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A Handbook for Mrs. Flanagan's Class

August, 2008


















If your child is ill, please call the office (330-848-5244) and inform us of your child’s absence and the reason for it. This is for your child’s safety. If a student must leave early for a doctor’s appointment, go to the office to sign him out and the secretary will call him to the office. Never send another person to pick up your child without informing me or the secretary.





A successful school experience is the responsibility of the child, the parent and the school.  Your child's progress, both academically and socially, is influenced to a great extent by daily participation.  Regular attendance without tardiness is a key.


Arrival and Dismissal

Pupils should arrive between 8:15 and 8:30 AM. Students should not arrive prior to 8:15 AM (unless they are eating breakfast at school) since supervision by the school staff is not available.  No child or parent should be in the building before this time. School begins promptly at 8:30 AM and afternoon dismissal is at 2:30 PM from the playground door. Please pick up your child promptly. If you are late, look for your child in our classroom or in the office.




The children will attend a 45 minute Art class once a week with our art teacher, Ms. Cameron.  Room 4's Art class will be on Fridays from 1:40-2:25 P.M.




To help your child carry messages and information to and from school, you are asked to provide a backpack. Students will be given a “GIRAFFES Notebook” for me to send notes and information to you and for you to send notes to me. Please have your child remove the notes and papers each day from the backpack and the GIRAFFES Notebook to share with you.





Birthdays are special occasions for young children. If your child wishes, he/she may bring a treat for the class. We will celebrate summer birthdays during the last few weeks of school.



Book Orders

Every month I will send home a Scholastic Book Club Catalog for you and your child to look over. These clubs offer wonderful books at reduced prices---what a great way to build your home library! If you choose to order, please make the check payable to Scholastic Books.




A school breakfast is served every morning from 8:00-8:15 AM. This breakfast is a federally-funded program and is free to ALL students. The breakfast menu generally consists of cereal or muffins with juice and milk. Students who want to eat breakfast should enter from the gym door promptly at 8:00.




A calendar of events and the monthly school breakfast/lunch menus are available in our school newspaper, The Pfeiffer Press, and will also be in your child's GIRAFFES Notebook. A calendar listing events specific to our class can be found on our class website:





We are fortunate enough to have four computers in our classroom. We use a variety of age-appropriate programs that reinforce math, readiness and reading skills.  Children will work on the computers during center time.




Parent/Teacher conferences are held after school (usually from 2:30-6:30 PM) at the end of each grading period. You will receive your child’s report card and we will discuss your child's accomplishments, strengths and overall progress.  Please feel free to schedule additional conferences at any time throughout the year if the need arises.





Our classroom is a small community where teamwork and good relationships are expected. We will spend time learning class procedures and practicing them. Each student is expected to act within our standards of behavior. To establish good order and help the children learn self-control, they will be guided to respect themselves and their companions through specific directions, positive reinforcement, suggested new activities and responsible actions.


Our classroom discipline system includes a colored card system. The first time a

child breaks a rule, he will be given a verbal reminder. Nothing further will happen as he reflects on whether that behavior was a good “choice”.


Every child will begin the day with a green colored card in our Behavior Chart. If the child chooses to break a rule after a verbal reminder, his card will be changed to yellow. Continued misbehavior will result in the card changing to blue and finally red. The student can earn his green card back by improving behavior for the remainder of the morning or the afternoon, meaning he will begin the rest of the day or the following morning with a “clean slate”. Children who are doing a GREAT job will have their cards changed to PURPLE for positive reinforcement and setting an example for the rest of the class.


The rules, consequences for the card changes, and the rewards for following our rules are listed below.

1. I will raise my hand to speak.
2. I will stay in my seat.
3. I will listen and follow directions.
4. I will keep my hands and feet to myself and my own property.
5. I will be kind to others.

Excellent Behavior:  Card will be changed to PURPLE.
First Offense: A verbal reminder as a warning.
Second Offense:  Change card on behavior chart from green to yellow. Miss five minutes of playtime or recess.
Third Offense: Change card to blue and miss ten minutes of playtime or recess.
Fourth Offense: Change card to red and miss all of playtime or recess. Parents will either receive a phone call or a note.


