FIRST GRADE

Elliott begins her first year at The Cooper School as the First Grade Teacher, but is in her 13th  year of teaching.   Elliott has spent many years developing curriculum and interesting units of study for early elementary students. Born and raised in Charleston, she received a Masters in the Art of Teaching from the University of South Carolina. Outside of teaching, Elliott enjoys reading, cooking, boating, and spending time with her husband (Clint), and daughter (Ellory). 

Marsha enters her fourth year at The Cooper School. Raised in Charleston, Marsha received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from The College of Charleston. Marsha has taught for ten years in both the public and private schools. She delights in fostering a warm classroom environment where children can thrive and express themselves comfortably.  Marsha’s daughter, Olive, is a Fourth grade student at The Cooper School. Marsha enjoys hula hooping, crafting, relaxing at the beach, and finding treasures at flea markets.

Read Marsha’s Testimonial.

Patterns, Publishing, and Play! October 20, 2017

Patterns, Patterns, Everywhere

This week, First Grade launched Unit 3 in Math. One of the most important topics in Mathematics is the study of patterns. First Grade mathematicians spent time exploring and examining various patterns with numbers and patterns in their community. First Grade friends were able to locate patterns in so many places! They found calendar patterns, even and odd number patterns, sound patterns, and visual patterns! These scholars practiced finding a rule to describe predictable visual and numerical patterns. They then practiced using the rule to extend these patterns. Ask your young mathematician where they see patterns in the world around them!

Publishing Celebration

 First Grade writers have been so busy writing, illustrating, and practicing reading their writing, as they prepare to publish to Second Grade friends this week! These brave writers selected their very best small moment piece of writing to revise, edit, and prepare for publishing. Scholars spent the week putting finishing touches on their pieces by carefully illustrating pictures to match the words on each page using true-life colors. Ask your First Grader how they felt publishing their work to our Second Grade audience!

Jump Ropes in Our Backyard

 On Monday, scholars of every age were introduced to the first playground toy of the year, the jump rope. At TCS, students are introduced to playground toys one by one as a strategy to encourage these creative minds to initiate inventive play. The beginning of the year is also the time to develop friendships throughout different grade levels through group games. Therefore, it was of no surprise that when jump ropes were introduced at Whole School Morning Meeting students were excited to experiment with all the creative uses a jump rope can offer. Once a new toy is introduced, students discuss and model proper use and care of the toy. After jump ropes, teachers will continue to introduce one toy a week at Whole School Morning Meeting. This ensures each toy is used appropriately and to its full potential.

 Important Dates:

  • Tuesday, October 24th First Grade Parent Morning Meeting,                                         8:00 – 8:30
  • Tuesday, October 31st Halloween Carnival- Half Day
  • Tuesday November 7th Insect Museum Presentation 8:15-9:15

“We Get Along Like Peas and Carrots” October 13, 2017

Reading Buddies

This week, First Grade non-fiction readers learned new ways to share what they are learning in their books, with their “Peas and Carrots” reading partners. These scholars know to show their partner several pages and explain what the author taught on each page. First Graders practiced asking their reading partners questions to learn even more about their topics. They know to use the text and non-fiction text features when sharing. First Grade friends are truly becoming non-fiction reading experts!

Molting Mealworms

 Our insect study is chugging along in First Grade! This week we checked on our mealworm colony and made an exciting discovery! Our mealworm friends have been so busy growing that they have shed their hard exoskeletons. When these creatures grow, they get too big for their exoskeletons, shed, and leave them behind. First Grade scientist used hand lenses to closely observe and draw their mealworms in this stage of their lifecycles! Ask your First Grade scientist to tell you all about their molting mealworm!

Magic C

 In Handwriting this week, First Grade writers learned all about “magic c”! This lowercase letter starts at the top and takes a little curve down to the bottom line. Magic c is a special letter because it helps form many other lowercase letters like a, o, d, g, and even q. Reviewing proper ways to form lowercase letters is necessary to building good writing habits for our growing writers.

