First Day News


We were very busy bees today!  The kids did a great job transitioning to the first grade schedule and expectations. Thank you parents for all of your help unpacking supplies this morning.  We were able to play more fun learning games with the time saved. The children also had a chance to explore our classroom reading materials and new math workbooks too. Please check backpacks tonight for important school forms. Don’t forget to sign and return the first page of the “Student Code of Conduct” book.   I look forward to seeing all of my new first grade friends tomorrow another exciting day!

-Kate Brannigan


Classroom Handbook

aug09_kidsWelcome to the 2021-2022 school year!  A copy of our classroom handbook was sent home to families the first week of school.  Click below to learn more about our classroom and school procedures:


Dear Disney Friend,

Welcome to first grade!  I am so excited for our new school year to begin.  Our first day of first grade will be Monday, August 30th.  Join your new first grade friends in the CAC by 7:30 am.

All first graders will enter through the CAC and come to pod 100 together. Your teacher will lead you to your new classroom.  We are room 104.  After a little while, we will say goodbye to the grown-ups and begin our school day.  We will play games, read stories and do some fun projects.  I can’t wait to hear all about what you did this summer!

Don’t forget to plan a yummy lunch for the first day of school!  We will be eating in the cafeteria before recess.  You can bring your favorite foods from home or our cafeteria helpers serve delicious hot lunches too.  All school lunches are free. Don’t worry if this is new for you,  I’ll be in the lunchroom to help you and the cafeteria helpers are really nice people too.

Our classroom is a very special place to learn and grow.  I know we will have great fun playing games and reading stories together.  This year we will laugh a lot, explore, learn new things, sometimes get messy, and be very good friends.  See you soon!

-Mrs. Brannigan

Behavior Expectations

Our Classroom Rules





     These four simple rules cover just about everything that can happen during a typical day of first grade!  During the first week of school, I will introduce these rules and facilitate a class discussion about why these rules are necessary to create a safe, happy place of learning. First-graders are learning how to be a good friend and student.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Our goal at Disney is to teach students how to accept those mistakes and make good choices in the future.

Party     Students will earn Class Dojo points for demonstrating positive learning behavior in the classroom. Parents are encouraged to connect to our Class Dojo account. An informational letter will be sent home at the beginning of the school year. You will be able to monitor your child’s daily point earnings, receive reminders,  and send messages directly to teachers from your phone!

Celebrate Your First Grader

First grade is hard work!  We use every minute of our time together to challenge our minds.  It is important to take a few minutes each day to praise your child for their effort and celebrate their successes as a learner.  Below are some ideas I’ve used with my own family.  I would love to add your good ideas to the list- just leave a comment below to share!

  • Put a smile on your child’s face by hiding a note inside their lunchbox.  Surprise your pre-reader by including a simple drawing with many X’s & O’s or challenge readers with easy riddles and knock-knock jokes.
  • Celebrate progress reports and report cards with a special meal or outing.  Focus on the effort put forth, not the letter grade.  Remember, every child learns at their own pace.
  • Brag about your child!  Call a family member and tell them about your child’s progress and good deeds.  Hearing you say something positive to others will fill your child with pride!
  • Display their work!  Sure it may not be Picasso and that worksheet has eraser smudges, but it is evidence of your first grader’s success.  Designate a place to display these proud artifacts for all to enjoy.
  • Save the really special pieces.  Use a hanging file box to keep treasured work from their school years.  One file per grade filled with important class work papers and photos of oversize projects.  Glue a school picture to the front and have them write their name/age/grade on an index card to label each file.  Periodically, look through the file boxes together.  Your child will love remembering their younger school years and the files are a good reminder that with patience and hard work they can meet the challenges of the classroom.
  • 101 WAYS TO SAY YOU’RE GREAT:  Wow…Way to go…Super…You’re Special…Outstanding…Excellent…Great…Good…Neat O…Remarkable…I Knew You Could Do It…I’m Proud of You…Fantastic…Bravo…Superstar…Nice Work…You’re on Top of It…Beautiful…Now You’re Flying…You’re Catching On…Dynamite…That’s Incredible…How Extraordinary…Far Out…Outstanding Performance…I can’t get over it…Phenomenal…You’ve Got It…Superb…Cool…Your work is out of sight…Your project is first rate…You’ve outdone yourself…Thumbs Up…You’re a good friend…You came through…Terrific…You tried hard…Your help counts…You made it happen…It couldn’t be better…You’re a real trooper…Fabulous…Bravo…Exceptional..You’re unique…Awesome…Breathtaking..The time you put in really shows…You’re a great example to others…Keep up the good work…I knew you had it in you…It’s everything I hoped for…You should be proud of yourself..What an imagination…You made the difference..Well Done…You’re sensational…Very Good…A+ Work…Super Job…Take a bow…You figured it out…How artistic.. Hooray for you…You’re a joy…You are so thoughtful…You’re amazing…You’re getting there…What a great idea…You deserve a hug…Thanks for trying…You’ve made great progress…You’re a big help…You’re neat…You’ve got what it takes…You’re #1…You’re a shining star…You can be trusted…Very impressive…You’re sharp…You’re a winner…Hot Dog…Spectacular…You’re so kind…You’ve really grown up…What a great listener…Great discovery…You’ve earned my respect…You’re A-Okay…You’re a great kid…How original…You’re a champ…You’re a pleasure to know…What a genius…You’re very talented..You’re the greatest…You’re super…Right on target…You’re a keeper…I LOVE YOU! 

