Jennifer LoPresti
Jennifer LoPresti

jennifer.lopresti@bdms.org

 

 

 

 

 

Please remember: For sanitary and safety reasons, we cannot microwave lunches for students.

Ms. S and I are enjoying working with the children.  If any families are looking for things to practice at home to help students with independence, please consider working on tucking in shirts for the uniform, opening and closing belts, and tying shoes.  
 
Birthdays:  We'll be able to sing to the students for the birthday, but there will be no treats this year due to the current situation and COVID protocols.  

We look forward to working with your children every day!

 

 

Welcome to First Grade

We are very excited about continuing with the Super Kids reading program that the children worked with in Kindergarten! The program includes a brief review of skills learned during the previous school year to help students recall information presented in the past. This review program also gives children who are new to our school a chance to meet the wonderful characters who help the students stay motivated and make real life connections to their learning.

This year, the students will be working on exciting new spelling patterns and developing comprehension, fluency, and grammar skills. They will be learning more about the Super Kids in our first grade units: Adventures of the Super Kids and More Adventures of the Super Kids. Another fantastic feature to this program is a new writing program that will help students connect to the characters and their experiences.

Students will be given various opportunities to work in a whole group setting as well as small groups so that individual learning needs and styles are addressed. Core curriculum will be presented in a large or whole group setting so that all students are able to enjoy the stories, activities, and lessons together. After core curriculum is presented, students will be given opportunities to work in smaller groups with guidance from the teachers to review presented sounds and skills in ways that help the students learn.

Guided reading groups will be used to provide more individualized instruction to children using the Super Kids decodable readers. These guided reading lessons will focus on fluency and comprehension development. Students will have opportunities to practice reading a text with expression independently as well as in groups. Small groups work with the teachers, while the other groups complete a series of tasks that involve reinforcement and enrichment of previously taught skills. Journal writing and handwriting are also given during this independent work time. Students are provided with step by step instructions by the teachers prior to starting, and directions are also written on the interactive whiteboard. Motivating enrichment activities, centers, and games are provided  for when students complete their tasks.

The great thing about the reading program is that students are exposed to fiction and nonfiction literature. We will be incorporating the SUPER DUPER magazines into the curriculum to further develop reading skills as well as social studies and science. Students will discuss ways to identify differences between fiction and nonfiction text. These magazines are a great way to meet New York State Core Curriculum requirements involving expository text! Students will often be given writing assignments to reflect on information learned from SUPER DUPER magazines.

Writing is a huge part of the first grade curriculum. Everyday we will develop our writing skills, as they are so closely related to reading skills. Students will be writing daily through the use of handwriting practice, creative, and expository writing. We use journals to allow them to share what they have done on the weekends, for a nice warm up to each week. Students are also given a variety of expository writing assignments, based on current science, social studies, religion, or math topics. The class works as a team to complete graphic organizers to assist with getting ideas generated. Later students are directed to make an outline to help them organize and focus their writing. Topic and closing sentences are also discussed throughout the year.

We will also use the Picturing Writing program in the classroom as time allows and based on content in the classroom.  This allows for a great connection between our habitat study and literacy through writing informational texts and poetry.

Grammar becomes a big focus this year. We will learn the various parts of speech such as nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Use of apostrophe for contractions and to show possession is also focused on throughout the year. Students will practice editing sentences for basic things such as beginning capitalization, ending punctuation, and eventually move onto more complex corrections such as use of subject verb agreement.

Our approach to Math is "hands-on." We will use manipulatives to explore math concepts whenever possible. Some manipulatives we will use are unifix cubes, base 10 blocks, counters, and many other objects to count, estimate, problem solve, and develop math skills. Advanced skills in money and time will be covered as well as two digit addition and subtraction.  We have a strong focus in problem solving and complete "Problem of the Day" and "How Do You Solve It?" story problem activities that review skills worked on in class and help with enrichment in already mastered skills.

Our Science lessons involve the use of hands on activities whenever possible. We will study the various areas of science within the disciplines of life, earth, and physical science. Some specific topics covered: Human body systems, habitats, and plant growth.

First grade will be participating in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program with Kindergarten.  Students will rotate and work in groups to complete different activities involving STEM.

In Religion, we get to know God through Bible stories and lessons. Our curriculum follows the textbook series Alive in Christ. To supplement these texts, bible stories will be read to students as they "take notes" to develop listening skills. Children will be drawing pictures as they listen to a bible story. These drawings will serve as notes to help students practice writing and describing what they drew. As the year progresses, students will begin to write sequenced responses to the bible stories before drawing pictures.

Our Social Studies curriculum involves topics such as getting ready for school, families, communities, our country, work, and our world. Scholastic news publications will also supplement our Scott Foresman curriculum. Focus on geography, holidays, and other appropriate topics will be part of the curriculum this year.  There is also a focus on literature including fables, folk tales, fairy tales, and other stories that teach lessons about behavior and morals.

 

Please check back in September!

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.

School Day: Children must be in school on time to avoid being marked late and miss out on class activities as we start with academics right away.  Running late occasionally happens, but please have students here on time.

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:

Listen carefully. Follow directions the first time. Keep hands and feet to yourself at all times. Raise your hand and wait to be called on before speaking. 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.

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

Check back in September for groupings!

Text: Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

We will do some introductory activities based on this story, so children should read this text close to the beginning of the school year, or reread it if possible before school starts.

 

This book does NOT need to be purchased as you can access it from online libraries.  Please read it with your child over the summer!  But, again, please don't feel obligated to buy it. 

 

Suggested books:

The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
First Grade Here I Come by Nancy Carlson
If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens

Most of these texts are suggested as ways to help the children as we adjust to changes from Kindergarten to first grade as they will be able to make connections to the literature. Please do NOT feel the need to purchase these books. Simply borrowing them from a local library or reading them at the bookstore is sufficient.

Please label the following supplies with your child’s name:

 

2 plastic two pocket folders. Plastic is more sturdy for daily use. (Pockets across the bottom rather than right to left sides please.)

1 supply box (standard size approx. 8″x 5″x 2″, keep to this size for ease of storage)

1 Primary Composition Notebook K-2. There should be a top, middle, and bottom line to aid in letter formation and spacing.  Please no writing tablets (open top to bottom) they fall apart very easily. Target, Walmart, Staples, Office Depot, Amazon.com, etc. carry these items. 

1 pack of beginner style pencils (thick style)

1 pack of bar erasers

1-1 inch binder (hard cover)

binder dividers

metric ruler (Please keep at home until we request it to be sent in)

1 pack of crayons

1 pack of water color paints

4 Glue sticks

2 pack Expo markers (FINE point, consistent with "thick pencils" LOW odor please)

1 pair of student scissors

Headphones (sent in a ziplock bag for storage) 

1 box of tissues

1 deck of cards

1 activity book with mazes, word searches, dot to dots, etc that student can complete independently

1 Memory game (any school appropriate theme/characters are fine, sight word or number recognition are encouraged) 

1 container of play dough

1 container of disinfecting wipes, if available

1 container of Wet Ones or Sani Hands wipes, if available

 

*Notice will be sent home if any of the above items need to be replenished during the year.  

 

Things suggested for home:  

crayons/colored pencils

beginner pencils

scissors

glue sticks