Dear 1A Family,
My name is Mary Price and I am happy to be your child’s first grade teacher. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from The Ohio State University; my Masters degree from Marygrove College; and my Reading Endorsement from Ashland University. Teaching since 1987, I have taught in kindergarten, first, second, and third grade classrooms. I have been both an intermediate and primary reading specialist. Needless to say, I am excited about this school year and am eager to begin another journey in first grade! First graders are curious, enthusiastic, and a lot like sponges…eager to soak up knowledge and become saturated in learning!
This letter is to familiarize you with some of my beliefs about teaching. These beliefs shape the way I relate and communicate with my students as well as how my classroom routine is structured.
Teaching for Understanding
Think back to when you first learned to ride a bike or drive a car. You probably watched someone do it first, practiced with help, listened to feedback and support, then one day you did it all by yourself! The “gradual release of responsibility” concept is one that I will use to guide the manner in which I pass on new learning to my students. When I teach a skill or strategy, I will explain it and show how to use it. As students practice the skill or apply the strategy, I will provide support and feedback as they have a go at it! Given a variety of opportunities, I will let go to see if they can independently apply their new learning. When students internalize what they have learned and I can see them transferring it to other situations, I will know that…now they get it! This concept allows me to guide and support student learning as needed.
Think of this scaffolding as I DO, WE DO, YOU TRY, YOU DO.
The Workshop Approach to Teaching
In my first grade classroom, I use a workshop approach. Gathering at our class meeting place, workshops begin with a direct and explicit lesson on a particular skill or strategy. Immediately following our focus lesson, students engage in guided practice of the skill or strategy with teacher support. Then students engage in independent practice time at their own pace and instructional level. During this time, I work with small groups and/or confer individually with students. Gathering back to our class meeting place, workshops wrap-up with sharing and reflection of our learning.
Why do I use the Workshop Approach?
I believe in helping students become self-regulated learners who take pride in their accomplishments and value choice. The workshop approach allows them this opportunity and allows me to differentiate my instruction to meet the needs of ALL my students. I believe that working in small groups and conferring individually with students lets me get to know them on a much deeper level. The workshop way helps me do this!
I look forward to our partnership and investment—your child! I am happy he/she belongs to 1A’s community of learners. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. You can reach me by email or call me at school (740-223-4301). I will return your message as soon as possible. Remember…you are your child’s first and most important teacher and I value that! Together, I believe, we can make a difference.
Here’s to a great year,