Rewards:  Children with a purple card will get a treat from the treasure chest. Those who maintain a green card for three days each week will also receive a treat.




You can contact me via my email address:
I will check my email on a daily basis.  If you need to discuss something urgently, please call me at school instead.



Emergency Card

Please complete and return the emergency card promptly (if you did not complete it during registration). If your home or work phone number changes, inform the office so you can be located quickly if an emergency occurs.


Emergency Closings

If schools are closed for a snow day or any emergency, radio station WAKR (1590) or the local TV stations (Channels 3, 5, 8, or 19) will make an announcement, generally by 7:00 A.M.


Fast Start Program


This year my students will participate in the Fast Start program. It consists of a set of short poems and wordplay activities for you and your child to do together. One poem and an activity sheet will be sent home each Monday; a simple log sheet listing the poem and time spent should be returned the following Monday. Please try to spend ten minutes on Fast Start with your child each evening. This program is voluntary but it will help your child become a strong and successful reader!


Field Trips

We plan several field trips that are both fun and educational for the children. Parent drivers are generally not permitted, so buses will have to be used for transportation. We often need parent volunteers on the trips and chaperones will be chosen on a first come, first served basis.  Please return permission slips as soon as possible after they are sent home.


Fire Drills

Fire drills are held on a monthly basis throughout the year.  All students will participate and are expected to walk quickly and quietly to their designated exit.  We will practice and become familiar with procedures before our first scheduled drill.













GIRAFFES is an acronym for Great Information, Resources, And Fundamentals For Essential Skills. It is a 3-ring binder notebook, put together by the teacher that houses EVERYTHING the students and parents need to keep up with what is going on at school. No more wrinkled papers in the bottom of our backpacks!  No more lost notes, newsletters or calendars!  No more searching the house to find paper to write the teacher a note. Everything is in one notebook:


1. A zippered pouch for money, important notes and word/letter "rings".

2. Weekly Newsletter folder

3. Notes and Homework folder (these MUST be returned to school)

4. Important Papers from School folder (to be left at home)

5. Super Duper Work to Keep folder

6. Breakfast/Lunch Menus

7. Snack Calendar

8. Upcoming Events Calendar

9. ABC's of Kindergarten Parent Handbook

10. Notebook paper for notes to the teacher


Why are they important? These notebooks help students establish good organizational skills their first year of school---skills that can carry on throughout their time in school. Notebooks will go home every afternoon in your child’s backpack. Empty the GIRAFFE notebook and return it to school the next day and place it on the white shelf by the door.





You may have guessed by now, but our class mascot is a giraffe named Georgie. The children in my class are affectionately known as “The Little Giraffes”. Just like our mascot, I want your child to “stick out his neck” to learn all he can this year!



Our class will have a 45 minute gym classes each week.  The children are asked to wear sneakers for gym class and girls might consider wearing pants or having a pair of shorts to slip on under their uniform skirts or jumpers. This year our Gym class will be on Thursdays from 1:40-2:25 P.M.




Hands-on Learning

I feel that the best way to help children learn is to make learning fun. Important concepts can be learned by doing meaningful hands-on activities. There are times when seatwork is required and necessary, but for the most part, our classroom will be an active learning environment.




Please let me know of special circumstances which may affect your child. These could include medication that may make him sleepy, a death in the family, etc. Also, please let me know of any allergies your child may have, especially food allergies. We sometimes cook or do food activities to complement lessons in kindergarten and it would be helpful to know when I plan our recipes.



Help at Home

Your child is expected to know these readiness skills:
•Full name             •Address             •Telephone number
•Parents’ names     •Basic colors        •Counting to 10
•Printing first name beginning with a capital letter and the rest in lower case

When time permits, work on these skills also:
•Reciting the alphabet                •Shape names               
•Birthday (month & date)            •Identifying numbers to 10
•Identifying letter names           •Tying shoes
Your extra help at home really makes a difference!



