Weekly Update, March 5, 2020

March 5,  2020

Coming Events:

Friday March 6- NO first Friday Free Dress

Friday March 13- No school.  Teacher In Service

Friday March 20th-Woodland Park Zoo Field Trip


This week we really focused on place value.  Students glued beans to sticks to help them understand the concept.  Here’s a fun video that talks about place value click here to see it.


We are reviewing nouns daily during our morning calendar routine.  Do you remember School House Rock?…or am I really dating myself? Anyway, here’s another fun video to watch click here.  Our reading day was a big success!  We read many Dr. Seuss books throughout the week.


Students learned to identify various animal habitats and how scientists group animals.  We learned about Herbivores, Omnivores, and Carnivores. We read a great story about carnivores. 


We are learning about Baptism and how we are members of the Catholic Church.  We also are learning the Good News, Jesus is our Savior. We continue to work in our Lenten Reflection journals and listen to the Sacred Story program.  Students are learning about each of the Stations of the Cross.  

It sounds like the bus presentation and bus ride were a big success.  I was sorry I missed it. Steve from Community Transit does an amazing job.

Updated Newsletter, March 2, 2020

1A News

February 28, 2020

Coming Events:

Monday:  Dr. Seuss’ birthday- Reading Day

Students may bring a small stuffed animal, small blanket, a few books, and a pillow

Tuesday:  Community Transit presentation and bus ride.

March 20th:  Save the date.  Zoo field trip- more information coming soon!


Last week we finished up Volume 3 of our Math book.  Students participated in fun fraction activities. Volume 4 will focus on place value and greater than equal to concepts.


Students are moving forward.  Soon we will be working on inferring and identifying a character’s point of view.  We continue to work on fluency and using strategies to break down difficult words into small chunks.  Identifying how many syllables in a word is another skill we work on daily.



Our letter writing activity couldn’t have turned out better.  After mailing our letters at the school mailbox and returning to the classroom we received an amazing e-mail from Mrs. Smeby.  She just happened to be leaving the chapel and was able to take pictures of the mailman arriving at the mailbox and picking up our letters!  I showed the pictures on the big screen and the students were so excited. You should have seen their reaction. I don’t think people winning the lottery would have been as excited as the class was.


We began our study of Lent this week.  Students did an excellent job at Ash Wednesday, Mass.  We have been listening to our Sacred Story music and reflecting about things that make us happy.  Friday, we attended our first Stations of the Cross prayer service.


We have just begun our study of animals.  Students sorted animals into habitat groups.  First graders will be learning a lot about large land animals just in time for our trip to the zoo on Friday, March 20th.  I hope you can join us. The more adults we have attend the more fun everyone has.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Maureen Buennagel

Weekly Update, February 21, 2020

Dear 1A Parents,

I am hoping 1A students will have the opportunity to mail a letter to themselves.  We have written them and addressed our envelopes.  Mrs. Olson, in the office, is going to show us how the stamp machine works.  Hopefully we will mail our letters today (fingers crossed).  When your child receives his/her letter in the mail can you please write the date on the envelope and return it to school.  I don’t need the letter back…just the empty envelope.  We are going to study the envelopes to see what happens once they leave our hands.  We are also going to see if we get our letters on the same day or if they arrive on different days.  Thanks for your help with this.

Here’s a link to my newest newsletter.   I noticed some pictures don’t show all the details unless you click on them.

I hope you enjoy it!  Have a great weekend.


Weekly Update, February 7, 2020

1A News

February 7, 2020

Coming Events:

  • 1A students will be taking the winter MAP test on Monday and Tuesday.  Please make sure your child gets plenty of rest by Monday morning. I’m using data to validate instructional practice.

  • We attend mass this Wednesday.  Please be sure students are in full uniform

  • Thursday- Valentine’s Day celebration.  Please be sure your child has a card for each and every student.  Treats will be provided by the Fania family.

