Welcome to First Grade with Ms. Carole Jones




    School Hours

    9:00am - 3:45 pm

    tardy bell at 9:15

    9:00 - 9:30 Workshop

    9:30 - 10:30 Literacy

    10:30 - 11:00 Skills Block

    11:00  BYO Daily Snack

    11:00 - 11:30 Literacy

    11:30 - 11:45 Positive Action

     RECESS 11:45 - 12:15

    Read Aloud

    LUNCH 12:25 - 12:55

    12:55 - 1:20 Calendar & Rocket Math

    1:20 - 2:05 Rotating SPECIALS

    Day 1 - Music

    Day 2 - Media (Library or Computer)

    Day 3 - PE

    2:05 - 3:00 GO MATH

    3:00 - 3:35 Science/Social Studies/Heath/Art           

    3:35 Clean UP

    3:45 Dismissal bell




  • General Information


    I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you and yours to First Grade at Pioneer Peak Elementary School.  I look forward to having your child in my classroom and to the many exciting events in the school year ahead of us.

    The handbook is designed to give you as much information as possible about classroom programs, policies, and procedures.  Please refer to the Pioneer Peak Elementary School Handbook and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District Handbook for school and district policies, procedures, and expectations.

    There are numerous teaching practices, theories, and philosophies, some of which have been around forever and some which are fairly new.  I'm always willing to investigate new ideas but I will explain my basic, but very strong beliefs below ...

    All students can learn.

    Students learns in a variety of ways so I must teach in many different ways.

    Students must be allowed to explore, investigate, discover, take chances, make mistakes, and try again.

    Students must learn basic skills and knowledge.

    Students must be prepared to live in the real world.

    Students must learn to define and solve problems.

    Students must learn to be good people.

    I expect the very best from my students, both in academics and behavior.

    They are encouraged to do their best, learn from their mistakes, and enjoy the learning process.






    Your child's first years in public school are an important time in which he/she will begin to form behaviors and study habits that will last a lifetime.

    It is very important that your child arrive at school on time every day.  

    If you are planning a trip and/or your child will be absent for several days, please let me know ahead of time.  

    Unplanned absences, such as illness, should be called into the office as soon as possible.

    Our full day is very important filled with instruction and practice.

    If you must take your child out of school for an appointment, please try to make those as late in the day as possible.



  • Bus Procedures

    Students riding the regular buses in the morning will be released to their classes upon arrival on school grounds at approximately 9:00 am and escorted to the bus at 3:45 PM.  If you have any questions and/or concerns, you may call the Bus Barn at, or contact the office.


    Drop-Off and Pick-Up

    If you transport your child, you may not drop them off prior to 9:00 AM.  Students who are being pick up will wait for you by the flagpole or near the office.  Students are not allowed to enter the crosswalk and/or parking area without direct adult supervision ... NO EXCEPTIONS!


    To minimize confusion and upsets, please keep your child informed about to-go-home plans.  When your child normally rides an assigned bus or waits by the flagpole, I will follow that routine. YOU MUST CONTACT ME OR THE OFFICE TO MAKE ANY CHANGES. I cannot take your child's word for it. This is for everyone's safety and peace of mind.




  • Clothing

    Please label all backpacks, lunch boxes, gym shoes, mittens, hats, snow pants, coats and boots with your child's name.  Many children have identical items and it can be extremely difficult to tell them apart.  Lost items end up in the school's Lost and Found, or go home with the wrong student when not easily identifiable.

    Please dress your child for active movement, keeping in mind that he/she will be going to the gym for vigorous exercise, as well as using glue and have painting experiences regularly.  Necklaces are not banned, however are not recommended for children of this age for safety concerns as well as distractibility.

    All students must have shoes to wear while at school.  Please ... no sandals with open toes, flip flops, or platform heels for young ladies.  Also, it is often too hot and/or uncomfortable for feet to remain in snow boots all day.  I ask that students wear shoes.

