Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Welcome Back!

September 15th, 2015




Welcome Back!

Welcome to a new school year! I am so excited to have your child in my class this year. Teaching is my passion and I am eager to begin a new year full of learning and adventure.

I would like to get to know a little more about your child and what I can do to help create a meaningful and successful year. I have created a survey which is available at https://goo.gl/PxUNaF or by scanning the QR code at the end of this letter.  

We have some exciting opportunities in our class this year and I look forward to the ways this will enhance our learning curriculum. Below you will find some important information pertaining to our class.

Technology Pilot:

Our class and Mme Demers’ class will be participating in a District Technology Pilot this year. We have been supplied with a set of 32 Google Chromebooks and 7 iPads to integrate into our learning. The use of this technology requires an additional permission form to be signed which your child will bring home. If your child does not have permission to use these resources, alternate arrangements will be made.

I am very excited to share these resources with the students and explore the ways we can use these tools in a meaningful way. Many assignments and class projects will involve the computers and we will frequently be using Google Docs - a web-based tool for word processing and more. These assignments will be accessible by your child at home too if you have internet access.

Useful tools:

We will be using audio features of the Chromebooks and iPads. Your child will enjoy these features more often with a set of headphones/earbuds. These are not required but will certainly enhance his/her experience.

Students may, with your permission, bring their devices (iPods, iPads, tablets etc.) to class at their own risk. Since we are a technology friendly classroom, we will be learning about appropriate and respectful use of technology and technology etiquette.

If you allow your child to bring their device, please be reminded that SSES does not normally allow the use of cell phones and devices in the school. Students will be expected to only use devices with permission and in our classroom.

Homework:

As students move into higher grades, the burden of homework may increase. It is not unusual to expect up to 60 mins of homework in grade 6 and 70 minutes in grade 7. Children however often have extra-curricular activities and family responsibilities which can make finding this time challenging.

There is strong evidence to support learning based in the classroom where students are less likely to be affected by outside factors and where teachers are better able to observe and support their needs.

When homework is assigned in my class, it is intended to allow students extra time to complete the work they have started in class. Students should have already had in-class time to work on and ask questions about their work. As such, if your child is a hard-worker and uses his/her time effectively, you may not see them bring much homework home.

Students are usually given two school days to complete homework. This allows them to take responsibility for their work and to plan according to their obligations. If a child forgets to complete their work the first day, they have a second opportunity to be responsible. I encourage my students to speak to me in advance if they have factors that may prevent them from completing their work on time; eg. a weekend tournament out of town.

If you are unsure if your child should be bringing more work home, please feel free to email me, check the class website at mcleanlearning.blogspot.ca, check your child’s agenda or call me.

Home Reading:

Students are encouraged to read in French for 20 minutes four times per week. Mme Hunter, our Teacher-Librarian, helps students to select books that are at a “just right” level, however, if reading in French is difficult, students may elect to read in English occasionally.

Listening to podcasts in French can also be helpful to your child. I recommend the CBC Radio Word of the Week podcast which parents and children can enjoy and understand together.

Science Fair/Math Expo:

Participation in the District Science Fair and Math Expo are voluntary and will not impact your child’s grades in our class. We will be doing Science experiments in the class and creating presentations, however. As with any large project, your child will receive the criteria in advance.

If your child is particularly strong or passionate about Math or Science, I encourage participation in these events as they can be very rewarding and enrich your child’s learning.

McQueen Lake:

This year I have booked our overnight trip to McQueen Lake for January 27th, 28th and 29th. There will still be snow and we will be able to enjoy a variety of winter activities to enhance our curriculum including cross-country skiing, orienteering, hikes and more. Students who attend will be placed into groups and will do meal planning and prep. This is invaluable Health and Careers experience!

If you would like to join us, we would love to have you! We will certainly need parent volunteers for supervision and if you have any special skills, please let me know. In the past, parents have done activities with the students and it is always a success.

Remind.com:

Remind.com is a service which allows me to send out reminders to parents and students. I will use this to communicate important reminders such as class pictures, field trips or special events. You can subscribe by email, text or using the Remind app and your information is kept private. I have attached a document with an explanation.

Class Dojo:

Your child may have already told you about our class “Superhero Game”. This year, to encourage social and emotional development as well as academic success, I have begun using the Class Dojo app. This is my first time using this tool so there may be a few bumps occasionally.

Throughout the year, students will receive feedback on their development, social responsibility and participation through this app. We refer to these as “XP” or experience points in the class. As students gain more experience, they will be given more responsibilities and privileges.

Attached to this letter you will find information on how to access your child’s report and will be able to see where they are excelling and other areas for development.

As you can see, we have a very busy year ahead of us. I can already feel the students’ excitement building. Of course, open lines of communication between parents, students and teachers are key to creating a positive educational environment. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns or just to check in on your child’s progress.

Thank you,
Mme McLean


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