Please Help Our Classroom!

We are blessed with MANY wonderful learning resources at Disney School. Our classroom shelves are overflowing with art, science, math, and reading student materials. Unfortunately, the open-classroom design does not provide enough storage for these great tools. Please help room 104 safely store items by contributing to our DonorsChoose project. Every little bit helps and is very much appreciated! Click the link above to help our class purchase this Lakeshore cabinet.

On August 12th, every donation to teacher requests on DonorsChoose will receive a 50% boost.

Attendance Policy

     I want to make school an exciting experience for your child, one that they will look forward to each day.  I plan to incorporate activities that will enrich your child’s life and motivate them to want to come to school.  It is important that your child attends school every day and I ask that you arrive on time. I have listed below highlights of our district attendance policy.  For more information visit the CPS home page on the sidebar.

  • ARRIVAL: Entry into CAC will begin at 7:30 am
  • LATE ARRIVAL: Students arriving before 9:30 will be marked morning tardy.  Students arriving after 9:30 will be marked as half-day absent.
  • DISMISSAL: The 2:30 bell signals general student dismissal.   Please send a note if your child will be going home with a friend for a play date.  Students that are not picked up at the dismissal door will be brought to the office to wait for you.  Please call the office if something unexpected has delayed your arrival.  First graders become very worried when their grown-up is not on time.
  • EXCUSED ABSENCE:  The district has 6 types of excused absences; illness, observance of a religious holiday, death in the family, or family emergency, circumstances which cause reasonable concern for child’s safety, other situations beyond the control of the student.  Your child must bring a signed note stating the date and reason for absence to be excused.
  • UNEXCUSED ABSENCE:  5 unexcused absences = truant; 9 unexcused absences = at risk of not being promoted to the next grade

.Should your child not want to come to school for any reason (anything from a problem with peers to anxiety about an activity or concern about routines), please contact me and I will see how we can make the situation more comfortable for your child.

Reading Together

     Help your child become a lifelong reader.  Research tells us that children learn to read by practicing.  Reading is the primary way a child gains a wide vocabulary and is highly related to success in every academic area.  I recommend that your child read aloud a minimum of 15 minutes per day.  In addition, please read to your child for at least another 10 minutes each day.  Hopefully, the time reading at home will be even more than this minimum.  Included below are some tips on how to make the most of your time reading together.

  • Pick a time when you can devote your full attention to your child.  It may be before dinner, during bath time, or at bedtime; these uninterrupted few minutes are important.
  • Take time to talk about the cover of the book before you start to read.  Point out the author and the illustrator and discuss what those terms mean.  Ask your child to predict what the story is about on the basis of the cover illustration and refer back to those predictions as you read.
  • Be dramatic!  The more enthusiasm you display, the more your child will enjoy the book.
  • Help your child connect print to speech by pointing to words in the text as you read.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions about the story and take time to ask questions as you read.
  • When you finish reading, talk about the story.  Then ask your child to tell the story in his or her own words.
  • Read your child’s favorite books over and over.  Studies show that each time a child listens to the same story, new kinds of learning take place.  When your child knows the book by heart, let him “read” it to you.
  • Most importantly, enjoy this special activity.  Reading together will become a happy, comfortable routine that will open the door to discussions about your child’s thoughts and concerns.

special thanks to CTP; I Can Read!  I Can Write! for these tips

 

Scholastic Book Orders

     Scholastic Book Clubs are a convenient way for you to acquire quality children’s literature at very reasonable prices.  Each purchase you make earns our class free Scholastic books.  Please do not feel obligated to purchase the book club.  These books and many other excellent books are available at the public library too.

Our school will host a Scholastic Book Fair during our parent-teacher conferences.  A book fair is a temporary bookstore with part of the proceeds benefiting the Disney PTA.  Students will have the opportunity to browse/purchase books during the school day.  The book fair will be open to all visitors during regular conference hours.  Items for purchase vary in price from $2.00 erasers to $25.00 large hardcover books. A 10% sales tax is added to all purchases.

