Course Syllabus

mrs blossom.png 


Maryland Elementary School

Julie Blossom

First Grade


Welcome to my digital classroom!  I am looking forward to getting to know and working with each one of you this year!  We are going to learn a lot this year, with lots of classroom experiences and of course, we will have fun! 


My Background:

I have been in education for 25 years.  I first started teaching at Maryland in 1991.  I love teaching across the disciplines and connecting reading and writing to science and social studies!   Your children will have many opportunities in my classroom to explore their passions, content and ideas.  I have a Bachelor of Science from The Ohio State University in Education and a Master's Degree in Reading and Language Arts also from The Ohio State University.   I have also been an adjunct professor at Capital University for 4 years teaching college students how to teach phonics.   I have been married for 18 years and we have 2 children who keep us busy at home!  I love teaching and am looking forward to a great year!


Our Classroom Is...



 a place where everyone is treated as an individual and everyone is valued and accepted for who they are.

 a place where every child can discover their own unique strengths and talents

 a place where children learn to make decisions and solve problems.

 a place where literature is used a basis for integrating all areas of the curriculum.

 a place where children will learn more about reading and writing by reading and writing.  

 a place that unites reading, writing, speaking, sharing and  listening.

a place where children are encouraged to share their work with other children in the class.

a place where children work at their own pace both together and individually.

 a place where children enjoy school!


General Information


Snack- The children are encouraged to bring a non-messy, nutritious snack to school.  We will eat it mid- morning.  Some suggestions are pretzels, raisins, apples, popcorn, crackers, dry cereal, granola bars and cheese.  Because I would like for the kids to continue working while munching, I ask that you please send only HEALTHY dry foods (that don’t require eating utensils) for snacks.   We have a drinking fountain in the room or they may bring a water bottle to keep in the coatroom.


Birthdays- Birthday treats are always welcomed and they do not have to be nutritious!  (Please no nuts!)  Make sure that you bring enough for the entire class.  We have 18 students.  Please write me a note or send an email ahead of time so that I know what day you’ll be sending in the treat. If your child has a summer birthday, you may send in a treat at their half birthday or wait until the end of the year. 


Zero The Hero Treats-   It is a voluntary sign up.  The “treat” is to celebrate every tenth day of school.  In our morning meeting we count the number of days that we have been in school.  This helps the children put a symbol with the word.  It also helps with place value and counting by tens and five’s.  We also study patterns within the numbers. On every tenth day Zero the Hero comes out and helps us count.  The child who brings in the treat puts it into the mystery box.  The children then play twenty questions to guess what is inside.  This helps with questioning strategies.  The treat can be food, a toy, stickers, or some other creative way to express the number zero.  (No nuts please.) Whatever you decide, it should be in the shape of a zero, circle or ball and be enough for each student.  Feel free to be creative! 


Arrival/Departure Times- Children may arrive at school between 8:25-8:35.  Please do not send your child early because they will have to wait in the lobby until 8:25.  If your child arrives later than 8:35 she/he will be marked tardy.  This is school policy.  Our morning ends at 11:30.  School begins again at 12:30.  If your child goes home for lunch please make sure you have them back at 12:30 and not before.  Any student that returns from lunch early must wait in the lobby until the bell rings.  This is school policy.  The end of the school day is 3:10.  If you need to pick your child up early, you must sign them out in the office. 


Homework- Your child will probably have homework 3-4 times during the week once we get into full swing. First grade homework is given for review of daily lessons, to establish a homework time, and for practice of skills.  I will occasionally send home work that your child has not completed in class.  If you feel that your child is spending too much time on homework then PLEASE let me know.  It may be that they need less homework or that they need to alter their homework time or place to have fewer distractions. 



Classroom Content Description



Language Arts

Ohio has adopted standards in Language Arts within the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  These standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn and they are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.  We will incorporate the new standards throughout our reading and writing workshops.  As I teach the skills in each domain, the students will have time to practice them within their own reading and writing.The areas of focus include the following sections:

*Reading Literature          *Reading Informational Text       *Reading Foundational Skills      *Writing        *Speaking and Listening               *Language


Guided Reading Instruction

The district reading program is called Guided Reading.  It encompasses many different components of learning to read and write including phonemic awareness, high frequency words, word families, comprehension, reading strategies, inventive and conventional spelling, writing and reading for meaning, and modeling. 


The children will engage in daily reading and writing activities.  I will also be meeting with the children in groups.  The groups will read with me 2 times a week.  Children who receive special reading instruction from Ms. Appel will join a classroom group once they are discontinued from her program.  We will work on specific strategies in the individual texts and then they will bring books home to read with you.  They will then be required to return those books the following reading day so that they can get new books.  If for some reason the child forgets their books, I will hold the new books until they return the old ones.  If the book is truly lost, you will be required to pay for it. 


As we read together I will model, explain and enforce good reading strategies.  (Look for the tips for good reading towards the back of this pamphlet.) We will also discuss grammar, phonetic awareness, punctuation, comprehension, fluency, rhyming and patterns.  If they are a beginning reader I ask them to point to the words.  It helps keep them on track and stresses that each word belongs in a particular order.  It also helps them realize that words have spaces between them and do not all run together.  As they become better readers we will focus our lessons more on comprehension, fluency, different genres and word attack skills. 


Reading/ Writing Workshop

During this time, children may choose to do a variety of reading and writing activities.  As the year progresses, I will have more “assignments” for them to work on during this time.  This will include writing stories, poems and reports as well as other unit activities.   The children will take part in their own learning and they will learn to prioritize their work to accomplish each task.  Please encourage your child to read to you what they have written.  If they have difficulty, help them a bit.  They should get the general idea even if it’s not verbatim.  This is especially true of the books we make in class to go with a story or unit.  This will help build the foundation for future reading and writing!


