Monthly Archives: September 2014

The SCOOP for 206 – September 22nd – 26th

(Weekly Flashback has been renamed to The Scoop for 206 as the content included a variety of newsletter-like information)


Mr. Waczek welcomed Room 206 with song and smiles this week. As I walked in to take them back to our class, they were playing a little game accompanied with their beautiful voices!

Photo Sep 22, 12 04 11 PM 206 Students playing a singing game with Mr. Waczek


Computer Lab

Students warmed up at the Starfall site from last week and then moved on to new site called Turtle Diary. Try this out with your computer kiddo and see if they remember it from class.

  1. Go to EBS web site
  2. Click on “Students”
  3. Drop down and click on Computer Lab
  4. Click on Ms. Martin’s Favorites (on the left side menu)
  5. Scroll down until you get to Turtle Diary and click.
  6. Choose “K” for Kindergarten.
  7. Go to “Fun to Learn Numbers”
  8. Have Fun!

Our Weekly Library Visit

This was our second week at the library. This week we were able to hear a story read by our wonderful librarian, Ms. Tremblay. She is so kind, helpful and very knowledgeable about how libraries work! We each were able to check out a book of our choice. We are able to go to the library every Friday to get a new book. Don’t forget to return your book every Thursday!

Ms. Tremblay

Ms. Tremblay reading to 206!

B-L-U-E spells Blue

This week we celebrated BLUE. We sang a song to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell,” that was all about Blue. We all wore Blue on Thursday and we got to eat blueberries as our BLUE snack.

(In case you are planning the never-ending loads of laundry and are prepping your drawer for future colors, I’m listing the order of colors we celebrate….but don’t forget to keep it a surprise from your 206 student! shhhhhh 😉

  • Yellow – 10/2
  • Green – 10/9
  • Purple – 10/16
  • Black – 10/23
  • Orange – 10/30
  • White – 11/6
  • Brown – 11/13
  • Pink – 11/20
  • Rainbow! – 12/4

Literacy Centers

This week were were able to start literacy centers. In short, there are 5 literacy centers. There are 5 students per center. The centers all involve reading or writing in some way. Some of the centers are independent and some of the centers involve working with others. Since this is so new, each group of five students, move to one new center every day. In the future they will likely go to two different centers each day. Over time the centers vary in task or may entirely change all together as we introduce more tasks/centers. This will be the time when I will gather and work with a small group of students for specific and similar needs. Right now we are becoming familiar with the new centers and practicing how to work within a center and how to problem solve in a center.

One of the centers is called Read to Self. During this center students read leveled books independently. To change up the scene a bit, and remember we work individually in our own spot, students read their books in a laundry basket. Its been a great novelty item for a very traditional center and reinforces all the parts of Read to Self that we have worked on and review daily. The last bullet item (Stamina) refers to building stamina. We had a discussion about how you have to build your body and mind up to reading for longer periods of time. We originally started the reading independently the first week for 2 minutes. We added minutes over the past couple of weeks and now we are up to 8-9 minutes.

Co-constructed Chart for "Read to Self" Center

REMINDERS for next week!….

MONDAY•••Wear breathable play clothes and tennis shoes for P.E. with Ms. Blower!  (Volunteers still greatly needed otherwise they may not be able to use the park/field facility for safety reasons).

TUESDAY ••• School Picture Day! Don’t forget to send your envelope if you are planning to purchase pictures. These envelopes went home on Friday. NOTE: Our Grade Level will be at a professional development this day, therefore a visiting teacher will be with the class.

THURSDAY•••(Minimum Day) Turn in your LIBRARY books so that you are able to check out a new book on Friday. Wear the color YELLOW (your kids don’t know this yet, but you have the inside scoop).

FRIDAY•••Turn in your homework (aka Reading Log). Log in a minimum of 5 nights of reading. This will help to build a reading routine into your schedule which helps to create a strong reader for the future.

HELP WANTED….volunteers

There are still a few more areas we could use some support in. If you think you’d be able to help out in any of these positions….please let me know. It makes a great difference to our students and our classroom experiences.

CLEARED LIST – If you aren’t sure if you’ve been cleared check the most recent updated list at the front of the school.

