• September 9th, 2018

    Posted by VANESSA TOMASKO on 9/9/2018


    Room 172 Classroom News


    Dear Families,

    I hope you had a wonderful weekend. We have two important events occurring in the next few weeks! Picture Day is Friday, September 21st. I look forward to seeing everyone's beautiful smiles! You have received your child's picture day order form in last week's Friday Folder. Should you choose to purchase school pictures, please complete the form, and return it to school prior to the morning of the 21st. Additionally, Back to School Night will take place this Tuesday, September 11th. I hope to see you there, if you are available! 

    At Home Practice
    -Please encourage your child to read at least 10-20 minutes, nightly. You can ask your child to demonstrate the five-finger book selection strategy that we learned last week!

    -Ask your child to tell you how to be a bucket filler!

    -Ask your child if he or she learned anything new about the students and teachers in our class. 

    Daily 5
    Last week, we learned about our classroom library and choosing good fit books. After learning strategies like the five-finger strategy to choose “just-right books”, students made selections that weren’t too hard or too easy, but just right. We also continued building our reading stamina. Students learned that by practicing our sustained reading again and again, we will build up our stamina. To understand this concept, we talked about how if you start running, you might not be able to run that fast or that far, at first. Every day you practice, you'll be able to run a little bit farther!

    We also learned how to use our new Chromebooks to access Epic. Students learned how to read and listen to books during the Listen to Reading segment of our workshop.

    This week, we will continue learning about our Reader's Workshop. This structure includes mini lessons, Read to Self, Partner Reading, Listen to Reading, Word Work, conferring, and strategy groups. We will also begin learning some comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and vocabulary strategies.

    We have been so busy in our Math Workshop! Students have practiced counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s, representing numbers, addition, and subtraction on the number rack, and finding and representing partners of 5 and 10.

    We have also introduced our Number Corner! We have been talking about a variety of math skills using the daily number corner activities. Ask your child what we do when we update our calendar!

    Students completed their narrative writing preassessments by writing Small Moments Stories to tell about their true experiences. It was wonderful reading stories about birthday parties, vacations, play dates, etc. We also have been spending time writing about ourselves through several get-to-know you activities and projects. This week, we will begin learning about small moments stories, brainstorming ideas about which to write, and how our stories tell about (and show) one moment in time. 

    In Unit, we continued building our classroom community by engaging in activities to help us better get to know our classmates and our classroom. After listening to the stories, How Full is your Bucket by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer and The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill, students brainstormed characteristic displayed by good friends, ways that we can be a good friend in the classroom and at recess, and ways to build new friendships. 

    Important Dates

    -Tuesday, September 11th: Back to School Night will begin in the All Purpose Room at 7:00pm.
    -Friday, September 21st: Picture Day

    Have a wonderful week!

    Ms. Tomasko

    Image Credit: http://www.mycutegraphics.com/

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  • September 3rd, 2018

    Posted by VANESSA TOMASKO on 9/3/2018

    Image 1  

    Room 172 Classroom News 

    Dear Families,

    What an exciting first week we've had together! Thank you so much for sending your child to school ready to learn each day! It's been a wonderful week getting to know our classroom, making new friends, and beginning to review our skills together. We have been working hard to build a strong, positive classroom community in which your child feels loved and comfortable taking risks.

    Your children have participated in many community building activities! Each morning, we begin the day with morning meeting. During this time, we greet each other, play games to share our interests and help us learn our classmates' names, and go over our daily schedule. We also began our headline news sharing. During headline news, students "tell share" (rather than show share) something with the class. As we get more comfortable sharing and listening, we will add questions and happy comments from our classmates.

    At Home Practice
    -Please encourage your child to read at least 10-20 minutes, nightly. The only way that we become better readers is by reading! This reading can include reading by yourself, being read to, reading aloud, or reading with a sibling, parent, or friend.

    -Ask your child about our Reader's workshop and any new, good-fit books he or she has discovered and is enjoying!

