Newsletters & Classroom Procedures
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I would like to welcome you and your child to first grade! I am so pleased to have your child in my class this year! We are going to have a wonderful year! In this newsletter I would like to share with you some policies, procedures, homework expectations, discipline, and our schedule. On Fridays, I will post on my website a Parent Newsletter. It lets you know what to expect in Reading, Math and Spelling.
Absences- When your child is absent from school, please send a note of explanation with your child when he/she returns to school. Please send a note even if you have called school about the absence. If your child will be coming to school later, (due to a doctor’s appointment, etc.) and is planning to eat the school lunch that day, please call the office before 9:00 to let us know. This helps our kitchen staff to know how much food to prepare. In the light of this uncharted and challenging school year, please refer to our school's Covid guidelines and protocol for returning to school after prolonged illness or being quarantined.
Money to school- Please send all money to school in an envelope marked with your child’s name on it. This works for lunch money, juice money, book orders, etc. In first grade students may choose from chocolate and white milk, or apple and orange juice. Students may also choose not to have a mid-morning drink. Lunch and drink money may be placed in the same envelope. If you wish, you may pay your lunch money online through our lunch account system. A note will be sent home when your child’s lunch account gets low.
Your child will practice spelling on Monday, Wednesday, and (possibly) Thursday evenings. We will also be practicing eLearning through our weekly homework assignments. In the years past, we sent home the readers to practice reading the weekly selections. Because we are trying to prevent the spread of germs, and practice for possible extended eLearning days, the readers will not be coming home. The reader stories are, however, on the ConnectEd website. You will receive log in instructions. Your child will be expected to log in to the site and complete the reading homework from home. This kind of reading and spelling homework will begin the week of Monday August 10th. Starting the week of August 17th, a fluency reading assignment will be added. The details of this homework will be included in the weekly newsletter on the 14th. Math homework will come in the form of Mastering Math Facts, which will begin later in the fall. There will be homework in Religion every once in a while, just be sure to check your child’s folder each night. Mrs. Blankman’s class will also be reviewing vocabulary words nightly. In the past, these ‘word pockets’ were stapled and folded and sent back and forth in the child’s folder. This year the word lists will be posted on Seesaw.
The homework will be sent home in a plastic ‘homework’ folder. It will contain the homework calendar, any additional homework that may have been assigned that day, a pocket for notes or special notices, and, new this year, a sheet protector with all your child’s log in instructions and passwords. This will be a handy reference tool for you if/when we are placed in an extended eLearning period. Please check your child’s book bag every evening. Please send the folder back each day.
Completed papers will be sent home in your child’s folder at the end of the week. Look through the papers with your child to see what we are learning and how your child is growing. Also, feel free to write any comments or questions on the calendar if you wish.
I use a color card system. There are 5 colors. Green- is great job!
Yellow – is warning, Red – is 10 minutes time out away from the group, Orange is time out for 15 minutes away from the group, and a privilege will be taken away. Black- is a visit to Mrs. Buening or Mrs. Prickel, and a note will be sent home. Color cards are restored to Green the next day. Color changes are recorded on the homework calendar. Your child will color in a smiley face each day with the color they are on that day. When a child stays on Green all week, the child is rewarded with a Bonus Coupon on Monday. This coupon can be redeemed any day that next week.
School begins at 8:00.
Mass begins at 8:15, and it is usually on Wednesdays. Because of our Covid restrictions, we will be attending Mass in the church every other week. On the weeks we aren't scheduled to be in the church, we will watch it remotely on our Smartboard. Students will be placed far apart in the benches. We will not have church buddies this year.
Mass readings will be read by the homeroom teacher. There will be no reading parts assigned to students this year. School Masses will be closed to the public.
Library Library visits begin second semester.
Art- Mrs. C. Blankman will be the art teacher. Due to our Covid restrictions, 1/2 of the class will be having Art within our classroom from 9:30-10:15 Wednesday. The other half will have Art the same time, but on Thursday morning.
Music- Mrs. Paula Davis will be our music teacher. While 1/2 of the students are staying in the room for Art on Wednesday morning, the other half will attend Music. This split period will occur for the other half of the class again on Thursday morning.
Gym-Mrs. Mauer will be the PE teacher this year. Because of scheduling difficulties, Mrs. Mauer will have the entire class for PE on Tuesday morning from 9:30-10:15. As we begin our first full week of school on a Monday, the children will begin their Fine Arts and gym classes this first week of school.
Technology- Mrs. Schutte will be the tech teacher. It will be conducted as a Tech/B.O.T.W. block that runs from 8:45-10:15. Our class has tech on Friday 9:30-10:15. While Mrs. Schutte comes to our class for technology, I will go to her room to teach B.O.T.W. (Breaking Open The Word)
Prayer Service- Because of Covid-19, there will be no prayer services this year.
Recess- There will be a morning and afternoon recess period. Grades K-1 are 10:30-11:00 and 1:00-1:30.
Lunch- We will be eating with the second graders this year as there are big classes of Kindergarten and first graders. Our lunch period is 11:50-12:10.
A newsletter will be sent home each week . You may also find it online on this web site.
What will eLearning look like in First Grade?
Our eLearning plan has been fine-tuned since last spring. When we first began, we didn’t know right away how long this type of learning would last. In the first few weeks we offered practice activities to keep skills sharp. Then as we learned that our situation would continue indefinitely, we began teaching through video sessions all new material. We assigned work on Monday and gave some work to do Tuesday through Thursday. Tests were given on Friday. Using a dairy metaphor, we skimmed off, and presented the cream last year. This year we will be providing not only the cream but the rest of the whey, too. As we head into Fall and Winter, we know now that this WILL BE school. We will be teaching and reaching out daily with lessons and learning.