Important Dates:

  • Wednesday, October 18th First Grade Parent Lunch, 11:00-11:30
  • Tuesday, October 24th First Grade Parent Morning Meeting,                                         8:00 – 8:30
  • Tuesday, October 31st Halloween Carnival

 

We Are Independent! October 6, 2017

 Non-Fiction Readers Use Text Features!

This week our brave readers examined non-fiction text features to learn how they help us as readers. Scholars examined a variety of non-fiction books and practiced locating and using four special text features. Readers learned to use photographs to imagine and understand what the text is describing or explaining. First Graders closely examined captions to see how they explain what is happening in a photograph or picture. Scholars practiced using a Table of Contents to locate specific information about a topic. First Graders know how to locate and use an Index to look for important keywords in a non-fiction text.

 Wax Worms

This week our young scientists welcomed a new insect into our classroom! First Grade scientists observed wax worms very closely during Science and noticed so many new and interesting body parts that these insects have! We discovered that wax worms have dots along the sides of their bodies called “spiracles” and they allow the wax worms to breathe. We learned that wax worms have an extra set of legs called “prolegs” that work like suction cups! First Grade scientists used hand lenses to look closely at our wax worm larvae and create detailed drawings with labels. Ask your brave scientists what else they learned about wax worms this week!

Independent Learners

This week, First Grade friends discovered new ways to be the boss of their learning during Writing Workshop! These wonderful writers know to reread their writing independently and think about what to add next. When they finish a piece of writing, First Grade scholars know to then edit their work, and start a new piece of writing. These busy writers were writing so much that they needed more pages added to their writing booklets. They have learned how to independently add pages to their booklets using a stapler! Ask your brave First Grader how they show independence during Writing Workshop!

Important Dates:

  • October 9th & 10th F all Break, No School
  • Wednesday, October 18th First Grade Parent Lunch, 11:00-11:30
  • Tuesday, October 24th First Grade Parent Morning Meeting,                                             8:00 – 8:30
  • Tuesday, October 31st Halloween Carnival

 

Learning with Lunch Buddies! September 29, 2017

Penny, penny easily spent…

Our brave mathematicians are in Unit 2 in Math! During this unit, mathematicians will be introduced to several everyday uses of numbers- in particular, telling time and counting money.

This week, First Grade mathematicians were introduced to analog clocks! Scholars practiced identifying the hour and minute hands and telling time to the nearest hour. We spent time exploring how many seconds make up a minute and revisited this idea throughout our week as we timed different activities. Mathematicians were also introduced to penny and cents notation. Scholars learned poems to help them identify pennies, nickels and dimes as well as learn their values. We will continue to build on our coin knowledge as we move forward in Unit 2!

 

Penny, penny                                  Nickel, nickel                                  Dime, dime

Easily spent                                     Thick and fat                                   Little and thin

Copper brown                                Worth five cents                              I remember

And just one cent!                         I know that!                                     You’re worth ten!

Nonfiction readers think of what they might learn.

This week, our avid readers launched a nonfiction unit to closer investigate insects! These brave scholars are learning strategies to help them read informational text. Readers learned to read the title of a book and look at the cover to think about what they might learn. Scholars practiced warming-up their brains by thinking about what they already know about the topic of the book they are reading. These nonfiction readers even know to preview what is on the pages of a book and think, “What is the author trying to teach me?” Ask your First Grader what they learned this week about reading informational texts like an expert!

Lunch Buddies

First Graders are curious about their lunch buddies! Scholars were set up into weeklong partnerships for lunch and playtime. During our Morning Meetings, we discussed ways to start a conversation, and topics to discuss and share, with our new lunch buddy partners. Each day this week they discovered something new about their recess and lunch partner. Groups were encouraged to find common attributes with this new pal. Lunch buddies offer a time for children to build new relationships and learn more about their classmates during our busy and exciting school day. This community-building activity is a Cooper School tradition that we will re-visit throughout the school year. Ask your First Grader what they learned about their lunch buddy this week!

