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W elcome to Miss Roland’s First Grade Classroom. 2014-2015. OUR MISSION.

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our mission

The French Creek Elementary School, in partnership with families and the community will provide a nurturing environment for the growth and development of young children.  This will be accomplished through a curriculum and instructional program that demands academic excellence, encourages positive self-esteem and promotes responsible citizenship.

back to school night overview
Back to School Night Overview

Daily Schedule

Curricular Information


Classroom Community

Lunch / Snack / Birthdays

Volunteers & Chaperones

General Information


daily schedule
Daily Schedule

Opening Activities

Arrival/ Morning Jobs- Unpack, Lunch Choice, Attendance, Pledge of Allegiance, “Brain Warm-up”

Language Arts/Centers

Reading / Phonemic Awareness


Word Study / Word Work



Lunch & Recess


Day 1- Quarter 1- Music Quarter 2- Art Quarter 3- Guidance Quarter 4- Phys. Ed.

Day 2- Music

Day 3- Phys. Ed.

Day 4- Library

Day 5- Art

Social Studies / Science / Health

Rules/ Safety /Citizenship

Community/Wants & Needs



Weather Watching

Healthy Living

U.S. Symbols/Map Skills

Classification of Living Things (Plants, Animals, Butterflies- Life Cycles)


language arts
Language Arts
  • The Owen J. Roberts Language Arts program is a comprehensive balanced literacy program. Language Arts instruction naturally integrates reading, writing, speaking and listening into daily learning.
  • Students will work in large groups, small groups, with a partner and individually. Each setting will ensure the development of the “whole child.” Small guided reading groups address individual needs, as larger groups are beneficial when the information shared is appropriate for all levels.
  • Students will learn phonetic skills and spelling patterns at their specific level through Word Study.
  • Writing prompts will be based on literature connections recommended by the “Lucy Calkins Units of Study” program. Students will also be asked to write on topics across the curriculum as well as their own choosing.
  • Students will participate in literacy centers and independent work during the language arts block, while the teacher meets with guided reading groups. Small groups of students will work on writing activities, word sort activities, literacy activities on the classroom computers and independent reading activities.
reading strategies
Reading Strategies

As your child attempts to read more appropriately leveled materials, use the strategies below to help figure out unknown words. Don’t make it too laborious at this time, but as proficiency increases these tips will help. At the present time, you may want to just give the word if it is not easily decoded.


Decoding Strategy

1. Look at the letters from left to right.

2. Think about the sounds for the letters. “Get your mouth ready.”

3. Blend the sounds to read the word.

4. Ask yourself:

Is it a word I know?

Does it make sense in what I am reading?

Use Pictures

Stop & Think

What word would I use?

Skip It & Read On

Read to the end of the sentence, come back and read it again. What word would make sense? Check the first 2—3 letters. Do they fit the word I thought would make sense? Do I need to think of other words that start with those letters/sounds?

Ask For Help

word study
Word Study
  • Owen J. Roberts School District utilizes a Word Study Program which allows students to work at their own ability level and pace. The purpose of Word Study is for students to sort lists of words based on word patterns. The philosophy is not to memorize the word lists, but learn to transfer phonetic principles to writing/spelling/reading.
  • Spelling tests will begin in October. The check-ups will be designed as word list tests and/or dictated sentences using words/patterns that have been taught prior to the assessment. The tests will be cumulative in nature, so it is important to review frequently in order to keep up-to-date.
  • Word sorts and suggested “Word Work” activities will be sent home for daily practice.
everyday mathematics
Everyday Mathematics

The goal of the elementary math curriculum is that every child should leave school confident in his or her ability to understand and do mathematics. The Owen J. Roberts School District has adopted the Everyday Mathematics Program.

Everyday Mathematics was developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project. It is based on research about how children learn and develop mathematical power & provides the broad mathematical background needed in the 21st century.

In Everyday Mathematics you can expect to see:

  • A problem solving approach based on everyday situations
  • An instructional approach that revisits concepts regularly (“spiral”)
  • Frequent practice of basic skills, often through games
  • Lessons based on activities and discussion, not a textbook
  • Mathematical content that goes beyond basic arithmetic

(Information gathered from ‘Home Connection Handbook’, Everyday Mathematics, Grades 1-3)

Students will work in a Student Journal, kept in their desk for the duration of the year. The journal will provide practice activities that connect to each lesson. There are also games correlating with lessons to emphasize spiraling skills. If your child speaks of playing “games” often, please keep in mind that this is a major learning element of the program. They are not ‘just games’; they are providing your child practice of mathematical skills (in a fun way)!

