I would like to welcome you all to first grade. We are off to a great start and I am very excited about our new year together. This is my first grade handbook; hopefully it will provide you with a lot of helpful information as to how I manage our first grade class. My web page is now up and running. I will do my best to keep this updated with current assignments, newsletters and fun pictures!
Arrival and Dismissal
Children are allowed into the classroom at 7:30am; at this time the students are to get ready for the upcoming day. Assignment sheets need to be checked, homework, and any letters of communication, need to be turned in at this time as well. Our announcements begin at 7:45, all children should be in their seats and ready for the day at this time. If your child comes in late they will need to do so quietly as not to disturb our morning routine. Children are dismissed at 2:10 pm. If your child’s regular routine changes in any way please be sure to let me know so I am aware of this change as well. Leaving a note on your child’s assignment sheet will be one sure way to communicate these changes to me. If you need to send a message during the day regarding a schedule change please call the office and leave a message with Mrs. Allen, she will make sure I get your message. Please do not leave any time sensitive messages on my email, I typically have a pretty busy day with your children and I don’t always check my emails regularly throughout the day.
In first grade we will begin using assignment sheets. These will help you and your child keep track of our weekly lessons and assignments. They are also a great communication tool between home and school, please feel free to send any questions or comments you may have for me on these sheets, I will check them every morning, so I am sure to get your message. These sheets are also a great way for students to learn that they are responsible for their own homework. Please make it a daily routine to check your child’s assignment sheet and then sign on the space provided.
Your child will bring home two different folders throughout the week. One is a take home folder the other is their Friday folder. The first folder your child should bring home every evening is your child’s take home folder. This folder will contain your child’s assignment sheets and homework, letters and returned work. Please check your child’s take home folder every night. Because communication between home and school is vital to your child’s success in school, your child’s assignment sheet and take home folder will be a very important communication tool. Your child will also have a Friday folder, which, as you probably have already guessed, will come home on most Fridays. This folder will contain your child’s corrected papers from the week and my monthly newsletters. Please take the time to look over these papers and sign the provided sheet. Your child’s Friday Folder should be emptied and returned to school on the next day we are back at school for the week.
We will be creating a first grade portfolio throughout our school year. Some of the work your child does in first grade will be kept in these portfolios. At the end of the year your child will be able to keep his/her portfolio. Portfolios provide us with a very visual way of measuring academic progress and, from my experience; they become a wonderful keepsake for you and your child.
If your child has supplies that need to be replenished throughout the year I will be sure to let you know. Thank you so much for doing such a great job getting your child ready for our school year.
We will definitely be having snack in first grade every day. I have found that children learn much better when their minds are on their work and not on their empty stomachs. We will go through our snack supply pretty quickly with eighteen hungry children, so I will let you know when this supply needs to be replenished. Keep us in mind if you are ever at a store where bulk snack items are available or if you see any great deals on something that would make a good snack. I do have a small refrigerator in our classroom that can store some items that need refrigeration. Some great snacks include fish crackers, animal crackers, and other bite size crackers, pretzels and even some cereals.
Birthday treats are always welcome and appreciated by all! Please make sure to inform me ahead of time if you will be providing a treat for your child’s birthday. There are times when our birthdays will not fall on a school day in which case we will celebrate your child’s birthday at our and your earliest convince. All summer birthdays will be celebrated during the last week of school. I will contact you before we celebrate our summer birthdays. Please do not send birthday invitations to school unless our whole class or all of the boys or girls are invited. I really appreciate your cooperation with this, as it helps to avoid hurt feelings and misunderstandings for those who are not invited.
In a few weeks we will begin our “Super Star” program. Once a week a child will be selected to be our “Super Star”. This will be your child’s opportunity to bring in sharing items, pictures, special treats and/or visitors. All children will be notified on the Friday before their special week, and a poster will be sent home for your child to complete. Please be in touch with me in terms of treats or special visitors that may come in during this week so that I can plan accordingly.
We will have sharing time occasionally, keep your eyes open for notes that ask for specific items to be shared at a particular time. Please do not allow your child to bring in toys or knickknacks to share if they are not our “Super Star” or if they have not been given instruction to do so. Our class time is so short and we do not have time for sharing every day. I appreciate your help with this matter. Please let me know about any special events happening in your family like new babies, special visitors, vacations, or anything that would be important to share with our classroom friends.
During our first few days of school we have spent some time talking about our classroom and school behavior. Our class has come up with some important rules that if we all follow we are sure to have a great year together. Our rules are posted in the classroom and each child has signed and agreed to do their best to follow these rules. I will always report any serious problems to you.