Important Dates:

  • October 9th & 10th Fall Break, No School
  • Wednesday, October 18th First Grade Parent Lunch, 11:00-11:30
  • Tuesday, October 24th First Grade Parent Morning Meeting
  • Tuesday, October 31st Halloween Carnival

 

Drama, Reading, and Insects, Oh My! September 22, 2017

 Diving Into Dramatic Play!

Friends from Charleston Stage joined us at TCS this week for a fun filled, interactive experience. First Grade friends enjoyed warming-up their minds, bodies, and imaginations through song, dance, and acting. Scholars acted in skits, participated in dramatic interpretations of poems, and laughed each day this week during drama class! Ask your young actor or actress what they enjoyed most about drama with our Charleston Stage friends.

 Radical Readers

 This week during Reader’s Workshop, our scholars were introduced to new reading strategies in order to strengthen their skills as readers. As you read at home, encourage your child to decode tricky words by looking at the pictures for clues, making the first sound of the word with their lips, s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g out the word to hear/say each sound, and looking for familiar chunks. A few good questions to ask during this decoding process are:

Does it look right? Does it sound right? Does it make sense?

Our learners were also paired with reading partners, tasked with sharing the strategies they applied during independent reading. There is certainly a reading buzz taking place in First Grade!

Book a Room at the Insect Hotel!

 Insect experts investigated our backyard to find out what all insects have in common. First Grade scientists were able to determine that all insects have six legs, two antennae, a hard exoskeleton, and three main body parts. They discovered that some insects have wings and they even located some insect eggs on a plant in our backyard! These young scholars read books and further explored our school’s backyard to find out what attracts insects. First Grade friends used this information to design an insect hotel and placed it outside in our garden bed beside our beautiful insect-attracting flowers!

 Friendly Reminders:

Since we will continue to pack your child’s reading folder with three books for the week each Monday, feel free to keep these at home until Thursday. These folders will be due each Thursday with the expectation that the reading log is completed and that all three books are returned. Thank you so much for your support!

 Important Dates:

Thursday, September 28th          Curriculum Night 5:30 – 6:30 pm

Monday, October 9th                  Fall Break – No School

Tuesday, October 10th                Fall Break – No School

Making Daily Discoveries! September 15, 2017

Exploring Small Moments in Our Writing!

Our writers are now familiar with the routines and expectations of Writer’s Workshop.  This allows time and energy to be focused on developing strategies to strengthen our skills as writers.  We launched our first writing unit of the year, emphasizing “small moments”.  Our lives are full of stories to tell and what better way to share them than through our written words!  We begin by practicing how to write a story, how to plan the writing of a story, how pictures can enhance our words, as well as some useful strategies for spelling and editing.  We are looking forward to writing and sharing stories galore this year!

 Bugging Out!

 This week, First Grade friends were thrilled to find their classroom flooded with insects as we launched our exciting insect study during science! Students took turns investigating various insect centers containing actual insect specimens, photographs of insects, microscopes with slides of insect parts, and a wide variety of insect books! First Grade scholars came together to share and record insect wonders that they hope to answer during our study of insects. These young scientists investigated our school’s backyard to find out where insects can be found! Ask your child where they discovered insects during our outdoor exploration.

 Marvelous Math!  

Our fabulous mathematicians completed their first math assessment of the school year!  They practiced skip counting, reading and using a calendar, concepts of number sense (including number lines, sequencing and inequalities) and learned to solve number stories by applying the problem-solving process!  All of these mathematical skills were introduced in a way that connects to our daily lives, providing a deeper sense of meaning to our investigations across curriculum.  The students were excited to explore a numbers museum in our classroom, including tide tables, teacher planners, calories on the back of a cereal box, an “old timey” phone, and even a baby bottle! Continue this learning at home by being mindful of numbers all around your home- the more you know, the more you see! 

 

The following are a few interactive links to follow in order to help with number sense as well as skip counting:

the numeral song – YouTube

Count by 2 Dancing 2’s Skip Counting by 2 Count to 100 Educational Songs Jack Hartmann – YouTube

Count by 5 Exercise and Count By 5 Count to 100 Counting Songs Jack Hartmann – YouTube

 

Friendly Reminders:

Please know that we are always available with any questions or concerns.  Thanks so much!