Scholastic Book Order Instructions

 Online Ordering: Click on the picture below to be taken to our class link.  Our class code is NFQ96. Follow the instructions on the website to order.  Payment must be made online at the time of order.

SCHOLASTIC BOOKS

Delivery: Book orders will arrive about one week from the order due date stamped on brochures.  All books will be sent home with your child in their backpack.

Gifts: If you are planning to use all or part of your order as a gift for your child please indicate this with your order.  I will contact you by note/email when your order arrives to arrange special delivery.

Thank you for supporting our reading program!

Homework Policy

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Homework is an important part of your child’s school experience.  It provides extra practice and review for topics taught in the classroom.  Completing homework with your child will also provide an opportunity for you to see how your child is learning and what topics we are studying in the classroom. Students will have homework almost every night, sometimes in more than one subject. Good study habits are an important skill for success in school. Please support and encourage your child at home by checking their backpack every night. Homework in the red folder has been assigned by your child’s reading teacher.  Assignments in the green folder will be from our homeroom subjects (social studies, science, math). Please contact me anytime a homework assignment has been too difficult for your child.

Homework Expectations:

  • Homework will be assigned every night – with some exceptions
  • Homework should be completed by the student, in their own handwriting.
  • Homework should be completed neatly.
  • Homework should be completed to the best of your child’s ability.
  • Homework will be collected every day and credit will be given for completion and general accuracy.
  • Online skill practice is encouraged. Website review and enrichment assignments will be provided by teachers. Passwords are located on your child’s home folder. If a internet access or computers are not available in your home, please visit any Chicago Public Library to access assignments.

Thank you for supporting our classroom learning.

 Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions regarding homework.

MATH IN OUR CLASSROOM

Click the picture above to read the full article from the Harvard Education Letter.

HOW CAN I HELP MY CHILD WITH MATH AT HOME?

The following is an article from familyeducation.com

Top 10 Ways to Help Your Kids Do Well in Math

by Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Mastering Math
Mastering mathematics is absolutely essential for future opportunities in school and careers. Your children will need to reach a certain level of competency in math to take many advanced high-school courses, to be admitted to college, and to have a wide variety of career choices. Here’s how you can help them maximize their math-smarts.

1. Make sure your children understand mathematical concepts.
Otherwise, math becomes a meaningless mental exercise of just memorizing rules and doing rote drills. Have your children manipulate objects to figure out basic concepts. For addition, they could add one, two, or more blocks to a pile of blocks and then tell you how many blocks are in the pile.

2. Help them master the basic facts.
Mastery of a basic fact means that children can give an answer in less than three seconds. Considerable drill is required for children to give quick responses. Use flash cards to help your children learn the basic facts. When they don’t know an answer, have them lay out objects to solve the problem.

3. Teach them to write their numbers neatly.
Twenty-five percent of all errors in solving math problems can be traced back to sloppy number writing. Improve your children’s number-writing skills by having them trace over numbers that you have written. Suggest they use graph paper to keep the numbers in problems neatly aligned.

4. Provide help immediately when your children need it.
Math is one subject in which everything builds upon what has been previously learned. For example, a failure to understand the concept of percent leads to problems with decimals. If a teacher is unable to help your children, provide the help yourself or use a tutor or learning center.

5. Show them how to handle their math homework.
Doing math homework reinforces the skills your children are learning in class. Teach them to begin every assignment by studying the textbook or worksheet examples. Then have them redo the examples before beginning the assignment to make sure they understand the lesson.

6. Encourage your children to do more than the assigned
problems.

Considerable practice is necessary for your children to hone their math skills. If the teacher only assigns the even problems, having them do some of the odd ones will strengthen their skills. The more time your children spend practicing their skills, the sooner they will develop confidence in their abilities.

