Welcome to 1st Grade!
I am excited to start my 4th year teaching here at Seven Hills. Prior to teaching here, I was a kindergarten teacher at a charter school in Minneapolis. I have also taught 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. I have been teaching for 18 years! Time goes by so fast!
A little more about me……… I am a proud mom to 3 kids. Brady is 12 and loves baseball! He is on the Minnesota Millers baseball team in the fall through spring. He travels around the states and trains when they aren’t playing in tournaments. Sierra is 10, sometimes going on 13! My wise mother always said I would have a girl just like me. We also have a 24 year old son, Trent. He’s busy working and learning all about the “real” world. My husband recently opened his own real estate company, so he is very excited and busy with this adventure! When I am not spending time with my family, I am a BIG country music fan and enjoy going to see live country bands with friends and family. Nashville is one of my favorite places to visit! I also like to shop and enjoy fishing with my husband in the summer.
I welcome and encourage you to visit our classroom. Please feel free to contact me with comments, questions, or concerns. I am looking forward to getting to know you and your child. We are going to have a great year!
First Grade Nuts and Bolts
As we build toward a successful school year, these are some things your child will be learning and practicing as we focus on our mission:
- Our hopes and goals for this year
- Classroom expectations and routines
- Learning to use our materials with care and respect
- CARES character values (Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, Self-Control)
- Appropriate lunch, bathroom, hallway and recess procedures
- Getting to know our new classroom and classmates
Math Homework Packets:
Every Monday, the students will receive packets that are due the following Monday. Please keep in mind the homework is meant as independent practice, not as a way to challenge your child. Being a rigorous school, your child receives daily challenges in the classroom. The most important skill for a first grade child is reading, or being read to, every day for 20 minutes.
Words Their Way
Okay, buckle your seatbelts! I know this info is lengthy, but I have some very important information to share with you. It concerns our new word study program (spelling) that our school has adopted and your child will be involved in everyday of the week here at school. The program we will be using is called Words Their Way. Words Their Way is phonics spelling, and vocabulary instruction through daily word study.
One focus of word study is to teach students how to spell and decode new words and to improve their word recognition speed in general. To accomplish this goal, I will teach the students how to examine words to learn the regularities that exist in the spelling system. I will also teach them some irregularities of spelling (we call “oddball words”). The simple process of sorting words into categories is the heart of our word study program. When students sort words, they are engaged in the active process of searching, comparing, contrasting, and analyzing. Word sorts help students organize what they know about words and to form generalizations that they can then apply to new words they encounter in their reading.
The best part of a word study is that your child can sort words anywhere! Yes, anywhere! And I‘d like for him/her to start sorting their weekly spelling words at home. It’s easy and it’s fun! It’s a hands-on way to get kids to learn more about our spelling system!
Sample Classroom Word Study Schedule
Monday: Students will be given a list of 20-30 spelling words for the week. They will bring home a copy of their word list so they can study their words at home. Their final test will not be all 20-30 words. I will choose 10 words (they will not know which ten until the test) that reflect each of the spelling patterns learned that they will be tested on that week. They must study all 20-30 words but only 10 will be on the post/final test.
Tuesday: Students will sort and identify word patterns in spiral in small teacher guided groups. I will also give them time to work cooperatively with another student on pattern word sorts.
Wednesday: Students will do a speed sort and a blind sort. Students will also hunt for additional words that follow the spelling pattern. If time allows students will also play a spelling game.
Thursday: Students will complete a spelling game and/or speed sort. Students should sort and glue their words into their notebook.
Friday: Students will take the weekly post-test at school.
What you can do at home:
- Each week I will send home a word list and WTW spelling homework sheet. Have your child cut out the word cards and the different head cards. I suggest keeping the words in a Ziploc bag.
- There will be directions on the header page that tells you what kinds of sorts the kids can do with their word cards.
- For example, they may be able to sort the words by vowel sound, beginning or ending sounds, or beginning and ending blends. Sometimes students can sort their words in three or more different ways.
- Decide upon a way for your child to sort his/her cards. Put those headers at the top of an open area (he/she will need some room to work).
- Let your child sort the word cards. If he/she makes a mistake, don’t correct it right away. You’ll have time to do that later.