 

Next week we will begin to pack 3 books in your child’s reading folder.  Enjoy and please remember to record.  Happy reading!  (This is required).

* Please note, all math homework is optional.

 

Important Dates:

Saturday, September 16th TCS Yard Sale 8am – 10:30 am

Sunday, September 17th    New Parent Social 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Thursday, September 28th Curriculum Night 5:30 – 6:30 pm & 

Elliott’s Due Date!

Monday, October 9th          No School – Fall Break

Tuesday, October 10th       No School – Fall Break

Cruising Into a Great Year! September 8, 2017

Launching Weekly Reading Logs

Everyone did a fantastic job of reading the books that came home in your child’s reading folder this week. Each book was carefully selected based specifically on your child’s reading level, so the text should not be too hard, but not too easy either (see The Goldilocks Rule attached). It is important for your child to fill out the reading log, as this will hold them accountable for daily reading. Next week, we will send home 3 books for the entire week in the reading folder. Use these books in a way that feels good to you in your home. A few suggestions:

  • Read a book a night
  • Read all three in one sitting/evening
  • Re-read the books (you will have them M-Th)
  • Discuss and reflect on each story
    • Who are the characters?
    • What is the setting?
    • What happens in the beginning? Middle? End?

Our overall goal is to form excellent daily reading habits. Thanks for your support!

 Vivid Vocabulary in First Grade!

We enjoyed reading the ever so humorous book, The Principal’s New Clothes by Stephanie Calmenson, this week for vocabulary. Each week, we explore six new words found in a variety of literature. Our scholars enjoy developing vocabulary throughout the week through multiple exposures. Creating a weekly class book and playing charades seem to be the most popular ways to review and demonstrate understanding. Ask your child to show you the “silent signal” when a vocabulary word is heard!

Germs, Germs, Germs!

First Grade friends enjoyed learning even more ways to keep their bodies healthy during Social Studies this week. After reading, Germs Make Me Sick by Melvin Berger, young microbiologists made so many discoveries about different types of germs and how they spread. Students were able to learn about how these tiny creatures are everywhere and can travel easily through the comical story, A Germ’s Journey by Thom Rooke. Ask your brave scholar what they learned this week about germs and keeping their body healthy!

Friendly Reminders:

Please know that we are always available with any questions or concerns. Thanks so much!

Important Dates:

Saturday, September 16th TCS Yard Sale 8am – 12 pm

Sunday, September 17th    New Parent Social 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Thursday, September 28th Curriculum Night 5:30 – 6:30 pm

Fun with First Grade Friends! September 1, 2017

Building Relationships and Community

This week, First Grade collaborated with Kindergarten friends and participated in Movement, lead by Mr. Atam. What a fantastic opportunity for us to be leaders! We also partnered with the Kindergarteners to plant milkweed and other beautiful flowers in our playground planters. This not only beautifies our school while building community, it also allows students to take ownership and pride in properly caring for living plants. Our students will be responsible for the maintenance and livelihood of these plants, teaching them further about accountability and responsibility, as well as what a plant needs to thrive. Ask your child about this special experience with the Kindergarten class!

Launching into Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop!

First Grade readers and writers spent time this week explaining and modeling what good readers and good writers “look like” and “sound like”. Our young readers and writers spent time learning how to set up for each discipline and they are becoming more confident and comfortable with these routines. We are looking forward to celebrating our growth as both readers and writers this year!

The First Grade Classroom Promises

 After thoughtful, collaborative brainstorming about what they thought would make for a productive year of learning, friendships and growth, our First Graders were able to narrow down “the rules” of the classroom. We will refer to them as our “Classroom Promises”. We will make reference to these and will be holding each other accountable for keeping them. Keep an eye out for a book written and illustrated by your child, explaining what each promise means to them.

