Mrs. Rodriguez's First Grade Class Blog

Rice Lake Elementary

Classroom Information: The ABCs of B28!

Here are the ABCs of B28! If you have any questions please feel free to email and ask! 🙂



Please call the office if you know your child will be absent. Feel free to also send me an email so I know if it is planned or unplanned absence.


For a link of the district’s parent curriculum guide click here.

  • Reading:
    • We spend a lot of time in first grade becoming better readers. We begin the literacy block every day with a read aloud. I strive to integrate the books for our read alouds from our science, social studies, and health curriculum. During the read aloud I model strategies good readers use while they read. Reading is so much more than reading words on a page. First graders need to learn that good readers use different strategies to help them understand and learn while they read. The remaining reading block in B-28 is organized by the Daily 5. The Daily Five is a way of structuring the reading block so every student is independently engaged in meaningful literacy tasks. These research based tasks are ones that will have the biggest impact on student reading and writing achievement, as well as foster children who love to read and write. Students receive explicit whole group instruction and then are given independent practice time to read and write independently while I provide focused, intense, and differentiated instruction to individuals or small groups of students.

When it is up and running smoothly, students will be engaged in the Daily Five, which is comprised of:

      • Read to Self
      • Work on Writing
      • Working on Words
      • Read to Someone
      • Listen to Reading

There are very specific behavior expectations that go with each of The Daily Five component. We will spend the first weeks working intensely on building our reading and writing stamina, learning the behaviors of The Daily Five, and fostering our classroom community. I will also spend time learning about your child’s strengths and greatest needs as a reader in order to best plan for each student’s instruction.

One thing you will notice that may be a change for you is a decrease in the number of worksheets your child brings home. While worksheets keep students busy, they don’t really result in the high level of learning I want for your child. Instead your child will be taught to select “Good Fit Books” or books they can read, understand, and are interested in. They will be spending most of their time actually reading, which research supports as the number one way of improving reading. I anticipate the motivation and enjoyment of reading will skyrocket when this gift of choosing their own books is accompanied by extended practice and specific reading instruction for each individual child.

Your first grader will know their guided reading level which will help them pick “Good Fit Books.” Students will know their guided reading level and will read books from that level. A great resource for finding a level of a book is Scholastic Book Wizard. Simply click “Guided Reading Level”, type in the title of the book, and you will see what level it is! Click here for a leveling resource guide from

Along with the Daily 5 I will be implementing the Literacy CAFE during our reading block. CAFE is an acronym for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expanding Vocabulary. Your first grader will have reading goals in each of these areas and will learn strategies that will help them achieve his or her reading goals.

As you can see, I am excited about giving you child the opportunity to be involved in a structure that will have a positive effect on their education.

Please think of our classroom when you visit garage sales or clean your own child’s book case. It is my goal to make our classroom library as appealing as your favorite book store for browsing.

For more information about the Daily 5 and CAFE please go to:

I will also be using the Benchmark Literacy curriculum for reading instruction.

  • Writer’s Workshop:
    • In first grade we will use a Writer’s Workshop to improve our writing skills. We will focus on becoming more confident with our writing. We will learn how to write journals, personal small moment narratives, non-fiction reports, and book reviews. The structure of Writer’s Workshop allows children to write at his or her level while making sure that each child grows as a writer. Look forward to our “Writer’s Workshop Fancy Copy Celebrations” where families can come and see our growth as writers.
  • Math:
    • I am excited to share that I will be piloting a new math program for the district for the 2017-2018 school year.  More information about this program will be coming at the beginning of the school year.
  • Science:
    • We receive 3 different hands-on science kits throughout the year. Each kit has materials where the students will be able to learn about the subject.
    • We will study the following units in science:
      • Solids and Liquids (fall)
      • Pebbles, Sand, and Silt (winter)
      • Plants and Insects Life Cycles (spring)
  • Social Studies
    • We will study the following units in social studies:
      • History:
        • We will learn about the family life from the past and learn the importance of primary and secondary evidence.
        • We will also learn about timelines
      • Geography:
        • We will learn about maps, locations, landforms, and addresses
      • Economics
        • We will learn about needs and wants, goods and services, and the concept of trading or exchanging.
        • We will also learn about the concept of scarcity.
      • Government/Citizenship
        • We will learn about the different symbols, songs, and traditions that are important for our state and country.
        • We will also learn about our civic rights and responsibilities.
  • Health
    • We will study the following units in health:
      • Bus Safety
      • Fire Safety
      • Dental Health
      • Personal Health, Hygiene, and Nutrition


The 1st bell rings at 8:30. School begins at 8:40. It is very important to be on time and ready to learn.



