Parent Handbook   



Mrs. Freitag’s
1st Grade



Responsive Classroom

I use the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching.  Responsive Classroom approach boosts children’s social and academic skills while reducing behavior problems. It is based on the premise that children learn best when they have both academic and social-emotional skills. The Responsive Classroom approach consists of a set of practices that build academic and social-emotional competencies and that can be used along with many other programs. These classroom practices are the heart of the Responsive Classroom approach:

Morning Meeting—gathering as a whole class each morning to greet one another, share news, and warm up for the day ahead

Rule Creation—helping students create classroom rules to ensure an environment that allows all class members to meet their learning goals

Interactive Modeling—teaching children to notice and internalize expected behaviors through a unique modeling technique

Positive Teacher Language—using words and tone as a tool to promote children’s active learning, sense of community, and self-discipline

Logical Consequences—responding to misbehavior in a way that allows children to fix and learn from their mistakes while preserving their dignity

Guided Discovery--introducing classroom materials using a format that encourages independence, creativity, and responsibility

Academic Choice--increasing student learning by allowing students teacher-structured choices in their work

Classroom Organization--setting up the physical room in ways that encourage students’ independence, cooperation, and productivity

Working with Families—creating avenues for hearing parents’ insights and helping them understand the school’s teaching approaches

Collaborative Problem Solving—using conferencing, role playing, and other strategies to resolve problems with students

                                      (taken from


  I strongly believe that children learn much more than academics in school.  I feel my job is to teach the children the love of learning and that learning is life long.  In our classroom we will work hard to develop a sense of community where we value each other and ourselves every day.  

The major focus in first grade is on Reading/Language Arts (writing, spelling, listening, speaking) and Math. Most of your child's school day will be instruction in these subjects.  Science, Social studies, Health and Safety also are included.  One of my goals each year is to help the children grow as independent readers and writers and to develop a love for books and reading that can last a lifetime!

The language arts curriculum consists of a balanced literacy program where the children participate in many reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities.  Some activities will be teacher directed, some interactive, and some independent.  We will do shared reading, guided reading, reading aloud, and independent reading. There will be emphasis on phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, word families, fluency, and comprehension. 

Our writing will consist of interactive writing where the children and I share the pen and create a class piece.  This is a wonderful teaching time where the children have the modeling they need and they have the opportunity to take risks on their own.  We will also be doing a lot of independent writing through journals and writer’s workshop.  During writer’s workshop we will be learning about various author’s craft of writing their books.  We will discuss different styles of writing and we will learn to borrow ideas from authors as we write our books.  Your child will begin to feel like a true author.

Listening and speaking are also important parts of language arts that we will develop as well.  Every day the students will be listening to stories, and they will be encouraged to share their reactions with the class.     

First grade math curriculum develops the child’s understanding of numbers.  We will be learning place value, addition, subtraction, geometry, time to the half hour, fractions, identifying and counting coins, and problem solving.  Students will be encouraged to think about all the steps that they take to solve problems.  Eventually, they will be encouraged to write down how they arrived at their answer.  

Various science, health, and social studies units will be taught throughout the year.  Most of my units are taught in themes.  These themes will be incorporated throughout our entire day, week, or month.  Some topics that will be covered this year are properties, farming, holidays, families, communities, geography, vertebrate animals, and various other themes.

Your child’s homework each night is to read.  He/she will be bringing home a “take-home” book almost every night.  He/she should be able to read this book with very little help.  Please have your child read this to you (or grandparent, babysitter, older sibling…) out loud at least 3 times.  If your child does not have a book that night, please use that time to read any other book to him/her.  Remember, even though your child is learning how to read it is still just as important for him/her to be read to. 

Library books are usually too difficult for your child to read yet.  These should be read to him/her by you.  This read aloud time is a super “parent-child time” and it provides a good model for your child to hear good reading.  Make sure you stop every so often to discuss the story so you know if your child understands the story. After your child has read a story or listened to a story, ask some questions.  Some examples are: Tell me what happened in the story?  What happened after…?  What was your favorite part of the story and why?  What did the story remind you of?  

