Happy New Year: January 10, 2018

This week we are learning all about Martin Luther King Jr.  As one of our projects, the students worked together to create a mural.  In addition to learning about MLKJr. the students learned about grids.  They were excited to watch and see their picture emerge as each piece was added.

Before doing this project, they listened to a recording of part of MLKJr.’s speech “I have a Dream”.  Tomorrow they will share their dreams for our world.

December 21, 2017

It has been such a fun month with these wonderful 1st graders.  Together with the 5th grade class, they made 114 handmade Christmas cards for The Giving Plate to put in their food baskets.  The Giving Plate came out and shared about their ministry with our classes.  We are looking forward to doing a food drive for them in the near future.

This month students have had fun with Christmas math & literacy games, enjoyed a movie with hot chocolate and popcorn, and learned about the wonderful story of Christ’s birth through the lighting of Advent candles.  We even had a Reindeer Day in class.  Students enjoyed reindeer literacy centers, made a reindeer craft, participated in a reindeer game and learned all about real reindeer.

We still have one more day to go before Christmas break.  Tomorrow will be our class Christmas party with 2nd grade.  Lots of hands-on activities and games are planned.  There will also be cookie decorating and a gift exchange!

Merry Christmas from First Grade!


December 6, 2017

The wonderful season of Christmas is here.  There is a lot going on in our class.  Here are 2 very important dates:

Tuesday, Dec. 12:  Christmas program & project night, 6pm.  Come hear our class sing and recite Luke 2:4-20.  Then after the program come learn all about Plymouth Colony and see our projects.

Friday, Dec. 22:  Lots of fun games & crafts with 2nd grade.  We will be exchanging class presents ($5.00 cost) and decorating cookies.  It’s going to be a superb day!

November 17, 2017

Students spent the week with several Pilgrim STEM challenges.  They made foil boats and had a race sailing them across the Atlantic Ocean and then seeing how many Pilgrims they could fit into their boats.  Then they formed teams and built Pilgrim shelters.  Their next challenge was to build pumpkin harvesters and see how many candy pumpkins their harvester could pick up.  This was followed by a STEM challenge to design and build a turkey transporter that could carry their turkey down a flight of stairs.  

Students finished up their unit on Plymouth Colony with a fun Pilgrim day. The classroom was transformed into Plymouth Colony where students visited various shops (see pictures below).   They dressed up as Pilgrim children and visited the hat shop where they made hats to wear in class.  Each student also chose their own new Pilgrim name for the day.

Throughout this unit students have been answering the driving question: What can we learn from the Pilgrims that will help us be better citizens in our world today?  Their answers included: being thankful for what God has given us, being willing to work hard, not giving up, having good manners, showing kindness to others, helping others out, and loving God and worshipping Him.

Making, kneading, rolling and baking homemade biscuits at the bakery was a favorite.

Making toys similar to those the Pilgrims might have made and having fun playing with them.

Visiting the leather working shop where they designed and painted leather bracelets.

Making butter is hard work, but it sure tastes good.

Attending Pilgrim school means doing our school work on slates.

Eating our homemade biscuits and homemade butter was the best!


November 6, 2017: Inventerprise

After learning about transportation during the time of the Pilgrims, students in first grade took on Bend Research’s Inventerprise Challenge.  Their mission:  take a form of transportation in today’s world and come up with an improvement for it or come up with a completely new type of transportation.  Working in teams of 3 the class used the design process to create their inventions.  They asked questions, explored possible ideas, created a plan, made a sketch drawing, built their model, tested it, made changes as necessary and then shared their final projects with the rest of the class.  As they shared their projects they had to be prepared to answer questions about their project.  Their final models have been entered into the competition.  Their inventions included: a Box Bike, Cartrain, Rocket Rollerbladers, Glitch Rainbow Skates, Tire Transporter, Cruiser and Hammerhead Shark Feeder.  Well done first grade!!


October 20 & 27, 2017

1st & 5th graders joined together for an Operation Christmas Child community service project.  First they shopped together for presents, clothing and school supplies.  Then they packed the plastic shoe boxes with their gifts and special cards.  These boxes will be sent to needy children around the world.  At the end, the students found a quiet spot where they could pray for the children and families that would be receiving these boxes.  


October 17, 2017

We carved open our class pumpkin today.  The class named him “Charlie”.  Before cutting the pumpkin open each student guessed how many seeds they thought were in it.  Estimates started at 1 and went as high as 3,000.  It was a fun, messy math project. At the end we counted the seeds:  388 in all.  Next step will be drying the seeds, roasting the seeds and then of course EATING the seeds!  This is all part of our mini unit on pumpkin which is part of our larger unit on Life in Plymouth Colony.


October 5, 2017: Pumpkin Patch

It was a beautiful day at the pumpkin patch.  Students learned about how they raise cattle and other animals at the ranch, visited the petting zoo, went on a hayride where we stopped and fed the cows, picked out a pumpkin, went through a hay maze and ended up in a fun play area where there were forts and rope slides.  Now we are ready to begin our pumpkin unit.  It’s time to weigh our pumpkins, measure them and conduct experiments with them.  In the end students will paint their pumpkins and take them home.  This unit will tie in with our bigger unit on the Pilgrims.  We’ll learn about crops the Pilgrims grew, which included pumpkins.


Sept. 28, 2017: Hot Dog Roast

First graders had fun roasting hot dogs and s’mores at our hot dog roast.  A big THANK YOU to the middle schoolers who came out and helped.  It’s great to see friendships and “buddies” being formed between the classes.  Check out our school facebook page for more photos.