DAILY FOLDER FILLER (New position): Each day the students bring their folders to school and typically there is something to stuff in from the school office or from myself. I have been struggling to empty and stuff these during recess, computer lab, or lunch. I’m hoping that there might be 1-2 parents that could stay after drop-off for 10-15 minutes to empty/fill the folders for that day. This job could be done in the hallway or even outside if you aren’t cleared or if you have a little one with you. If we have 2-5 volunteers we could balance the load, so no volunteer was over loaded. Please let me know if this is an area you think you might be able to help with. commitment: 10-15 minutes per day

CHARACTER EDUCATION SUPPORT: We are looking for parent/guardian volunteers to help with the Character Education lessons in the classroom October-June.  Volunteers spend about 30 minutes per month in the classroom leading a discussion, reading a book, role playing, or even doing skits and puppet shows that relate to each month’s character trait (Responsibility, Generosity, Gratitude, Respect, etc).  Our class Character Ed rep (Megan) can give you all the information you need to lead the lesson.  The lesson plans are all online and the books and materials are provided.  You can even make up your own lesson!  Right now Megan is the only Character Ed volunteer for the class so it would be great to have a few other volunteers share the role so one person isn’t doing all 10 lessons.  This is a great volunteer role for a working parent because it can be scheduled in advance at a time that works for you.  Please let Megan Brenk know if you are interested in helping.  commitment: 30 minutes per month

P.E. PARENT SUPPORT: As mentioned a couple weeks ago, Ms. Blower typically takes each class up to the shared field/park area to do physical education. Due to the distance and age of our students, she asks that we have a minimum of 1 parent with the class to support students and more importantly in case of emergency. If this is shared with another parent you would only need to volunteer 1 hour a month.  commitment: 2 hours a month

With all of this new information, I have updated the volunteer page.


What An Amazing Village We Have!!

As the saying goes, “It takes a village…” there are many people involved in the raising, safety, and education of a child! We are all so fortunate to be in this country and in this school as there are so many resources and aspects of EBS that make it such a phenomenal school. Even more narrowed down, I can say I feel so lucky to be part of this class family!

AFP Super Pledge Drive

Our 206 classroom has returned 100% of our envelopes! Hooray! We all have an EBS bracelet  and we will receive a class party with our Vice Principal, Mr. Morici!

On an greater note, this Super Pledge is what helps to fund all the amazing resources, programs and activities that our class receives as being a student at EBS! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your involvement, participation and interests in making the school that much more dynamic!

Classroom Reps and Volunteers

Thank you for everyone that has been “CLEARED” to be a part of our classroom volunteering and events. If you haven’t done so, and would still like to be cleared, please stop by our classroom for an application.

We have so many parent helpers already that have volunteered to be our 206 village by volunteering in the class, being a representative of our class (AFP, Character Eduacation,  Fine Artist Program, Yearbook, etc) , volunteering to do work at home, being a room parent and the generous words of many that have offered to give and help out in any way possible this year! We are only 3 weeks in and the amount of communication and support has been so wonderful!  Hugs to you all!


Weekly Flashback! September 15th -19th

Physical Education (P.E.) with Mrs. Blower

IMG_1609 As mentioned in last week’s Flashback, we will switch off from PE to Music most week’s. This past week we were able to visit Mrs. Blower for PE. This was a hot San Diego September Monday, so Mrs. Blower was only able to show them the field in which they would often be using for their class.

Mrs. Blower takes the class up to the shared field to do PE. With that, she asks for parent volunteers to help keep the students safe, as well to have another adult with her for an emergency. We are still in need of parent volunteers for our class (if split or shared with 2-3 parents, it would only be a time commitment of an hour every 4-6 weeks). Please let me know if you are interested.

To provide a fun and very safe experience for our students, student’s are asked to:

  • Wear tennis shoes on PE days (safest to wear them every Monday as to not forget). To clarify, this means no sandals, no TOMS, no Crocs. It must be closed-toed shoes that students are able to run in safely. A typical “tennis shoe” is safest.
  • 1-2 parent volunteers (we have PE every other week for an hour) to make sure students are safe especially in the event of an emergency since the field is so far away from the main school campus.
  • Comfortable play clothes that they are able to move, run, and play in.

Computer Lab with Ms. Martin

We had our second week in the computer lab! The kids did great and had even more fun than week one! They are all slowly picking up the use of a computer (drop down menus, avatars, using a mouse, closing a window, scrolling, etc). Mrs. Martin is a great teacher who has a wealth of experience in helping students to use the computer and how to access and use many of the computer programs our school/AFP purchases for school use. Last week’s Flashback showed how to access Tumble Books. This week you can see where the students went to use Starfall (another great student website….see below). Give it a try at home!

