La BallonaElementary School

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Fantastic First!


Who is my child’s teacher?

     Hi!  My name is Deb Arancibia.  I was born in a small Northwestern town in Minnesota and grew up on a farm.  My parents raised small grains, potatoes, and sugar beets.  Growing up on a farm I learned the value of hard work and working together.  I am the youngest of six children and the first in my family to graduate from college.  I received a B.S. in Elementary Education from MSU in 1988.

     I moved out to Riverside County in California after college and started teaching at Moreno Christian School where I taught 1st grade and obtained my California teaching credential.  From there I taught in Moreno Valley Unified at Moreno Elementary and then at Northridge Math/Science Magnet totaling six years for the district in grades K, 1, 2, and 3.  During that time I received my GATE certificate from UC Riverside and my Masters in Education Reading at Cal State San Bernardino.

     In 1994 I married my Juan Carlos Arancibia and later that spring we moved to New Jersey where he helped launch the website for the Wall Street Journal.  I taught at Washington Academy working with emotionally disturbed middle school boys during the day and Passaic Community College teaching English at night.  Being reminded of the cold Minnesota winters, we moved to Culver City the following spring where I was hired to teach at La Ballona in a 1-2 combination classroom.  The following year I taught third grade and taught 5th grade for the next seven years.  So this is my 13th year back in first, and 30th teaching.

Juan and I live in Culver City with our two children.  Alexis is now a second year student at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Noah is a senior and is on the boy’s soccer team at CCHS. They both attended La Ballona and then CCMS before CCHS.    We enjoy time with our kids, dog, and our cat.  Culver City has been a wonderful place for us to raise our children.    



Daily Schedule (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday)

8:35   Students use the restroom and line up on the playground

8:40   Students are walked to the classroom

8:45   Attendance is taken/ Pledge of Allegiance/  Reading

9:30   Bathroom break/ Reading continued

10:00   Reading Intervention and Extension activities

10:25   Snack

10:30   P.E.

11:00   Math Wall and Calendar

11:30   Lunch and Recess (bathroom and drinks)

12:15   Math

1:20   Recess (bathroom and drinks)

1:40   Specials:   computers, library, music, etc...

2:20 Bathroom and drink break

2:30   Writing

2:55  Story/Pack up for the day

3:15   Dismiss

Wednesday’s Schedule

8:35   Students use the restroom and line up on the playground

8:40   Students are walked to the classroom

8:45   Attendance is taken/ Pledge of Allegiance/ Reading

9:30   Bathroom break/ Reading continued

10:00   Reading Intervention and Extension activities

10:30  P.E.

11:00  Math Wall

11:30  Lunch and Recess (bathroom and drinks)                              

12:15  Math

1:20  Story and Writing    

1:45  Dismiss


School Safety

Every child has the right to be safe at school.  One of the most important things that you can do as a parent is to make sure that your child is aware of the rules and their rights.  Please review the Cafeteria Rights and Responsibilities as well as the student handbook for the school rules. 


Please help by arriving on time and making sure extra adults are not on campus or in the cafeteria.  Staff is on duty both at the front of the school and the back gate at 8:35 when the bell rings for students to line up.  They should be in line at 8:40 ready to enter and start their day.  Also, after school there are teachers again at both locations.  You should be picking them up at one of the two areas and should not need to push in the gate to pick up your children. 


Toys need to stay at home.  Often children are distracted by watches, necklaces,  and other items they wear.  Please help by leaving these at home for special occasions.  Cards, tablets, spinners, and phones are not needed at school for first graders.

Remember that stealing, fighting, and bringing weapons to school have very serious consequences and will be dealt with immediately for the safety of all   La Ballona.  Talk with your children about the difference between tattling and reporting dangerous situations. 


We are no longer in Kinder and have the same dress requirements as those older students.  It is important that your children know how to tie their own shoes, wear pants that they can do themselves, and wear socks and appropriate shoes for the playground to ensure their safety and the safety of others.


Emergency Bag


In case of a lock down or Earthquake we need food and water available for your child.    You may buy one from the PTA and send in a family photo and a sweatshirt or you may make your own.  These really need to be at school as soon as possible. 

