January Newsletter

January 1, 2016

Notes from the classroom

First, I hope everyone is having a great New Year. I was delighted to see the Primer students play the bells during the holiday service. Check out the picture below to see a snapshot.


Second, our virtue for January is respect. During the first half of the month students will learn about respect through reading stories, watching short videos and through discussion. We will take these mentor texts and examples and create our own chart of what respect looks and sounds like ( just like the one pictured below), we will revisit this chart often adding to it as we learn more. By the end of the month it is my hope that students will come to understand what respect means and then transfer that knowledge to actions and sayings. You can help reinforce the virtue of the month by talking about respect, highlighting when your child shows respect and pointing out when you hear or read about others showing respect.


Finally, January also provides students when a focus on the arts. Primer student will learn from The Dallas Museum Art (DMA) docents on January 13, The Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) on January 20 and The Dallas Children's Theater on January 29. These events will help guide us on the journey to our Primer play on March 17. You can read more about the art programs in this newsletter and the next one to come.


Academic Focus:

Reading: Poetry ( Verse, Stanza, Alliteration, Rhyme, Rhythm, and different types poetry)

Writing: Poetry

Phonics: Nouns and Adjectives

Math: Story Problems and Graphing

Science: Sound and Light

Social Studies: Virtue of the Month respect and preparing for DMA and DSO visits

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Reminders on Homework

Homework will be sent by email tomrorow, January 2. Students will also bring a copy home on Monday.


Homework heading back will look similar to previous assignments. I want to highlight the reading passage work students complete. 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?

Academic Extensions

Mark your calendars

  • January 4 Teacher Inservice (no school for students)
  • January 5 Students return ( Library day)
  • January 7 Marathon Kids Family Run 7:30-7:55 A.M.
  • January 8 Family Game Day 1:45-2:15 P.M. ( We are in need of two more volunteers.)
  • January 13 DMA Program 9:30-11A.M.
  • January 18 MLK Holiday- No School
  • January 20 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Field Trip
  • January 22 Jump Rope for Heart 9:30-10:00 A.M.
  • Janaury 29 Dallas Children's Theater Field Trip and LS Bingo Night 6PM-8PM at the Upper School