Welcome to the Peacock Class! If you’re like me, I don’t think you could wait much longer for the 2020-2021 school year to get here. After looking at all the children’s yearbook pictures, names, and hearing glowing reports from their Kindergarten teachers….I was ready to meet these children for myself. We are going to have a great year this year!!!
I want you to be as informed as possible about your child’s education, and the ways you can help him/her throughout the year. Better informed parents directly influence more successful children! You will receive an emailed, weekly parent letter, the “Peacock Tales,” that outlines our studies for the upcoming week. Look for this in your email inbox, or on our class website.
The following information is an overview of what your child will be participating in daily while in the peacock classroom:
Our Daily Routine:
Morning work assignment: Each morning your child will complete a morning work assignment. Some days, it is a ‘journal entry’…..a writing prompt related to the time of year, activities in the classroom, or interests of a 1st grader. This should not be confused with our “Writing Workshop” that children participate in later in the day. Other days, it is a review worksheet covering math, reading, and writing/grammar subject matter.
Each day, our class gathers together for a phonics review. Explicit phonics instruction is an integral part of the day. It is a skill-specific, focused lesson that teaches children how to ‘attack’ an unknown word using skills/rules taught. Each day focuses on a particular sound, motion, and story for that sound/motion. For instance, when we cover the ‘ee’ sound...our motion is as if we’ve just seen a mouse, and we throw back our hands and squeal – ‘eeeee’.
We practice chanting our sounds, writing the sound discussed, and making words using the sound. We will also read stories packed full of the sounds studied throughout the year. Ask your child the sound studied for the day, as well as the motion that accompanied it.
Students will rotate through three literacy stations daily. Each station has a direct purpose and outcome, and children are held accountable in completing the tasks at these stations. Of course, there is a degree of FUN in stations although there is work involved at each. Children go to three required stations a day - unfinished work is placed in a station folder in their desk, and completed tasks are turned in. Our stations change slightly throughout the year as the children’s academic needs change.
While students complete the station rotations, I will be at the reading table working with a small group of students on individualized skill instruction. Research has proven the most effective way to reach all learners is through individualized, small group instruction. All children will receive some small group instruction daily…sometimes longer, sometimes shorter…than others in the room. We have a 5-10 minute warm-up phonics activity (making words, stretching sounds, dictation, etc) that leads into guided reading from a ‘just right’ book for them. Some days, your child will bring home a book, or even a sheet of paper, that we read during small groups. Other days, only half the book might have been read. At other times, we may not have even cracked the cover because we were focusing on a particular skill needing to be revisited. The books in the "resource bag" are your child’s reading homework for the evening. Rereading books increases children’s reading fluency – a goal we have in 1st grade. The first full week of school, children will be bringing home books from our classroom library…these will NOT be on the children’s reading level. Enjoy reading these books WITH (or to) your child. After the first few weeks of school, we’ll fall more into a routine of ‘just right’ books.
In your child’s reading folder (an orange folder in the "resource bag") is everything ‘reading related’ your child needs for homework: sight words for the year (based on trimester) that need to be known by sight, a reading log, a book to be read that night, graphic organizers, and comprehension passages.
Comprehension "Focus Lessons":
Children will have daily comprehension "focus lessons", found through a variety of children's literature, on a core curriculum topic for approximately a 4 week duration. Various graphic organizers will be utilized to monitor and check understanding of the given reading strategy.
"Say What?" Words:
Each week, children will be adding 3-4 words to their vocabulary. These words are words found in popular children’s books. By searching and listening for words unknown to them, the children depend on their comprehension skills through contextual meanings. It also creates an awareness of words unknown to them, and gives them an opportunity to ask about words when they don’t know what they mean…hence the phrase, “Say what??” This activity not only increases your child’s speaking vocabulary, but also increases your child’s writing products through the use of richer and more descriptive words. Ask your child the ‘say what’ words for the week….and look for ways to include them in your vocabulary.
During the day, we have time specifically set aside to write through a "Writing Workshop." Children will write three types of text: narrative writing, nonfiction text, and opinion pieces. During our narrative writing study, children write what they know about through ‘small moments.’ We also study published authors’ work and see what we, as authors, can emulate. Students will also write nonfiction texts on areas they are experts, as well as ‘how to’ books (ex: How to turn a somersault). Finally, we will shift our writing focus to opinion pieces. This will be a time for students to express themselves through writing their opinions on a variety of topics.
The writing workshop is a time for children to think about the writing process and practice expressing themselves through print. It begins with a brief mini-lesson, covering a particular writing skill / technique, for the students. Then, children are free to write about whatever interests them. I conference with the children as they write...looking for skills being used from previously taught mini-lessons, as well as skills needing to be addressed in future lessons. At the end of the workshop, we gather back together for a ‘share time.’ The daily writing workshop seems to always quickly become a favorite for the children. As a general rule, children are much less intimidated by the writing process than we adults are. You (and the children) will be amazed at the writing they will produce through the year!
First grade teachers use a variety of resources to cover core curriculum math standards. Units, grouped by standards, will be covered through the year, with tests given at the end of each unit. Each day, students will complete a math practice page during our math time. Children will then take a lesson review home to complete for homework (found on the return side of the green take home folder). It is a review of what was covered on the math practice page during class. Although many children may complete the math homework without your assistance, please look over your child’s work to see if there is an understanding (or lack of) on particular skills.
The children will help develop our class rules in the upcoming days. They will use positive life skills as they work together through the year. A number of problem-solving strategies will also be introduced and used by the children in solving issues that arise through the year. By the end of the year, most children are very adept at solving practically any problem that arises without involving an adult to do it for them.
I also ‘catch children being good’ throughout the day…this is a time for children to be complimented for doing something for a friend, following the rules, etc. As a class, we also work toward a ‘compliment party.’ If the entire class is complimented by an adult at any time during the day, we add a letter to the word ‘compliment’. Once we spell ‘compliment,’ the children vote on a compliment party of their choosing.
This is just an overview of what we do on a daily basis in the peacock room. If ANYTHING is not clear, do not hesitate to ask!! Again, I look forward to an exciting year with your child in the Peacock Class!
775-0234 ext: 6135 (school) Daily conference time: 1:40 - 2:00 (call or email for an appointment)