Dear Parent/ Guardian:
Welcome to Team Work! We are excited about being granted the privilege of teaching your child this year. Fifth grade is a very important year of learning and we hope to give your child all of the tools they will need to be a successful, lifetime learner! We have a lot planned for your child to make this year one of their best yet. Before we get to that, let us tell you a bit about ourselves.
I have been teaching in the Forest Hills school district for over 13 years. I began my career teaching kindergarten at Pine Ridge Elementary School and have been teaching 5th grade for 8 years. I attended Aquinas College, where I received my B.A. in English and Reading, and completed my Masters in the Art of Teaching. I enjoy biking, skiing, going to sporting events, and traveling with my family.
Being parents ourselves, we know how important a teacher is to the success of a student’s education and we want your child’s experience with us to be very positive and enriching. You will find that our classrooms offer many different approaches to learning, which is important since children learn in so many different ways! We strive to help every child to reach their fullest potential, to keep their natural desire to learn about their surroundings, and most importantly to have fun doing so! From the very first day of school, we seek to develop a positive relationship with all students based on respect, a positive attitude, and to encourage excitement in the process of learning.
I have been teaching in Forest Hills for 16 years. I began my career as a fifth grade teacher at Thornapple Elementary and made the move over to Central Woodlands when it opened. I enjoy teaching fifth grade and look forward to working with your child. I received my B.A. from Michigan State University and my Master’s in the Art of Teaching from Aquinas College. I currently live in Rockford with my wife, my daughter Emerson, who is ten, and my son Ian, who is seven. I really enjoy biking, skiing, traveling with my family, and boating.
This is my 20th year of teaching special education in Forest Hills. I received my undergraduate degree from Grand Valley with certificates in Elementary Education and Special Education. My Masters degree came from Western Michigan with a certificate to teach students with Learning Disabilities. I also attended Forest Hills Public Schools and have raised my 2 children here. They are both married and I have 3 grand children. I enjoy golf, biking, and spending time with family.
There are a lot of very exciting and interesting plans in store for your child this year. Mr. Lillie teaches Math and Social Studies and Mrs. Turcotte teaches Science and Language Arts. We plan together weekly to coordinate our activities and special team projects. Please review the following information about the units we will be covering over the course of the year as well as other information about our team.
We will be using a new program this year called Social Studies Alive! America’s Past. We will study geography, map skills, Native Peoples of the Americas, explorers, colonization, the westward movement, and the Core Democratic Values. During the course of the year, we will do some activities to make the study of social studies even more eventful.
We have five different units planned for this year and many different hands-on investigations and explorations will be incorporated into the units, which students will enjoy. Our units include Measuring Changes in Motion, Matter and Energy, Waves and Energy, Animal Systems, and the Solar System. Students will keep a Science notebook during each unit, which will be graded along with various assignments and unit tests.
We will be using the Everyday Math series that is a continuation of the program your child has followed previously. This program allows students to engage in many games and “hands on” opportunities to understand mathematical concepts and to learn the connections between math concepts and real-life problem solving. Students will have a math journal that is a workbook for both class and homework. Timed tests on basic facts will be given in the first half of year on Multiplication and Division. Please help your child study his/her facts through the 12’s if needed. Students will be pre-tested at the beginning of each new unit in order to provide enrichment for those who have already mastered concepts in the unit being taught.
The students will be reading from various selections from our reading program The Book Whisperer. Instruction will be done in small groups, whole group, and on an individual basis. This program will focus heavily on improving reading comprehension through designated reading times during the school day. We have set our goal to have all students read 30 books of their choice this year!
Students will be writing on a daily basis this year. Our ultimate goal for students is to become more fluent writers. We will also focus on writing many different genres throughout the year. Students will learn many important writing traits and what goes into a good piece of writing. All during the year we will also explore language mechanics and grammar.
Students will take a pretest of 25 words every Monday that will be corrected and they will do some bookwork in class. Individualized lists will be compiled as needed. This list of words and bookwork will be sent home to complete and study. Spelling tests will be given every Friday.
DEAR Time (Drop Everything And Read)
Time will be devoted weekly to silent reading. Usually this will consist of reading something chosen by your child to foster enjoyment of reading. This can be a good time for your child to read the required Accelerated Reader books each marking period. More on this will be coming home later.
