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First Grade Information

Welcome to First Grade

          I am looking forward to working with and getting to know you and your child this year.  First grade is a year of tremendous growth academically, socially and emotionally.  By working together, I am confident we will succeed in all aspects of your child’s development.  I encourage you not to compare your first grader to an older sibling or another first grader.  Just as in physical growth, individual academic, social and emotional growth varies as well.  

This is my 15th year teaching at Middleton.  I taught kindergarten for 5 years, fifth for 1 year, and this is my 10th year teaching first grade. 

          I received my undergraduate degree at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas.  I completed a master’s program through Portland State University.

          I have two children and two grandchildren.     



 Room 12 News


          I can always be reached by e-mail, phone or in person.  I do not always answer my phone during the school hours, so please always call the office if there is an emergency or change in your child’s destination.  I do check my voice mail and e-mail before and after school.  If you would like to meet in person, send me an e-mail so we can schedule a time which works best for both of us.

          We are working on becoming a ‘greener’ school district by cutting down on paper usage.  I will use email as my main source of communication with families.  Nothing fancy – and I will keep it short for easy reading. 

Getting to the classroom and dismissal

          School begins at 7:55 AM.  Children are allowed in the room as early as 7:45.  If your child arrives prior to that time they will need to wait in the cafeteria until a monitor releases them.  Informally assigning a sibling or neighbor to the job is fine.  Teachers will walk students out to designated pickup areas at 2:15.  Please do not come to the classroom to collect your child.  If you need to pick your child up early – we will send him/her to the office to meet you. 

Change in Transportation

          Please provide a written note or call the office.  If your child has an alternative destination, the office must be notified no later than 1:30.  Please do not call the classroom or e-mail me as I may not receive the message before dismissal.  As the year progresses, the children will start having more play dates and going home with friends, so this is especially important.  We do not want any tears because we do not have a note.  I cannot take a child’s word as an official change. 

Snacks/Popcorn Friday

Since we have students with a nut allergy, all snacks must be nut free. 

          Children are encouraged to bring a small, healthy snack each day such as a granola bar, sliced fruit, crackers with cheese, etc.  We have 10 minutes for snack, so it is best to send something that can be consumed in that time frame. 

          Popcorn Friday is a school fundraiser provided by the Middleton PAC.  Each Friday kids receive a bag of popcorn for .25 cents.  You may pay in advance or send a quarter with your child every Friday. 

          If you have invitations to pass out for your child’s party, please send them through the postal mail or deliver them outside of school.  This will prevent hurt feelings if not all kids are invited.  The district has encouraged us not to be mail service for outside invitations. 


Please complete the volunteer and screening forms ASAP.  These need to be returned to the office for processing.  It takes about 3 weeks for the paperwork to be completed.  Volunteers must complete the screening every year.  I will bring in classroom volunteers starting in mid-October.  This is a vital part of my program.   

Homework folders 

Friday Folders (yellow)   weekly

          Your child will bring home a yellow Friday Folder every Friday.  This folder will contain completed student work, school and district news, and weekly homework.  Friday Folders are due back to school Wednesday of the following week. 

Reading Folder (red)     daily

          Your child will also bring home a reading folder DAILY.  This folder is red and will contain a monthly reading log and daily reading homework.  The folder has a calendar which needs to be filled out daily with your child’s reading for that day.  The recommended reading ‘homework’ for a first grader is 15 minutes per day.  This includes the child reading or being read to. 


  Ways to help with reading at home

          Here are some tips for you to use at home as you support your child’s efforts in regards to his/her reading development…

1.     Read aloud to your child at and above his/her level.  Children need to hear with strong readers sound like long after they have learned to read.  In regards to academic success, parents are the most important role model.

2.    Listen to your child read on a regular basis. Praise their growth and offer suggestions for improving skills as a reader. 

3.    Join your child as they read 15 minutes each night.  Keep reading time enjoyable and relaxing.

4.    Talk about what you are reading.  Language and thinking skills develop when children talk and analyze literature.

5.    Encourage your child to read to others.

6.    Our life is surrounded by text of all sorts.  Provide your child with a variety of texts to read and interact with.  Board game directions, signs, letters, student magazines, newspapers, lists, food cartons, etc.

7.    Make sure that your child owns some books.  Encourage others to give books as gifts.

Responding to error in reading / Use of Reading strategies:

       Based on the way most of us were taught to read, we tell children to ‘sound it out’ when coming to an unknown word.  Phonics is definitely an important part of the reading process, which beginning readers use frequently.  However, as a child moves toward more independent reading, the primary goal is to read for meaning.  To produce independent readers who monitor and correct themselves as they read, the following prompts are recommended in addition to sounding out the word.

·       Give your child WAIT TIME of 5 to 10 seconds.  See what she/he attempts to do on her/his own.

·       “Look at how that word begins, add the other sounds.”

·       “What would make sense that begins like that word?”

·       “Use the picture to help you figure out what it could be.”

·       “Take the word apart.  Say the small words that you know and add the sounds.”

·       “You read that word on another page.  See if you can find it.”

·       “Go back to the beginning of the sentence and try again. Did that make sense?”

·       “Skip over it and read to the end of the sentence (or paragraph).  Now what do you think it is?”

·       “Put in a word that would make sense there.”

A word that has never been encountered or experienced will be extremely difficult to impossible for a young reader to decode.  Give your child the word with an explanation of word meaning and/or a way to figure it out in the future.   Focus on what your child is doing well and attempting to do.  Daily reading practice is very important for your child’s reading development and reading pleasure.

          Most of all, trust your instincts, take time with your child, and appreciate your child as a unique individual.

 Read to Self (Independent Reading)

(Silently read a book… building stamina!)

·       You can practice and improve your reading skills.

·       Reading in your head can be easier than reading aloud.

·       You can choose a book that is at your level.

·       You can do your best thinking when it is quiet.

·       Readers become more involved (feel like they’re there) when they choose what they read and read more books.

·       You will learn about different topics.

·       You will become a better writer.

What does our best independent reading LOOK like?

·       Get started right away.

·       Keep your eyes on your book (your eyes will follow the text).

·       Use a bookmark or your fingers to follow along, if it helps you.

·       Use your fingers to ‘chunk’ difficult words and find words within words.

·       Your body and hands will be still, and you will stay in your seat the whole time.

·       Your eyes will grow large at suspenseful or surprising parts.

·       You will ‘get lost’ in your book.

·       You will hardly notice that anyone is near you.

·       You will read the whole time.

What does our best independent reading SOUND like?

·       The reader is silent.

·       You will only hear pages turning.

·       Perhaps you will whisper a difficult word to sound it out.

·       In your mind, you will hear a ‘movie’ of what you’re reading.

·       You may giggle a tiny bit at funny parts.

What will the teacher do during independent reading time?

·       Reading with groups of kids.

·       Working with one student.


Welcome to First Grade