About Our Class


Discipline System               

                We only have six rules in my class.  They are as follows: 

…  Follow directions the first time given.

…  Raise your hand and wait to be called on before speaking.

…  Stay in your seat unless given permission to move.

…  Keep hands, feet, objects, and/or negative comments to yourself.

…  Come to class prepared with all necessary materials and assignments.

…  Do your best at all times, no matter what you are doing. 

                There are rewards for following these rules and consequences for choosing not to follow them.  Because the students know the rewards and consequences are in advance, they may choose to keep the rules or not, and therefore choose the attached consequence or reward.  Rewards include receiving praise, classroom points (explained later), and special rewards.  Consequences include warnings, missed time from Recess or other activities (such as parties, etc), or in extreme cases, a visit to skill building or the office. 

 

Homework Folders

 

                I have provided a binder with dividers.  These will be used as your student’s homework folder.  The students are expected to take their folders home every day and bring it back to school every day.  Inside the folder will be sections for homework, other resources, work to keep at school, and work to take home..  The most important part of the folder is the homework section.  Your students will write down their homework daily (like a day planner) as a reminder to them and to inform you of their assignments.  Their homework page has a section for you to record your student’s home reading minutes and sign to certify they have read their required minutesPlease, Please, Please make sure that your student remembers to bring his/her homework folder to school each day. 


Homework Policy/sis computer grading

                I do not give weekly packets of homework as some teachers have done in the past.  My class is a very challenging class.  The students will work harder in my class than in any class previously attended.  I believe very strongly in students developing a sense of responsibility and accountability.  Therefore, if they satisfactorily complete their assignments in class they will have no homework (other than home reading).  The assignments they do not complete in class will be assigned as homework and due the next school day, unless otherwise noted.  I have noticed that students in the past have allowed the quality of their work to slip in order to get assignments finished at school and thus avoid homework.  If I notice this happening, the student will redo the entire assignment.  One great feature is our access to the SIS computer program.  The district will send home a password and a username for your student.  You will be able to log on to the district web site and see your student’s grades daily.  By logging on daily you will also be able to see if your student is missing any assignments (shown as a Missing score).  I also send home paper progress reports about every two weeks for those who don’t have access to the internet (or just like paper!).  Students may make up any missing assignment at any time and turn it in for grading without a late penalty.  Students may also redo any assignment they didn’t score well on at any time.  I also send home a daily homework email. This email will contain all assignments due for homework the next day, as well as any upcoming events. You will get these emails as long as you have updated your students’ information on SIS and included your email address in the contact information.

 

Home Reading Policy 

                I require that the students read a minimum of 30 minutes per night.  This includes the weekend.  Their total reading minutes should total 210 minutes per week or more.  Students may read more than 30 minutes per night if they choose.  I have even had students that have missed a day or two during the week read extra on other nights to total 210 minutes per week.  That’s just fine.  Please record the number of minutes your student reads every night on their homework page and sign itIf I do not see a parent signature I cannot count their minutes.  I record each minute your student reads.  There are great incentives for those who complete their reading. These incentives take include huge reading parties (1 per quarter) as well as other, smaller incentives during the semester.  One of the most important parts of daily reading is building up reading stamina and developing good habits. Reading the entire total of the minutes in 2 days is extremely less effective.

 

The Death Roll / preparation 

                Please don’t be alarmed by this title.  It actually comes from a book we have read in class ( 101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher,  by Lee Wardlaw).  The death roll was created by my 2006-07 class and implemented to encourage daily preparation.  I keep track of each student’s daily preparation.  To be prepared, students must have all homework assignments completed and turned in, as well as all materials (books, pencils, homework folders, etc.) in class ready for use.  Those that are prepared for one calendar week will receive a “death roll” on Friday.  The death roll gives the students access to special rewards depending upon the number they roll on the 10 –sided die.  The rewards given from the death roll will be decided by the class the first week of school.


Book Orders 

                I believe that one of the most important things to help a student learn and love to read is to surround him/her with good literature.  Having books that arouse a student’s interest is a great way to motivate him/her to read.  I will send home a book order form about once per month.  Please don’t feel that you are in any way obligated to purchase a book from these orders.  I just want to give you all the opportunities possible to get good books for your child at really discounted prices.  For each order, I will send home a code where you can order the books online rather than send checks to school. Also, as your student orders books through the class order, the Scholastic Company sends us free books for use in my classroom.  This way, your child’s personal library and my class library may be built up at the same time.


Classroom Library 

                I have a pretty good-sized library in my classroom.  All of these books are books that I have purchased with my own personal money or have been obtained through the book orders.  I want to let your child check out my books and take them home to read.  I cannot afford to send them home, however, and not have them returned.  I have set up a library checkout  system to keep track of which students check out which books.  If a book returns severely damaged or is lost, the student who checked out the book will be financially responsible to replace my book

 

Classroom points 

                I have previously referred to classroom points while discussing my discipline system  I give points  for asking questions, following directions, helping neighbors, etc.  Each person will keep a tally of the points they earn on a sheet taped to their desks.  The students will use the points for many things throughout the month—fines, extra privileges , etc.  When each individual reaches a certain number of points, the class earns a party. 

 

 Higher order thinking 

One thing that is different about my class is the use of Higher Order Thinking activities. I created this program a couple of years ago. I want the students to learn to think creatively and solve problems, not to just regurgitate information. In addition, they need to be able to develop good problem solving strategies, as well as a willingness to attack unfamiliar, challenging problems and situations.  They are responsible to complete one puzzle per day. Of course you may help them, but I expect every student to try their best and complete their assignment. These are not graded. The reward for completing the puzzles and getting them correct is classroom points.

 

Math facts

                     A huge emphasis for all 4th graders is to memorize all of their multiplication facts (0-12) and all of their division facts (0-9). They will pass them off to me in class, not using a time test.  The goal is to develop rapid recall and automaticity. If they know these basic facts, they will be so much more successful as they learn new and complex mathematical concepts.  Please do your best to help them study, learn, and practice these facts.

 

Summary 

                Finally, I am extremely pleased to have your student in my class this year.  We will have a good time.  Your students will work hard and probably participate in things they have never done before.  The page stapled on the back of this letter is the signature form that I referred to earlier.  This signature form lets me know that you have read and agree to the policies I have discussed in this letter.  The signature page needs to be sent back to me before your student may participate in any of the classroom activities (the classroom library, for example).  Thanks for all your support.  Please remember that my classroom is an open-door classroom, which means that you may come in and visit or participate in class at any time during the year.  Just show up!  There is no need to call ahead. I know that as we work together your child will have an extremely successful and happy year. 

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