It has been a very exciting couple weeks in first grade LEDP! We had a lot to celebrate this February: Black History Month, Valentines Day and the Chinese New Year! Additionally, we finished filling our “Snow Ball” jar and as a reward we got to have a party! All of us voted on what to include in our party and narrowed it down to celebratory shirley temples and sharing our stuffies from home. We also got to enjoy some clips of Shirley Temple dancing with Bojangles (Bill Robinson), one of the most famous African-American performers and tap dancers in the first half of the twentieth century. Among Bill Robinson were other historical revolutionaries we studied like Garrett Morgan, an inventor who created stop lights to help regulate traffic and keep drivers safe. Another was the first African- American female astronaut, Mae Jemison. We learned new words like astronomy, and astrophysics. A notable group activity was a giant word search projecting the names of famous African- American people. Our group managed to find all fifteen names, some people we recognized, others were new names and faces. We enjoyed books during read aloud like “Dancing Hands”, a story of a young and gifted pianist from Venezuela named Teresa Carreno who performed in the White House for President Abraham Lincoln. The story revolved around the healing power of music and human compassion. Black History Month is a celebration of notable, brave, and inspiring people who changed American history. The significance of these historical figures is monumental- they helped influence radical changes that had a huge impact on our society. We are happy to learn as much as we can!
We started the countdown for Valentines by making origami hearts! We also implemented a new reward system since we filled our “Snow Ball” jar. Displayed on a large wall in our classroom, is a giant empty Valentine’s box! Our goal is to fill the box with paper chocolates, each chocolate represents a good deed done by someone in our group. All of us have been very diligent and faithful in contributing, we are especially good at calling out others who deserve to add a chocolate! In a fun collaborative science experiment we made “Happy Hearts”! Using a red marker, straw, water and dinner plate, we made Valentine's hearts float up! The dry eraser marker didn’t stick to the plate once submerged in water and floated to the surface. We could move the heart shapes around using a straw and blowing gently onto the hearts. It was a tricky experiment and we had to try a couple times, but our group was very patient and excited! On Valentine's Day, we were greeted by a room filled with balloons! Each balloon had a name on it from someone in our group. Everyone was asked to find their balloon with their name on it. Many of us helped other friends find their balloon, which was the intended purpose of the activity- helping others! We were so proud of everyone's hard work and thoughtfulness! Everyone had a great day!
Recently our school celebrated “Random Acts of Kindness” week and LEDP wanted to participate! We settled on an activity called “Kindness Clips”. The idea was to write something uplifting or inspiring on a clothespin, then secretly clipped them onto someone's backpack or cubby from LEDP. Our group was very thoughtful and sneaky! We had lots of heartwarming and encouraging messages that made lots of people happy including the teachers! We hope this will encourage future practices of compassion for everyone!
The Chinese New Year is one of the most significant holidays in Chinese culture. It is a time to remove the bad and old, and welcome the new and good! This holiday is sometimes called the Lunar New Year because the dates of celebration follow the phases of the moon. We read books on traditional Chinese customs and discussed their unique way of celebrating the new year. We have lots of friends who celebrate this holiday and were happy to help explain the festivities. They especially like the part when their families give them money in red envelopes! Red is the color of life, celebration and prosperity in China. It is also the year of the Dragon, the symbol of good fortune and the fifth animal sign in the Chinese zodiac cycle. Our group made a collaborative New Years dragon out of traced and cut out hands of our first grade and kindergarten teams. Once it was assembled and put together, we realized it was a lot bigger than we thought it would be! Lucky for us we have a big board in our room to display it on! Our group is grateful for the kindergarten's help! Another fun project was making dragon puppets out of popsicle sticks and construction paper. They are proudly displayed in our school hallways!
We hope everyone enjoys a restful and safe February break! We look forward to our continuation of celebrating Black History Month when we return! We anticipate much learning, sharing and fun! Until then everyone!
Hello again and welcome back to first grade’s “Winter Wonderland” newsletter! A big highlight the past couple weeks were our latest winter STEM activities. Before jumping into action, our group first discussed what STEM means and why it’s so important- and fun! To our surprise many of us already knew STEM stood for: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM activities teach us about problem solving, working collaboratively, independent thinking, and expanding our creativity. We learn more about the world and how things work. It evokes a sense of wonder and curiosity, prompting discussions/questions and inspiring further exploration! We have been very busy getting our problem-solving juices flowing!
Winter is the best time to learn about arctic animals! In this experiment, we each participated in a demonstration on how penguins stay dry and endure snowy cold weather. We learned that they have more feathers than most other birds, providing plenty of fluffy insulation to keep warm. The feathers are also water-resistant! They are born with an oil producing gland which makes their feathers waxy and water repellent. We began the experiment first by coloring in our penguins using oil pastels to give them a waxy finish. Then we used water droppers to drip water on the penguins. Like the oily feathers, the pastels kept our penguins dry! Now we know how they survive the weather, and why they are meant to live in certain climates.