September 22, 2017

Science is so much fun in 1st grade.  Students are learning about light and sound.  This week they studied how to reflect light and then designed and built periscopes.  Then the fun part came….using them!   Part of the fun was using their periscopes to “spy” around a corner, tree or wall.  As we continue our unit on light and sound, students will experiment with colored lenses, spectroscopes, tuning forks & stethoscopes.

As we continue our study on Pilgrims, students will make a venn diagram illustrating the differences  and similarities between  how we use light and sound with how the Pilgrims used light and sound.

Next week we being spelling.  We will be using “Words their Way” which helps students learn how to spell words by sorting them into word families and digraphs/blends.

Next Thursday is our hot dog roast at the school campfire pit.  Middle schoolers will be there to help us.  And of course for dessert we’ll be having s’mores.

I am already falling in love with this class.  They are amazing.  I can’t wait to see how they grow and mature throughout the year!


First day of First Grade:  Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I am looking forward to a great year with these precious Children of God.  I know God has an amazing school year ahead of us and I can’t wait to see how God works in and through this class.  Here’s a glimpse into our first unit of study:

UNIT 1: PILGRIMS                                                                                       September-November 2017

Driving Question:  What can we learn from the Pilgrims that will help us be a better citizen in our world today?

Summary:  In this unit, first graders will study Plymouth Colony starting with the Pilgrims in England, their trip to America and then their life & customs at Plymouth Colony.  As they read about the narratives the Pilgrims wrote they will learn how to write their own personal narratives.  As students learn about light, sound & energy in science they will compare this with the ways Pilgrims used light, sound & energy at Plymouth Colony.  A mini-unit on pumpkins will be integrated into this unit during the month of October as students learn about the crops the Pilgrims grew. 

As we study about the Pilgrims together, students will have opportunities in small groups and larger groups to discuss what they have learned. They will share things they have learned from their Plymouth Colony History Pockets that they can apply to their lives.  Open ended questions will be asked to get them to explain further and dig deeper. Our Driving Question will also be discussed during science and writing times.

Projects: Students will complete a history book of pockets, each pocket dealing with one area of Pilgrim life.  At the completion of these pockets, the class will divide into groups and each small group will have the responsibility of sharing the information from their pocket as well as answer the Driving Question.  Their book of pockets will be sent home with them to share with you.  During the mini-pumpkin unit the students will complete a book of hands-on pumpkin activities.  A PLTW (Project Lead the Way) final project will be included where students build a device that can communicate using light or sound.  The week before Thanksgiving students will participate in a week long “Pilgrim Week Challenge” involving a daily STEM challenge.  Their final, comprehensive unit project will be a display of these inventions.  At the end of each challenge day students will share their results and talk about some of the strengths & weaknesses.


It’s hard to believe that summer is here.  It has been an AMAZING year! 🙂

If you are checking out this page to learn more about first grade you can scroll down and learn about some of the things we did in class this past year.

For all students, those graduating to 2nd grade & those coming into 1st grade in the fall, I would like to encourage you to be reading throughout the summer.  Students that read during the summer are better prepared, and do better in the fall.  

We are blessed to have 2 excellent, free reading programs here in town.   I have included the links below.

Have a FANTASTIC summer!

Deschutes Public Library                                                                                                           http://www.deschuteslibrary.org/calendar/summerreading/kids

Barnes & Noble

Celebrate Summer Reading with Barnes & Noble!



I am so very PROUD of each one of my almost second graders.  Each one practiced reading a book at home until they were fluent with it.  Then they read the book to our class.  Afterwards, they became the teacher and took their book to the Jr. Kindergarten class and the Kindergarten class and read to them.  I heard great reports about their reading.  Way to Go, Class!

It’s hard to believe that our school year is almost over.  June has arrived and we now only have 12 days of school left.  It’s going to be a fun, busy, crazy few days.  We’ll visit China & Australia in our world travels,  put on a reader’s theater, design & paint hats & T-shirts and even have a pinata party. Here are some important dates:

Friday, June 9th: Father’s day event in the gym at 1:30pm                                      Monday, June 12th: Field trip to Lava River Cave  9:30am                                     Thursday, June 15th: Awards Assembly 9:00am in the gym                                   Friday, June 16th: Last day of school, Field Day, Dismissal at noon



A fun, creative time was had by all at our Mother’s Day event last Friday. Moms and students learned how to decorate a cake from Jill Crotwell and then had fun creating a photo frame together.  Picture frames will come home today with your photos in them.

Next up will be our Father’s Day event on Friday, June 9th.  It will begin at 1:30pm in our gym.  Dads need to bring a light weight hammer.

This coming Friday we will be going to the Eastside Library.  We’ll leave at 11:00am.  Bring a lunch as we’ll stop at a park afterwards.  Weather should be nice!


All school Walkathon is this Friday, May 5th! This is a good week to go out to friends, neighbors & businesses and get those final pledges.  Money from our walkathon will go towards science and technology equipment for our classes.  Students should come prepared for Central Oregon weather:  wear layers and comfortable shoes and  bring a water bottle.  It’s going to be a GREAT DAY!!

Mateo & balls for orphanage

One of our students will be going a mission trip with his family to the Philippines.  While there, his family will be helping out at an orphanage.  First graders earned $184.75 to send sports equipment and school supplies to this orphanage.  

IMG_20170410_095050872_HDR IMG_20170410_095318037 IMG_20170410_095348595

A Special Project:

First graders voted today to give up one recess each day this week to clean up our school campus.  They are earning money to help purchase sports equipment for an orphanage in the Philippines.  One of our own students will be going with his family next week on a mission trip there and will be helping out at this orphanage.  Our class is so excited to be a part of this ministry and I am SO PROUD of their servant hearts!


