Grade 1 - Welcome to First Grade!

First Grade TeamTeachers
Sandy Westrum

651-683-6969 ext. 92711

Kathy Samsky
651-683-6969 ext. 92716

Jenna Jacobson

651-683-6969 ext. 92756

Julie Stangenes

651-683-6969 ext. 92777

Kim Koth

651-683-6969 ext. 92712


Each first grade teacher can be reached by calling the school at 651.683.6970 as well as the district voice mail number 651.683.6969. Please do not leave urgent messages on voice mail since we are sometimes unable to check our voice mail until late in the day.

First Grade Web Sites

Classroom Management:
The Oak Ridge Student Expectations form the basis for our classroom management. At Oak Ridge we expect that all students will demonstrate:

    * Cooperation

Positive reinforcement is used to promote the following of these expectations and appropriate and natural consequences are used when students choose not to behave appropriately. Oak Ridge has a behavior support room where students can go when problems occur.

Parent Involvement:
Parents are involved in our classrooms in several ways:

    * Take-Home Folders: Each day your first grader should be bringing home a take-home folder containing schoolwork, notes, and other miscellaneous items. Please be sure to check this folder each night and return it to school each morning. Any notes, lunch money, etc. should be placed in the take-home folder so that we are sure to get them.
    * Baggy Books: Teachers will be sending home books to be read at home which are at an appropriate instructional level for your child. These are meant to provide extra practice at home using the strategies taught at school. When your child becomes a more fluent reader, we will expect them to be reading books at home of their own choosing such as library books or books from your own personal collection.
    * Tips For Parents:
      Let children know how important education is.
      Encourage your child to follow the Oak Ridge expectations.
      Volunteer at school.
      Provide a consistent, quiet study time for reading and other homework.
      Check and return the take-home folder each day.


Language Arts:

      * Houghton Mifflin Invitations to Literacy
      * Rigby 2000
      First graders will be using a variety of reading materials provided by these two publishers with an emphasis on shared reading, individual and small group reading, and learning strategies to become an independent reader. Children will participate in small guided reading groups using books that are at their individual instructional level as well as whole group lessons.

    Writing: Our writing program is based upon the principle that writing is meaningful when it is done for an actual purpose and for a specific audience. First graders participate in different types of writing: journaling, group interactive writing, and independent writing. Students will be contributors to class books, as well as writing and publishing their own stories by the end of the year. By the end of the year, we expect first graders to become aware of and begin to use capitalization and punctuation in their writing.

    Word Study: The Word Study Program includes phonetic principles, spelling patterns, and memorizing words used in everyday reading and writing. There will not be any "spelling tests" but their progress and ability to spell is monitored throughout the day in writing and word study activities.

The central focus of our district math curriculum, Scott Foresman and Investigations, is problem solving. It encourages investigating, exploring, and discussing how to use math in a meaningful way. Concepts taught in first grade include:
* Reading, writing, and understanding numbers
* Creating, describing, and identifying patterns
* Creating, describing, and sorting shapes
* Creating and interpreting graphs
* Using number strategies/skills to solve addition and subtraction problems
* Using and understanding measurement

The first grade teachers also use a research-based math framework called Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) in order to learn about how each child thinks. Then, math instruction is based on the child's thinking. Number choices and problem types are selected which will lead the students to develop number sense in a way that makes sense to them first, and then we will help them to bridge to the conventions of mathematics. The basis of CGI is problem solving (story problems). The children use manipulatives and do a lot of talking about how they solved a problem. Strategies are shared and students are exposed to many different strategies to solve a given problem. They become more flexible in their mathematical thinking and they are empowered to think, to document and to explain their mathematical thinking.

The FOSS science curriculum is a very hands-on approach to learning science. First graders are encouraged to experiment and really get involved in their learning. Our three science units for the year are:
* Air and Weather
* Solids and Liquids
* New Plants
* Health units include social/emotional, personal safety, bus safety, and dental.

Social Studies:
Our social studies curriculum is integrated into the rest of our day. Many units are literature-based and we read and write about our topics in social studies. The first grade units are:
* All About Me - expressing their ideas about what makes them unique
* Home is Where the Heart Is - Roles and responsibilities of individual family members; Ways families change over time
* Mapping Our Way Through First Grade - Concepts of left, right, up, down, next to and in between; The four cardinal directions - north, south, east and west; Constructing a simple map of the school; Constructing a simple map of the classroom; Using maps and globes to find locations
* Our Global Community: Beginning to view self as part of an international community; Language, holidays and literature of China, Mexico and Nigeria

First graders participate in physical education class every day at Oak Ridge and they are instructed by the music, art, and media specialists at least once every five day cycle.

Interesting Web Sites:
Eric Carle
Dr. Seuss
Janet Stevens

Starfall (early reading activities)
The Kidz Page
Dance Mat Typing (practice your keyboarding)
WCCO Channel 4000 Weather

Fire Safety Web Sites:
Smokey Bear


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