An Introduction

Hello!  I would love to take a minute or two and introduce myself.  My name is Robin Hanson and I’m the lucky one who gets to work with your child this school year.  I have been teaching here at Prairie Mountain School for nine years and have been teaching first grade for a total of 19 years now.  In addition I have some experience teaching other grades but by far have spent the most time in first grade.  Firsters have to be the the funniest, most excited, most curious and eager group of students.

Fall Art

Our first major art project was reading Camille and the Sunflowers about Vincent Van Gogh and then painting our own sunflowers.  Next we got out the watercolors and painted fall.  And finally we read Ten Apples up on Top and put ourselves in the story.  I hope you enjoy these masterpieces.  Thanks to Cole Taber, our 8th grade community service student for arranging these up on the creek bulletin board for all to enjoy.


Little books

For the week of October 31 there will be no little decodable books in your students homework folders.  We will be reading a trade book entitled From Seed to Pumpkin.  The small decodable books will resume the following week of November 7.  

Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patch

Fall Field Trip to Dorris Ranch

Here are just a few of the pictures from our fall field trip to Dorris Ranch.  The operative word here was wet!  It rained from the time we got to the ranch until we got back to school.  And what did the weather do?  It stopped raining a few minutes after we got back to school and then a few minutes after that the sun came out.  As one of my lovelies said “Teacher, all of my parts are wet!”  Yes, we were all wet.  Rain and all, we had a great time.  Kids sorted beans, washed clothes, pumped water and then hauled it, swept out the cabin that in 1850 held two adults and six kids, played with toys that kids would have played with in the 1850’s, got to sit inside a Kalapuya plank house and got to sit in a re-creation of a wagon that brought most settlers to the west via the Oregon Trail.  Thank you Sylivia, Stephanie, Kristen, and Isabel for coming with us and helping to chaperone.  Enjoy these photos.

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The jog-a-thon is almost here!  This Friday, September 30 is the Prairie Mountain jog-a-thon on the big kids track.  Our time to run is from 12:15 to 12:45.  We’ll be running with kindergarten and second grade as well.  Friday is a good day to wear tennis shoes and comfortable clothing.  We have been practicing our running here at school during our PE time so my students are getting are building endurance and stamina for the big run.  We would love to have you come and cheer for us.  If you can come, we’ll be running on the track on the middle school side.  Much like last year, there will be water bottle station; however it would be great to have parents at different points on the track cheering kids on.  

Please return pledge envelopes the following week after we’ve run.  The jog-a-thon is a fundraiser for the PTO which generously funds a wide variety of activities that benefit students including field trips and playground equipment.  

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Welcome back to school!

September 18, 2016

Dear Families,

I so enjoyed meeting several of you at Curriculum Night.  It was good to connect with you and talk about the nuts and bolts of first grade.

This week our homework starts in earnest.  Included in the homework folder for this week are the following:

*The small decodable book that matches the sound or sound combination that I am teaching that particular week.

*The recording sheet for the decodable books.  Please sign and date the space after your child has read the booklet to you.  The goal is for each child to read the booklet to his/her parent; however if it becomes too difficult please read the booklet to your child or switch off pages or ask your child to read the words he/she knows.  The recording sheet will stay in the homework folder until filled, then there will be a new one.

*On Monday there will be the high frequency words printed on yellow cardstock.  These are words that we are also working on in the classroom.  The idea here is for the student to cut them out and place them in an envelope or baggie and practice a small chunk each day. 

*Additionally on Monday there will be a parent math letter letting you know what we will be working on in math for that week. 

*And one more Monday piece—the RAH (Read at Home) sheet will come home on Monday.  All reading minutes count—you reading a story to your child, your child reading, reading homework, pleasure reading.  At certain benchmarks small rewards are given to students since our goal is read, read, read.

*There will be daily math homework.

Homework folders come home Monday through Thursday. Please send them back to school each day.  Students need to put their names on each paper.  Typically there is no folder homework on the weekend. 

For this week there is also a parent survey regarding your child.  This helps me to see your child through your eyes and get to know him/her better.  You can send it back to school via the homework folder.  I appreciate your input and perspective.   

