...sharing strategies for teaching second graders...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

YRC Handbook

I have written my own little handbook for years. I borrowed one from a fellow teacher "back in the day" and it has evolved into the following class handbook. I usually print out a copy for everyone. This year I am going to try to go paperless with it, so I started The Yellow Rocking Chair blog for my parents. I hope they will check my YRC blog regularly for information. Should I set it to private so I can post students' pictures? What would you do? Please reply with your thoughts and ideas. :) Thanks bunches!

My Philosophy
  Education is the right and responsibility of each individual. The teacher's job is to create an environment that facilitates learning and to support the children in gaining knowledge. The student's job requires cooperation with rules, which are put in place to promote education, and willingness to attempt new and challenging activities.

  I will contact you during the first two to three weeks of school to discuss any concerns you have regarding your child. You may wish to come in for a conference or have a telephone conference. At any other time during the year, I will be available for conferences upon request. Please make an appointment for a conference via e-mail, telephone, or note. This will allow time for me to pull your child's records and work samples as well as insure that there are no distractions. Drop in visits are not acceptable as they disrupt the class climate.

  Regular attendance is critical to your child's educational success. Written notes are required for excused absences. Constantly being tardy may warrant a visit from the school social worker. Advance preparation on the night before school sets the stage for successful morning routines. Students who are hard to awaken in the morning most likely are not getting adequate sleep and possibly need to have their bedtime moved 30 minutes earlier in order to help them get enough rest and sleep. Another trick might be to warn your child that s/he must get up in 5 minutes and leave a lamp on in the room while s/he wakes.

Gerenal Information
1. Students will copy agenda news on a daily basis. This is an important method of keeping in touch. Please be sure to read and initial this to show that you have read it. A newsletter will be sent home as needed with news too lengthy to be copied.
2. Papers, assignments, and progress reports will be sent home weekly. Please check these and return those requiring parent signature.
3. Label all jackets, sweaters, lunch boxes, and caps with your child's name. This will help keep those items out of Lost & Found.
4. We will have two class parties (per county office standards) and possibly several reward activities (as earned by the class).
5. Reading progress is made through much practice. Students will be reading at least an hour at school each day and should read twenty to thirty minutes each evening. Reading is like riding a bicycle or playing piano...the more you practice, the better you get!

  • We are a family.
  • Respect every conversation.
  • Respect other classes.
  • Say please, thank you, you're welcome, ma'am, and sir.
  • Keep good hygiene.
  • Turn in your classwork and homework on time and completed.
  • Keep your area neat and clean.
  • Stay positive!
  • Be responsible for your day.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated.
  Children need movement to help "cement" (in their brains) what they are learning. We will go outside unless it is colder than 32* F or raining. Please send appropriate attire for your child's comfort. If your doctor does not want your child to go outside due to illness, please send a note. A doctor's  note is required for restricted play during P.E. For safety purposes, sneakers must be worn on P.E. days. Failure to wear sneakers for P.E. will result in a lower P.E. grade per Coach Parker.

  To assure each child an appropriate learning opportunity, each child will be expected to follow classroom procedures and "be responsible" for his/her day. Behavior Beads* will be utlized in our class this year to celebrate students' positive behavior. Rewards for behavior above and beyond the call of duty include praise, a "happy note," a high five, a "brag" call to parents, a warm fuzzy to place in the class container, and lunch with a friend from another class. Multiple warnings for misbehavior will result in the student writing his/her name on the board. This is a visible warning to help the student cease the misbehavior. Upon a second warning, a check is placed beside the student's name which results in 5 minutes lost recess. A second check results in 10 minutes lost recess. A third check results in loss of entire recess as well as time out in another classroom to allow the student time to regain his/her composure. A fourth check results in an office referral and/or a phone call home or to parent's work to discuss a conference time. The student will be expected to speak with his/her parent first and describe the misbehavior. A fourth check may also result in immediate removal from class to Mrs. Wild's or Mr. Criswell's office. Immediate removal from class without other warnings is an result of extreme behavior~especially threats to others.

*Behavior Beads~Students will be able to earn three beads each day for positive behavior. A bead can be earned from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m., from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and from 12:00 to 2:40 p.m. Students will make a key ring to hang from their bookbags for each set of 15 beads earned.