We are all familiar with Dr Seuss’ classic story of the Grinch. For this activity we learned how to enlarge the Grinch’s small heart in a fun science experiment! Using a green balloon (with a small red heart drawn on it), baking soda, and vinegar we were able to create a chemical reaction. During this chemical reaction carbon dioxide is created. We watched the carbon dioxide fill the balloon causing it to grow and inflate the heart. It had taken a couple attempts and plenty of additional baking soda, but we were all very patient and excited to see what would happen!
We haven’t had much snowfall this season, so we decided to bring that snow right into an engineering project. Our igloo challenge was another great process oriented activity! Each of us were asked to build an igloo model out of legos, working independently or in teams. After reading some books about igloos we had some ideas on how to plan out our own structures. This seemed like a simple task, but it turned out to be quite difficult. Making the arched entryway to the igloo and the rounded dome was especially problematic considering all the lego pieces were square and rectangle. Our group was encouraged to reflect on the process and think about what they could do to improve their design. This is such an important step in the STEM process- the focus should be more on the process than the product or results. When we have the opportunity to reflect on what went well and what could do better, we are able to develop critical thinking skills. STEM activities are not only fun but also incredibly helpful for learning! We will continue our “Winter Wonderland” adventures and look forward to celebrating the Chinese New Year!
Sparkle into 2024 with us as we kick off the new year in a Winter Wonderland! We began our frosty fun with a game called "Break the Ice". Teaming up in pairs, we received a cup, tissue, rubberband, toothpick and dice. We then secured the tissue on the cup with the rubberband. The game begins with one player rolling the dice on top of the cup, whichever number rolled would be the number of holes punched through the tissue using the toothpick. If the dice breaks through the tissue and falls into the cup, that player loses the game. This was a very well received activity- our group played for over 40 minutes! We will definitely be revisiting this game soon!
This next project was a recreation of an invention dating back almost 2,000 years ago! Due to their snowy environment, the Inuit people of the Arctic created protective eyewear known as "snow goggles." Not unlike sunglasses, snow goggles prevented snow blindness caused by the reflection of UV rays off snow and ice. They were originally carved from bone or wood providing a small slit for the eyes which reduced glare. After this brief history lesson our group made a pair of snow goggles using thick, card stock paper and stretchy string. Folding the paper in half and cutting lengthwise on the folded side we made the slit, then unfolded paper and cut out the goggles. Fixing string to each end we finally were able to wear them and test them out outside! Even though it had just snowed, we received mixed reviews on their effectiveness. Sticking to sunglasses might be best in New England!
A fun and curious follow-up for our chilly theme was exploring the science of condensation. In this experiment we used two cans, ice and salt. Both cans were filled with ice, adding salt to just one. While we waited for the experiment to take effect, we discussed what condensation was and the purpose of adding salt. We mused over which can would condensate first. The snow trucks we all see salting the roads reminded us that salt makes ice melt faster, thus producing more water vapor in the air. We discovered when the water vapor touches the can it immediately condenses and freezes. Shortly after beads of water form and trickle down the outside of the can. The process of water turning from gas to liquid form is known as condensation. After about 10 minutes we could see a visible difference: the salted ice can frosted up. Some of us recognized this effect and offered other examples like using your breath to heat up a window during winter, or what happens to an iced beverage in the hotter summer climates. This was a great segue into our next big question which was: how would you recreate the condensation experiment? We had some pretty good ideas! A personal favorite was boiling water in a pot with a lid, turning the heat off and waiting a couple minutes before looking at the water collected under the lid. We encouraged everyone to explore and experiment but only safely and with adult supervision!
As we learned earlier, the northernmost part of Earth is the coldest, sustaining the most snow. This region experiences less sunlight and more darkness during winter days. Before electricity and even books, storytelling was the only source of amusement and entertainment. It also helped rationalize the frigid climate and dreary weather, since meteorologists didn't exist yet. Northern Scandinavian frost giants were largely associated with ice and cold and believed to be the cause of storms or inclement weather. Through storytelling, mythology was passed from one generation to the next and became deeply embedded in cultures from around the world. Their environment was the source of inspiration for their stories and strange creatures. After reading and looking at some examples, our group was asked to create a mythical snow being. Using wooden clothespins and clay we brought to life fairies, goblins, Yetti's and other spectacular monsters! We were all very enthusiastic to share our characters and their stories, some even wrote about them in their journals! Our imaginations really ran wild with this one, we hope the projects made it back home in one piece!
