Dear Families,

5th graders have had an invigorating start to the year in English, as students have been engaged in Writing Workshop on an almost-daily basis since early September. This model of teaching writing, the Writing Workshop, comes from the Reading and Writing Project, based at Teachers College at Columbia University. With almost three decades of work under the leadership of Lucy Calkins, it is an innovative approach to teaching young readers and writers.

Students have worked diligently to grow as writers - finding meaning in their personal narratives, employing a variety of techniques to elaborate and develop stories, annotating and using mentor texts to guide their own writing, and revising using checklists, partners, and sticky notes.

When you arrive at the Open House on Wednesday, you’ll have the opportunity to see your child’s Writer’s Notebook, a place for generating ideas, drafting, and practicing techniques, as well as a polished Personal Narrative. Polished pieces may contain errors - and that is okay. These pieces are representative of where students currently are as writers and we’ll continue to work on grammar and mechanics throughout the year. Students have worked hard to develop their skills as writers and raise the level of their writing. Today we celebrate where each individual is in this ongoing process of growth.

Students have embraced ownership of their writing, and their growth has been exciting and fulfilling. During your visit to the English classroom, you can encourage your child to share his or her accomplishments and growth. Please ask them to read aloud the piece they’re most proud of, in their best storytelling voice. You might ask them to share their initial draft of this piece, too! You may also be curious to ask questions such as:

  • What are some ways you’ve grown as a writer since the beginning of this unit?

  • What are you still working on or what goals do you have as a writer?

  • What techniques are you trying?

  • How are you using the checklist and mentor text to annotate your work, assess personal growth, and set goals?

Please contact me if you have any questions - and I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

Homework Club: 
This year Homework Club will be on Mondays and Thursdays, beginning this coming Monday, September 26th. Interested? You can sign up on this Google Doc for September and October. 

Classroom Information:

Welcome to Ms. White's 5th grade website. Take a look around to see what kind of information you can find here! Lots of resources to check out. 

5th Grade Welcome Letter and Supply List: 

August 2016

Dear Fifth Graders and Parents,

As your homeroom team, we welcome you to a new year at the Marion W. Cross School! We are thrilled to celebrate the arrival of a new class of fifth graders, and we know this year will be one of joy, intellectual growth, and maturation. 

Beginning this year, students will have separate teachers for their core academic subjects: Ms. White and Mrs. McKeever for Mathematics, Mr. Buck for Science, Mr. Fenton for Social Studies, Mr. Fenton and Ms. White for English, and Mme Hyams and Mme Chartrand for French. The homeroom teacher will provide each student with a copy of the weekly schedule. Students will meet in homerooms at the beginning and end of each day as well as during snack and lunch.

In addition to the above classes, students will have physical education twice a week with Mr. Newton, music once a week with Mr. Ramsey, art once a week with Ms. Eastman, and library once a week with Mrs. Blongewicz. 


The following is a list of supplies we recommend for the year:

1) A 3-ring binder at least 2” wide.

2) Subject dividers (with pockets are good, but not necessary)

3) A small amount of lined paper. (Teachers make paper available in the classroom and typically rely on handouts.)

4) A 3-hole punch that fits onto the binder’s rings.

5) A pouch for pencils and erasers.

6) A year’s supply of traditional yellow pencils with high-quality, soft erasers. (The slip-on, cap erasers work best. Store-brand pencils typically have erasers that just don’t work. Decorative pencils are slightly thicker and don’t sharpen well in the classroom sharpener. We do not recommend mechanical pencils, as too many students spend an inordinate amount of class time refilling the graphite.)

7) A box of reinforcements to repair torn paperwork.

8) An advanced-level dictionary for homework (kept at home)

We provide each 5th grade student with an assignment planner, costing $4-5, on the first day of school. Remember to continue working on your summer reading, and be sure to bring in your log, with parent/guardian signature!  

Thank you!


Mr. Buck, Mr. Fenton, and Ms. White

Important Dates: 
School Year 2016-2017 Calendar
  • August 31, 2016 - First Day of School