We will be working with the Lucy Calkins units of writing.  Learning to write is like a puzzle.  Just because students have the pieces, does not mean they know where each piece should go.  Writing is a means to communicate thoughts, share ideas, and express feelings and experiences. Primary students need explicit feedback, specific teacher language and focused instruction in order to develop into successful and confident writers.  The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University has created units of study that provide both teachers and students with a common language for discussing and improving writing. The units of study also provide teachers with specific lesson objectives, supported and modeled with children’s literature.  The first grade units are narratives, informational, and opinions.


Morning Meeting

Each morning we will have a group meeting. The activities we do build on each other and will be a constant throughout the year.  They will include calendar, days of the week, temperature, number of days in school, counting, place value, number stories, shared reading activities, phonemic awareness, reading activities and a story. 


Looking at our weather is a big part of first grade.  They will use to chart the outside temperature.  As the months go by, we will look at how our temperature changes with the seasons and how the weather affects our daily life.


 We love to read poems in 1st grade.  You might have even heard your child singing one of ours at home.  We will learn many poems throughout the year.  They relate to the months of the year, holidays, units of study, or phonetic “chunks.”  After we learn them, we put them in our poetry notebook so we can reread them.  To end our meeting, I will read aloud a story.  These stories will be unit related or they may relate to a specific holiday or concept.  Many of our extension and unit projects will come from the literature read at morning meeting.   This daily routine builds community, creates a positive climate for learning, and gives children practice in a wide range of academic and social skills.


Word Work

Activities are done to teach/practice rhyming, word patterns, grammar, high frequency words, vowels, segmenting, blending, and much more.  Throughout the year we will be studying “chunks” that are found in different words.  This includes roots, blends, and diagraphs.  For example, we started with at and learned that we could make cat, sat, bat, etc.  These chunks are important for your child to learn because they are found in many other words.  We will continue all year to look at many different chunks so they your child knows them consistently and can use them to decode words they don’t know.   The phonics dance is a quick and easy way to teach phonics skills, phonemic awareness, and increase the reading and writing skills of every student.  The phonics dance incorporates fun and motivating rhymes, movement and chants. As our class builds on phonemic awareness, students become confident, successful writers. In the process they develop strong decoding skills through the use of “hunking and chunking” to build poise and fluency in reading.  After we work on a skill, they will have some follow-up worksheet to practice what we have learned.




Children will be working on spelling techniques throughout the year.  We will concentrate on high-frequency words and inventive spelling.  We have a spelling book that we will work through.  It correlates to our spelling program.  1st grade does not “grade” spelling until the 2nd semester.  This gives children the time to learn how words work and how to spell some high frequency words.   You may notice your child’s spelling may not be perfect.  At this stage we will use inventive spelling.  This developmental theory explains that children will develop spelling, as they are able to pick up sounds in their words.  We do however; have a running list of NO EXCUSE WORDS.  These words they must spell correctly, thus moving them to the conventional spelling of the words.  The no excuse words are words that we have worked on and the children know them quite well.  We also have a word wall of high frequency words that the children use in their writing.  I have included a list of the priority and core words for 1st grade.  If your child is able, you may start working on spelling these words correctly. 




The children have a handwriting book to work through this year.  We will be working on letter formation, technique and size of the letters.   I try to correct backwards letters when I see them.  Numbers are frequently made backwards and I make the child aware that they are backwards.  This is quite common.  I try not to be too much of a stickler about this during the first quarter because some children have a difficult time getting anything on the page and to make them go back and fix their work is asking a lot.  However, many children are quite good at writing and I do expect their letters to be written correctly.  As the year progresses, all children will have to correct their work




We will dive into the new school year with an author we know and love, Dr. Seuss.  He is known for his intriguing writing that draws us into his magical world filled with repetitive rhyming words.  His illustrations bring to life his fictional characters that we can relate to through their experiences in the stories.  This year we will also thoroughly read…

  • Clifford – books by Norman Bridwell
  • Ezra Jack Keats
  • Many, many more!

In social studies, our first graders will learn the importance of being strong citizens within their community.  They will learn how to be responsible and helpful within their neighborhood to make a positive difference.  We will also discuss…

  • Citizenship, Rights, and Government
  • People Now and Long Ago
  • Economics, Needs and Wants, Money
  • Our Community and the World

Through experiments, readings, and discussions, first grade will get answers to important questions about how, why, where, and what causes things to occur.  Science is all around us and we will answer questions about…

  • 5 Senses
  • Forces and Motion
  • Changes – States of Matter
  • Sun, Weather, and Energy
  • Living Things


***Throughout the year we will focus on the seasons, Holidays, weather and current events as they occur.




Just like Language Arts, Ohio has adopted new standards through the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  With the new mathematical standards, the idea is to ensure that students learn the skills and knowledge of concepts on a deeper level and with more meaningful understanding.  There are four main domains of the CCSS:

  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking
  • Numbers and Operations in Base Ten
  • Measurement and Data
  • Geometry


Included with the learning of these domains comes the mathematical practices.

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of other.
  4. Model with mathematics.
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
  6. Attend to precision.
  7. Look for and make use of structure.
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.


In order to achieve these goals, this year we are using a math program called My Math.  It correlates well with the new Common Core State Standards.  It is a problem-based interactive program that develops problem solving strategies.  It is a highly visual program including both a text book and digital animation.  Skills are enriched with plenty of practice.  The program is researched based. 






Course Summary:

Date Details