Please make sure your child comes to school prepared with their supplies, snack, lunch, water, and a sweater. I know we are still in the summer months, but it can get a bit chilly in the morning and in the classroom.
When dropping off your child in the morning, please do so either at the gate or outside the classroom door (SMA policy). I want your children’s transition into the classroom to be as smooth as possible. If parents come in the classroom first thing, it creates a chaotic environment, making it difficult to focus on “morning work.” It is tempting to ask me quick questions first thing, but the best time to talk with me is after school or via email. This way I can give you my undivided attention and answer your questions thoroughly.
I will guide students through the morning routine the first few days of school. There is no need to assist them with putting away their backpacks and snacks or getting to their seat.
Our recess is from 10:15-10:30 everyday. Please assist your child in choosing a healthy snack such as fruit, crackers, or a granola bar. NO SODAS or CANDY are allowed at school.
Homework Folders will be sent home every Monday with a schedule of tasks to complete throughout the week. The folder, with all completed homework, is due the following Friday. The work is given with the intent to reinforce and practice concepts and skills taught or reviewed that particular day. Homework is never given to fill a void. Occasionally, projects and presentations will be assigned. I will be sending home rubrics with the project expectations and will adjust the amount of homework for the week accordingly.
I expect homework to be done with parent supervision and involvement. Your children should never be doing homework by themselves. If you find that your child is breezing through the assignments, please ask them to explain the process in which they got to their answers in order to enrich the experience. Doing homework together allows parents to see what is going on in the classroom and ensures the work is completed correctly.
Homework is checked and is a part of the report card grade. It is very important that all homework be completed.
I do not mind if students bring their own water bottles to school, but they must stay in their backpacks or in their cubbies. I have found that having a water bottle at student desks becomes a distraction and can get messy. Students may have water during class time, but they must raise their hand and get permission to be out of their seat. I will encourage students to use their break times to get water instead of using class time.
I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement. There are several ways students can be recognized for their positive choices and behavior.
1. Moving their clip up on the clip chart
2. Verbal Affirmation
3. Blue Ribbon Awards
4. Student of the Month (reserved for one student each month exemplifying a specific virtue)
There are also consequences for inappropriate behavior. Generally this includes moving their clip down, but can lead to a loss of privileges.
The clip chart is located behind my easel so that students are not distracted by clip location or by the students moving them. The colors/labels on the chart are as follows:
Green/Ready to Learn
Blue/Think About It
Purple/Teacher’s Choice - generally a 5min. loss of recess
Please note: staying on "green" all day is a great thing! This means that your child was on task and doing what they are supposed to be doing. Green is the goal! Moving the clip up means that your child has gone above and beyond the expectation. If a student ends the day on “Outstanding,” they will receive a Blue Ribbon Award. It is quite a difficult task to move all the way up to "red" and it is very impressive when a student achieves this accomplishment. Blue Ribbon Awards are also given to students caught going above and beyond their expectations outside of the classroom or for exemplary acts of kindness. Copies of the Blue Ribbon Awards are sent to the office and put into a weekly drawing for prizes.
Students in first grade are still learning how to control their bladders and how to prioritize bathroom use over play. Students are encouraged to use the bathroom before school, during recess and lunch, and after school, so they don’t lose instructional time and distract the class. However, if it is urgent, your child will always have the opportunity to use the restroom during class, without consequence.
Please let me know if your child needs extra consideration in this area.
Student of the Week:
One student a week will be chosen as our “Student of the Week.” This is the time for your child to share with the class their favorite foods, animals, and activities, as well as their family members, dreams, and aspirations. I will send home the poster with the selected student one week prior to their scheduled presentation day. Presentations are given in class by the chosen student. If your child misses their presentation, they will not be able to make it up until everyone else has had the opportunity to present.
This year each first grade student will be paired up with a fifth grade buddy. The fifth graders come to our classroom once a week to read with their buddy for about 15 min. Miss Cantillion does a wonderful job showing her students how to help and encourage the first graders!
In the past, buddies have exchanged gifts around Christmas and Valentine’s Day. This is not a requirement, nor is it expected. Please do not go overboard with these gifts, as it can cause hurt feelings for students who do not get a gift at all. It would be a good idea to keep any gifts under a $5 value.
I am happy to recognize your children’s birthdays throughout the school year and have come up with a great way to celebrate while helping our classroom library grow. It also allows us to maintain the SMA treat policy. Instead of a food treat, I would like for parents to send their child to school with their favorite book. Please glue a picture of your child to the inside front cover and wrap your “gift” to the class. I will bring the birthday boy/girl to the front of the class to sing “Happy Birthday” to them and unwrap their book. I will read the story to the class and the book will be put into our classroom library.
You do not have to bring in a book. Your child will still be recognized through song. However, you may not bring in any food or treats, even if they are healthy, for birthday recognition.
I will set aside a time at the end of the year to recognize students with a summer birthday if we did not recognize their half-birthday.