    -Ask your child about any new friends that he or she has met so far! 

    -You have received information regarding our Healthy Snack Letter and information about snack in our classroom. If your child would like a midmorning brain boost, please remember to send a healthy snack to school, each day. I greatly appreciate your help in providing healthy snacks for the students in our classroom! For those days when a student may be absent or forget the snack, we appreciate volunteers sending in extra, nonperishable snacks that can be kept on hand.

    -In your child's Friday Folder, you received a welcome letter to our Family Message Journal. Please 

    Dismissal Information
    Thank you for providing me with your child's dismissal schedule. It is imperative that you let me know if your child will not be following his or her normal dismissal routine for any reason so I can communicate that information to our specialists. They are dismissing first grade students, this year. If he or she is going home with a friend on another bus, you will need to send a note to school that is signed by you (parent/guardian). Please indicate the bus number and room number of that child. Additionally, please send a note to notify me of any changes that may occur including if your child will be picked up early, is walking home with a friend, is being picked up by another friend or family member, or is attending an after school activity.

    A note in your child's folder is the very best way to share this information with me. Should their be an emergency that causes your dismissal plans to change during the day, you may call the office. Please know that we are busy working with students, and I am not always able to check my email. For this reason, you will need to call the office to be sure we have received your child's dismissal information. 

    One of the activities that we completed in Unit this week included a writing/art project using the book Elmer by David McKee. After reading, students observed that Elmer learned his friends liked him because of his differences and what he added to their community. Students brainstormed and wrote about ways in which they are special and unique. Finally, they completed an art project that you will get to see at Back-to-School Night!

    Students also participated in many activities geared towards building friendships. One of our favorites was the "Me Museum". Our "Me Museum" was a such a powerful way to end our week. Thank you so much for helping your child choose and remember his or her items. We learned so much about each other's interests, families, and experiences! I loved listening to students share their artifacts and ask each other questions. 

    Reader's Workshop
    This week, we launched our Reading Workshop as we discussed two of the three ways to read a book. This week, we learned that we can read both the pictures and the words in a text. Even if your child is able to read the words, reading the pictures is an excellent tool to support comprehension as he or she reads! We began learning about good-fit books. Students used the 5 finger strategy to book shop for books to keep in their book bins. We also worked to build our reading stamina during our Read to Self time. Our first grade goal is to be able to sustain our reading for 20 minutes during our Reading Workshop. After 5 days of building stamina, students made it to 11 minutes during Read to Self! That's quite an accomplishment for the first week of school! 

    This week, students were introduced to our first unit. By counting and graphing our favorite flavors of twin pops, students practiced counting by 2s. We also practiced reading graphs and making observations about the data. Studnets used comparison language and solved problems relating to our class data. Laster in the week, students used tally marks and quick images to recognize groups of five and count on!

    Students were also introduced to our work spaces. Each day, students move through their choosing of 6 work spaces that correspond to our unit objectives. 

    Important Dates
    -Monday, September 3rd: Labor Day-No School
    -Tuesday, September 11th: Back to School Night will begin in the All Purpose Room at 7:00pm.

    Have a great week!

    Ms. Tomasko 

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  • Welcome to Room 172

    Posted by VANESSA TOMASKO on 8/20/2018

    Welcome Image via: http://www.mycutegraphics.com/


    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    Welcome to a new school year! I am excited about the upcoming year and look forward to working together to best meet the needs of your child and make his/her year very successful and rewarding. In this letter, you will find a lot of important information about our classroom and the school year.

    Room Number: 172

    Students: We have 20 students in our classroom.


    • Visit https://www.scasd.org.
    • Select Park Forest Elementary from the list of schools.
    • Click the Staff tab at the top of the page.
    • Find and click Vanessa Tomasko.  

    This link will take you to our classroom website. I will be updating our sites with important information, so check back often.