A Home Link page will be assigned for students to complete, based on that day’s lesson. The assignment will be checked for completion (not necessarily accuracy) the following day.

trust the spiral
Trust the Spiral!

Everyday Mathematics is a spiraling curriculum. Concepts “spiral” throughout the year. We encourage you to “Trust the Spiral!” The following content will be emphasized throughout first grade:

  • Numbers and Operations
    • Counting; reading and writing numbers; investigating place value of whole numbers; exploring fractions and money
    • Learning addition and subtraction facts, fact families, and extended facts; beginning informal work with properties of numbers and problem solving
  • Algebraic Concepts
    • Exploring attributes, patterns, sequences, relations, and functions; finding missing numbers and rules in problems; studying properties of operations (addition and subtraction)
  • Geometry
    • Exploring 2-dimensional shapes (squares, triangles, rectangles) and 3-dimensional shapes (pyramids, cones, prisms)
    • Collecting, Organizing, and displaying data using tables, charts, and graphs
  • Measurement, Data, and Probability
    • Using tools to measure length, capacity (quarts and liters), and weight; using clocks, calendars, timelines, thermometers, and ordinal numbers such as fifth and tenth
    • Collecting, Organizing, and displaying data using tables, charts, and graphs

Homework should only take 20-25 minutes a night if the child is truly working at task completion. Many times this is lengthened by avoidance tactics. The 20—25 minute period need not be one continuous period. Some people may like to do the nightly Everyday Mathematics Home Links page early along with Word Cards and read later in the evening. Find what works for your schedule and be consistent. You are establishing routines that are very important.

Goals of Homework—

Task completion & Development of Responsibility,

Communication of content being studied & of student’s understanding of content,

Indicator of student’s ability to work independently.

Nightly Homework:

  • 10 minutes- Everyday Math Home Link
  • 10 minutes (or more :)- Reading
  • 5 minutes- Practice word cards (Add a sentence to the back of each card) or Word Sort Activity
  • Any additional activity to engage students is optional

Everyday Mathematics- You will find a monthly calendar in your child’s binder. This is where students will record the nightly Home Link assignment. Assist where needed and make sure to return the next day. We will be keeping track of homework on Skyward, so incompletes will be documented.

daily reading practice
Daily Reading Practice
  • Nightly Reading– Students should be reading books independently for fluency and fun! The books should be those that they can read independently.
  • Word Cards— Word cards will consist of High Frequency Sight Words. Some words will be phonetically irregular words. They must be memorized because they break the phonetic rules. (Examples are give, are, of) Words are chosen to match individual needs, therefore every student will not have the same words. Practice ALL of the cards on the ring not just the new ones. (Students should use each word in a sentence. Parents should neatly write the sentence on the back of the card. The child reads the sentence and underlines the word.

Word Rings are usually checked as a warm-up to guided reading. New words are added as previous ones are learned. The ring should be kept hooked inside your child’s TAKE-HOME binder, and brought to school daily.

word study homework
Word Study Homework
  • Every week, students will receive a new word sort. After I introduce the pattern, the students will practice sorting their words. A copy of the sort will be sent home for daily practice.
  • The pattern for your child’s sort will be titled at the top of the paper. Students should cut out the word/picture cards and sort them accordingly. Keep the cards in a safe place to practice throughout each week. You may want to give your own spelling test, the evening prior to the assessment. 
  • Every Friday, students will take a spelling test on their word sort, to assess for understanding of the pattern.
classroom community
Classroom Community

Our classroom is a community. To encourage a positive community, we have procedures to keep us safe and help us get along. The general school rules are:

  • Keep our school a safe place by making good choices.
  • Be respectful by using kind words and actions.
  • Keep hands, feet and objects to oneself.
  • Act calmly and quietly in the hall.
  • Follow directions the first time they are given.

The consequences of your child’s actions are communicated through a color card changing system. This behavior system helps students learn to monitor their own behavior and make responsible choices.

