Classroom Handbook 2011-2012

Class Daily Schedule

We are on a rotating special class schedule.  Our schedules are called Day 1 – Day 4.  The rotation schedule allows the students to attend two special classes a day for a 50-minute period.  Our class attends their special class rotation from 12:40 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. on the following days:

Day 1 = Art & Music

Day 2 = Library & P.E.

Day 3 = Library & P.E.

Day 4 = Art & Music

Please note August 16 is Day 1, August 17 is Day 2, August 18 is Day 3, August 19 is Day 4, August 22 is Day 1, etc…

If you want to speak to me personally by telephone, good times to catch me are before school, 8:00 a.m.-8:25 a.m. and between 12:40 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.  If we do not get to touch base between those times, please leave me a voicemail and I try to return every phone call by that evening. Please leave me the phone numbers where I can reach you during the day and evening.


We will have lunch everyday from 11:20 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.  I invite you and your family members to come and eat lunch with your child.  If you will be eating a school lunch, please contact the office at 628-4114 as early as possible so we can include the number of additional meals to prepare.  You can also bring a lunch for you and your child.  Please make sure your child knows that morning if they need to make a lunch choice or not.  When you arrive, please sign in at the office first and they will give you a visitor’s badge.  You can wait in the lunchroom and we will be along to meet you.  Please know that if a lunch guest is running late, I will have the child move to the back of the line to wait for their guest. If the guest does not arrive by the time all children in our classroom have been served, the child will need to go ahead and eat a school lunch.  We have 20 minutes for lunch and we need to make sure every child has time to eat before returning to class.


Each child will receive a school agenda to keep track of our daily work.  We will be practicing our sentence writing in the agenda to let you know what we worked on for the day.  This can be a great discussion starter when your child arrives home to talk about what they did at school that day.  I would like you to view the sentence and initial or sign in that day’s “School Talk” space.  Please feel free to use the blank space to write any notes or questions you have for me in the blank space.


If you have a transportation change notice for your child, please send a separate note for your child to give to me or call the office. Please do not write transportation note changes in the agenda as sometimes I do not always get to check them daily or we may have a substitute teacher.


The agenda is also a way for your child to continue working on their responsibility skills.  I believe children in first grade are responsible to know they should show their family the agenda each day, ask for it to be initialed, and placed back in their backpack so it can be returned the next day.  Occasionally, the agenda will be forgotten at home, yet it is not acceptable for the student to place the blame for forgetting it on their family members.  I turn these occasional times into “opps” moments which sometimes happen and respond by asking them to remember it the next day and remind them the agenda should live in their backpack except for when their family member checks it to sign.  Everyone is allowed 2 “opps” per month.  After 2 “opps” in a month, additional instances when the agenda is forgotten results in 5 minutes lost from their free choice of recess.  In the event the agenda is forgotten regularly, I will contact you and we can discuss the situation and come to a solution together.

School Supplies 

Please label supplies with your child’s name.  I know this can be tedious and I really appreciate you saving the classroom frustration over supplies that are misplaced as we locate the owner very quickly since a name is on them. When your child runs out of a particular supply, I will have them write you a note in their agenda.   

At Home Reading 

The only way to become a good reader is to practice our reading skills.  I believe everyone can develop a special passion for reading once they discover the type of reading material they like best.  Hawthorne will participate in a new reading program sponsored by Farmer’s Insurance. More information will come home to you about the reading program in September.


I expect my students to read away from school for a minimum of 15 minutes each day, for a total of 100 minutes a week.  I recommend setting a specific time for your child to work on their reading minutes each day such as before school, right after school, after your evening meal, or before bedtime.  You decide how you want your child to divide their reading minutes up, such as reading 30 minutes every other day, 20 minutes 5 days a week, etc…  I want an adult to track the number of minutes the child reads at home and write the number of minutes read in the daily agenda.  You can place this by your initials or where you sign by the daily sentence in the “School Talk” section.


Helpful hints to get your child reading daily include:  take a weekly visit to the public library and make it a special time to select books, set a special time aside that is your reading time together, you read a page or paragraph and have your child read next or repeat a sentence you have read, share with them your favorite books when you were their age, have them read to a younger sibling, give the characters voices, read with lots of expression, and use lots of ENCOURAGEMENT, PRAISE, and KIND WORDS!

 Monthly Book Reports

We will do monthly book reports in 1st grade.  The majority of the book reports will be completed in class while a few may require some work to be done at home.  Information will be sent home if there is anything to be done outside of class for a book report.

 Take Home Folders 

The yellow plastic folder you purchased will be used as your child’s “Take Home Folder”.  Please ask your child to look through this folder with you each evening.  This is the folder your child will place any notes from school including classroom newsletters, school event information from the principal, permission forms, lunch balance updates, Math Home Link assignments, as well as, work they completed at school.  When you initial or sign the daily agenda, I assume that you have reviewed the papers in the “Take Home Folder”.  Once you have seen these you may remove them and do with them as you wish. 

