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Thursday, September 15, 2016

FAQ at Back To School Night

A: I generally don't give out a lot of "homework." Most work we do is hands on in the classroom and/or students will have plenty of time to complete in class. The only homework provided regularly is AT LEAST 30 minutes of independent reading time, and maybe a math assignment from your teacher. Eventually, there will also be a short word work activity. 

Reading expectations?
A: Students should be reading 30-45 minutes 3-4 times per week OUTSIDE of school. They will have time daily to read in school. There are no reading lists for them to follow as research shows us that students will be come better readers when given choice. During certain parts of the year, students will be asked to read books that are in the genre we are studying, but they are welcome to continue reading their own texts as well.

Band is when?
A: Mr. Raye sent out schedules during the first week of school and lessons usually start the second week. Click here for schedule Large group rehearsals happen during EL time each week on Thursday or Friday, whichever is a "B" day

When is Orchestra?
A: There are two 5th Grade Orchestras this year, each meeting on a different day.
Orchestra A [Pauls, Muniz, Nagy, Bresser/Blanchard, Davidson] meets on the first A Day of the week (Mon/Tues), and Orchestra B [Longfield, Nygard, Pincombe, Conohan, Doll, Gussel] meets on the second A Day of the week (Wed/Thurs).

All small groups are during Literacy and large groups will be during EL time.

What is Bridges Math all about?
Some of the best info you can find is located here:

How can I be sure my kid is staying on track and not letting things fall behind?
A:  Talk to them - You can always ask students to bring writing, reading, science or social studies home with them and see what we've been up to. One of the goals in middle school is to really get the kids to be more independent for themselves and their actions.

Can you explain more about the device policy?
A: The Bring your own device policy exists to allow students and teachers enhance and supplement learning. Whether it's reading novels from an e-reader device, publishing writing on a tablet or chromebook or researching Native Americans during Social Studies, we use devices a lot. In our wing alone we have access to 3 chromecarts, a wired computer lab, 4-packs of Chromebooks in classrooms, and in some rooms, some other devices. That said there are times when they are all being used and they are not available. BYOD isn't for everyone; is is COMPLETELY OPTIONAL - Parents ultimately have the decision to sign it or not, after all, it's a huge responsibility for students. We as teachers also have final say whether they stay or not once they come in. Currently, I do not allow students to BYOD, as we usually use that for our argument topic in November to decide as a class if we should or should not. I also wait to bring in the BYOD as we work towards building the right community for it at the start of the year.  

- Thanks to Mr. Pauls for the  great questions and answers. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Open House III

Finally, the first Monday of the school year!
The kids rocked today, and I think we are really starting to "find our feet" on our paths together.

Just a heads up, this Thursday is Back to School Night, starting at 6:00-8:00. The 5th grade team is planning on having three presentations from 6-6:30, 6:30-7, and 7:-7:30.

Session 1: Homeroom teacher 6:-6:30
Session 2: Math Teacher 6:30-7:00
Session 3: Homeroom teacher (repeat) 7:-7:30
7:30-8:00 Encore Teachers

If your child has me for homeroom and me for math, than plan on being here from 6-7 or 6:30-7:30. If you are unable to attend, let me know and I can send the powerpoint presentation to you for more information. I will be discussing our overall schedule for the year as well as expectations for parents (for example, what to do when your child is sick, snacks, passes, reading at home, BYOD, homework, etc)

Afterwards, please connect with one of your child's encore teachers, as they will love talking to you as well :)

If there is anything specific that you would like me to touch on, please let me know.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Round Three- Let's Begin!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Labor Day weekend! I won't be able to write a thorough summary every Sunday, but I can start us off on a good note! Most Likely this will turn into a "homework" update. Please note, I do not give very much homework, outside of reading at least 30 minutes every day, maybe some easy word work, and a math assignment, which will most likely be every other day.   If you have questions, please have your child send me an email about it!
Here is the plan for the week:

1. More routines and rituals around KMS. The first few weeks of 5th grade is going to be spending a lot of time breaking this down so that we don't have to revist behaviors and routines later in the school year too much. Plus, KMS can be overwhelming at first!  Expect the kids to talk about getting around KMS, and various bus, bathroom and hallway procedures, as well as other classroom routines and expectations, such as workshop "non-negotiables", and reading at home! 

2.  More getting to know you activities such as : Book Histories and writing journal decorations! We are going to present a project hopefully on Friday about our book history. For example, when I was in 5th grade, I remember reading these books: BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factor and Chicken Soup for the Soul, etc. I encourage you to talk to your kiddos about their most influential books, and the worst books you remember. (BFG is my life changer. I'll be telling the kiddos alllllll about it this school year, and showing them why it's my favorite book as a read aloud!) Share your book histories with your kiddos! They will love to tell me about it the next day!
We are also planning on decorating Journals with magazine clippings, personal pictures, etc. on Tuesday, Wednesday and finishing up on Thursday. Please bring materials for the kids to use, as I only have so many magazines. 

3. Spelling inventory. I will be assessing the kiddos in their spelling skills and placing them in Words Their Way groups hopefully by next week, so we can get the ball rolling! 

4. Fountas and Pinelle testing will hopefully start Friday, or early next week! Once we get workshop rolling, it will be easier for me to get them started. 

Please have ready this week:
Student Information Card
Magazines for your kids to use and cut up