Friday, December 23, 2011

Have a Wonderful Break!

*Disclaimer: contrary to popular belief, this is NOT me.  However, I do have a very similar video in the archives...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Board Gamin' & Brain Bustin'

One of my all time favorites
* This Friday, December 16th, is Mustang Motto Day.  First, have your lil' rascals wear their Flames tee!  Second, the theme is Board Game Bonanza.  Therefore, the students are allowed to bring in their favorite board game to play.  We will be playing games with Ms. Cairns's class.

* Today, we solved the biggest brain buster of the year.  Click here, press the circle button, and follow the rules below;

1. Only 2 people can be on the raft at the same time.
2. The daddy cannot be left alone with either or both of the daughters without their mommy.
3. The mommy cannot be left alone with either or both of the sons without their daddy.
4. The robber cannot stay with any family member if the policeman is not there.
5. Only the adults (the daddy, the mommy, and the policeman) know how to operate the raft.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

And a-one, and a-two, and a-threeeeee!

1. We recently finished our last read aloud, A Barrel of Laughs a Vale of Tears by Jules Feiffer.  It was recommended to us by Mrs. Rolfes.  I had never read it before.  Boy, was it hysterical.  The kids LOVED it.  The only thing they didn't love about it was that there was no movie to compare it to.  However, our new read aloud, The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, does have a movie to compare it with.  For now though, the kids could care less about the movie and are more concerned about Despereaux heading to the dungeon with the rats.

2. Our class just completed another word with the power of the compliment.  Be sure to head over to the Compliments tab and check out the word.

3. Your kids rock.

Guided Reading/Writing & Volunteers

Every morning your students work wonderfully during our guided reading time.  This process has evolved over the last few months.  In the beginning of the year, I met with just one small group per day, while others simply read their "just-right" books.  As the students matured within my classroom expectations, I began to see two small groups at a time, giving the rest of the class a few options of what they wanted to work independently on.  Once I saw great enough student indpendence in this process, I moved to a more specific and structured rotation routine that we have been doing for over five weeks now.  I now see three out of the four small reading groups per day, meeting with each group a total of three times per week.  The four stations consist of (1) writing & illustrating, (2) word work on the Smartboard, (3) independent reading with a "just-right" book, and (4) reading leveled stories with Mr. Kaegi. 

Recently we have added 6 iPads into our routine as well.  After the winter break, I would like to have an iPad station for two of the days (M&W), and a guided writing station for the other two days (T&Th).  That's where the parents come in!  If any of you are interested in facilitating a writing station from about 8:30-9:15 once a week, please email me.  The students are now ready for another challenge!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Two Things

1. Our Math Facts program has been going well since it began last month.  Please remember to work on these math facts with your kids when you get the chance.  Also, please continue to follow the instructions from the original note home, leaving 3 seconds for each fact.  There was a bit of a misunderstanding here in Firstgradeland, but we are making moves back to the 3 seconds/fact process.

2. Here are your darlings enjoying their well-deserved dance party last Tuesday;

Monday, November 28, 2011

Picture Day Redux

Just a quick reminder that picture day is Wednesday, November 30th.  For picture re-takes you will need to send in the pictures you received before break.  They will be given to the photographers and a new photo will be taken.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

PJ Dance Party

After spelling the word "impressive" with compliments, the class has voted for a pajama dance party for tomorrow!

Be sure your kids wear their PJs to school tomorrow, but this time...NO stuffed animals.  The kids know this already.  Do not let them make you believe otherwise...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Tab!

Be sure to check out the new "Math Facts" tab up top.  There you will find downloadable/printable Math Facts sheets in case you need extras.  I have only posted the first review set.  When we get to the next set, I will post accordingly.

The BFG vs. The BFG

22 Comparisons from the book and the movie, The BFG

1. In the movie, The BFG does not end up living in the castle.
2. In the movie, The BFG does not make a book.
3. In the movie, Sofie does not poke Fleshlumpeater with a pin.
4. In both the book and the movie, Fleshlumpeater ate kids.
5. In the movie, there was a little, random mouse.
6. There was not a song about whizzpopping in the book.
7. In the movie, some of the giants wake up at the end and in the book, only Fleshlumpeater wakes up.
8. In the book, Fleshlumpeater is sleeping with his arm under his body.
9. In the book, Sophie teaches The BFG how to write.
10. In the movie, The BFG makes a new outfit for Sophie.
11. In both the book and the movie, The BFG was worried Sophie was eaten in the snozzcumber.
12. In the book, Sophie doesn't yell to the Fleshlumpeater at the end.
13. In the book, the Queen gives Sophie a new dress.
14. In the movie, the giants don't play catch with The BFG.
15. In both the book and the movie, there are nine giants.
16. In both the book and the movie, there are bellypoppers, I mean helicopters that carry the giants.
17. In both the book and the movie, the giants go to different countries for different tastes.
18. There was no big dream room to show Sophie in the book.
19. Both the book and the movie include Buckingham Palace.
20. There isn't hot lava in the book.
21. In both the book and the movie, Sophie is an orphan.
22. In both the book and the movie, the giants get captured.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Friday!

