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LIFE IN THE HOLLOW A Family Handbook

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  • LIFE


    A Family Handbook

  • Welcome to the Hollow The Hollow is a special place where children grow and learn in amazing ways. The awe and wonder of being a young child is honored, curiosity is encouraged, and great accomplishments are expected. You, the family, are an important part of our classroom community. While you may not be with us in The Hollow daily, your influence is felt deeply. You are the nest, burrow, den, or hive that your child returns home to. You provide security, encouragement, affirmation, and comfort. You are wise in the ways of your child and a wonderful resource for me, the teacher. You are the set of extra hands and eyes that we often need. Your suggestions and insights are valuable. During the first few weeks of school, your child will be learning classroom rules and routines, meeting new friends, and getting to know me. We will be working hard to build a community in The Hollow. Dont be surprised if your child loves school one minute and the next day would rather stay home. It can be overwhelming for most children. Please be consistently supportive about your childs attendance at school. We can work through anything with time and a team effort. Communication between home and school is very important to your childs success in the classroom. I will post regular news on our classroom blog- lifeinthehollo.blogspot.com. (notice theres no w on hollow in the URL, that name wasnt available) I will print hard copies for those who dont have internet access. The best way to reach me is through my school email- [email protected]. It is more direct then phoning the office. We can set up face to face meetings this way if necessary. Please dont hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. I welcome any communication from you. This handbook will help guide you through our year together in The Hollow. Please take time to review it. Thanks, Mrs. MacDougall

  • About Me I have a BS in Early Childhood from Granite State College and am certified K-3. Teaching young children is my passion. I taught Pre-K for twelve years in private nursery school. After I retired, I came to Mitchell School and held an Ed.Tech. II position for 5 years. Since the 2011-2012 school year, I have been a K teacher. Home/School Communication A red folder will travel back and forth between home and school each day. Please make sure to check it each night and send it back with your child in the morning. Sometimes it may be empty, but often it will have important notices or completed work. Please put all written communications from home in the folder, not loose in the backpack- this is where I go each day to look for notes from you. As I mentioned in the welcome letter, email is the most efficient way to contact me, but if you need to talk to me ASAP by all means call the office- 439-1707 and they will put your call through to me. We also have a classroom blog- lifeinthehollo.blogspot.com. It will have the latest news posted regularly. Practical information such as menus, schedules, needs, etc. and of course photos will also be posted. If you have any suggestions for additional items youd like to see on the blog, please let me know. At the risk of repeating myself, I cant stress enough how much I value you, the family, and the part you play in your childs education. Working as a team we can accomplish anything.

  • A Word About Dismissal It is assumed that your child will return to his/her own home on the bus unless the office receives a written notice of a change. If your child is regularly going somewhere other than home each day, you will need to make these arrangements with the office. Then these arrangements will become the norm and it will be assumed your child is going there unless a written note is provided. Please make every effort to have a consistent dismissal schedule for your child from week to week. It becomes unbelievably confusing for all involved when there are frequent changes. Also, along with the written notice to the office, please communicate with your child beforehand about any changes. Ive seen many confused and unhappy students when they are faced with unexpected changes. A Word About Absences You must notify the office directly whenever your child will be out of school for the day. I like to know also, but you must communicate directly with the office. A Word About Sleep This isnt anything you dont know or arent doing, Im just adding the teachers perspective about the importance of a well rested child. Being at school all day is exhausting, especially for a kindergartener. Having a consistent nighttime routine and bedtime will make a huge difference in your childs stamina at school.

  • A Word About Snack and Lunch The How-Tos- Lunch and snack milk money must be sent into school in a sealed envelope with your childs name on it and my name on it, inside the red folder. No exceptions. I cant tell you the chaos that occurs when a child comes to school with a fist full of change. The easiest way to handle paying for lunch is to put money on your childs account. This can be done online using your childs student ID #. Please take time to review with your child the lunch choice each day and whether they are getting lunch or snack milk. Its a huge undertaking for a new K but one they are expected to grow into. Please dont send in a note telling me what your child is having for lunch. I am not with them in the cafeteria when they are making their choices. The Program- The Mitchell School lunch program follows the 5210 plan. 5210 stands for 5 fruits and vegetables daily, 2 hours of screen time daily, 1 hour of exercise daily, and 0 sugary drinks daily. What that means for your childs school lunch choices is that there will be lots of fresh fruit and vegetable choices at the salad bar and no sugary drinks. In the classroom, we try to follow this plan also. This means your child should bring a healthy snack each day. Good nutrition has a positive effect on a students learning ability. Nuts/Peanuts- Mitchell School is a nut/peanut free school. This is a serious safety issue for a number of Mitchell students. Please do not send in any food that has peanuts or tree nuts in it. This includes any food item that might have been processed on machines that processed other foods with nuts or peanuts. Read the labels on all prepackaged snacks. When Mitchell first adopted this policy, I thought I would go nuts (no pun intended) trying to make sure that I or my students didnt bring anything with nuts/peanuts into school. It seemed an impossible task. I am happy to say that very quickly it becomes second nature to think about this policy when buying and sending in snacks. The cafeteria uses Sun Butter (made from sunflower seeds) and the kids seem to like it as well as peanut butter.

