Weekly Announcements:

Friday, September 7 – All School Assembly, 2:30pm

Friday, September 14 - 5/6 Morse Hill Field Trip

Saturday, September 15 – Celebrate Shutesbury on the Town Common with the PTO, 10am-2pm

Thursday, September 20 – School Committee Meeting, 7:00pm

Thursday, September 26 – Open House, 6:30-8pm

Wednesday, September 30 - PTO Meeting, 7pm

**Thursdays on-going – Kickboxing with Amy McDonald, 3:30-4:30pm**

August 31, 2018

Dear Sixth Grade Families,

As we settle into school, I wanted to share a bit more to orient you to how our classroom flows from day to day and how I work as a teacher. If I’ve left anything out that you have been wondering about, please reach out to me and ask!

Communication: I will be using ClassDojo as my primary means of communication to share our “Class Story.” I will be posting photos to show visually what’s happening in the classroom.I also send a “Class Newsletter” each week by email to share about our week and highlight any announcements. I sometimes include photos in this email as well. I ask that all families do not share our classroom email photos or ClassDojo photos with anyone who is not in our classroom family circle. You will get an invitation to join ClassDojo and once you accept, you will be able to see photos and narrative regularly.

Homework: My main belief is that children work hard in school to develop many skills and that home time should be for mostly rest and play, so along these lines, homework consists of independent reading (at least 20 minutes) and a weekly math packet that is due on Fridays. As the year progresses, there are times when we are publishing books or working on a project, that some children might take home some writing or extra book illustrating to work on. As this happens, I will write email notes home letting you know what kind of work is coming home and the timeline for this work. Students will be given a homework folder to keep their corrected papers and homework organized. This folder is expected to travel back and forth from school to home with the student. There is a pocket labeled for work to be returned to school and a pocket labeled for work that can stay at home. Students will have a correspondence sheet on the back of the folder should you want to send a quick note and request, email is preferred. There will also be a homework assignment sheet for the front of the folder for students to practice the habit of recording their assignments, along it will only be done once a week, it will still create a routine for them.

Family-School Connections: I welcome and hope for family participation in the classroom on a volunteer basis, CORI checks will be necessary in order to do this, please see Jessica in the office to complete one if you have not already. When possible, I reach out to families and community members and involve them in our curriculum and classroom life, so you will see frequent invitations in our email newsletters to come in to help with special projects or events. You may also come to share your expertise on a particular topic that we are studying, come to chaperone a field trip, help with ongoing projects, help us to sew books during our publishing days or just help with our school work. I not only welcome these collaborations, I love them! So please reach out to me about any and all ways that you would like to get involved.

First Weeks of School: During the first few weeks of school, we will be playing games to get to know each other, singing new songs, learning our classroom routines, coming up with our class name and creating our own set of classroom rules. And we will be starting our literacy, math, science and social studies curriculum too! Reminder: Please look out for all the paperwork and forms that will need to be signed and returned. Thank you.

Dear Sixth Grade Families and Students,

Welcome to our sixth grade community! I write to introduce myself as your sixth grade teacher. In the classroom, families and students can call me Amy. This is my second year in at SES and my eleventh year of classroom teaching. I look forward to getting to know each of you as the school year begins. During the first two weeks of school, the children will vote on a name for our classroom, so this may be the last letter in which I refer to the children as “sixth graders.” Get ready to hear what creative name your children choose for their sixth grade group this year.

In my teaching this year I plan on working to integrate the educational practices of Project-Based Learning, Critical Skills Classroom, and Universal Design for Learning into our classroom whenever possible. Sixth graders are eager to understand why they are doing what they are doing and doing projects together gives them a sense of purpose and understanding. This year, in the works are plans for family author celebrations, going back in time to a mock “Town Meeting” debating whether or not the Quabbin Reservoir should be built in the site chosen for its construction, performing a play about Sojourner Truth and more!

This year we will have opportunities for families to come and see exhibitions or performances of student work and to participate in Author Celebration gatherings. After each exhibition of student work and learning, we always eat a potluck meal together either in the classroom or outdoors. These celebrations and meals are held for the most part in the evenings so that families can attend after work is over. At SES, we will hold these celebrations together with the fifth grade families! Laura Ginsberg-Peltz (new fifth grade teacher) and I will be sending out dates for each celebration of learning with as much advance notice as we can, so that you can have time to “save the dates!”

The best way to reach me is by email at . When you have important concerns after school hours, I like to make myself available to you. I prefer to talk about anything sensitive or difficult by phone, since I find that emails can be easily misunderstood when there is a lot to discuss. So when necessary, you can leave me a message at 413-259-1212 ext 124 and I will call you when I am free to connect. For longer conversations, I am available to meet after school or during the school day by appointment.

For the first day of school please bring:

1) 5 spiral notebooks (one subject). 2) 3 ring binder (no larger than 2 inches) 3) 1 pack of Ticonderoga Pencils. 4) Two Photos, one of your child alone and another of your family to hang up in the room next to your child’s work. These will be returned at the end of the school year.

Note: While students are welcome to bring in their own crayons and colored pencils, there are already plenty available to use in the classroom.

For additional classroom supply donations, we are always in need of: tissues, pencils (Ticonderoga brand works best), liquid glue, glue sticks and 3 x 5 index cards, spray bottles of Seventh Generation cleaner, and disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizers.

I will be attending the Back to School Night at SES on Tuesday August 21st at 6:00. I look forward to seeing you all there or on the first day of school. II look forward to a wonderful year together!

Many thanks,

Amy McDonald