It has been a stupendous couple weeks into the new year! A fond return from what we hope was a restful and relaxing break. Our snowball jar is nearly filled and we are ready for a celebration! We will continue our "Winter Wonderland" theme for the next month and look forward to more snowy adventures! A fresh canvas awaits with new stories and chapters to paint- we are excited to embark on the horizons ahead!
Winter is here! It's time to dress up our bulletin boards and ring in the season of holidays! During our first winter month we learned about traditions and celebrations from around the world. We were introduced to the Indian festival of Diwali. It’s one of the biggest and most important holidays of the year. During this five day celebration, clay pots with lights inside are placed outside homes. This symbolizes light prevailing over darkness thus getting the name of “light festival”. As a follow up activity, we prepared a science experiment using lights. Each of us cut out snowflakes and used a flashlight and cd/disc to create rainbow snowflake shadows. We really enjoyed manipulating the light to see what would happen! We allowed more time during this activity because it was so much fun!
A new reward system has been implemented for the winter season! We now have beautiful sequined beads we call “snowballs” to use to fill our jar when we do good deeds! Recently the group has been very responsible with getting their homework done (if they get it), so we have collected a lot snowballs already! We really appreciate everyone’s thoughtfulness, hard work and dedication- hopefully we will be filling our jar soon!
We have a lot of friends in our group who are Jewish and shared how they celebrate during the winter months. We read books on Hanukah and Passover and enjoyed hearing about Jewish traditions from others. Everyone learned about the Star of David- a symbol that is widely associated with Judaism. The star appears on Israel's flag, and it can also be found on Jewish items, from books to synagogues and jewelry. As an art project, we recreated the Star of David using colorful straws and textured paper. It was incredible to see everyone helping each other out and playing the role of the teacher!
The modern day Christmas tree dates back to 16th century Germany. They were otherwise known as tannenbaums. These fir trees were a symbol of everlasting life and traditionally decorated with roses, apples, wafers, and tinsel (also a German invention). It was customary to visit neighboring houses and comment on their tree by saying “Ein schooner baum!”, which means “a nice tree!”. After our history lesson, we decided to make our own tannenbaums! Using strips of green patterned paper we wove together a fir tree! It was one of the more challenging art projects so we couldn’t resist proudly displaying them in the school hallways for all to enjoy!
Looking forward to another week of festive fun before our break. Hope everyone has a safe and restful vacation and a very happy New Year!
We kicked off the month with our “November Gratitude Challenge” which was a daily discussion about people, places and things we are thankful for. At our last meeting we discussed book characters we were grateful for. It was heart warming to see everyone participate, we have so many dedicated readers!
Inventors month was a blast! Each day was a new creative opportunity to explore our minds! We invented a new board-game, robot, trading cards, an undiscovered planet, alien race, alphabet and language!
Our final project was called “Recycled Robots”. We learned all about engineering robots and androids during read aloud with a better understanding of their functions, purpose and how they are made. After our group discussions, we each drafted an illustration of our own robot creation, listing out details of their purpose. The next day we received a heap of recycled goods, aluminum foil and cardboard to begin building our inventions! Some of us worked with partners and collaborated together, others decided to work independently. It was astounding to see everyone working so hard- we were all very dedicated to this project and really enjoyed the creative process! Each and every invention was remarkable to behold! One robot works in our industrial steel mills and operates machinery that is too dangerous and risky for people to do. Another robot is an accessory for people that are worn on the face as googles or glasses. It gives us the ability to see and breathe underwater as well as protect our eyes from the sun.
Our group has a keen interest in mazes and we decided to create our own “Brain Mazes”! Using large pink paper we outlined and cutout big brains. Next we drew in our mazes using pencil in case we made mistakes. Once we were done, we exchanged ours with another’s and tried them out using our fingers so we didn’t mark them up. This was really an enjoyable challenge for the group so we ended up posting them up on the wall in our room for everybody to enjoy!
This week we finished our reward system! We filled our jar with “Success Spiders”, each small spider representing a good deed done by someone in our group. We can’t wait to celebrate our victory on Monday- don’t forget to wear your pajamas and bring a stuffy! We're looking forward to another amazing month!
Our first grade group has had a very busy couple weeks! Recently we finished our 100 Acts of Kindness chart! As a reward we planned out a Halloween party for next week- we are all very excited and proud of our contributions. We learned that we can extend kindness beyond the typical school day. The stories we have shared inspire us all to help create a culture of kindness both inside and outside of our program. It feels good to be kind!
This month we will be finishing up our “All About Me” unit. One of our favorite activities was the silly walk challenge! We created an unusual/ unique way to walk working independently or with a partner. It was a hoot to see everyone in action- we had some very original ideas!
