Friday, April 28, 2017

First Grade Recess Talent Show

Here's a look at the MANY talents in the first ever First Grade Recess Talent Show!! This was all organized (and filmed) by the kids! In fact, there were SO MANY talents that there are more acts planning to perform at Monday's recess (as long as it doesn't snow...eek!). Enjoy!


Today, Lisa Heurung (Lower School counselor) taught a lesson on gratitude to our class. Included in her lesson was this moving video (a Thai commercial) that beautifully illustrates the concept. We wish you could have seen the look on the children's faces as they watched. :)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Lower School Closing

Lower School Closing Exercises
Friday, June 1
at 1:30pm with reception to follow.  
Attire is semi-dressy.  
It’s sure to be a festive celebration of the year!  

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April Update

It's feeling more and more like spring each day and summer is just around the corner. The approaching end of the school year certainly does not mean that the learning slows down!

As a part of our social studies curriculum, 1st grade supported the “Birthday Wishes” service project in Lower School. In the classroom, we learned about birthday traditions from many cultures. First graders became more aware of their own family traditions and also broadened their perspectives about birthday celebrations and traditions of other families and cultures. We used our understanding to promote a diverse "birthday wishes collection" in lower school. On Monday, a group of student representatives and teachers brought the donations to the STEP Food Shelf in St. Louis Park and the result was... 345 POUNDS of donated birthday items! This will certainly make many birthday wishes come true!! Thanks for your support.

In Science, we are very excited about our study of dinosaurs! We even had the chance to get up-close with these amazing creatures at the Minnesota Science Museum. In addition to the regular dinosaur exhibits, we also participated in a special "dinosaur dentist" class led by museum staff. Stay tuned for a slide show of pictures from our day as paleontologists!

Tick-Tock goes the clock! Earlier in the month, first graders learned how to use analog and digital clocks for telling time. We mostly focused on hour and half hour times but we also learned other strategies like counting by fives to determine the minutes on the clock. If you're looking for a gift in the near future, you may want to consider getting your child a fun watch. Being able to tell time is kind of an exciting "right of passage" in first grade! Now, we are deepening our understanding of place value by expanding to numbers beyond 100! We are using tools like number line and 120-charts to understand the relationships between numbers and place values. Next, we will begin computation with multi-digit numbers.

Our authors are facing another big challenge in writing...FICTION! They have been eager to write fiction since the beginning of the school year and now the time has come. We are learning to write realistic-fiction and have been using the "Henry and Mudge" book series by Cynthia Rylant to build our knowledge of this genre. The first grade writers are creating their own characters and learning to write stories about their own made-up adventures! The children are excited about the idea of writing their own series!!

In our reading work, we'll continue to introduce strategies for engaging in deeper thinking while reading. We're practicing thinking and talking about books with our reading groups and in reading partnerships. We will also be focusing on "questioning" and "inferring." We are encouraging children to take time to ask questions and make inferences while reading. You can support this at home by engaging your child in asking questions and wondering about the book when you read together. Encourage that it's not so much about having answers, but more about the thinking and wondering process. If they think they have an answer, you can broaden their thinking by asking, "could there be another answer?" It's even fun to keep a list of the things you wonder about.

On a final note, spring is a BUSY time!! Be sure to take a loot at the calendar below and keep an eye out for announcements about important end of the year events.

Happy Spring,
Ms. Bennett and Ms. Madden

Upcoming Dates...

Friday, April 28-FUN RUN!! @ Minnehaha Falls Park (Optional participation)

Friday, May 6- Lower School Wacky Dress Day (Non-uniform)

Tuesday, May 9-All School Chapel/Staff Appreciation Day

Wednesday, May 17- Art Institute Trip (Uniforms, Teacher +Art Masterpiece parents chaperone)

Friday, May 19- Lower School Field Day (More info coming soon)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Island Adventure Memories

HERE IT IS!!! The long awaited slideshow of photos from our Islands Adventure!! We "traveled" to 5 islands in the volcanic area known as the Ring of Fire. In Fiji, we learned about and tasted tropical fruit. In Japan, we made carp kites and heard a traditional Japanese tale. In New Zealand, we learned the traditional Haka dance ritual often performed at rugby games. In the Galapagos Islands, we went snorkeling in the Galapagos Marine Reserve and mailed postcards home. Finally, we ended our adventure in Hawaii with singing and a luau lunch! What an incredible experience of learning and fun!