  • A Word About Birthdays Your child will be recognized with a card, pencil, sticker and a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday sung by his/her classmates. This is how we celebrate birthdays in The Hollow. Mitchell school has a policy concerning birthday party invitations. Families should not send them into school to be distributed. I will provide a class directory a few weeks into the school year with addresses and emails so you can contact parents directly. Since the 2012-2013 school year, food has been banned from birthday celebrations. A Word About Clothing Please send your child to school in comfortable play clothes. We do a lot of hands on activities. I want students to fully engage in all classroom projects. As a result, its a good possibility your child will get dirty. As for shoes, the playground has a wood chip covering that gets into sandals and flip flops. These are acceptable footwear, but its something to think about when choosing school shoes. Children should wear clothes they can easily manipulate. For example, can they do/undo the pants and belts they wear? We want students to be successfully independent. Please write your childs name on any piece of clothing he/she might take off at school. For example, jackets, hats, sweaters, sweatshirts, gloves, mittens, outer shirts, etc. Every year we have an amazing number of items find their way into Lost and Found. If theres a name on the item, it can easily be returned to the owner.

  • Our Day in The Hollow (Our schedule by necessity is flexible) 8:25-8:40- Arrival Put red folder in the basket Move lunch tag Hang up coat and back pack Get chair Return to seat for attendance and office announcements 8:40-9:10- Free Choice After the office morning announcements, students can choose something to play with. 9:10:9:30- Morning Meeting (meet in the Meadow) Greeting Share Activity Morning Message Calendar, Weather Poem 9:30- 10:00- Writing Workshop 10:00- 10:40- Word Work and Literacy Stations 10:40-11:35 Recess and Lunch 11:40- 12:00- Rest/Storytime 12:00-12:20- Reading Workshop 12:20-1:10- Math (whole group and stations) 1:10-1:30- Snack 1:30-2:15- Special 2:15-2:30- Pack up 2:30-2:50- Recess 3:00- Dismissal Science and Social Studies are embedded in the curriculum throughout the day.

  • A Word About Curriculum Literacy- Phonics- Lively letters, Fountas & Pinnell Reading- sight words, reading workshop Oral storytelling and illustration study Writing Workshop Literacy Stations Math- Every Day Math Math Stations Science Themes- Weather Force and Motion Habitats Dental Health Life cycles- butterfly, apple, pumpkin, chick Our five senses Recycling Social Studies Themes- Families Friends Feelings Fire safety Community workers Citizenship (school and town) Pledge of Allegiance Identify Presidents on coins Health Hygiene- hand washing, using tissues, etc. Nutrition- choosing healthy foods, 5210 Personal body safety

  • A Word About Behavior Management I want our classroom to be a safe environment for every student both emotionally and physically. With this in mind, I work very hard at building community. I want students to know they belong, that their thoughts and feelings matter, and that they are responsible to themselves, to each other, and to the classroom. As the teacher, I work hard at building a relationship with each student. I want to know the kids I teach. I use this knowledge to guide me in my classroom management. From the first day of school, there are clear classroom boundaries and expectations. This consistent framework provides security for students and allows them to move ahead with their learning. As often as possible I use logical consequences as a means of discipline. For example, if a child is mis-using materials the logical consequence is that the materials are taken away. (not forever, just until another time or until the student knows he can handle things.) Or, if a student cannot control her body/voice during a group time, I may say, I can see you are having a hard time controlling your body. You will have to go sit at your table until youre ready to come back and join us. This is not to be confused with time out. This is not punitive, its logical. They are disrupting the learning of their friends and they need to move away to another place. The child has some measure of choice about when she comes back to the group. The end goal is that I want the student to take ownership of her behavior. In some situations, safety concerns or multiple episodes, the student will be removed from the classroom and spend time with Mr. Foster or Mrs. Rickerich.

  • A Word About Homework (EEK! Surely not in kindergarten!) I occasionally will send home developmentally appropriate, hands-on homework projects to be done with a family member or the whole family. There are two reasons for doing this. First, it is a fun, engaging way to practice the skills weve been working on. Second, and probably most important, it is a way to make a family connection to the classroom learning goals. What this homework is not is a sit at the table, pencil and paper task. It could be something as simple as count the number of windows in your home or it could be a family project like decorate a turkey feather and talk about things youre thankful for. In the Everyday Math Program as well, there are sometimes papers that go home these too are not homework in the traditional sense. They are things your child can do at home to continue learning. They are optional and do not need to be returned to school. A Word About Book Clubs Firefly book club order is available each month. This club has fairly good selections at reasonable prices. You are under no obligation to buy. You should make checks out to Scholastic Book Clubs. All orders earn points toward purchasing classroom books.