Homework and Thursday Folders
Homework in first grade is designed to meet two specific goals. First, the homework assignments are structured to help students develop good at home study habits. This is the first experience that Columbus Academy students have with homework expectations, and we strive to help first graders and their families become comfortable with homework routines. The second goal is to reinforce learning that is taking place at school. All homework should be a review or extension of material presented in class.
First grade students are expected to work on homework Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. Most weeks this homework will consist of Fluency Folder work (repeated readings of a poem or other reading selection to help in developing fluency in reading), Monster Word (spelling) practice, and number sense/math facts practice. Occasionally students may have a specific written homework page or an extended project in place of or in addition to the usual homework expectations. Some nights the homework assignment could even be to play a math or spelling game previously learned in class. Nightly homework (excluding D.E.A.R.) should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. In addition to the daily expectations, students take home a book each evening for at-home (D.E.A.R. - Drop Everything and Read) reading. Books are generally selected at school, but if a student happens to come home without a book, he/she may choose a book to read from home. We ask parents to record their child's nightly reading on the provided reading log. This allows the students and teachers to track reading progress throughout the year.
To maintain regular communication between school and home, we use a system called Thursday Folders. 1D students keep a folder of schoolwork from the week, which they then take home every Thursday to share with parents. These papers often come home either in the folder or as a stapled packet, with an Ask Me About mini-newsletter attached. This paper can guide parents in talking with their child about his/her week at school. This gives parents the opportunity to review the week's work with their child, and it is a great way of staying connected to their child's school experience. It is our hope that parents will find this form of communication informative and that they will enjoy seeing their child's work consistently.
Lower School Notes
2. Help your child remember to return his/her library books no later than the due date.
3. We welcome and obviously need parental help on field trips. If you offer to accompany a field trip, please do not bring younger siblings along. While it would be lovely to accommodate this, the focus of the adults on the trip has to be completely on the children in the class making the trip.
4. We will travel by bus only for field trips.
5. If a parent is late picking up a child from the carpool the child will be sent to C.A.S.E. to wait for his/her ride.
6. IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS:
Lower School Office: 509-2258
If you are leaving a message about how your child is to go home, please leave that information with Michelle Saling in the Lower School Office to make sure your child gets the information before dismissal time.
7. The best way to contact us is by e-mail:
We do check e-mail often, and we recommend this method of communication. All urgent messages should go to the Lower School Office phone number.
First Grade Themes and Topics of Study
First grade students start the year with a focus on Back to School, Friendship, and Rules & Routines. The first author study of the year will take place beginning in late September. We will enjoy books written by Peter H. Reynolds. Starting in mid-October, the students will begin exploring maps, and they will discover their own place on the map. This will allow us to discuss concepts such as country/state/city/personal address. Throughout the year we plan to connect with classrooms from the United States and around the world. We will participate in several global learning projects this year, including one designed to allow students to solve a weekly math problem and share their thinking with other first graders in schools around the world. We will use a variety of technology tools, including Twitter and SeeSaw, to help us in connecting with global friends. First grade kids spend much of December learning about Holidays and Traditions. Next, we focus on another author - Jan Brett. We will use Jan Brett's books to connect to a first grade favorite - animal research. After that, you will find first graders Going West, learning about the Oregon Trail through an intense mini-unit. First grade is a time for writing, and first graders end the year with a writing genre study and a focus on writing. Students celebrate in style by sharing their writing during Author Celebrations toward the end of May. You will notice that we do not have a "theme" for every part of the year. This was planned intentionally, to give us plenty of time to focus on Reading, Writing, and Math Workshop. This also allows first graders the time to learn about and discuss current events, holidays, and topics related to their own interests.