Well worth the advertisement...

Speaking of eating all those peanut butter cups...

Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 31, 2011

That Big and Friendly Giant

Another read aloud is complete! The class loved Roald Dahl's adventure, The BFG.  As a reminder, I like to show the movie to the class for comparing and contrasting purposes.  We will be watching The BFG, which is rated G.  Also as a reminder, we do NOT watch the whole movie in one day.  I simply replace the 15 minutes of read aloud time with 15 minutes of the movie.  It usually takes about a week and a half to finish the movie, and we compare and contrast daily along the way.  I understand that some of you may not want your child to participate in this activity.  If that is the case, please let me know and I can create an alternate assignment for them.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween FAQ

What time is the classroom party?

Are parents invited?
Only the room parents and helpers will be attending.

Boooo!  But Mr. Kaegi, I really want to come have some fun with my child.
Believe me, I know.  However, 22 kids + 20 or more parents = mass chaos.  You can have all sorts of fun with them later that night!

That's OK, I understand.  What about the parade then?  When does that start?
The parade starts promptly at 2:15.

Where does it start and end?
The parade starts by the back doors of the school and then do si dos around the block; school to Berkshire to Kenilworth to Forest to Berkshire to Field Park to playground to school to pumped up kids to crazy hallways.

Awesome!  What if my kid needs some final touches on his costume?
Great question, two answers.  You may pull your kid during lunch from 11-12 to get them ready for the parade OR you can send your child with the costume to school and myself and the room parents will assist in getting ready.

Man, that sounds crazy.  Is there anything else I can do to help?
Yes, you can convince your child to donate one or more Reese's cups to Mr. Kaegi.  I hear he'd greatly appreciate it.

I'll do my best!
Yes...yes you will.
The kids love this song almost as much as I do.  I told them I'd put it on here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Math Facts, Math Facts

Last night, there was a note sent home regarding our Math Facts program. Attached was the first set of facts. These facts are not to answer and turn back in, but for you to work on with your child at home. As the letter states, when your child has "mastered" the first set of facts, a new set of facts will be sent home. The facts are up to the sum of 12.

Please note that this program is used to supplement and enhance our Everyday Math program. The processes and strategies we are learning in Everyday Math carry over to the math facts. As I have expressed to some of you, the Everyday Math establishes the building blocks for basic arithmetic. In other words, we don't want the students to just memorize that 6+3=9, we want them to be able to explain the 'why' and the 'how'.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Your Kids are the Cat's Pajamas

We have earned a Pajama Day for spelling "terrific".  This Friday, the 14th, the students are free to wear their favorite PJs and bring one stuffed animal that fits inside their backpacks.  Coolio.  Meow.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Walk-To-School Week!

Next week is Walk to School Week at Mann School! 
Students are encouraged to walk or bike to school as much as possible next week.  Each morning there will be greeters on the blacktop encouraging active transportation to school.  Prizes will be awarded during the week to students who pledge to walk and bike as much as possible.

Monday: Wear red for transportation safety.
Tuesday: Wear blue for water conservation.
Wednesday: Wear green for reducing waste and saving Earth.
Thursday: Wear yellow for energy.
Friday: Wear your favorite sports team colors or Mann Wear for staying active.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September Madness!

Well, it took over 30 names and 600 votes, but in the end we ended up with an NHL Western Conference matchup in the final pairing.  Naturally, it was the only voting tie of the process, so Mr. Kaegi had to make the painful and final vote.

 A look at how we arrived at our classroom name of Mr. Kaegi's Flames...

Class Brainstorm

Name Bracket (winning votes in gold)

Oh yeah, we will be red...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Time to get Spiffy

Thursday, October 13th is picture day!  Going home with your child today is a picture order form.  If you ever need an extra, click here.

Little Timmy's still a bit angry his mommy never opted for the laser background...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Friday!

1. I goofed and forgot to omit the bringing in nickels jazz on the homework last night.  I've sent them back with your child.  We do not need them.
2. The tab "Smiley + Work" is up and running.  Check it out and have your child show you what he or she did!
3. Have as good of a weekend as this guy will;

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bonus Words

My apologies for not relaying this information to you yesterday.  From now on, we will have bonus words each week for spelling.  If your child is finding a particular spelling list too easy, I encourage her/him to study the weekly brainbusters.  You will see the challenge words in green at the end of the list over to the right.  These words are selected from our weekly oral vocabulary lists.

Follow the LEADer

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Our first read aloud of the year is rapidly coming to an end!  The class is loving Roald Dahl's classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  At the end of fantastic books like this, I like to show the movie to the class for comparing and contrasting purposes.  We will be watching the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which is rated G.  Also, we do NOT watch the whole movie in one day.  I simply replace the 15 minutes of read aloud time with 15 minutes of the movie.  It usually takes about a week and a half to finish the movie, and we compare and contrast daily along the way.  I understand that some of you may not want your child to participate in this activity.  If that is the case, please let me know and I can create an alternate assignment for them.   

Quick Hits

* Tomorrow we are starting our weekly computer lab visits.  Most students have their headphones in their desk.  If your child does not have headphones at school, please do your best to send some in by next week.

* Don't forget about our weekly spelling tests every Friday.  Be sure to study nightly!

* If you are interested, you can "subscribe" to my blog by scrolling all the way to the bottom and clicking the "subscribe" link.  If you do that, every time I make a blog post (not little changes, i.e. picture updates), you will be notified by email.  At least that's what I understand will happen.

Monday, September 12, 2011


1st grade started spelling today.  Coming home with your child is a spelling pretest from today.  This week, all students are doing the exact same list.  As the weeks go on, this will change, and different lists will be created for different students.  Also, please be diligent about keeping your child up-to-date with our word wall/sight words on this blog.  We review them in class, but practicing them at home really helps as the students work hard to improve their reading skills.

Hot Off the Preiss

Horace Mann is delighited to welcome author Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and illustrator Ron Barrett on Monday, September 26th.  Ms. Preiss Weitzman and Mr. Barrett will talk to our 1st graders about their careers and their newest book, Superhero Joe.  If your child wants an autographed copy of their book, fill out the form that went home today and return it by this Friday, September 16th.

I Love My School Too, C.P.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Stuff! Get Excited!

Yes, this what I looked like when I got my first Nintendo...and blog.

Anyways!  I have added a few more tabs at the top of the blog over the past few days.  Be sure to check out our "Compliments" and "Victors" tab.  "Spelling" will be up and running next week.  Please be patient with "Work to Smiley + About"!  Look for "Books We've Read" as a coming attraction in the next month or so.

Also added is our nightly homework.  Over there. To the right.  See it?  It's all bold and red and stuff.  My goal is to make entering this nightly information a class job for the students.  We'll see how that goes. 

Finally, down in the "Educational Links", I have added XtraMath.  There was a note sent home tonight regarding this online program and I encourage you and your child to set it up and participate!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

FWD: PTO Family Night

What? Mann School PTO invites all families to: New Family Potluck Night
When? Thursday, September 15th, 6:30 pm.
Where? Mann School Cafeteria
Why? Please join us for pizza and an opportunity to meet the principal, members of the PTO board and some Mann “veteran” families!
Who? Bring the whole family and your questions.
How? If your last name begins with: A-L: Please bring an appetizer, M-Z: Please bring a dessert.
Please contact Kyla Lombardo at 708.763.9339 or to R.S.V.P. on or before September 14th.
Volunteers needed too!

Welp, this is Embarrassing...

Last week I sent home a note regarding Time For Kids.  Apparently I was so pumped up for TFK that I forgot to put down how much it costs.  Time for Kids is $4.42 (or $4.50 if two quarters is easier...).  Cash or check is fine.  Please try and get this money in by this Friday, the 9th.

I've sent home the same note again, just in case you misplaced the other one.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And a One, and a Two, and a Threeeeeee

1. Yesterday, I emailed out the conference sign-up sheet from last Thursday night.  I believe I have everyone's email.  If you did not receive last night's email, please email me at and I will add you to the group. 

2. Be sure to check out the blog, as we are starting to add some things here and there.  We have our "Stars of the Day" page in full gear, as well as our "Word Wall" words.  Also, be sure to note what days we have each special in case you want to dress your child accordingly.

3. The students have done a terrific job with the implementation of our Reminder system.  Therefore, many of them will be able to purchase prizes before I know it.  Mr. Kaegi's prize box is running a little low, so if any of you have any sort of, ya know, "stuff" to donate, that would be fantastic.