Thank you!

Phew! Can you believe that it’s already been nearly 2 months since we’ve been in school? These past 53 days have been some of the strangest that I’ve ever had and navigating our new normal has been trying to say the least. One of the things that have made this unthinkable transition to at-home learning possible has been your support.

You have jumped in and accepted your role as Educator, even as expectations shifted, questions arose, and frustration boiled over. You created schedules, relearned fifth-grade math, and became a technology troubleshooter overnight. You understood that learning can happen in many different ways, and embraced the ability to teach with games, connect with family, and explore nature.

It was likely not all sunshine and rainbows every day. You dried tears, cried your own, and kept moving forward.

For all that of that and more, I truly thank you and applaud you.

Throughout this year I have often thought to myself how amazing this group of parents has been. Before the year started, our classroom was stocked with Clorox wipes, kleenex, sticky notes, and countless supplies to get us through the year. When I asked for help with parties, our signup was full within the week and you all came together to create beautiful memories for our class. I hope that you know that I’ve appreciated every email, every note, and every story that has been shared with me, even before this pandemic.

When trying to find silver linings, I count my blessings that we were able to end the in-person part of the year with conferences. I so loved seeing your faces, sharing in the excitement of middle school, hearing your laughter, and gushing about your amazing children. You have made it very easy for me to honestly say that I could have never asked for a better group of parents.

During Teacher Appreciation Week, it is only right to honor you. In a typical year, we acknowledge that parents, as the first educators of their children, have shared their well rounded little learners with us, teachers. We usually celebrate that, at home, your children have learned love, grace, caring, and kindness. We are normally proud that our students are reading at home every night, practicing writing or storytelling, and reinforcing math facts with you.

And in a typical year, our appreciation is sincere and heartfelt.

This year is not typical by any means.

This year I struggle to find the words to express my gratitude to you.

It seems trite to thank you for all that you do. While I wish that I could open my heart for all of you to see and fully understand just how special you have been to me throughout his year, and especially of late, I’m already at 462 words and still haven’t found quite the right ones.

Perhaps a banal thank you is enough. So thank you. Thank you for going above and beyond. Thank you for your teamwork. Thank you for emailing, troubleshooting, brainstorming, encouraging, asking, and offering. Thank you for adapting. Thank you for your patience and grace. Above everything else, thank you for sharing your amazing children with me this year.

Georgetown Teachers made this Flipgrid to help show our love and appreciation of you. Our staff truly believes in the “it takes a village” mindset for raising our students. We as a staff are truly blessed to be part of that village with you. Thank you, parents!

Info and Updates

First and foremost, thank you for your emails. It helps to hear what is working, what isn’t, and what support you need.

Overall, it seems like the biggest source of frustration has been… you guessed it… math! While our weekly sheets are mostly review topics, they can be frustrating for students to navigate because they don’t always match the wording of our curriculum. Remember to breathe!

My biggest piece of advice is that if something seems sticky (AKA you or child have broken down into tears), take a break and try something else. At school, we have the luxury of approaching something from many different angles. At home that’s a bit tougher. If the weekly sheet is causing stress (and yelling or sobbing or comatose reactions), I encourage you to focus more on the topic of the week rather than completing the entire sheet. Students will always have access to MobyMax, StudyIsland, and Prodigy to practice math. I also have set up a Khan Academy class for us, which is new to students (and me!) but has soooo many helpful videos and little lessons to work through. If math is a struggle, I would check out Khan Academy first. Start with a video or two to refresh the topic in your kiddo’s mind, and if it’s still sticky, have them try out some of the work within that lesson. This way they are getting support in a consistent manner, with visuals, examples, explanations, and more and more practice!

Students have the link to Khan Academy on the Google Classrooms. You can also log in through Clever or join with their Gmail. Our class code is JK5M6QER

With all of that being said, I also added some videos of me explaining this week’s math on Google Classroom. As we go, I’ll add new videos to review topics that seem challenging for many of us.

Beyond that, many of you have asked about signing up for classes next, retrieving items from school, and camp information.

Here’s what I know: Camp money will be refunded. I do not know when but as soon as we hear the process from central office, I will let you know. Items from school will be collected eventually, sometime after the shelter in place order is lifted. Students will have a chance to sign up for classes for next year. I have not heard how or when or even when the course selections will be available for you, but hopefully soon. It seems that as we go, there are more and more questions and not so many answers. Thank you for your patience as we navigate and communicate within the team, building, and district.

Last update: I love and miss everyone so so so so so much! Please send my love to your kiddos. I can’t believe that it’s been over a month since I saw their beautiful faces in person. We will do another Zoom meeting soon (as soon as I hear when my upcoming meetings are scheduled, I will send out a time!)

Stay home, stay safe, and sending you so many air hugs!

What’s Coming Up?

What’s coming up? That is a great question! We are in uncharted territory, and our district leaders are working tirelessly to determine the best course of action in an unusual situation.

 Dr. VanderJagt sent an email last night that suggested some schedules and resources for at-home learning, and Mrs. Reagan shared some ideas on the Georgetown Elementary blog. If you’re on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you may have seen similar ideas. You could adapt sample schedules/routines according to the number and ages of children in your family. Regardless of what (if anything!) you decide to work on with your child, you are doing just fine! 

I know that I feel anxious or face uncertainty, I find some comfort in a consistent routine. Like we do each summer, my husband and I worked together this morning to develop an outline that we will follow each day. This loose schedule helps us (me) feel grounded and helps lower our (my) anxiety over the unknown. Little things like schedules can help us (me) feel more mentally equipped to handle tasks, deal with emotions, and just be more pleasant to be around. We included time to be outside or active, quiet time to read or do crafts, an academic time where we can work on school or our own learning, and together time where we can play games, go for walks, and enjoy our family. 