All students begin each day with a clean slate or on green: ready to learn. Green indicate that the student is making responsible choices without constant intervention. When they move to yellow it means they need to think about their choices and try to make better choices. An orange card constitutes repeated inappropriate behavior with continual verbal warnings. A red card indicates severe behavioral issues. The principal may be asked to intervene, if a student receives a red card. I will call the parents whose child ends his/her day on red, as well as any student who is consistently receiving orange cards. Our color system also goes up, so when a student makes good choices they will be moved to good day, great day, and then outstanding day. When a child moves to great day you will receive a purple note, and a phone call for outstanding choices. Please encourage and praise your child for making great choices each day!

what s for lunch
What’s for Lunch?
  • Each child has an account in the cafeteria. Money can be deposited into this account by the day, week, month or even semester. Checks should be sent to school in a sealed envelope with the child’s name clearly marked on the outside. Deposits are sent to the office each morning. If your child buys every day you may wish to send in a check for a longer period of time. This helps to prevent lost money on a daily basis.
  • Children can purchase a full lunch or just milk using this system.
  • OJR strongly recommends all parents to create an account through https://eps.mvpbanking.com/cgi-bin/efs/login.pl?access=55883 . This free state-of-the-art online service helps families manage their child’s meal accounts. Visit the website for additional information!
snack time
Snack Time!
  • We have a snack break every morning. If you want your child to have a snack, please send one in the lunchbox or book bag.
  • We only have time for one snack (not a meal), so please send something easy and fast (preferably finger food).
  • Refer to the OJR Wellness Council for healthy snack suggestions.
happy birthday
Happy Birthday!
  • Due to the many students with allergies and food reactions, the elementary principals are requesting that all birthday recognitions be non-food based. No birthday food treats should be sent to school. We do want to acknowledge student birthdays, but encourage parents to do so in other ways. For example, small items such as pencils or stickers for classmates or the donation of a book to the school or classroom library in honor of a child’s birthday would be appropriate. Thank you for honoring and respecting this request. Holiday celebrations will be held in compliance with School Board Policy. These celebrations will be announced in advance to allow for any necessary parent planning and preparation.
  • Birthday Party Invitations may not be handed out at school unless every child in the class is invited. This prevents any hurt feelings that arise from only inviting a select few.
calling all volunteers
Calling All Volunteers!
  • The Owen J Roberts School District has approved a volunteer policy requiring volunteers and chaperones to apply for and receive Child Abuse & Criminal Record clearances. The full policy can be read on the OJR webpage. There is a fee associated with each application. Contact the F.C. office to check on your status.
  • I welcome parents to come in and assist with centers, work with individual students, or help with the maintenance of student projects (hanging/taking down student work).
  • The first grade class traditionally goes to the zoo in the spring. If you wish to chaperone this trip, you must have clearances on file in the office. Please take care of this matter early in order to avoid disappointment.
general information
General Information

Library Books

  • Students will generally be allowed to go to the library daily. They are allowed to borrow two books each visit. Our librarian discusses how to choose a “Good Fit” book, during library class. I encourage children to pick at least one “Good Fit” book. The other book may be one that they read with a parent.

Communication / Classroom Information

  • I can be reached via e-mail at sroland@ojrsd.com. This is the best way to contact me. I will respond to your email within 24 hours, if not sooner. A note sent in the morning is also a great way to let me know of a concern, pick-up, or something else of importance. The office will forward phone messages if that is your only way to contact me.
  • My weekly newsletters will be sent through Skyward. If you have computer access to Skyward, you will be seeing weekly communication via email. I will also add newsletters and pertinent information to our class Fusion Page. If you do not have email access or prefer a paper copy, please let me know and I will be sure to send the copy home in your child’s binder.


Call (610)469-5688 if your child is going to be absent. At the tone, please state your name (parent/ guardian), your relationship to the student, the student’s full name, their grade and teacher, the reason for the absence or tardiness, and a return phone number. This is required by OJR policy and PA state law.


  • If your child is in need of a prescription medication while at school, the nurse will administer medications as needed. The prescription must come in the original packaging with the child’s name and the directions clearly marked. Questions regarding this should be forwarded to the school nurse, Mrs. Weber.


p m pick up
P.M. Pick-Up
  • The students should bring a note in the morning stating the plan for PM pick-up.
  • Parents should enter the building in the rear, at door #8. There will be two tables set up for student sign-outs. Students will be called down to the multipurpose room to sit quietly until the school personnel can dismiss students to parents/guardians.

Friendly Reminders…

  • Please do not linger and allow students, or their younger siblings to run around the room or play on any equipment.
  • Parents are expected to be at school at 3:05pm.
websites of interest
Websites of Interest


  • French Creek Elementary School PTA is going paperless. Please check the French Creek website and click the PTA link for upcoming events and information.


  • French Creek Elementary School news can be accessed through the OJR webpage www.ojrsd.com. Click on the French Creek Elementary School link to see the monthly calendar, lunch menus, as well as other important news items.
  • I am looking forward to a great year working with your child. I truly enjoy a healthy working relationship with parents. We are both on your child’s team; we all want them to succeed. Please, feel free to contact me via email whenever you have a question, concern or information that I should be aware of. I value your input and collaboration.

Together, parents and teachers make a GREAT team!