I Want To Be First!

Adventures in Learning with Nomi, Naomi and David

First Grade Goes to Broadway!


I know that teaching isn’t meant to be a way to push my own agenda on impressionable children, but I have to say there is nothing that makes me happier than 24 first graders reading and singing from a script!¬† Watch at your own risk- this song is so catchy it might keep you up at night ūüôā

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Summary of Our First Week of First Grade!


I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to teach your amazing children every day.  Each and every one of them is filled with curiosity, joy, intelligence and kindness! We have gotten so much accomplished in just four short days and I feel like we’ve been together for so much longer.  Of course, we are still getting our routines down, but there are so many new things to learn and I am so proud of their hard work and courage. Four of our students just moved from other cities and I am so impressed with how well they have acclimated and how everyone has welcomed them with open arms.

Science: We went through each step of the scientific process with our first experiment: How does adding food coloring to water affect the leaves of celery and petals of white dahlias? Students were engaged every step of the way- trimming ends of celery, adding drops of dye, drawing observations, reading instructions, and writing predictions and conclusions.  We learned the words absorb and absorption and we talked about how humans ingest nutrients from the top of their bodies and digest downward but plants seem to ingest from the bottom up.  It is wonderful to see how much insight children are capable of at such a young age. We will do tons of science reading and exploring this year and we will try to do one formal experiment each week.

Math: We gave out the first Math Connects workbook!  Each student got volume one (of two) and felt very proud to have a grown-up looking workbook that is his or hers to conquer.  The books are very well-written, child-friendly, and motivating. We made our first math chart and graph about the letters and syllables in our names.  Next week, we will begin learning how to use our math tools (number lines, hundreds charts, place value blocks) and we will begin to play some of my favorite first grade math games. I have similar, second grade level math games if I see that kids are ready for a challenge.

Reading: We are learning how to read and spell all of the names of our first grade friends.¬† We are also learning how to the spell names of our new ‚Äúfriends‚ÄĚ from the Kevin Henkes books we have been reading.¬† We did the first Wired for Reading lesson called ‚ÄúBeats on the Body‚ÄĚ and we will begin ‚ÄúBaby Short Vowels‚ÄĚ next week. We learned about alphabetical order and talked to each other to figure out a way to put ourselves in alphabetic order in line. Our classmates‚Äô names are: Asahel, Aviva, Daniel, Dori, Elchanan (sometimes goes by Allan), Esther, Eva, Gabe, Hannah, Jackie, Jacky, Jacob, Jaren, Jonah N, Jonah Y, Leah, Liam, Markus, Max, Misha, Na‚Äôama, Orli, Simone and Yaakov. There is only one letter difference between the names of the two teachers, which is very fun!¬† We also learned all about the tools that will help us become great readers such as pointers, finger toppers, and whisper phones. We discovered that we are becoming better readers by watching Morah Naomi point to each and every word as we watch a video of a famous actor reading our Kevin Henkes books to us at snack time.

Social Studies: We gave out our first issue of ‚ÄúScholastic News‚ÄĚ, we have begun taking care of our two class puppies (please don‚Äôt tell the puppies they aren‚Äôt real; they think they are!), and we introduced class jobs but will start giving them out on our first full week.


Homework: Each child is coming home with an ‚ÄúAll about Me‚ÄĚ poster to complete.¬† We will be having a sharing celebration of them next Friday so please remember to finish them and send them in. We are happy to take early submissions!¬† Parent homework is to send back the ‚ÄúGetting to know your Child‚ÄĚ form and sending in an extra set of clothes for emergencies.¬† Even if your child doesn‚Äôt have accidents, an extra dry pair of socks or clean t-shirt after art could come in handy one day. Thank you to everyone who sent theirs in already.


Important Updates and Information:

  • Our room is 100% nut free! Please make sure you pack snacks without any nut products for the classroom (no Nutella, no nutty granola bars, etc.) You may pack a nut butter sandwich to be eaten in the lunchroom but it can only be eaten at a special table.¬† We have two students in our class with severe nut allergies and we want to keep them safe!¬† Thank you so much.
  • PE is on Tuesdays and Thursdays so please remember to wear (or pack) sneakers on those days.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!¬† Up next week is: cooking, Writers‚Äô Workshop, and learning to read and sing the song ‚ÄúOne was Johnny‚ÄĚ by Carole King and Maurice Sendak.

Morah Nomi and Morah Naomi

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Summer Updates!


Happy August, first grade families!  I have loved getting so many postcards in the mail this summer.  Every day I check my mailbox and in between the (boring) bills, magazines, and junk mail comes one happy yellow postcard with a beautiful story and picture of a summer adventure! Keep sending them please!

When I got back from my big vacation I decided to get a head start on the school year and revamp the first grade classroom and the hallway behind it.¬† You will see new paint, new decor, and a new organizational set-up.¬† I am so excited to implement learning stations.¬† Not only will your kiddos be able to move around the classroom more freely, but I will be able to hand-tailor lessons and projects to meet each child’s learning needs more easily.

I wanted to give you a sneak peek¬†into four units of study I have developed for¬†our fall and winter curriculum…

1.Character study (book character personalities and our own character traits) through the stories of Kevin Henkes

Wemberly from¬†Wemberly Worried, Owen from Owen, Lily from Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse, and Chrysanthemum from Chrysanthemum are four complex characters that we will become very close to.¬†¬†Not only will this cross over between¬†reading and¬†writing,¬†but we will be beginning¬†out first big social studies unit entitled “From the Inside Out”. This year-long journey will being with¬†studying “me”, then¬†each child will learn about how he or she fits into his or her school,¬† neighborhood,¬†and city.¬†¬†By the end of September first graders will know how to write their¬†full names (including middle name), know¬†the name’s origin,¬†know their full address, and know their parent’s phone number by heart!