    A separate pair of gym shoes is required.  Our PE Coach, Mrs. Bishop, has requested white soled shoes that fit well enough to not slip off while running and/or kicking.  Please make sure that your child is able to tie laces, or wear snug fitting shoes with Velcro.  PE SHOES MUST REMAIN IN THE CLASSROOM.  In the winter, students may wear their gym shoes inside the building as well as to gym as long as they wear separate shoes or boots to school.



    Your child is required to go outside for recess unless the temperature is below minus 10.  We ask that if your child is too sick to go outside, that you keep them at home.  We do not have adequate staff to monitor students indoors during recess.  Your child must be dressed appropriately for wet and/or chilly weather. Personal cold weather gear includes a well-fitting hat, gloves or mittens, boots, a warm coat, pair of snow pants, etc.  ALL ARE REQUIRED during winter months.  If you have a hardship obtaining suitable clothes, please let me or the school nurse know.  While I do try to keep a few extras, we do NOT have a loaning system, and ALL students are encouraged to be personally responsible for being prepared daily.  On the rare occasions that administration does cancel outdoor recess due to extreme conditions, children will then be directed to the gym for indoor recess.




  • Supplies

    Many students keep a generous supply of pencils, erasers, markers, crayons, a pair of scissors, paint set, ruler, etc. in their desk, with encouragement and regular opportunities to keep his/her personal space neat and items easily found.  However, this classroom is community minded, meaning that any overflow, lost and/or found, or unmanageable materials be in a centrally located bin and are shared for everyone's use.  It is therefore not necessary to mark classroom materials with your child's name.  Glue sticks and bottled glue is better managed in classroom tubs where is can be monitored and maintained.




  • Snack

    Since we have a late lunch and the morning is long, we will have a daily snack at 11:00 AM.

    Please send a healthy snack each day, and discuss with them which item is specifically for snack so that there is no confusion about lunch items.

    This is also a good time for us to discuss healthy foods.

    Of course there are exceptions; class parties, birthdays, etc.,

    but generally we do not eat sweets during this time.

    Cold Lunch

    Your child will have a special place to store their cold lunch.

    I do NOT have a microwave for student use.  

    Students have only a few minutes for lunch and there is not enough time to cook and cool before eating.  

    On occasion the microwave may be used just a warm-up only.

    I would prefer that NO SODA or ENERGY DRINKS come to school.  

    Also, please limited candy.

    Breakfast and Hot Lunches

    Breakfast is $2.00 and served to students at 9:00 AM.  Since we have a late lunch and the morning is long, we will have a daily snack at 11:00.  I do not provide snacks.  PLEASE SEND A HEALTHY SNACK EACH DAY, and discuss with them which item is for their snack so they don't eat it as part of their lunch.  

    A regular hot lunch price is $3.50.  I encourage you to purchase several lunches by using our school web site link or with a check payable to Nutrition Services to reduce the chances of money getting lost when it is sent in daily.  There is also an alternate hot lunch option for those who generally purchase a hot lunch but don't like what is on the menu and being served for that day.  The alternate is generally a cheese/cracker or a sun butter pack, but that too may change from time to time.






  • Classroom Visitation Policy

    Please sign in at the office before visiting!

    ROOM 9 HAS AN OPEN DOOR! I welcome parents and visitors into our classroom, to observe, to share, and to help.  Please consider yourself a valuable asset in the learning and development of your child, as well as for other children. Volunteers are utilized in a variety of activities that can be a comfortable choice, such as help with preparing for activities, reading with students, assist with student writing, administering assessments, distributing mail and graded papers, cutting, making phone calls, helping with home envelopes, etc.

    Please let me know if you have any time available for volunteering.  Even just a 10 minute visit may mean a huge difference in the life of a needy child.  I guarantee your time will be well received and implemented.  It may take the first 2-3 weeks to establish a working parent helper schedule, and it may change throughout the year.  However, once on the schedule, please call if you must change or cancel your commitment.

    Please be aware that I will be engaged with the students during the day and will not be able to discuss your child's progress with you.  I will, however, be more than happy to schedule an individual conference time with you, outside of instructional time.