Classroom Rules 

We follow all school and school district rules in our classroom.  In addition to those rules, we have four rules that we abide by in our first grade classroom. 

  1. Respect others.
  2. Respect yourself. 
  3. Keep your voice to an inside working level.
  4. Follow directions the first time given.

 Classroom Management Approach 

The principles of the Love and Logic approach are used in my classroom.  Teaching is my passion and I work to create an environment where your child feels safe, happy, and loved.  I am a firm believer that behavior is about choices, sometimes we make good choices, and sometimes we make bad choices.  I believe good choices should be celebrated and bad choices have consequences.  Your child will receive an incentive card that will be updated for their good choices.  Once their card is filled up they can visit the classroom treasure box and select an item such as pencils, note pads, toys, and privileges such as sitting by a friend for the day, sitting by a friend from another class at lunch for a day, lunch with the teacher, extra recess time for the class, etc…  Every Friday the 1st grade holds “Fabulous Friday”, for those students who have made good choices all week long including completing and turning in their assignments. “Fabulous Friday” consists of extra recess time, game time, movies, etc… If “Fabulous Friday” is not earned, the student will use this time as an extra work time. When bad choices are made, students will make a note in their agenda.  I discuss the situation with the child, the effect it had, and what good choices would have been and it is their responsibility to have a follow-up discussion with you at home.

 ·        The first time is a warning.  Please DO NOT be concerned with a few warnings.  Warnings are just reminders and most students need a few reminders especially early in the school year.  The student will write “warning” in their agenda.

·        The second time results in 5 minutes lost from their free choice of  recess activities and the child makes a note in their daily agenda.

·        The third time results in 10 minutes off the next free choice of recess activities and the child completes a “Think Sheet” regarding their choices and what a better choice would have been.  The student and I will discuss the “Think Sheet”, we will both sign it, and the student is to take it home to share with their parents.  A parent/guardian needs to sign the “Think Sheet” and send it back to school with their child the following day.

·        A fourth instance results in 15 minutes off the next free choice of recess and the child and I will be calling a parent/guardian to discuss the difficulties they are having.  The “Think Sheet” described above will also go home and needs to be signed by a parent/guardian and returned to school the following day.

*       A fifth instance results in the child being removed from the classroom and going to the principal’s office.  Parent/guardian will be notified.  A conference may be necessary to discuss the situation and decide on a plan to correct the situation. Please note any activity such as fighting, deadly threats, cheating, or intentional deceit of the teacher will result in an immediate trip to the principal’s office and parents will be notified. 


Our classroom newsletter, “Harley’s Herald” can be viewed online along with our classroom website. If you prefer, a paper copy can be sent home in your child’s Take Home Folder. The newsletter is designed to keep you updated about the happenings in our classroom and at Hawthorne Elementary.  

Super Kid 

Every week, one child will be selected to be “Super Kid” and have a bulletin board dedicated to share information about them.  A “Super Kid” sheet will be sent home with your child prior to their assigned two weeks for you to work with your child to answer the items such as their:  favorite color, birthday, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite book, number of brothers, sisters, pets, top 10 favorites, proudest accomplishments and when they are happiest.  I would also like for your child to select pictures from their life to display on the bulletin board. A special part of being “Super Kid” is for your child to invite a mystery reader to come into our classroom and read a book out-loud to our classroom.  The book will be sent home with your child and it will correspond with our Author Spotlight focus or our lessons.  I call them “Mystery Readers” because we want to try to keep it a secret and have your child provide clues to solve the mystery of who the reader will be.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and adult friends make fantastic mystery readers.  I understand the majority of families work so I will try to give you at least a two-week notice prior to your child being the “Super Kid” in case you need to make arrangements for a “Mystery Reader”.  If you cannot find a “Mystery Reader” for your child, please contact me and I will arrange for one to come for you.  I have done this program with my classrooms since I began teaching and found it to be one of my students’ favorite things about our classroom.  The students get to really know the other members of our classroom, they are excited to meet the “Mystery Readers”, and they get to see the importance of adults reading. 


