1st and 2nd Grade

Mr. Thomas' First and Second Grade Class





Weather websites we use in class: 

Students are bringing home reading book bags with books on their "just right" reading level.   Please know that these book levels were selected after assessing your child's ability and examining both accuracy and the types of errors made while reading.  In addition, your child is assessed on answering questions about their reading. The questions include inferential questions as well.  So for example, a student may be able to read text on a level D, but they are not able to fully comprehend and infer on text higher than a level B.  So we would work with that students to learn more strategies and skills around inferential questioning.  

Please make sure your child takes good care of the books and bag brought home.  Ideally they should read every night.  They don't always need to read from their book bag if you have plenty of other books to choose from.  But we send home the book bags so children can show off their reading skills to you and can have books at home at their instructional reading level.  But certainly supplement these books with other types of books on various levels.  Also, it is still VERY IMPORTANT that children at this age still get read aloud to- it can be the parent or older sibling but they need to see and hear others modeling strong reading skills.

Math Playground for math games!

To access Internet webpage bookmarks that students use in the classroom click the link below:
Type "stripedhat" into the SEARCH window (no spaces)
Then click the link labeled "stripedhat" 
NO username or password is needed

Grades 1-2 Units of Study

Reading- Reading Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Extended Vocabulary. CAFE.  We are working to read to self and read to someone every day.  

Math-  Fact power (addition and subtraction), place value, math number stories, weight, & measurement

Writing- Beginning, middle, end, sentences, adjectives, nouns, BOLD beginnings, capitalization, and generating ideas, sequencing of events, temporal words to signal order, closure.

Science- Force and Motion including simple machines- Levers, wheels/axles, inclined planes, pulleys, wedges, screws and more.

Animal Research Website

Past Archive of projects in Room 6


Harrisville Wells Memorial School Students Travel to Space

First and second-grade students at Harrisville Wells Memorial School are studying space: constellations, stars, planets, and space exploration. The space unit will cover several of the following subjects and skills: math measurement, computer file management, communication, creative writing, typing, poetry, reading, research, note taking, singing, art, multimedia creation, physical education/movement, music, myth writing, public speaking, collaboration, word processing, and higher-order thinking skills.

To prepare for their space flight missions, students complete astronaut training in the gym to get strong enough for space travel. They learn how to communicate with “NASA Mission Control” through headset communicators. They review actual printouts of the NASA Saturn V rocket manual. They make space mission patches to wear while conducting their research.  Students make their own trading cards based on facts they learn about space.


To kick off the research part of this unit, students completed astronaut training.  As a part of their training, students had workouts on scooters to develop strength.  They studied gravity by using various tools to lean the effects of gravity.  They also entered a 25'x30' inflatable space station and crawl through tunnels to various inflatable planets and spacecraft until they arrive at the rocket module. Once secured in their module, they use a communication headset and an iPad to talk to and receive a text message from “NASA.” The text message shows each student a picture of their destination in space and assigns them a crew member for the project.


Students complete their mission training to learn how to conduct research and collect data. For this project students utilize NASA communication devices (Chromebook computers) to learn about the procedures for the project as well as conduct the necessary Internet research on their destination. They will also use books for research. Students work in pairs and go on a virtual mission to another planet, star, or moon, space vehicle, or deep space object in our solar system. While on that mission, students learn how to search for information on select websites and books and take notes. Students then create multimedia PowerPoint type projects complete with text, pictures, picture animations, slide transitions, letter animations, and even audio recordings. After researching and collecting the data on their destination in space and creating a multimedia presentation based on that data, each crew will contact Mission Control on Earth to transmit their data to Houston and the other student astronaut crews. Students will present their multimedia projects on the classroom Smart Board projection screen while teaching the other crews about their particular destination. So through this process the students learn quite a bit about one particular planet, star, or moon, or other space topic and then their peers teach them about the others. In addition, after studying the constellations, first and second grade students write their own constellation myths based on a group of stars they have created using star stickers and glow-in-the-dark paint. The students’ mission is to write a myth that explains how their specific constellation came to be in the night sky. And throughout the unit students read books and watch videos on NASA space exploration. They learn about historical events, such as landing on the moon or space shuttle missions, as well as recent developments in space exploration.


