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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

December Holidays, Celebrations and Special Dates

Shedding Lights on the Holidays

Our next unit of study in the classroom will focus on holiday celebrations around the world.  Since many holidays this year are celebrated through the use of light, the children will learn about the significance of light in these various celebrations.  Students will be introduced to the light celebrations of Divali, Hanukkah, Christmas and Eid.  They will also learn about the winter solstice -- the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year due to its lack of sunlight.

Fairy tales, folk tales and fables from around the world will be another area of study.  Many versions of some familiar tales will also be introduced. We have also planned a very special visit from Cinderella and Prince Charming!  The kids are going to write letters to their favorite fairy tale characters for Cinderella to deliver.  The characters will then write back to the children.  Very exciting.

Special Holiday Happenings for December!

Mark Your Calendars:

Monday, December 3rd:  Parent-Teacher Conferences.  No school for children.  If you have not yet made a conference time with your child's reading teacher, please do so.

Week of December 10th  -- each day this week, the entire first grade will rotate to each of the five classrooms during our Social Studies time to learn about the five different holidays celebrated this season: Hanukkah, Christmas, Divali, and Eid.  Ask your children to share with you what was similiar in how each of the holidays were celebrated when you get the chance.  It promises to be a fun and informative week!

Friday, December 21st -- Polar Express/Pajama Day:  Be sure to send your child in wearing their pajamas on this day!  (Please send in a change of clothes for outside recess.)  We will evoke the mood of The Polar Express by reading the story as the students sip on hot chocolate and nibble on cookies.  In order to be sensitive to allergy needs, we are asking that each parent please send in a special treat which they can have during this time.  We will provide the hot chocolate unless you would prefer another beverage to be served to your child at this time. Please just send it into school and I will be sure that your child receives what (s)he needs.

Introducing:  Butterscotch the Hamster!

Want to Butterscotch to Visit Your Home?
Butterscotch will need a home over holiday breaks and weekends.  You will be provided with all of the necessary supplies, food and instructions.  If you are interested in taking Butterscotch home, please e-mail me at and let me know if you are willing to take him for a weekend or the following school breaks: Winter Break, February break, April break.  Your name will be put into a rotation and you will be notified prior to the date to confirm that you can or cannot take Fluffy for that particular weekend or week.  Thanks!

Here a few photos of when Ms. P. from the Science Center came to deliver Butterscotch to our class:

Ms. P. talks about the importance of food and water.

Moses fills the first water bottle for Butterscotch

Here's our Gang in Costume from Halloween

Want to Order Scholastic Books For your Child?

Next Deadline Ordering Date:  December 9th

Online Ordering Information
Website Address:
Class Activation Code: HBMDK

Find the perfect books for your child through Scholastic's NEW online Book Club Web site.  Choose from  much wider selection of books than in the printed flyer.  Plus, you can send your orders directly to me online and use your credit/debit card to pay.

Best of all, we earn a FREE book for the classroom library every time a parent places an order online.

Its so simple!  Here's how it works:

SIGN UP at  On the parent page, register by clicking the "Don't have a user name or password?" link.  When prompted, enter the one-time Class Activation Code shown above.  This unique code ensures that your order is sent to me.
Select the books you'd like to order -- choose from thousands of titles -- many more than in our monthly flyers.
Send your order to me online by the due date and your child's books will be delivered directly to my classroom.  Ordering online is fast, easy and secure.

See for yourself how convenient it is to order online.

100 Sight Words to Practice at Home

At the right, you will find a link to the 100 sight words all first graders must know.  Please click on the link entitled 100 Sight Words for the list of these 100 sight words.  Print out this page and practice 5-10 words a night.

The more sight words children know, the better readers they become.  Sight words are words that frequently appear in print which often cannot be sounded out.  The same words are among those used most frequently by children in their writing.  When children build their sight word vocabulary, they become both better readers and spellers.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Article on iPads in Francis Wyman and Pine Glen

An article in Edutopia featuring how the iPads are being used in the first grade classrooms in Burlington:

WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Comments (2)

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Instructional Technology Specialist, Boston, MA

Monica, Thank you for reading

Monica, Thank you for reading this piece and for your questions. We use the Apple VPP program throughout our district. We stress free apps at the high school where students manage their own devices. And, while we embrace the same idea at the middle and elementary levels, we use the VPP more frequently.
Educator and Blogger,

Great interview! Do these

Great interview! Do these teachers use VPP or free apps, or a combination in their classrooms? I work primarily with free apps in my 1:1 iPad classroom, although I have some paid apps I use on my teacher iPad (Keynote, Pages, etc.). Check out my blog about my experience using iPads in the classroom: