Room 8 Schedule

Science Lab & Literacy

Tuesdays - 10:45 to 11:45


Tuesdays - 11:45 to 12:15

Choral Music

Wednesdays - 10:45 to 11:15


Thursdays - 10:45 to 11:15


Fridays - 11:45 to 12:15



Office:  927-3570

Attendance:  927-3578

email address:

I prefer email rather than voicemail, but please understand that I may not be able to check email until after school.  In the event of an emergency, or for urgent situations, please contact the office directly.

What does it mean to have a mathematical mindset?

Visit at Stanford University, to learn more about the power of creating flexibility in thinking about numbers and how mistakes and struggle are important to our students' learning. 

growth mindset

Please take a few moments to watch this TED Talk:  The Power of Belief - Mindset and Success: Eduardo Briceno at TEDxManhattanBeach 

Christina Nitsos

Design and Engineering Highlights from Fall 2017

From our October field trip to Stanley Middle School to observe the 8th Grade students' robotics designs to our 1st Grade students' exploration and problem solving, Room 8 engineers have experienced a variety of hands-on design and engineering challenges throughout the fall months.

Each of these experiences offers opportunities for our students to build science and math skills.  Typically there is not single "right" answer—for any one challenge, a number of solutions may be viable.  Additionally, hands-on, project based learning provides opportunities for students to work collaboratively, asking and answering questions, thinking creatively, and communicating respectfully with each other.  Finally, these challenges provide an early introduction to engineering, encouraging many capable students to consider engineering as a career.

Mathematicians at Work in Room 8

Problem Solving in First Grade

Understanding our base-ten number system requires that our first grade mathematicians construct meaning and develop a strong number sense.  In Room 8, we love to explore numbers and encourage flexible thinking.  Our problem solving activities can involve constructing numbers with concrete manipulatives, as well as using a variety of strategies to identify and construct numerical relationships.  (Example: 10 more, 10 less, 20 more, 50 more.)  Beyond developing skills and strategies, we take great care to develop habits and behaviors.  We expect these habits and behaviors, will endure throughout our learning in first grade and beyond.  Below is a partial list of strategies and behaviors developed during our first grade year:


Specific Strategies

General Behaviors

Draw diagrams and tables

Work cooperatively

Work systematically

Communicate using math vocabulary

Recall basic math facts

Comprehend and explain problems

Make and take prediction

Transfer skills

List possibilities

Check for reasonableness of results

Collect and organize data

Self correct

Identify relevant information

Persevere with problem solving



Authors Conferring

Building Good Habits in Reading and Writing Workshop in Room 8

In first grade, we strive to provide a balanced literacy program, which includes many opportunities for students to read, to write, and to be active thinkers and engaged learners.  Not only have we launched Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop, we continue to incorporate interactive read-alouds with accountable talk, shared reading and writing, interactive writing, word study, and more. 

Literacy in First Grade

The new Common Core Standards emphasize that students should spend a significant amount of time reading and writing non-fiction, as well as fiction.  Within our literacy program, we provide frequent opportunities for our students to read and talk about books (both fiction and non-fiction genres), as well as their own writing.  Throughout the school day, students sit shoulder-to-shoulder or knee-to-knee to share their thinking, reading, and writing. 


As teachers, we explicitly teach our students:  how to get ready to read and write; how to monitor for meaning; and how to apply thinking strategies, such as visualizing, asking questions and wondering, predicting, and inferring.  Additionally, we help our young readers develop print strategies for figuring out unfamiliar and challenging words.  And, we continually monitor our students attitudes toward reading—are they eager or hesitant and what books and topics do they gravitate toward—with the goal of encouraging and supporting their excitement about learning and growth in first grade.

Thinking Strategies

Thinking Strategies

Choosing Just Right Texts


Allow your child to read two or three pages and ask your child these questions:

Will it be an easy, fun book to read?

  • Do you think the topic will interest you?
  • Do you understand what you're reading?
  • Do you know almost every word?
  • When you read it aloud, can you read it smoothly?

If most of the answers were "yes", this should be a just right book which your child can read independently.

Will this book be too hard for your child?

  • Are there five or more words on a page that your child cannot read?
  • Is this book confusing and hard to understand?
  • When you read it aloud, does it sound choppy?

If most of the answers are "yes," this book is too hard. You should wait awhile before your child reads this book. Give the book another try later, or read the book to your child as a read-aloud.

When your child can't read the word, say…

  • What is the first sound?  What is the last sound? What word would make sense?
  • Check the picture for clues.
  • Does it have a pattern that you have seen in other words? (examples:  ake, et, ai, tion)
  • How does the word begin?
  • What word would make sense using these beginning sounds?
  • Put your finger under the word as you say it.

When they want to read a book that is too hard, say…

  • Let's read it together.
  • This is a book you will enjoy more if you save it until you are older, or later in the year.
  • [Be honest!] When people read books that are too hard for them, they often skip important parts. You will have more fun with this book if you wait until you can read it with confidence.