Yes, I know it’s a little early to be thinking about Back to School.
But, as the school year ends, it is a great opportunity to reflect on things that you want to change and other things that you want to keep the same.
There are two things that I will always do at the beginning of the school year: 1. a letter to the students, and 2. a handout for the parents.
Today, I will blog about the letter and tomorrow will be about the handout.
The Beginning of School Letter:
1. No matter how young the student is, I send the letter to them…not the parents. Isn’t it special at that age to receive something in the mail just for them?
2. It’s a letter, not a postcard. There are things that I want them to know that just don’t fit on a postcard. As well as introducing myself, I am setting a tone for the classroom.
3. Send it as soon as you know the students in your class. You want them to get excited for school as early as possible. =)
4. Content is everything.
- My goals for them
- Classroom Rules
- How to ask for help
- Procedures that can be confusing that only pertain to our classroom
- Meet the Teacher Night date and time
5. More information to come.
6. Closing with contact information
7. Check spelling, punctuation, grammar, and typos. If you have any, it becomes a bad reflection on your part.
Here is my latest letter as an example.
Dear Fifth Grade Student,
Once again, summer draws to an end, but I can’t wait for the school year to start because I have some great things planned! We are going to have fun, but also work hard. It is my joy to welcome you to fifth grade at _______________ School. In an effort to make this year as beneficial as possible, I want to let you know a few things to expect in fifth grade with me, __________, in room ___.
My goal for you this year is that it will be a year for growth academically as well as in character and who you are. I would like to come along side you to be challenged in all areas of learning. It will be an exciting year ahead, packed with lots of activities that will enrich you for the rest of your life.
I look forward to meeting you at Meet the Teacher Night on Thursday, September ___, between 6:00 pm and 7:30 pm. Not only do you get to say “Hello” to me, but you get to pick up your first homework assignment. It is a piece of cake! All you have to do is take your books home and cover them with a non-sickly cover and return them on our first day of school. If you want, you can even bring book covers with you to Meet the Teacher Night so your homework will be done here!
As far as supplies, most of the essential items that are required will be given to you and will stay in the classroom. You will see them on your desk at Meet the Teacher Night. There will be a few items that you will need to purchase and bring the first day of school. These items are:
- wide ruled lined paper
- expandable file, 10-13 pockets (to organize your work, I’ll have an example at Meet the Teacher Night)
- one sock (becomes an eraser for white boards at your desk)
- graph paper
Because we don’t have much space in the classroom, rolling backpacks, 3-ring binders, and pencil cases will not be allowed. Throughout the year, you will need to replace supplies as they get used (pencils, paper, etc.).
You will enhance your learning in the following subject areas: spelling, English grammar, writing, reading, math, science, and American history. A brief weekly agenda will be posted on the school website. Homework is a major responsibility for you and will reflect different areas of learning. It will be issued on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights. There may be a few Wednesdays and Fridays that you will have homework, but I will make sure those are rare! Some of the homework will involve vocabulary development, math review problems, spelling practice, reading, and writing.
As far as classroom management, I have three classroom rules, which are:
- Follow directions the first time
- Show respect through actions and words
- Be prepared with the right supplies and attitude
I will phone or e-mail your parents from time to time whenever an urgent need arises, but my emphasis is making you personally responsible for your work and your success in my classroom. I am always willing to provide extra help for you if you need it. Typically, the best time to ask for help is during first recess or lunch recess. I can be available for help after school, though because of meetings and other responsibilities, let me know in advance to see if I will be available. If you ask for help, I will make time to help you. If your parents should have any questions about your progress, they may e-mail or call me to set up an appointment to meet. I would prefer a short note through e-mail as they usually require just a quick response back.
There are some unique approaches I use in my teaching. The procedures I use are based upon educational research and personal experience. For example, students usually do poorly on make-up tests. Therefore, I seldom give make-up tests; instead the next test will count as both tests. Also, there are no extra credit assignments available in my class. If you do your best on your school work, there is no need for extra credit. However, we all have bad days and you may choose to redo any D or F papers for a 70%, C-, grade. Many graded assignments will receive points for neatness as well as content.
I will explain these procedures the first day of school in more detail and to your parents at Back to School Night. In addition, I will discuss the fifth grade curriculum, field trips, state report, state board, and goals for the year.
I am looking forward to an excellent school year. I can hardly wait to get to know you this year and I assure you that I will do my best to keep you challenged and as a class we will be a support and encouragement to one another. I look forward to working with you and your parents to make this an outstanding year.
Don’t forget to share this letter with your parents…they need this information too!
I look forward to meeting you Thursday, September ___ between 6:00 pm and 7:30 pm!
school e-mail address
school office phone #