2.¬†Families, Pets, and Companionship through the lens of Cynthia Rylant’s books

Henry and Mudge and Mr. Putter and Tabby are two of my all-time favorite first and second grade series of stories.¬† The warm world of a boy and his dog (with some visits from his cousin)¬†and an older man and his cat allow for situations where small problems are handled with grace, humor, and thoughtfulness. They are also books that many children will be able to read independently by mid-fall.¬† We will be deep into our guided reading groups by this second unit so you will see your child’s reading blossom right before your eyes! Pets are very fun to study and we will be researching various house pets including dogs, cats, birds, fish,¬†bunnies, and hamsters.

3. Friendship through the award-winning trilogy Frog and Toad All Year, Frog and Toad are Friends, and Frog and Toad Together.

Never have there been two friends who get into so many situations that represent universal struggles- willpower, procrastination, impatience, etc. They are always there for each other and¬†their¬†unique¬†world of having all day (no job, no school, no other family members) transports readers into a perfect vacuum where¬†life lessons can be¬†learned¬†carefully and easily. We will also study the differences and similarities between frogs and toads¬†during this unit.¬† One of the many science units we will delve into is animal life and we will touch upon habitats, behaviors, and biology.¬†(Spoiler alert:¬†frogs and toads are actually not friends in real life!) We will also be performing songs from “Frog and Toad: the Musical” to wrap it all up.

4. Adventure out into the world with¬†My Father’s Dragon

This is probably my favorite “real” chapter book.¬† Who doesn’t love a good fantasy in which the reader can: 1.¬†take a journey to an island on a dragon¬†2. meet colorful characters along the way 3.¬†solve every problem that comes along quickly and cleverly and 4. have everything work out in the end?¬† This is certainly a fun one.¬† Not only will it stretch us as readers, but there are so many fun crafts and map-making activities that go along with it!

I hope you all have a wonderful couple of weeks and enjoy these gorgeous days.¬† Please be on the lookout for one more letter from me before school starts and feel free to drop me a note at any time- I’ll be checking e-mail every day from here on out.


Morah Nomi



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What Exactly are the Common Core Standards?


I know that many people have ideas and opinions about the common core standards that Washington recently adopted.¬† I thought I’d post all of the common core standards for first grade reading, language, and math so that you could form your own informed ideas about them.

You will notice that the common core is very thorough and comprehensive.¬† I assure you that I will deliver this instruction to your children in a creative, inspiring way.¬† We will be embarking on a wide variety of themes, units of study, and projects that will allow me to teach all of the standards in a way that feels organic and meaningful to kids and parents alike.¬† I understand the controversy around the common core. In my heart, though, I feel that if every first grader could do what the standards ask us to teach them, we’d all be in terrific shape!

I’d love your feedback once you read through them.¬† Is there anything you think they missed?¬† Please note that they don’t include science, since we have standards from the National Science Educators that are fantastic, but I’ll talk about them in a separate post.¬† Happy reading!

1stGradeCommonCoreELAStandardsCHEATSHEETALLstandardson1PAGE 1stGradeCommonCoreMathCheatSheet

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“An Old Stump is Good for Sitting and Resting” – The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein


As you will quickly find out, Morah Nomi LOVES taking things she finds and making them special again. One of her hobbies is repainting and repurposing furniture so that learning feels comfortable and inviting. She was recently inspired by the stumps of an old tree that had been cut down in front of SHA. So, she and Mrs. Gindin decided to bring them inside and get to work!  With the help of several industrious students and a couple of trips to Home Depot, our first graders will have plenty of seating options in their future classroom reading nooks.


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Entering First Grade Summer Learning


Frog and Toad Blog Picture

Dear Students and Families,

I am so excited to have you in my first grade class next year!  We will learn and create many things together.

This summer I plan to go to New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland and Maine with my husband and two children to visit our extended family and friends for the month of July.  In August I will be at SHA setting up our new classroom and decorating the hallway behind it. I also have a stack of five books I am looking forward to reading on a lounge chair in my backyard and I am growing four different kinds of lettuce in my garden. What will you be doing?

Summer is for playing, exploring, and relaxing.  You will learn the most by spending time outdoors with friends and family. It is important to keep your reading and number sense skills fresh over the summer, though, so I made you a packet of engaging things I would love for you to do to get ready for first grade.  They will be fun and they will give you a taste of the kinds of meaningful activities we will do next year.  They will come home via backpack during the last week of school.

Included are:

  1. A copy of my favorite chapter (“The Garden”) of my favorite book (Frog and Toad All Year) that I hope you read
  2. Two blank postcards addressed to me at home that I hope you fill out and mail to me (I will mail each of you a postcard from the East coast so check your mailbox!)
  3. Ideas for playing my favorite ‚ÄúCommunity I-Spy‚ÄĚ game when you are out and about¬† (See “Homework” page¬†for a link¬†to the word document if you want to print off an extra copy.)
I will check my mailbox for your postcards.¬† I will be also be excited to read your ‚ÄúFrog and Toad‚ÄĚ answers on the first day of school and hear all about your I Spy experiences.¬† Have a wonderful summer and I can‚Äôt wait to see you on the ‚ÄúFirst Day at SHA‚ÄĚ!


Morah Nomi


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