First Grade News

September 10, 2015

Dear First Grade Families ~

Hello! Welcome officially to first grade! I hope you are all adjusting to getting back on track with the school routine and loving first grade so far! I will be sending home newsletters like this about once a month, while also communicating via email shorter messages frequently as the need arises. Please don't hesitate to contact me anytime if you have questions or concerns to share. Thank you!

Social Studies

We are building community in the classroom while also learning about what a community is during September. This coincides with this month's Future Ready skill: Community Contributor. We are discovering how to be a positive role model and community member in our classroom, school, city, and world!


Our class has the privilege of piloting the new Next Generation Science Standards curriculum that the district has adopted. We are the only first graders in the school learning this new curriculum this year! I taught it last year as well as a preliminary test, and I truly love it. Our first unit of study on Sky Patterns will begin in October. Stay tuned!

Communication Notebook - What's inside?

Keep at Home: Papers that I send home (and that can stay home) go in this pocket. This includes finished/unfinished school work, math "homework" and "remembering" pages, etc... These do not need to come back to school, but unfinished work is encouraged to be done at home with your child's "homework helpers". I do not score or grade math "homework" so please complete when you can as it fits with your family schedule. Thank you!

Return to School: If there are papers that I do need returned, students will place it in this pocket page. Thank you for placing items that come to me from you in this pocket... our morning check-in system is getting faster every day! :)

Student Planners: Every day we will write a sentence in our planners. It's something that your child is supposed to share with you every night and hopefully a topic of conversation that you can share with your child about their school day.

Welcome Letter: These few pages contain a lot of helpful info specific to our classroom. There is an error though that I wasn't aware of until a couple of days ago. Food services have increased prices this year by 25 cents. New prices are: Milk Only $0.60; BREAKFAST $1.75; LUNCH $2.75, Sorry for the miscommunication on this piece. Here's a link to the food services page.

Schedule: I will be adding a schedule of our typical week so that you can see when we are doing each piece of our learning. Please note that our Library Day will be Friday's at the very end of the day. Students can check out only one book at a time from our school library. Please return library books by Thursday every day so that I can get them turned in and clear student accounts for our visit every Friday. If your child forgets his or her book, they can browse books, but won't be able to check another book out until their book is returned or paid for if lost.

Sight Words: I've included a copy of first grade words that students are working to learn by "sight" this year and which they will be tested on each term. Students must know them "in a snap" - not by sounding them out. To meet standard in November, students will need to know 41-105 words; March: 106-195 words; and June: 196-219 words. Thanks for helping your kiddos learn these words - it makes a huge difference in being able to read fluently!

Spelling: In January, spelling lists will be popped into this pocket pouch for study and reference.

Number Grid: Students are learning to use this style of number grid with our math curriculum. Recognizing patterns on this grid helps with number sense.

Fact Fluency: In October, we will begin working on our math fluency with 90 second tests. We start out very slowly, building up to make this as fun as possible, not stressful. Math fluency is not recorded on November's report card. By March, standard is completing addition and subtraction of 3's (working on 4's or higher). By June, students should have mastered up to their 5's (working on 6's or higher).

Scholastic: I order once a month (usually the second weekend) except for months that we have Book Fair at the school. Ordering online is fast and easy, and online orders creates bonus points that I can use to get free books for our classroom! Thank you!

A New Read-at-Home Book: Towards the end of September, your child will choose a book from our class library at his or her appropriate reading level. They should be able to read this book independently.

Reading Strategies: A resource to use while reading at home. These strategies will be taught at school and can be used at home as well. Help your child's confidence by allowing them time to think through some tough words before jumping in to help them.

Technology Access: Your child has been given personal accounts to RazKids (reading) and Dreambox (math). These programs are targeted to your child's specific ability and will advance as your child makes gains. This pocket page will be added very soon with your child's user IDs and passwords to which they can use at home on your PC or mobile devices.

Reading Log: In the back pocket is your child's reading log. Reading every night is your first grader's top priority (and really the only homework requirement in first grade). The reading log can include any type of reading whether it's RazKids, Read-at-Home books, library books, story time with family, etc.. Please keep this two-sided page in the pocket. When it's full, I'll keep the old log and replace it with a new one. Thanks for helping your young readers grow by reading with them every day!

PTSA GRR Reading Log: Document on this log as well and earn prizes from PTSA! Turn these logs in by the 5th day of every month. It's ok to keep GRR reading logs with our purple classroom log if that's easiest. Both parents and students must sign the log to receive credit and a prize from PTSA.

Thank you for taking the time to read this long newsletter! You can look forward to much shorter ones in the future! :)


Mrs. Hanson