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You Need
to Know about
Miss Millers
First Grade
(Well, almost everything!)

Please keep this booklet in a safe place.


As the children arrive, they begin the day with self-selected activities - coloring
activity book, reading books, finishing projects, small group discussions. During this time,
the teacher is greeting, checking homework, and taking attendance.
WHOLE GROUP gathers for the news of the day, calendar activities, singing, chart
reading, sharing and read aloud time.
9:05 10:20 MATH WORKSHOP - Our focus is on hands-on mathematics and learning
how to transfer that knowledge to paper and pencil worksheets. As a whole group, we
begin working with a concept or skill and then move to small group or individual tasks or
instruction and practice with the teacher. We play games with dice, cards and other
math manipulatives to help children construct an understanding of the concepts.
10:20 10:50 SCIENCE
10:50 11:20 SOCIAL STUDIES
11:20 - 11:50 LUNCH and BATHROOM BREAK
11:50 2:35 LANGUAGE ARTS
WRITING WORKSHOP begins with a brief lesson and prewriting discussion of the
students plans for that day. As students work independently on writing in journals or
creating books, the teacher circulates, conferencing with students and observing skills.
The whole group gathers for a sharing time at the close of writing workshop.
PHONICS - Students need to be able to take the letters and sounds they already know
and learn how to create words with them. We will study beginning, middle and ending
sounds of words, word families and patterns. We use white boards and markers, charts
and our plastic pipe telephones to help us hear the sounds. We will do word sorts, word
chains, and other activities or worksheets which help us to break apart and put words
back together. This helps children to decode new words when reading. Your child will have
a spelling test on these words every Friday.
WORKING WITH WORDS - our time to practice working with words in handwriting,
spelling and phonetic strategies. We add new words to our word wall every week and
constantly review old ones.
1:10 1:30 RECESS
I meet with one reading groups during this time period. If your child is receiving My
Sidewalks Reading Intervention in Tier 2 or Tier 3, ESL instruction, or Speech and
Language Therapy, they will leave the classroom. The children remaining in the classroom
will be working in small guided reading group instruction with me. I meet with 3 small
guided reading groups to work on reading strategies and improve each childs reading
level. Students need to be able to read at a smooth, quick rate, and retell the important
details of the books they read. While reading groups are meeting with the teacher, the
other children are working independently on reading, phonics and word wall activities.
2:35 3:20 SPECIAL CLASSES - Library, Computer, Art, Gym, Music


Miss Millers First Grade Classroom


Because first grade sets the tone for future years and is such a
critical time in the development of reading, writing and math skills, it is
imperative that students attend school daily. It is certainly understood
that there will be illnesses and emergencies that require a student to miss
school, but absences without reason should be avoided as much as possible.
If a child is sick, please consider the other children in the room and
keep your child home so that he or she doesnt become worse, or infect
more children. First graders spend a great deal of time interacting with each
other and if students come to school ill, it is passed quickly to the rest of
the class!
If your child misses school or is late for any reason, a written note
stating the reason is required upon his or her return to school. If a note is
not received within three days, the absence is considered unexcused. If you
have advance notice of an absence, such as for a doctor appointment, it is
a good idea to send in a note ahead of time so Im aware of your childs
upcoming absence. Pre-approval for family trips is required, and the form
for that is in the school office.

ppropriate Dress:

irthday Treats:

We are fortunate to be attending a school with air conditioning.

However, that does not guarantee that the climate is comfortable
for everyone. Our room can be cool, especially in the fall before the
heat is turned on in the school. My advice is to send a sweatshirt or
sweater that can be put on or taken off to accommodate your childs
Please remember that sneakers are safer for your child to wear in
school. We run and play on cement and wood mulch at recess, and flip
flops and sandals are not safe footwear for first graders. If your
child doesnt know how to tie shoes, it is something they need to learn
When purchasing that new winter coat, have your child practice zipping
and unzipping it to make sure they are able to manage it on their own.
I encourage them to become independent in dressing for recess and
going home. Some coats are difficult for little fingers to operate!
When snow arrives, only children wearing boots will be permitted to play
in the snow at recess. We do go out on most days, unless the wind chill
is too low. Hats and mittens or gloves will help to keep your child

We will sing and honor your childs birthday. A treat is not necessary.
But, if you feel you want to bring something to make your child feel
special on their birthday, please consider the following suggestions: new
pencils, crayons, fun erasers, party trinkets, even dental floss! You can
check out the Dollar Tree, they have lots of things that kids would
love! Students are not permitted to travel to other classrooms and
teachers to hand out treats. You will only need enough for our class.
**Birthday party invitations may not be handed out in class unless you
are inviting the whole class. Limiting invitations mean some children feel
left out. I understand you may not want to invite the whole class, so I
hope you can find an alternate way to invite friends.