  • Friday- No School- Teacher In-Service

This past week went by so quickly.  Can you believe it’s almost Valentine’s Day?  It seems like we just celebrated Groundhog Day!  Monday was filled with creativity and fun building our groundhog houses.  Students had amazing ideas. Fun was had by all. Our class attended the Guild Faire on Monday, also.  Yep, many had cotton candy and sugary treats by 9:30 in the morning. The balloon hats were a big hit. The seventh grade raised over $1,000.00 for their fundraiser!   On Thursday, we filled an ice cube tray with water so we could have ice cubes for our umbrella lesson. On Friday, we finally got to perform an experiment with the umbrellas we made with the seventh graders.  Students made predictions about which umbrellas would protect an ice cube from our sunlight…(a lamp). We put a variety of umbrellas under the lamp and placed an ice cube under them in a cup. We then watched our ice melt throughout the morning.  Each student also chose an umbrella and got an ice cube to place anywhere in the classroom. We used a light sensor to see where the light was the brightest and chose places we thought our ice cubes would last the longest.


We continue to work in volume three of our math books.  Students are learning about symmetry. We used pattern blocks and yarn to divide shapes in half equally.  We watched some educational video clips about symmetry. Students seem to really understand the concept. Students were also introduced to the symbols for greater than less than.  They learned a new dice game to play to practice this concept. We will be having a chapter test next week.


We reviewed the suffixes ed, ing.  We also practiced dividing words into syllables and learned more idioms.  One student had heard the idiom “a bull in a china shop”. He said his dad says it to him frequently, but he didn’t know what it meant.  We have been using the idiom it’s raining cats and dogs. Some students wanted to change it to elephants. A favorite idiom among students is “a chip off the old block”.


Students wrote penguin stories to go with their Lego builds.  Seventh graders acted as editors. After helping edit stories the seventh graders worked with the first graders to type the stories and take pictures of their Lego scenes.  You can view your child’s story in their Google Classroom account. Hopefully we will be printing them and designing covers, title pages, and include information About the Author.


We began Chapter 8 in our Religion book.  Jesus teaches us to thank God, our Father, for all his gifts.  Students discussed what they are thankful for. Everyone had a lot to say.

Enjoy your weekend.

Weekly Newsletter, January 13, 2020

1A News

January 10, 2020

Happy New Year and welcome back!  I LOVE January. It’s my favorite month of the school year.  The excitement of the holidays is behind us, the students know the classroom routine, and their skills improve at an amazing rate this month.  The students are having fun learning and we get to do fun projects.

This week we are going to be very busy.  On Monday, the 7th grade is going to come in and help us build umbrellas for our STEAM lesson.  On Tuesday, students will make their Lego backgrounds for the upcoming penguin stories, and we are learning a lot about numbers and words.


I added a few activities to our morning calendar routine.  Students are learning about “perimeter”. I changed the background to look like grid paper, add a square or rectangle of varying sizes and then we measure the length of the sides of the shape and figure out its perimeter.  We continue to work on math vocabulary words. We are reviewing the terms- quadrilateral, polygon, pentagon, hexagon, octagon, plane shapes and solids. As part of our upcoming geometry unit students are learning how to draw 3 D shapes and learning new vocabulary words such as vertex, vertices, faces, corners, and edges.  We are also working with clocks daily and practicing telling time to the hour and half hour. Here’s a suggestion for an activity to do at home: Go on a clock hunt. How many clocks do you have in your house? Are they analog or digital? Practice reading the time on both types of clocks. Ask questions about elapsed time.  For example, if I go to soccer practice and 3:00 pm and I am done at 5:00 pm how many hours did I practice? Another good skill is to estimate how much time something takes. Then time your child doing that task.

We finished chapter 6 in our math book.  Students completed a chapter test, unit test, and the Cumulative test for volume 2 of our math books.  I will send them home soon so you can see how your child did.


I added a few skills to our morning calendar routine.  Students are learning about syllables and suffixes. They are learning to identify past, present and future in words we use.   Here’s how you can help at home. Watch this video with your child.  Point out the dots between the syllables in words on the video.  Look words up in a dictionary. See how the syllables are broken apart.  Clap, stomp, chomp, and have fun!

The suffixes your child is learning are ed and ing.  Here’s an example using the base word walk. I am going to walk to the store.  (walk is the base word-tells what I will do in the future). I am walking to the store.  (added an ing to the base word walk- this tells what I am doing right now, in the present).  I walked to the store. (added ed to the end. This tells something I already did in the past).

We continue to work on skills in small reading groups.  We are working on fluency and learning new words through context clues.


We practiced retelling the story of Tacky the Penguin.  Students identified  the characters in the story and where the story took place.  They also had to identify the problem Tacky and his companions were facing and how they solved the problem in the end.  This week students will practice writing their own narrative using a penguin as the main character. They will build their story setting out of Legos and place a Lego penguin which they have already built into the scene.  Then they will write an original story of their own.

