About Me

Hello! I am a first grade teacher at Skillin Elementary School. For the past 20 years, I have been lucky enough to teach children from preschool through fourth grade. Sharing learning and growth in an engaging, fun way is an incredible way to spend my day! First grade is a magical time where children become amazing readers, writers, mathematicians, friends, great thinkers and so much more!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Children's Book Week

Hello and welcome May!!!

The first week of May is Children's Book Week!

Skillin is celebrating with many fun activities!

In addition, students are encouraged to participate daily by:

MONDAY:  Wear stripes for Where's Waldo

TUESDAY:  Wear red or blue shirt for One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish

WEDNESDAY:  Wear silly socks and cat ears for Pete the Cat

THURSDAY:  Fairy tale character hat day - Think crowns, tiaras, witches, wizards, knights and dragons themed head wear.

FRIDAY:  Be a "wild thing" with wild hair for Where The Wild Things Are

We are excited for all the fun ahead!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Spirit Week

Hello everyone!

Information went home in totes on Wednesday but I wanted to be sure everyone received the flyer! The students have high hopes of earning the Spirit Trophy and Pizza Party!  For that to happen, we need EVERYONE joining in on the fun!  

MONDAY - Wear pajamas to school!  (This goes perfectly with the class' recently earned reward of a movie in the afternoon)

TUESDAY - Dress like your favorite book character!

WEDNESDAY - Wear a blue shirt to show awareness of colon cancer!

THURSDAY - Dress like you would for your future career plan! 

FRIDAY - Wear as much green and gold as you can to show off Skillin School pride!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

January News

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all enjoying all that winter in Maine has to offer!  We have been fortunate to be able to get outside most days so far!  I have lots of important information to share with all of you.

First, congratulations to the students for making 100 good choices during the past two weeks!  We have been working really hard at becoming more independent, staying on task, being respectful, responsible, safe and kind members of our classroom.  For a few months, the students were earning individual points on our Class Do Jo board. However, we began to show signs of being ready to move to a class reward system.  Yahoo!  So, we began coloring in numbers on a 100 chart every time we were spotted making a good choice.  It took very little time before that chart was full!  The children voted on their preferred reward.  We organized and represented the data, and it was determined that the majority of students preferred to have a Pajama and Stuffie Day!  We will be celebrating this tomorrow...Monday, January 30th.  Students can wear their pajamas and bring a stuffed animal to read to during Read to Self time.  PLEASE keep the stuffed animal small enough to fit inside your child's backpack!  Thank you!  I'm so proud of how hard the students have been working on these important lifelong skills.

It was wonderful to see so many of you at Family Fun Night last Thursday.  I hope the children are all enjoying their bags of learning tools.  Actively engaging with your child in learning games and reading will provide them with many benefits.  Thank you for being involved!

We will be celebrating Valentine's Day on Tuesday, February 14th by exchanging valentines with our classmates.  Students are encouraged to bring in valentines for all students in the class.  We have 18 students in our class.  Rather than writing names on the valentines, simply send in 18 valentines signed by your child.  Valentines can be sent in anytime after Thursday, February 9th.  Let me know if you have any questions!

We have been very busy learning lots in first grade!  Here is an update on our recent learning targets!


  • I can decode words with final e and long vowels.
  • I can use reading strategies to solve unknown words.
  • I can decode regularly spelled one-syllable words containing digraphs and blends.
  • I can understand that a noun is a person, place, thing or idea.
  • I can understand the basic structure of a sentence.
  • I can write a story with a beginning, middle and end.
  • I can gather information from pre-selected sources to answer a question.
  • I can count from 1 to 100.
  • I can understand and use patterns in numbers from 1 to 100.
  • I can understand the hundreds chart and how it works.
  • I can show a number in many different ways.
  • I can organize, represent and understand data.

No wonder we all go home so excited about learning! As always, thank you for sharing ALL of your children with me! I am so fortunate to have each and everyone of them a part of my life!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

December News

Hello everyone!

It was wonderful to connect with all of you during conference time.  It is always exciting to share about how children are growing and learning!  I was able to learn a lot about them from you too! Thank you for your time and support!

Last week we started learning about how holidays are celebrated throughout the world. We are focusing on Mexico, the Ukraine, China, India, Israel, African nations and a few others still to be determined.  We have already had many great discussions about how even though people may live in different types of houses and eat different types of food, there are similarities.  All people celebrate, have families, play, eat and more.  We are focusing on several learning targets through this unit:

  • I can understand that a map represents a place.
  • I can understand that people have different cultures.
  • I can understand the world is diverse and multicultural.
  • I can compare customs and beliefs from around the world to one another.

