Parent Open House, 2014-2015

posted Aug 18, 2014, 10:02 AM by Paul Schwan   [ updated Aug 18, 2014, 11:23 AM ]
Welcome to St. Michael Fifth Grade, Mr. Schwan's Homeroom!

If you missed the orientation meeting tonight, or if you would like to review what we discussed, here is the list:

Getting Acquainted
  • A little about me - 33 years in education ministry; year #14 at St. Michael
    • father, husband, grandfather
    • educational technologist
    • How to reach me - I can be reached in several ways
    • SMLS5 News - 2 ways I send out periodic news and updates via email and/or text messages
Miscellaneous Items (principles that guide us)

5th Grade Year: THE Year For Students to Begin Taking Charge of Their Own Learning!
    • Friday Folder - my weekly communication link for academic progress, and the students' weekly reflection on their learning
      • teacher
      • student
      • parent(s) - make it a weekly event; close the loop by acknowledging receipt
  • Our Discipline (1, 2, 3 -and- Class DoJo) info in your handouts to sign up for Class DoJo updates
  • TEAM - Together Everyone Achieves More
  • 3-legged stool - student, parent, teacher
  • Homeroom - feel free to communicate with me and, when necessary, I will put you in touch with the appropriate instructor(s) for your child (math, social studies, band, etc.)
  • Assignments - all are listed online for students and parents to view each day. A student planner is available for writing down daily assignments and planning ahead. Recommended, but not required. Students are required to turn in all work on time. 
Online Activities
  • Our Blog - this is a place where we will post student work. It will all be completely moderated by me to protect student privacy and safety.
  • - please USE IT! - Use the Search Box, too -

Space Camp

  • Feb. 5-6, 2015
Student Orientation
  • Tuesday, August 19 from 8-11 am
  • Bring all supplies to school
(Note: I'll provide a paper copy at the Tuesday student orientation)

Software Programs To Download and Install

You'll need to download and install several software programs (apps) to prepare your child's computer for school use on the first day of school. They're all free, so you should only need to purchase a netbook/laptop, a carrying case to keep your computer free of scratches or other damage, and we're asking all students to also bring an inexpensive set of earbud/microphones for their netbook. Make sure yours has the same plugs as your computer. Some have only one plug, and some have two (mic and earphone). Get one that matches your child's computer.

  • Google Chrome ( – click on the blue “Download Chrome” button). I encourage my students to use Chrome because it works well with our Google Drive accounts. Student may use Internet Explorer, which should already be on their netbooks; however, it doesn't work as smoothly with Google Drive apps.
  • Open Office ( – click on “I want to download”). Uninstall any trial version of Microsoft Office on your netbook, as we won't be using it.
  • Avast ( – in the far-left “Free Antivirus” column, click on the grey “Download” button; then, the grey “No thanks, I want free protection” button (not the upgrade for $19.99). Uninstall any trial versions of anti-virus programs already on your netbook/laptop, as these will conflict with Avast.
  • Audacity – (click on “for Windows” 2.0.5, latest version for Windows 7 and 8 as of August 2014)
  • Dropbox ( - Students migrating from 4th grade at Saint Michael should already have a Dropbox account set up using their St. Michael email address and password for login. New students will receive an invitation to join Dropbox. All students should download the Dropbox program to their netbook/laptop and set it up by checking "I already have an account", then entering their school email address and password.

Parent & Student Training for Netbooks

I've created a page with videos showing how to set up a student netbook. Feel free to use it as needed.

Parents, I'll provide you with ongoing orientation to all the new technology tools we're using in fifth grade so you can help your children at home and be involved in what they're doing. Please help them with these initial downloads of software. 


If you don't have WiFi, try the FREE WiFi at McDonald's, Panera, etc. Students will need Internet access after school hours, and they can use the WiFi at school if necessary.