy Hollow Home Page under For Studentsthen Happy Hollow Classrooms.The direct link is

Weekly Special Schedule: 
Monday:  Technology
Tuesday: Art
Wednesday: Music
Thursday: Physical Education (Sneakers required)
Friday: Library and Skills Lab

Curriculum Night for Grades 1 and 2: is Thursday, September 12th7:00-7:30pm. This is a 
parent-only evening designed to give an overview of the year’s curriculum. Hope to see you there.

Birthdays:  We love to recognize children’s birthdays. We do so by singing the birthday song at 
snack, having the child pick out a class book to read and then they get a small prize. No special treats are sent in from home.

Picture Day: Photographers will be coming to the school on Tuesday, September 18th to take 
individual and class photos. This is a PTO sponsored event.

All About Me Book: Just a reminder that each child should make and bring in a small book about themselves to be shared with the class. This is one way we get to learn about each other. 
The children will each get a chance to present their book to the class. We start sharing these books 
the first week of school.

Pink Parent/Gardian Information: There is a pink Parent/ Guardian Information Sheet that must be
filled out right away and returned on Thursday, September 5thPlease make sure you fill out BOTH 
sides and SIGN.

We are looking forward to a great year.
Laura O’Brien and Rosemary Rabidou