FIRST GRADE

Marsha enters her fifth 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 eleven 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 enjoys hula hooping, crafting, relaxing at the beach, and finding treasures at flea markets.

Read Marsha’s Testimonial.

Love is in the Air! February 15, 2019

Welcoming the Next Generation of TCS Students

On Monday, February 11th, we welcomed eleven younger siblings of current students, who will join us at TCS next year! 1st Grade had a total of eight younger siblings who visited for the morning in the Kindergarten classroom. 1st Graders and their siblings participated in Morning Meeting together, and enjoyed Centers, Snack, and Outdoor Time. What a treat and a wonderful introduction to TCS for these future students!

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All You Need is Love!

On Valentine’s Day, the entire school community gathered at The Circular Church in downtown for our annual Valentine’s Day Choir Performance. Students entertained their parents and families with their vocal stylings as they sang songs about love and friendship! It was definitely a feel good event and we are grateful to Mrs. Hazel and Mr. Bob for working with students to teach them new songs and prepare them to be performance ready! Our hearts are so full!

Master Spellers

1st Grade launched Spelling this week! In addition to our Snap Ring words, students are also exploring spelling rules and patterns. This approach helps children spell many words, not just a single word on a spelling list to be memorized. Additionally, spelling is individualized, so students are working in small groups based on their level.

Important Dates: 

Monday, February 18th- No School

Tuesday, February 19th- Half day (11:30- Dismissal)

Monday, March 4th & Tuesday, March 5th-Half Days/Student Led Conferences

How Are You Didgeridooing?! February 8, 2019

Me, Jane and We, First Graders

First and Second Grade students learned about Dr. Jane Goodall, the legendary anthropologist and conservationist, and her wonderful work protecting all living species through an entertaining musical adaption at the Gaillard Center.

Exploring Aboriginal Culture Through Music

On Tuesday, February 6th, we welcomed special guest, Daniel Scruggs, who shared his passion and appreciation for travel and music education with us. First Graders were fascinated by his many relics from all over the globe and by his didgeridoo playing!

Center Time is Mind Building  

Our class center time allows students to explore materials in hands-on ways, extend and enhance learning concepts, and to grow in their social skills as they navigate interactions with their peers during this time. Centers are curriculum-based and developed around specific subjects, such as Math or Language Arts or thematic units. Some of our centers this week included Phonics tiles, Lego Math, Snap Word Bingo, a Noun/Verb Sort, and Australian animal research.

Important Dates:

  • Thursday, February 14th -Valentine’s Day concert (1:30 @ The Circular Church)
  • Monday, February 18th- No School
  • Tuesday, February 19th- Half day (11:30- Dismissal)

A Week of Art and Culture February 1, 2019

Walking and Talking Art

On Thursday, January 31st, The Cooper School hosted the annual Art Walk. Each student in Grades K-5 had several pieces of art displayed in gallery style around the school. Each student also wrote an Artist Statement about why they like Art and what inspires them. Parents and family members were able to visit and enjoy all of the works adorning the walls. One of the artists that 1st Grade students studied this year was Henri Matisse. 1st Graders painted their own still life paintings of apples in the style of Matisse. We are so grateful to Mrs. Kerry for teaching us every week and sharing her passion and enthusiasm for Art with us! We are equally appreciative to all the parent volunteers who so carefully and thoughtfully hung the art! Thank you for all your hard work!

Reading our Way Through Australia

1st Grade has been engaged in a unit on the fascinating continent of Australia. In Reading Workshop, scholars have been reading nonfiction books about Australia and learning about and identifying text features, such as Table of Contents, Headings, Bold Words, Captions, Photographs, Glossary, and Index. Readers have also been practicing asking questions and reading to find the answers, and comparing and contrasting books that they read. Some of the facts we have learned about Australian fauna (that’s another word for animals of a particular region!) have been truly unbelievable! Did you know that there are three times as many sheep than people living in Australia or that a platypus is highly poisonous? How about these fun facts–koalas sleep for about twenty hours per day and there are over fifty species of kangaroos and wallabies! Wow, mate!

A Compliment Goes a Long Way!

In Writing Workshop, scholars have been working on writing compliment books that they will exchange with their peers and teachers on Valentine’s Day. Prior to writing, we discussed as a group, what makes a good compliment and what kind of razzle dazzle language we can use to really make our writing pop! Each student and teacher will receive a compliment book with heartfelt, thoughtful compliments that they can keep and treasure.

