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Welcome to First Grade!. 2009-2010. Balanced Literacy. We use a balanced literacy model at Errick Road. This means that there are a variety of reading and writing activities that foster literacy growth each day. These activities are built into our day in predictable routines.

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balanced literacy
Balanced Literacy
  • We use a balanced literacy model at Errick Road. This means that there are a variety of reading and writing activities that foster literacy growth each day. These activities are built into our day in predictable routines.
    • Independent Reading/Writing
    • Shared Reading/Interactive Writing
    • Guided Reading/Writing Groups
    • Read Aloud/Modeled Writing
  • For more information, you can visit our website where each of these balanced literacy components are explained in more detail.
  • Each day students will be reading independently, listening to reading and practicing reading skills (word work). They will also be writing daily and practicing the steps of the writing process in order to publish their own stories and ideas.
  • The daily lessons and focus of instruction in the classroom comes directly from the NYS standards.
literacy work
Literacy Work
  • Most of your child’s daily reading and writing work is kept at school in their reading journal and writing portfolio.
  • We will send completed work home on a regular basis so that you can monitor your child's progress. The work that they do is meaningful and hands-on. Therefore, you will not see many worksheets. What you will see is their sight words, writing pieces, responses to reading, etc. Much of the writing will be informal, non-published work so that you can see the process. However, we will send home final published pieces as well.
  • There will be several opportunities during conferences and classroom celebrations to look at your child’s work.
  • In October, we will begin using the Rebecca Sitton spelling program in conjunction with Words Their Way. This is a meaningful and relevant program that will help students practice words that they are using in their writing each day. On Mondays, your child will bring home the new list of spelling words. We will work on spelling words and word concepts each day. On Friday, students will complete a dictation that includes the words to check for understanding.
  • The daily lessons and focus of instruction in the classroom comes directly from the NYS standards. You can find these standards at several sites on the Internet.
  • We use manuscript (Zaner Bloser) printing. We will begin the year with a review of how to write each letter. Handwriting is important so that student’s writing can be easily read. However, the ability to write neatly corresponds to fine motor skills and will vary with each student. I encourage students to do their best to write neatly but do not want to discourage students from writing freely and enjoying the process.
  • Reversals of letters are common and developmental. For example, b for d or p for 9.
  • Please feel free to ask for additional materials if you would like to work on handwriting at home!
  • The math program is divided into six major units:
  • Number Sense and Operations
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Measurement
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Problem Solving
math workshop
Math Workshop
  • Students will be participating in a math workshop each day in which they will be learning and practicing the NYS Standards-based skills and concepts through different modalities.
  • The teacher will meet with guided math groups to provide explicit instruction that meets each student’s needs while the rest of the students will be working independent from the teacher in small groups/pairs practicing skills and concepts.
  • Students’ work each day will be kept in their math journal or math folder.
  • Throughout this model, mathematical flexibility, reasoning, and communication are emphasized. There is no longer just one right way to solve a problem! A variety of strategies to solve a problem is highly encouraged!
science and social studies
Science and Social Studies
  • The majority of our science and social studies units are imbedded in our literacy block. This means that we will be listening, reading and writing about science and social studies topics each week.
  • Our main focus in First Grade is citizenship, geography, government and understanding traditions and diversity in our families. In science some of our units include: lifecycles of plants and animals, a study of the rainforest and tracking the weather.
  • The class will also be participating in two service projects this year that will help to foster our social studies standards as well as to teach children about the power of philanthropy.
books of hope
Books of Hope
  • Books of Hope is an amazing not-for-profit project that was founded by graduate student Ben Schumaker at the University of Wisconsin. The project allows students to create original books that are then given to children in schools and shelters in Uganda, Africa. These children are experiencing extreme challenges as they are caught in the middle of a horrendous civil war.
  • For our purposes, it is a way to reach out to children who are less fortunate than us and provide them with a moment of escape and joy while helping them to read (English is the official language of Uganda!). It also provides our students with some inspiration to create a book that they think the children in Uganda will enjoy. A variety of writing and social studies standards are met during this lengthy project. We will work on this project throughout the year with our reading buddies.
coins for carly
Coins for Carly
  • In February and March we will be collecting coins in our class piggy bank that will be donated to Carly’s Club at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Carly’s Club is a group that funds pediatric cancer research and provides programs to make life more manageable for children diagnosed with cancer.
  • Each week we will sort, count and graph the coins we collect in our bank before making our donation. This will be a meaningful way to practice our currency skills!
  • Please consider sending in some change for this project or have students earn some money by doing additional chores around the house.
  • The district’s homework policy is 10 minutes a night for first grade students. Students will receive a homework calendar each month where they can choose which activities they would like to complete. The calendar and the reading log should be returned at the end of each month.
  • However, research is clear that the best readers are students who read for 20 minutes each day. This includes independent reading and listening to reading. We hope that you choose to include reading for 20 minutes as a part of your child’s daily schedule all year long!
  • We will be sending home a reading log to keep track of books that children read and listen to each night. We will collect the logs to keep track of the books your child has read.
  • Students will have 5 spelling words to learn each week beginning in October. We will provide activities to help practice spelling these words at home. We will also work on spelling at school.
  • Finally, each student will practice reading ‘sight words’ at their level. After an initial assessment we will send home a list of words to practice reading (not spelling!).
classroom events celebrations
Classroom Events/Celebrations
  • We will have classroom “gatherings” throughout the year. We try to combine student performances with these celebrations to make them more meaningful. You are invited to join us in the classroom for these events!
lunch and snack
Lunch and Snack
  • If your child is buying lunch at school, please send their money in a change purse or baggy with their name.
  • It would be helpful to read the school lunch menu with your child before school so that they will be familiar with the lunch choices in advance!
  • We will be eating snack in the morning. Please send a healthy snack with your child’s name on it. Since we will be eating in different areas around the classroom, we would prefer ‘finger food’ snacks that are easy to eat and clean up!
  • You may also send in a water bottle (labeled) for your child to keep at their desk during the warm weather. We do have a water fountain in our classroom so juice boxes are not necessary for snack.
field trips
Field Trips
  • We are looking forward to complimenting our curriculum with a few field trips during the year. In October, we will visit Murphy’s Orchard in Newfane to do some up-close learning about the apple lifecycle. In the spring, we will go to the Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve to deepen our understanding of forest habitats. We also will go to the public library and visit a theater to see a dramatic performance.
  • Information about field trips will be sent home as the dates approach!
  • Please feel free to send in a simple special treat for your child’s birthday celebration. They may not bring in extra treats for the office staff or previous teachers.
  • We ask that you call ahead of time to make arrangements with your child’s teacher.
  • School policy on passing out invitations: Children must invite the entire class or all the girls/all the boys if they pass out invitations at school. They may not pass out invitations to other students in different classes. These invitations must be mailed out on your own.