Follow the Yellow Brick Road…..


  • Take time to talk about school and everyday events with your child.  Ask your child to tell you their “high/low” (best and worst part) of the school day.
  • Get to know your child’s friends.  Ask about who they played with at recess or sat with at lunch.  Arrange for play time with classmates at your home or meet at the playground.
  • Check assignments nightly.  Show genuine interest in the homework.  This sends the message that education is important and encourages your child to do well.
  • Provide a quiet study area with needed supplies.  (pencils, glue sticks, markers, scissors, pencil sharpener)
  • Set a routine for completing homework in the early evening.
  • Provide learning experiences outside of school.  Visit nature preserves, museums, libraries, zoos, and theaters.  Check out the links on the sidebar for activities happening around Chicago this month.
  • Monitor the TV programs your child watches.  TV can be educational and relaxing in the right amounts and at the right time.  Turn off the TV at meal times to facilitate conversations and healthy eating.
  • Help your child obtain a library card and visit the library often.  Listen to your child read and read to your child.
  • Encourage your child to write letters or send emails to friends and family.
  • Play board games together.  Games teach your child how to take turns, listen to others, be a good sport, and encourage critical thinking skills.
  • Be a good role model.  Let your child see you reading a variety of materials for different purposes.  Point out the many reasons you write in daily life.  Demonstrate friendship skills such as cooperation, sharing, listening to others, and talking about a problem.  When playing games be a gracious winner and a courteous loser.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if your child is unhappy at school.  I want everyone to love coming to first grade as much as I do and will try my best to help solve any problems that arise. 


It is that time of year again!  Back to school shopping ads fill our mailboxes and we begin to think about the upcoming school year.  Here are some tips to help your child have a great start to first grade!

  • Bring back your family’s bedtime routine.  Experts recommend first graders have 10-11 hours of sleep each night.
  • Schedule medical appointments and complete necessary forms.  If your child is new to the district you must provide documentation of a physical examination and required vaccines.  Click the picture below to see 2012-2013 CPS requirements and to download medical forms.  Be sure to visit your child’s eye doctor and dentist too!
  • If your child’s kindergarten did not include lunch begin to time your summer lunches.  The children will have less than 30 minutes to eat their meal in our cafeteria.  Encourage your child to eat their sandwich first to fill their tummy for the long afternoon.
  • Practice your home address and emergency phone numbers.
  • Review kindergarten skills: write first and last names neatly, play alphabet games to practice letter names and sounds, write numbers 1-30, and count numbers 1-100.
  • Practice shoe tying and zippering.
  • Purchase school supplies. Our first-grade supply list is posted on this website.

  • Label everything!  It is amazing how many sweatshirts, hats, lunchboxes, water bottles, and more go unclaimed at the end of our school day.
  • READ, READ, READ!  Your library is sponsoring a fun summer reading program-Check it out! Also, did you know that many nearby suburban libraries offer reciprocal borrowing to Chicago Public Library members.  Go on an adventure to see what other libraries offer.  You may be surprised to find that they offer dvd rentals, large music selections, and even video games for check out!  Click the picture below to view the list of participating suburban libraries.
  • Talk about the new school year together.  Is there anything that your child is feeling nervous about?  Let them know that everyone is a little nervous to try something new, but that you and I will be there to help them.  Feel free to email me with specific questions!

I look forward to seeing you all on the first day of school!

Have a GREAT summer vacation!