Saturday, September 11, 2010

For Parents

Welcome to the fifth grade! It is exciting to be starting a new school year and getting to know the new fifth graders and their families. I am looking forward to meeting many of you at Open House on September 15.

Here are a few bits and pieces of information that you may find helpful as we begin the year together.

Homework Expectations:

Homework sometimes becomes more of a challenge for students as they start fifth grade. Students may feel overwhelmed at first because of the increased workload. We try to start them off gently and ease them into the new routine. Students do adjust to these new challenges, however, and within a few weeks are usually able to complete their work without difficulty.

At first working in cursive slows many students in their ability to finish written work as quickly as they may have done when printing. This is because cursive is still new to them and they are still becoming familiar with how certain letters join or are formed. Very quickly, however, students become adept at working in cursive and then find that it is even easier then their former printing efforts.

Assignment books were ordered for all of the students to use this year. Students are expected to keep the assignment in their three-ring binders so that they are available when needed. We set aside 10 or 15 minutes every afternoon for students to write down assignments in their assignment books or planners, and to pack all necessary materials. We emphasize writing down assignments and making sure that your children know the expectations such as when an assignment is due. We ask that you get into the habit of looking at the student planner each evening so that you have a sense of what work has been assigned and when it is due.

Students will usually have homework each night in reading and math. Often they will have spelling, and/or occasionally a language arts assignment. These assignments are usually due the following day.

Students will also have social studies or science assignments which may be due the next day, but may not be due for two or three days – or longer. Many fifth graders require assistance in planning their use of time in completing a long-term assignment. We discuss the need to do a bit each night so that an assignment isn’t left until the last moment.

Since most homework assignments are review and practice of skills learned in class, I do not expect parents to be teaching skills a student may need to complete homework. I do expect students to come to class with questions regarding the work that gave them difficulty. Simply being able to state where the difficulty lies is a good way to begin analyzing the steps needed to continue. If a student has worked diligently at an assignment, but has difficulty completing the work, please write a note or call and let me know. The phone number here at school is 773-6926 and I am at extension 25.

School Supplies:

Sometimes school supplies get lost, broken, or used up. Please note that these may need to be replenished as the year goes along. Students are asked to make a note of this in their planners if they need to replace supplies. It would be a good idea if you checked in periodically with your fifth grader to see if they need to stock up on certain items.


One of our school’s goals is to promote student health and to reduce childhood obesity. We are asking students not to bring candy to share and strongly encourage only healthy snacks and lunches. We know that students often like to share a special snack in celebration of their birthday’s but in the fifth grade we are asking students to please not bring food in for these celebrations. If a student still wants to celebrate with their classmates we urge you to think of a healthy snack that could be shared. Some parents have been surprised to discover that the class usually enjoys fruit and/or veggie platters with some dip.

Please remove the bottom portion of the page, sign below to indicate that you have received this notice and return the signed portion of this page to school. If you ever have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me either by phone, 773-6926 X25 or e-mail.