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January 16, 2015


Afternoon class

Afternoon class

Snow angels

Snow angels









Hi Everyone!

We’ve been having a great time getting to know each other after winter break.  For those of you who were asking, Ms. Terri is working in a first grade classroom right now as a substitute. She was a substitute for me while I was on medical leave since last spring. She is planning to come and visit us because as much as the children miss her, she misses them.

If you need to contact the classroom, please call us directly:  773-535-0954. You can leave a message if we don’t answer (I don’t interrupt teaching for the phone). You can also call the office at 773-535-0970. You can also email me at

I will be posting a weekly letter to you on my blog and in email. Some of you have asked for printed copies which I’ll leave in your mail files. Please be sure to check your mail files daily! I will only print out letters for people who requested them. Photos will only be on the blog so don’t miss it!


These last two weeks we’ve been getting to know each other.  Teachers are by nature persnickety and I’m no exception so I’ve been rearranging the classroom, reorganizing materials, assessing the children’s skills and carrying on our regular activities.  And while we were so busy doing all these things, IT SNOWED! So the children have been learning to cut out snowflakes, we’ve been making snow people, and we’ve been learning about snow.  Did you know that each snowflake starts with a “speck” of dust or sand or even a bacteria? The crystal forms around it in a hexagon shape so that every snowflake has 6 points! We have been playing in the snow every chance we get.  The snow was “dry” and powdery today so we couldn’t build a snowman.  We’ll try again tomorrow.  The morning class was curious about what would happen if we poured water on the snow. So we did! It got hard, not slushy as we predicted. Can you think of experiments you can do with snow at home?

We have been learning about the number line and how to use it to tally up the number of children present and absent. We’re learning to match each name card with a number (one-to-one correspondence) and that the last number with a card is how many. We are even combining the children present with the children absent to know how many children are in the class all together. We’ll do lots of cool things with our number line.

We’ve been reading lots of snow books this week, including “The Snowy Day,” “The Jacket I Wore In the Snow,” “Over and Under the Snow,” and “Snow.” I started reading a chapter book to the older children in the afternoon class – “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen. The children immediately related it to the queen in “Frozen.”

We’re starting to learn about Jazz music. This week we listened to Sonny Rollins’ “St. Thomas.”


We’ll be starting our exploration of light. We think about light from 3 places: fire, electricity and the sun. We’ll of course be playing with our shadows out on the playground.

JAZZ! We started this week and we’ll continue listening/dancing to different jazz songs. We also have some books about jazz musicians. Sonny Rollins, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Esperanza Spaulding — I don’t know who will be the favorites. We’ll keep you posted.  MARK FEBRUARY 11 ON YOUR CALENDARS! That the the evening of the Ray School Black History Gallery Walk-Through. And special for our preschool study, we will have a real jazz combo! This is the only opportunity we’ll have for our preschool children (and the rest of the school) to see jazz musicians perform up close. Help us make this study meaningful and bring your child! It starts at 5:00.

OUTSIDE PLAY: Check the weather report! If it’s 15 degrees or below, we will stay inside and go to the trike room. There the kids ride trikes, ride “the boat,” play on the balance beam, play with balls, jump ropes, etc. We’re always looking for more fun activity things to do inside so let us know if you have ideas. If we’re outside, WE DO PLAY IN SNOW! Please make sure your child has boots and snow pants and warm mittens or gloves. If it’s rainy we’ll be inside. Feel free to bring in a pair of slippers/crocks/inside shoes to leave in your child’s cubby. This helps a lot during snow season.


Library help! We have a library system set up. We need someone who could put in 30 minutes a week helping children check out books and check in returned books. Please see Jane if you can do this.

–Someone who can help me put up artwork in the classroom, especially in high places.

–Want to be with the kids in the classroom? We could use help with journals (taking dictations) and reading to the children on the rug.


–Plants for the fish tank

–Items for our “Book Nook” like pillows, things to hang on the little house, etc.

–If you can, we would appreciate any donations for our classroom CD Player/Boombox. You can donate through “Donors Choose”:

Thanks for a great start to the new year!

Jane Averill


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