A Little about Our Classroom:
Here you will find our beginning of the year letter that shares a little bit of information about our classroom and some of our rules and procedures!
We’re delighted about the year ahead and the opportunity of
working with your child and you. Willow Springs Elementary is such a wonderful place to learn and grow!
The education of your child is the responsibility of the school, the parents, and the students. The major objective is to provide the best learning environment for your child. This can best be accomplished by establishing an open school-home relationship. With your help, we will work for continuous growth in learning for your child. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please let me know!
Please read below to learn a little bit more about Ms. Gower's Classroom!
FRIDAY FOLDERS-Each Friday your child will bring this folder home. It will contain your child's reading envelope with their book for the week along with a response sheet which is Wed. night's homework. This is sent home early so that your child can work ahead on it if you'd like. The Friday Folder will also contain your child's graded spelling test for the week and their new list for the upcoming week. School-wide information will be inside the folder along with, some of the assigned work from Monday-Friday and any necessary comments for your child’s conduct and work habits. Please go over the work with your child in order to reinforce new concepts and skills. Please be sure to sign and return the folder every Monday.
HOMEWORK-Each Monday your child will bring home a Homework Folder which includes a green homework sheet/letter with the coming week’s assignments and a yellow sheet with spelling words. Please put this letter and your child's spelling words in a safe place to use for directions throughout the week. The Homework folder should be returned daily and include the night’s homework inside it. To help with busy schedules, all homework will be linked to our class website where it can be downloaded and printed in order for your child to work on it earlier than assigned. If you do not have access to a printer, then just send in a note letting me know which assignments you would like early and I will be happy to send them to you. In First Grade we suggest every child read a minimum of 15 minutes each night for at least 4 nights per week. Please record this on your child’s reading record located in their homework folder. Research shows that reading a little every night is the most effective way to learn how to become an independent reader. Your child will earn a “No Homework Pass” once they have completed his/her reading log. This pass can be used to skip one homework assignment.
BYOD- My classroom is a part of the WCPSS BYOD initiative. BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. With permission from parents, students may bring devices that are not on a 3G/4G network to school to use at appropriate times for classroom activities. Only students who have completed a Willow Springs BYOD contract signed by both parent and child are permitted to participate in BYOD. Examples of devices that can be used within the classroom would be an iTouch, iPhone (not on a network), laptop, tablet, iPad, Kindle Fire, etc. These devices will be kept in your child's bookbag when it's not in use and will go home everyday. I will have planned/structured activities that will allow for your child to use their devices. BYOD is not mandatory as I do have several devices available for students to use within my classroom. I will provide you with a list of apps to add to your child's device if you choose to have your child participate with the BYOD initiative. Please see me with any questions.
PBIS & The 3 B's- At our school and in our classroom, we focus on Positive Behavior Incentive Support which is a proactive structure that looks at classroom discipline. The goal is to teach behavioral expectations and then reward students as they meet goals. These are class goals rather than individual goals. These goals are focused on 3 important principles called The 3 B's. This stands for: Be Responsible, Be Safe, and Be Respectful. These principles guide our classroom’s behavioral expectations. Students have an opportunity to earn positive rewards/incentives for showing individual achievement of these goals. Our goal is to work together as a team so that we develop a positive and fun learning environment.
Classroom Behavior System- Your child’s behavior is very important to his/her learning. The children are responsible for their actions and choices. Here is a list of the rules your children helped develop for our class:
1. Raise your hand to talk
2. Listen and follow all directions
3. Respect others
4. Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself
5. Always do your best!
This school year we will be using Class Dojo as our behavior management tool. This is an online system that allows you to logon and see how your child has done throughout the day. In the first weeks of school you and your child will receive a code to use to sign up for our class. Once you have signed in you will be able to log in and see how your child is doing during the week with meeting classroom expectations. Here is how Class Dojo will work in our room: Class Dojo incorporates positives and reminders. Each child will start the day with 3 positives. You will see this listed on your child's page as "Let's Start off Positive". This provides them with the opportunity to start off on the right foot each day and work toward meeting goals and expectations. However, if your child struggles throughout the day with cooperation and following our class rules then he/she will take responsibility for their actions and receive a reminder. This will automatically take away one of their positives (remember they start off with 3 positives each day). When behavior does not meet school and classroom expectations, then he/she will lose positives. However, in keeping with the Positive Behavior System in our classroom and rewarding positive behavior, your child also has the opportunity to earn positives for demonstrating our 3 B's and good character. You can keep up with you’re your child’s behavior each day by looking at their behavior calendar in their Homework Folder and/or logging into Class Dojo. Children with 3 or more positives will color their calendar green for the day; 1-2 positives will be colored yellow, and if your child loses all of their positives they will color their calendar red. Please make sure that you initial the behavior calendar each evening. If your child comes home on red then you will also receive a print out of their Class Dojo report so you can see where he/she struggled. You are asked to sign this note and return it to school the next day in order for your child to begin their day with 3 positives. If your child receives a red note, please discuss with them the different choices he/she could have made that would have helped improve their day. Please know that your child will be given opportunities to earn positives if their behavior improves… there is always a way to get back to green!