- When your child is finished, go through each column and make sure he/she can pronounce each word and confirm that the word “fits” underneath the header. This is the time to help them correct any mistakes.
- When finished, mix up the cards again and do a different sort if possible.
- If you can only do one type of sort, then try something called a “speed sort”. Time how long it takes them to do the sort and see if he/she can beat the time. They LOVE this!
- It is extremely important that your child can pronounce each word. Keep reviewing this if you find it is a little difficult. They should know the meanings of the words as well.
- Each night of the week (Monday-Thursday) your child will have to complete a sort and indicate that on their WTW homework sheet. On Thursday, they will need to glue their words in their specific sort on the back of their homework sheet.
*******Words Their Way homework should be turned back into me on Friday so that I can check homework and replace the list with a new one for the following week. This program makes spelling fun, more productive, and a more meaningful way of studying spelling words with your child. The days of copying words five or ten times each are over!
Whew, nothing like information overload! Please do not hesitate to call or email me if you have ANY questions or concerns on this new program. Just try it, I think you will like it and so will the kids!
Take-Home Folders and Planners:
Each student will have a take-home folder to use as a way to bring all paper items to and from school.Please empty the folders every night and return to school every day. Please use these folders to bring notes and return forms and homework. Please review your child’s planner each night as it is a great way to review the day.
Your child may celebrate his or her birthday on their birthday by bringing a special treat to share with the class. As you already know, there are many students at SHCA with severe allergies. All treats must be from the approved snack list. You should already have this list, but if you need a copy please let us know. Summer birthdays may be celebrated in May. Please remember that unless ALL boys and girls are invited from the class do not have your student hand out invitations at school. I recommend to sign up to be apart of the school directory. Phone numbers and addresses of students' families are in there. If you do send the invites to school, please have your child give me the invites and I will hand them out.
Snacks and Lunch:
First grade lunch is from 12:15-12:40. Please be sure to mark the days your child receives hot lunch. The school does not have extra lunches for those who forget. Each first grade room with have snack every day at 1:40 to 1:50. Teachers will not provide snacks for those students who do not have one. As always, be sure the snack is from the approved list. Students are allowed to have a water bottle at school. Students are NOT allowed to have juice for snack.
First Grade will send out a weekly newsletter for their classroom. To save on paper, we will be emailing the newsletters to you on Mondays. Please be sure we have your correct email address! If you aren’t receiving emails from your teacher, please let us know right away. If you prefer a paper copy of the newsletter, please let your teacher know.
Please review your student handbook for uniform policy. It will be strictly adhered to. TENNIS SHOES MUST BE PLAIN WHITE OR BLACK IF THEY ARE GOING TO BE WORE DURING THE SCHOOL DAY. If your child has not mastered the skill of tying their shoes, please continuing working on that skill at home and send Velcro shoes in the mean time.
We look forward to you helping in the classroom. The first month of school we will be busy getting in the first grade routine, because of this we will begin asking for volunteers in October. Please look for more information to come.
Each day at the end of the day, the students will be asked to color the day of the week in their planners that matches with the color on the behavior chart that they ended the day on. The chart card works in the following way:
Students will begin each school day on green. If they are repeatedly making the same poor choice regardless of warnings, they will be asked to change their card to the next color. There is a check system at SHPA. The warnings are considered checks. When your child has received 3 checks, they will have to change their color. Some behaviors (such as bullying, theft, dishonesty, etc.) will be automatic color-changes without warnings. Each time a student gets on the color orange, I will write in their planner the reason why. If necessary, I will email home and discuss the day with you further. If a student reaches red, the lowest color on the color chart, they will be sent to the principal to conference about their choices.
Please check your child’s planner to see how their behavior was each day and ask them about the choices that they made. Feel free to stop by our room for a visual of our chart or ask me if you have any questions.
iPad Apps for Learning
Family Friendly iPad Apps
Hungry Fish Flash to Pass
Sushi Monster Math Bugs
Count Money Perimeter
Splash Math Pizza 1
Banana Math Fractions
Match 10 Candy Factory
Singapore Math Bar Model Math!!!