Note- third grade students and a few older students who do not participate in NHDI dance activities will be joining us.


Pi Day 3.14.15

Students learned about Pi during SWAP (School Wide Activity Period)   Many activities were explored including making music from the digits in Pi, creating colored skylines using Cuisinaire rods from math, exploring circles using software, compasses, and large craft paper. Students created a mural of the digits of Pi on the wall and down the floor of the hallway.  Students even saw how they can learn computer coding.  Here are some of the links students explored on the most epic Pi Day in our lifetimes:


Making music:  http://avoision.com/experiments/pi10k

Exploring Circles:  http://windowseat.ca/circles/

Computer Coding: https://blockly-games.appspot.com/maze

Here is another coding website:  https://blockly-games.appspot.com/turtle?lang=en


First and Second Graders Integrated Study of Plants in the Field & Forest at the Harris Center Hancock, NH




Harrisville Wells Memorial School first and second grade students in John Thomas’ class used their recently acquired science, writing, math, and social studies skills to work on a challenge unit of creating their Perfect Plants. 


They started their study of plants at the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock, NH. Students were challenged to examine plant life and habitat in both the field and forest.  Students visited both field and forest to collect data including soil temperatures, plant measurements, and plant type counts.  Students took soil core samples and compared soil from the field and forest.  Students created 3” tall “Peeps” (people) out of twigs, yarn, and acorn tops.  They took the peeps and created a path for the peep to walk through both field and forest.  Students examined how the terrain of the forest is different than the field from the viewpoint of their 3” tall peeps. Students wrote descriptive sentences about their observations. 


Over the next several days, students analyzed the data, studied the soil samples with magnifiers, and completed an integrated performance task of creating their Perfect Plant.  They had to create a plant and decide what the seed looked like, how long it takes to germinate, what the stem, leaves, roots, and flower looked like. They had to determine the habitat and needs of the plant such as water, nutrients, and sunlight.  The students had to provide evidence, based on their learning, why their Perfect Plant had the particular needs and traits.  Finally, the students published their own informational text based on their Perfect Plant work.

Below are some past projects.


Second- and Third-Grade Reporters and Photographers

The second- and third-grade students at Harrisville Wells Memorial School love their school. They are learning how to share that love with others by writing to newspapers throughout the state. Their work has included letters to the editor about bear safety as well as press releases about events at the school. So far the students have been published several times in the Keene Sentinel, Parent Express, Concord Monitor, and the Portsmouth Herald. The students are learning how to edit and revise their work and use various methods to write, such as writing with partners and as a class using the LCD interactive Smartboard. Students are learning to conduct interviews, take notes, write quotes, take digital photos, and research facts as well as make creative multimedia projects using PowerPoint. Using “real world” topics has provided the students with an authentic writing experience. Students will also be comparing and contrasting the production of a community paper (Common Threads) with a regional paper (Keene Sentinel). This project is helping to motivate students to write, edit, and revise their work, as well as allowing them to learn more about the communication of information.


The Harris Center honored our own John Thomas, the second- and third-grade teacher, as “Educator of the Year.” 

His yearlong project on bears led to activities on tracks, habitats, life cycles, bear bags, and human interactions. Janet Altobello was able to bring in a stuffed black bear cub for the class to study while they did experiments to learn about how bear fat keeps the bears warm for the winter. The second- and third-graders collaborated on a writing project that started with researching local bear incidents that evolved into letters to the newspapers.


The students are full of ideas, and some have been busy putting wood chips on the trail.  The wood chips help to prevent regrowth and make a smoother, quieter walking surface. The fourth- and fifth-graders will be creating activities, mapping the area, and creating a brochure to have out in the spring for visitors. Please visit and see the trail. The woods are a wonderful thing!

Jan Yardley

The following press releases were written collaboratively 

by second- and third-grade students.