This month we had our first peer mentoring with the older LEDP group. Everyone really enjoyed the mummy wrapping activity! Using toilet paper, each of us wrapped up our mentors, if we wanted, we got a turn to get wrapped up too! It was so much fun to be a mummy! Our Halloween shenanigans certainly didn’t stop there! We played the old word guessing game “Hangman” using words or phrases related to Halloween. Our mystery words were very tricky, but we got them all! Even the kids got a chance to try out their own words and challenge the rest of the group. We have some very impressive spellers!
For science we tried out a “Dancing Worms” experiment. Using baking soda, alka seltzer, vinegar, water and gummy worms we watched worms come to life! The carbon dioxide created gas bubbles which rise to the surface causing the worms to move around. We love that sense of wonder on the verge of discovery!
Our group is especially good at math, so we played a group game of addition called “Ghost Toss”. Using a parachute and some spooky numbered paper ghosts, we launched the ghosts into the air! Each of us got a turn to pick out two ghosts and add then together, using a friend of we needed help. Most of us hardly needed help and even requested higher numbers to add for the game. Our teachers are amazed at how quickly we can add! Next time we will try out subtraction!
We are counting down the days and can’t wait for our party! See you all next time!
Our first couple weeks into October were a huge success! We have done a great job adjusting to our routine and LSA classes and we continue to review LEDP expectations. Recently we filled our “Acts of Kindness” chart and are currently planning a celebration!
Our new theme is “All About Me and My Feelings”- we’ve discussed how unique and special we are in our own way. After our group discussion we made self-portraits coupled with a written statement about our individuality. The first-grade teachers are very impressed with the groups writing skills- we will continue to practice throughout the year.
One of our favorite activities from last week was partnering up and making up a secret handshake. We were lucky enough to have some friends willing to demonstrate their handshakes. It was fun to watch how creative we all got! A couple times a week we have some brave volunteers pick out a book to read aloud to our group. We are so grateful to have so much participation and support for our new readers!
October marks the beginning of Halloween fun! We began with a science experiment called “Zombie Brain Melt” using an ice brain mold, food coloring, vinegar and baking soda. The chemical reaction created a bubbling, colorful fizzing effect which breaks down the ice over time. It was very exciting to watch- we look forward to more fun experiments. We also introduced a new game called “Roll a Monster”. Using a large die and a white board, each of us would roll the die and draw a body part of the monster depending on the number rolled. For instance, number one meant draw a tail, number two add an eye, etc. All of us really enjoyed the crazy collaboration- our monster was out of this world! We will continue to get into the Halloween spirit with more tremendous activities, experiments, and projects!
We have been very busy the past couple weeks in first grade! As we continue our theme of mindfulness and altruism, we remain vigilant in our contribution to our 100 Acts of Kindness chart. This kind of awareness helps us recognize thoughtfulness in our day to day lives. We heard lots of heartwarming stories involving parents, siblings, neighbors and teachers. Additionally, we made friendship bracelets using letter beads to spell out an act of kindness or the name of someone who was kind to us. We were very excited to make as many as we could! Our team really appreciates everybody’s hard work!
Last week we wrote our first journal entry about a time when someone was kind to us. This will continue to be a weekly activity for us as it helps us practice our writing and spelling comprehension. We made so much improvement in such a short period of time! All of us are very eager to share our stories!
In an attempt to help us better understand our emotions and feelings, we read The Color Monster followed by an art project. The story is about a young girl who helps a monster sort out his feelings using color. Thoughts and emotions can be confusing and we want to help each other identify them. After the story we made our own Color Monsters using colorful markers and crayons to indicate how they feel. We have a very vibrant and diverse collection proudly displayed in the hallway for everyone to admire! The past couple weeks have been so much fun, we look forward to what we have in store for the month of October! Until then parents!
We had a happy return from our summer break with lots of good stories to share. For the first couple weeks we have been getting to know each other through group games and activities. A couple favorites are making paper airplanes, origami, Four Square, Animal Charades and Mad Libs. We like to keep our bodies and minds active all day with a focus on cultivating mindfulness and teamwork.
A reward system has been set in motion to inspire more awareness and sensitivity. In our classroom hangs a “100 Acts of Kindness” chart. Each day during our meeting time, we share an act of kindness we witnessed recently. This includes: helping a friend with homework, resolving a conflict, compromising or finding a happy medium in disputes, encouraging someone, sharing, taking turns fairly, and displaying good sportsmanship during games. This will help us foster compassion, mindfulness, self-awareness and respect.
We continue to learn more about compromises and solutions with better listening, “Am I listening, or am I waiting to talk?” (Listening with an open mind is a great way to convey our empathy). In the short amount of time we have been at LEDP, our group has made tremendous stride! We have a lot of considerate and helpful friends whom set a great example for our kindergartner group! It feels good to be kind- we really appreciate everyone’s participation and support! This has been a tremendous beginning of the school year and we all look forward to more fun-filled days ahead of us! Until next time!