Thursday, January 31, 2013

100 Count Collections

We will celebrate the 100th day of school on Friday, February 8.  For our special day, we'd like each child to collect 100 of a certain item to share with the class.  
This year we are trying something new for the first grade collections.  We'd like the items to fit inside an empty plastic water bottle.  The bottles in the picture below show the collections our students put together during their math center today.  The children counted paper clips, coins, noodles and seeds.  
The children received a brown paper bag and yellow clue to take home today.  Please have your child place the plastic bottle and clue card in the brown paper bag when (s)he returns it to school on Day 100, February 8th.  The children will read their clues and reveal their 100 items after the class has a chance to predict the item.

  Thank you for your help with this math project!
Happy Counting! 
Our first grade team was inspired by 
to try the "collection in a bottle" idea. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

100th Day Food Pantry Collection!

We are happy to announce that our first graders are once again collecting food and paper products for the Brecksville Food Pantry!  Our goal is to collect 100 items in time for our 100th day of school – February 8th!

The Brecksville Pantry distributes food and other items once each month to families of all ages who are in need.  The following is a list of the Pantry’s most needed items:

 canned tuna, canned pasta,

canned vegetables, canned soup,

toilet paper, paper towel
If you’re interested in participating in this worthy cause, please send in your canned food or paper product contribution with your child.  As we work toward our goal of collecting 100 items, we will proudly display the collection in the south hallway.
 Thank you so much, first grade families! 
We appreciate your generosity and help in supporting families in need.
September 2012

P.S.  I was looking through pictures last night to submit for the yearbook and came across this adorable picture.  You might notice that one of our sweet, gentle friends in the back row has an unusual look on her face ... the tough-girl, fierce look was intentional. :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Valentine's Day

Dear First Grade Families:

Highland Drive students will celebrate Valentine’s Day on Thursday, February 14th.  We are asking families to make a Valentine's Day box at home for the children to use in school to receive their cards.  In the past, families have used shoe boxes and decorated them with colored construction paper or aluminum foil.  I’ve heard cereal and Kleenex boxes work just as well.  We have so many artistic children in this classroom; I won’t provide guidelines – just have fun! 

If you could please send in your child’s Valentine's Day box by Wednesday, February 13th, I would appreciate it.  If you have any questions, please let me know. 

Thank you!
Julie Brinkman

Announcing the 23 sweeties in our class...



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Simple Solutions

Dear First Grade Families,
I am now assigning about 6 pages of Simple Solutions homework every week.  Please hold off on returning the workbooks until Thursday or Friday when all assigned pages are completed.  If you have questions or comments about the Simple Solutions homework at any time, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for your support!

Jan 28, 2013 Newsletter

Yes, we now have a third, more challenging spelling list for our first grade super spellers!


Social Studies - Government

Our first grade social studies curriculum includes learning about government - rules and laws, and civic participation and skills.  First graders are learning about accepting personal responsibility for their actions.  They are learning that rules are designed to be fair, and they understand there are consequences for those who break the rules.  
While the children work and play collaboratively during center work or indoor recess in first grade, they are learning to work together in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights and opinions of others.   
Our school-wide PBIS plan (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support) recognizes students who follow rules and make appropriate behavior choices in a number of ways.  Students have the opportunity to earn BEE Bucks every day, and this group of children does a fantastic job earning BEE Bucks!  Additionally, children are recognized at the end of each month with a school-wide reward.  Children earn that reward by maintaining a "clean" monthly PBIS calendar, which means they receive no more than one behavior infraction throughout the entire month.  The children usually enjoy their PBIS special treat (lollipop, popsicle, popcorn) during lunch.
I would like to do a better job of recognizing the children in this class who earn BEE Bucks.  I took a picture of the group who earned BEE Bucks on 1/24/13, and I plan to snap more pictures in the upcoming weeks and post them here.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

We celebrated and honored Martin Luther King, Jr. last week.  The children watched a 6-minute Brain Pop, Jr video and learned what life was like when Martin Luther King, Jr. was growing up.  They learned that he fought for equal rights in a peaceful, nonviolent manner.  One of our students spontaneously shouted, "That is ridiculous!"as she watched the movie segment about segregation.  It's difficult for our young children to understand there was a time when people were judged for the color of their skin.  Our discussions led to role-playing and wonderful, kind-hearted student writings. 

