Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year!

  
Dear Parents/Guardians,
Hello, and welcome to 5th Grade, Room 318, Home of the Lew Crew!
I am really excited about all the things we have planned this year and have truly enjoyed getting to know and working with your children thus far.  This should be a great year of growth for them! I would like to take this opportunity to answer some basic questions about what is ahead in the coming months at school. 

What are the classroom rules? 
Our classroom will be structured to establish a safe, respectful, and engaged learning environment: 

Mr. Lew’s Classroom Rules and Expectations:
Classroom Rules: 
Follow directions and put forth your best efforts! 
Come prepared for class and complete all assignments!
Pay attention and focus when the teacher is speaking!
Keep hands, feet and objects to yourself!
Respect others; be kind with your words and actions!
Expectations:  
Do what is right! 
Work hard; do your best always 
Treat others the way you would like to be treated
Have a Growth Mindset!
Use the Filter!

Consequences: 
When a student follows the rules the consequences include gaining personal pride in their performance, having the best opportunities for successful learning, earning good grades, and enjoying fun rewards. When a student breaks the rules the consequences may include a note (email) or phone call to parents/guardians and/or the student writing an action plan, serving a recess/lunch detention, visiting the principal, or other disciplinary measures as stated in the CPS student handbook. 

What should students bring to class?

Assignment Notebook
Novel to read
Subject matter notebooks and folders
Loose-leaf paper (wide ruled)
3 pens and 3 sharpened or mechanical pencils
Positive attitude!

What about the core subjects?
Math:  We are doing “Walking Math”, where some students will switch classes for math.   Our Math Program for first quarter will consist of students learning various problem solving strategies, reading and interpreting graphs, displaying data, describing data, making sense of large numbers, number/operation sense, an introduction to algebra, and decimals.  We will have daily homework, quizzes every week, and tests every few weeks.  

The Math Grade will be comprised of:

Assessments 50%
Assignments 40%
Homework 10%

Reading
Our Reading Program for first quarter consists of reading stories in our basal reader, reading various novels from different genres, and writing/sharing book reports.  Throughout the quarter we will be working on comprehension and fluency, identifying major themes and concepts, context clues such as sequence and cause and effect, and utilizing literature to question, connect, predict, evaluate, and clarify.  We will also engage in literature circles and continue to work on our extended response writing skills.

The Reading grade will be comprised of: 
Assessments 50%
Assignments 40%
Homework 10%

Writing/Spelling/Grammar
Our Writing Program for first quarter consists of journal writing, bi-weekly essays, spelling and grammar.  At least three days per week students are given fifteen minutes to respond to the prompt.  The prompt message is a thought provoking question or a story starter and the students are required to write at least 130 words on the given topic.  
Our bi-weekly essays for the first quarter focus on building students’ narrative writing skills.  Students will be required to follow the writing process and produce prewriting, a first draft, editing, and a final draft of their work. These essays should be a minimum of five paragraphs. 
In addition, there may be essays written for other subjects, such as Social Studies, that are counted for a writing grade.  Rubrics will be used to score essays.
Our Spelling Program for first quarter consists of weekly spelling homework and tests.  Every week the students will take a pretest consisting of twenty spelling words.  In addition to learning and studying these words, they will be required to turn in assigned homework on the spelling words.  As a class we will review and reinforce the words throughout the week.  At the end of the week, students will be required to take a test on the twenty spelling words.

The Writing Grade will be comprised of: 
Journal Writing 25%
Assignments/Essays  25%
Homework 10%
Assessments (spelling and grammar) 40%

Social Studies
Our Social Studies Program for first quarter will focus on the exploring and settling of The United States and the immigrants and cultures that make up our country.  In addition, literature will be tied into the curriculum and students will be able to explore novels dealing with the themes we are learning in Social Studies.  We will also be studying and learning the 50 states and capitals as well as doing a state research project.

The Social Studies Grade will be comprised of
Assignments/Projects 25%
Scholastic News 15%
Assessments  50%
Homework 10%

What about Books Read and Book Reports? 
The students are responsible for reading the equivalent of 40 books (one book per week).  They will log their books in a book report log.  One book is equal to 150 pages and the book should be grade appropriate (4th to 8th grade level).  The students are required to complete 25 books reports for the year.  These can be accomplished in a variety of ways:  completing a book report form, selecting from the “ABC list of book sharing, reading counts quizzes, to name a few.  We will also be doing one “Special” book report project each month.  September was a Fiction Storyboard.  

