Newsletter Oct. 3, 2011

Wise’s Newsletter

October 3, 2011

Hi Parents,

A huge thank you to everyone who signed up to volunteer at Stafford.  We begin parent helpers this week.  Please bear with me as I train each of you as you arrive!  Thank you!


Home Reading with Parent Helpers

Today was our very first day of the Home Reading program.  Each child chose a “just right” (or nearly just right) book out of a specific tub.  The child then talked a bit about the book with a parent helper who gave them their new “home reading” folder.  This is to be read to you and/or with you.  It should be one that your child can mostly read on his/her own.  Your child will continue to check just right books out of my personal library as well.  You may write down only the book on the reading list that is in their reading folder from my personal library….so, do NOT write down the Home Reading book!   Starting tonight, reading has just been doubled!  It IS a priority in first grade and the most important homework your child will get this year!


Reading Workshop

During our reading time, when I am working individually or with small groups of children, the children get a choice of several reading “stations”.  They may Independent read, Buddy Read, Write, do Word Work, Listen to a book on tape, or do the Computer.  This is called Daily 6.  On the computer, they may do the game “Starfall”, which is a reading game.   You would be proud of your kids knowing how to start the computer, find Starfall, and close it down.  Smart kids!



Class Blog

Check out the newsletter on the blog!  You can also access the reading game called “Starfall” that I talked about earlier.

  1.  Type my blog site directly into your browser:
  1.  Get to it through the school website by going to:

Word Wall Words

Please remember to write these words on the portable word wall that was sent home with each child 3 weeks ago.  Please have your child look at the word wall when they are writing in their home journals at least two times a week. Every word wall word should be spelled correctly!

be                    do

it                     of



October Homework

Each month, a monthly homework calendar is sent home.  Please do as much as you can and send in at the end of the month.  There are some really great ideas on this homework sheet!  Adapt the math as you needed for your child.

Upcoming Dates:


Oct 10, 11 and 12:  Parent Conferences.  Signs ups are on line at    If you are having any trouble signing up, please call the office or Patrick Minor.

Oct. 19:  Fieldtrip to French Praire Farms.  Letter for parent helpers on back!

Oct. 29:  Fieldtrip to CREST Farm.  A letter will be sent home asking for parent helpers after conferences.






Newsletter Sept. 26, 2011

Wise’s Newsletter

September 26, 2011


Hi everyone,

A big thank you to everyone who came to curriculum night.  It is a huge deal to your kids to have a letter on their desk from you.  They also took a lot of time writing their letter to you.  Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to learn more about what your child will be doing in first grade. 


Poetry Book

You may write down “poetry book” on Wednesdays on your child’s white form inside their brown manila envelope.  Remember, write only books taken home from my classroom library, inside this envelope only.  Thank you.



Every Monday we write about our weekend.  Please talk with your child on Monday mornings to help him/her remember what they did over the weekend.  It would be great if you could help them organize it by what happened first (beginning), what happened in the middle and what did they think about it (ending).  This will help with our writing process!



If you have not yet paid for your child’s fieldtrips for the year, please do so!  I will also need a signed permission slip that was sent home last week and/or was on your child’s desk at curriculum night.  Thank you so much!





Word Work (spelling, writing and reading)

Today was our very first day of word wall work.  Each child brought home their very own “At home word wall”.  This stays in a safe place where the students can refer to it when writing and reading….I suggest their very own desk or perhaps on the refrigerator in the kitchen.  We will be adding words to this word wall once a week, so do NOT LOSE IT!  It will be a vital part of your child’s homework this year in first grade.  Parents, I want YOU to write the word wall down so that it is spelled correctly using lowercase letters.  Once the word is on the word wall, it should never be misspelled because they can look at it and copy it!  There are tons of ideas to practice learning these “sight” words on the back and front.  Here are this week’s word wall words:

at      is      me

the    to


Upcoming Dates:

Sept. 28:  Early Release day at 12:10 PM.  This is new for this school year.  Please plan on childcare.


Oct 10, 11 and 12.Parent Conferences.  Signs ups are on line at    If you are having any trouble signing up, please call the office or Patrick Minor.  He will help you.





Angie Wise




Newsletter Sept. 19, 2011

When a books is easy for the child, that’s great! It is a good time to practice reading smoothly and with expression. Re-reading books leads to fluency and greater comprehension.