We began a new spelling book this week.  Students will be completing lessons daily in class.  There is no list to study or practice at home.


I wish you could have seen the excitement in the room over flashlights and shadows.  It was a really fun lesson! A little chaotic but a lot of fun. I love hearing the giggles and laughter when it’s linked with learning.  Let’s hope for the same success when making tiny umbrellas.

Have a good week.

Weekly Newsletter, December 9, 2019

Coming Events:

Friday, December 13th: Christmas Program- Please arrive at the Everett Civic Auditorium at 6:45.  The first graders sit with me through the entire program.

For all the details please review information that was sent home on Wednesday, 12/4.

1St Grade Giving tree: Socks and/or tights for newborns (multiple sizes and colors) 

You can see more details here.

Tuesday, Gingerbread Day- 9:00-11:00ish  I’m still looking for volunteers and cookies!


Our week was amazing!  I think getting rest over Thanksgiving break breathed a new positive energy into our classroom.  Students were kind, helpful, and they all worked really hard.


Students completed chapter 6 in math.  I introduced a little bit about measurement.  I was thinking of ways you could help your child with this.  Have you ever thought of Christmas baking as educational? Don’t miss this great opportunity to have your child work with fractions.  Measuring ingredients is a great way to learn about measuring and fractions. Think about pies too! What a great way to bring fractions to life and connect them to real world experiences.


Students continue to make good progress with reading.  What can you do to help? Please make sure your child continues to read over vacation.  There are a lot of Christmas stories out there to be enjoyed! My plan is to introduce syllables, suffixes and prefixes and idioms.  Feel free to begin talking about these things with your child at any time. You can see examples of idioms here.  They are kind of fun and easy to do in the car!


Your children worked really hard this week.  They learned about writing generally and specifically about a topic.  Using adjectives and verbs students wrote about reindeer in general and one individual reindeer (Rudolph).  After completing the pre-drafting guide provided they worked with sixth grade editors and monitors. The first graders did all the writing.  The sixth graders helped guide them and reminded them where capital letters and periods belonged. After the sixth graders left the first graders made hand print/foot print reindeer for the covers of their books.  Now they are working on illustrations. We can’t wait for you to see these!


We celebrated our first week of Advent by making Advent wreaths out of paper.  They are hanging in the hallway and will be coming home soon. We will be attending weekly mass again.  Please make sure your child is in full uniform, especially on Wednesdays. We will be attending mass on Monday, to celebrate the Immaculate Conception feast day.  Speaking of uniforms, please review our uniform policy here.  You can find the information on pages 15 and 16.  There are many students who are fudging the rules.  Please don’t make me send notes home with them. Anything you can do to “clean up” uniform infractions is greatly appreciated.

Have a great week.  I hope to see you Friday night!

Maureen Buennagel


Weekly Update, November 18, 2019

Dear 1A Parents,

We had a very busy week in first grade.  Our productivity is increasing! Everyone did very well on their Math and Science tests.  Your child and I will be sharing the results of their hard work at conferences. There should be a note in your child’s backpack that went home yesterday explaining how conferences work.  Please let me know if you have any questions.


Your child took an end of chapter test, end of unit test, and a cumulative test for the year.

If you would like some fun mental exercises to do with your child try this… have your child tell you what is ten more or ten less than any given number below 100.  For those who are struggling with this, I would start with what’s 10 more than 20, etc. For those who need a challenge begin with what’s 10 more than 15, what’s 10 more than 63, what’s 10 less than a given number, etc.  It’s a fun game to play in the car. We’re also working on learning coins. Anything you can do with money practice would be great. Count dimes, nickels, pennies, etc. This is a great opportunity to practice counting by ones, fives, and tens.


We set some individual reading goals.  We are working on accuracy, comprehension, and fluency.  I’ve seen amazing progress among all students.


We continued work on writing our Scaredy Squirrel persuasive letters.  You will have the opportunity to see these at conferences as well as the Lego Build your child completed to go with the letter.  Some students have finished writing bedtime excuses using Google Drawing. Others will continue the work on Monday.


We’re still working in the Baptism chapter in our books.  We attended Mass and continue to work on treating others as we would like to be treated.


Our science test was a great success for most students.  We will continue to learn about trees in our upcoming studies.

All our students are back in good standing with technology use.  Let’s hope valuable lessons were learned and move on in a positive direction.