Important Dates:

  • Friday, February 8th– Grade 1 Playdate, 3:15-4:30, Brittlebank Park
  • Thursday, February 14th -Valentine’s Day concert
  • Monday, February 18th- No School
  • Tuesday, February 19th- Half day (11:30- Dismissal)

Our Cozy Classroom January 25, 2019

Peace Table

Have you heard about our Peace Table? The Peace Table is a conflict resolution tool for the classroom and for The Cooper School. A Peace Table can be used by students (and adults) to encourage conflict resolution through peaceful and respectful communication.  When used for conflict resolution, it encourages children to talk about what’s on their mind and gives them a specific place and method to achieve an agreeable solution. Our Peace Table is a small table and chairs with several instruments of peace that children can use to draw inspiration and achieve a calm state of mind.

Snap Word Buddies

Last Friday, 1st Graders and Kindergarteners met to share tips for mastering their Snap Words. Snap words are a collection of sight words that a child should learn to recognize without sounding out the letters. Snap words are both common, frequently used words and foundational words. They practiced through a series of activities that challenged them to identify patterns by playing a game of I Spy, writing a song with their words, guessing the rule, and more.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

First Grade journalists published and shared their opinion pieces with their families this week during a Cozy Publishing Party. Students wore their pajamas and brought pillows and stuffed animals to school. Then we gathered in the Library and they read their reviews from the First Grade Newspaper to their parents. Afterward, we all enjoyed some yummy breakfast treats. Mo Willems books were a popular topic for their reviews. Other review topics included Dr. Seuss books, McDonald’s, Science, and TCBY. We are so proud of all their hard work and it is so exciting to see them develop their own unique writing styles and voices.

Important Dates:

Thursday, January 31st-TCS Art Walk, 8:00-9:00am

Friday, February 8th-Grade 1 Playdate, 3:15-4:30, Brittlebank Park

Thursday, February 14th- Valentine’s Day Concert

Monday, February 18th- No School

Tuesday, February 19th- 11:30 Dismissal

1st Grade Rocks! January 18, 2019

Independent Scholars

Across grades we have been discussing independence. Scholars have been reflecting on how they can be more independent in their school and home lives. Some academic goals 1st Graders have set for themselves include reading harder books such as Amelia Bedelia, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and the Magic Treehouse series, reading Math directions without teacher support, counting to higher numbers with fluency, spelling more words, and practicing active listening when friends are sharing during Morning Meeting. We look forward to celebrating their achievements as they work towards these fantastic goals!

Hands on Math   

In Math, we recently introduced place value. We have been playing lots of math games and using our Base Ten Blocks to help students understand, investigate, and physically represent place value. At home, you can use any materials you have on hand to reinforce these concepts and foster more hands on practice with place value and number sense.

Fete du Prenom

1st Graders have French class with Mme. Sophie each week. They are learning the French words for colors, family members, clothes, and food, as well as basic greetings. Something they look forward to is celebrating name day or “fete du prenom”. In France, name days have long been very important in everyday culture and it is traditional to give a small gift to a friend or family member on their name day. At TCS, students get to take home a fun pencil on their name day. This week, students also participated in a small celebration for King Cake Day. They enjoyed a delicious King Cake pastry. As is the custom in French culture, the King Cake was baked with a small plastic baby inside. The student who found the baby hidden in his/her king cake was crowned our king for the day. It was great fun for all! C’est bon!

 

Important Dates:

Monday, January 21st-MLK Day-NO SCHOOL

Thursday, January 31st-TCS Art Walk, 8:00-9:00am

Friday, February 8th-Grade 1 Playdate, 3:15-4:30pm, Brittlebank Park 

Monday, February 11th-Sibling Day

New Year Hopes and Aspirations! January 11, 2019

One Word

We leapt into the New Year excitedly, launching our school-wide one word campaign. Each faculty member and student chose one word that will usher us into our new year and be our personal focus for the next twelve months. Some 1st Grade choices included improvise, adventurous, flexible, creative, strong, empathetic, determined, helpful, kindness, and compassion. Students enjoyed eating lunch and playing with 4th buddies this week and shared their words with their peers. What is your one word for 2019? Share it with us!