Pizza Hut sponsors a reading incentive program. More information will

come home to you in the next few weeks. The program runs from October
through March. Your child will need your help to reach their monthly goal.
The monthly reward is a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut.

Breakfast to Go will be offered every morning at UC. Your child can get off
the bus, go to the cafeteria and pick up a breakfast. Breakfast to Go will
be eaten in our classroom. There is a cost for the breakfast, and it will be
taken out of your childs lunch account. Please discuss this with your child so
he or she knows if you want them to do this.

us Notes:

If your child is going to be picked up at the end of

the day instead of riding the bus as usual, please send a
note to me that morning. If I do not receive a note, and
your childs bus arrives before you do, I must send your
child on the bus. Please dont rely on your child to tell me
that they should not go on the bus. Our school policy is
that we must have that information in writing, or from
a phone call by you to the office. Verbal messages from
children can often be forgotten or confused, and we will
not rely on that for any bus changes.

afeteria Accounts:

ontacting the Teacher:

All money for your childs lunch account must be taken to the
cafeteria each morning. It is most helpful if you would send the money once
a week for the whole week, or enough for the whole month if you can.
Loose money and change can get lost along the way, and quite often your
child doesnt give the money to me until after lunch. Sending money in each
day takes my time away from the kids. I fill out a slip for each cash
amount for each child each day. Please put it in an envelope with your
childs name and lunch pin number on the front and the amount enclosed.
You can also pay online with a credit card. Even if your child is just buying
milk, he or she can only access that money by using the pin number with the
cashier. If your account is getting low, the cashier will send a reminder slip
along with your child.

I send all important notes home to you in the yellow Parent

Communication Folder. Please make sure you check your childs bookbag
daily to see if things have come home for you to read. Remove the READ
and KEEP papers. They do not need to be returned to school. Please return
this folder to school every day.
If you use email, it is the best way to get in touch with me. My email
address is
If you want to call me, please call the school office at 270-7227. UC
does now have a voicemail system and you can leave a message for me! I
think my extension is 6126.
If you prefer the old-fashioned way, just write me a note!
I will try to return all messages as quickly as possible, but not
necessarily on the same day that you send them.

lassroom news:


I will send home a weekly Reading Street newsletter along with their
Family Times, so you will know what words to study at home during the
I will also send a classroom newsletter, sometimes through skyward
message center. It will contain information about projects, homework,
tests, school, events, volunteering, etc. I am working on a classroom blog to
share photos and other information.

School Rules:
1. Show Respect
2. Show Responsibility
3. Show Safety
4. Do Your Job
Additional Classroom Rules: (these make our school rules clearer for first
Listen when your teachers is talking.
Follow directions quickly.
Raise your hand for permission to speak.
Respect others, respect yourself, respect our school
Be safe, be kind, be honest.
Make smart choices.
1-2-3 Warnings from teacher for each card taken.
(I put a name on the board and spell out S-I-T)
Green Card is a room time out.
Yellow Card is a room time out and 5 minutes of recess time out.
Pink Card is a room time out and 10 minutes of recess time out.
Blue Card is time out, loss of recess and a visit to the office or a call or
note home.

Students can earn back their card doing the day for improving behavior.
Falcon Five dollars to spend on the prize cart or for other special things
like Lunch with the teacher, no homework coupon, bring a stuffed animal,
wear a hat, sit in the soft teacher chair and more!
We will fill out a calendar each night, coloring the date block to show you
what level your child earned that day. This calendar will come home in your
parent folder.You will hope to see a green day! If you are seeing reds and
yellows all month, we need to talk about what we can do to help your child
follow school rules. Friday is Payday. Students who have kept their cards all
week and have a green week on their behavior calendar will earn a Falcon 10.
Students who lost one card during the week will earn a Falcon 5.
Due to the care associated with 18 first graders at the end of the day, I will
only give more detailed explanations of behaviors if I feel the situation
warrants it or your child broke the rules four or more times. You can find a
number code on their calendar that will let you know what happened. If
your child has difficulty following the school rules, he/she will be put on a
behavior plan which will go home daily and need to be signed.

arly Dismissals for Weather:

Please make sure you have a plan for your child in case we dismiss
early for bad weather or some other emergency. Go over it with your child
so he or she knows exactly where to go if the bus drops them off early
and you are not home. Dont rely on just calling the school to tell us what
your child needs to do. Our phone lines can only accommodate a few calls at
a time, and you may not get through. You will be contacted by the
emergency phone system in case of early dismissals that are not planned.

ield Trips:


Last year First Grade took 5 field trips. The costs of a required nurse,
buses and admission fees will determine how many trips we will take.
We are still planning the trips and will have more information soon if we can
get them scheduled.
v We will be traveling to Sycamore Springs Apple Orchard on Wednesday,
September 23. No parent chaperones are needed.
v In December, we sang at Stoneridge Town Center for the elderly
residents. No chaperones are needed.
v In March we traveled to the High School planetarium when we study
the sun, moon and earth. No chaperones are needed.
v In April we usually travel to Indian Echo Caverns when we study rocks.
Chaperones are needed.
v In May, we usually have a trip to study animals in the forest habitat
at Clarence Schock Memorial Park at Governor Dick. Chaperones are
Please watch for special information when or if these trips will be planned.
A parent permission slip must be signed and returned for all field trips.
Failure to do so will result in your child remaining at school for that day. It is
helpful if permission slips are returned as soon as possible after being
brought home. Most trips are free, although we may have to charge a few
dollars to cover the cost of the nurse or buses.
if you plan to volunteer as a chaperone, please complete your clearances.
Only parents with active and approved clearances will be allowed to
chaperone our trip.
Your child will always need a packed lunch for those trips. Beverages should
be in drink boxes, plastic bottle, foil juice bags or a thermos. No cans or

The school approved hand sanitizer is Purell. I have a small bottle in the
room for children to use. You may send in hand sanitizer for your child to
use, but not share with others.

ingerbread House Day:



On Friday, December 16, (tentative date) all first grade will gather with
parents and helpers to make their very own Gingerbread House. We like to
have one volunteer for each child. Please check your work schedules and
plan to come. Families donate all the decorations for the houses!
Information about that will come home in November.

We use Zaner Bloser letters. You will find a page with the letters
at the back of this packet. Please encourage your child to hold the pencil
correctly and be neat. Your help in correcting errors in pencil grip and letter
formation are very important.

We use computers and listening centers. I provide headphones for

those devices, but this year I would like to encourage you to purchase a set
of headphones or earbuds that your child can use. Germs and headlice can
be transferred through the use of these headphones. If you send a set in
for your child, I will put it in a labeled ziploc bag, and it will be used only by
your child.



Your child will have 2 kinds of homework each night, Monday

through Thursday. One is a paper/pencil task to review skills we are working
on at school. It could be spelling word practice, handwriting practice, math,
phonics, or sight word practice.
In addition to the paper/pencil task, your child will also bring home
a leveled reader to practice. That book is often read to the teacher or the
classroom assistant before it comes home. Rereading it at home to an
adult helps to foster fluency and confidence. Please provide a quiet time
and space for homework. Make sure the book and paper are returned to
school in their folder each day. It will be your job to write the date, title and
how you felt your child did in the Reading Log.
Your child will also have a list of sight words to practice and
return when you feel they know the words. There are 30 lists, and learning
these words is important for your child to become a fluent reader.
In order to complete some homework tasks, your child will need
pencils, crayons, glue sticks and scissors. Please make sure those items are
available for your child at home. Homework must be completed in pencil.
I keep a daily record of all homework assignments. I will not
usually return a childs homework unless it needs to be redone.

Please label all lunch boxes and bags with your childs name and
room number (26). If your child is a lunch buyer, please put the money in an
envelope or ziploc bag and label it with your childs name and lunch PIN
number. It is better to pay in larger amounts if you are able, than sending a
bit of money in each day. If you choose to pay online, the money will be
available when your child goes to lunch.

eading & Library Books:


Since books are brought home nightly, they receive lots of use
throughout the year. Your child will bring a leveled reader home 4 nights
each week for most of the school year. That book is small and thin, and
usually has a number on the upper right corner of the back cover. The
book is their independent reading practice book, or a book we read in guided
reading that day.
My students are allowed to borrow one book from my classroom
library each day if they so choose. These books are NOT to be used for our
leveled reading practice, so please do not record them in the homework
folder log.
Library books are to be returned on library day. It might be a good
idea to help your child set up a system for getting them back to school
each day. Please take good care of all books and return them in a timely

