First Grade Handbook

  • First Grade...

    Where You’ll Watch Your Child Grow!

     A Letter for Parents  


    Congratulations! You are the parent of a first-grader here at Las Brisas! You will be amazed at just how much your child will grow this year. Most likely, your child has had the seeds of reading and writing planted, and during first grade, those seeds will grow and blossom. You will see changes in your child’s thinking, as he/she becomes familiar with abstract concepts and symbols. The change will be dramatic ~just compare a tiny seed with a full-grown sunflower! That is the kind of growth you’ll see this year!

    I would like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Andrea McCall and I have been teaching at Las Brisas since 2008. Before joining the staff here, I taught first and second grade for 10 years in the Washington School District and taught one year of kindergarten at Westwing in the Deer Valley District. I am looking forward to another wonderful year here.


    My greatest joys in the classroom are when I see a child’s face light up as they realize their accomplishments and hearing children encourage each other to be successful learners. I will encourage your child to challenge what they know and to wonder about what they do not know. They will build upon the six pillars of character as they take responsibility for themselves and for their actions. Ultimately, by the end of this year, it is my desire that your child learns to “love learning”.

    Ways to Help Your Child Bloom


    The most lovely flowers usually have the best gardener ~~ and that is you! Staying involved in your child’s education is the key to a successful year. Engage your child in conversation about his/her day. Know that children will not always give out detailed information. I will send out weekly highlights in the Monday Newsletter letter. It will contain important information about exciting events, sightwords and helpful reminders. Use this as a springboard for conversation and discussion.

    Read to and with your child everyday, when possible. The more your child is exposed to language, the easier it will be for him/her to incorporate new skills in reading and writing in the classroom. Remember to record all reading in your child’s reading log.

    Another way to stay involved is to check your child’s purple folder EVERY evening. You’ll usually find it packed with school and homework, projects, and notes from me. Every Tuesday, your child will bring home a “Take-Home-Tuesday” envelope. It will have information and communication from the office and other school related events. Your child should come to school the next day with a fairly empty folder. (Behavior calendar remains in folder. More to follow). It is your child’s responsibility to pack and empty their folder or backpack on a daily basis, turning in homework, etc.

    Our Classroom Behavior Plan


    To help keep things running smoothly, it helps to remember our class and school procedures. After the initial adjustment to first grade, students are expected to be in their seats or on the rug listening when the teacher is instructing and presenting information. They are also expected to raise their hand if they have a question or have information to share. When walking in the halls it is expected that they are silent with hands and feet to themselves.

    Students are expected to complete class work. If they do not finish during the allotted time, they may place the item in their folder to complete at a later time. They may also take it home for additional homework.

    Along with classroom rules, there are rewards and consequences dependent upon behavior. Each student will begin the day with their clip on the green (Ready To Learn) portion of our behavior chart.  Everyone will get one verbal warning if necessary. After the first verbal warning, your child will move his/her clip to yellow (Slow down and Think About It). Onthe next infraction, the studentwill move the clip to Orange (Teacher Conference). If a child’s behavior continues he/she has to move to red (Parent Contact). We will work together to improve the behaviors in the classroom. When there are no behavior infractions, students will remain on green the entire day.  If a child shows exemplary behavior he/she may also move to up the behavior chart. The behavior calendar inside the purple folder will inform the parent(s) of the child’s behavior that day.  Your child’s behavior will be indicated by the letter that is circled that day on the calendar. This letter will match each child’s position/color on the Classroom Behavior Chart. If your child moves to red, I will contact you by note or phone to discuss how we can work together to change the behavior(s). Please use this as a tool to discuss the infraction. For example: too much talking, interrupting the teacher, not participating or not keeping hands and feet to self. Present positive behaviors and practice role playing with your child. Referring back to character counts is a great way to improve in many areas!

    The following are consequences that may arise due to repeated or extreme behavior infractions: loss of recess, an in class time-out, an out-of-class time-out in a different classroom, a phone call home or a written referral to be signed and returned to the teacher. Rewards for positive behaviors (such as staying on Green or moving to Outstanding or Great) will always includepraise, and may include stickers, certificates, a treat, positive notes home, choosing from the “Prize Box”, etc.

    Please Note: If the infraction is not extreme, and he/she changes their behavior/attitude, no note will go home and their clip will be moved back to Great.  I feel that this gives each child more of an incentive to turn behavior around. These logs will be collectedat the end of the month and put into their file.

    While I work hard to ensure that I am providing my students with the best academic instruction on a daily basis, I also take time to teach the students in my classroom to be good citizens who care for and respect each other. While the teaching of these "life skills" should certainly not fall solely on the shoulders of teachers, I do believe it is important to help build good character in our students.


    • Your child will need his/her backpack everyday.
    • On PE days, please remember tennis shoes.
    • No spaghetti straps.
    • No open back shoes. (slides or flip-flops)
    • Remember that sandals are stylish but a hazard on the playground. Shoes without a secured strap can be hard to run in, hinders playtime and can be a safety issue. Not to mention all the “stuff” that gets in your shoe!


    Parent/Teacher Communication


    Throughout the year, I will communicate with you through notes, telephone calls, weekly newsletters, conduct reports, report cards and parent/teacher conferences. I am always available to meet with you or speak with you. If it is not urgent, please jot a note and I will respond as soon as possible. You may call the school or e-mail me as well. In can be reached at 623-445-5538 or Please note that from 7:45-8:00 and 2:45-3:00 I may have duty. Your patience is appreciated, as monitoring students and moving children in the right direction is my highest priority.  

    Parent/Grandparent Participation

    Throughout the year, there will be a variety of special classroom and school activities and celebrations. I encourage you to attend these functions when possible. I also invite you to volunteer in the classroom. Extra hands are always welcome and appreciated. Whether weekly or monthly, we have much to do! I also have take-home projects for those who are interested in assisting that way.   Your support of school activities makes your child feel important and sends the message that you value school. Look for the volunteer form in the “RETURN TO SCHOOL” packet.


    A Letter of Love

    First grade is a fabulous year of growth in areas of social, emotional and academic advancements. In order to address these ever changing maturing patterns and meet their needs as individuals, I would like to invite you to write a letter to me about your child. Fill me in on any significant happenings, changes you perceive in your child and any insights you may have as a parent that may help me teach your unique child better. I know how busy life can be, but please take a moment to write about your child

    and share with me just how special he/she is.


    Here’s wishing us all a wonderful year of growth!

    Thank you for your support,


    Mrs. McCall