                Some books will have words that require children to use their decoding strategies. ‘Sounding it out’ may work, but not all words are spelled phonetically! Too much sounding out can take focus away from the meaning of the selection. Here are some helpful cues that parents can give as a child is reading:


                Be sure the child is pointing at the words!

                Look at the picture.

                Look at the beginning sound.

                Say the beginning sound for the child.

Try to sound out the word letter by letter.

Re-read the first part of the sentence to the child or have child re-read.

Point out the book’s pattern.

Give the word if child is stumped or looking at all frustrated.

Take turns reading lines or pages or just read the book to the child, if it turns out to be too hard.Readingis not supposed to be painful for anyone!

Newsletter Sept. 12, 2011

Wise’s Newsletter
September 12, 2011

Hi Everyone!
What a great first week we’ve had! The students are writing stories in writing workshop, checking books out of our classroom library, mixing colors in art, graphing, sorting, counting, and adding in math, and getting to know each other. Great job kids!
And parents, thanks so much for all your great support!

There are several components to reading and the major one is getting books in kids’ hands. I started a checkout system of my personal books the first day. The students find a book that may be too easy, just right, or too hard and take it home. This is THEIR choice of books. This is not necessarily books that we have read, but are books they are interested in. I want the kids to WANT to look at books, to read books. This self-selection helps. I do need your help in making sure they read the book or it is read to them. Please sign the form that is on the inside of the envelope and send it back each day with the book. We are building independence and self-confidence by having your child be in charge of their selection and checkout. If the book is TOO EASY, then practice reading with FLUENCY! Read with expression, enthusiasm, sadness, whatever the punctuation or pictures require. Too easy books are the perfect book to practice fluency. If ithe book is Too Hard, then “read” the pictures together and you read the words to your child.
The goal is to check out books that are “Just Right”. The children are starting to learn this system, but it does take a lot of time. I will also go over all of this at Curriculum night!

Scholastic Books
Scholastic book orders were sent home on Friday and are due on Sept. 22. This is a great way to get Just right books into your kids’ hands! Please send a check only made out to Scholastic and I will place your order. Questions? Just email!

Sept. Homework
The District requires First Graders to do 10 minutes of homework each night. As you can see, reading is the most important. I am also sending home a monthly homework sheet. It is in your child’s “Home Folder” tonight. Please do the activities and return the sheet at the end of the month. Later this fall, Word work (spelling) will be coming home with your kids and math as well. If you ever feel you are getting too much or too little, please adapt as you see fit. Thank you.

Lunch has gone fairly smoothly in the classroom. I do want to remind parents that this is a “teaching” time where I am reading a book or doing calendar and math with the class, so unfortunately, the children really need to be independent with opening items, especially hot soup cups, etc. Please do not close water bottles or other containers so tightly that the kids can’t open them! Also, there are no napkins, forks, or spoons provided in the classroom. Pack your child’s lunch as if it is a picnic. A real cloth placemat works wonders for keeping their desk clean!

Upcoming Dates:

Sept. 15: Picture day. Forms to buy pictures are in the office if you did not receive yours.

September 22: Curriculum Night 6-7:15. This is for you, the parents to come to. Please get a sitter for your child. Thank you.

Sept. 28: Early Release day at 12:10 PM. This is new for this school year. Please plan on childcare.

Oct.: Parent Conferences. Signs ups will be at curriculum night on Sept. 22

Volunteer sign ups will be at curriculum night as well. If you would like to come in and help me with some special things, please come check my “to do” box outside my room. A sticky note is attached telling you what to do with each item. A huge thank you to Ms. Curdy, Jackson’s mom for helping me with some “to do” items today!

First Grade Birthdays
Dear Parents,

The first grade team has made some changes regarding our birthday celebrations here at school. Several years ago, after long heartfelt discussions and some real gut-wrenching decision making, we came up with a new birthday policy.

Each year, the number of food allergies (wheat, nuts, etc.) has risen. This makes bringing in treats difficult for many children and parents. We want all of our students to feel comfortable and included in all of our activities.

Because of these concerns, we have decided to eliminate the customary birthday treats we have enjoyed in the past.

This does not mean that we will not make a special time for your child on his/her birthday! We want to honor them with the rest of the class! In lieu of edible treats, we will have a song, a birthday pencil, and a sharing time for your child. If your family chooses, a book may be brought to share or donate to our class or the school library. Should you forget and bring in treats, we will ask you to please take them home so no feelings are hurt.

We hope that you will understand our change in this policy and support our efforts to keep all children safe and involved!

The First Grade Team


Angie Wise