Back-to-School Night

Back-to-School Night is not scheduled this year due to Covid. Under normal circumstances, the following info applies.

Early departures & the intercom: when students leave school early they miss important classroom activities. Also, their departure often necessitates an intercom call from the office, which disrupts the entire class. Instead, we encourage families to wait until after school to schedule appointments so that kids don’t miss class time. If an early departure is unavoidable, we ask that you send a note indicating a specific time student is to meet you in the office so we can minimize interruptions.

Conferences
Fall is goal setting. These conferences are scheduled for mid-October. Sign-ups will be posted under the “Conferences” tab soon. Spring is Exhibition, which is usually scheduled for late April. More information on that as the year progresses.

Communication
I used the District’s ParentSquare platform to communicate last year and came away disappointed. Consequently, I plan to communicate with parents via email, our webpage (DailyPlatypus.org), and via the assignment calendar students carry in their binder. Please get in the habit of regularly checking all three, especially the assignment calendar. Thanks!

Computerization

Even though we’re starting the year in-person, there remains the possibility that we might have to return to online instruction. Consequently, all students need to checkout a Chromebook from the school district. In class we will continue to use certain online platforms so that the kids are familiar with them should we have to return to remote learning. More information on how to checkout a Chromebook will be coming soon.

Content
Emphasis on the “Three R’s” along with History, Science, and Art. The three most significant areas are multiplication facts, the sentence, and reading fluency).
I teach an extensive “survey of history.” History can be controversial, and though we may at times touch on political subject matter, know that I work hard to be “politically neutral” in my instruction. The kids keep notes and printed matter in a spiral notebook; you’re welcome to inspect your child’s journal at any time. 

D6 is also focuses on purpose-based activities such as hands-on projects, “real-life” lessons, and “soft skills” including communication, empathy, cooperation, persistence, and critical thinking. If you have concerns about anything content-related, I’m happy to visit with you.

Journaling
My students do some journaling, but the topics are usually pretty innocuous: “If I Were President I would…”, “Create a list of ten things that taste good.”  The kids know the journals are private except for parents, so once we get past all these Covid protocols, feel free to stop by the classroom occasionally. Take a sticky note, write something encouraging, and leave it in your child’s journal.  

Field Trips
We are planning all our usual 5th grade trips (and then some) under the assumption that we’ll soon be back to normal. This includes the Outdoor Ed Coats Trip (June 2-3), the Jo County Tree Plant (Feb. 3-4), The Lava Beds (Oct/Nov), Crater Lake (Sept 17), and many others. I try to get dates on the Platy as soon as I know them. You must have an up-to-date Volunteer app on file with the office and meet the State’s vaccine mandate to be a chaperone. Let me know if you need help navigating that. We prefer taking “known” parents on the Outdoor Ed coast trip, so be encouraged to attend some other trip or to help out in class earlier in the year.

Community Service
We have a couple of community service projects we do: The Nepal Project (in which we support a impoverished student to attend school), the Adopt-a-Street Program, and the Jo County Tree Plant. More on those to come.

Homework
I assign homework every M-Th consisting of a short math review of what we did in class that day, twenty minutes or more of independent reading, and occasional some vocab words. It’s not a lot, but getting it done every night builds positive habits that will help the kids succeed in middle school and high school. 
Also, I encourage you to limit video gaming and social media. It’s SUPER obvious in class that kids with limits tend to be good students whereas kids without limits usually struggle. It’s also really evident that kids without a consistent bedtime struggle in class, and it’s usually a digital environment that’s keeping them from hitting the sack.

Fitness/PE

Our daily fitness run is just 12 minutes…two laps around the block. We don’t run when it’s is below freezing, raining, or when the air quality exceeds 100.  Please send a note from home or call the office if your student cannot participate in Fitness/PE.

Ways to Help

Provide class snacks. Join the e-mail list. Avoid early departures & intercom interruptions. Provide students with water bottles and snacks. Volunteer as a class helper or chaperone (you won’t have opportunities to do so in middles school).