Class Book Cover Page was designed by Latoya Reed at Flying into First Grade,
The word web and word search were part of a mini social studies unit created by
Nancy VandenBerge at
First Grade W.O.W.
This student writing page for a class book was also designed by Latoya Reed at 
Flying into First Grade,

Gingerbread Activities

With so many families busy with holiday happenings and travels in December, our first grade team decided to host our yearly Gingerbread Day in January this year.  We managed the organization of volunteers and supplies through SignUp Genius; we had plenty of volunteers and received an abundance of goodies from our generous classroom families.  The children took on the task of designing community buildings and landmarks with their typical first grade energy!  We spent the week working through the last of our language arts and math Gingerbread-related activities.

The children are learning to apply strategies when solving addition problems with 3 addends.  Strategies include looking for two addends that make 10, or adding a doubles fact first.  The children are also learning that numbers can be grouped and added in any order.
 We added another poem to the student's poetry binders.
I place stick-on notes under the sight-words we'll use from our Word Wall for this activity, and the children copy the Word Wall words onto their WORDO templates in any order.  I usually choose recently added words or words that are frequently misspelled in the student's writings.
These two adorable workers decided to race against one another while completing the Gingerbread Word Wall Race activity!
Our first grade team loves to blog stalk and borrow from other teachers.  Below are two activities we found and used with our 1st grade kiddos.
Gingerbread Glyph by

Social Studies - Economics

Our classroom has transformed temporarily into Gingerbreadville, a community filled with adorable landmarks and citizens who are consuming and producing goods and services. Thank you to our wonderful classroom families for providing the yummy treats and for volunteering time to help make this social studies project possible for our students.
This project ties into first grade economics - the understanding that people are producers and consumers in a community; and, that people trade to obtain the goods and services they want and need.  Our delicious smelling Gingerbreadville community is the setting in which the children are applying their understanding of these concepts.

Resources for Economics Lessons:

Link for interactive components and worksheets:  

 Link for Promethean Planet 1st Grade Economics

Link for Ohio Social Studies Standards for 1st Grade Document

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Box Tops!

Send in your BOX TOPS!

The deadline for our next contest is
Friday, February 15th!

The top 3 classrooms collecting the most 
(Popcorn, cookie, mini water bottle)!

Please be sure to write your child's name on the baggie you send in.
Also, please TRIM all BOX TOPS along the
pink dashed lines.  That helps our wonderful PSO
mom, Mrs. Perdion, who volunteers her time
for the BOX TOPS for Education program.

Thank you!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


In this picture, our table 1 group is standing in the hallway by our "What Do First Graders Plan To Do In 2013?" bulletin board.  You can see part of the winter wonderland created by children in our class and Mr. Wilson's.

I snapped pictures of the table 2 kiddos working on their penguin webs.  The penguin book in this picture was a favorite for this group.

Our 3 boys and 3 girls at table 3 were working on alphabetical order.

These last two pictures show children at table 4 working on antonyms.  Also included in the collage is another penguin book enjoyed by all the children in our class.


Taking advantage of this group of children’s natural interest in penguins, we found every book available in the classroom library and worked on skills associated with reading informational text.  This group found a few favorite penguin books (see below) so we used both to work on a number of skills: recalling key details; learning about text features, such as headings and tables of contents; distinguishing between information provided by pictures and information provided by the words in a text; and comparing text features.
The children were surprised to learn how agile and quick penguins are while traversing rocky cliffs, fields and ice.  Many of us tend to think of penguins as having a slow, side-to-side waddle; but in fact, many penguins can walk as fast as humans and can move even faster by tobogganing on their belly and propelling themelves with their flippers and feet for miles.  I was touched by the children's appreciation and connection to the penguin mother and father as they learned how male and female penguins share in the work of incubating eggs and feeding their young. 
These are two of the penguins books the children enjoyed reading: 
Penguins, by Neil Sims and Penguins, by Bobbie Kalman
Below you'll find several language arts assessments the children completed while studying penguins ,as well as a math activity for adding three numbers.