  • Go to EBS Website
  • Click on Students
  • Click on Computer Lab
  • Click on Ms. Martin’s Favorites
  • Scroll down to Starfall
  • Enjoy!


Ms. Martin Teaching
Ms. Martin Teaching
Students are working on the computers independently.
Students are working on the computers independently.

School Library with Ms. Tremblay

Friday we were able to visit our school library and meet Ms. Tremblay the school’s librarian. She is new this year and has strong background in library education. She was very patient with the students and showed them how to use the “Sticks” (place holders they use while they take a book out to look). The students each picked 1 book to check out. You may have found this book in your students backpack yesterday. The students are able to keep these books for 1 week and need to bring them back to school each Thursday so we can check out a new book the next day. They also have the option of leaving their book in the classroom.

To prepare for our first visit, we’ve been reading a silly big book in the classroom entitled, “Be Quiet In The Library.” This text involves a variety of different animals who come into the library and are shushed by students that remind them to be quiet in the library. In the last page, the students are reminded by the animals to be quiet in the library after they get a bit noisy.

R-E-D, Red!

This week we kicked off with the color RED! Each week we will be focusing on a new color. We learn a new poem/rhyme that goes with each color, we wear that color one day that week, and we get a snack that is the color of that week. The students get a copy of this poem in their book box as well. This week, Mrs. Sloan joined in the fun and wore RED on Thursday as well! Ask your child to sing the song to you…its sung to the tune of  “Where is Thumbkin?”


We just completed our first week of homework! We (the class) were so impressed with the level of effort and diligence that students made to read regularly through the week reading “to” and “with” their families and practice their sight words. Remember when having your child read to you, replace the “Sound it out” prompt with, “Does that make sense?” You can have them refer to the pictures, and first sound to see if it makes sense. Making meaning is a top priority in reading.

I revamped the reading log to allow more room for titles and included a family math problem. Nothing needs to be turned in for the family math problem as it is to promote family math discussions. Feel free to make an accommodation to the problem after you’ve solved it, by changing the numbers to more difficult or more simple numbers to help your child. You and your family can draw pictures, use house items (pasta, buttons, beans, etc) to model the problem.

Some students forgot to return their reading log on Friday as it is a new routine. One helpful idea some students used to remember their reading and to return their log on Friday was to leave it in the folder throughout the week. This will remind you and your family to make time for reading/logging each night and it will be ready to return on Fridays.

Sight Words (aka High Frequency Words) – I received some helpful notes from families regarding the log and specifically the sight words. Here are some ideas to keep track of words, review words and make this time more fun. This is a game I play at home with my own kiddo and it seems to make kids beg for more….

My Pile, Your Pile
  1. Write each word on a note card each week (1 card per word).
  2. Go over the words a few times and spell/read them together to practice.
  3. Play My Pile, Your Pile (see below)
  • Show one card at a time to your child.
  • If your child names the card correctly, it goes in their Pile (My Pile)
  • If your child isn’t able to name the card correctly, it goes in “Your Pile.”
  • At the end of the stack, see who has the most cards in their pile.
  • Each week your card pile will grow as you add new words.
    These are sight words which means your child should be able to name these with automaticity. In the beginning your pile may be the larger pile…don’t fear.  Encourage your child if they are discouraged or frustrated. Remember to praise effort and over time, with regular practice their pile will get larger.
  • Accommodations: If you child knows these words, you can play with other words. if your child is frustrated or struggling with these words, introduce one word a day and build on from there. Practice nightly for 5-10 minutes though this game or another fun invented way.

Continue to share feedback as I can give more tips to help or correct errors I have made as well as give ideas for supports or extensions at home.

I know some of your kids may be begging for homework as they see older siblings or neighbors doing homework for longer time periods. For this first year, we really want the students to practice these few activities and to reinforce what we do in school, what is highly-valued, and create a sense of routine and responsibility to work nightly and return the log once a week, rather take too much of their week nights with busy work during their intial year.

Thanks for reading about our week! Looking forward to Week 4!

Mindset – Fixed or Growth?

This was a topic that I spoke about at Back to School Night and included an Info-Graphic in your packet. (It was on white paper just behind the agenda). This is a topic near and dear to my heart. It was professional development that I was involved in last year. It had such an impact on me and my outlook on personal goals, parenting, teaching, and much more. I have shared this with my family and before I was even hired at EBS, I had the desire to share this at Back to School Night this coming year.

