Welcome to our classroom. First grade is a big step, and we hope that after tonight you will understand more about your child s day at school.

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1 Dear Parents, Welcome to our classroom. First grade is a big step, and we hope that after tonight you will understand more about your child s day at school. Reading is such an important part of the first grade program that many of our activities throughout the day provide experiences to motivate your children to love books and to become life-long readers. You can help us give this gift of reading by continuing to read to your children every night and by listening to them read to you when they are ready to share their new skills. Communication between home and school is vital. We appreciate knowing anything concerning your child that will affect his or her day at school. Please write us a note or us whenever you have a concern or question. will send an to both teachers. To reach us individually, our addresses are and We are looking forward to a great year with your children! Warmly, Mrs. Gottlieb & Mr. Blanchard

2 First Grade Differentiated Instruction Children in first grade are at different places in their academic development, yet each one of them is working at grade level. A child s readiness for learning can be different in each subject; therefore, we assess your child in each area and assign work appropriately. The children may be reading different books, solving different math problems, and completing different homework assignments. Our goals are for each child to feel successful and to achieve his or her potential. Our classroom will have reading workshop and writing workshop partners, math groups, as well as individualized instruction in other curricular areas. Morning Meeting We begin each morning with our Morning Meeting. We greet the children and share happenings in their lives. We then discuss the calendar, weather, and keep track of our days in school with a place value chart. Morning Meeting may also contains a daily mini language arts, mathematics, or social science lesson. We encourage student participation during our morning SMART Board lessons. Language Arts The first grade is using the reading workshop program. This program provides natural differentiation and student engagement by allowing students to selfselect the books they want to read. Research shows reading workshop develops life-long readers. Each day, students will have the opportunity to be introduced to a new reading skill, and read independently or with a partner. Teachers will confer with students about their reading regularly.

3 Another component in our language arts curriculum is the writing workshop program, which incorporates the writing process. Students will learn to write in complete sentences with punctuation. Some writing will be done for the pleasure of expression and will be unedited. Other work will go through the first draft, editing, rewriting, and publishing stages of the complete writing process. Each child has a writing workshop notebook for daily entries of their choice, brainstorming, story sketches, and other writing ideas. Students choose entries to expand upon and take through the writing process. They will have an opportunity to share their work with their classmates. Spelling/Word Study Our school uses a spelling/word study program known as Words Their Way. With the use of WTW, students will enjoy a variety of word sorts, games, and activities to help them develop phonics, vocabulary, and spelling skills. Each student is encouraged to use the Word Wall and his/her green word book Words I Use When I Write to check the spelling of common words during classroom writing assignments. Handwriting Zaner-Bloser handwriting workbooks are used to instruct the children in the proper way to form letters and numbers. We teach the children to begin up on the headline and come down to the midline on our writing paper. They learn that some lower case letters have tails that can hang down under the baseline. Mathematics We have adopted the Everyday Math program for all grades K-5. The program is rich in real-world problem solving opportunities and is aligned with the California Common Core standards. The program uses multiple methods and problemsolving strategies to promote proficiency and to accommodate different learning styles. In the program, children are asked to solve math problems in ways that make sense to them. They are asked to share their reasoning and

4 solutions. At home, please encourage your child to explain his or her math thinking to you. Family Letters will be sent home occasionally that will outline new concepts and vocabulary that will be taught. Math is integrated into the daily classroom routines through our classroom activities, such as calendar and counting the days in school. Our SMART Board, math centers, games, and manipulatives are frequently used to teach and to enrich math concepts. Social Studies Our school-wide theme this year is Global Intersections. As part of our theme integration, we will be exploring cultures and traditions from around the world. We begin the year with units on friendship and virtues and values. We will focus on map skills and symbols of the United States. We also do a special project based on the book Flat Stanley. Students will mail Flat Stanley and collect information about our states through his travels. We often use our large classroom maps of the United States and the world as we discuss the children s travels and world events. We introduce our first graders to the concept of American history with stories such as the first Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King, and the Presidents. Our weekly Scholastic News magazine provides an integrated reading and social studies lesson each week. Science Our science program with Ms. Paige will include three main units: earth, physical, and life science. We will continue the first grade tradition of in-depth insect studies throughout the spring with live caterpillars, praying mantises, silkworms, and ladybugs. Art, music, library, and technology are all integrated into the study of insects. A field trip to the Natural History Museum and Butterfly Pavilion is scheduled in the spring. Homework First grade students will be given two night s worth of homework on Mondays and Wednesdays. Monday s assignments are due on Wednesday, and

5 Wednesday s assignments are due on Friday. These assignments may include word study, language arts, math, or social studies activities. Homework should average 20 minutes per night, recognizing that there will be individual differences. If the time spent on homework becomes a problem, please write us a note or come in to discuss the situation. Parent Volunteers Parents often express a desire to share a hobby or to read a book to the class. We sometimes also have special art projects or a community service-learning project. Please notify us, or our room parents, if you are interested in participating. A Guest Reader sign-up sheet will be posted on the door for parents who would like to read to our class. Community Service Learning We are pleased to be working with Habitat for Humanity. A representative will give a presentation to our first grade class and will discuss the organization and their projects. We will do a class project in the spring for Habitat for Humanity in conjunction with a field trip to Home Depot. We appreciate your participation and support. Fifth Grade Buddies Twice each month, the first grade class will get together with their fifth grade buddies for a special activity. We read books, play games, write poetry, and do art projects. We will visit the fifth grade room to learn about the Presidents, states, and Colonial times. We look forward to our parallel study of the United States. Each child also has a small notebook for written communication between the buddies. The children really look forward to times with their buddies.

6 Field Trips We have several field trips during the year, which are related to the science or social studies curriculum. Please remember that the children must wear their green Los Encinos T-shirt on these field trips. Room Parents will contact you about scheduling parent volunteers. Permission slips will come home a few days before each trip. Birthdays On your child s birthday or half-birthday, he or she will have a special day in the classroom. This includes a certificate, birthday pencil, and the birthday backpack. Each month, we will choose one day to celebrate all birthdays of that month with healthy treats. The children created a list of healthy treats to choose from for these celebrations. It is posted on our web page. Thank you!

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