Mapping the World

In Social Studies, 1st Grade is studying the continent of Australia. In this important study, students are learning cardinal directions, how to navigate maps, the difference between maps and globes, and working on identifying all seven continents and four major oceans on a map or globe. We will also be studying the animals that live in Australia and researching this fascinating country and the people that live there!

Author Study—Mem Fox

In Reading Workshop, we are engaged in an author study around the books of Mem Fox. Mem Fox is a prolific, widely known Australian children’s book author. Many of her books feature animal characters native to the country of Australia. We are enjoying exploring the settings of her books and learning more about her life and how she discovers ideas for her stories. Upcoming, we will also look at some literary techniques she uses, such as repetition and onomatopoeia.

Important Dates:

Thursday, January 17th– Viewing of Miss Representation documentary, 6:00pm, TCS Library

Monday, January 21st-MLK Day-NO SCHOOL

Thursday, January 31-TCS Art Walk, 8:00-9:00am

 

It’s the Holiday Season… December 21, 2018

Voracious Readers

Reading Workshop is one of our favorite times of the day. There is something undeniably special about reading books. First Grade is an exciting year of tremendous growth in Reading and these young scholars are just devouring books! It is a joy for us to be able to celebrate in their triumphs and share this journey with them as they grow as readers. What are your earliest memories around reading? We invite you to share them with your scholar!

Getting Festive!

In the spirit of the winter season, on the last day of school before the break, students and teachers donned pajamas and came together for an all school read aloud and candy cane hunt.  Students have enjoyed creating festive winter crafts and reading holiday books during the week leading up to break!

Holidays Around the World

Students at The Cooper School participated in Whole School Morning Meetings this week to learn about different winter holidays across cultures, such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Las Posadas, St. Lucia Day, and Winter Solstice. They specifically learned how food is important to each one of these winter holidays! Scholars were delighted to make new discoveries about holidays celebrated around the world, as well as make connections amongst the variety of celebrations. Ask your scholar which holiday they enjoyed learning about the most!

Important Dates:

Friday, December 21st                Winter Break Begins

Friday, January 4th                         School Resumes

Festive Fun! December 14, 2018

Special Holiday Events  

On Tuesday, December 11th, the entire Cooper School community gathered at the Circular Church in downtown to perform a musical selection of well known and original songs for parents and families. It was a beautiful concert and we are grateful to Mrs. Hazel and Mr. Bob for all their hard work in Choir. Last Friday, December 7th, over thirty Kindergarteners, 1st Graders, and 2nd Graders attended Movie Night. Everyone got cozy with their sleeping bags and blankets to watch The Polar Express, eat pizza, and drink hot cocoa.

 

Amateur Food Critics

In Writing Workshop, we wrapped up our unit on Opinion Writing and have moved into Review Writing. This week, students shared their Opinion Writing pieces with peers and got compliments and constructive feedback. We discussed popular products and services that people often like to review and looked at sample reviews. Students viewed menus from various restaurants around the Charleston area for inspiration for their reviews. They brainstormed descriptive words to enhance and spice up their writing. Finally, students chose something personal to them to review. Can you guess what many 1st Graders chose to write about? Did you say food? You got it! We are salivating reading all about the delicious, salty French fries at McDonald’s, the juicy chicken nuggets at Chick-Fil-A, the creamy, homemade ice cream at Ye Ole Fashioned, and the frozen treats at Pelican’s Snoballs! YUM, YUM!

 

Diving Into a Character Study

We recently introduced a new read aloud text, Gooseberry Park and the Master Plan by Cynthia Rylant. It is a funny romp of a story that features a cast of memorable animals as the main characters, including a maternal squirrel named Stumpy, a hungry bat named Murray, a loyal dog named Kona, a wise hermit crab named Gwendolyn, and many others. Students are enjoying doing a character study to identify unique characteristics and motivations of each character we encounter in this delightful book!

 

Pajama Drive

Next week we’ll be collecting pajama donations for our annual Pajama Drive.  All pajamas will be donated to the Pajama Program and distributed to children in need across the Lowcountry.