Important dates to mark on your calendars for 1st grade:

Field trips we have coming up:
Tuesday, April 4:  We will leave school at 11:15 and go to Eastside Gardens where we will have a tour and learn about growing plants.  After our tour we will go to McDonald’s for lunch and a playtime.
Thursday, April 13:  Alyce Hatch Center.  We will be helping our buddies decorate Easter baskets.
Friday, May 19: Eastside Library (morning field trip with lunch at a park).
Save these dates:
Friday, May 12th:  Mothers of 1st & 2nd graders are invited to a special event in your honor.  This will be in our gym.  It will be after lunch (probably 1:00 or 1:30pm and go until the end of school).
Friday, June 9th: Fathers of 1st and 2nd graders will have an event in their honor.  This will also be in the gym in the afternoon.


Annie Painter, our artist in residence, came and gave our first graders a 2 day art seminar that is part of our overall unit on plant and animal life.  On day one she showed the children how to make a color wheel using only cyan, magenta & yellow.  On day two students learned how to observe, draw and paint realistic flowers.  Check out this link for more photos.  https://www.facebook.com/Morning-Star-Christian-School-118971874792329/?hc_ref=SEARCH

As part of this unit students are also reading books about plants and animals, doing research, and making group dioramas illustrating various animal habitats.  They will make individual greenhouses next month and plant seeds.


Today we went to New Zealand.  One of our first graders is on a 3 month mission trip there.  We were able to Face Time with him and hear about some of his adventures.  We are still having snow, but he is enjoying summer.  Jasper, we miss you and we are looking forward to having you back in April.

USA 25 states

We’re over half way through February and so much is happening in 1st grade.  We have started a new unit.  It’s time to learn about our wonderful USA.  Students are trying to collect postcards from as many of our 50 states as possible.  It’s only been 2 weeks since we started the project and we already have 25 states colored in.  Students are learning about US geography, history, presidents, culture, patriotic songs, landmarks, holidays, animals, and plants. They will also apply what they have been learning in math as they  graph and chart the results of their postcard project.  It’s a fun time to be a first grader!


It’s February, and we have more snow.  That’s okay, first grade is ready for whatever God gives us.  We’ve been busy this month getting Valentines ready to take to our buddies at the Alyce Hatch Center.  We will be visiting them later this week.  We also began a new unit.  We will be learning all about America.  Students will learn geography, history, culture, patriotic songs and do a class project where they collect postcards from as many of the 5o states as they can.  Our unit on America will be integrated into our literacy time as students read and write about America.  It’s going to be a great month


It has been such a cold, snowy, wet January that first grade decided it was time to get out.  We had a wonderful time visiting  our local library.  Students enjoyed learning about the library, having storytime, taking a tour and then choosing books to bring back to class.  On the way home they were surprised with a fun stop at Starbucks for hot chocolate and vanilla steamers.  It was a great way to end our busy week at school.



Brrrr….January is starting out cold….

Students took advantage of the snow to do a fun science prediction experiment.  They made mini snow people and are seeing how long they will last.  Since the weather is supposed to reach a high of 9 degrees today, we are predicting they will be here to stay for awhile.

January is also the month we have our gingerbread unit.  As a class we will be reading several different versions of gingerbread men/boy/girl/baby/sister/pirate/library stories and comparing and contrasting them.  We will record the title, characters, setting & plot of each story and then discuss them.  Students will be writing their own gingerbread stories which will be made into a class book.  Lots of other gingerbread activites are planned as well in math, language arts, writing, music & art.



So very PROUD of the way this class of angels sang last night at our school Christmas program.  They also recited Luke 2:4-20 by heart.  They were amazing.

Just heard that today, Wednesday, Dec. 14 is a snow day.  Stay safe and enjoy your day off.  You’ve earned it!



Here is a link to an article from KTVZ that tells about Inventerprise.  The article tells about first graders who designed a special bookcase.  Those first graders were from our class.  Way to go Jettis, Mateo & Skylar.  The article also mentions  that several students came up with different kinds of robots.  Several students from our class designed robots.

I am so proud of the creativity & teamwork this class demonstrated as they planned and then designed their inventions.  I know that the hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering,Math) curriculums that our school uses has played a huge role in helping our students think creatively & critically to solve real life problems.

On our Christmas program/Project night (Tues. Dec. 13, 6pm) our Inventerprise projects will be out on display.  Be sure to come by and see for yourselves what an amazing STEM class this is!


I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I am SO PLEASED with the way the students returned to school this morning and started working.  I had expected them to struggle with some of the spelling words…..I am happy to announce that I was 100% wrong!  They reviewed the previous sounds and quickly applied that knowledge to their words for this week.  

Next up was reading time.  We are in a harder unit with new sounds to learn…..and AGAIN I was SO PLEASED at their reading. Even when they came to difficult words they used context clues and phonics sounds to correctly read those words.  Now I am anticipating a great math time!  

Ten students have already returned their reading slips from the week before Thanksgiving.  I know this is a hard week to turn them in (after being off for a week).  I have put an extra reading slip in for the week that started 11/14 for those students that still need to return it.  It is in their yellow folder.  The reading slip for this week is in there as well.    

Since they have been doing SO WELL returning their slips, I let them put Christmas stickers in a baggie.  They can use those stickers for the next 3 weeks on their reading slips.  If they read on a given day they can put one of their stickers in the square instead of checking it off or recording the minutes.  (If they lose the stickers they can still check of the days they read.)  

In their yellow folder they also have a HW sheet for their weather unit.  That paper is due on or before Friday, Dec. 9  It should be a fun assignment for them.  I look forward to hearing their presentations.

