Miss Ritzman's Class

Welcome to the fifth grade and a brand new school year!  As usual, summer cruised on by and it is hard to believe it is over.  I hope all of you had a wonderful summer and many great opportunities as a family.  I cannot believe that I am already entering my 21st year of teaching at Saint Charles.  The past twenty years have truly been a blessing and extremely wonderful experiences for me.  I am very anxious to begin a new year and work with each and every one of your children.  Mrs. Hanaway has told me so many wonderful things about this class.  Communication is an essential part of each child’s education and my goal is to establish that early on.  As the school year progresses, I want to extend an invitation for you to contact me with any questions and concerns that may arise.  I am more than willing to sit down and discuss whatever issues that may come up.  My number one priority is your child and whatever can be done to help them succeed in my classroom.  When the family and school work together in reaching this goal, the student will experience more success.  Therefore, I feel the following information will help you in understanding the routines of our day and the expectations that I have for your fifth grader.


During the course of each day, I will allow a fair amount of time for students to begin working on their homework assignments.  It is my hope that the students take advantage of this study hall time and not confuse it with the chance to visit with friends.  Students are expected to complete any unfinished homework assignments at home.  The amount of time needed to complete any assignments will ultimately vary with the individual student.  If you feel that they are taking too much time to complete their homework, please let me know and we can discuss the individual situation.  All efforts will be made to have a homework-free weekend.  However, there may be times when a long-term project or studying for a test will require some work on a weekend.  Besides these situations, I feel it is important to spend time together as a family on weekends because this is also an excellent form of learning.

 Students will always know about tests at least a week in advance.  We will spend a great deal of time reviewing in class.  They will receive a study guide for each upcoming test so they will always know what is on the particular test.  The tests are a little longer and more complex but there is no doubt in my mind that they will do amazing on the tests.

 If for some reason a homework assignment is not completed, a note signed by a parent is necessary in order to excuse your child.  This assignment then needs to be completed by the following day in order to receive full credit.  If a note is not brought in, ten points will be deducted from their score each day that it is late.  If a student has a pattern of incomplete or late assignments, I will contact you and evaluate the situation.  I realize emergencies do come up and we will work together to figure out the best alternative in these types of situations.


When a student does not succeed on an assignment (usually below an 80%), I will reteach the student and ask him to make corrections.  I do not feel that it is adequate for them to move onto the next skill, if they are still having some difficulty on the previous one.   I will work on corrections to fully serve the needs of your child.


Your child must carry a book with them at all times so that if they finish their work early they have something to read.  Some students tend to finish their schoolwork earlier than others might.  The students will have thirty minutes of every school day which is silent reading.  I ask that they only read chapter books during silent reading rather than comic books or magazines.  I have two large bookshelves of many different kinds of books right in the room.  I encourage the students to use silent reading time to read the book that they will use for their book reports.

Snack time:

Each day we will have a morning snack time around 9:45.  All I ask is that students do not bring cookies, candy, or other sugary foods.  My goal is to have snacks that are nutritious. Thank you for your cooperation!!  On Fridays, I allow the kids to have a junk food snack. From experience, this is usually the one snack that they look the most forward to. 


On each Monday, your child will be given a spelling pretest that consists of 25 words.  Throughout the week, we will complete different spelling exercises, games, and homework assignments that use these 25 words.  On Fridays, they will then take the final posttest and all 25 words will count.  I always give what is called a super bonus challenge word at the conclusion of the posttest.  I usually take a challenging word that was in any subject curriculum for that week.  If they get it right, they will get an extra five points added onto the final score.  If they get it wrong, it will get crossed out and not count against their score.

 Weekly Folders:

Every Monday the work from the previous week will be sent home in a white envelope.  It will be an opportunity to see exactly what we did during the previous week and the individual progress they are making.  Specific tests and projects may be sent home separately at times.  If there is no school on a Monday, it will be sent home the next day on which we do have school that week.  Please look over the work with your child and sign the appropriate line on the envelope.  A space has been provided for any comments you may have that concerns your child’s progress.  The envelope should always be returned to school on Tuesdays.  The corrected schoolwork does not have to be returned and it is yours to keep.  If signed, your child will receive a sticker on an incentive chart and will get to choose from a variety of rewards along the way.  On certain occasions, there will be a note on an assignment to make corrections.  The students will be required to do so and return those papers no later than Friday of that week.  This will help me to see if they get the concept the second time around and what skills we may need to further work on.  It is important that these corrected papers are completed because this will reflect in their effort grade.


Hot seat:

Your child will get the opportunity to take part in a class activity this year called HOT SEAT.  In the fifth grade, the students will have more opportunities to speak in front of their peers.  This always causes some nerves among the kids.  It is a great icebreaker that I use a few times a week to practice public speaking skills.  I have already filled a box with several random topics.  Students may volunteer or I may choose one at random to come up and sit in the director chair at the front of the room.  They will be given a few minutes to talk about anything that relates to this topic.  It makes them think on the spot and I have found that the kids actually get a kick out of it.  Nothing like having fun and practicing public speaking at the same time.

Mystery Baby:

Your child will be bringing home a sheet entitled, MYSTERY BABY, during the first week of school.  This will be a weekly contest that will be going on in our classroom and proves to be very fun.  As a family, I ask that you find a baby picture of your child.  The younger the better because we do not want to make it too easy for the rest of the kids.  Then, think of three original clues that describe your child.  Each week, I will pick a different Mystery Baby and see who can guess it correctly.  It is a fun and mind-boggling activity for the class.  I would love to have these in as soon as possible so we can get started.  It is important to send these in some kind of envelope so no one sees it.  All pictures will be returned after your child’s week.  Please feel free to scan and print it off from the computer if you do not want to part with the original picture.


GYM:  Tuesdays 1:00-1:45 and Wednesdays 9:15-10:00

SPANISH:  Tuesdays 1:45-2:25 and Fridays 10:00-10:40

ART:   Thursdays 9:30-10:45

HEALTH:  Mondays 2:30-3:00

LUNCH/RECESS TIME:  11:25-12:05

Time Tests:

We will be reviewing math facts for the entire year to build up the speed and accuracy of all students.  During the last few minutes of math class every Wednesday, the kids will complete a five minute time test which contains 100 problems.  We will rotate through all four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) and then start over again.  The first week will be addition, the second week is subtraction, and so on.  During the year, we will play numerous games that review math facts as well.  It is my hope that everyone masters and feels comfortable with all the facts before entering sixth grade.

Assignment Notebooks:

 In fifth grade, your child will be responsible for properly filling out their assignment notebooks after every class.  I will write the daily assignments on the whiteboard.  They can use that as a guide to fill out their own assignment notebooks.  As a parent, I ask that you check it over each and every night and then sign it.  This is a fantastic tool for communication between parents and me since we will be checking it each day.  Please feel free to write any notes for me and I will do the same.  I can understand that a night may get hectic here and there and it might not get signed occasionally.  However, I feel this procedure can be a success if everyone works together. 

Once again, I want to establish that my door to my room is always open to my students and their families.  I know this letter may have been a little lengthy but I want you to be aware of my expectations and some of my general procedures.  I am here to do whatever I can and want you to feel free to contact me.  My goal is for every student to walk away from my class and be a success.  It can happen if we all work together.  I look forward to meeting and hearing from all of you.   

Carla Ritzman 



Inspired by His grace, we choose to serve others