Everything you need to know about First Grade






Cursive Writing: You may see papers come home that have words written in cursive.

                    At GCA our first graders will only write in D’Nealian handwriting. The A Beka curriculum

                    teaches cursive much earlier. Your child will benefit from seeing D’Nealian handwriting

                    as well as cursive. Please have your child write only in D’Nealian.



Homework: Yes, we do have homework in first grade . This will help your child learn

                  the importance of time management and responsibility. You will also have a better

                  understanding of what we do in the classroom. Please check your child’s take home

                  folder for homework assignments. A special homework sheet will be coming home with

                  the assignments for the week. Please keep this assignment sheet in your child’s

                  take home folder all week. This is a great place for communication! Please sign your

                  child’s homework sheet nightly. Assignments are due the next day, unless it is a special

                  project. I appreciate your help at home with homework!

Reading: Much of our focus in first grade will be helping your child learn to read and

                    become more confident and fluent in their reading ability. We will read every day in

                    class, but reading at home each night will also greatly benefit your child. In addition to

                    scheduled homework, reading every night for 15 minutes will greatly improve your

                    child’s reading ability! Your child will receive a reading log each month to record

                    minutes read each night. If they successfully read for 15 minutes every night in a

                    month and turn the log back in, they will receive a special prize!

Below is a list of ways YOU can help with reading at home each night:

                                         Listen to your child read AND read to your child

                                         When your child comes to a word that he/she doesn’t know, the following

                                            prompts promote independent reading behavior:

                                         Give your child a wait time of 5 to 10 seconds. See what your child attempts to

                                            do to make sense of the word.

                                         To give help, say…

                                         “What would make sense?”

                                         “Use the picture to help you figure out what the word could be.”

                                         “Go back to the beginning of the sentence. Read the sentence again and say the

                                             first sound.” “Get a running start on the word.”

                                         “Go back to the beginning, skip over the word and read on to the end of the

                                            sentence.” “Now what do you think the word is?”

                                         “What do you know about that word?”

                                         “Sound it out.” “Look for any special sounds you know in that word.”

                                         When a choice is made, ask…

                                         “Why don’t you go to the beginning and try it again?”

                                         “Does that sound right?” Does that look right?”

                                         “Does that make sense?”

Frye Words: In addition to nightly homework your child will have Frye words to

          practice  I will listen to your child read the Frye words several times a week. I try to listen to the lists daily—this isn’t always possible.

         When a list has been successfully completed they will receive a new list. As soon as all

         60 lists are completed, your child may begin taking the SRC tests. These are computer

         tests over various books at your child’s reading level. I will be sharing more details on

         this later. ALL STUDENTS will be taking SRC tests beginning in January

Behavior Plan: Positive reinforcement is often the most beneficial form of discipline in a

         first grade classroom. I do have a plan in place for those who need a gentle reminder to

         follow our rules. Your child will have 4 popsicle sticks with their name on them. If they

        choose to misbehave I will ask them to put a stick in the basket.

                                     1. Losing one stick = warning - This is used as a reminder and to redirect the

                                     2. Second stick = 5 minutes off of recess.

                                     3. Third stick = 10 minutes off of recess.

                                     4. Fourth stick = a note or phone call home and possibly visiting the principal.

                                    Our rules are simple:

                                    1. Treat each other as you want to be treated

                                    2. Use good listening ears

                                    3. Follow directions quickly

                                    4. Always do your best

                                    5. Be safe, be kind, be honest

Water Bottles: We do have access to a drinking fountain, but I still encourage your

                child to bring an insulated/labeled water bottle to school when it is very hot. Your child

                will be allowed to visit the water fountain when it does not interrupt class. Please make

                sure all water bottles are insulated as to avoid water on our desks and soggy papers. 

Birthday Treats: We would love to celebrate your child’s special day. Please let me

                know in advance so we can schedule a time. Please provide napkins, plates, silverware

                and cups as needed for your treat. Juice boxes may be best so we avoid spills on the

                carpet. Summer birthday celebrations can be scheduled at your convenience. Please let

                me know in advance! We usually celebrate birthdays at 2:30 pm.

Communication is very important!  Please let me know if there are changes at home that are causing stress for your                 child, sleepless nights, a traveling parent. a sick sibling or even having a difficult morning... can cause issues at school too.  Please let me              know when issues arise so I can handle them properly here at school.  Please know that I will contact you if I have a concern about school.              On occasion, I may allow a child to call home to share special news or as a reward.  If you would prefer you child not call home or work,                  please let me know.


I am looking forward to getting to know your family this year!  Please let me know if there is any way I can pray for your family. I would find it an honor to lift your families specific need up in prayer.
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