Home Reading Program

Beginning in January, the children will begin taking home one book a night to read at home. This is wonderful practice to build reading fluency and to reinforce the vocabulary words they’ve learned. When they return the book to school, they will read to me and I will send another book home. This is your child’s chance to “show-off” their developing reading skills to parents, relatives and friends!














Homework will be sent home once a week (usually Thursdays). Your child should complete this work by himself, under your supervision, and return it the next school day! Completing and returning homework helps build a sense of responsibility and prepares him for the homework he will have to complete in later school years. Homework should be your child’s best work.  Returning neatly completed work the next day will earn a treat from the treasure chest. These homework papers should be placed in the Homework pocket of the GIRAFFES Notebook.


Fast Start Program is a voluntary homework program that takes about 10 minutes each evening that will help your child become a better reader. More information is listed under “Fast Start” on the F page.

Occasionally, I’ll ask your help in completing “family” homework--it’s called that because the whole family is encouraged to get involved in doing it. For example, in November I will send home a turkey for you and your child use to
"disguise" so it won't get eaten for Thanksgiving. Extra time will be given to complete these special family homework projects.

In a few weeks your child will be bringing home reproduced books and sentences that they have worked with in school to share with you.  These take-home books and sentences promote home involvement and allow for reinforcement of book concepts, reading strategies and beginning comprehension skills. You will find these books in the Super Duper Work to Keep folder of the GIRAFFES Notebook. Please take the time to enjoy this special reading time with your child.








The question of when to keep your child home from school is often a difficult one, especially when decisions must be made first thing in the morning.  It is important, however, to keep your child home if he/she is ill. This helps to make them more comfortable and prevents others from becoming ill.  Children function more effectively in the classroom when they are healthy.




Independent Reading

Because children learn to read by reading, they need plenty of opportunities to read independently.  Sufficient time and appropriate materials are necessary to develop and strengthen reading abilities.  By giving the children time to read both at school and at home, we can work together to provide a literature-rich environment and a life-long love of reading.



One strategy that will be used to help convey the vital concept that “print conveys meaning” is the frequent use of journal writing.  In these journals the kindergartners combine their emerging writing skills with their drawing skills.  As the children are exposed to a variety of phonics and reading experiences, journal entries will move from drawings and “inventive” spellings towards more conventional writing.



Students in our classroom are encouraged and expected to treat all members of our class as well as others with kindness and respect. Bothering others, bullying and interrupting learning will not be permitted.



The children go to the library on Wednesday morning. In the library Mrs. Collins will entertain them with a story or a video. Later in the year the children will have a chance to select a book to borrow for a week.


Literacy Centers

During literacy centers, children practice reading and writing skills while the teacher works with individual children or small guided reading groups.  The center activities are designed to strengthen letter/sound knowledge, listening skills, oral language expression, rhyme, letter formation and cooperation.



We will eat lunch from 11:10-11:30 each day. Children may bring a packed lunch from home or eat a school lunch. The school lunch is a federally funded program so there is no cost for your child's school lunch. The lunch menu is published monthly in the Pfeiffer Press and is in your child's GIRAFFE notebook. You can also find the menu on Akron's website:




The kindergarten mathematics curriculum provides students with mathematical experiences that help them develop number sense and a positive attitude towards mathematics that will continue through their school career and their lives.  We employ a hands-on, problem solving approach.



Our music teacher, Ms. Homan, will be teaching the children the basics of music education and will be sharing many wonderful songs!  We are scheduled to have music for one 45 minute period weekly (Tuesday, 8:35-9:20 A.M.). Of course, I will be singing and enjoying music with the children daily.




Our weekly newsletter, Giraffe News, is generally sent home on Mondays and will be in the Newsletter pocket of the GIRAFFE Notebook. This will keep you informed about what is happening in our class---the skills we are learning, vocabulary words, poems or songs to practice, special activities and upcoming events. Sometimes there will be an activity attached to help your child practice skills at home.





