First Grade Information and Policies

Here is a list of information for parents to keep in mind about the school year. It will be edited/updated if needed throughout the year.  These are topics that will be discussed at Open House in the event that someone is unable to attend.

Drop off/bus arrival: Students wait in the gym until I pick them up at about 7:45. Anyone arriving after that should be dropped off in the lobby as they are able to walk themselves down to the classroom. This is not a time to have discussions about class/students, as preparations for the day are being finalized and students are being supervised.

School Day: Children must be in school by 7:50 am to avoid being marked late and miss out on class activities.  It is necessary that they be in at this time because we do start with academics right away.  Running late occasionally happens, but please have students here by 7:50 am on a regular basis.

End of the day: Dismissal will begin at approximately 2:15 pm, after we have said school wide prayers. We do work right up until the end of the day, so please try to schedule appointments after the school day is over. Any work missed because of an early pick up will be sent home the next day with a due date noted, and needs to be completed and returned.

Snack time: We will have a morning snack around 9:30 am, depending on our daily schedule. It is important that the children have a nutritious snack. Cookies, cakes, potato chips, etc. are not healthy snacks, especially at that time of day. Please choose fruit, yogurt, crackers, and other appropriate morning choices. Juice, water, or milk are allowed. Glass containers and soda are not allowed.

Dismissal changes: If you have a change in your child's dismissal, please send in a note the morning of the change if possible. If you must call about a change in dismissal, please do so by 1 pm so that we are able to send your child to the right location. Email is not the place to notify me about dismissal changes as I do not always check email during the school day.

Lunch Time: We eat lunch from 11:30-11:50. It is extremely important that you remind children at home to eat in a timely manner. We will have recess before the children eat lunch, so when they get into the gym they have approximately 20 minutes to eat. I realize this is an adjustment, but that is the time allotted for grades 1-8. Lunch cannot be brought to finish in the classroom because our schedule does not allow for this based on academics and specials.

Lunch Policy: We cannot microwave lunches for the children. The students eat their lunch in the gym after coming back in from recess. There is no access to a microwave to heat lunches in the gym. Please keep this in mind when planning to send your children lunch.

Birthdays: For birthdays, treats such as cupcakes, cookies, brownies, etc. may be sent in. I would appreciate a note informing me a week in advance letting me know when you would be sending a treat in so I can make sure there are no conflicts in our schedule. We serve the treats as part of lunch time, so you may either drop off the treats first thing in the morning or leave them at the front desk, and we will get them in time for lunch. Please do not send in candles, as we can not accommodate this.  No juice, napkins, plates, etc. is needed because of the time we serve the treats.  No additional items such as goody bags, balloons, or entertainment can be sent in or take place at school, as our focus is learning. School is not the place for parties.  For students with July and August birthdays, a note will go home in June to schedule a time when you can send treats in for your child. Please note: birthday treats are optional. If you choose not to send anything, that is fine also.

Absence from school: If your child must be absent for any reason, please call to notify the office in the morning. A note must also be sent in with your child explaining the reason for absence and the date(s). If a note is not sent in explaining the absence, it will be considered illegal. Only reasons such as sickness, death in family, and others noted in the Parent-Student Handbook are considered legal. Vacation is not a legal absence. If your child must be absent for an extended period of time, any class work missed must be made up after the child has returned to school, as stated in the Parent-Student handbook. Please do not ask us to send it home in advance.    Some of it will be worked on in school; assignments that can be completed at home once the child has returned will be sent home with a due date for completion and return. Please keep this information in mind for your planning purposes.

Newsletters: A newsletter will be sent home monthly with information on events coming up, academics being covered, and other important information. This information will also be posted online. They will usually be sent home by the 5th of a month. Occasionally if there are special events or changes, an additional note will be sent home when necessary.

Folders: Each child will have a folder for all papers, communication, etc. between home and school. All graded/completed assignments will be sent home in this folder. Homework packets will be sent in this folder. Any notes to school should also be included in the child's folder so that they are easy to find. General notes regarding dismissal, absence can be sent in without an envelope. If you are writing me a note about a specific question or concern regarding your child, please send it in a sealed envelope addressed to me for confidentiality reasons.

Homework: Homework will be sent home in a packet format.  Packets will include reading/language arts, math, and spelling homework weekly. Some weeks may also include social studies or science review work.  The cover page will include all details about the assignments within the packet. These assignments will begin going home on Monday, September 18.  Please note I'm not perfect, if there are errors in the homework I'll send home notification regarding changes as needed.

Please do not have children complete the whole packet in one night, that is not what they are designed for. They are set up as a packet so that a little work is done each night. Homework assignments will cover material that has already been presented in class, so they are used as a review and should mostly be completed independently by children after directions have been read/explained.  Occasionally an assignment will go home that will require a little more help from an adult due to project/assignment themes. No textbooks will need to go home for homework.

Behavior Management: Our classroom is set up with simple rules that provide students the guidance they need for acceptable behaviors. They are as follows:

  1. Listen carefully.
  2. Follow directions the first time.
  3. Keep hands and feet to yourself at all times.
  4. Raise your hand and wait to be called on before speaking.
  5. Be respectful. Use kind words and actions with friends and adults.

The rules are posted in the classroom and we will discuss them in the beginning of the year, and other times as needed. To track behaviors, we use a few systems.

To encourage appropriate behaviors and manners, we have two positive reinforcement systems in use. One is a short-term behavior system, our "Good Behavior Lottery." If a student is "caught" being good, he or she will be told to get a ticket and write his or her name/number on the ticket. It will go into the lottery basket. At the end of the day, one lucky winner gets a small prize! Children who have pulled 2 or more strips (see strip chart information below) are not able to win the lottery. Students have to be caught by a teacher, rather than telling the teacher what they have done to earn a ticket.

For long term behavior monitoring, we also have sticker charts in the classroom. For each day that a student is present in school and stays on yellow or green, he or she will earn a sticker on a chart. When the chart is full, the student will be able to choose a prize. The chart will be sent home with the student the day he or she chooses a prize.

We have a behavior management "stick" chart. All children start out on green. If a rule is broken once, a child will be reminded of the rule and asked to move his or her stick, and he or she will now be on yellow. If this happens again, the rule broken will be discussed, and the child will move his or her stick again, and be on red. If a child has another problem, the stick will be moved to the teacher's desk and a note will go home about the behaviors. Generally, a note will only go home if a stick has been moved three times, but for serious problems such as hitting, pushing, etc. or repeated days on red (more than 2 in a row), a note will be sent home informing parents. Any time a note is sent home it must be read, signed, and returned the to me on the following school day. I try to be as specific as I can about details involving the notes and children are reminded of the rules that were broken when asked to move a stick. There shouldn't be a time when they do not know why a strip has been pulled.

Overall, the short and long term systems work to help students monitor behavior actively and therefore encourages them to own up to good or bad choices. It allows them to see there can be positive and negative consequences.

Mrs. G. and I truly look forward to forming a lovely class community with the children this year!