August 14, 2003
This week begins a brand new school year for all of us! I would like to extend a warm welcome to my new students. As always, the start of a school year holds the promise of new discovery and learning, as well as the prospect of personal growth in all areas.
I have put together a handbook of information to help you and your child become familiar with my expectations for the school year. Please take a day or two to read through this information, then sign your name on the line below. On Monday, I will check each student's handbook for a signature. In this way, I can be sure that all parents have seen our class handbook. Then you may want to keep the handbook in a special place so that you may refer to it throughout the year. If you need to contact me, my email address is email@example.com. I
check my email daily and I will respond promptly. If you do not have email, you may call the school and leave a message ().
I’m looking forward to an exciting year with my class. Thank you for your cooperation in getting this year off to a great start!
: (will be used for class activities)
Please donate any of these itemsEmpty Pringles? Cans
2 liter soda bottles
? pint milk or juice cartons
Cardboard Tubes (wrapping paper, paper towels, etc.)
Paper Bags (any sizes)
Plastic Film Canisters
Plastic Fishing Worms
New or Used Child Books or VHS Videos
New or Used Card or Board Games
Bean Bags and Pillows for the Reading Corner
Tempera Paint (Poster Paints)
Glitter - any color
New or Previously Read Magazines and Newspapers
Blank audio cassette tapes
Child’s Name ______________________________________________
Mother’s Name ______________________________Father’s Name ______________________________
Home Phone _______________________________________________
Mom’s Work phone ____________________Dad’s Work phone ___________________
Home Email _________________________________Work Email _______________________________
Home address ___________________________________________________________
Child’s allergies/health concerns (if any) ______________________________________
I am available to help with (check as many as applicable):
____ Typing newsletters
____ Typing children’s work
____ Making teacher stuff on home computer (like banners)
____ Coming into the classroom to help with students
____ Coming into the classroom to do teacher stuff (such as bulletin boards)
____ Doing teacher stuff at home (such as cutting or making classbooks)
____ Helping with parties
____ Providing treats when asked
____ Field trips
____ Being a classroom parent
____ Other ____________________________________ (tell me what you’re good at!)
____ Just ask!
When are you available to help in the classroom?
Monday ___ Morning ____ Afternoon
Tuesday ___ Morning ____ Afternoon
Wednesday ___ Morning ____ Afternoon
Thursday ___ Morning ____ Afternoon
Friday ___ Morning ____ Afternoon
____ irregular schedule, but feel free to call and ask!
Tell me about your child’s strengths/special abilities:
Tell me about your child’s weaknesses/fears:
What is your child’s favorite subject? Is there any subject your child does not like?
Tell me anything else you think I should know!
I wholeheartedly believe in cooperative learning in the classroom. I have placed my students in mixed ability groups so that they may help each other during the learning
process. Research has shown that all students do better when they are allowed to discuss
and defend their ideas as they learn. Working in small groups also helps students learn
valuable social skills they will need throughout life.
Parents are often concerned about grades in the cooperative learning classroom. I want to assure parents that all grades come from individual assignments and
tests. No student's grade will be raised or lowered based on the performance of others in
the group. I will move from group to group and put one person on the spot to represent the
group and explain any part of the assignment already completed. If there is continued
disruption or lack of participation, the teacher will decide if the person needs to complete
the assigned project without the help of a group. It is unacceptable to ask to change groups.
This decision will be for the teacher.
I want to inform you of my way of communicating with you each week. I send home a weekly progress report each Friday, and I ask that you sign it and return it on Monday. I will
attach all the graded papers for that week to the form, and on the top of the report I will
write how many papers are attached. Please remove the papers, read over the comments
on the progress report, sign it, and return it to school with your child on the due date.
I will always send home a weekly progress report (or notify you that one will not be sent), so don’t accept any excuses for your child not having a progress report on Friday. If I
do not receive the form with your signature, I will call you to be
sure you have seen your child's progress report for the
The items listed on the form are stated in a positive
manner. If there are no checkmarks beside any behaviors,
reward your child for a super week in school. If there are
checks, please discuss with your child ways of improving
those behaviors in the future. When we work together, this
weekly progress report system is extremely effective.
I believe that homework is necessary for practicing skills that have been learned or for enriching the classroom experience. In many cases, homework is simply
classwork that was not finished. I try to give ample time in class for the completion of most assignments, but some students work more slowly than others and must finish at home.
In order to help students get their homework assignments done, students will take home a homework folder each night. They will write their assignments on a chart in the
folder. After they complete an assignment, they should place it in the ―Completed
Assignments‖ pocket. I encourage parents to check your child’s homework folder each night.
I expect all homework and classwork to be turned in on time. As a general rule, late
assignments will not be accepted or graded. However, students will have the opportunity to
earn "homework coupons" throughout the year. A homework coupon can be used in the
place of an assignment. I encourage students to save their homework coupons in case
they forget an assignment or have a legitimate situation which prevents them from
completing their work. Students will not be allowed to call home if they forget their work.