The children may bring birthday treats for the class on their special day.  Please contact me at least 1 day prior to sending treats.  Treats of course, are optional.  Please note the guidelines the school district has put into place to safe guard our students with serious to life threatening food allergies.  NO HOMEMADE TREATS WILL BE ALLOWED TO BE SERVED.  All foods served must be prepackaged, store bought, nut-free items with a nutritional analysis present on the packaging.  The presence of this information will help us avoid giving an allergen to a student with a known food allergy. Please refer to the “Guidelines for Foods in the Classroom” notice that went home with your information from Open House night or contact the office for a copy. The OPAA Food Service staff can provide treats within the district guidelines for a reasonable fee, please refer to the “Lets Have a Party!” handout included in the above food guidelines information.  The items they have list the cost along with the form to request the treats.  The form needs to be returned to school 2 weeks prior to your child’s birthday. I will send the “Birthday Bag” home with your child to enjoy with your family.  The “Birthday Bag” contains books your child can enjoy at home, a card, and a birthday pencil.  Please enjoy the bag for one evening at home and return it to school the following day so it can go home with the next birthday child.  I tend to have students with the same birthday so the bag may come home the day prior or day after your child’s birthday.  I also send the bag home in May with students who have summer birthdays! 

Everyday Mathematics Program 

The Kearney School district uses the Everyday Mathematics Program to guide math instruction.  This is a spiraling math program which means it reviews the learning objectives throughout the program rather than learning the concept in one unit and moving on to something new in the next unit.  A student may not master the concept the first time, however, the second, third, fourth, fifth times they review the concept the student should become more comfortable.


We will cover about 4 lessons each week.  A “Parent Letter” will be sent home in your child’s “Take Home Folder” at the beginning of the unit – please keep the letter as a resource.  The letter contains background information, suggestions at home ideas to reinforce the concepts, and contains the answers to the Home Link assignments.  Once a lesson has been taught in its entirety an activity called a “Home Link” may come home in your child’s “Take Home Folder”.  The “Home Link” is designed as a quick 15 minute extra support that reviews that day’s lesson.  The Home Link is designed for your child to show you what they learned in that math lesson.  I recommend you set a timer for 15 minutes and once it goes off, your child and you should stop, even if all the work is not completed.  When you review it you can discuss what is correct and point our errors and encourage your child to correct it if they can.  Please keep the atmosphere positive when working with your child – if they struggle with the concept, please make a note on the Home Link to let me know and I will work with them.  Home Links are not expected to always be done with 100% accuracy.


Home Links state on them to return to school the following day.  I understand your child may have activities outside of school so I try to send Home Links home on Monday and they are due on Friday.  This is considered “an assignment”.  If the Home Link does not come back, students will be given time to complete missing Home Links during Fabulous Friday time or during recess.


We will also focus on memorizing our addition and subtraction math facts. Students will be tested weekly on their math facts and can benefit from a few minutes of practice each night. Many families have found flash cards to be helpful. I recommend using the fact family triangles that I send home with your child.   


Quarterly Incentive Parties 

Students who turn in 90% of their assignments each quarter will meet the criteria for “Homework” to earn their attendance at the quarterly incentive party.  Other criteria include no bus referrals, no principal referrals, attendance, acceptable classroom behavior, and monthly book logs have been turned in for the quarter.  In the past, parties have included movies, games, rock wall climbing, magic shows, and dance parties.


 Sitton Spelling 

The spelling program we use at Hawthorne Elementary is called Sitton Spelling. I love this spelling program because it creates spellers and writers for life rather than cramming to learn a random list of words, spell them on a test, and later forget them. Your child will write their spelling words in the agenda in the “Words of the Week” section for each spelling unit. The Sitton Spelling program includes daily activities we will do in class, sentence editing, and reading and writing the spelling words in passages.  The tests include reading and writing the words in the context of a sentence and reading comprehension.  A practice “Take Home Activity” will come home in the “Take Home Folder” the day before the test.  You can work with your child to complete the activity to help them practice to be successful on the test.  You DO NOT need to return the “Take Home Activity” to school. 

Homework Requests

 Students who miss school due to illness may request homework by calling the office before 10:00 a.m.  Homework will be ready for pickup after 2:00 p.m.  The student may also wait until they return to school and they will be given their missed work at that time.  The student has the number of days they were absent to complete their work to be turned in for full credit.  Work that is late will need to be done during recess time and free time until it is complete. Please do not request homework prior to vacation absences.  Missed work will be available upon the student’s return to school.  I have found that my lesson plans sometimes change due to the lack of mastery of the material.  Often the work that I thought would be covered was not and the children are disappointed when they return because they have already completed the assignments and the class as a whole is just starting with the concept. 

Water Bottles & Snack Food 

Water bottles are also welcome during hot weather as long as they do not cause an interruption.  The bottles should have a lid of some type to prevent spills.  I also want the bottles to be taken home and washed daily to prevent bacteria growth and illness.  I recommend the bottles come to school empty and be filled in the morning at school and when we take restroom/drink breaks to avoid leakage in the backpack. Due to the number of severe food allergies in our classroom, I cannot allow snacks to be brought from home into our classroom. Approved birthday treats, holiday party food, and PTO sponsored snacks meeting the district’s safe food guidelines are the only foods that can be brought into our classroom.  Please make sure your child eats a good breakfast and encourage them to eat their lunch so they can make it through the school day.