Saturday, May 4, 2019

Classroom Website

I am now using our classroom website as the primary location for newsletters and information.  I will continue to use the Seesaw app and email to send reminders and quick messages.  Below is the link to our website.  It can also be found off of the new East Montpelier Elementary School Homepage.

Mrs. Fitch's Fabulous First Grade

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Website launch

I am working to convert from a classroom blog to a classroom website.  Below is the link to the website.  Please remember this is a work in progress.  If you have suggestions, questions or concerns please let me know.  I want the site to be useful and easy to navigate.  I will continue to update, modify and add content to the page over time.

Mrs. Fitch's Classroom Website

Monday, March 25, 2019

Weekly Wrap-up, March 25, 2019

As part of our growth mindset, we are also learning about traits or habits that help people to become stronger learners.  In the educational jargon, these are sometimes referred to as "Learning Stances". We are currently learning and practicing persistence. In our room, persistent means - trying and trying again, even if it seems hard.  We have explored persistence through books, discussion and activities.  One of our favorite examples of persistence is Ormie the Pig.  Ormie is a animated wordless video about a pig trying to get a cookie.


We have been working our way through literacy assessments and self-reflections to prepare for our upcoming conferences.  Overall, I am very pleased with the progress the class has made.  They are reading more challenging words and beginning to deepen their understanding of text.  The class has also acquired many new sight words.

We are currently working on reading and writing words with the "Silent E" pattern.  This pattern is also referred to as the "magic E".  It is a vowel followed by 1 consonant and then an e.  Typically these words have a long vowel sound (the vowel says its name).  There are, of course exceptions to this rule (e.g. have, give) which we are discussing. 

As the students move into longer and more complex text, we will increase our focus on building reading stamina.   By stamina, I mean the ability to stay focused and to continue to read without loss of accuracy or comprehension.  Building stamina is an essential part of continued progress in reading.  At this point in the year, students should be reading for at least 20 minutes a day outside of school time.  If you need help finding appropriate books for your child, please do not hesitate to ask.  Students are welcome to borrow books from the classroom library provided the books are returned. 


Recently there has been an increase in students attempting to bring in toys from home to play with during the day.  This is causing problems for some students as they are a distraction.  Toys have also become lost or damaged resulting in very sad students.  I cannot ensure that personal toys are safe at school.   If a toy makes it to school, I will instruct the student to keep the toy in their backpack for the day.  If the toy reappears, I will store the toy for safe keeping on my desk.  


The ECO session scheduled for this week has been postponed until May 30th.  If you are interested in joining us for an ECO session, please let me know.  We always enjoy and appreciate guests.

Upcoming Events

Thursday, April 4th - ECO 9AM-11:40AM  Please help your child prepare for the weather that day.  Children often struggle to bring appropriate gear for the changing spring conditions.

Thursday, April 4th - Celebration of Learning 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
We will be sharing our some of our work around space.  Children are encouraged to also visit other rooms but should remain with an adult at all times.  It is not necessary for your child to remain for the entire 2 hours.  Please do what is right for your family.  

Friday, April 5th - Parent Conferences
These are student led conferences and will last approximately 30 minutes.  If you have not returned your conference request form, please do so as soon as possible.  I will be sending out emails confirming conference times later this week.  

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Math - Adding Two Digit Numbers

Adding Two Digit Numbers

In math we are beginning to learn to add two digit numbers by combining tens and ones.  This is a strategy based on place value that many people use to mentally add numbers.  In order to accomplish this skill, it is important that students have a solid understanding of place value and a level of automaticity with their basic addition facts.  If your child is struggling to automatic recall of basic facts (up to a sum of 20), please help him/her practice at home.

We will not be using the standard method of adding multiple digits YET.  We will also be focusing on equations that do not require regrouping (aka carrying).  Below is an example of how solving an equation might occur.  As a first step, we will be using base ten rods to build and combine numbers.  We will then move to using expanded notation.  Finally, we will end up at the traditional method of adding 2 digit numbers.

23 + 56 
step 1.  expand the numbers:  20 + 3           50 + 6
step 2.  add the ones, add the tens:  6 + 3 = 9;    20 + 50 = 70
step 3.  combine the tens and ones:  70 + 9

This learning and practice will help to prepare students for the more traditional paper and pencil method of addition in the future.  However, it is crucial that they develop a solid understanding of the concept prior to memorizing the procedure.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Leprechauns on the Loose

Leprechauns have come and gone from the first grade classroom.  There was a lot of excitement around the building of the traps on Friday and finding the room a bit "disturbed" this morning.  It is wonderful to watch the students engage in planning, designing and building their creations.  They certainly enjoyed the antics of the trouble making leprechaun who visited our room.

Parent Conferences

Our Spring Parent Conferences are coming right up!  On Friday, April 5th there will be no school for the students and parent conferences will be held.  As a staff, we’re excited that our spring conferences are STUDENT LED CONFERENCES.  We want to put our EMES students in the driver’s seat and have them be in charge of presenting their progress and goals for the future.

Student led conferences have become very commonplace in education and we feel it’s time for EMES students to regularly have this opportunity.  During the next couple of weeks students will work on reflecting, gathering evidence, setting future goals and practicing presentations for families.  These conferences will be a chance for them to demonstrate a large number of the skills that we have been working on.

I will be present at conferences, and there will also be a chance for you to talk to me if you need to but my goal is that the students are able to lead the conference with a minimal amount of support from me. There may be multiple families scheduled at one time, please know that our room is large enough for your child to present privately.

A sign up schedule will be sent home with students on Tuesday. I will confirm your time prior to the conference. Please remember your child will need to be present at the conference and that the night before conferences is Celebration of Learning.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Weekly Wrap-up, March 8, 2019


We have learned to recognize the value of digits in 2 digit numbers.  We have also learned that 2 digit numbers can be broken apart into tens and ones in various combinations.  These understandings are an important foundation for students as they learn to add and subtract with regrouping.  We are beginning to use this understanding to help us add two 2 digit numbers. 

Next week we will begin to work on comparing 2 digit numbers using the < and  > symbols.  There will be a focus on terms such as more, fewer, greater, less than and the word compare.  When comparing numbers, we will focus first on the tens and then the ones.  This is because the tens have a greater value than the ones.  The language of comparison is typically not difficult to acquire, however the symbols used to note the comparison can be challenging.  I encourage students to remember that the side with the greatest space between it goes towards the larger number.

In math we have also begun to use a format known as Math Menu for our independent work time.  During Math Menu, students are given a "menu" of options to complete during the week.  Some of the options are must dos, others are choices.  This structure builds in choice and allows the students to select activities that they feel they need to do to become better math students.  Currently our must do activities include:  fact practice, math handwriting, and counting practice.  Our choice activities include problem solving and games.  While the students are engaged in menu time, I will be working with small groups of students.  Typically, our menu time will last about 15-20 minutes and will occur 3-4 days a week. 


We have been wrapping up our units on non-fiction reading and writing.  The class has written some wonderful teaching books and are becoming experts in many topics.  Some of their favorite topics include animals and space.  We are now working on being the "Boss of Your Reading".  This means being in control of your reading and noticing when things are not correct.  We talk about triple checking to make sure everything looks right, sounds right and makes sense.  


Now that Winter Wellness has wrapped up, we will be returning to having our ECO sessions.  We currently have ECO scheduled for 2 sessions this month:  Thursday, March 14th and Thursday, March 28th.  Our sessions are from 9:00-11:30 in the morning and we welcome parents to join us.