Ms. Harmacinski’s Blog

The Beginning of our Lenten Journey

During this past week the first graders learned that Lent is a forty-day journey toward conversion and change of heart. The journey includes fasting, prayer, and penance. They recognized that Lent is a time when you pay special attention to putting God first. This can be done by showing love to God and others, by […]

What a week!

Wow! What a snowy, busy week! The first graders are in full swing with their nonfiction animal writing. They are doing a really nice job using their research and their own unique “voice” to produce a good piece of writing. It’s exciting to see how the children have grown as writers and readers! In math, […]

Nonfiction work continues in 1H

The first graders successfully completed the middle of the year NWEA assessment in both reading and math this past week. They approached the assessment with confidence and gave their best effort. We were grateful to experience only one minor glitch during testing on the iPads. As a result, testing on both Monday and Tuesday morning […]

Notebooks and Math Facts

Although last week was only a four day school week, the first graders accomplished quite a lot! They jumped right into their new interactive grammar notebooks by coloring, cutting, writing, and catagorizing common nouns. They also worked out some misconceptions between common nouns and proper nouns. The first graders began learning about conventions, or features, […]

Ringing in the New Year with Nonfiction

Our classroom is buzzing with the excitement of nonfiction! The first graders have selected four different animals to “research” and are already engaged in finding out more about them. Hopefully, the excitement has spilled over to your home and you’ve had an opportunity to do a little “research” too!  As a class, the children voted […]

Trimester 1– Done!

It’s hard to believe the first trimester of this school year is over. We have had a wonderful 60 days together and learned so much.  During this past week, we spent our instructional time assessing the children individually with specific math, reading, and phonics skills. Spending time with each child gave us far more information […]

Halloween, All Saints Day, and More!

This week was packed full of so many good things! It started out with a fun, Halloween writing prompt during writer’s workshop. The first graders did a great job of writing to the prompt: “When I get scared, my mummy…” They enjoyed talking about the way their mummy (aka mommy) takes care of them when […]

Fairy Tales and More!

What a great week the first graders enjoyed! They learned that fairy tales may include: magic, fantasy, or make-believe elements a problem or conflict in the story and a happy ending when it is resolved a setting in the past a “once upon a time” beginning events, people, or objects in sets of three an […]

Practicing our skills

This past week of school the first graders worked on initial blends in phonics. They practiced their skills by writing words with initial blends on dry erase sleeves (encoding) and then read the list of words aloud (decoding). The children continued to work on blends during “Word Work” in Daily 5 by playing a Roll […]

Fluency in reading…and math!

As it turns out, our class loves a little competition! The first graders are all about practicing their sight words and doubles math facts. They love to show what they know and they are getting quite good at each task. Mrs. Jank, Mrs. Gasper, and Mrs. Litzinger  have all noticed the increased level of interest. […]

Hooray for Science!

The science bug has officially bit the first graders in 1H! They are so excited to learn all about the world of living things. They have classified the parts of an assortment of flowers to observe what parts are alike and what parts are different. The children have also learned how to group animals according […]

Practice, Practice!

This week the first graders began their journey into the world of mastering basic math facts. They have started with the doubles facts (1+1=2, 2+2=4, etc.) and have had some fun with the memorization process. Right now the children are singing their way to success. Ask your child to sing The Doubles Rap for you! […]

Learning New Strategies

This past week the first graders were introduced to some  brand new strategies.  In reading, they were taught how to blend sounds (s-t-r-e-t-ch it out) and reread. We call this strategy “Stretchy Snake” and the children really had fun practicing it together! Beginning readers often learn their sounds in isolation. The leap from knowing letter […]

Working Well Together

This class of children is amazing! Not only do they work well together, they also congratulate one another when an individual is recognized for exceptional work or behavior. Many times during a given day I observe a child serving the needs of a friend before serving their own needs. Such a beautiful learning environment! Each […]

Reading Strategies at Work

In order to become good readers children need to use the three cuing systems: Graphophonic Visual – Does it look right? Syntax Structure – Does it sound right? Semantic Meaning – Does it make sense? The first graders will spend the duration of this school year learning, utilizing, and perfecting these systems. They are currently […]

First grade working as a team

What a wonderful week! The first graders are learning the routine of our classroom and the routine of our weekly schedule. They are also working on taking their great behavior to the next level. I love seeing the happiness and hearing the encouraging words from this delightful group of children. This week in religion the […]

Routines and Transitions in First Grade

Our first full week of school has come and gone in the blink of an eye! The boys and girls in 1Ha have been busy learning the routine of their new classroom. They have practiced routines and transitions over and over again in an effort to be clear on the expectations we have for them. […]

The First Few Days

Our classroom is already alive with movement, singing, reading, and a little bit of laughter. This wonderful group of children is attentive and ready to learn! As a result, we have covered a lot of territory in a few short days. The first graders are learning the importance of following directions quickly and quietly transitioning […]


Thank you, parents, for taking the time to come into our classroom this past Sunday for our First Grade Meet & Greet and for joining us on the first day of school. Your presence in the classroom is so important. It demonstrates to your child that we will work as a team to give him/her […]