Please include the following:

*one sweatshirt or sweater

*one small box of crackers

*two pop-top containers of protein

*two small cans of joice

*two packages of dried fruit

*two pint-sized bottles of water

*one family photo


Room 14 Class Rules                                      

  1.      Follow directions quickly
  2.      Raise your hand to speak
  3.      Raise your hand for permission to get out of your seat
  4.      Make smart choices
  5.      Keep your dear teacher happy (share a smile)

Consequences and Rewards:

        Way to Go!  Happy Note home (6 points)

          Great Job:  Classroom recognition (5 points)

          Ready to Learn:  Every child begins here each day! (4                        points)

          Think About It:  Warning (3 points)

          Make Better Choices:  Time out at recess (2 points)

          Slow Down!  Time out at both recesses (1 Point)

          Oh Oh!  “Think Sheet” No recess until signed by a                               parent (0 points)

Bank Books:

          Students earn coin stamps in their bank books for completing work, working neatly, doing their best, and following classroom rules.  Every other Friday the students are able to “shop” using the “money” they have earned in the classroom, for their needs and their wants.  They are learning to count coins, and to budget as well.  Donations are always appreciated for our Citizenship Shop.



Two years ago the district  reworked the report card to match the Common Core Standards.  The grades inform if students are advanced, proficient, basic, or below basic.  Students who are less than proficient will be attending intervention groups to re-teach the standard.  If students are proficient or advance they will get some extension activities.  A “4” means the student is working above the benchmark for the standard at that grading period.  A “3” means that they are meeting the benchmark.  A “2” however means that the student is not meeting the benchmark but is showing that they are approaching it.  A “1” is the student is not meeting the standard and is struggling.


Please look over your child’s work that comes home and go over any mistakes they have made so that they learn from their mistakes.  It is important that children learn that we all make mistakes and it is OK if we take time to learn from them.  Please do not just toss the work.  That is telling the children that school isn’t important and in turn, they are not important.  It is good to go over things they may be struggling with before they are tested on them.  Help teach your children to persevere and then really celebrate their achievements.  Especially on things they had to work on.  Let them choose an activity that the family will do or a dinner to make together when they are showing their best effort.  Celebrate effort more than perfection!



Field Trips


The PTA is very supportive and pays for busses and admission to our field trip.  La Ballona is very fortunate and is able to experience things that support our units of study.  None have been planned yet for first grade.


Once the funding is provided by the parents joining the PTA we will be able to schedule these.  If you haven’t joined yet, please send in $7 with your name and child’s name on it.  Thank you  to all who have already joined! 


If you would like to come with on a field trip you must have your TB and finger prints cleared through the district.  Please see Cindy or Lisa in the office for more information.  Most venues allow only a few parents to join us so please let me know in writing if you are interested once you have been cleared. 



In 2013-2015 I participated in a Fellowship with Cotsen.  During this time I learned a great deal about Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI).  Using this technique I saw students make huge gains in understanding Math.  I am able to see how they understand numbers and their thinking and development with the Common Core standards.  Last year we had many visitors come to observe during our math instruction as alumni of Cotsen.  We may have many more this year.

What Parents Can Do to Help their Child with Mathematics

Listen to your child’s thinking and ask questions

  •  Why do you think that?
  •  Can you explain how you got that?
  •  How do you know?
  • Does your answer make sense?
  • Can you solve it a different way?
  • Practice/reinforce strategies used at school
  • Try not to tell your child a strategy. The strategy will come with understanding and practice. 
  •  Ask your child word problems as they come up in every day life.
  •  Always ask ‘WHY?’


If your child is stuck, try to help them make sense of the problem by asking questions.

What kind of attitude do you have toward math?  Do you believe that math

skills are important to job and life skills?  Do you see math as useful in

everyday life?  Or do you dread doing things that involve math—figuring out

how much new carpet you'll need, balancing the checkbook, reading the

technical manual that came with the DVD player?  How you answer these

questions indicates how you may be influencing your child's attitudes

toward math—and how he approaches learning math.


Although parents can be a positive force in helping children learn math,

they also can undermine their children's math ability and attitudes by saying

things such as: "Math is hard," or "I'm not surprised you don't do well in

math, I didn't like math either when I was in school," or "I wasn't very good

in math and I'm a success, so don't worry about doing well." Although you

can't make your child like math, you can encourage her to do so, and you

can take steps to ensure that she learns to appreciate its value both in her everyday life and in preparing for her future.


You might point out to her how fortunate she is to have the opportunity to learn mathematics today—when mathematics  knowledge can open the door to so many interesting and exciting possibilities.


In everyday interactions with children, there are many things that parents can do—and do without lecturing or applying pressure—to help children learn to solve problems, to communicate mathematically and to demonstrate reasoning abilities. These skills are fundamental to learning mathematics.