We are fortunate to have a health aide at Pfeiffer School. She will tend to minor scratches and scrapes, as well as sudden illnesses.  For more serious injuries, she will contact you. Please be sure to send in any change of contact numbers in case she needs to get in touch with you.




Ohio Reads


Pfeiffer School participates in the Ohio Reads program. Volunteers come to school and read with our students on a weekly basis. They can work with any grade level. If you can spare an hour a week, please consider becoming an Ohio Reads Tutor. Contact the Ohio Reads coordinater (330-848-5244) for additional information about Ohio Reads.





Parent Involvement


Your support of school activities makes your child feel important and sends the message that you value school! We are always happy to have your help for special activities in the classroom. I will try to let you know at least a week ahead of time if I need help. Requests for help will be published in our weekly newsletter. I hope that you can come and join in the fun!



Parties & Celebrations

There are three main parties each year---Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. The room parents usually organize these events and coordinate volunteers and donations.  All are welcome to participate in the festivities!  We will have some other celebrations that I will organize such as Thanksgiving, the 100th Day of School, Easter, and our End of the Year Celebration.



Playground Procedures

Please review these playground rules and safety procedures with your child:
1. Always follow the directions of the adult on duty

2. Follow all school rules.

3. Walk to recess and lunch in an orderly manner.
4. Do not jump off any playground equipment.

5. Always make sure you can see the adult on duty. (This means you cannot play by the flagpole or on the side steps.)

6. Do not run down the hills. If a ball goes down the hill, report it to your lunch monitor or the adult on duty.

7. Stay off the hill by the teachers’ parking lot.

8. There will be no football or any games involving tackling.

9. No food or drinks outside.

10. Only one person per swing and do not twist it. Do not give “underdogs” to other students.

11. You may only come down the slide on your bottom facing forward.






Since so many of you are new to Pfeiffer School this year, I’m sure that you may still have some unanswered questions.  Please feel free to call me at school (between 7:45-8:15a.m. or between 2:30-3:00p.m.). Or you can always write a note or email me at:




The children will play outdoors for 20 minutes after lunch each day (unless it is raining or the wind chill is below 16 degrees). Please keep this in mind when helping your child to select clothing for the day. If your child is too sick to play outside, he is too sick to come to school. There is no lunchtime supervision available for children to stay indoors at lunch. Additional morning or afternoon recess will be at my discretion.



Report Cards

Report cards are issued every nine weeks.  These reports reflect the progress your child has made toward various kindergarten objectives and uses a grading system that reflects the developmental nature of kindergarten learning.



Have your child use the restroom shortly before coming to school. We will go to the bathroom once in the morning, before lunch and once in the afternoon. Please make me aware of any medical problem that might require more frequent restroom trips.


Room Parents

The room parents' job is to be available for any number of things: to help coordinate parties and activities; to seek volunteers for field trips and events; and to help with fundraisers for field trip transportation.  Being a room parent is a great way to be involved in your child’s school life.  You may sign up to become a room parent at our Open House (Monday, August 25).




The focus of the kindergarten science curriculum is on developing an awareness of the world in which we live. Through scientific inquiry, concepts will be presented in the life and earth sciences, including the study of animals and plants, the five senses. general health and the four seasons. These areas will be explored utilizing a literacy based, hands-on approach.



Shared Reading

Shared reading is an interactive process used with the whole class. As the teacher reads a story, children join in on phrases or words that they know. During subsequent re-readings, children read more and more of the text, until they are able to read the story independently. Shared reading is an opportunity for the teacher to model conventions of print and the use of reading strategies.



Show and Tell

Show and tell will be on Wednesdays. A schedule will be sent home during the first few weeks of school. This is the only day your child should bring a special toy, book, etc. If you are afraid a toy will get broken and you do not want your child to play with it during playtime, let me know and it will be kept in his/her locker.





Your children generally get hungry by mid-morning so I’m requesting that each family contribute to our snack program. Every child should bring in a snack to share with the entire class (about 20 students). This should be a healthy snack that is quickly eaten, such as a box of crackers, cookies, fruit roll-ups, raisins, apples, etc. We will get a drink of water after our snack so no drinks are necessary. When our snacks begin to run low in October, I will send home a Snack Calendar, listing the date your child is scheduled to bring the next snack.