On Thursday we will be taking our Christmas stockings to our buddies at the Alyce Hatch Center.   The students will also help them with another art project.  It is a joy to see this class sharing love with their buddies.

  It’s a busy week in 1st grade.  Students are finishing up their Project Lead the Way Unit on the Sun, Moon & Stars.  I love the way their final projects are turning out.  (They are designing a Lego playground that has protection from UV rays.)  

We are also finishing up our unit on Joseph.  As we have learned about Joseph we have been reminded that God is in control and He works things for our good.

 Friday  will be a special day filled with Thanksgving Day activities and learning centers.  Don’t forget to bring your plate of finger food to share with the class. No need to bring a morning snack as we’ll be making butter and eating it with crackers.  

No school next week, enjoy family time and Thanksgiving!



Today our class went shopping to buy gifts, supplies and clothing items for Operation Christmas Child.  We came back to school and the students had fun packing their boxes.  These boxes will be shipped to children around the world.  After their boxes were packed the students prayed for the children and families that would be receiving their boxes.  I am so proud of this class and their hearts to serve others.



Our class has started a new unit.  We are learning all about weather and how we can predict the weather.  To kick off our unit, we visited our local TV station.  Meteorologist Bob Shaw shared with our class how he forecasts the weather and what he looks for.  While we were there, we were being filmed and we ended up on TV later that night.  Check out the video:




1st Graders took the Inventerprise Challenge:  Invent something that will make school better.  Working in teams of 2-3 they came up with the following creative inventions:
  *A robot that will watch children at recess

  *A solar lunch pail

  *A better teacher table & chair

  *A robot compass to direct visitors to various places in the school

  *A mouse trap that will change into a mouse home

  *An electric bookshelf that will hold more books

When they were finished they presented their projects to Mr. Bales, our school administrator.  What a creative, inventive group of students!


We had a superb field trip at the Pumpkin Patch.  Students are now using their pumpkins to complete the investigations in their Pumpkin Notebook.

Students have formed groups and have come up with the first drafts for their Inventerprise Project.  This year’s challenge is to come up with an invention that will make school life better.  I loved hearing them share their ideas.  I am confident they will have creative models to share next week.

Here are some upcoming dates to mark on your calendar:

October 20:  We will be going to the Alyce Hatch Center to help the preschoolers with a special fall craft project.

November 3: Field trip to KTVZ to learn about weather forecasting.  This field trip will kick off our new unit on weather exploration.

D&D Ranch Field Trip

Great news….we have a bus driver for our Oct. 7 field trip.  Here’s the information about our trip:
We’ll go on a hayride, pick out a pumpkin, play in the kid’s corral, visit the petting zoo, and see other areas of the farm.
Students need to bring a sack lunch.  They may wear jeans and appropriate T-shirts.  Cost: $7.00 (amount will be charged to your school account unless you make other arrangements).
Parent helpers are welcome, but there may be a $4.00 charge.  Younger siblings coming must pay the student fee of $7.00.  Let me know if you’d like to be a helper.  Be at the school by 9:30am in order to ride the school bus.
Students will be leaving their pumpkins at school until our pumpkin unit is over.  They will be doing some measuring and experiments with them.


We had an amazing time at  our hot dog roast.  The weather was beautiful and the food was delicious.  The students loved roasting both the hot dogs and the marshmallows, but their favorite food by a landslide was the s’mores.  Check out our school FB site for some cool pics.  

This coming week we begin our first Project Lead the Way STEM unit.  We’ll be learning all about Light & Sound.  Students have a real life problem to solve together at the end of the unit.  

We’re in the middle of our pumpkin exploration.  Friday, Oct. 7 is our field trip to the D&D pumpkin patch.  This is a working ranch so students will meet & feed animals, go on a hayride and have an educational tour to learn more about growing crops in Central Oregon… and of course they will pick out their very own pumkin.



Hot Dog Roast:

Thursday, September 22 is our class hot dog roast.  It will be at our school BBQ pit.  The middle schoolers will be helping our class roast their hot dogs and s’mores.  Don’t send a lunch that day (still send morning snack).  Should be a YUMMY time!

Spelling starts this week as well.  Look for spelling words in their yellow folders.  Our spelling test will be on Friday.

This week we make our periscopes in science….and then have fun experimenting with them.

Check out A-Z reading.  We practiced in class.  Your child knows what level they are to read at.


After our first week of school I am excited to report that this is an amazing class.  It was good to welcome back returning students and meet new students as well.  This class of new and returning students has blended together nicely.

Our first unit of study is Plymouth Colony.  We are studying the life of the Pilgrims with a focus on what we can learn from them.   We’ll find out about their voyage on the Mayflower, building their homes, family life, school life and the first Thanksgiving.   Included in this unit will be a sub-unit on pumpkins.  Amongst other things, students will have an opportunity to learn about pumpkins, weigh & measure them and do an experiment with them.  If you have a scale that weighs things 0-5 pounds and would be willing to let us borrow it, let me know.

Don’t forget that this Monday (Sept. 12) night we have our parent orientation meeting.  It starts at 6pm in the gym.  Then you will have an opportunity to come to our class and find out classroom procedures and other important information about our class.  I hope to see you there.

Looking forward to another great week!



YES to September!

I am so excited for another year at MSCS.  Looking forward to seeing how much my students from previous years have grown and ready to meet a new group of precious first graders.  Our classroom is ready for your arrival.  Here are some important dates for this month:

Thursday, Sept. 1:  Open House & Ice Cream Social. Come bring the whole family.  All classrooms will be open from 6:00-8:00pm.  Drop in anytime during those 2 hours.  I look forward to meeting all of you.  

