to Mrs. Mills’
1st Grade Adventure
on the Farm
1st Grade Handbook
In this handbook you will find information about first grade
homework, behavior policies and other school policies.
If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me through email or phone.
We will be using the district adopted reading program called Reading Street. The program emphasizes instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency. The students will also be assessed and then instructed at their appropriate reading level in small guided reading groups.
)SPELLING: Each week, we will study a new spelling pattern and new high frequency words. There will not be a set list of spelling words. Research has shown that students who are given a list of spelling words memorize only those specific words, while teaching a common spelling pattern ensures that they will be able to spell and read innumerable words spelled with the similar pattern. The students will also be assessed and involved in word study activities at their independent spelling level.
We will be studying a variety of math concepts throughout the year using a balance of hands-on work (with games and math manipulatives), strategy discussions, and independent practice. Some of the concepts we will cover in first grade include counting to 120, adding and subtracting within 20, understanding place value, telling time, working with data, and exploring plane and three-dimensional shapes. Math assessments will be given in class throughout units of study. As long as your child has been participating in the lesson and completing their homework, there is no additional at-home preparation needed for these assessments.
In first grade, we incorporate our science and social studies standards in thematic units. The focus of the 1st Grade Science curriculum is on developing an awareness of the world in which we live. Science concepts and skills, such as the scientific- inquiry process, will be developed utilizing a hands-on approach. We are fortunate to have access to a different FOSS kits (Full Option Science System) throughout the year that provide us with a variety of materials to conduct experiments and explore concepts in the earth, physical and life sciences. Some interesting themes that we will be working on in science are: balance and motion, plant life cycles, earth materials, animal characteristics and habitats, etc.
The 1st Grade Social Studies curriculum focuses on how students relate to others in their families, classroom, school, and community. Some examples of topics that we will cover are: all about me, pillars of character (Character Counts), my family, pets, my school, my community, national holidays, national symbols, presidents, pilgrims/Native Americans, voting/elections, multicultural holidays, Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights, Happy Birthday AZ, etc.
We will be using Write From the Beginning (WFTB) to teach writing. Students will be taught to generate and organize ideas using a set of graphic organizers called Thinking Maps. These “maps” teach organization skills such as: defining, describing, sequencing, etc. Students will work towards writing a minimum of three complete sentences based on one main idea in literary, narrative, and informational pieces.
on farms. Cows have four legs and
Take a close
)The children will be bringing home folders daily which will serve a variety of purposes. In these folders, there will be two inside pockets. One side will be labeled leave at home. This is where the students will put papers/information that needs to stay at home. The other side will be labeled bring back to school. This is where notes and other papers that need to come back to school will be placed.
There are also plastic inserts on the front and back of the folder. This is where the reading log and behavior log will be kept. More information about these is below.
“Childhood is a journey, not a race.”
)Homework is an extremely important part of every child’s school experience. It helps to extend and reinforce skills being worked on in class. Homework also teaches a child responsibility. In first grade, students will need adult supervision for most homework. Homework is sent home on Monday in the Homework Folder and is due back on Thursday. It is in the format of a Tic-Tac-Toe Board. Students will be able to choose three options from the board of nine choices each week and place Xs or Os over their choices (feel free to choose additional homework options if your child is interested). Parents must initial which choices were completed and return the paper by Thursday. Please only return additional worksheets when requested. Most importantly, students should read for a minimum of 15 minutes while keeping track of their books on the reading log. Homework is meant to only take a child 10-20 minutes and should not cause any frustration or discouragement. If your child is struggling with the work, please contact me immediately
so that I can assess the situation.
)Make homework fun!
Reading is also a part of homework each day. It is vital that students are engaged in reading for at least 15 minutes a night for homework. Reading on the weekend is not required, but strongly encouraged. Please monitor your child’s log each week. This reading log will be in the back of the take-home folder.
Every night, I ask that you read with your child for 15 minutes. Research shows that both reading stories to your children and having your child read to you are equally beneficial in creating strong reading skills.
In the next couple of weeks, I will begin to send home book bags for nightly reading. These bags will contain books appropriate for your child’s reading level. More information will follow.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
In order for optimal learning to occur, it is essential that we establish a classroom community based on respect, trust and safety. I will be teaching academic and behavior expectations during the first few days of school, and as a class we will form our mission statement based on these teachings.
Behavior in my classroom is monitored by a clip chart. Every day, each child starts with their clip on “Ready to Go” (green) and has the opportunity to move up to “Excellent Effort” (blue) and “Super Student” (purple), or down to “Make Better Choices” (yellow) and “Parent Contact” (red) based on their behavior. This allows students who consistently go above and beyond to be recognized for their hard work. It also helps students who make poor choices monitor their own behavior, because they always have the opportunity to move back up the chart.
Each day, your child will bring home a behavior report in their take home folder. If you child has difficulty with a specific academic or behavior expectation, a note will be included. Please discuss classroom expectations with your child, sign the note and return the next day. If your child comes home on green, blue or purple, you know they have made outstanding choices. If they come home on yellow or red, please discuss with them what they can do better next time.
Every child receives a warning before moving their clip. Rewards and praise will be given to students who consistently receive green, blue or purple. Please keep in mind that with this system there is a lot of room to move up and down the chart. If your child comes home with an occasional yellow, there is nothing to worry about. Everyone has off days. If your child has consistent yellows and reds, we may need to have a conference to discuss behavior.
Every student in our class will get a week to be our First Grade Star Student!!! First Grade Star Student is a great way for each student to share with the rest of the class a little bit about themselves, to practice presenting information in front of a group, and to build a sense of community within our classroom. Being the Star Student consists of creating and presenting the “Read All About Me” poster (with or without photos), and bringing in some favorite items to share. On the Wednesday prior to your child’s week, I will send home a blank “Read All About Me” poster and a letter explaining all of the Star Student procedures.
Throughout the year, we love to celebrate special occasions in our class. Most parties will