Social Studies

The kindergarten social studies curriculum focuses on the students and how they relate to others in their families, classroom, school, and community. Holiday celebrations will also be highlighted. Activities will help the children engage their natural curiosity for the world around them.
















The children will need the following supplies for kindergarten. LABEL THE *ITEMS WITH YOUR CHILD’S NAME.

*Backpack (to carry home those important papers)
*Box of crayons (no more than 24)
*Pencils (2 or 3 sharpened)
*Glue stick (2 would be better)
*Elmer’s white glue (large bottle)                  
*School box to hold these supplies
*Scissors with a round tip and metal cutting edge (Fiskars brand is best)
*Pocket folder                                      
*Art shirt (old shirt of Mom’s or Dad’s)
*One activity book for free time (workbook, coloring book, dot-to-dot)
*Small dry erase board, dry erase marker, and eraser

These items will be shared by the children:
•Box of baby wipes for messy fingers and Clorox Wipes for messy desks
•Box of Ziplock sandwich bags

•Box of Kleenex
•One package of paper plates OR one package of paper cups
•One bag of treats to fill the treasure chest (candy, gum, pencils, birthday party prizes, etc.)
•Box of snacks (crackers, pretzels, fruit snacks, cookies, raisins) to share





Bringing toys to school is discouraged because they distract the children from learning. If a toy is accidentally lost or broken, feelings will be hurt. Students may bring in books that are clearly marked with your child's name.






All Akron Public School elementary students will wear uniforms this year.


Girls' uniforms consist of polo-style collared shirts/button-up blouses with collars or turtlenecks in a solid color (blue, white, yellow, red, black). Girls' bottoms/pants are uniform, classic-fit, uniform skirts, capris, skorts, uniform jumpers or uniform knee-length shorts in navy blue or khaki color.


Boys' uniforms consist of polo-style collared shirts/dress shirts with collars or turtlenecks in a solid color (blue, white, yellow, red, navy blue). Boys' bottoms/pants are uniform, classic-fit pants or uniform knee-length shorts in navy blue or khaki color.


More information can be found here:




Pfeiffer has a policy that ALL GUESTS (including familiar faces) are required to check in at the school office. Pfeiffer welcomes and encourages family involvement. It is important to remember that while this may seem inconvenient to frequent visitors, it is the goal and responsibility of the school to create a safe learning environment.


Our class has a website which can be accessed at

Check in regularly to find information about curriculum, special events and school news. I will be featuring photos of our weekly activities--it's the next best thing to being in our classroom each day! Please promptly return the web permission form, which permits me to include your child's photo and first name on our website.



Word Rings


Word Rings consist of word, letter and number cards on a metal ring that give students an opportunity to practice learning at home. I’ll add about 10 cards at once for daily practice of skills we are working on at school.  The Word Rings will be stored in the zipper case of the Giraffe notebooks—please remember to return them to the case after each practice because they can’t be replaced if they’re lost.



Our writing program builds on what each child already knows. Writing begins with scribbles and proceeds to lines and circles, random strings of letters, words and spaces and eventually sentences. Your children will be encouraged and praised for all attempts and accomplishments in writing. Providing a risk-free environment is paramount to your child's progress in writing.  If possible, please provide your child with writing tools, such as pencils, crayons, markers and paper at home.


   eXtra Special

Kindergartners learn that they are eXtra special and unique.
Kindergartners have opportunities to describe how they are alike as well as different from others. They share their culture and learn about different cultures within the class.


Younger Siblings

It is in your child’s and the program’s best interest to have our parent volunteers available WITHOUT younger children. This not only allows your full attention to be focused on the class, but also allows for some special time between you and your kindergartner.  Thank you for making childcare arrangements for younger siblings.


Make sure that your child gets plenty of rest. Setting and keeping a bedtime is a wonderful gift you can give to your child.   It will help them to be alert and ready to learn each day!





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