Class Incentives- We have several incentives in place for demonstrating good character and positive behavior. As a whole class, we are working on filling our “Wowser” jar with poms or as we call them in our room, “Wowsers”. When the jar is filled we will have a class reward of some type. Each table also works together to earn “Table Tallies”. On Friday the table with the most tallies earns a scoop of Skittles. Individual incentives are in place as well. Your child has a frog on our LEAPing Lilypads behavior board. At the end of each day their frog hops on our board according to the amount of positives they have on Class Dojo. If your child has 3-4 positives they LEAP 2 hops. Their frog LEAPs 1 hop for 1-2 positives and ZERO hops if they have lost all their positives for the day. Your child will be considered "LEAPing" if he/she more than 4 positives and will earn an extra hop at the end of the day for this accomplishment. When your child LEAPs to 30 then they earn a prize from the Prize Box!
SNACKS- Our lunchtime is scheduled for the middle of the day, so a big snack is not typically needed. However, if your child would like to have a little something to eat at recess time then he/she is certainly welcome to eat it then. Snacks for Birthdays- birthdays are an exciting time for children. Treats are welcome at school for this special day. Please let me know in advance when a treat is coming so we can plan snack accordingly. Wake County Policy asks that any food item that is sent in must be prepared by a store or prepackaged; we cannot serve our students any food that was prepared within someone’s home. Please keep this in mind as you plan a special birthday snack for our class; also please do not purchase or send in items that may contain peanuts due to allegies that some children may have.
Report Cards- Report Cards will come home at the end of each quarter. Please return the report card envelope with your signature and keep the report card at home. Interim and progress reports will go home throughout the year. We will have conferences at the end of the first and third quarter.
Class Website- Your family is invited to use our classroom website weekly. There you will find many interactive activities that you can take part in with your child. Incentives are also given for children who participate in these activities. Here are some of the fun things you will find: Math Stumper- each week I will post a story problem to this page. Have your child solve this problem and record their answer and how they solved it on the Math Stumper sheet or on a piece of paper from home. Your child will earn a“Smartie” the next day at school if he/she brings in their paper. Read & Respond Blog- each week I will post a question or a prompt about books we read in class or ones that you read at home. If your child responds to my weekly blog then he/she will earn lunch with me on Fridays (on nice days we do picnic lunches outsideJ). Write with Me- last year my class wrote an interactive story which can still be found on our class website. It was a fun activity that encouraged family time. I will be posting a new story soon on our site and hope that many of you will take the time to help us create an amazing story. A treat will be given for children who participate. Post It- Just as the children are learning each day, so am I! I use the Post It link to get feedback on our week. I like to read about how the children are liking first grade and which activities they enjoyed or didn’t. This helps me grow as a teacher. You will also find on this page a COUNT DOWN to track out widget (located at the bottom of the POST IT link). Please take some time to explore our site. You can
view homework, spelling words, specials, newsletters, cool websites, important dates, and more!
School Activities- School is an important community for your child. It’s a place where we support one another in the journey of learning that is taking place daily in our room. Our school will have MANY events planned throughout the year that will help you stay involved in your child’s educational development. These activities are important to your child so please plan on attending them if possible. Check our website often and mark down those important dates! You will enjoy every minute of it- I promise!!!
Reading/Writing- In Wake County and in our classroom we implement a reading structure called The Daily 5; this is a structure that helps develop daily habits of reading, writing, and working with peers that will help transition your child into becoming independent readers and writers. The Daily 5 consists of 5 stations: Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Writing, and Word Work. This structure helps build your child’s stamina and ability to focus on reading and writing as they work independently to read, write, and work with words. The students will learn how to choose a good fit book that has purpose, interests them, and is not too hard or too easy for them to read and enjoy. In addition to The Daily 5, we are also implementing the Daily Café. This offers your child a “menu” of strategies that are helpful to them as they learn to read and understand the books that interest them. During the Daily 5/Café time, I will be pulling strategy groups as well as guided reading groups (these groups will vary from week to week depending on the skill we are working on and your child’s needs). I will meet with my groups daily; reading every day is important for your child’s literacy success. I will make sure your child is reading at school to help build his/her skills; please make sure they are reading at home too! Your child will come home with a book for the week to practice reading.
Volunteering in the Classroom- Volunteers are welcome in our classroom. All volunteers must complete the Volunteer Registration through Wake County in order to work with the children. Please make sure you have done this if you plan to help out this year (this includes Field Trips)! Let me know if you are interested in helping us throughout the day! Typically volunteers begin at the start of our 2nd Quarter.
Transportation Reminder- For the safety of our students, the bus driver will NOT dismiss a Kindergarten or First grade student at the bus stop unless a responsible person is present at the bus stop to meet them. This policy applies to all K-1 bus riders for the 2011-12 school year. Please make sure that you arrange for a responsible person to meet your child at his/her bus stop. In the event that no one is present to meet your child at the bus stop, the driver will return your child to the school. Also, please remember to send in a note with your child for any transporation changes needed for the day; without a note, your child will have to go home using their regular method of transportation!
Thank you so much for your cooperation. We know that this is going to be a terrific year!!