Telling Time Photo Touch Game Geoboards
Addition/Subtraction/Multiplication/Division (by Horizon Business)
Mini Word Sound Sorting (Lakeshore)
Word Ball Bob Books
Tic Tac Toe (Lakeshore Learning) Kids Learn Sight Words
Rocket Spelling Jumbled Sentence
Learning A-Z Spelling City
Story Wheel Phonics Studio
Pop Words Opposites
Phonics Awareness A+ Spelling Test
Phonics Genius Starfall
Spelling Bug A-Z Reading
Chicktionary ABC Pcoket Phonics
Wild Fables Lakeshore All About Letters
Magnetic ABC Word Mover
Bluster Book Press
Scholastic Reading Timer Scholastic Storia
Word Bingo Rhyming Bee
Fry Words Mad Libs
Sight Words by Little Speller
Science Social Studies
Space Place Montessori Approach to Geography
Discovery Brain Coach USA
Zaner-Bloser Handwriting (print) Educreations
Zaner-Bloser Handwriting (cursive) Bluefire Reader
Music Sparkle Simon Says
Doodle Buddy PaintSparkles
Screen Chomp Memory King
Scribble Press BrainPopjr.
*Doceri Class Dojo
Fitnessgram PBS Kids
Show Me Cribbage
Grasshopperapps.com Google Voice Search
Smartappsforkids.com - Sign up with email address and get notified of free apps!
Educational Websites for Kids
This site has lots of great language arts games. It takes a fun game like this snowman game and has words that it helps your child sound out. There are lots of seasonal games as well as early reading, phonics, as well as reading practice for 1st and 2nd graders.
There is SO much on here. Your child can pick his/her favorite show and play a bunch of learning games for that show.
Here's a wonderful site! This site is great because it's split up into grades K-5 so there's no guess work there! Some of the best games it offers are: Pirate Marble game which is great for learning addition, and connect the dots. For 1st grade it would be the foul shot where you can practice math facts to earn basketballs to shoot a foul shot, the math can go up to a 4th or 5th grade level. There are also telling time games and learning coin games as well.
This website has hundreds of educational games, for literacy, math and science. It also has learning videos on subjects like the plant life cycle, frog life cycle, the 5 senses, and more with review games you can play afterward. It has lesson plans, tons of free printable worksheets, arts and crafts coloring pages, and a cute blog. What a great resource! My only complaint would be that the games are all narrated with a robotic voice, but other than that it's golden!
Wow this is another great site. It has games from books like The Magic School Bus (which is oozing with science fun!), Clifford, WordGirl and more. This site is has games for kids ages 3-7and another section for kids ages 8-12.
Fun fun fun!
There is also a lot to this site as well. Pictured here are the ABC games which are for practicing letter recognition. There are also lots of other harder games that are also educational. Check it out it's a pretty good site.
This site has lots of learning games for kids of ALL ages. It's very tutorial centered which is good for learning a new concept. I also love the Kids Corner which you can explore lots of science centered ideas, such as the Four Seasons (as shown in the picture). You can paint using movable parts like rain clouds which are actually raining! Fun fun fun site!
This site has a bunch of games that are all science related. They are all pretty fun. Some of them like Animal Jam require an e-mail address and some personal info about your child, just FYI. They also have a bunch of geography games, adventure games, action games, puzzles and quizzes, games for young children, and all of the games really are science related. They also have science experiments, videos, and interactive information about animals and countries. I thought this was a pretty cool site, and had tons of educational value!
Highlights is a classic magazine that has been around for years. They are very well known for their hidden puzzles in their magazines. On their site for kids they havestories that you can have read to you and tons of games, their specialty is hidden picture games which you can click and the hidden image appears. This is another great site if you are learning a theme for the week and you would like to practice newly learned skills.
This site has a bunch of educational games that are also quite fun for kids. It has games for Babar, Jane and the Dragon, Zoola Patrol (great science games), and Vitamix.
Shnoozles has lots of fun and simple preschool games, this main page would be fun for kids to navigate on.
This site is a little old school but it is still really fun for preschoolers.
This has some puzzles, word searches, and mazes for older children. It seems like they stop putting money into this site, because it has an add for Clouding with a Chance of Meatballs in 2009. But it is an alright resource.
This site has some good science and nature games.
This site has some fun animal games that you can switch animals around to look silly.
This site has some fun games that explore expressions, proportions, and emotions.
18. Juliasrainbowcorner.com This site is is also a little old school but it has some fun games for young children.