Mrs. Schutte and I want to make this component of your child’s learning life at home as stress free as possible. Here is what we did last year:
· We linked all of the apps and websites into 1 place: Seesaw
It is a one stop shop to go to find all of your child’s activities. What is also nice about Seesaw is that it keeps track of the assignments your child has completed. The activities disappear once the child has completed them. When the task list is complete, the work for the week is done.
· We provided tech support to help with snags.
· We touched base with you and your child each week through an app called Marco Polo, through Seesaw, or FaceTime and texts.
How often will your child have homework?
· We will continue the learning from school at home.
Spelling- Students will have spelling practice /tests every week. There will be practice days where students will use materials from home to review their words. We will offer suggestions and fun creative ways to practice the words. Students will verify the practice on Seesaw by drawing a big checkmark on the assignment page when they are done.
Reading- There will be 2 reading assignments. As I indicated in the back to school letter, the readers will be staying at school. The reading series does offer the classroom materials online. You will be given a passcode for your child. He/She will use this to log into the personal account that has been set up. This account has been tailored to fit your child’s strengths and abilities. Once in the site, there will be a dashboard. All of the assignments for the week will be posted. Students will practice skills through games. They will answer questions about the reading material throughout the story to monitor comprehension and promote truthful participation. We will also be teaching/modeling new skills in a video format. We also would like to try a zoom meeting for small reading groups. As the time draws closer, we will reach out to you about times and feasibility.
Math- In class we have purchased a new math series last year. It offers stations in which to practice new material. We will video/teach a lesson and then model and provide opportunities for your child to practice the new skills. New lessons will be presented 3-5 times a week. After Fall Break we will begin Mastering Math Facts. We will be able to give these math tests through Seesaw.
Religion- Blessed Are We is the name of our religion series. There is an online version of your child’s workbook pages. If we are caught off guard, as we were last year, then we will post the actual workbook pages online for your child to read and do. If we are given a few days’ notice, then we’ll send home the workbook, and assign the pages to cover. For accountability we will have your child snap and submit a picture of the completed task on Seesaw.
Science and Social Studies- Mrs. Schutte teaches Science, and I teach Social Studies. We will have no more than 2 lessons and activities to do each week for these subjects.
We are starting out gradually. To get used to the technology component of the year, we are issuing homework through Seesaw (which houses ConnectEd-reading, Moby, and Epic!) This will, hopefully, provide a smoother transition.
Here is what this will look like:
· A list of all your child’s pass codes and log in instructions will be housed in your child’s going home folder. This will be a handy reference tool for you in the days to come.
· Reading homework assignments will be given through ConnectEd.
· Reading fluency homework will be coming to you by way of Seesaw.
· Word list practice will be offered and assigned through Seesaw.
· Some Math fact practice will be assigned through Moby. Mastering Math Facts will be posted through Seesaw.
For those of you who like to look at a checklist to see what needs to be done, we will post all of the lessons and assignments for the week on a Google Doc. You will be able to find this through weekly posts on JupiterEd.
Lessons will be posted on Monday, and won’t be due until the following Monday. Seesaw has a feature on it that allows teachers to assign tasks for certain days. We don’t want students taking the Friday Spelling Test on Monday. When you see the list of everything Monday you will know what is ahead. Many of the tasks will be time released through Seesaw. It will be important to check in each day with Seesaw to see if any new material has appeared. Also, what you see on the Google Doc on Monday is what you get during the week. We will not give you surprise ‘add-ons’ throughout the week.
We are starting slowly. We have a slight advantage this time around, in that we feel somewhat certain round 2 is coming. We were caught off guard last spring. We will be ready this time around. We will help you through this difficult time with mercy and understanding. We will be available to you through email, calls, and texts. I am not the most techy person. I’ve experienced a huge learning curve this past spring. I’m better than I was, but I will defer to my Tech Support (Mrs. Schutte J) from time to time. If you run into a snag, I will work to help you get on your way as quickly as I can.
First Grade News
Mrs. Blankman’s Class
Friday September 25th, 2020
Reading/Language Arts- The theme for next week is about buildings all around. We will learn all about the short u sound in our phonics. The reading comprehension skill will be making and confirming predictions. This next week the children will look at Week 2 words and the Week 2 sentences in the vocabulary.
Spelling- Just a gentle reminder: The students only practice the words they missed from the test that day.
If a child gets a” Free Day Friday” on a Wednesday spelling paper, then he/she does not have to do any more spelling homework for the rest of the week. I will try to do a better job of removing those scheduled assignments in the future.
Fall Poems- I haven’t heard any of the students yet. I imagine there are many who are ready to share. I will try listen to more next week.
Baptism- We had fun baptizing our babies today! I hope to send a video on Seesaw later today.
Math- The children did a great job with their Unit 1 Math test! As we begin chapter 2, we will cover basic addition and subtraction.
· Poems are due next Friday.
· Fall Break October 5-9
Mon. Sept. 28th -spelling word
practice, fluency, read
Cubs in a Hut, practice poem,
Vocabulary sentences and words
for week 2.
Tues. Sept. 29th - Read The
Pigs, the Wolf, and the Mud,
fluency, Spelling sentence
words and sentences
Wed. Sept. 30th - fluency,
Spelling word practice, poem
Thurs. Oct. 1st –spelling sentence practice, vocabulary words and sentences.
Fri. Oct. 2nd -no homework
Have a blessed weekend.