October 16, 2016


October 15, 2016


Dear Parents,


We are embarking on a new and very exciting project in Room 235. (I always have second graders come to me and tell me that they haven’t done one project yet, so I have to fill my first graders up with lots of projects that they remember for a lifetime.) Two years ago was the first time that I did a fabulous project called “                 is my life” and I loved it so much, that it will be a permanent project in my room.  The children made large self-portraits in art. (a few will need to be completed  on Tuesday) I have cut them out and mounted them on black construction paper. Then the fun begins. I will be reading a story to the children called “Insects Are My Life”. The children will then write about their passion. For example, last year a child wrote gum is my life and one wrote fishing is my life. Another wrote beading is my life and of course many wrote sports are my life. Please have a discussion with your child about his/her passion. Once the passion is written about, the children will depict their passion through not only their writing, but will show this passion on their self-portraits. In the past the boy who wrote that sports are his life, brought in all kinds of sports beads from Michaels. These beads became his hair and eyes on his self-portrait. The girl who wrote gum is her life even made a necklace out of gum for her portrait. While you are brainstorming with your child about this passion, please also discuss with him/her what items can be purchased to depict this passion. I will being showing the children some of the projects from last year and I know that they will be very excited to get started on this project. I know that many of you saw a finished product at Curriculum Night, but I am asking Rachel Gustin whose daughter made the fabulous gum passion self portrait to e-mail you all a picture of it so you understand what I will need for the project.  You know what they say, “it takes a village” and I need your help with the items for the self-portrait. The finished products are so beautiful that one parent framed his son’s self-portrait. 


Tomorrow I will be sending home the “       is my life” sheet. I would appreciate it if your child could fill it out with your help and return it to school the Monday we return to school. MEA weekend is a wonderful time to gather the items for this project and take a trip to Michaels if it is needed. I will also purchase an assortment of items just to keep on hand if they are needed. You may use real items that depict the passion such as legos if that is the selected choice or beads, stickers, etc. The child who did fishing brought in items such as lures that became the nose. The child who did swimming brought in goggles that were put across the eyes on the portrait. The girl who said dancing was her passion made a small tutu and wa it put on the self portrait. The boy whose passion was dogs put small bones on the portrait as the ears. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with. 


I have 100% conference sign up and am looking forward to meeting with all of you. Since I have 10 conferences in a row on Tuesday evening and 10 in a row on Wednesday morning, it is so important that I keep each conference to 20 minutes. Once I fall behind, it is very difficult to catch up. With that being said, please don’t be insulted if I look at my watch and cut you off after 20 minutes.


On Friday I introduced the word schema to the children after reading the book “The Relatives Came”. As I mentioned before, schema is your knowledge (what you already know about a topic). When you learn more about something you think about what you are already know and then you connect the new information to your schema. Another way to explain it to first graders is to tell them that schema is what is in your head. When they read a book and make a connection (text to self/ text to world/text to text) they are connecting it to their schema. We will be continuing to work on this concept for the next month and will be doing activities to reinforce it. For example on Tuesday I am going to have the children write down their schema related to the “dreaded word” Halloween and then they’re going to write down their schema for Kwanzaa. They will realize that their schema would help them relate to a Halloween book but not to a Kwanzaa book. 


If you have not sent in a medium sized rock, please try to do so by Tuesday. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at your conference.