Primer January Newsletter

December 28, 2014

Notes from the classroom

First, I hope everyone is having a great holiday break. I was delighted to see the Primer students play the bells during the holiday service. Check out the video below to see their performance.


Second, our virtue for January is justice. During the first half of the month students will learn about Dr. King through reading stories, watching short videos and discussion. By the end of the month it is my hope that students will come to understand what justice means. While justice does not mean equal it does provide a great discussion of equality. Look at the image below to consider the terms justice and equality.


Also, we are just about at the mid-year mark. Please take a moment to fill out the mid-year review. The reviews are anonymous and allow me to adjust things for the remainder of the year.


Finally, while students will not return on Monday, January 5, I will be at work. For those wanting to get a jump on homework, I will leave the homework bin with the homework folders outside of the Primer classroom from 8 AM-4 PM. Feel free to pick up your folder.


Academic Objectives



  • Reading: Non fiction features ( table of contents, headings, captions, photographs, index and glossary)
  • Writing: Report writing on a Dallas World Aquarium Animal
  • Phonics: Long vowel A ( AY, AI and A-E)
  • Math: Story Problems addition and subtraction
  • Social Studies: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & Justice
  • Science: Aquarium animals
Primer bells 12-14
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Repeated Readings

Homework heading back will look similar to previous assignments. One of the new aspects will be repeated readings. Students will be asked to read the same passage or poem aloud for three nights. Research has proven that repeated readings help students with comprehension, vocabulary and fluency. This makes sense considering that students love to hear a favorite story again and again. For each reading I would like for you to focus on different aspects. Listed below you will find the areas to focus on when reading. This will also help your child understand why reading something multiple times can help them.


Repeated reading schedule


First read- focus on power words ( vocabulary)- Each passage or poem will have three power words marked in a box near the top of the page. You can clap the syllables and go over the pronunciation as well as discuss the meaning. Vocabulary can be pre taught, before reading the passage, or taught when students come across the word during reading.


Second read- focus on fluency- Does your child pause at periods and raise their voice at exclamation points and question marks? Does their reading sound like their normal talking pace? Do they include express when characters speak?


Third read- focus on comprehension- Complete the activity on the back of the page after reading the story a third time. Parents can also discuss: What's happening in story?, What kind of story is it fiction or non fiction?, If fiction, what is the problem and solution? and If non fiction, what are two facts from the story?

Primer students carry the cross starting January 23

Primer students will each have a day to carry the cross during the 8:45 chapel service. On your child's day it is customary to attend the service, take pictures and sit with your child. The schedule for cross carrying will come home on January 6. It you need to switch days with someone please contact the person you need to switch with and just keep me informed of the change. Thank you.

Nerdy Book Club

I am a honorary member of the Nerdy Book Club which focuses on reading and sharing children's books. Each year collaborative members read and review probably hundreds of books. We rank the books after reading and then at the end of the year a report comes out with the best of 2014 books by category. Listed below you will find the non fiction, fiction and early readers and chapter book award winners. It might be fun to see which ones your child might be interested in reading.
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Save an adult shoebox

Primer students will each need a shoebox for a diorama project. During our science blocks, students will take their research from reading and writing to construct a diorama for the animal they choose to research from The Dallas World Aquarium. Please send in a box marked with your child's name by Friday, January 9. Students might also bring other supplies such as rocks, paper towel rolls, etc. Mrs. Talbot, the science teacher and I will provide paint, paint brushes, construction paper, pipe cleaners, markers and ribbon. Students will be asked to create from various resources their researched animal and any other items they want to include.

Save the Dates

  • School Resumes Tuesday, January 6 ( Library books are also due.)
  • Marathon Kids Family Run Thursday, January 8 at 7:15
  • Dallas World Aquarium Field Trip Thursday, January 15
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day- No School Monday, January 19