I also have a blog that I communicate with parents.  Based on last year I post pictures, notices, upcoming events, classroom information and school information.  If you would like to subscribe please go to the Bethel website and follow these simple directions.……………….click on schools………………….click on Prairie Mountain School……………………on the left are the staff web-sites…………click on my name Robin Hanson………………….on the right is where you enter your email address.  Presto!  You’re done!  Just so you know………..I plan to phase out the paper parent letters and just fly with the blog on the sooner side of things.   

Thanks for all you do to raise such kind and friendly firsters.  Take care and enjoy this changing weather as we slide into fall.

Warm Regards,

Robin Hanson

541/607-9849 ext. 28621st grade3



Dear Families,

I wanted to update as to homework especially as the school year winds down. 

First you will probably notice that our spelling words look a bit different.  We will be reading Amazing Whales this week and our words are pulled from this non-fiction text. 

Second even though we have finished reading the small decodable booklets, I’ll be sending the extras home as another opportunity to read a familiar text.  I’ve included a blank recording sheet.  Please record the date, the title and your signature.  The booklets are yours to keep at home.  It is my hope that you can use them over the summer for students to continue practice their reading and to perhaps read to a younger brother or sister.  This in addition to family books, library books, thrift shop books, garage sale books and books as gifts will help stop the dreaded summer slide.  As you may know Oregon has one of the shortest school years in the nation.  Anything we can do to keep students reading is helpful and puts each student in better stead for second grade both from a skill perspective and a confidence perspective. 

We still have another week or so to continue in the math unit we’ve been working on–coins and adding two digit numbers up to  100.  You’ve noticed that the number one thing we’re working on is showing our work.  So there will be lots of number bonds, ten sticks or the arrow way.  The big take away in math is that students must show their work.  Simply putting down an answer, even the correct answer will not be enough.  As you may have noticed we are taking slow steps toward teaching students the conventional algorithm that you and I learned in school.  But first it is show, show, show your work.  Students must show their understanding of place value–tens and ones.

And of course there is the reading book.  The first grade goal is for every student to read at 68 correct words per minute or more in a standard first grade passage.  As of the last measurement our class average is 74 words in a minute.  Yes, I know reading is not a team sport but the average shows you that there are several students who are reading well above the grade level average.  And another chunk who are right there at the cusp and will soon pop up to the grade level benchmark.  I always say there are three hard working folk who get kids up to benchmark and on their way to decoding print and ready to transition from learning to read to reading to learn–hard working kids, hard working parents and a hard working teacher.  It takes all of us to get our kids up to grade level and ready to go into second grade comfortable with the grade level requirements.  So thank you for listening to your child read, read, and read again and keep them motivated and in the game even as the school year winds down.  My plan is to take one more measurement that last week of school and I’ll be excited to see growth between now and then.

Thanks for all you do in raising such curious, engaging, determined and joyful learners.

With warm regards, Robin Hanson

First Grade Music Program–all dressed up and all joy!

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Spring Field Trip to City of Eugene Public Works Open House

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What fun!  Our spring field trip was to the City of Eugene Public Works Open House.  A big thank you to Shannon Lloyd, Shannon Spicer, Chris Mullen, Chris Shandy, Jodi Strausbaugh, Eric Freel, and Margaret Julich for coming with us.  We dodged most of the raindrops until the very end when boom!  A big rainstorm dropped while we were loading onto the bus.  Chris, an urban forester was our tour guide and we got to see lots of big trucks, a police car, wet land animals, learn about trash and litter, learn about protecting the soil and the drains so dirt doesn’t go into the drain and into the river, the airport, and finished up having lunch at the site before coming back to school.  We came back to school to do our math and to dry out.  A fun day! 


Spelling Words

1. whale
2. mammal
3. ocean
4. calf
5. blowhole
6. baleen
7. krill
8. pod
9. breaching


Whales are mammals who live in the ocean.

The spelling test will be given on Friday or the last day of the week.

Lesson 26

Spelling Words

1. mix
2. mixed
3. hop
4. hopped
5. hope
6. hoping
7. run
8. running
9. use
10. used


The surprised teacher saw the bear above the even numbers.

The spelling test will be given on Friday or the last day of the week.


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