Organization is the key to success!
Students will be given a homework grade based on whether or
not homework is completed. Students who complete all
homework will receive a "100" to average in with their other
grades for that subject. Those who do not complete all
assignments will be graded accordingly. Homework grades will
count toward the final nine week's grade.
Students will also be introduced to the game of
Homeworkopoly! In order for a student to get their chance to
shake the die and move for the day, he or she must complete
their homework from the night before. There will be a rotating
"Game Show Host" to keep check on the board as students move. There are many prizes
and rewards to be given out!
Regular school attendance is critical to the learning process. When your child
is absent, he or she misses valuable instructional time. Please send a written note of
explanation whenever your child is absent. State law requires us to code each absence as
excused or unexcused. Excused absences include illness and doctor’s appointments.
Unexcused absences include out-of-town trips, missing the bus, and family vacations.
Students are permitted to make up work missed during excused absences. However, some
activities will be difficult or impossible for students to make up (such as science experiments
and hands-on math activities). Therefore, your child may be given an alternate assignment.
Please keep toys at home (this is school policy) unless it applies to a unit we are
studying. Lost or broken toys can lead to hurt feelings.
Research has shown that the way to become a good reader is to simply READ! With
this in mind, I have developed a reading program which requires students to read other
literature in addition to their regular reading textbook. I call this program "Literature Circles"
because we have small groups of students
Literature Circles (cont.)
reading different novels and each group has a daily or weekly "circle meeting" with me to
discuss their book. This is an exciting approach to reading, and one that third graders enjoy.
At the beginning of each session, students are introduced to the literature they will read. We take days or weeks to read the literature depending on the length of the material.
Students have daily and weekly deadlines to meet which include specific pages and
The Accelerated Reader program is a reading incentive program. Students read novels from a selected list and then take short computer quizzes to test
comprehension. Students earn points based on the difficulty of the book and their
performance on the quiz. An AR Store is offered once every nine weeks to students and
classes according to the number of points accumulated.
This year we are going to focus on choosing challenging, high-quality books. Students will be tested at the beginning of the year to find out their approximate reading
level. This will allow me to recommend books in a particular reading range for each student.
Students will get a record of their books and test score in a printout after each test.
Weekly Math Drills
In my experience, students cannot move on to higher level reasoning in mathematics until they master their basic math facts. Our math class will be
performing weekly drills beginning with basic addition facts. To demonstrate mastery,
students must correctly perform all problems in 5 minutes or less. We will also drill on
subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. You can help your child prepare by studying
with flashcards or using a homemade drill worksheet. You can even call out math facts to
your child while driving in the car or waiting in the doctor’s office!
After students master a set of math facts, they are excused from repeating that particular drill. Instead, they are given a different drill involving a different operation (if the rest of the class is still drilling addition, the excused will be drilled on subtraction).
Students who do not attain mastery after several weeks will be given math drills to perform
at home with parent supervision.
? Entering the Classroom:
Students are to walk in quietly to enter the classroom. Personal items are to be put away and
students are to find their desks to begin working independently.
? When You Are Tardy:
Again, students are to walk in quietly to enter the classroom. Being on time means being in your
seat when the bell rings. The tardy student should walk by the teacher’s desk and place the tardy
slip down on their way to put away personal items and find their desks. Remember, students who
are tardy and/or leave school early cannot earn Perfect Attendance awards.
? Leaving the Classroom:
When you leave the classroom for any reason, students should pick a red, green, or yellow
clothespin to clip to their shirt collar to show where they are going.
When you are asked to go to the office, you should walk quietly in a straight line on the right side of
the hall while keeping hands, feet and objects to yourself. You should not visit with other friends in
the hallway, peek into classrooms, stop at the restroom nor interrupt a conversation in the office.
You are able to get a quick sip of water on your way if the water fountain is located on the path to
? Listening to and Responding to Questions:
Our classroom is a very respectful classroom, which requires listening to the entire question before
raising your hand to respond with an answer. No one will be made fun of for attempting to give a
sincere and thoughtful answer.
? Participating in Class Discussions:
It is expected of everyone in our classroom to listen carefully to the ongoing discussion and offer
thoughtful input. The teacher will observe participation and select students who are not participating
for input to the discussion.
? When You Need Pencil or Paper or a Question Answered:
Your materials should be unpacked before the bell rings each morning. If you let the teacher know
you need pencil or paper in the morning as you unpack, the teacher will get the needed items.
There is no need to walk around or interrupt a lesson or a discussion to ask the teacher for pencil or
paper. If the teacher is in a lesson with the class or a group, you are to very quietly whisper your
request AT YOUR TABLE. If no one at your table will help you, then you are to raise your hand
when the lesson or discussion is finished to let the teacher know no one will help you.
? Keeping Your Desk Orderly:
Neat and tidy desks will be rewarded with treats or prizes when the ―Desk Fairy‖ visits randomly.
? Indicating Whether You Understand:
If the teacher is teaching a lesson and the lesson becomes very unclear to you, you are to think
about the question you need to ask, raise your hand and wait for the teacher to call on you.