We are looking forward to having our Art Docent, Mrs. Nguyen, return to our classroom this coming week to do another amazing project with our students.

Have a great weekend!

Maureen Buennagel

Weekly Newsletter, November 11, 2019

Upcoming Events :
An important email will be coming from the office to sign up for conferences in the next few weeks. Conferences are student led, this means your child will come to the conference to share their work. Conferences will be November 22, 25, and 26. Please sign up for a time that works when the link is sent, thank you.

No school dates in November-
Monday, November 11 in honor of Veteran’s Day
Friday, November 22- Conferences
Monday, November 25- Conferences
Tuesday, November 26- Conferences
Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday November 27, 28, & 29 for Thanksgiving

Progress reports
Progress reports and MAP test results are in your child’s homework binder. If you have questions or concerns please let me know.

Here’s what we have been up to in 1A this week:

We are getting close to the end of our chapter on graphing. Students will take the test on Tuesday. If you would like to give them some extra practice with graphs and tally marks that would be great. If you follow this link it will bring you to a website that goes with our math series. (eduplace.com) We are working in chapter 4 but feel free to have your child explore the site. There’s some fun educational games too.

Students continue to develop a good sight word vocabulary. Some groups are learning about long vowel combinations. (oa, ai, ay, a_e, etc.) Students are learning about using commas in a series, quotation marks, and question marks.

We used our Lego Story Starter Kit for the first time this week! We reread a story called Scaredy Squirrel. After hearing the story students had to come up with three persuasive ideas to encourage Scaredy Squirrel to come out of his tree. Their Lego builds and their writing were very creative. Next week we will work on writing final drafts of our letters to Scaredy Squirrel.

We finished our chapter about creation this week. We also learned a second type of prayer. The first one we learned was a prayer of praise. Now we are learning about a prayer of thanksgiving.

We are working on completing our review packet. We will take the test the day after you see the review packet come home. If you would like to see our latest vocabulary words go here.

Enjoy the three day weekend!

Maureen Buennagel
First Grade Teacher

Weekly Newsletter, November 4, 2019

Weekly Update, October 21, 2019


Friday, October 25th- 

  • noon dismissal, 
  • Halloween Carnival is from 6:00-9:00, costumes are allowed at the carnival but not during school day, thanks.

Coming events:

Thursday, October 31st-

  • Homework Packets due
  • Halloween and All Saints Day Expectations: (If your child wears a costume on Halloween, he/she must dress up as a saint on All Saints Day, November 1st.) 
  • If your child is not dressing up as a saint on November 1st then he/she needs to be in uniform all day on October 31st
  • Students come to school in their uniform on Halloween and will put costumes on after second recess.
  • Costumes are not mandatory. Participation is optional.
  • No masks
  • No weapons of any kind, including weapon replicas and toys
  • No Clowns
  • No mouth items, such as fake teeth and lips
  • Students will be participating in classes as normally scheduled.
  • All hair dye, face paint, nail polish, etc. must be removed by the next day  (please make sure it’s unscented) 
  • The links below offer some simple suggestions for saint costumes:



Our Halloween Party will be in the afternoon on Halloween Day.  More details will be sent out soon.


Thank you to everyone who attended Math Family Night.  It was a great success!

This week we began a new math chapter focusing on subtraction.  Students learned a few new vocabulary words, which can be found here.  They also learned different strategies for solving subtraction problems.


We continue to work on reading strategies and identify Genres of stories we read in class.  Students are gaining new skills every day. Please work on identifying nouns at home. Students are learning the difference between proper nouns and common nouns.  Anything you can do to help your child understand what nouns are would be really helpful.


We concentrated on nouns again.  Students wrote books about themselves.  (auto-biogrophies!) I introduced the concept that even though we call each other by a name we can be many things.  Students brainstormed and illustrated a list of ideas of who they are. Students began their stories by saying… My name is_________.  Then students chose words from our list that described who else they could be. For example, I am a soccer player. We had the opportunity to read our books to 3A on Friday.


Students continued work in the chapter about praising God and recognizing all the good things he created.  We attended Mass on Wednesday.


Our class took a leaf walk on Tuesday afternoon.  Students collected leaves to study in class. We used small magnifying glasses to take a closer look at our leaves.  Students made leaf rubbings using peeled crayons. We discussed the difference among and between the leaves collected.  If you would like to help your child learn our new vocabulary words please look here.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!