The children will have the opportunity to visit the library once a week. This year our library day will be on Fridays at 8:00. We have a basket in our classroom for all library books that are ready to be returned. Library books can be put in this basket any time during the week, but it would be very helpful to have all books back by Thursday so that Mrs. Nicklay can have some time to check our books in before our library time on Friday.
From time to time I will send home a book order form. There is no obligation for you to buy, but I do find that these clubs have many great deals and your orders help our classroom get free books that we can add to our classroom library.
On occasion our class will go on a field trip. You will always be informed of any special trip our classed will be taking. There are times that I will ask for your assistance. Please consider volunteering your time if possible for these special trips. I am also always open to fieldtrip suggestions. If you have been somewhere or work at a place that would be fun and educational for a group of first graders please let me know about it, I always welcome new creative learning experiences for our students!
Last year in kindergarten, your child began the journey to becoming a reader. This school year, your child will continue down the road to becoming a better reader, speller and writer with the help of the Super kids Reading Program. The first few weeks of this program begins with a pretty extensive review. Most weeks your child will bring home a Backpack Page that will help your child develop another important reading skill, fluency. It will be very helpful for your child if you have them read this short story several times throughout the week. If your child struggles with the reading feel free to read it to them but have your child track the words as you read. This program also includes a parent portal, which contains information about the Super kids reading program and what your child will learn this year as well as activities your child can do at home. Really the most important thing you can do at home is read as much as you can to and with your child! You will be so amazed at how much your child will grow as a reader and writer over this school year!
In first grade we use the Singapore teaching approach for our Math program. In this program students learn to think mathematically by using the CPA (concrete, pictorial, abstract) technique. For each new unit we begin I will send home a unit review, which includes activities you can work on at home to reinforce what we are teaching at school. These packets will usually not be required but they will provide you with some knowledge of the concepts we are teaching. They also show the techniques and language that is used to teach the concepts. If your child completes the packet at home, make sure they turn it in; I would like to give them credit for their efforts. One important thing you can always work on at home is helping your child with his/her basic math facts. Children who have mastered their math facts tend to do well in math. Your children will periodically take a timed test and our goal will be to improve our math fact knowledge throughout this year.
Most weeks your child will bring home a spelling list on Monday. We will not have spelling words on some of our short weeks, depending on how short they are. At the end of each week, we’ll have a spelling test. Spelling lists include Patten Words that follow sound-spelling patterns children are learning. You can help our child sound these words out to spell them. Some lists will also include Memory Words, which are high frequency words that have irregular spellings. You will need to help your child learn these words from memory. There will be a dictated sentence on each spelling test as well, but we usually wait a week or two before starting the dictated sentences. Your child will also have spelling worksheets that will be sent home at the beginning of each week. These worksheets will be due at the end of each week so your child can work on them at his/her own pace. Your child will probably need help with their worksheets initially but by the end of the year they should be able to work on the majority of this work independently. These worksheets are meant to help your child learn their spelling and vocabulary words.
Our Mass days will be on Wednesdays at 9:45. Please make sure your child dresses appropriately for church on Wednesday. We welcome all parents and family members to join us on these days, and everyone is welcome to sit with our class. If you are sitting in a different location with your child I ask that you make sure I am aware of this. Later in the year our class will actually participate in the school Mass, I will give you more information about our class Mass when the time comes.
I am always open to parent involvement in our class. I will let everyone know whenever I am looking for specific help with parties or fieldtrips. However if you would be able to help on a weekly basis with computer classes or book clubs, please let me know as soon as possible. Any help is always greatly appreciated because I know how precious your time is!
More Forms (Sorry!)
I know we get so many forms this time of year and the last thing you want is a few more of these to fill out, so I apologize that I have one more form for you. I am hoping that you can find some time in the near future to fill out your child’s back round information that accompanies this letter. This will help me get to know your child better. Thank you for taking the time to do this!
Mrs. Walker’s Contact Information
Please know I recognize how crucial our communication is to your child’s academic success. Never hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns. If I am not available at the time of your call or email, I will be sure to reply as soon as possible. Together we can make your child’s first grade year a great one!
My school phone # is 474-9252, this is my direct line, but if you need my extension it is: 1101.
My home phone # is 452-0153.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this letter, I know it contains a lot of information! I appreciate all you do; I can already tell we are going to have a great year!
|Contact: Molly Walker|