This is a concept developed by a woman named Carol Dweck, that has changed personal outlooks for many people …including me. I am making it my personal goal to praise effort, persistence and determination! I believe we all have areas in our life that are Fixed and areas that are Growth. I have challenged myself to target my own Fixed areas and to foster a Growth mindset for our classroom environment. You may have heard the students share our classroom language around mistakes. I heard one of our students cheering herself on the other day saying, “Hooray! I just made a mistake!” I had to chuckle to myself with a big grin as she has captured this so well…in that our mistakes are a pathway to learning and hard work. They are to be applauded as we learn to persist through them.

I planned to open our Back to School Night with a short video, but had some technical difficulties with sound. I promised you I would put the link to the video (a TEDtalk) on the website so you could view it yourself. Its about 12 minutes long. Take a quick break this week to view it. If you’re interested, there’s loads of more information if you google the topic. I’d love to hear what you think!


Weekly Flashback! September 8th -12th

I’m thinking this might be a good title/heading (Weekly Flashback) to give a recap of each week.

This past week was packed! We tried some new things and got better at some familiar routines from the first week of school.

Music with Mr. Waczek – Monday, September 8th

Monday morning the students attended their first session of music with Mr. Wacsek (pronounced Vaht-sek). The class goes to his music studio each week for an hour. This is a weekly preparation period for each teacher, therefore I do not attend Music or PE class with the students.  The students sing with Mr. Waczek and are so fortunate to get a Music Education in elementary school.

It was clear they enjoyed the class as they all returned to class with smiles (and some singing) and met a new teacher on our campus!

(This class will switch off with PE throughout the year based on a school schedule.)

Computer Lab with Ms. Martin – Wed., September 10th

We were also fortunate enough to go to our Computer Lab for the first time this week. I attend this class with the students. We walked over to the computer lab. We each got a squirt of hand sanitizer when we came in. We sat down on her carpet (just like the rainbow rug in our room). She told us the rules of the lab and modeled the directions we were about to try. She sat each of us at computer and let us give it a try. For our first day we read a story from Tumble Books. If you want  your student to try the directions again at home, here they are!

  • Go to the EBS website (homepage)
  • Click on the tab labeled, “Students”
  • Click on the drop down labeled, “Computer Lab”
  • Click on the left menu item labeled, “Website of the Week”
  • Click on the blue “Tumble Books” button
  • Click on “Story Books”
  • Click on “Read Online”
  • Enjoy the story!

The students had a great time and did a fantastic job following detailed directions! Thank you Mrs. Martin!

Photo Sep 11, 8 42 33 AM


Recap Back to School Night – Thursday, September 11th

This was a fantastic night! Thank you for making the time to come out during all your busy schedules and finding child care! I enjoyed seeing you all again in our class for some school information, tips, philosophy and questions! Thank you again for listening to all the information and for all the great questions. I have received some great feedback already that has been very helpful!

If you weren’t able to attend this evening, your information folder/packet went home with your child the next day. Feel free to email or stop by if you have any questions. I’m thrilled we are off to such a great start!

Heat Wave – Friday, September 12th

Friday was so hot that students ate lunch and snack in the Multi-Purpose Room (MPR). We ate comfortably in the air conditioning on this very hot day! We can’t wait for our fall weather to come!

Back to School Night

The first week of school was AMAZING! I am loving these kids! Each student brings their own stories and personality that makes them unique from every other child in the world! We all had a great time this week as we are all transitioning into a new school, with a new playground, new friends, a new teacher, and new routines. The students did wonderfully! These first few weeks of school are less typical as we are adjusting and learning the campus and all the new routines that go with it. One of my favorite things about teaching Kindergartners is that they learn and grow so fast. Its amazing what they pick up in 1 week! They are little sponges that soak up all the knowledge and routines so quickly.

Next week our school will be having its annual Back to School Night. This is a night for parents to come and hear information regarding their student’s class, schedule, etc along with some information about the school as a community. A flyer will be going home with your child this week. The information for Back to School Night is listed below as well. I hope you are all able to join us!

Mrs. Miller


Back To School Night

Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm 

5:00 – 5:45 pm TK, Kindergarten, First Grade and Second Grade (in classrooms)

•5:45 – 6:30pm 4th Grade and 5th Grade (in classrooms)

•6:30 – 7:15pm 3rd Grade Classroom presentations and 4th Grade Auditorium presentation

(In order for parents and guardians to get the most out of the classroom presentations, this is an adult night only)