Welcome to the wonderful world of First Grade. I am very happy to be your child’s teacher during this exciting time in their lives. The following summary of the First Grade curriculum and policies should clarify my expectations.
First Grade is an exciting time in the life of young children as they begin to make great strides in social and academic areas. By the end of the school year, first graders have pursued a wide range of activities and are more confident in their abilities as thinkers and learners.
We will focus on our family life as well as the life of Jesus. Students pray daily for the needs of our classroom, families, and community. Students attend Mass every Thursday with our 5th Grade prayer partners, attend special prayer services throughout the year, and complete service projects for the parish and surrounding community. You are always more than welcomed to attend with us. I do expect them to show reverence in church. They should say the prayers, responses and songs the best they can. First Grade will lead Stations of the Cross one Friday during Lent and plan and participate in at least one Mass a year.
Students will develop reading and writing skills using a variety of approaches and materials. They will also develop an appreciation of literature. First Graders will enhance their use of word analysis: letter sounds, blending, and vowel sounds; and reading strategies such as predicting outcomes, main idea, sequencing, and locating details. They will be exposed to a variety of story elements, including, character development, setting, problem, solution, plot, and story order. Students will write across the curriculum by responding to literature, journal entries, letters, and poetry. We will have a weekly story that we work on in class. The spelling list each week ties into that story. They will also get a set of little books the first day of each week. I call these book bag books. They help the children with reading fluency and the spelling rule we are working on that week.
Book bag books – You will get them the first day of the week and they do not get returned until the first day of the following week. Your child is to practice them each evening with someone. The goal is for their fluency to improve as they practice. There is a parent signature sheet in the bag. It gets signed over the weekend and returned in the same book bag.
They will become aware of spelling patterns, rules, and high frequency words assessed during weekly spelling tests.
We will be using the program called Pathways to Reading to assist students in their decoding and word attack skills. The children started working on this last year. We will review that work and continue on, spending a LOT of time on vowel sounds and spellings. This involves a lot of verbal classroom work and practice, so there isn’t a lot of paperwork you’ll see come home on this. You may start to hear some of the language we use coming home. If you don’t understand, see if your child can explain it. If you are still unclear, ask me.
Book reports – Your child is expected to fill out at least four book coupons a month. They will get a grade in reading for this. They are certainly welcomed and encouraged to do more than four. There will always be extra sheets available to them. They may choose to read whatever they’d like. The only rule is, it only counts if they read it to you. It cannot be one you read to them. They may include the weekly book bag books. Please send in the completed (four books) forms when your child has accomplished the monthly goal. Then your child will receive a sticker or piece of an art project on an incentive board for the month. (apples for September, skeleton bones for October, turkey feathers for November, etc.) We will start Book Report Forms in January. Four book reports will be required each month.
Spelling: – I send the lists home in groups of four in their Friday Folder. You are to keep them until we have finished the last list on the page, then you will get a new list. We will take a practice test on Wed. and it will be checked and sent home that day in the Home Folder. The test for their grade will be on Fridays.
After Christmas break, backward letters and handwriting errors will count against their score. Prior to Christmas, I will mark things that are inaccurate, but not count it as part of their grade.
If a child scores a 10/10 (100%) on the practice test they will still be expected to take the final test on Friday. Final tests on Friday will be graded and sent home in their FRIDAY FOLDER.
We have a book that has us practice each letter, both upper and lower case. Once we’ve practiced a letter, I expect to see it made correctly in their daily work. I will do lots of reminders about this with your child.
Using a variety of concrete materials and manipulatives students will engage in problem solving and reasoning activities. Students learn to write numbers 1-100, count by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s, understand place value to 100, add and subtract sums and differences to 12, identify U.S. coins and their values, and count and add coins to $1.00. First Graders will also explore patterns, geometry, measurement, fractions, probability, and statistics.
We have a wonderful math program school-wide. It is called Saxon Math. We started the very first day of school. It is a challenge to organize and teach, but I certainly see the benefits of it for your child. The program works on teaching the same skills over and over at different levels as they progress through. The big thing that it does is it continues to go back and review and reuse all the concepts so they stay fresh in the children’s minds. They will have homework in their Home Folder every night. We start each morning with a Math Meeting. This is one of the first things we do every day. It is really imperative they are on time to school so they don’t miss this time. It very often sets us up for the work we will do later in the day.
