Fighting the February Funk

Happy Friday, everyone!

Yes, we’re experiencing some incredible growth in reading. Yes, we’re experiencing some brave bold moves in writing. Yes, we’re experiencing some internalization of complex strategies in math. But – do you know what we’ve REALLY been focusing on this week?

Fighting the February Funk!

Seeing as how the time between bouts of new nasty germs seems to keep shrinking, we are doing our darndest to stay on top of the cycles and to keep everyone as healthy as we possibly can… whilst sharing a small space with 33 humans. We’re wiping and disinfecting surfaces. We’re washing hands. We’ve got the hand sanitizer bottles nearly velcroed to the tissue boxes. And… the germs are still here. Thank you for your part in this battle! We know you’ve been working hard to navigate and accommodate sick kiddos. We know it’s super challenging to gauge whether the germs have disappeared “enough” for said sick kiddos to return to school. We know, and we thank you for your shared vigilance.

Here’s a view into the other (equally important!) things we’ve been spending time on in school this week:

First Grade


  • Your first grade readers are learning and applying new strategies every day! Most recently, they used their observation skills to notice even more details in the books they’d already read. By gathering all of these newly-found details, readers were able to understand and enjoy their books on a deeper level.
  • In phonics this week, first graders and Rasheed explored what happens when common endings are added on to the end of root words. Guess what?! There are some crazy results! For example, if you ever wondered why “run” + “ing” = “running” and not “runing”, then ask your first grader about babysitter vowels. ;)


  • First grade writers worked this week on reviews–of restaurants (Sure Thing Burger, Timbo’s, and Mezzaluna), movies (Frozen II and Dr. Dolittle), ski mountains (Buttermilk), and games.


  • These first graders seem to be moving on an exponential curve with their math skills. They have been making connections faster and faster everyday! This week we were working on strategically adding two of three numbers to cover up a game board. It involves not only addition but also some critical thinking skills to find the best addition option to achieve complete coverage of the game board. We have also been making great strides in our structuring numbers, from 0-10 with 0-15 right around the corner!

Second Grade


  • Your second grade readers are amping up their deeper comprehension strategies. By noticing characters, character traits, and the big events in their books, these readers are setting the stage for future grade-level work: Creating complex written retells and summaries.
  • In phonics this week, second graders (and Gus!) have been exploring how to break up long and nasty multisyllabic words.


  • Your second grade writers are using the character information they’re gathering as readers to craft original opinion pieces in Writing Workshop. Sharing their opinions about favorite characters and favorite parts in books has resulted in class-wide buzzing conversations about BOOKS – how great is that?!


  • Categorizing data! This past week we worked on how to group data into different and related groups. We did this both objectively using math figures and subjectively with each student’s preferences. Both of these strategies were foundations for the students to make bar graphs! This visual type of data can be a tricky jump for some, and our class made the transition with ease! It was fantastic to see them working together to talk out differences in the visual of their bar graphs, while confirming all of the data included was the same.



  • In order to keep our floors dry, and in order to protect everyone’s toes, all students need to have a dedicated pair of inside shoes at school.
  • Please remember to pack a snack for your first or second grader on hot lunch days and El Tioga days.
  • We learned about the “Apology and Forgiveness Tool” this afternoon. Admitting our mistakes and working to forgive the mistakes of others is no small task. This complex and advanced tool is the glue that can bring friendships back together again once a mistake has damaged the relationship. Using heartfelt and actual intent when we say “I’m sorry” shows the other person that we really do care about glueing the friendship back together. Conversely, a snippy “Fine, I’m sorry” does not convey the same message or respect. On the other side of the coin, we’re not always ready to fully accept even a sincere apology from a friend. We may need to use another tool (Breathing Tool, Taking Time Tool, Using Our Words Tool, Listening Tool, or even the Empathy Tool) to give ourselves time to think it through, to calm down, and to decide when/if we are ready to repair the relationship. Try to make time this weekend to check in with your first or second grader about this tool. Our rich and insightful class discussion this afternoon showed us that these students have a lot of information and experience around various types of situations that would require the use of this particular tool.


  • Wednesday, February 26th – our next skating day.
  • Friday, February 28th – the first graders will be working with the seventh graders to present the “Apology and Forgiveness Tool” at All School Meeting.
  • Wednesday, March 4th – Empty Bowls! Be sure to check in with Hilary Forsyth about volunteer needs for this annual event.


  • Thanks, Brian, Rachel, Chris, and Kara for skiing with us this week!
  • Thanks to everyone who participated in the ACS/CCS Family Hoedown last weekend!
  • Thanks to our “Wipes Fairies” for helping us battle the surface germs in our classroom. If you have any extra containers of wipes kicking around the house, then we’ll totally take more!

That’s our news from here. We are wishing you all a wonderful, recharging, and germ-slaying weekend.