If America is going to stay the best place to do business in the world, we must have the best math

students.     — Margaret Spellings  U. S. Secretary of Education


Let's look closely at what it means to be a problem solver, to communicate mathematically and to demonstrate mathematical reasoning ability.  A problem solver is someone who questions, finds, investigates and explores solutions to problems; demonstrates the ability to stick with a problem to find a solution; understands that there may be different ways to arrive at an answer; and applies math successfully to everyday situations. You can encourage your child to be a good problem solver by including him in routine activities that involve math—for example, measuring, weighing, figuring costs and comparing prices of to communicate mathematically means to use mathematical language, numbers, charts or symbols to explain things and to explain the reasoning for solving a problem in a certain way, rather than just giving the answer. It also means careful listening to understand others' ways of thinking and reasoning. You can help your child learn to communicate mathematically by asking her to explain what she must do to solve a math problem or how she arrived at her answer. You

could ask your child to draw a picture or diagram to show how she arrived at the answer.  Mathematical reasoning ability means thinking logically, being able to see similarities and differences in objects or

problems, making choices based on those differences and thinking about relationships among things. You can encourage your child's mathematical reasoning ability by talking frequently with him about these thought processes.


You can help your child learn math by offering her insights into how to approach math. She will develop more confidence in her math ability if she understands the following points:

  1. Problems Can Be Solved in Different Ways.

Although most math problems have only one answer, there may be many ways to get to that answer. Learning math is more than finding the correct answer; it's also a process of solving problems and applying what you've learned to new problems.

  1. Wrong Answers Sometimes Can Be Useful.

Accuracy is always important in math. However, sometimes you can use a wrong answer to help your child figure out why she made a mistake. Analyzing wrong answers can help your child to understand the concepts underlying the problem and to learn to apply reasoning skills to arrive at the correct answer. Ask your child to explain how she solved a math problem. Her explanation might help you discover if she needs help with number skills, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, or with the concepts involved in solving.   


  1. Help your child to be a risk taker.

Help him see the value of trying to solve a problem, even if it's difficult. Give your child time to explore different approaches to solving a difficult problem. As he works, encourage him to talk about what he is thinking. This will help him to strengthen math skills and to become an independent thinker.


  1. Being Able to Do Mathematics in Your Head Is Important.

Mathematics isn't restricted to pencil and paper activities. Doing math "in your head" (mental math) is a valuable skill that comes in handy as we make quick calculations of costs in stores, restaurants or gas stations. Let your child know that by using mental math, her math skills will become stronger.


  1. It's Sometimes OK to Use a Calculator to Solve Mathematics Problems.

It's OK to use calculators to solve math problems—sometimes. They are widely used today, and knowing how to use them correctly is important. The idea is for your child not to fall back on the excuse, "I don't need to know math—I've got a calculator." Let your child know that to use calculators correctly and most efficiently, she will need a strong grounding in math operations—otherwise, how will she know whether the answer she sees displayed is reasonable!


This is a sample from one of my students  November, 2014.




We are only allowed to have birthday snacks at school once a month.  If you would like to send in healthy treats for your child’s birthday please do so ONLY on the last Friday of the month.  I will find sometime within that day to take a quick snack time.  If you would like to bring a birthday “Goody Bag” or invitations to your child’s party, please make sure there is one for EVERY child in our class.  We currently have 24 students (10 girls and 14 boys).  No candy or cake please.




Please, if you have any questions or concerns please e-mail me at [email protected] and I will get back to you.  I am so excited to be your child’s teacher this year and look forward to working with you for your child.


             Wish List

1. Tissues, Tissues, Tissues!

2. Expo markers

3. Small toys for the citizenship shop

4. Fun erasers for the citizenship shop

5. zip lock bags (gallon and sandwich)

6. Wet wipes for desks

7. Stamp pads

8. Gift cards to Target or Office Depot for classroom supplies




 Dear families,

Thank you so much for the wonderful "Teacher Appreciation" week last week.  All of the thoughtful cards, gifts, and treats really touched my heart and made me feel very appreciated.  Thank you.  Happy belated Mother's Day to all of you moms. I hope you children were extra cute and helpful this past weekend.

We met and passed our goal of raising $100 for the people of Nepal.  Thank you so much for helping to teach your children about helping other's in need.  They were so proud to add something to the cup. The student council did an excellent job choosing who to help and support.  We have families from Nepal who have personal connections here at La Ballona. 

The weeks are ticking down closer to summer vacation.  We are now working on writing Non-Fiction, reading for understanding, and adding and subtracting double-digit numbers.  In science we are learning about solids, liquids, and gases.  Character traits and understanding the difference between needs and wants are our focus in social studies.  Remember to help your child turn in homework every Monday and their library book every Thursday.  Some students are loosing important points because they are turning things in late. 

Please help remind your children to continue to do their best.  As we get closer to summer we usually see more behavior problems.  It is important that we stay focused and continue to learn.

Thank you again for all of your support.

Mrs. Deb Arancibia