Gideon First Grade Newsletter!

April and May Edition

April, April, April... getting closer to the end!

As the end of the year approaches there will be a lot of information that comes up. Please be checking your child's folder daily for any new updates or important information you need to be aware of!

Hopefully this edition will help you keep organized with all this season brings. 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.


The First Grade Team

Gideon Elementary School

Important 1st Grade Information!

Please read all the way through as some new information has been added and some information might have changed.

- Supplies: This is the point of the year we typically re-stock and give fresh supplies to the kiddos, if you brought all of the supplies at the beginning of the year. You may want to check with your child to see if they need any new fresh supplies to make sure!

- Book Buffet: Our annual Book Buffet is going to be held on Wednesday, May 2nd. The time is different depending on which class your child is in, so please refer to the individual notes that your child's teacher sent home. There have been several things send home already about this, but should you have any questions please reach out to your child's teacher. We work very hard on this and hope that you will be able to join your child on this special day. If you have not already let your child's teacher know if you will be attending, please do so as soon as possible. We use this information to not only make sure that every child has a "guest" but also to plan for how many cookies, etc. we need to purchase. Your help with this is greatly appreciated!

- 1st Grade Awards: For those of you who like to plan ahead, our 1st grade awards will be on May 10th at 8:30AM. More information about this will be sent out closer to the date.

-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.


-Mandatory homework due back to your child’s teacher – Reading Log with 100 minutes read.

Weekly reading Log: Your child is expected to read 100 minutes per week. They will log minutes nightly in their folder. Any form of reading counts: parent reading to child, child reading to someone, listening to an audiobook on tape, or tablet, etc.

-Homework Suggestions: Spelling – a word list will be sent home weekly with suggestions on how to practice words. As a reminder, 5 words will come from this list of suggested words and 5 words will be "mystery" words that follow the spelling/phonics pattern for the week. All students will need to know the sight words for the week. Nothing is due back to your child’s teacher for spelling. The intention of spelling is to help students master the spelling skill to aid them in both reading and writing, especially as they learn to decode new words. Math suggestions – practice addition and subtraction facts.

- Spelling tests are on Fridays, unless noted by the teacher.

Lunch: 1st grade lunch is at 11:10AM

Conference: 1st grade conference time is from 10:05-11:05, daily. We have team planning on Tuesdays, so if at all possible we try not to schedule conferences on those days.

What are we currently learning?

April (6th 6 Weeks) 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!

Language Arts/Reading:

Phonics: vowel digraphs, vowel digraphs/diphthongs, hand and soft c and dge/g

Reading: using a dictionary, media literacy, using timelines, etc.

Sensory Language: sensory detail, imagery

Literary: write short poems that convey sensory details

Writing: Expository on topics of interest and respond to both literary or information text

Conventions: adjectives and other parts of speech


Determine Unknown

Generate & Solve problems- review of addition and subtraction concepts and strategies

Review TEKS

Step up to 2nd



Plants and animals


Life cycles

Food chain

Social Studies:

Historical Figures: inventors


Culture: technology and society

Important Dates!

April 20th: PTA Spring Fling, 6:00- 7:30, at Gideon.


  • Pre-sale: $2 each or $8 per family
  • At door: $4 each or $16 per family
*Send your money in today!

May 2: Book Buffet

May 10th: 1st Grade Awards 8:30AM

May 14th and 15th: STAAR Testing (3rd and 4th grade) no visitors allowed on campus

May 21st: Field Day

May 23rd: Last day of school and end of year party

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 have 2 wonderful daughters and 3 beautiful grandchildren. This is my 18th year in education and my 17th year in 1st grade here at Gideon. Teaching 1st graders is my passion and is so very rewarding. It's great to be a "Gideon Gator".

Whitney Nelson

My name is Whitney Nelson and this year marks my 11th 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 11 years. We have been blessed beyond measure with two wonderful children. Zane is 7 and Addison is 5! They both attend Nancy Neal Elementary. 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 4th 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 29 years and have a son at Texas A&M and a daughter at Texas State. 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!