Important Dates:

Friday, 12/21- Pajama Day- ½ day

12/22- Winter Break Begins

Excursions and Mystery! December 7, 2018

Mystery Reader

We love inviting parents and family members in to be mystery readers in 1st Grade. This special tradition takes place every Friday morning. Prior to revealing our Mystery Reader, we typically read three clues to the class and allow them to guess who our special visitor will be. Some of the titles we have enjoyed hearing read aloud so far have been: 365 Penguins, The Jewel Box Ballerinas, The Book of Mistakes, The Antlered Ship, and Lost Cat. We recommend checking these books out!

Practicing Our Penmanship

1st Graders practice their handwriting every day. We use a program called Handwriting Without Tears that features developmentally appropriate, multisensory handwriting instruction for Kindergarten-5th Grade students. Research shows that handwriting is an essential skill for both children and adults. Handwriting activates the brain because it involves more complex motor and cognitive skills and contributes to reading fluency because it activates visual perception of letters. We are seeing such positive growth in scholars’ handwriting skills and demonstrations of beautiful handwriting across subject areas.

Study Trip to the Ravenel Bridge

This week in Social Studies, we have been discussing the impact that bridges have to create change in our communities by increasing access to jobs, education, and goods and services. Scholars have been studying Charleston’s very own Ravenel Bridge. We demonstrated how tension and compression work to keep bridges standing under the stress of large loads and significant weather conditions. 1st Graders identified the parts that make up a cable stayed bridge and drew and labeled their own diagrams. Together, we viewed pictures from the bridge construction and a video clip of the old bridge being destroyed. On Thursday, December 6th, we ventured off on our first study trip of the school year, a water taxi ride under and around the magnificent Ravenel Bridge and explored the areas on both the downtown Charleston side and the Mount Pleasant side. The weather was chilly, but bright, sunny, and clear, and a great time was had by all. We even got to see some cheerful dolphins! We are grateful to our parent drivers/chaperones!

Important Dates

Friday, December 7-  K-2nd Grade Movie Night

Tuesday, December 11-  1:30pm Winter Choir Performance at the Circular Church

Friday, December 21-  Pajama Day, half day

Hands On Learning in Grade 1! November 30, 2018

Tree Decorating at Marion Square

On Thursday, November 29th 1st grade and Kindergarten scholars, along with their parents and teachers, headed to Marion Square in downtown Charleston to decorate a tree. This year our theme is “The world is your oyster”.  To celebrate our coastal home and the promise of bright futures, students wrote their hopes and dreams for their future on the inside of gold-dipped oyster shells. Students enjoyed making oyster themed decorations and finger knitting during learning centers. It was a joy to share this special time together!

 

Opinion Writing and Collection Museum

1st Graders bravely and excitedly jumped into their new Writing Workshop unit, opinion writing. Students brought in collections of items such as art supplies, bracelets, hair accessories, and toy airplanes, as prompts to inspire their writing. They used the following steps to help them judge their items fairly and award one with a “best in show” ribbon: putting them in a line, comparing the same things, deciding which is best and then giving reasons why using the word “because”.

Bridges, Bridges Everywhere!

In Social Studies, we launched our bridge study. We started by reading The Three Billy Goats Gruff as a fun introduction to a simple beam bridge and talked about why bridges are important. As a class, we came up with a definition of a bridge. Students reflected on how bridges play a part in their everyday lives in Charleston, connecting them to school, friends, and stores. We learned the main types of bridges: beam, arch, suspension, cable-stayed, and cantilever. Then we looked at pictures of bridges, and watched several short video clips about bridges around the world. Students were challenged to build beam bridges from cardboard and wooden blocks that would be strong enough to support their water bottles and to build arch bridges out of Legos. Next week, we will discuss what makes bridges so strong, learn what civil engineers do, and continue building bridges from different materials in small groups. We will also take a water taxi ride from downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant and walk part of the Ravenel Bridge. Finally, students will each choose a unique bridge to research independently.

Important Dates

Thursday, December 6th-  1st Grade Study Trip-Water Taxi Ride/Walking the Ravenel Bridge

Friday, December 7-  K-2nd Grade Movie Night

Tuesday, December 11-  1:30pm Winter Choir Performance at the Circular Church

Friday, December 21-  Pajama Day, half day

 

SCHOOL NEWS

Annual Fund Update

Thank you so much to all of you who have so generously donated to the Annual Fund. This year, to my delight, the Silent Auction raised more money than ever before. I wanted to take a moment to let you know exactly where your Silent Auction donation dollars are going…

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