Who doesn’t enjoy listening to material that is entertaining and read with entertaining expression? Well, fifth graders love this part of the day so we include some read aloud time for the children several times every week to inspire the joy of reading.
Our time slot for P.E./Music is everyday from 8:55-9:40 am. These classes follow an alternating day schedule with Music falling on even numbered days and P.E. occurring on odd numbered days. Our team also will enjoy Spanish/French twice a week. In addition, Computer Lab and Media Center times will also occur weekly.
Fifth grade is a year that you will see your child make big gains in the area of responsibility. We use an approach to classroom discipline that enables students to learn to make good decisions about their own behavior so that all students have the opportunity to learn in a supportive, nurturing environment. Part of this plan is creating an enthusiastic and positive learning environment where students feel safe, respected and treated fairly. In order to achieve this, our classes brainstormed a few simple rules that students must follow:
- Follow directions the first time they are given
- Always treat others with respect and be “socially responsible”
(use the Golden Rule)
- Be a good listener during instruction as well as in group work
- Raise your hand to be recognized in class
- Bring homework and assignment book to school daily
Homework will be assigned nearly every night except on Fridays. Students will usually be given time at school to begin their assignments. Your child’s Homework Log (sometimes called a Planner) should come home daily and show a summary of what was covered that day as well as any work that wasn’t finished during the day and homework assignments. As a backup, you can always get an update on important dates, assignments, tests or project due dates by logging on our Team Webpage. Complete instructions for navigating your way to this site are included at the end of this packet. As a general guide, you can expect no more that 50 minutes will be needed to complete any homework assigned. If your child is consistently spending more time that this, please see one of us so that we can evaluate this together.
OTHER HELPFUL INFORMATION
If your child is absent, students can find out about missed assignments from our website or from a “homework buddy”. If a student has been absent only a day or two, that student will be allowed appropriate time to make up missed work. If you child’s absence is longer than a couple of days, the parent can call the office and request homework assignments and books. It is NOT suggested to contact the office for homework for short absences.
When at all possible, please try to make all appointments (doctor, dentist, etc.) for after school hours and always sign your child in or out from the office when picking your child up or bringing your child in or out from the office when picking your child up or bringing your children back to school. We will make every attempt to catch your child up academically after an absence but with appointments, mid-day illnesses and missed days it can be a challenge for us to keep the specifics of all 53 students straight. It is really helpful if your child takes responsibility for asking us what they missed upon returning and if there is any work for them to make up.
Please send in a note if there is any change of plans for your child’s transportation home from school. Please call the office if your child needs information about any changes in after school plans or in case of any emergency.
**Please note that our Transportation Department has a new policy regarding students riding home on alternate buses with friends. Only in the case of an emergency will children be allowed to ride home on an alternate bus with a friend and will require a note from the office to do so. **
Children can avoid cash at school for lunchtime by turning lunch money into the office in an envelope with their name on it before school. Checks should be made payable to Forest Hills Food Service. The money will be credited to your child’s account that day. However, debit cards cannot be used for the school store.
Students may bring a snack to get them through the long morning. If you want your child to have a snack, please help him/her pack a healthy one that is not too messy and doesn’t require spoons (fresh fruit, crackers, granola bars, etc.) Chips, candy and chocolate snacks are discouraged.
Birthdays are very special and children are welcome to bring in a birthday treat to share with the class if they’d like. Please note that we currently have 24 students and we are a PEANUT FREE classroom. All treats must be commercially made…sorry, no home baked goodies☹
Please check out our TEAM Work Webpage, which is updated daily with important information about upcoming events, tests, field trips, tests and a daily homework log.
Steps to get to the “Team Work” Website:
- Go to internet address: schoolcenter.fhps.us/teamwork
- At this point you will want to bookmark our homepage so you can go to it more quickly from the Internet.
- On the homepage there are links on the left hand side. The Homework page is updated daily but students are still responsible for filling out their homework logs every day.
- Please call (493-8790) or email us if you have questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone and email
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. You can send us a message via our website; call us at school (493-8790) or by email, (which we check frequently throughout the day). See above for email addresses.
We are grateful that you took the time to come to our curriculum night. We are looking forward to a terrific year with your child. We know that your child’s education is very important to you as well, and together we can make this an unforgettable year!
Darin Lillie Jackie Turcotte June Schaible