Wednesday, Sept. 7: 1st day of 1st grade!  School begins at 8:00am (daycare opens at 7:30am), dismissal at 3:15pm (daycare open until 5:30pm).

Monday, Sept. 12: Parent Orientation, 6pm.  Important information about first grade will be shared.

It’s going to be a fabulous year!


 Happy Summer!  Welcome to First Grade!

I hope you are having an AMAZING summer.  As you enjoy all that Central Oregon has to offer, I encourage you to continue reading to your child and having your child read to you.  This is one of the best ways you can help your child be ready to start the new school year right.  The Deschutes County Library has a wonderful (free) reading program where students can earn books and prizes. Barnes & Noble also has a reading program where students can earn a free book.  

Are you new to Morning Star or new to first grade?  Read the green section below to find out more about what happens in our class.

For those of you new to first grade, here is an overview of what we do in our class:

Bible:  Our Bible time consists of worship, prayer, Bible memorization and learning about God’s wonderful world.  Every Wednesday we join K-8 for a special chapel time together.  Our units of study are: Creation, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses & Israel, Judges, Saul, David, Solomon, Daniel, Esther, plus special Christmas & Easter units.  Learning about the Bible and our Lord Jesus Christ does not just take place during Bible time, it is  integrated into every part of our day.

Language Arts: Students will learn about Phonics and word recogniton (review all sounds of the alphabet, spell common consonant digraphs, decode 1 & 2 syllable words, read words with inflectional endings, know final -e and vowel team conventions); Reading (students will learn to read with accuracy & comprehension as they read a variety of materials consisting of leveled readers, vocabulary readers, reader’s theater, poetry, fiction/nonfiction, informational texts, choral reading  and other stories); Spelling (spell words by sorting words with common patterns); Key ideas & details (retell stories, describe characters & events, identify main topic, interpret words & phrases, use text features).

Math: Units of study: Numbers & operations (read & write numbers, count by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, 25’s, round to nearest 10, identify place value, addition facts to 18, 2 digit addition, subtraction facts with minuends to 18, identify & compare fractions, identify and count coins); Measurement (read a calendar, tell time to half hour, read a thermometer, linear & liquid measurements); Geometry & algebra (identify & classify polygons, read & extend patterns, write & solve number sentences, compare <, >, =); Data analysis & probability (read & make graphs, sort & classify, pictographs, surveys); Problem solving (identify steps in problem solving, make chart or table, solve).

Writing: Students will learn about sentence structure and then move on to writing stories, essays and poems.  They will follow the steps of prewriting, drafting, revising/editing and then publishing. Our focus will be on 3 main types of writing: narrative, informative & opinion.

Science:  First grade uses a hands-on, interactive curriculum where students learn about: Science, engineering & technology (the design process, what is science, how do scientists find & share data); Life science (living things, environments, plants & animals); Earth science (earth & sky, weather, seasons), Physical science (what is matter, how matter changes, what is energy, force & gravity, magnets).

Project Lead The Way: PLTW is a science, technology, engineering & math curriculum that has 4 (2-3 week) modules for first grade:  Light & sound: Students investigate light & sound, including vibration from sound waves and the effect of different materials on the path of a beam of light.  They will use the design process to sketch, build, test and reflect on a device that uses light or sound to communicate over a distance.  Observing the sun, moon & stars: After observing the sun, moon and stars they will identify and describe patterns in their recorded data.  Using this data they will solve a problem related to the patterns of the sun.  Animal adaptations: Through various investigations, students explore an animal’s protection, camouflage, food obtainment & location.  They will use this knowledge to prepare a traveler to visit an extreme enviornment.  Animated storytelling: Combining fundamental ideas in computer programming with story-building skills from language arts, students create computer animations that show characters, settings, actions and events in a short story of their own creation.

Social Studies: Students will explore historical knowledge, historical thinking, geography, social science analysis, civics, government & economics with the following units of study: Local community; Plymouth Colony; MapsOregon; The U.S.A.; American songs, symbols, people, events, celebrations & holidays; Countries around the world; Leaders & responsibilities; and Service projects.

Weekly Activities: Music, P.E, Library, Art & Spanish.

Special Events: Field trips, Holiday celebrations, 100th day of school, Mother & Father’s Day events, Walkathon, Field Day, Gingerbread week, Dr. Seuss week and other special events.

Community Service: Last year first grade adopted the Alyce Hatch Center as our community service project.  We also participated in Operation Christmas Child.  A similar community service project will be adopted for the new school year as well.



Week of June 13

It’s hard to believe, but this is the last week of school.  I have loved this class.  What a delight they are.

Today students will be bringing home the T-shirts and hats they have painted.  They should wear these on Thursday for our field day.

Wednesday is our awards assembly.  Each student will be receiving a spiritual and an academic award.  The assembly begins at 10:00 in the gym.  Our class is first so parents need to be there by 10:00am.  School lets out at normal time.  Report cards will be handed out at the end of the day.

Thursday is field day.  School begins at regular time, but dismissal is at noon.  Students should bring a snack that day.  If they are staying in aftercare they need to bring a lunch.  Regular aftercare charges apply.  Students not picked up at noon will be automatically taken to aftercare.

In our travels around the world, we return to the USA this week.  We will also celebrate all summer birthdays with a pinata.

Let’s end this school year well!

June 6-10

It’s going to be a fun week:

Language Arts time:  Reader’s Theater “What a Skunk Needs To Do?”  Students will practice, make masks and then perform for other classes.

Tuesday: Field trip to the Lava River Cave.  Yes, you need to bring a jacket, the weather is 40 degrees year round in the cave.  Wear comfortable flat walking shoes and long pants (jeans are great).  Bring a sack lunch.