Water Bottles  

Students are encouraged to have a water bottle at their seat every day.  Studies have indicated that a well-hydrated body helps children be better learners.  These water bottles MUST have a pull top to avoid spills. Students will bring their water bottle home on Friday so that it can be washed.  In the past some children have taken their water bottle home each night to freeze it so that they have cold water throughout the day.  If your child would like to do this, please put the water bottle in a clean, white sock so that it absorbs the water on the outside of the bottle.

Classroom Rules
As part of our responsive Classroom, we will be developing classroom rules together during the first few weeks of school.  However, in order to provide a safe and optimum learning environment, I will be guiding the children toward developing rules that fall into four categories: kindness, responsibility, respectfulness, and safety.  In the past my students have learned these four “rules”:

  • Be kind.
  • Be responsible.
  • Be respectful.
  • Be safe.
We do lots of role playing in September and throughout the year to help understand what is meant by "showing respect", "being kind", and "being responsible". We emphasize the ideals of working as a team and doing your personal best. 

I encourage you to contact me should you have any questions or concerns regarding your child.  I can be contacted before or after school, or leave me a voice mail on my phone during school hours.  The number is 686-5578 ext. 3105.  Email is probably the best way to get in touch with me.  Please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns.

We will have formal parent teacher conferences in November.  However, if there is a need to have a conference any time throughout the year, please know that I will meet with you any time.  We must remember that we need to work as a team to help educate your child.  No one knows your child better than you do and I value your opinion, as I hope you will learn to value mine.  I will have high expectations for your child as an individual.  I will always expect your child to try his/her best.  In the classroom, I teach the children that everyone is different and that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.  As long as we try our best, we are successful in everything we do. 


There may be times throughout the year that I may need some parent volunteers to help in the classroom, go on field trips, or to donate something to the classroom.  Please let me know if you would like to be one of the parents that I call when someone is needed.    

Please send any money in an envelope with your child’s name on it and write on it what it is for.  If your child wants to bring in their lunch money on a daily basis (or wants to bring money for ice cream on Friday’s only), the money needs to be in an envelope or change purse of some kind (old film canisters work great).  There will be a place on my desk for children to put their money to keep it safe.

The first Friday of each month is usually Viking Corner.  Viking Corner is the school store where the children have the opportunity to purchase small items like pencils, erasers, folders,…  Items range from $.05 to about $2.00.  If you would like your child to have the opportunity to shop at the Viking Corner, please send his/her money in an envelope marked with his/her name and “Viking Corner Money”. 


Book Orders

Throughout the year, I will be sending book order forms home for you to look through.  These book clubs are wonderful opportunities for you to purchase children’s literature at good prices.  Participation in this is optional.  If you would like to take advantage of these great prices, simply fill out the order form and return it to school in an envelope marked “book order.”  Please include the exact amount in cash or make a check payable to the book company.  It usually takes about two weeks for the books to arrive.  


We love to celebrate birthdays! Please feel free to contact me about bringing in a treat to help us celebrate.  We do have some allergies in the classroom so we will need to be cautious about that. You are welcome to send in the snack with your child or to join us for the treats, just let me know that you would like to do something special so that we can set up the best time. 

Also, if you are planning on having a party outside of school, PLEASE DO NOT SEND INVITATIONS TO SCHOOL!  Young children do not understand that you can’t invite everyone and it never fails, someone’s feelings get hurt because they weren’t invited.  Imagine how you would feel if you were the only one not invited!

We will be having a snack time daily.  Your child will need to bring in a snack for themselves each day.  If possible, please try to keep snacks light and healthy.  Drinks are not necessary, as the students will have their water bottles.  I will not be able to provide snacks for your child if they do not bring one, I'm sorry.  Also, students will not be allowed to share snacks due to allergy situations.  Thank you for understanding about this.