Dear Kitah Aleph Families,

We had a month full of fun and learning in Kitah Aleph!  Here are some details about what we did during this past month:


Reading Workshop

The late fall has been a time of tremendous growth both in reading skills and independence in Kitah Aleph.  We recently began “book shopping,” where students choose new books for their book bags once a week.  Each student has a library card tailored to their “just right” reading level to help them book shop.  They get to pick practice books (books that feel easy to read), books that feel “just right,” challenge books and picture books.  Thank you for your continued support in reading with your first grader every evening!   Whether it’s reading from their book bags or reading a favorite story from home–any literacy experience your child engages in will help your child develop as a reader.

We also began talking about different strategies for sounding out words that we don’t know.  Our “animal toolbox” will help us with strategies to figure out unfamiliar words, For example, “Lips the Fish” helps us get our mouth ready to say the first sound, and “Chunky Monkey” who helps us find chunks we know.

Writing Workshop

We just finished up our first unit in Writing Workshop!  Students worked on editing their own work and making sure it was ready to be published.  Our pieces were bound into our first Kitah Aleph class book.  We celebrated our published pieces of writing by reading them to the whole class during “dining entertainment” one day at lunch.

In our new writing unit, we will be learning about what inspires authors to write the books they do and searching for inspiration of our own by wondering, remembering, imagining, and observing.  We are concentrating on writing complex, multi-sentence narratives. Students will choose a piece to revise and edit using proper writing conventions and mechanics, including periods, question marks, upper and lowercase letters, and word spacing.


This month we learned how to “tap out” sounds to help us read words!  This skill has also helped us stretch out sounds when we write, so we can hear all of the sounds in the words we want to write. We also tap out letters to help us spell accurately.  Here is a video to show you how we do this in class:

We’ve been focusing on using capital letters at the beginning of a sentence and adding a period at the end.  We’ve also been working on scooping phrases in our reading, to help us read with fluency so we don’t sound like a robot.

Recently we introduced digraphs.  Digraphs are letters that stick together to make a brand new sound: sh, ch, th, wh, and ck.  We continue to work on our lowercase letter formation by practicing writing words and sentences.


We continue to learn many more Hebrew letters and vocabulary words!  So far, we have learned to read, write and say the letters sheen, alef, bet, gimmel, daled, and hey and many words and phrases with those letters. We have read Hebrew storybooks about the characters in the Ariot books.  We have also been practicing speaking in Hebrew in both conversations and role-playing games to build on our oral fluency skills.


Kitah Aleph students loved solving addition and subtraction story problems this month!  We engaged in solving story problems using a variety of strategies.  Students were asked to show their work and include an equation with each problem.  We also played a variety of addition and subtraction games during math centers to increase our knowledge of addition facts and work on the concept of subtraction.  We are so impressed with the creative and effective ways students came up with the to solve many different types of problems.


We have been learning more and more about our wonderful city of New York!  We have read books about New York City and examined several different kinds of maps of the city.  We used string to create paths from each of our homes to our school.  We also compared pictures of suburban neighborhoods, streets, and schools to our school and neighborhoods and streets.  We are starting to create our own maps of our classroom, school, and practice cardinal directions.  

Parshat Hashavua

We have been engrossed in a deep study of the first few parshiot of the Torah!  In preparation for Simchat Torah, we studied a Torah and examined it closely and shared what we noticed.  We then began with the study of parshat breisheet.  We took a close look at the verse about light and practiced saying the verse while creating light and shadows with flashlights.  For parshat Noah, we took on a special STEAM teivah (ark) challenge with the 5th graders, and created teivot (arks) that were able to float in water and hold two animals.  We also studied parshat lech lecha through picture books, Hebrew direction map experiences, and a tent experience with a special guest from the past – Sara.

Science and Coding

This past month, our science/engineering unit has taken off!  We explored different pieces of equipment at the playground, experimented with pendulums, and created a blueprint for our model playground.  We began talking about our playground prototypes, incorporating physics concepts and design elements such as slides, swings, tunnels, and paths.

We have been so excited to begin coding in Kitah Aleph!  We first practiced coding by using index cards of smiley faces and houses and arrows.  We then tried to “program” the smiley faces to get to the house by using the arrow cards.  Most recently, we have been working in a coding program on iPads.


Looking Ahead

  • We will continue our new reading and writing units.
  • We will introduce small reading groups.
  • “Show-off books” will be sent home for homework.  These books provide added practice to reinforce the skills learned in class.
  • We will begin our Scholastic Book Club. You will be able to order books for your children through an online portal just for our class.  Stay tuned for more on this!
  • We will begin a new math unit on geometry.
  • We will continue creating our playground prototypes in science.
  • As always, we will continue to discover, read, and speak with more Hebrew letters, words, and stories.  We will be learning more about the letters hey, vav, zayin and more!
  • We are deep into the most familiar narrative portions of the Torah: the family stories of the avot (forefathers) and imahot (foremothers). This month, we will study Toldot, Vayetze, and Vayishlach.
  • We will soon begin our unit on the upcoming Chanukah holiday!


Special Projects, Events and Activities:

Wednesday, Nov. 22 — 12:00 NOON dismissal Thanksgiving

Thursday, Nov. 23 — Friday, Nov. 24 — NO SCHOOL Thanksgiving

Monday, December 4 — Parent Teacher Conferences 4:00 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Monday, December 11 — NO SCHOOL  Parent Teacher Conferences 8:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 14 — School-wide Chanukah Zimriyah Reception 9:15 a.m., Zimriyah 10:00 a.m.