Pumpkin Bill Celebration

On Thursday, October 20, the Harrisville Wells Memorial School will be celebrating Pumpkin Day. Highlights of this full day of activities will include a keynote speech by Kathy Frick, the Wells Memorial teacher who led the efforts of 14 students from Harrisville to establish the Pumpkin Bill for the State of N.H., which identifies the pumpkin as the state fruit. (More info here if you are not familiar with this bill: http://www.nhpr.org/node/10577). That night families in town will create Pumpkin Head Scarecrows to display near the road in front of the school.  Every family will personalize the clothes of a Pumpkin Head Scarecrow, complete with a student-painted wooden head.


Harrisville Hikes

Students at Harrisville Wells Memorial School took a hike at the Harris Center on November 1. There were three trails: Jack’s Pond, Dandelyon, and Orr’s Edge. Most students wore snowshoes on the trails. On Jack’s Pond there was up to two feet of snow on the trail. Janet Altobello of the Harris Center works with the students on animals, rocks and minerals, and many other science topics. Many students were able to show what they had learned with Janet. Every group saw animal tracks in the snow. It was a great day.


Harrisville Rocks!

Recently the second- and third-grade students from Harrisville Wells Memorial School went on a field trip to the center of Harrisville to study rocks and minerals. The class used a map to label what kind of rocks and minerals they found. They were looking for three types of rocks used for buildings: granite, marble, and slate. The students found rocks and minerals at the cemetery, weaving center, mill, church, Veterans Memorial, and library. Granite was found in posts by the cemetery, gravestones, foundations, steps, benches, stairs, and building blocks. The children saw a couple of buildings with slate roofs, slate walking paths, and marble gravestones.


Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream

Harrisville Wells Memorial School celebrated and learned about Martin Luther King Jr., at two different whole school meetings. The third-graders created and read protest signs with Mrs. Emily Hartshorne, teaching principal, to act out Dr. King’s life. The kindergarten through sixth-grade students watched the “I Have a Dream” speech.   

The six-graders led the entire school on a protest march through the gym. The sixth-graders read parts of Dr. King’s speech and made protest signs for the march. At lunch all students wore buttons that resembled the buttons worn in the march. During lunch students learned more about each other by asking questions and noticing differences between students. 


The Circus Comes to Harrisville!

Students at Harrisville Wells Memorial School are learning techniques and skills for the circus. Marlborough and Harrisville Before and After School Program students practice Monday through Friday for two weeks.

The students use pogo sticks, lassos, stilts, devil sticks, juggling scarves, rolling globes, rip sticks, moon hoppers, diablos, rolla bollas, juggling bean bag balls, hula hoops, plate spinners, and juggling clubs.

Troy Wundurle runs the circus. Troy is a director of Circus Smirkus, director of Clowning for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and founder of Wunderle's Big Top Adventures. Mrs. Frannie Ashworth, Kim Bylancik, Mrs. K, Morgan Cleveland, Angie Miller, and Sarah Downing help the students in the circus. The circus performance is at Harrisville Wells Memorial School in the multipurpose room Friday, February 3, at 6:00 p.m. thank You! The Harrisville Before and Afterschool program would like to thank the Harrisville Community Fund for sponsoring the circus residency program. 


Wells Memorial School Science Trail- Dec 2011/Jan 2012

“There’s a long, long trail a-winding.” Well, the trail isn’t that long, and it really doesn’t wind that much, but thanks to Robbie Crowe, the nature trail is open again and the students are excited. Once the hazardous trees were cut down, Robbie lined the school’s nature trail with logs and then erected two kiosks for his Eagle Scout project. Janet Altobello, our resident naturalist from the Harris Center, has now been able to use this area with the different classes. The sixth-graders have been investigating mushrooms, fungi, and decomposition; the kindergarten–first-graders have been learning about trees and using some materials created by their “buddy class” of the fourth- and fifth-graders, who have also been learning about trees. Keith Pancake has met with the fourth- and fifth-graders as well and will be continuing his support of student efforts to develop materials for the trail. Besides learning about the trees, Janet will return in the winter to help the fourth- and fifth-graders with tracking.