The more I learn, the more I adjust my teaching and methods. My goal for your child is to set high expectations and guid your children to persevere and problem solve. I work them hard every day. Each quarter my expectations get higher. By the end of the year I fully expect your children to be behaving like, studying like, performing like 6th graders. They will be ready for middle school. One of the best things I am told by previous students and parents is that I did an excellent job preparing them for middle school.
Regarding homework, I don't think students need to be doing homework every night. They will be expected to work hard in class, and if they don't complete the work in the given time during school, they may have homework. I am not assigning any "regular" homework on top of what we do in class however. Kids need to be kids. Families need to have some family time. The only thing I want them to do is read. I don't care what they read.
I will collect homework/classwork on Fridays. I will always work with students who have legitimate reasons for not having work done on time. I fully support the family and as parents, YOU are the boss. Talk to me about any of your concerns.
Tests are important for you to see how well you are doing. Tests are important for me to see where I need to teach more, or better.
I understand that tests will be more and more important as you grow. However, this year, (and this might be the last year this will ever happen in your life...) THIS year, the tests are really not all that important to your "grade". I put much more "weight" on in class work and effort and participation than I ever will on tests. Why? Multiple reasons:
1. What if you are just having a bad day? You are tired? You are sick? You are hungry? You have some big things on your mind? You have things going on at home? If any one of these or multiple other things happen that make it just a "bad" day to test you...is it really an accurate representation of what you know? I don't think so. Is it really fair to have one bad test drop your grade because of something that you are going through? I don't think so.
2. The entire reason you are here at school is to "LEARN". Because of this, I don't really care how you learn as long as you learn. Therefore, when emphasis is placed on the learning process rather than on the "testing", I believe you will learn better. I believe it is more meaningful. I believe that you are old enough to understand this. So what if you bomb a test here or there? If I can look back at the work you did in class and think back to the participation and effort that you put forth during lessons, I will know approximately where your skill level is at. I can talk with you and find out...what happened. I may re-test you.
3. What if you have severe test anxiety? There is no way that you will get through life without taking tests. You have to do it. For school, for work, and you need to get used to it. Testing is important. It is also VERY important that if you do have some sort of test anxiety (where you get very nervous or afraid about tests) that you learn to get over it. I believe that one way for you to start to get used to testing and "get over your fear of testing" is for at least this ONE year of your life for those tests to be what they are truly supposed to be....a tool for you and your parents (to see what you know and what you need to work on), and for ME to see what I taught you well and what I need to teach better or more.
**** FINAL NOTE ON TESTS**** YES! There are some very important, "high stakes tests", this year. YES! You need to take them seriously and do your absolute best! And...YES! Some of these tests will impact your life. When it's important and when those tests are coming I will let you know and I will do my best to prepare you.
UNTIL THEN....DO NOT STRESS! I will test you weekly not only in math but in history and English! But the tests given by ME are counted as an assignment. They have the same weight as an assignment. So. If you do well in class, you try hard, you participate, you put forth effort, you will earn points each day. It's not going to be the end of the world if you don't do well on a test. I will look at the test scores and if I notice a pattern of low test scores then you and I will sit down and talk about what is going on and make adjustments accordingly. ON THE OTHER HAND....If you do your very best in class, put forth effort and let me teach you some test taking strategies and you end up doing well on the tests...do you think it will help your grade? Yup. It's all about you!
SUPER IMPORTANT TESTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR....
5TH graders will take multiple IMPORTANT tests this year. These are the tests:
Fall, Winter and Spring EasyCBM in reading and math. These tests measure where the kids are at and how far they have come compared to other students their age. These are generally done on computer.
Spring Smarter Balanced Assessments - Common Core in Reading, Writing and Math. These tests assess where the kids are at compared to their peers throughout the nation and where they fall with their growth and knowledge.
Spring ISAT Science test. This test is given to 5th graders to measure where they are at in Science core knowledge.