We have recess every day. We go outside unless it is raining or the

weather is extremely cold. Please make sure your child has a winter coat
that he/she can zip independently. Gloves or mittens, hats and earmuffs are
a must. If we go outside on snowy days, only students wearing boots will be
allowed to play in the snow. Sneakers are the best choice for footwear,
since we play on mulch and cement.

eport Cards:

Report cards will come home 4 times each year. In November we

will meet for a Parent Conference to discuss your childs progress.

cholastic Book Orders:

I try to send home one or two book orders each month to help you
create a home library for your child at a minimal cost. To order, send the
form back to me by the due date with a check payable to Scholastic Book
Club. You also have the option of ordering online using your credit card.
Either way works the same. Once I place the order, the books usually arrive
in about a week. If you would ever want to order a book as a gift for your
child, let me know. Ill hold onto it until you have a chance to pick it up. It will
be our secret!


in order for your child to improve reading skills and become fluent, there
are basic sight words that all first grader children need to learn. These sight
words should be recognized instantly, and they are often words that dont
follow phonetic rules and cant be sounded out. It is important that your
child practice these words at home. I will begin sending word lists at the end
of September. When you feel that your child knows each word instantly,
return the signed parent form. I will recheck the words, then send home
the next list. There will be word cards for you to cut apart and keep at a
safe spot. You can create a word box and refer the the words often. You
can even use them for games instead of dice. If your child can read the
word, they can move that many spaces for the number of letters in the


You can check Skyward for weekly spelling test scores and math unit
scores. I will put them on your childs page after tests are complete.



pelling Words:

Almost every Friday, the children will take a spelling test based on the
10 words we practice during the week. These words match the phonics skill
that is taught during that week. I will send home a list of the words at the
beginning of each week so that you can practice them at home.
We also practice 5 high frequency words each week. 2 of those will be
on the spelling test as Challenge Words.
The tests are taken in a spelling booklet and kept here at school. I will
enter the weekly score on Skyward so you can access your childs grade.

We have specials from 2:00 2:45 each day.

Day 1 - Music
Day 2 - Computer
Day 3 - Library and Book Exchange
Day 4 - Gym - Wear sneakers
Day 5 - Art

Reading Street has 5 units that last 6 weeks. Each week your child
will have 10 spelling words to study and 2 word wall words. I will send the
words home on cards on a Monday, which you can keep in the zipper pouch
of their homework folder. Please make sure you practice them at home. I
will send a weekly Reading Street newsletter with the words, as well as a link
to where you can practice the words at home.


We do not have time for a snack in our day. If you feel that
your child needs a snack, please let me know. We eat lunch at 11:20, which is
quite early. Please make sure your child has a healthy breakfast.
Your child can have a water bottle in school to keep on their desk.
You can send in one sport bottle which they can refill, or you can send in a
new bottle each day. Please send in only plain water, no colored or flavored
water, please! Please make sure your child knows how to open and close the


oys in School:

We will have a spelling test every Friday. Your child will have 10
spelling words and 2 high frequency words to study. The test booklets will
remain in school, but your childs score will be posted on Skyward.
Math tests will be posted when we finish each chapter. These test
scores will also be posted on Skyward.

Please do not send toys to school with your children. We have

plenty of toys and games in the classroom for indoor recess and other
times that warrant them. Keeping things at home helps to alleviate things
getting lost or broken. Electronic games are not allowed in school. The
playground is also equipped for many outdoor games, and I have a supply
of balls and jump ropes for the children to use at recess.

How to Help Your Child in First Grade!

1. Review your childs school work. Encourage your child to bring it home
neatly and return it to school the next day.
2. Supervise or check homework, but do not do it for your child. Homework
must be done in pencil, not pen.
3. Create a quiet corner for homework with pencils, crayons, scissors and
glue sticks. Turn off the TV and stereo during homework time.
3. Send me notes! If you are picking your child up early, if your child has an
appointment, if you have a question or concern, please call, email or write
me a note. My school email address is
4. Help your child develop responsibility by assigning jobs at home and making
sure your child completes them. Daily jobs could be making their own bed,
drying the dishes, feeding the dog, recycling, etc.
5. Talk to your child! Turn off the stereo and TV and have fun sharing and
laughing and learning more about each other. Talk about times shared as a
family, and encourage your child to remember these fun times as topics
for writing workshop.
6. Play board games or card games. Turn off the TV and stereo and get
out games like Candyland, Go Fish, Uno or even a puzzle and talk and laugh
and play!