Gideon First Grade Newsletter!

April 2017 Newsletter!

Wow, April already!?!

This year has just FLOWN by! Hopefully this edition will help you keep organized with all of the things occurring in the month of April. In this newsletter, you will find some of the themes your first graders will be studying. This will help give you as parents/guardians a topic for discussion when you want to know what your child is doing in school! Also included will be important events and other important reminders. At the bottom of this newsletter you will find a quick introduction to all the teachers on the 1st grade team. Included in their introduction, will be a link to access their personal information page as well as their e-mail address. Their personal page will contain information that is relevant to their specific classroom. As always, please contact your child's teacher should you have any questions or concerns!


The First Grade Team

Gideon Elementary School

April Notes!

Reading: Please remember to read nightly with your student. We can't stress enough how much reading with your child helps them improve their reading skills! Remember, any reading is reading so it all counts.

Supplies: We are still in need of glue sticks. If you could send any in with your child, it would be greatly appreciated!

Egg Drop Experiment: A note was sent home at the beginning of the week (4/3/2017) about this. You can review the contents of this note below.

April 3, 2017

Scrambling for Eggs

First Grade will be having an “Egg Drop” contest on Thursday, April 13th. Each child is encouraged to “package” one RAW egg that can be dropped from the roof of the school and survive! Here are the rules:

  1. First, place one RAW egg in a ziplock baggie. (Please do not stop at step 1 – your child’s egg will not survive.)

  2. Next, package your “egg-in-a-baggie” in some kind of container so the egg will not break when it hits the ground after being dropped from the roof of the school. (Please DO NOT send just an egg in a baggie.)

  3. Size of the package may not exceed 7”x7”x7”

  4. Label the container with your name.

  5. Decorate the container if you want to.

  6. Keep egg at home until Thursday morning.

    **Do not use Styrofoam peanuts or Easter grass. This creates a litter problem on our playground. The “egg in a baggie” helps with sanitary clean up.

    Good Luck!

    Gideon First Grade

First Grade Book Buffet: This is am AMAZING event that we and our students look forward to each year. This year the event will take place on May 3rd (so mark your calendars)! Look for more information to come home about this around the 10th of April.

Animal Research Project: This will not be due until May 5th, but please be on the lookout for more information coming home shortly about this as well!

Important 1st Grade Information!

Take-Home Folders:

- Students will bring home a "Take-Home Folder" daily. This needs to be checked for notes or comments, and signed nightly as it also serves as their behavior chart. This is also where you will put anything, notes, money, etc., that needs to be given to the teacher. Please also use this to note if there is a change in transportation!

Reading Logs:

- The "Take-Home Folder" will also include a "Weekly Reading Log". The expectation is that each student is to be reading 100 minutes per week. This log needs to be kept in the folder and signed by the parent/guardian. Please remember, all forms of reading are acceptable; shared reading with a parent, sibling etc., reading to self, parent reading. The reading log is considered the reading homework for the week.


- Spelling tests are on Fridays, unless noted by the teacher. There will also be homework and suggestions on how to study that come home each week with the new list.

- Additional homework is sent on most weeks, and includes reading and math practice.

Lunch: 1st grade lunch is from 11:00AM-11:30AM

Snack: Students are allowed to bring a snack if they wish, which will be eaten at the end of the day in the classroom. Please make sure the snack you send is a healthy and simple choice (nothing messy or that needs refrigeration) for the classroom. If your child chooses not to bring a snack, there will be no snack provided for them.

Conference: 1st grade conference time is from 12:005M-1:05PM, daily. We have team planning on Wednesdays, so if at all possible we try not to schedule conferences on those days.

What are we currently learning?

March Topics

This is just a glimpse of a day in the life of your Gideon Gator, hopefully you will find this information helpful and insightful as you talk with your child about their day at school!

English/Language Arts/Reading:

- Phonics: Distinguishing between long and short vowel sounds, blending phonemes including 3 letter blends (l,s,r), closed and open syllables, cvce long vowel words, diagraphs, compound words, contractions, decoding using word families, high frequency (sight word) recognition, and constantly reviewing previously taught skills as we build more independent reading.

- Reading: use text features to locate specific information, identify the topic and explain the author's purpose, ask relevant questions, seek clarification, locate facts and details, establish a purpose for reading texts and monitor comprehension, make corrections and adjustments when comprehension breaks down, and generate questions based on background knowledge, etc.

- Writing: Understand and use prepositions and prepositional phrases, use the writing process to produces expository writings by researching, gathering data from a variety of sources, synthesize information, and organize and present ideas, understand and use adjectives and create descriptive writing.

Social Studies:

We will discuss..

- Texas Symbols


We will discuss....

- Forests; plants, life cycles, animals etc.


- money- identifying and counting money

- time

- basic addition and subtraction, practice fact fluency

- financial literacy

- graphing

- review of skills and "step up to second"

* Please continue to work with your child on both addition and subtraction at home. Mastering the basic facts in these areas will go a long way with their success!

Important Dates!

April 11th: MISD Bond Meeting in the Library at 3:45PM

April 11th: PTA Meeting 7:00PM

April 13th: College Dress Day

April 14th: No School

April 20th: Pre-K and Kindergarten registration at Gideon 9:00AM to 2:30PM and 4:30PM to 6:30PM

April 28th: Gideon PTA Spring Carnival 6:00-9:00

May 3rd: First Grade Book Buffet- more info to come!

May 5th: Animal Projects Due- more info to come!

Gideon First Grade Teacher Bio's!

Please click on your child's specific teacher's website for information regarding their personal classroom.

Thelma Vega- Lead

Hello, my name is Thelma Vega. I am married, and I have two beautiful daughters. I also have two wonderful granddaughters. My first grandson is expected in December 2016. This is my 16th year in first grade at Gideon Elementary. I enjoy spending time outdoors, traveling, and reading childrens' books, but I really enjoy spending time with my family. It's great to be a "Gideon Gator".

Whitney Nelson

My name is Whitney Nelson and this year marks my 10th year in education. I have taught 1st, 3rd, 4th, and even 7th grade! Each part of my journey has taught me amazing lessons, but my heart is truly in the elementary classroom with my first grade babies. I attended Texas Christian University where I met my husband Brian. We have been married going on 10 year. We have been blessed beyond measure with two wonderful children. Zane is 6 and will be going into 1st grade in Midlothian (I can't believe he is finally in the same grade I teach... ahhh), and Addison is 4! They constantly keep me on my toes. When I am not working on school related things I enjoy running and spending time with my family. This is my 3rd year here at Gideon, and I love being a Gideon Gator!

Rhonda Brittain

My name is Rhonda Brittain. I enjoy reading, sewing, quilting, and spending time with my somewhat crazy family. I received my teaching certificate in 2001 and I've been teaching at the elementary level ever since. I received my dyslexia therapist certificate from Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in 2008. I began teaching at Gideon in 2009. My husband and I have three wonderful daughters, all of whom are Gideon Gators. I am blessed to have the privilege of teaching children how to read.

Jennifer Milam

My name is Jennifer Milam and I have been teaching for over 15 years! I am originally from Texas, but have lived in 5 different states. I moved back to Texas in 2014. I am certified in Elementary 1-6 and Special Education 1-12. Last year I came to Gideon in February as a Special Education teacher. I have taught Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades and could not be happier to back in the 1st grade classroom this year! I have been married for 28 years and have a son at Texas A&M and a daughter who will be a senior this year. In my free time, I enjoy running and spending time with my family. This is going to be a wonderful year and I am so excited to be apart of the Gideon Gator family!