    I do invite and welcome siblings into the classroom. However, please keep siblings supervised so as not to be a distraction. Also, be aware and cautious of small parts as possible choking hazards.

  • We love to celebrate birthdays.

    If you would like to send cupcakes or other birthday treats, just let me know so that I can advise you of the current student count and/or any known allergies.  

    I certainly enjoy these milestone celebrations and will accommodate birthday activities and/or treats during the last half hour of school.




  • To keep our classroom an effective learning environment and to make it a safe and happy place to be, I will be using the characteristics of the Pioneer Peak Elementary educational culture: otherwise known as



    Cooperate with others

    Learn self-control

    I will be honest

    Make my attitude positive

    Be respectful and responsible

    As students demonstrate that they are able to keep their "promise", they are given more privileges.  These privileges might include going to the rest room by themselves, inviting another student to have lunch with them, earning extra free time, etc.  Each student has a name card that will "climb" the mountain chart in our room.  I will introduce it to the students.  Please ask your child often what level they are currently on.  If need by, I can send home a daily report that will keep you informed of their decision making.  

    I believe that all students have the right to learn and that I have the right to teach.  Your child deserves the most positive educational environment possible and I will work hard to create that in our classroom.  Positive rewards include choice time tickets, stickers, notes home, chances to win extra free computer time or promethean board draw time, free choice  time, a treasure box pick, or an edible treat.

    If your child is not allowed candy or you have specific do's and don'ts for this, please let me know asap.

    To help determine and monitor their mountain level, I will be using a visual aid within our classroom next to the check in chart.  This will provide a clear picture of each student's behavior during the day.  If a student has difficulties remembering to keep a promise, he/she will be asked to move their name card down the mountain until their behavior changes and they make better choices.  A student may ask to move their card back up the mountain on the same day.  This creates a positive fluid system that is easy for young learners to understand and to use it effectively, not only to monitor their own behaviors, but also to solve problems on their own.  

    I have but one rule for students ... You can do anything you need to do as long as it does not create a problem for yourself or others.  


    I will treat you with respect so you will know how to treat me.

    Feel free to do anything that doesn't cause a problem for anyone.

    If you cause a problem, I will ask you to solve it.

    If you can't solve the problem, or choose not to, I will do something.

    What I do will depend on the person and the situation.

    If you feel something is unfair, whisper to me, "I'm not sure that's fair", and we will talk about it.


    There is a special seating area in the classroom that is in a quiet place.  This section is for reflective thinking for emotional or behavioral seclusion.  Often students choose to go there on their own for a short cooling off period.  It has been very effective in helping young ones self-monitor and to know it is ok to take a break.  It is also a tool for me to use to help someone who is off task: "Please go to Recovery.  You may come back when you're ready to do what you need to do."

    Please contact me at any time if you need to inquire about your child's behavior or progress, or to fill me in on any circumstances that my explain unusual behavior.  

    Severe behavior such as fighting, profanity, or willful disobedience will result in an immediate trip to the office with consequences to be determined by our principal.




    First Grade uses the JOURNEYS Literacy program.

    It is a highly visual and hands on oriented program.  JOURNEYS integrates daily reading, penmanship, spelling, and writing skills.

    We not only want to help them learn to read but we also want to help them read to learn.  Your help is extremely important in this area.

    As children begin to read, they go through various stages which are critical in reading development.  Most children began reading the “predictable language” books in kindergarten and they learn to use picture and other clues.  Some of them seem to just “memorize” the text and repeat it back.  This is an important part of learning to read and should be encouraged.  (Remember when they copied what you said when they were learning to talk?)  In the beginning, some of the decodable books as reading homework may appear to be too easy.

    It is important for children to think of themselves confidently as readers.  Being able to listen & offer praise is highly beneficial.

    Another phase is learning phonics skills, hearing the sounds each letter makes, and sounding out the words.  Once children become competent in the use of reading strategies and are more fluent, they spend more time on thinking about and responding to what they have read through writing activities and small group discussions.