Walt Disney Magnet School has provided your child with subscriptions to math practice websites. See “Homework Links” in the sidebar to connect. Student passwords are added to their red folder as sites are introduced.

7. Explain how to solve word problems.
Mathematicians have an expression: To learn to solve problems, you must solve problems. Teach your children to read a word problem several times. Also, have them draw a picture or diagram to describe it. Make it easier for them to understand the steps in a problem by teaching them to substitute smaller numbers for larger ones.

8. Help your children learn the vocabulary of mathematics.
They will never get a real feeling for math or learn more advanced concepts without an understanding of its vocabulary. Check that your children can define new terms. If not, have them use models and simple problems to show you they understand how the term is used.

9. Teach them how to do math “in their head.”
One of the major ways to solve problems is by using mental math. Kids should use this method frequently instead of using pencil and paper or a calculator. When helping your children with a problem, help them determine when it would be appropriate to use mental math.

10. Make mathematics part of your children’s daily life.
Mathematics will become more meaningful when your kids see how important it is in so many real-life situations. Encourage them to use math in practical ways. For example, ask them to space new plants a certain distance apart, double a recipe, and pay bills in stores.

Behavior Expectations

Our Classroom Rules

BE KIND

BE NEAT

BE SAFE

BE READY TO LEARN

     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!

Encouraging Writers

     I’ve compiled a list of activities your child will enjoy doing at home to encourage writing and reinforce lessons taught at school.  Before beginning you may consider giving your child a special gift, a writing box.  A writing box is a container filled with writing supplies that capture the interest of a first grader.  Choose a container big enough to hold a lot of goodies, but small enough for your child to carry easily. Decorate an old suitcase, briefcase, 16 qt plastic box, tackle box, or large shoe box.  The contents of the writing box might include: paper (various sizes and colors), notebook, colored pencils, markers, whiteboard & dry erase markers, stickers, blank books, envelopes, post its, list of family & friends names.

     Treat any attempt at writing as special!  Don’t worry if all words are not spelled correctly.  You will see your child’s writing improve as we learn new words and print conventions during first grade.  If necessary, use a post-it note to translate your child’s message and stick it on the back of letters to family.  Most importantly, have fun together!

Writing Activities for Home

  • Write a note to our child and put it in a place it will be seen.  Surprise them with a note under their pillow or taped to the bathroom mirror!  Ask for a written reply.
  • Write a letter to a friend or relative in a different city.  This will be especially exciting if your child receives a letter in response.
  • Hang a family message board where children will see the importance of giving and receiving messages.
  • Make birthday cards to give to friends and family.
  • Glue a 4X6 photo to an index card to make your own personal postcard.  Have your child write a caption and address of family or friend.  Send U.S. mail using the less expensive post card stamp.
  • Encourage you child to create labels for toy bins and shelves at home.
  • Check out the links on the sidebar for sites to make your own comics & post cards
  • Write thank you cards for birthday and holiday gifts.
  • Write secret messages using invisible ink.  Click the picture below to see recipes.

Student Portfolios

 

Throughout the year, your child will be collecting and saving samples of work in a portfolio.  This collection will reflect growth over time, and will give your child and you a deeper understanding of the learning that takes place in first grade.  It is also an opportunity, to better understand your child’s interest, needs, and progress.

The portfolio will contain a variety of work including writing (drafts and published pieces), reading documents, special projects, math problems, and photos that demonstrate your child’s learning and hard work.  The portfolio will be managed by the children to develop their organization skills and extend their responsibility and ownership in their work.  We will be selecting work that best represents each student’s growth over time.  For this reason, not all student work will be sent home.  We will share our portfolios with families during a special celebration at the end of the school year.  At that time, a few selected items will be set aside to be shared with your child’s future teacher and the remaining portfolio will be taken home for you to enjoy.  The contents of your child’s portfolio and your child’s reflections about the learning that it represents will present a richer, more complete picture of the growth your child has made this school year.