 Restroom breaks will be provided mid-morning, just before lunch (to include hand washing), and before exploratory classes. Students may also visit the restroom as needed during recess. Please encourage your child to "try" at each opportunity offered in order to train the bladder for the entire year. This is effective each year for those students who make an attempt when an opportunity is presented. This practice cuts down on restroom breaks, which often disrupt the students' learning. Students may go at other times as necessary. However, caution your child not to take advantage of this privilege. Continued disregard for the opportunities given may result in "warnings" or losing the opportunity to go other than at appointed restroom break times.

 Our lunch is from 11:10 to 11:40. You are welcome to join us for lunch. Please remind your child not to share any part of his/her lunch with others. Classmates may have food allergies and sharing could be very dangerous. Also, remind your child that luncheon with a parent or grandparent does not mean the school day is over and s/he should not expect to leave school after lunch when s/he has lunch visitors.

The attitude of the students in a class make all the difference in the class climate for the entire year. Let's all make an effort to look on the bright side of things, find a positive outlook for every situation, and help out our friends in class by being pleasant to everyone. My motto is: If I can't say something nice, I should say nothing at all! I do as much as i can to insure a positive learning environment. Please encourage your child to be kind to everyone. This will support my efforts and result in a fabulous year in second grade. Thanks in advance for your hellp!

 Students may check out two books at a time from the Media Center. Please help stress to your child that books from the Media Center should "live" in the student's backpack if s/he is not reading the books for the duration of their check-out. This helps cut down on lost books and relieves students' stress. :)

 A homework folder will go home with your child every Monday (unless it is a holiday). Please help him/her establish a routine of reading 20-30 minutes each evening and completing the homework. There will be a reading log in the homework folder which should be initialed by the parent or guardian. Also, please initial the agenda in the area designated for home/school communication. Notes should be written on separate paper and placed in the front pocket rather than written on the lines where your child will copy the "Agenda News" each day.

 Children will be offered a snack at 9:40 just before we go to Exploratory. I keep Animal Crackers for snack. If you wish to provide your child or the class with snack, please check the grams of sugar. Snacks with more than 7 grams of sugar will be served at recess in the afternoon. Please send a snack for your child if s/he has food allergies that complies with this classroom expectation. You may also donate non-perishable, healthy snacks for the class if you choose to do so. Ice cream may be purchased for recess (when available) for $0.75 or you may choose to send a sweet snack for afternoon recess.

 The Accelerated Reader program (AR) is a reading incentive program. Your child will be required to read books on his/her reading level to earn half a point (we call it $0.50) each evening as part of his/her homework. This will count as 25% of your child's reading grade. Reward activities will also be planned. AR Reward Time will be held at the end of the month for those students who meet their goal. The goal will be set by the teacher with the child's input. Children who do not meet their goal will read while the other children enjoy themselves. This is not unreasonable, as each child will be reading on his/her reading level and have the same opportunity as his/her peers to read each evening and take an AR test the following day. We have four computers in our classroom which can all be utilized for AR testing. Second grade is a year of transitioning from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." AR supports this endeavor. I look forward to seeing tremendous gains in your child's reading this year!

 Exploratory rotation this year is as follows:
Tuesday~Compass Lab
Wednesday~Computer Lab
Friday~Art (semesters 1 and 3) and Music (semesters 2 and 4)

 I have a container of colored pom poms which I call "warm fuzzies." The class has an empty container for warm fuzzies. The warm fuzzies are transferred to the class container until my container is empty. When this occurs, the class has earned a special treat. The warm fuzzies work on a deposit and withdrawal system. Warm fuzzies are deposited in the class container for the following: a class behavior compliment from an adult, all students present for the day, all agendas signed and brought to school, and good classroom behavior for specific periods of the day. Individuals may choose a warm fuzzy to add to the jar for good behavior, exemplary work, and other praise. Withdrawal of warm fuzzies is rare. This only happens if or when students are extremely talkative and refuse to listen or misbehave badly in the hall, cafeteria, media center, or exploratory class. Withdrawing a fuzzy very deliberately helps bring the studnets back to the task at hand. This is usually done only after even exercising fails to calm the class. Students are not allowed to request warm fuzzies. Only the leader of the day reports adult praise to me.

 Please allow me to thank you in advance for sharing your child this year. It is a privlege and an honor to be a part of his/her life. I am thrilled to be here. Children are our future. Let's do all we can to make this a very successful year for your child. Thanks!

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