    Units of Study

    The Great Pizza Mystery: August-December

    Going Green in the Neighborhood: December-March

    Community Playground: March-June


    Our lunchtime is from 11:25-11:55. We will be eating in the All Purpose Room. You are welcome to join your child for lunch, anytime. Please let us know if you will be visiting your child, so we can plan ahead. If you would like a lunch ordered from the cafeteria, please send in a note in your child’s folder that morning.


    A snack time will be held each morning around 10am. Your child is welcome to bring in a healthy snack to enjoy during this time. Please keep in mind that we only have about 10 minutes for snack, so it should be something that is small and your child can eat during that time. If a spoon is needed, please make sure to include that. As per our SCASD Wellness Policy, we would appreciate desserts and sweets not be sent in for snack time. Some possible ideas are listed below: 

    Fruits: Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Cantaloupe (sliced or cubed),  Mandarin Oranges, Mangoes, Nectarines, Oranges, Peaches, Pears, Pineapple, Raspberries, Strawberries, Watermelon (sliced or cubed), Applesauce, Fruit cups, Canned Fruit (in juice or light syrup), Raisins, Fruit Salad

    Vegetables: Broccoli, Celery sticks, Carrot Sticks or Baby Carrots, Sliced Cucumber, Peppers (red, green, or yellow, sliced), Snap Peas, Snow Peas, String Beans, Zucchini Slices, Cherry tomatoes

    Other: Cheese Cubes, String Cheese, Pretzels, Low-Fat Popcorn, Rice Cakes, Muffins, Crackers, Yogurt, Granola Bars

    Additionally, please notify me if your child has an allergy.


    If your child is sick and not able to attend school, please be sure to phone the Safe at School number: (814) 231-5017 by 9:00am. Upon returning to school, your child will need to turn in an excuse note or form. For your convenience, excuse forms are available online at this link: https://www.scasd.org/cms/lib/PA01000006/Centricity/Domain/839/AbsenceExcuseForm.pdf.

    Should your child return to school without an excuse, a form will be placed in his or her daily folder for your completion.

    Trip forms are available in the office, on the district website, or can be requested from me prior to your child's absence. You will need to complete the form with the dates and reason for your trip.


    Day 1: Music

    Day 2: STEM

    Day 3: Library

    Day 4: Art

    Day 5: P.E.

    Please encourage your child to be responsible for his/her materials that are needed for our different specials (sneakers on PE day and Library books for Library).

    Book Orders

    Book orders will be sent home every few weeks. If your child would like to order a book, and you would like to return the order to school, please make checks payable to Scholastic Book Clubs. I will also send home information explaining online ordering. Book orders are sent home on a Friday and due the following Friday.

    Daily Folders

    Each night, your child will bring home his/her daily folder. If there are papers in this folder during the week, it means that they are of a time sensitive nature. You should check the folder nightly. You may also use this folder to return any notes, lunch money, etc. On Friday, your child will bring home papers from the week.


    In first grade, students are expected to read for at least 10 minutes every night. Please encourage your child to read aloud, read to him or herself, read to a sibling, friend, or stuffed animal, or listen to another reader read out loud.


    We are happy to celebrate your child's birthday. If you would like to send in a treat for the birthday celebration, please email ahead of time to help me plan for your kiddo's special day. We currently have 18 students in our class. Summer birthdays will not be forgotten. At the end of the school year, we will have summer birthday party to celebrate all of the birthdays that fall outside of the school year.

    Parent Volunteers

    Please follow the link below to access volunteer policies for the 2018-2019 school year. Note that our district policies have been recently updated.



    I believe strongly in working with parents to provide the best education we can for children. Newsletters will be sent home to keep you informed about our activities and lessons. Unless otherwise requested, you will receive our newsletter link via email. You can also check our website for additional information.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. My email is vmt11@scasd.org. This is the very best way to contact me.

    Thank you for sharing your eager learners with me. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, September 11th at 7:00pm for our Back to School Night!

    Ms. Tomasko

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Last Modified on September 9, 2018