With our waistlines expanded from a well-deserved Thanksgiving break, we settle back into school for the final month of the calendar year. November is challenging for all teachers, because we had few five-day weeks the entire month. No doubt, we all love a break, but it disrupts the continuity of learning. Of course, December is not much better – children are understandably looking forward to the holidays and the mid-winter break at the end of the month.
As the year progresses, students are maturing, accepting and understanding their responsibilities, and rising to the challenges before them. It is exciting to see such changes. I hope you see these signs at home, as well. I enjoyed meeting with many of you this past week for parent-teacher conferences. It was a pleasure to share with you your children’s numerous accomplishments.
On a personal note: I will be performing this month in the Christmas Revels. This annual, winter solstice celebration is held at Sanders Theater at Harvard University. It is one of the highlights of my year, and this year I even have two featured solos. Don’t be surprised if you see a slight decrease in the homework I assign starting the week of December 5. My rehearsal and performance schedule pick up this coming week. If you are interested in knowing more about the Christmas Revels, check out the Revels web site at http://www.revels.org/ .
I invite you to visit each page of this blog for a summary of the major topics we covered in November and a preview of some of the topics we are soon to explore. As always, feel free to contact me during the day by phone at school (781.238.5684) or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). – Jamie Jaffe
I wanted to remind you about two important approaching deadlines …
- WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23 is our annual Vocabulary Parade! For this all-school event, students “dress up” as a vocabulary word of their choosing. A flyer about this event was sent home last week, and it included ideas for grade-level appropriate vocabulary words. We discussed this again in class today, and your child knows to bring his/her costume or sign to school that day (as opposed to wearing it on the bus!).
- WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30 is the deadline for Student Council’s People Helping People holiday food drive. Fifth grade has been assigned the following food items to collect: pancake mix, pancake syrup, and spaghetti sauce. There is a box in our pod for your child’s contribution.
Thanks for your continued support!
October was quite a productive month in our classroom, and we have settled into a rhythm for the year. With all of the movement to and from different teachers for English language arts, social studies, and technology, we cling to the precious minutes we have each day in morning meeting to help us sustain a sense of community.
In the weeks ahead, you can expect to hear from me about the upcoming parent-teacher conference. At Back-to-School night, some of you signed up for a conference on Thursday, December 1. I will remind those who signed up that night and will notify those of you who didn’t pick a time that night that you can select a conference time for that day. Meanwhile, some highlights for the month of October include:
► The Science Center delivered our classroom pets! We are now the proud host to two gerbils that we have in the classroom for the entire year. Students have been quick to assume responsibility for animal care, and some highly motivated and enthusiastic handlers even sacrifice their recess time to play with the gerbils. Also, as we move into the second half of our science unit on animals, we will welcome three invertebrate visitors: a crayfish, a tarantula, and a tank of hissing Madagascar cockroaches.
► By October we were in full swing switching classes for English language arts. This is quite a challenge, but students seem to enjoy the opportunity to get to know other fifth grade teachers. They also seem to understand that this is good preparation for middle school. As teachers, we love the opportunity to get to know students from other classes; however, the challenge it presents us is to help students learn better organizational skills as they transition from one subject and one teacher to another.
While I love keeping you informed through this blog, I will always favor a more personal communication style. So, feel free to connect with me by phone (781.238.5684) or via e-mail (email@example.com). Face-to-face meetings are always appreciated, as well.
I just wanted to remind you that picture day is tomorrow, Wednesday, October 5. Your child has already come home with an envelop for you to return with his/her picture selection and check.
It’s hard to believe that more than a month has already passed since your children started fifth grade. Our classroom has been alive with activity (literally … more about our furry arrivals under Science!).
Students are working hard to meet the expectations set for them; and, with each passing day, they are encouraged to assume more personal responsibility. When children come up to me in class asking, “What should I do with this paper?” I often reply, “See if you can figure this out yourself.” In almost all cases … they can!
We have been reading, writing, and computing, and students are adjusting to a daily schedule that has them changing classrooms and teachers. I’m impressed by their resilience.
I so enjoyed meeting all of you the first week of school, and it was a pleasure to see so many of you at our recent Back-to-School night. As teachers, we enjoy the format of meeting with you as a team. I hope you got something out of it. I also hope you find this blog useful as a way to keep informed about classroom happenings. Of course, the homework page is updated daily. View each page to find out what we have been working on in class. If your child is working with other fifth grade teachers, their blogs (with links under “blogroll” at the bottom of this page) will be useful to you, as well. Last but not least, feel free to contact me directly with comments or questions at: 781-238-5684 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
One imminent announcement: School pictures are this Wednesday. Your child will be coming home with information tomorrow about your picture purchasing options.