We will celebrate birthdays in B28 by singing “Happy Birthday” and the birthday child will receive a card and a pencil. Please read the school’s policy about birthday treats. We will celebrate all summer birthday during the months of May and June.

Book Order

I am hoping to send home a book order once a month. Use the link on the classroom blog’s homepage to order online.  I only do online ordering for our book order.  It allows us to get more free books for our classroom and you as parents have access to more titles.


Breakfast is offered everyday at Rice Lake. If your child would like to eat breakfast they will go to the cafeteria immediately after getting off the bus or as soon as they arrive at school. They should be done eating breakfast by 8:40.



Please keep me in the loop about any changes so I can best help your first grader.


Conferences will be in October and February and will be after school. Conferences are an important time to discuss your child’s progress. Because we have earlier fall conferences this year, I will not be doing listening conferences like I have done in the years past.



At Rice Lake we begin our dismissal process at 3:10. At this time students who ride EL busses are dismissed. At 3:17 walkers and parent-pick-up students are dismissed. Next, the big buses are dismissed 2 at a time. If there is a change of how your child is getting home, a note, phone call, or email is required.



Flexible Seating

I am excited to use more flexible seating this year! Here is an article explaining more!


Go Noodle

I love using the website in our classroom for brain breaks.  The students love to exercise, dance, and move along to the fun activities that this website offers.



We will have weekly homework in B28. A math homework packet will be sent home on Monday and can be returned at the end of the week. The homework is designed for you know what concepts we are teaching in math at school. First graders should also read or have someone read to them every night. I do not put a huge emphasis on homework as I feel that 6 and 7 year old children need to spend time reading, playing, and exploring the world around them. 🙂






Lunch & Recess

All first graders go to recess at 11:50. They will go to lunch at 12:20. Your child can also bring a cold lunch. Milk is also available for purchase. We have recess everyday. The students only stay inside if it is raining or extremely cold. We can not keep students in from recess without a doctor’s note.


Media Books

We will go to the media center every ____________ Mrs. Erickson will teach a lesson and we will be able to check out 1-2 books. Please take good care of your media books. Your first grader can keep his or her media books for 1 week.

Morning Meeting

We begin everyday in B28 with a Morning Meeting. I feel this is one of the most important parts of our school day. Morning Meeting consists of 4 parts: greeting, sharing, activity, and news and announcements. Our Morning Meeting helps build our classroom community. We welcome visitors during our Morning Meeting. Just send me an email if you would like to join us for this special part of our day.





Quiet Time

Everyday after lunch we will have 10-15 minutes of quiet time. This time allows the first graders to calm down after recess and prepare for learning for the rest of the day. During Quiet Time the first graders can choose to rest, read, write in their quiet time notebook, or finish work.


Responsive Classroom Approach

I use the RC Approach in my classroom. Click here for more information about Responsive Classroom.



I am excited to use the app SeeSaw this year to help share your first graders’ work and progress.  Look for information to be sent home during the first weeks of school on how to sign up for your SeeSaw account to get access to a digital copy of some of your child’s work this year.


We will have a snack everyday at around 2:00. Please send a healthy snack. Fruits and veggies are a GREAT snack option. Please send a healthy snack with your first grader every day.


Please see the RL school supply list for supplies that your first grader will need. Keep in mind that in order to promote classroom community in B28 we have community supplies for pencils, glue, glue sticks, and felt-tip pens. Label all other supplies but the ones listed above.


Take-Home Folders

Your first grader will bring home a take-home folder everyday. We will work on organizing the papers that come home in the take-home folder by placing them in the “return to school” and “leave at home” pockets. Please check this folder daily. First graders may need help putting papers in his or her take-home folder. It should be the first grader’s job to make sure his or her take-home folder is in his or her backpack everyday. Taking care of papers and the take-home folder is a great way to teach first grader’s responsibility.




I love using family volunteers in my classroom! I will send home a note during the first couple of weeks of school explaining the different roles that volunteers have in B28. In order to volunteer, an information sheet must be completed. Mary Bodensteiner, our volunteer coordinator can answer any questions about volunteering at Rice Lake outside of B28.  I will use the website VolunteerSpot to help organize when I need volunteers.



I welcome and encourage the use of water bottles in our classroom. I need a water bottle, so I think the first graders would like to use one too! If you choose to send a water bottle with your first grader make sure it is labeled with your child’s first and last name. Also, please avoid screw on tops so we can stay away from as many spills as possible. Please only put water in your child’s water bottle. Water bottles will be sent home daily so they can be washed.





2 responses to “Classroom Information: The ABCs of B28!

  1. Ms. Mike McGrath says:

    How enlightening! Even I feel ready for first grade:) Thanks for all the information for an awesome first grade.
    Nana, Christian McAlpin’s grandmother Mike McGrath

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