? Announcements Over the Public Address System (PA):
No matter what is going on in class, it MUST be quiet for the announcements. Even if the
announcements do not pertain directly to you, please be quiet.
If you know in advance you will be gone, talk to the teacher to get your assignments before you go.
As long as you have an excused absence, you get to make up the work you missed while you were
gone for full credit. You have one full week to make up the work you missed; after this, it is ? When You Are Absent: recorded as a zero. In the back of the room, there are folders that correspond to the days of the
week. The extra handouts are placed in these folders. It is the responsibility of the student to go to
these folders when they return. When you are ready to turn in the completed assignments in the
student’s numbered box, complete a ―Make up Work Request‖ form and staple it to the work you are
putting in the numbered box.
? My Desk, Overhead & Computer:
Do not come to meet me to ask a question. Raise your hand and I will come to you or I will call on
you. My desk, overhead and computer are off limits to you unless I directly give you permission. I
do not like a crowd of people around my desk. I particularly do not like students standing in my view
of the class.
? Getting Around in the Classroom:
You do not need to ask permission to throw something in the garbage, to get a tissue or to sharpen
your pencil. Use your common sense when you choose to do these activities (ie., not during a
lesson or when guests are in the classroom).
? Coming to Attention
When the teacher needs to have your attention, the teacher will say, ―Give me five.‖ The teacher’s
hand will raise and you should have eyes on the teacher with silence in the room.
Give Me Five
1. Eyes on Speaker
3. Be Still
4. Hands Free (empty your hands)
? When Guests Are in the Classroom:
Guests will be treated with the utmost respect. No one will be allowed to ask
rude questions, shout at nor interrupt a guest. The same way you want to be
treated is the way you should treat others.
? If the Teacher is Called Out of the Room:
If your teacher has to leave the classroom, the teacher will let the neighboring classroom know to
watch the class. This is not the time for an indoor recess, remember, your teacher is probably
dealing with an important circumstance.
? Going to the Bathroom:
If you have need to take an emergency bathroom trip, quietly move to the teacher’s desk to get a
green clothespin and attach it to your shirt collar. You should walk quietly in a straight line on the
right side of the hall while keeping hands, feet and objects to yourself. You should not visit with
other friends in the hallway nor peek into classrooms. You are able to get a quick sip of water on
your way to or from the bathroom.
? If You are Suddenly Ill:
Skip everything mentioned for ―Going to the Bathroom‖ and move quickly to the bathroom whether
you have alerted a teacher or not. If you do not make it before you are sick, please let the teacher
know quickly so a janitor can clean the area.
? When I Am Absent:
Guest, or substitute, teachers have a difficult job. Not only must they meet new students on a
regular basis, they must also make judgements about how to provide meaningful continuity until the
regular teacher returns. I expect the class to treat the guest teacher with the warmth and hospitality
deserving any guest. I ask the guest teacher to comment on class behavior. When the class
receives praise from the guest teacher, I will provide treats and good notes to take home with you
when I return.
? The Class Schedule:
The class schedule will be posted in the front of the classroom. This schedule will show time of
each subject, as well as time of art, P.E., recess and lunch. There is no need to ask the teacher
what time events of the day occur, as there is a clock and the schedule.
? Directions for the Assignments:
The teacher will state directions for the assignment two times. If a student chooses not to listen or
forgets the directions, the student is to whisper a question to the people at their table. If the people
at your table do not know the answer to the question, the group should decide on the question to
ask and only one person from the table should raise their hand to ask the teacher.
? Passing in Papers:
While the teacher is gathering the papers, no one should turn over papers to look at someone else’s
work. Also, no one should hold up papers to tap them on their desk. The papers will be neat
enough if they are placed in a pile.
? Exchanging Papers:
When you are instructed to exchange papers, you should pass your paper quietly to a neighboring
student. You should write your number on the paper in red pen to indicate you checked the
person’s paper. The only mark your should make on someone else’s apper is to circle the answers
that were wrong and correct the answers on the side of the problem. DO NOT write comments on
the paper like, ―Great Job!‖ If there is a question about an item circled, do not argue with that
person. Quietly raise your hand and the teacher will come to you to discuss it.
? Returned Work:
When the teacher reviews student work, the papers will be returned in signed papers. If you have
any questions about the teacher’s review of your paper, quietly raise your hand and ask, ―May I see
you about this paper?‖ The teacher will meet with you at a convenient time and you will be allowed
to ask legitimate questions. Do not ask the teacher about someone else’s grade as compared to
yours because you are supposed to keep your work private and the teacher is NEVER allowed to
discuss another student’s work with you.
? Getting Materials Without Disturbing Others:
When you are getting materials for class, make sure you take the materials out of only your desk
and place the materials on the desktop quietly. It is improper to drop materials purposefully or to
slam the materials on yours or anyone else’s desks. It is also unacceptable to take materials from
someone else without first asking politely, including someone who is absent for the day.
? Moving About the Room: