Monthly Archives: August 2011

Open House Is Not a Time For a Parent Teacher Conference

Open House is not Conference Time.  Most of you will be meeting your child’s first grade teacher for the first time at Open House.  Naturally, you have lots and lots to say about your child.  Every parent does.  Open House is not the time to have a private conference about your child.  First of all, other parents and children will be able to hear what you are saying.  Not very private is it? Open House is just that, an Open classroom for your child and you to check out together to alleviate all nervous jitters for both parent and child.  If you have something that needs to be shared with the teacher then please set up a PRIVATE parent teacher conference as soon as possible for that purpose.  You do not need to bring samples of your child’s Kindergarten work to impress the first grade teacher, nor do you have to tell us about the tutoring, workbooks and above grade level work that your child is doing.  He/she will be in our class soon enough and we will be able to see for ourselves all of your child’s abilities.  Your child’s teacher is excited to be meeting up to 30 sets of parents at Open House and wants to know all about all of the children as soon as possible, just not at Open House.  As a teacher, I thank you for attending Open House, we put a great deal of effort into your visit and want it to be a pleasant and positive as possible.  Remember, keep it simple at Open House, fill out all of the necessary forms and enjoy your visit.

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents

Open House

This week will be the start of school where I teach.  The week will have a few days of meetings, setting up the classroom and then Open House.  I want to talk to you about Open House.  If your school offers an Open House of some kind, GO!  Most teachers I know have been going into their classrooms during the past few weeks to set up the room, decorate it and begin planning for a wonderful school year with the children.  All of this without being paid! If your child’s school and teachers are inviting you to come to an Open House to meet the teacher and see the room, you must go! As a classroom teacher, I look forward to Open House to see the faces of all of my new children, meet their parents and try to settle any nerves that either the children or the parents are facing. It is a great time for your child to walk through the school, learn how to get to his/her new classroom and to be able to see new friends who will be in his/her new class.  Your child will be able to find his/her desk and get familiar with the room while mom and dad are still there.  On the first day of school there will be no mom/dad and you want your child to be as confident and comfortable as possible walking into the new classroom. Hope to see you at Open House!

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents

Reading Club

Invite your friends and their children to join a children’s reading club.  It’s easy.

  • Contact your friends that have same aged children as you.
  • Set monthly dates for children and a parent to come together to discuss the book.
  • Parents (and children)take  turns choosing a book for all of the children to read. (You might use your local library to check out several copies of the same book)
  • All children will read the same book and come together once or twice a month as a group to discuss the book.
  • Parents should take turns hosting the group at their house – possibly offering a light dinner for all.

This will help your child to learn more about reading skills and to pay closer attention to details while reading so that he/she will be able to discuss the book with his friends at the book club.

Your child will be analyzing books to include characters, setting, and main idea in first grade so any practice with these skills at home will certainly be beneficial.

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Reading

Bored With Their Toys

This is the time of the summer when parents begin to hear “there’s nothing to do!” Children may have a room/or house full of toys and electronics but they no longer wish to play with the same toys.  It’s time for a toy swap.  Gather the toys in your house that are in good condition but are no longer being used.  Organize your friends who have children about the same age as your children and have them also gather their gently used toys.  Decide upon a place and date where the swap will be and then allow the children to choose ‘new’ toys to take home.  This way all of the children will have new toys to play with, you haven’t spent any money and it will be a fun activity for all families involved. Then… do it again in about 3-4 months, maybe with more families next time.

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten

Do Parents Belong in the Classroom on the First Day of School?

Many parents of Kindergartners and First Graders want to stay around the classroom on the first day of school and observe what is happening.  Parents want to be assured that their child will be OK, is settling in and won’t miss them.  This is a BIG mistake.  When a parent hovers around the classroom, it sends the message to your child that you are unsure of the situation.  With this message your child becomes agitated and unsure and then will want you to stay longer because they are picking up on your anxiety.  Your child’s teacher will know best how to handle a classroom full of new children on the first day and will immediately be doing this once the bell rings. The best gift that you can give your child on the first day of school is to give a kiss and hug and an ‘I love you’ and then leave!  Or better yet, if your school had an Open House and your child knows where to go, it would be better if you said goodbye at home and put your child on the bus.  This sends the message to your child that he/she is a big boy/girl and able to get to school without mom/dad. Many parents send a family picture or note in their child’s lunch and this will reassure your child that you love him/her and are looking forward to hearing all about the first day of school when he/she arrives home.

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents

Getting Out Of The House On Time

Getting everyone ready for school and out of the house on time is a challenging situation that many families face every day.  Morning routines are a struggle for children as well.  Here are some tried and true tips that will help your family share a more relaxed morning together.

The night before:

  • All homework, signed papers and forms and other school tools should be packed into backbacks
  • Backpacks ready for school should be lined up by the front door BEFORE bed
  • Lay out clothes for the morning (many children need choices so it is best if mom/dad choose 2 or 3 outfits and then allow the child to choose in the morning)
  • Many families lay out 5 outfits for the week on Sunday evening..a big time saver
  • Make lunches for the morning, Kindergartners and first graders are old enough to help pack a lunch.
  • Bathe

In the morning:

  • Have the kids dress BEFORE doing anything else (even before using the bathroom)
  • Ban TV, computer and video games.  They really only slow the process down
  • Create a set of laminated cards for your nonreader that show pictures in the order that he/she should be doing any morning activities/chores that must be done before leaving the house. This is a great time management tool.
  • If your child now has a few extra minutes because of no TV, computers or video games, he/she can READ!!
  • Get your child out of the house ON TIME onto the bus…not into your car. The school bus is the best way to start the day with friends and allows mom and dad to get to work without rushing to school.

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Responsibility

Quiet Time

Young children and their families live very busy lives.  It amazes me year after year, how many of my students go to bed without a bedtime routine. My own children are all grown now but when they were young, the routine was the same every night, bath, pajamas, story in bed and when the lights went out, a little time for talking.  It is amazing how a child will open up to you when you are lying side by side in a darkened room.  Children need a time of the day to decompress and reflect upon their day.  Help your child to think back about his/her day, what were the good parts, what could be better tomorrow.  In today’s busy lifestyles, there are not many free unscheduled minutes in a day.  Plan for this evening downtime and schedule it just as you would schedule in any other family commitment. A scheduled quiet time before bed is a must for children.  It will help your child to relax and help with the falling asleep process, and chances are you will find yourself looking forward to this quiet time as well.

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents