Week of 9/18

A giant thank you to everyone who attended Open House.  It was great to meet everyone!  If you were unable to attend I will post available conference dates/times when it comes closer for you to sign up.  We also had a brief camp meeting to just review the basic information and answer any questions.  Students will be bringing home a pink permission slip today.  Deposit is due by this week Thursday if your child is attending.  If you would like to send your child but need extra time for deposit, shoot me an email and we can figure it out.  Also, we have letters asking for a donation to lower our cost.  If you know of a business or person who would be able to donate, please ask Mrs. Courtright or Mrs. Ranka and either of us can give you one!  Any amount helps!

Another huge thank you for our popcorn volunteers, Mr. Buck, Mr. Malone and Ms. Phillips.  We were the first week and they jumped right in to help!

Don’t forget book orders are due by this Thursday.  If you are ordering online, also get it in by then.  None so far, hoping we have a few orders.  🙂   Also, Mr. Wolf is seeing students today to have them choose between 2 instruments.  Please send in your child’s permission slip/money by this Thursday.  This is a great introduction to playing an instrument.  Dearborn Public Schools have a great music program that starts here and goes through high school.  Additionally, studies have proven that kids who practice music do better in school and are smarter overall.

This week in:

Math-Students will be completing workshop rotations to practice what we’ve done the past 2 weeks.  We will be having a unit 1 test either Wednesday or Thursday.  It covers:  factors, prime numbers, arrays and numbers sentences.  Students will have a review you can look over the night before the test.

Daily 5-Due to NWEA testing last week we didn’t get much done.  So, we will be practicing check for understanding and writing a summary after reading.

Writing-Students are learning about different types of figurative language.  We will also be starting a narrative piece later in the week.

SS: We are continuing to discuss the native americans that lived in North America before the explorers came. Last week, we had our first quiz, so ask your child to share their score with you if they haven’t already.

Science: We began our physical science unit today. The students will be exploring why cooking tools are made of different materials. A HUGE THANK YOU to all of you have or will be donating items for science. I appreciate your support!

Enjoy the warm weather while it lasts 🙂


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Week of 9/11

Open House is this week on Thursday from 6-7:30.  We will be having a camp meeting for 5th grade parents in room 202 at 6:45.  4th grade parents will be meeting in room 201 for camp meeting at 6:45.  We will be giving a basic overview of camp and answering any questions during that time.  We will also be giving important dates and deposit information to hold your child’s spot.  We will take a $100 nonrefundable deposit at Open House if you’d like to give it right away-cash or check made to DuVall Elementary.  If you can’t attend meeting, we will send home a sheet with basic information.  Here is a  link you can look at to check it out, click on outdoor education on the arrows.   http://www.wolverinecamps.com/

We have the popcorn sale this Friday 🙂  I will have a sign up to do it at Open House.  We have this and one other date.  It’s possible we may get a 3rd sign up to help raise money for camp.  THANK YOU in advance!!!

Students are completing the NWEA all week to see where they are academically and to help set goals for the year.  Each day will be a different section.

This week in:

Daily 5-We will be focussing on writing a summary after reading a piece of literature.  We are also practicing check for understanding after reading our good fit books or listening to a story.

Writing-We will begin a narrative piece.  Our focus will be idea development and word choice.  Students will also be learning about figurative language including metaphors, similes and idioms.

Math-We will begin with unit 1 and reviewing arrays, factor pairs and multiplication. Students WILL have math homework nightly.  It will always be a review of what we did in class that day or review of 4th grade skills that should already be mastered (mathboxes).

Science: We will begin our first science unit this week. It will focus on the Driving Question: Why are cooking tools made of different types of materials? In order to complete this unit, we will need some items donated. I have created a bulletin board outside of the fifth grade classrooms that indicate the items needed. At Open House, please take a minute to see what we need. If you can donate an item or 2, please do.

Right now, we need a few additional items such as: various pots and pans to keep at school for a couple of weeks, and 130 ice cubes. If you can donate either or some of these, it would be greatly appreciated.  

I look forward to meeting/seeing you Thursday at Open House.  Have a great week.

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How to join Remind (An app. that allows me to send a quick text to you about school/class information or reminders)

Hello parents!  Remind is an app that I have on my phone to easily send about reminders or information I’d like you to quickly get.  It will just be a text that comes to your phone with no ability to respond or communicate with anyone else.  If you would like to join please follow the link to the right under Class Links that says Remind.


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First Day of School Letter

Welcome to the 5th Grade!

Dear Families,

Hello and welcome to the new school year :)!  I am very happy to have your son or daughter in my class and look forward to a successful year.  I’d like to begin by telling you a bit about myself.  I have both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University and have been teaching for 27 years.  I love my job and all of the kids I work with and try to be easily accessible to all parents.  This year Mrs. Ranka and I will be team teaching.  This means I will have both classes for Math while she teachers Science and Social Studies.  The students will switch between classrooms daily.  It will be helpful for you to sign up for Mrs. Ranka’s blog also so that you can keep up on what is happening in those 2 subjects as well.  Her blog sign up is:  http://iblog.dearbornschools.org/rankac/

Here are a few bits of information in order to assist you and your child this year:

Classroom Expectations:  I will emphasize student rights and responsibilities.  These will focus on positive student interaction.

The expectations are:  1.  We will follow the Golden Rule   2.  We will keep our hands and feet to ourselves 3.  We will follow directions the first time       4.  We will listen while others are speaking       5.  We will cooperate with others while working in groups and partnerships.   Part of  consequences will be:       1. Evil eye   2.  Verbal warning   3.  Lose your seat/recess  4.  Phone/note-email/visit home   5.  Meeting with principal    The rewards are:  1.   Positive words/notes  2.  Treats  3.  Free time/extended recess     4.  Movie/party

Take home folder and homework:   I believe in homework.  Each child will have a red folder (Thanks to the PTA) that will transport papers to and from school.  Papers brought home should be cleaned out of the folder on a daily basis.  Please physically check your child’s folder.  I know this takes time but really only about 5 minutes to do this.   It will help ensure that you know what is happening in the classroom and won’t be caught by any surprises!  All assignments will be written in the student’s assignment book daily.  Nightly homework should not take more than 50 minutes.  If you feel your child is spending too much time on homework or you’re not seeing any, please contact me so we can examine the situation.   Math homework is assigned Monday through Thursday.   Reading, Social Studies, Science, and Writing are assigned various nights of the week depending on what we’re working on at the time.  If work is not completed in class, it will be assigned to finish as homework.  Students are given plenty of time to complete assignments, if you see your child often has to finish work, please ask your child why.

If homework is not turned in:     *Recess time will be spent completing the assignment if necessary or walking the track.      *If this is continual problem, you will be asked to come in for a meeting to discuss the situation.

It is the responsibility of the student to keep track of his/her homework.  I will not make additional copies of misplaced or lost papers.

Responsibility:  If your child forgets his/her gym clothes, lunch, instrument, etc., he/she will not be able to call home to get it.  I highly suggest having a plan to help your child remember daily what he/she needs.  Having a sticky note posted somewhere in your child’s sight line in the morning will help him/her to remember what needs to come to school each day.   It is also your child’s responsibility to get the work he/she missed while absent.  He/she simply needs to say, “I was absent yesterday, what do I need to make up?” and I will make sure he/she has the work.  It is expected to be turned in the following day.  If your child will have an extended absence, please contact me.  Students need to be in class and on time daily.  Tardiness is NOT ok and disrupts everyone’s learning.

Grading Scale:   Exceeding expectations is a 1 (95-100%), meeting expectations is a 2 (80-94%), progressing toward expectations is a 3 (70-79%) and area of concern is a 4 (69% or below).   It is completely normal that your child will be bringing home papers marked 3 or 2’s.  If you see the letter 4 more than a few times, first, ask your child what’s happening, then, contact me if I haven’t already contacted you to discuss it.

Snack:  We will have a snack each morning.  Please send a nutritious snack to school with your child each day.  Fruits, nuts, vegetables, and cheese are the best brain food.   Crackers, Goldfish, Cheese its, etc. are mostly carbohydrates.  They  make kids sleepy and have virtually no nutritional value.  This year, I will NOT be allowing those types of snacks.  Students often bring food that is not acceptable as snack and are disappointed when they cannot eat it.  I do not enjoy being the “snack police” so please help by monitoring the snack that comes to school.   If it is forgotten, there is no snack for that day (this usually doesn’t happen more than once).  Students SHOULD bring a water bottle to school especially in the warmer months.  This bottle must have a screw top and close tightly.  An old sock can be used to put on the bottle so it won’t sweat on the desk.

Camp-Each year fourth and fifth graders have gone to Wolverine Camp in Wolverine, MI for three days (Mon-Wed).  The cost runs between $90-160.00per student.  We will have a meeting to learn about camp  for ½ an hour at the end of Open House.    We will be attending camp in February of this year.   We must have a minimum of 45 students  attending  in order to go.  You will get all pertinent details at the meeting and decide about the potential for fundraising.

How to contact me:   Please feel free to write a note, send an e-mail (courtrl@dearbornschools.org), or call and leave a message @ 827-7404 about any questions or concerns that you may have.  I will respond as quickly as possible but it may not be until the end of the school day.

Communication is a key factor for a successful school year.  The easiest, quickest way for me to communicate is thru e-mail.  Please check your e-mail regularly to know what is happening in our classroom or to check for a message from me related to your child.  Weekly, I will post the week’s focus of instruction and happenings in the classroom on my blog.  PLEASE ADD  your e-mail address on this blog where it says eclassroom news on the bottom right so that you will get the weekly news automatically sent to your email each week.  This will keep you better connected to what’s happening in your child’s education and allow you to have conversations with your child related to the goings on in the classroom.  My expectation is that every parent take the time to read the blog once a week and chat with your child about school daily.

I will also be using the app called REMIND.  I will can easily send a message or reminder related to something I feel you need to know instead of posting on the blog (ie. field trip tomorrow, parts reminder etc).  You can not respond back, only read the message I have sent to everyone.  This is the third year I will be using it and it is very handy for parents as well as for me!  Several teachers in the district use this successfully and parents feel connected.

Thanks in advance for your help and support!     Mrs. Courtright

Your child received a sheet for you to sign saying you read this blog and  added your email.  Attached to that sheet is a volunteer sign up sheet.  Please make sure both of those are returned by your child by Friday, September 8.  🙂

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