Parent Open House 2015-2016

posted Aug 12, 2015, 6:20 PM by Paul Schwan   [ updated Aug 17, 2015, 1:26 PM ]
Welcome to St. Michael Fifth Grade, Mr. Schwan's Homeroom!

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

Audio Recording of Open House Session (goes with outline)

Getting Acquainted
    • father, husband, grandfather
    • technology enthusiast
  • Why I Teach
    • Educating for Life...Eternity
    • SMLS5 News - 2 ways I keep in touch with by 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 - weekly report of your child's academic progress and grades, including a weekly reflection on their learning
    • teacher role
    • student role
    • parent(s) role - make it a weekly event; close the loop by acknowledging receipt
    • "Point" Goals ... "Book" Goals
    • AR counts 15% of quarterly reading grade
    • My System: 100% for "AR Reading" (minimums)
      • 4 Books
      • 2 AR Tests; 85% average
      • Keep Track with Reading Log
      • 1 Book Review
  • 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.)
    • Posted to online calendar for students and parents.
      • assignments in black, repeated daily until due
      • turns red on due date 
    • Student Assignment Planner available for writing down assignments & planning ahead.
    • Students required to turn in work on time (see Homework Policy).
    • After-school Tutorial, 3:00-3:30 PM 
Online Activities
    • student writing posted
    • moderated by me to protect student privacy and safety
    • parent comments welcome!
    • are student blog posts graded? (read this article)
      • my answer: occasionally
      • it's all about the process of writing, not just the final product!
    • please USE IT!
    • Use the Search Box, too!

Space Camp

  • Feb. 4-5, 2016
Student Orientation
  • Tuesday, August 18 from 8-11 am
  • Bring all supplies to school
(Note: I'll provide a paper copy at the Tuesday student orientation)

Volunteer Opportunities
  • Wordly Wise grader (weekly)
  • Spelling grader (weekly)
  • Memory Verse grader (weekly)
  • Miscellaneous grader (weekly)
  • Computer Class assistant (occasionally; on-call)

Moms in Prayer (flyer)
  • 2 volunteer moms needed for 5s Class
  • Thursday, 8-9 AM in the little Chapel (within the sanctuary)

Software To Download and Install on Your Child's Netbook/Laptop

You'll need to download and install several 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). 
  • 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 green download button
  • 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.
Online Software
  • Rosetta Stone (for Spanish)
    • Login credentials will be shared in class
    • Please try this out at home and make sure it works
    • Students will need an earbud/microphone set that works with their netbook
  • Smart Music (for Music)
    • Login credentials will be shared in class
    • Please download the free software
    • A subscription is purchased each school year; more details to come

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.