Additionally, we continue to work on our math and literacy targets.

  • I can use what we know to solve unknown words.
  • I can decode words with consonant blends (br, st, pl, etc) and consonant digraphs (sh, ch, th, wh)
  • I can understand the central message of a story.
  • I can use capitals and periods when writing a sentence.
  • I can understand the basic structure of a sentence.
  • I can understand addition as putting together and adding within 20. (We start subtraction this week!)
  • I can understand greater than, less than, or equal to for objects using terms and symbols.
On top of all that, the cold and snow have arrived! As a result, so have snow pants, mittens and boots, oh my!! PLEASE send your child prepared to be outside every day. There have been many cold hands and wet feet in the past week or so! Some people find it easier to keep a pair of snow pants at school. Students can also keep a pair of shoes at school to change into after arriving in their boots. One big request....PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE help your child learn how to tie shoes if they have not already! Snow gear with 18 kids is quite a process; having to tie several pairs of shoes takes up a lot of time!

Thank you again for sharing your children with me! I am so honored to be their teacher and a part of their lives.

Happy holidays to all of you! Enjoy this special time of the year!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

KinderKonzert November 15

KinderKonzerts November 15th
Grades K - 3
The South Portland School Department is excited to partner with the Portland Symphony Orchestra to bring the PSO's widely acclaimed KinderKonzerts to ALL kindergarten through 3rd grade students on Tuesday, November 15, 2016!  The theme is Lighthouse Keeper: The Story of Abbie Burgess.  This is a work commissioned by the Portland Symphony Orchestra and composed by Delvyn Case which tells the true story of a brave young girl whose determination and courage kept the lighthouse lit against all odds. This piece paints an exciting musical portrait of life on an island, the shifting ocean, majestic lighthouses, raging storms, and even silly dancing puffins.  Students will interact with the musicians from the PSO string section, connecting music, literacy, art, nature, and Maine heritage.

For the November 15 concerts, Skillin and Small K-3 students will be bused over to the South Portland High School Auditorium for a 9:45 AM show.  Brown, Dyer, and Kaler K-3 students will be bused over for a 10:45 AM show.

FYI...we do not need chaperones for this event but thank you to those of you who reached out!

Monday, October 24, 2016

School News and Updates

Did you know that Skillin has a Facebook Page?  Be sure to like the page so you can keep up to date on the great things that are happening at our school!

October book orders are due by Thursday!

Thank you for the help and support you are providing to your kids with completing homework!  A couple things to remember:

  • Word lists should stay at home so the words can be practiced.
  • Math papers also stay home.  They are your choice.
  • Please send in only the bingo board!

Parent/teacher conferences will be held in mid-November.  Be on the lookout for sign-ups.  I look forward to meeting with you soon!

We are working on many important learning targets in our classroom!  

  • I can understand addition as putting together and adding within 20.
  • I can understand greater than, less than, or equal to for objects using terms and symbols.

  • I can use what is known to solve unknown words.
  • I can understand that a sentence is a group of words beginning with an uppercase letter and ending with punctuation.
  • I can decode regularly spelled one-syllable words containing digraphs (sh, th, ch) and blends (st, bl, pr, ...)

We also continue to work on many behavior targets!
  • I can listen when someone is talking.
  • I can use an appropriate voice level.
  • I can follow directions.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Balancing family life and school is tricky!  It is important for kids to develop a homework routine, practice what they have learned and show you what they can do.  But, every day brings different schedules and different kids need different things.  Here is a homework plan that you can personalize for your family’s needs.

  • Reading is crucial to developing readers!  Please spend 15 minutes several times a week either reading with your child or encouraging them to read on their own.  

  • Periodically, your child will come home with a new word list to practice.  On the back there will be ideas for fun and engaging ways to practice the words.

  • Each week, I will send home math practice pages and/or games for you to play at home.  Pick and choose what works for you!

On our class blog, you will find links to several great sites that your students might enjoy using as a part of their homework.  Check them out!

RAZ Kids info:  Information will be sent home on Monday and emailed to you.

Each time your child reads, practices words or completes math work, have them color in a picture.  The goal is to complete 2-4 of each area each week.   Please return the homework page each Monday so your child can show all their hard work!

Keep in mind that your children work really hard all day long at school.  It is important for them to have time to be outdoors, build, create, explore and relax at home!  If homework becomes a challenge in any way for your child, let me know so we can come up with a plan.

As always, contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Karen Robbie

Name __________________ Week of _____________________

15 minutes of reading
Math practice