Art: We’ll be painting T-shirts and hats.  These can be worn on our field day next week.

Social studies/Geography:  We’ve almost gone around the world.  This week we travel to Australia.  We’ll make a crocodile and sample vegemite.

Thursday: Father’s Day Event in the gym: 1:30-3:00pm.

We’ll also be having review time in math, writing and science.

It’s going to be a great week!

Next week: Thursday, June 16 is our field day.  School lets out at noon.  Parent volunteers are needed.  Let the office know if you are available to help.

May 31-June 3

Wow!  It’s hard to believe but we are down to our last 3 weeks of school.  

This week we will finish up with our language arts and math curriculums, then we will have some special review activities.  

This week we travel to China.  We’ll see how good we are at eating with chopsticks!

There’s still time to turn in additional Walkathon money.  Some students are very close to the next prize level.  If you are not sure what prize level your student is at you can contact the office.


May 23-27

We grew enough lettuce to have a sample.  All of the students enjoyed the lettuce they grew.  

We ended our week on Friday by enjoying Egyptian food and making (and playing) with FLUBBER!

This week we’ll travel to Israel & India.  We have a special guest coming to share about his travels in Israel.

Our reading stories are about being a detective.  I am very pleased with the reading progress the students are making.

Looking ahead:

Monday, May 30: Memorial Day, No school

Dads/stepdads:  Save the date:  Thursday, June 9:  Special event in your honor….with 1st & 2nd grade…in the gym…..1:30-3:00pm…..bring a hammer.


May 16-20

We ended last week with PJ day as we celebrated an AMAZING program & project night.  Great job 1st graders.

This week we’ll be learning about the prophet Elijah and finishing up with Psalm 100.  Our country travels will take us to Italy & Egypt.  It will be perfect timing, as Olive Garden is coming to our school on Tuesday and serving Italian spaghetti for lunch!

Most of the students have read their books to the Junior Kindergarten class.  I’ve loved hearing the glowing reports about how well they have done.  If you haven’t brought your book back to class yet, this coming week is the week to do it.

May 9-13

Have you noticed the beautiful flowers on our front lawn?  Our first grade class helped plant them and now we are keeping them watered.

Our Walkathon was a huge success!  I am so proud of this class.  They did a fantastic job.

This week we have our school Spring Program.  It’s Thursday night at 6pm.  Come hear your child perform and then stay and hear about their plant experiments.


May 2-6

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It’s going to be a fun, busy week coming up.  

On Thursday it’s our Mother’s Day Mystery Luncheon & Fashion Show.  The students are very excited about this.  Moms, come to the gym at 12:00 and expect to be honored.

Friday is Walkathon.  It’s the Morning Star Olympics.  You still have this week to collect additonal pledges.  Put sunscreen on your child before school.  Go Germany First Graders!

Continue to have your child read the book they will be reading to the 4 year old Junior Kindergarten class.  When they can read it fluently on their own they may bring it back to class.  Several students have already read their books to the JrK class.  They have come back raving about the experience.  (Mrs. Chain is wonderful, she is making them so feel special after they read.  It’s also the class she taught her first year as the Jr. K teacher.)

Next week we visit England and then start our travels to France.  Mrs. Anderegg is partnering with our class and has planned some very special treats for many of the countries we will be visiting.  I’m looking forward to sampling some new food as well.  Even our principal is hoping to stop by for a sample.


April 25-May 1

Here’s what will be happening in first grade this week:

Literacy time:  Students will be reading several fun stories, adding more words to their vocabulary, working on new spelling words, and celebrating their opinion essays.

Math:  They will be working on telling time, counting money and continuing with addition and subtraction story problems, in STMath they are now in the challenge section and having fun trying to solve puzzles, some of them are quite difficult!

Science:  They have learned the basics of programming Scratch Jr.  This week they will start working on their own animated stories.  I’m excited to see what they come up with.  We will have some guests visiting our classroom one day, and the students will demonstrate what they are learning in computer science.  Last week we had a special guest from Redhawk Network Security share about early computers and bugs in computers.  The students asked lots of interesting and well thought out questions.  Students will also continue to water their plants and monitor their growth.  Our lettuce and radishes are looking good.  We also just planted a sunflower plant, wonder how tall it will grow?

Social Studies:  We’re on to Germany.  It will be brats & sauerkraut time.  

Bible:  We’re now in the book of Psalms learning about Psalms of Adoration, Confession and Thanksgiving.  Students will begin to memorize Psalm 100.

On Tuesday we will take a field trip to the Eastside Library.  We’ll have a tour there and find out how it differs from the main library. We’re leaving at 10:00 and will be back after lunch.

You may have heard that we had a new student join our class this week.  His name is River and he is fitting in very nicely with our class.  WELCOME RIVER!

April 18-22

Here are some important dates to mark down on your calendar:

Tuesday, April 26:  Field trip to Eastside Library, 10:00am.

Thursday, May 5: Mother’s Day Mystery Luncheon & Fashion Show, 12:00-1:30am.  If you are unable to attend, please send a special friend or grandparent to be there for your child. 

Friday, May 5: Walkathon, all day.  Lunch provided.  Continue to collect pledges and send any collected pledges in each Monday.

Thursday, May 12:  Spring Program and Project Night, 6:00pm.

This week we start our 4th Project Lead the Way Unit.  It’s computer science!  Last year it was the favorite unit.  Students will be learning about basic computer programming and then have an opportunity to design their own short animated story.

As we continue our travels around the world we’ll stop in Norway this week.  Time for kippers!