Students will develop an awareness and appreciation of people, places, events, and community services, while focusing on diversity and culture. They will be introduced to maps and globes, as well as American Presidents (Teddy Bear Reports), national symbols, and holidays (Mother’s Day Tea).
Students will use their five senses while taking part in a variety of experiments to expand their knowledge of seeds, plants, insects, life-cycles, planets, seasons, weather, and hibernation (Cozy Cave Day). They will record and communicate observations through: writing, drawings, discussions, and simple graphs.
- RESPECT of teachers, staff members, other students and their belongings.
- RESPONSIBILITY in completing and turning in class work and homework, as well as keeping cubbies, desks, and materials organized and neat.
- REVERENCE in church, during prayer services, and school
Students will be expected to practice good manners, respect others and their property, and be responsible. Students will also be expected to follow class procedures as stated in the procedure manual.
Our two classroom rules are:
- It is never okay to be hurtful.
- It is never okay to be disruptive.
Positive Discipline: We will have a star box in our classroom. Students will have the opportunity to earn or receive stars when displaying positive behavior. These stars will be placed in a star box to be drawn out randomly to reward students with special treats or prizes. They will quickly learn that the more stars they receive the better chance they have at winning.
We will also be Catching Christian Character through out the year for those that follow the Monthly Character Traits. These traits will be displayed on the big bulletin board as you enter the school.
Misbehavior in the classroom may result in walking a lap or a 2-5 minute time out of recess. If this behavior persists student will be moved to a “safe spot” in the room. They will remain there until it is evident that the behavior will change. Continued or serious misbehavior will require a think sheet, a trip to a buddy room, principal’s office and/or a phone call home.
We will also be following the discipline guidelines in the Parent/Student Handbook
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES:
Home Folders: There will be a folder which travels between home and school DAILY. This folder may contain homework, unfinished class work, notes, or handouts. It is extremely important that your child comes prepared with their HOME FOLDER everyday.
Friday Folders: I will be sending home a special folder on Fridays that will contain the work your child has done during the week. You will also find our weekly newsletter “Classroom Times”, and a sheet titled “Update folder.” This sheet will give you an idea of how well your child behaved and worked during the week. A comment may not always be necessary, but the smiley faces will give you a general idea. Parents need to sign the sheet and return it with the Friday folder on Monday. Feel free to add your own comments. (We may change the weekly behavior sheet throughout the year)
Student Evaluation and Assessment: Children are evaluated on their strengths and weaknesses and growth is measured throughout the school year. Assessment takes place on a variety of levels, to include observation, classroom projects, and test performance. Information is shared with parents during a mandatory fall conference, optional spring conference, and quarterly report cards. However when significant problems arise parents will be notified immediately.
Homework: Students should spend 30 minutes each night doing homework.
- 10 minutes reading to or with an adult
- 10 minutes practicing sight and/or spelling words
- 10 minutes practicing math facts
Book Orders: I will be sending home monthly book order forms from Scholastic, except during the months of our Fall and Spring book fair. The book selections are wonderful stories that will help your child develop a love and appreciation of literature, as well as, help build our classroom library. Please return completed orders, with payment (checks only) on the date listed in our weekly newsletter.
Snacks: A snack list will go home monthly. Please send snacks (enough for 21) on or before your scheduled day. If you would like to send extra snacks that would be great. Make sure that it is something we can safely store; it helps to have several on reserve in case someone forgets. We have a morning snack time.(about 9:00)
Birthdays: We celebrate birthdays at 2:30. Birthday on Fridays will need to be celebrated right after lunch recess 12:30. If you would like to send a treat for the class to celebrate your child’s birthday or half birthday, please send a note or email a few days in advance. This will aid in planning our schedule. If you plan to have a private party for your child, the school would appreciate you mailing or delivering the invitations directly to the homes of those invited.
Volunteers: I will be calling on volunteers to help throughout the year. Please remember to stop in the office for a visitor’s badge.
Dismissal: I will walk students out to the curb each day. We stand right next to kindergarten where you picked up last year. I will meet you there at 3:15.
I firmly believe parent/teacher communication is one of the keys to a child’s success. I will be making an effort to work closely with you this year. I welcome you to contact me about any problems, worries, joys, or triumphs you or your child has about First Grade.
THANK YOU for sharing your child with me!