Back-to-School Night Information Packet
The primary subjects of study will be:
My 4th graders will be exposed to a variety of music, work on language arts activities (such as public speaking, memorization, and working in groups to write and perform a skit), participate in P.E., and work on computers in the Computer Lab.
There will be Brain Practice every night except Friday. Students will be given approximately one hour of academic practice, which will usually include Math, Language Arts, Social Studies or Science. Typically, the practice will include up to three assignments from the primary subjects in the curriculum. Of course, there will be short-term and long-term projects that may require work at home addition to the regular nightly assignments, but I will try to reduce the amount of other assignments (Brain Practice to accommodate these projects. The purpose of giving nightly assignments is to reinforce concepts we've covered in class. There will be both (Brain Practice), assignments on concepts that are out spelled clearly in the text, and that I feel confident the class can do, and there may also be assignments that are intended to enrich or challenge students. This academic practice should not take more than 1 hour, but depending on your child's work habits and specific strengths and/or weaknesses, it may take more or less time. IT WOULD BE IDEAL IF EVERY STUDENT HAS ACCESS TO A COMPUTER SO THAT SOME PAPERS CAN BE TYPEWRITTEN, SOME RESEARCH CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED, AND/OR THE SCIENCE TEXTBOOK MATERIAL COULD BE VIEWED ON CD-ROM. HARVEY GREEN ALSO HAS AN INCREDIBLE LIST OF WEB SITES ACCESSIBLE, VIA THE HARVEY GREEN WEB PAGE, THAT ARE ENORMOUSLY VALUABLE FOR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT.
BRAIN PRACTICE (HOMEWORK) ASSIGNMENTS must be turned in on time. The only exception will be family emergencies. Of course, there may be other extenuating circumstances and we can discuss each situation as it arises. Students are responsible for their brain practice even when they are absent from school. Late work may not be accepted, so please discuss with me if you know your work will be turned in late due to absence or family commitments. Please write a brief note or call and leave a message in my classroom; 656-6438 x 41309. Finally, try also to call the office and arrange to pick up the assignments, due to the absence, by each day's end.
Students who complete and turn in all assignments, on time and daily for the entire week will be allowed to play board games during free time on Friday.
BRAIN PRACTICE MATRIX
The first space on the matrix for each day is left for the student to fill out the name of the from which he or she is reading. This is sometimes specifically assigned. And when it is not, your student will have the opportunity to choose. However, there should be included in the space on the matrix, the title of the book, the time (30-40 minutes, or more) spent reading and the page numbers.
In addition to this, the students will write down the additional assignments for home practice on a day-to-day basis. Included in this packet is an example of the matrix. Upon completion of the day's assignments, the parent or guardian is to review the assignment listed and the completed work, and sign the matrix. This completion-assignment-check is to take place EACH DAY.
Check also for the proper heading on each assignment; complete name and number, date, and subject (subjects are to match the list used for the subject dividers used in the binders). Papers without proper heading information may be thrown away and credit will not be given. Unless specified, all student work is to be written in pencil. All assignments should appear clean and neat, and answers to questions should be written in complete sentences. Lessons are designed to mold, shape, and build stronger thinking skills which include comprehension, analysis, reason, critical thinking, the synthesis of ideas for interrelated topics, comparisons and contrasts of issues, etc. Thorough understanding of the academic curriculum is the desired outcome of a good education.
The READING program is multi faceted. Along with the 4th grade Treasures curriculum, we participate in the Accelerated Program. This is a more individualized, read at your own level, program. However, the students are given individualized point goals for each trimester, based on their level of master in reading/comprehension, and these goals are assigned with the ideas that each student can and will reach the goal if he or she is involved with the additional reading practice that needs to take place on a daily basis. This is, most often, the "reading choice" the student is logging on the Brain Practice sheet, daily. We also participate in the Reading is Cool program monthly. The San Jose Sharks Hockey Team has set up a reading program which reviews, each month, the separate reading log kept by each student, and rewards classrooms and student achievement. These logs must be signed off by parent. Reading grades are, in part, based on meeting the book reading requirement. Books should be at the child's reading level or higher. Books like Goosebumps and other cartoon or TV-based books are really not acceptable. Please help your student select good reading books; books that are award winners or classics, and that promote good authorship. Please assist your child complete this modest requirement.
Finally, to further track and develop reading comprehension and writing skills, there are two book reports due each trimester, a total of 6 book reports for the year, that are also required.
The BINDER is organized in a specific order and all papers are to be filed inside until the end of each trimester. Most of you have been fantastic about taking care of that requirement as soon as the assignment was presented. However, the PARENT INFO section should not remain full. This section is where papers for the parents and guardians are placed so that you know where to look for the information meant for you to track. Nearly every day some new paper is placed there. Please remove these regularly and take care of the business at hand. If items placed are stored there, I will think that you are probably not aware of that piece of school business. And after a time the binder is bulging with old business. Please review other subject areas of the binder so that you can see the grades received, but please leave them in there for our ability to revisit a prior lesson.
GRADING BRAIN PRACTICE/CLASSWORK
All student work counts. These items reflect a student's effort, quality of performance, skill development and progress. Besides tests, I will grade most student work so that the report card grades do reflect your student's total efforts. Tests, however, are the most critical scores when the grades are averaged.
The following is the grading scale:
A=90 - 100%
B=80 - 89%
C=70 - 79%
D=60 - 69%
F=59% and lower
My expectation in the 4th grade is a continuation of character development; which is a big component of success anywhere. A behavior chart will be used so that behavior changes will be reflected on it daily. Misbehavior includes not paying attention, not being prepared for the day with materials and lessons, disruptive chatting or discourteous behavior. If student has 2 or more warnings in a day, the student will write about the character trait he or she will work on to improve future behavioral choices. However, if the student has repeated difficulty throughout the day, you might receive a phone call. My hope is that your ability to reach the student and assist in helping encourage right behavior, is the key ingredient that is missing from the day that is out of balance.
A list was provided to parents at the end of the last school year. The following are highly recommended:
Please give generously to the Walk-a-thon. This money is spent for classroom materials, art supplies, books, and rewards for the year. Our goal is to reach $800. I would really like to purchase ribbons, pins and trophies, for example, to give to students who work hard to improve themselves. Many of the Accelerated Reading books I have in the classroom are quite old and beginning to fall apart. If there should be a surplus, the money can also be put toward defraying the cost of a field trip.
It is a privilege for a student to go on any field trip. Behavior and effort in class are factors that could determine whether a child will be allowed to go on these field trips. We are still planning our field trip agenda, and ideas are currently in the works so we have not gotten all of the details and costs together. I encourage parents to join us for the field trips. If you have a great field trip idea that ties in with our California history curriculum, please let me know.
Please sign and return the Back-to-School Night Form to me,
Miss Melanie MacAdams Thank you.