    In addition to our regular reading time, your child will have many opportunities throughout the day to explore and respond to a variety of literature.  I will be utilizing Daily 5, a structure teaching independence. I have an adequate classroom library for self-selected reading. Students will have access to the school library, and will also be selecting books from their reading group to read and share.

    Please help us instill a love of reading by reading to your child each day!

    The First Grade teachers are deeply committed to our literacy program. One of our main goals is to have all students become established readers by the end of First Grade. I invite and encourage you to join us!








    Students will be learning that there are 70 phonograms (symbols that stand for sounds) in the English language.  (ex. “a” can stand for “apple”, “apron”, or “all”.)  Learning these phonograms to the point of being automatic, along with learning a few rules to our language, will help them gain confidence in decoding almost any word they come across.  Once they learn these symbols and sounds, they will be well on their way to reading, spelling, and writing.  We will be spending a significant amount of time with phonemic awareness and phonics.  You will also be included in helping your child practice at home from lists of the most commonly used sight words.  This practice has also been shown to be extremely beneficial to aid in fluency and comprehension.   

    We are also spending extra time with penmanship at the beginning of the year to reinforce correct letter formation with precise verbal articulation.  I call it “Talk to the pencil.”  This process will establish the connection between sound and print … speaking to writing.  Makes sense!

    Learning to write is hard work.  Every child is encouraged and guided to write every day.  Our students will have many opportunities to write on a variety of topics and interests which includes a writing journal we call Work on Writing during our Daily 5, a structure where children learn & practice reading and writing independently, while I counsel small groups or individuals.

    Because children learn to read and write if they are given opportunities, and because we do not want to discourage this early exploration, we often encourage them to use their “best guess” spelling.  Placing the emphasis on putting their ideas down, rather than on spelling words correctly will help encourage them.  As children become more experienced, they will begin using real letters which they hear in a word.  Gradually, correct spelling emerges as the child remembers the word from reading, from practice, or from being told.  When your child brings home a book or paper they have written that contains best guess spelling, please praise and encourage them.

    SPELLING will begin shortly after the beginning of school.  Ten words and a sentence are distributed on Mondays, with many opportunities for practice throughout the week.  Graded tests are always administered on Fridays. Make-up tests are not provided.




  • Go Math!

    Go Math! is the source of materials used for First Grade Math curriculum.  This program incorporates hands-on activities in teaching math concepts.  Go Math has many components, all of which work together to prepare students for the real world.  Go Math incorporate activities to include problem solving, cooperative math, and constructivist math games.  Constructivist math is a method which uses student discovery through math games to help build the conceptual foundation for future learning.  The games are played individually, with partners, or in small groups.  This method encourages social cooperation as well as problem solving.  We also incorporate Math Talk, which is the oral process of sharing strategies and solutions.  

    One of the most important aspects is the HOMEWORK which will keep the parents informed and involved with what we are learning.

    Your child will have math homework Mondays thru Thursdays. It should only take your child a few minutes to complete it, since it is a review of the day’s lesson.





                Education is a joint venture between the school and the home.  Both the teacher and parents should be responsible for a child’s success in school.  READING ALOUD WITH YOUR CHILD IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT YOU CAN DO TO ENSURE YOUR CHILD’S SUCCESS IN SCHOOL!  Research shows that children who are read to at home on a daily basis from an early age score higher on measures of language and vocabulary development and on reading and writing tests.

         Homework will be sent Monday – Thursday generally with a Reading & Math assignment included.  Daily Homework should generally only take about 30 minutes to complete. A spelling list is sent home on Mondays & due back on Friday, test day. There is no student homework on weekends unless there is a need to catch up.

         By assigning homework we hope to instill good work habits at an early age, as well as reinforce the day’s lesson with additional independent and/or guided practice.  Typically, there is a story for your child to read that relates to our lesson of the day, and a 2-sided math paper.  Homework envelopes need to be returned each morning even if your child did not get to do the homework.




Last Modified on February 27, 2018