Friday, April 22 is Earth day.  This ties in nicely with our project based unit on growing plants in Central Oregon.  We’ll talk about how God wants us to be good stewards of His Creation!

April 11-15


It’s a short week for students.  We have school Monday-Wednesday. Although it is a short week, we will be busy.  We’re off to Puerto Rico to discover their culture.  We’ll learn about the cocqui frogs and sample pina coladas (virgin, of course).  Our radishes and lettuce have sprouted…hoping for a yummy crop!  This week we’ll make our enclosed ecosystems and see if we can get them to be sustainable.


On Thursday and Friday, it’s parent-teacher conference time.  No school on those days.  Please sign up for a conference time.  The sign up sheets are on the windows across from the main office.  I’m looking forward to meeting with each of you. Report cards will be handed out at this time.


It’s hard to believe that our last quarter begins on Monday.  I am excited to see the progress this class will continue to make.  THEY ARE AMAZING!  I have grown to love each one of these precious students.


April 4-8

Last week was a busy week as we planted radishes and lettuce, led a song during chapel, journeyed to Mexico, learned more about King David, had some amazing reading times and came back from Spring Break ready to learn.  Some of our radish and lettuce seeds  are already starting to sprout!

This coming week we will journey to Peru and learn about their land and customs.  We’ll review the water cycle and learn about the life cycle of a plant.  In math we are learning about number sentences and telling time.  Students will also continue writing their opinion essays.  They are doing an incredible job writing their opinion pieces.  I am looking forward to hearing them read them to the class. They will have an opportunity to try to convince the class why they think their opinion is right.  

On Thursday we will be taking a field trip with 2nd grade to the downtown public library.  We’ll leave school around 10:10.  After the library we’ll stop at a park for lunch and playtime.  Don’t send anything that needs to be microwaved.

March 28, 2016


This year’s class is the first class to collect postcards from all 50 states!

Way to go, first grade!

USA map of 50 states


March 21-25

Spring Break:  No school.

This would be a great time to start on those Walkathon pledges.  Continue to read at home!

Have a Blessed Easter….He is Risen….He is Risen Indeed!!!

March 14


Last week we had the opportunity to visit our adopted preschoolers again.  The first graders did an amazing job helping their buddy with a St. Patrick’s Day craft.

This week our class will learn about St. Patrick and participate in some St. Patrick’s Day activities.  

In Bible we will continue with our study about Jesus’ death & resurrection.  Our memory work for this week is John 11: 25: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me will live even though he dies.  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die, do you believe this?”  It is one of my favorite verses.

This week we also begin our Walkathon kick-off.  We’re headed to the Olympics and our class is from Germany. Watch for exciting information to come home soon.

Here are some dates for you to mark on  your calendar:

Thursday: May 5: Mother’s Day Luncheon (start time around 11:30 or 12:00)

Thursday, June 9: Father’s Day Event (start time 1:30pm)

March 7

Last week we had fun with Dr. Seuss week.  I loved seeing the students snuggled together and reading together.

Here are a couple of pictures. (More pictures are on our school Facebook page.)IMG_20160302_145000981 IMG_20160303_113035135 (1)

This week we will be returning to The Alyce Hatch Center to help the students there with a special art project.  It will be fun to see our special friends again.

Thursday night is Open House.  Come anytime between 6 and 8 pm.  Your child will be your tour guide, showing  you what we have been learning in class.  You will also have an opportunity to help them scrapbook their Valentine page. If you know of any new families that would like to learn more about our school, this is a great event to invite them to.


 February 29

Our 100th day of school was a fun, crazy day.  Lots of 100 day activities in the morning and then a celebration at Bouncing off the Walls in the afternoon.

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This week it’s DR. SEUSS WEEK!!!

Here’s a schedule for each day’s dress up:

Monday: Wear a fun, crazy hat

Tuesday:  Show off your crazy, wild socks

Wednesday: Wacky Wednesday, wear mismatched clothes

Thursday: Dress up as your favorite storybook character

Friday: Comfy PJ day!

There will be special activities all week long and extra special reading times as well!


 February 22

Our class is slowly getting well.  🙂  Hope you have a healthy, restful weekend.
Next Thursday (Feb. 25) will be the 100th day of school.  We’ve been counting down to this day since the first day of school.  We will have special 100 day activites in the morning. I will have a special am snack for them as well.  They will be counting out10 of each of the following items: cheerios, goldfish, pretzel sticks, raisins, chex, chocolate chips, kix, m&ms, butterscotch chips & mini marshmallows.  Let me know if there is something your child cannot have.
In the afternoon we will celebrate by going to Bouncing Off the Wall.  I have not told the students, I’m going to try to keep it a surprise as long as I can. The cost if $6.  If you can help with this cost it would be great.  If you want the office to charge your account, just let me know.  (If this is a hardship your child will still go, I will just use class funds to cover their cost.)
Our USA postcard project is coming along nicely.  We now have 17 states colored in.  Keep the postcards coming!  Our postcard project goes through the month of March.
Wednesday is the last day to bring in box tops. Our class is in first place right now.  If you have any at home, send them in!
USA with 17 states so far



February 15

No school Monday, February 15 (Presidents’ Day).  

This week will be another special week as we honor grandparents.  Grandparents day is Wednesday, February 17.  Be sure to turn in  your form if  your child’s grandparents (or honorary grandparents) will be attending.

No spelling words this week.

This week we will continue with our Project Lead the Way unit on Animal Adaptations.  Students have been discovering how God created animals so they would be able to adapt to their various habitats.  Last week students were engaged in an activity where they investigated and recorded various types of bird beaks and their purposes.

