Welcome to Mr. Schwan's Class!

posted Jul 16, 2011, 1:22 PM by Paul Schwan   [ updated Jul 17, 2011, 8:13 AM ]
Week One and Two
The 2011-2012 school year begins at 8:00 am on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 and ends on Friday, June 1 at noon. Our school year is organized into four quarters of 40+ school days apiece, and students receive four report cards to measure their academic progress. Week One is a short week, Wednesday through Friday, to allow us time for orientation. We'll begin with some simple classwork and homework assignments, and then dive into the regular routine beginning in Week Two.

Organization of Announcements and Assignments
Students and parents can use this blog-like announcements section along with the daily and weekly assignments, also organized like a blog, to keep organized. A blog always has the most recent article or entry on top, and you can scroll backwards in time to refer to anything that may have been written in the past.

The Focus of Week One: Getting Organized for Learning
Beginning on Monday, Aug. 15 with the PTL Open House for parents, continuing on Tuesday, Aug 16 with a Student Classroom Orientation, we will focus on sharing information and giving the children several opportunities to get organized for success. Parents, please help your child organize their desks, binders, and home-based work space using the suggestions we'll provide. All year long we'll refer to places where things should be, and we'll encourage your child to have a place for everything, and everything in its place. 

In our experience, the most difficult task of fifth grade is keeping track of all the papers, worksheets, handouts, emails, files, folders, and other organizational tools necessary for academic success. We spend a lot of time helping our students organize for success in school, and see this as one of our priorities as we prepare upper-elementary children for middle school and beyond. There are many kinds of "systems" for doing this. We'll show and tell about one system used in the fifth grade classrooms, yet we're open to any system a child may use to keep him or herself organized and ready for learning. As you know, this comes naturally to some children; others must constantly work at it. Please work with us to help your child grow in this area as the fifth grade year progresses. It is our goal that, by June 1, your child is ready for the rigor of middle school where he or she will encounter multiple teachers, classes changing every 40 minutes or so, a locker instead of a desk, and multiple systems of organization as used by several middle school teachers. The foundational study and organizational skills your child brings with him or her to fifth grade, and then takes with him upon entering middle school, will help insure success throughout his formal learning years. For most, this growth is a process rather than a one-time event, so patience and understanding are key ingredients we adults must bring with us as we work with your child.

To the Children
You are always invited to read what I say to your parents. Know that we are interested in helping you learn and grow. We are a team, made up of you, your parents, and your teachers. It's like a three-legged stool, and every leg is important to keep the stool balanced, safe, and effective. Make sure to do your part, your parents and I will do our part, and you will become a successful fifth grader!
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