Friendly Reminders:

We are excited to implement homework next week. Each day, we will send home a book and reading log in a clear folder. This daily reading is required to build strong readers. We will also send a math sheet home in your child’s silver folder. This math will be directly related to our lesson from that day and is optional. 

 

Please know that we are always available to answer any questions or concerns. Thanks so much!

Important Dates:

Monday, September 4th    Labor Day, No School

Saturday, September 16th TCS Yard Sale 8am – 12 pm

Sunday, September 17th    New Parent Social 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Sunday, September 28th    Curriculum Night 5:30 – 6:30 pm

 

Fun with First Grade Friends August 25, 2017

Welcome Back to School!

 Your beautiful children were so excited to reconnect and welcome new friends in First Grade this week! Scholars spent the week making discoveries about their new classroom, eagerly learning new songs, practicing new classroom routines and procedures, reviewing math and writing skills, and nurturing relationships. On Wednesday, First Grade friends even collaborated to write and create their very first class book about their favorite places to read! We had so much fun joining Fourth Grade and Kindergarten friends for lunch buddies, a backyard scavenger hunt, and Movement games. On Friday, helpful First Graders enjoyed meeting, petting, and learning about how to care for our classroom pet, “Jackaroo”!

Learning Centers with Friends

First Grade friends were thrilled to explore learning centers this week! These brave scholars enjoyed working with partners as they eagerly rotated through a variety of math centers. Students reviewed math concepts and practiced the routines and procedures of centers. Learning centers offer young scholars the opportunity to review a variety of concepts with friends in a hands-on way! This week we focused on reviewing math skills. Stay tuned for more fun in learning centers next week!

My Healthy Body

 First Grade friends excitedly jumped into Social Studies this week as we launched our My Healthy Body unit! This unit is especially fun because we get to learn all about ourselves and how to stay healthy. After reading Marvelous Me by Lisa Bullard and I’m Gonna Like Me, by Jamie Lee Curtis, young scholars were able to share about themselves while learning about each other. Scholars were also able to identify, illustrate, and share outside and inside qualities that they like about themselves. Ask your young scholar which inside and outside qualities they admire most about themselves!

Important Dates:

 
Monday, September 4th    Labor Day, No School

Saturday, September 16th TCS Yard Sale 8am – 12 pm

Sunday, September 17th    New Parent Social 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Sunday, September 28th    Curriculum Night 5:30 – 6:30 pm

 

Hands-On Learning May 28, 2017

Science
Our newest science unit is a big hit! We are exploring solids and liquids and getting lots of hands-on learning opportunities. This week students explored the properties of solids and attempted to build towers out of simple materials. They made discoveries about which properties were most useful for tower building: strong, flexible, straight, and tall. At the end of the week we got a chance to explore some mystery liquids and discuss their properties. Which ones were viscous? Which were translucent? These scientists are growing their vocabularies every day!

Responsibility
We have been engaged in a fascinating conversation about responsibility for the past two weeks in Grade One. During our Close of Day meeting, we have been reading scenarios together and discussing how we would react if we were in that situation. Would we do the responsible thing? Would we be tempted not to? Some scenarios have been so rich that we broke into groups to role-play and act them out in front of the group in order to see differences in how groups would behave. It has been an enlightening conversation that students have continued at the lunch table and on the playground!

Author Expert Project
Students were in the home stretch of their Author Expert project this week. They put the finishing touches on their mentor-author-inspired books and on their colorful presentation boards. It has been a pleasure to see them working independently to complete this challenging work. This is the perfect project to have at the very end of the year because it truly showcases all the ways students have grown as first graders: in their writing, penmanship, research skills, fine motor skills, independence, and presentation skills. We can’t wait for our presentation on Tuesday!

Important Dates
•   Monday, May 29 – No School, Memorial Day
•   Tuesday, May 30 – 1st Grade Author Expert Presentation, 8:00am-8:30am, TCS Library
•   Thursday, June 1 – 5th Grade Graduation (Half Day, 11:30am dismissal)
•   Friday, June 2 – Field Day! (Half Day, 11:30am dismissal)

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