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February 8

Friend Day was a huge success as students brought friends and stuffed animals.  It was a great day to be in first grade!

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This week we have another special day.  Friday, February 12 we will celebrate Presidents’ Day and Valentine’s Day with the second grade class.  Lots of fun, hands-on, educational activities have been planned!

February 1

A new semester is upon us.  I’m looking forward to it.  I’m excited to see the students continue learning.

On Monday, February 1 report cards will go out.  I will have you sign the orginal and I will have a copy for you to take home.  You can stop by and pick up your child’s report card before school or at dismissal time.  There are no parent teacher conferences this time, however, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Our new unit of study in social studies will be learning about our beautiful U.S.A.  As a class we are going to try to collect postcards from as many different states as we can.  Information about that project will be in your  yellow folders.

Friend Day is Friday, Feb. 5.  If your child is bringing a friend to school they must have paperwork filled out ahead of time.  Those papers were sent home on Friday.  In order to attend our class, friends must be in K, 1st or 2nd grade.

January 25, 2016

We have another short week.  There will be no school on Friday, January 29.  It’s a teacher inservice day.  It’s also the end of the first semester.  We’ll be half way through first grade this week.  I am seeing lots of progress in the student’s work.  I trust  you are seeing that same progress at home.  Report cards will be out next Monday.  You can pick up your child’s report card from me before or after school on Monday, February 1.

Our spelling test will be on Tuesday of this week.  A new list of spelling words will be sent home on Monday, Feb. 1. Even though it is a short week, there will be lots of opportunity for hands-on learning.  Students will continue to explore their 5 senses in science.  Last week they learned about Braille as we talked about our sense of sight.  This week they will have an opportunity to test their sense of smell as they try to identify various scents.  Later in the week we’ll have a taste test.  In Bible we’re studying the book of Judges.  Your child should be able to tell you about the cycle of peace-sin-enemies-prayer-judge-peace that the Israelites continued to be in.  Our new memory work is Psalm 18:1-3.  In addition to our regular reading books we’ll be having a reader’s theater.  Our Gingerbread Unit will end this week with a special treat.  I’m looking forward to another exciting week of learning with these amazing first graders.


January 15, 2016

We finished our narrative writing unit.  Students are now beginning to learn how to write an informative book. Yes, a book!  Already they have surprised me with how well they are doing.

This past week we  learned about Martin Luther King Jr.  After  hearing his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, they wrote their own dreams for themselves, the world and our community.  Councilman Roats visited our classroom and the students shared with him their dreams for our community.

Students formed groups, made small snowmen,  placed them in a pan and put them outside.  They predicted whether or not they would melt.  Most predicted correctly.  One snowman melted that night, the others held on for 2 more days.  

Check out photos of our visit with Councilman Roats and our snowmen on the MSCS facebook page (click link below):


Next week is a short week.  There is no school on Monday (MLK Jr. Day).  New spelling words will be in their yellow folders on Tuesday.  Their spelling test will not be until the following Tuesday, January 26.  




January 11, 2016

Our first week back at school after Christmas vacation was filled with eager students learning.  I was so proud of the way they came back ready to dive in and work hard.  We finished up our narrative writing unit and had a writing celebration on Friday.  Each student read their story aloud to the rest of the class.  Each story was unique.  I loved the expression they used when reading.  It was amazing! They also wrote a story about what would happen if Frosty came to life.  Those stories are now out on the bulletin board in front of our class, along with the adorable sock snowpeople they made. Come by and read their creative stories.  

This week we will contine with our snow and gingerbread units.  We will also learn about Martin Luther King Jr. New spelling words are in their yellow folders, as well as their weekly reading log.  Keep those logs coming in.  We’ve had 2 first grade students who have won the monthy drawing.  If their name is drawn they get to choose from a variety of cool gift certificates.  Three names are drawn each week.


January 4, 2016


Students should be turning in their green December homework log (tree with stickers) this week.  January’s HW is in their yellow folder as well as a gingerbread assignment.  Throughout the month of January, the students will be doing a variety of gingerbread activities in literature, art, writing, music & math.  Our main project will be reading several different gingerbread stories and comparing and contrasting them.  In each story the students will discover the characters, setting and plot. Should be a fun month!

December 29, 2015

I hope you are enjoying your Christmas vacation.  I look forward to hearing all about it.  Don’t forget to continue with your reading and STMath.  See you Monday, January 4!  I have a special Bible project for you that involves frankincense and myrrh!  January will also be a month of special snow and gingerbread activities.

Tuesday, December 15

Christmas program tonight!  Begins at 6:00pm in the gym.  Students should arrive at 5:45pm.  Our class will meet in the middle school math room (1st class on the left in middle school building).  Students may wear Christmas dresses & sweaters or school uniforms.  Bring your family and friends.  


December 9, 2015

It’s a busy time of year in first grade.  A lot of exciting things are happening.  Tuesday we had the opportunity to deliver Christmas presents to the children we are “adopting” at the Alyce Hatch Center.  The students are looking forward to visiting these precious preschoolers and helping them with some art projects in the near future.

Our class is celebrating Advent this month as we learn about the blessed story of Christmas.  The final candle we light will be the center candle representing Jesus’ birth.

Tuesday, Dec. 15th is our school Christmas program.  Come  hear the students recite Luke 2:4-20.  After the program they will share what they have learned about meteorology.

Our class party will be on Friday, Dec. 18th.  We will be participating in special Christmas games and art projects with the 2nd graders.  Each student should bring a wrapped present ($5 value) for our Christmas gift exchange.

Homework:  Read 75 minutes each week, practice spelling words, practice STmath (JiJi) 2 days a week.  There will be no spelling test the week of Dec.14.


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