Special thanks to Mrs. Habstritt, Mrs. Wade, and Mrs. Rice for documenting the day
in amazing photos and video!!

Many of these photos are available for download at this link:

Monday, April 17, 2017

Passover Seder

Today, first and second grade gathered to honor the Jewish holiday, Passover, with a version of a seder meal. We sang songs, heard stories and prayers, and tasted some of the traditional seder foods including matzah, parsley, egg, haroset (a chutney of apples and raisins), and horseradish!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Gratitude Journals

“Life Feels Better When We Live With a Grateful Heart.” 

Dear Families,

We are excited to invite you to participate in our Gratitude Journal Project!  Yesterday we began our unit on gratitude by asking students to think of people, experiences and/or things in their lives that they are grateful for. They were then given a journal to write (or draw) about those things and asked to log daily in their journals for four cycles (aprox. 30 days).  At the end of that time, we will have a GRATITUDE CELEBRATION and all students who complete the journals will be invited to the celebration.

Why Gratitude?
Extensive research has shown that children who practice a mindset of gratitude experience positive effects that are far-reaching. They are more optimistic, better able to self-regulate, and more resilient. These effects of gratitude help them to be more successful students, as they feel more confident in school.

What to do?
Each night, ask your child to share his/her gratitude journals with you. It is beneficial for you to share what you’re grateful for as well - or get the entire family involved and make it a family project J The more children talk and listen to messages of gratitude, the more they will begin to internalize this way of thinking and living.

Want more information?
Making Grateful Kids – The Science of Building Character by Jeffrey Froh and Giacomo Bono is an amazing resource for parents on nurturing gratitude in our children. It is rich with both research and practical ideas on how to create a home that fosters gratitude.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call or email your child’s teacher or me.

With sincere Gratitude,
Lisa Heurung, Ms. Bennett, and Ms. Madden

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Birthday Wishes Donations

Birthday Wishes
April 6-21

We are collecting birthday celebration supplies for our local food shelf.  Families who use our local food shelf often are unable to buy extra items that make a birthday special, like...

Cake Mix & Frosting, Candles, Rice, Noodles, Cookie Mix, Pizza Crust mix,
Paper Plates & Cups. Gluten-free, Kosher and Halal items are often needed by families as well. 

If you would like to donate,
please bring items to school April 6-21.  Thanks!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Publishing Celebration

On Tuesday, we celebrated publishing our non-fiction chapter books! We held an "experts forum" in the classroom where our knowledgable authors shared facts about their ocean topic. It was informative and inspiring! We have a group of ambitious first grade authors! Enjoy this slideshow of the celebration:

A Letter from Mrs. Bailey

Please see an important letter below from Peg Bailey regarding class placement letters for the 2017-2018 school year:

April 2017 

 Dear Lower School Parents: 

Each year, I invite parents to provide input into the class placement process for their children. If you wish to share your thoughts with me, please send me a letter or an email by Thursday, April 20. The timeliness of this information is very important, as we will begin this process the following week. Therefore, letters received after this date will not be considered for the upcoming school year. A few important things to remember: 

  • Please write your child's full name and grade next year at the top of the letter. *If writing about more than one child, please send a separate letter for each student. 
  • Share your insights about friendships to foster or separate, your child’s learning dispositions and/or temperament, and the type of environment you feel your child thrives in. (You may want to share feedback on what has made this year particularly successful for your child, or if this has been a challenging year, what you believe may have contributed to this.) 
  • Requests for specific teachers will not be considered. Several factors are taken into consideration as teachers and the administrative team place students into next year’s classes. Summer moves and other changes impact class assignments. 

 Thank you, in advance, for respecting and trusting our decisions. 
 Best regards, 
 Peg Bailey

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


During break, you should have received an email regarding Baccalaureate (a link to the letter is also posted below). Baccalaureate is a special ceremony that takes place at Breck to honor the Seniors on Sunday, June 4th. It is optional to attend, but if possible, I highly encourage you to arrange for your child to be there because they develop very special relationships with their senior buddies. Most first graders do attend. We will be sending more communication about Baccalaureate in May and asking for an RSVP at that time. We wanted to give you a heads up so you can keep this in mind as you make summer plans.