What about the school website?
This is the school’s website:  http://www.skinnerwest.cps.edu/   Please sign up for the weekly newsletter if you have not done so already.  Typically, you will find out all of the important dates and deadlines with the regular news blasts that are emailed 
 
What about the Class fee?
The 5th grade school fee is $89, please pay if you have not done so already.  If you are unable to pay please let me know. These fees are necessary for supplementary materials, test prep items, incentives, class parties, field trips, etc.

What about Scholastic Book Orders?
I will be sending home Scholastic Book Order forms every couple of months.  If you choose to purchase books, please order online by visiting www.scholastic.com/bookclubs and using the activation code:  HLFWP.  You can also submit a check and the order form, with the books marked off, in an envelope with your child’s name and our room number.

What is the homework policy? 
Homework is critical for your child’s success, just as football practice is for the football player, cheerleading practice is for the cheerleader, or piano practice for the pianist. Homework is due on the date as assigned, and I will go over it with my students. Sometimes I will grade it for completion; other times I will grade it for accuracy and quality. Late homework will have points deducted. Students who do not turn in homework on time may be required to have a note signed by a parent or guardian. 

What is my child’s responsibility for completing homework? 
Students are responsible for writing the assignment for each class in their assignment notebook.  I recommend that parents check their child’s assignment notebook each evening. Your child is responsible to copy the assignments in their assignment notebook and for completing each entire assignment, no blanks (giving the “best guess” when unsure), and turn it in when it is due.  

How can I support my child’s homework efforts? 
I recommend that you check Google Classroom and your child’s assignment notebook, especially early in the year as students develop important routines and establish personal work habits for success. It is important for you to provide encouragement and the time, tools, and setting (quiet, good lighting, etc.) for doing homework. You will also want to make sure that your child is organized and prepared for the next day of class before he or she goes to bed at night.  Please encourage your child to pack his/her book bag before going to bed!  



How long will my child work on homework each night? 
Homework should not average more than 60 minutes (average) a night. This does not include Independent Reading. If your child is taking longer than 60 minutes to complete homework on a regular basis, please email me so that we can work together to identify what adjustments may need to take place. 

How will my child’s other assignments be scored? Some assignments will be graded in a percentage-based way, while others will be graded on a point system. I will mark incorrect answers, and in some cases write in the correct answer. Some projects will be graded according to a rubric that is set up for that assignment specifically.   Your child will often grade his/her own paper. These pages are easy to identify because students put a check mark by each correct answer. Having students check their own papers works well because it gives them immediate feedback and the opportunity to ask good questions while the learning is fresh! I then collect the work and look over it to make sure each student has a basic understanding of the concept being taught. Some papers will receive a score that indicates completion and accuracy of the assignment. Other papers will receive a check mark that indicates that your child has received credit for completing the assignment. 

How can I follow my child’s progress? 
By using parent portal, a grade book program that allows parents to monitor their child’s progress in each of his or her classes, I will be updating grade book at a minimum every other week.  Please use this resource to keep track of your child’s assignments and to help ensure that all work is being turned in.  If you have any questions regarding grades or assignments on grade book, please email me.  If you need access to parent portal, please see or email Mrs. Robinson.

What else should I know to help my child be comfortable in class and at school? 
Bring a sweatshirt/sweater! Our classroom temperature can vary widely from hour to hour, regardless of the season. I recommend that all students have a sweater or sweatshirt at school that they can keep in their locker. 

How can I get in touch with you if needed? 
I realize that it is not always possible to get together or talk during the school day. If anything comes up, please leave a message at school, send a note with your child, or send me an e-mail (preferable!).  Please do not feel that you are “bothering” me by contacting me.

What are your contact numbers and addresses? 
(School) 773.534.7790  ext. 61201
(E-mail) kblewandowski@cps.edu
  
   
If you have any questions or concerns at any time throughout the year, please let me know! 

Sincerely, 


Kevin “Mr. Lew” Lewandowski
5th Grade Teacher
Room 318 Skinner School
Home of “The Lew Crew” 

Thanks for all you do to send your child to school ready to learn!