I encourage you to focus on family time. Take the time to teach important concepts like humanity, kindness, emotion management. Teach a new recipe or a new craft. Try out a new game or make one up. Go outside and explore the backyard. Build. Create. Play! Take time to do all of the wonderful things that we never seem to have the time to do. And try to breathe. 

For now it seems that our plan of action as a district is to do what you can. That means that I will not be ASSIGNING any work that students must complete. I will, however, post ideas or resources on our blog and on Google Classroom for students to access if that is your family’s plan. While you’re trying to find some balance in your newly hectic life, remember that students have many resources that they are used to using and are independent in navigating. 

I will also put some journal prompts on their Google Classrooms and I will continue adding videos to our FlipGrid (be sure to log in with your child’s school gmail). I have so enjoyed seeing our classmates’ faces pop up in our videos! Please keep adding!

I am always (conveniently) available for help should you need it, please reach out if you need ANYTHING!

Here are some ideas OTHER than MobyMax, Prodigy, StudyIsland, NitroType, and the resources that we’re used to using. 

If you’re worried about missing math…

  • Bake together and discuss fractions
  • Play Yahtzee! (or any other board game) and count up points
  • Practice number sense by playing what-if games or how-many games 
    • “If our dog eats 1 ¾ cups of food for breakfast and the same for dinner, how much does he eat in a week? How many meals can we get out of this bag of dog food? Is it a better deal to get the bigger bag or the smaller bag?”
    • “How many grapes do you think are in this bunch? How many grape bunches do you think they have a Meijer? If there is ___ number of grapes on a bunch and ___ number of bunches, how many grapes is that?!”

If you’re worried about missing ELA…

  • Bake together and have your child read the recipe
  • Read a book together, taking turns reading chapters
  • Have your child read to a sibling or a pet or a stuffed animal
  • Write “piggyback” songs or parodies of popular songs

To sum it up, have fun together, turn off the news when you can, and enjoy your beautiful family! 

Keep watching for blog updates (and FlipGrid!), and I will keep you updated with anything else that you need along the way. I will plan on having a new FlipGrid created soon that we can continue seeing our friends.

Lastly, please let me know how I can support you and your family. Your child is my top priority, please let them all know that I love and deeply miss my silly 5th graders already!

Flipgrid fun!

As we await news of any online learning, have some fun by checking out our newest FlipGrid!

Check back as I add more topics and new videos, and of course, add your own! Have fun!

**When logging into FlipGrid, be sure to use your child’s school account. The grids are private to protect privacy so only accounts using @hpsstudents.net will work**

From the app, scan this QR code to access our grids.

What’s Coming Up – Week of March 9-13, 2020

Miscellaneous

  • Parent-Teacher Conferences (Monday, March 9 & Wednesday, March 11)
      • Please see the link with the Spring parent-teacher conference schedule HERE
  • Scholastic Book Fair March 9-13 Our class’s preview day is Tuesday, March 10 and our shopping day is Wednesday, March 11.
  • Show off your 5th grade spirit! Join us in wearing our 5th grade shirts every Friday

March 6 – Early release

March 9 – Baldwin Street Middle School Visit 10:30-2:10 (Mrs. Walenta’s class only)

March 10 – Baldwin Street Middle School Visit 10:30-2:10 (Mrs. Wysocki’s class only)

March 11 – Baldwin Street Middle School Visit 10:30-2:10 (Mrs. Ball and Mr. Cooley’s classes only)

Math:

  • We are beginning unit 6, Operations and Word problems.
  • Students should be completing MobyMax Fact Fluency practice at home for five minutes per day unless they have mastered all math facts.

ELA:

  • We’re beginning a test prep unit, which is a review of topics covered in 5th grade.
  • Students should be reading for 20 minutes each night and filling out the reading log.

Science: 

  • We’re continuing our unit: Go With the Flow which investigates invasive species and their impact on our waterways.

Social Studies:

  • We are continuing our fifth unit, Road to Revolution. We will be examining the events that led to the colonists declaring independence from Britain.

Our growing readers are hoping for some new books, so I just created a DonorsChoose classroom request.
Curling Up With Some New Books
If you know anyone who may want to help our students, please pass this along!

Any donations to our classroom project by March 11, 2020 will be doubled! Just enter the code LIFTOFF during checkout and you’ll be matched dollar for dollar (up to $50). In return, you’ll get awesome photos of your gift in action and our heartfelt thanks.

What’s Coming Up – Week of March 2-6, 2020

Miscellaneous

  • Parent-Teacher Conferences (Monday, March 9 & Wednesday, March 11)
      • Please see the link with the Spring parent-teacher conference schedule HERE
  • Scholastic Book Fair March 9-13 Our class’s preview day is Tuesday, March 10 and our shopping day is Wednesday, March 11.
  • Show off your 5th grade spirit! Join us in wearing our 5th grade shirts every Friday

March 3 – Symphony Trip (No chaperones needed)

March 6 – Early release

March 9 – Baldwin Street Middle School Visit 10:30-2:00 (Mrs. Walenta’s class only)

March 10 – Baldwin Street Middle School Visit 10:30-2:00 (Mrs. Wysocki’s class only)

March 11 – Baldwin Street Middle School Visit 10:30-2:00 Mrs. Ball and Mr. Cooley’s class only)

**March 17 7:00 PM Middle school music information night for parents at Riley Street Middle School

**March 18 7:00 PM Middle school music information night for parents at Baldwin Street Middle School 

**These meetings will include the same information regardless of location; you may attend the one that best fits your schedule.

What’s Coming Up – Week of February 24-28, 2020

Miscellaneous

 

  • Parent-Teacher Conferences (Monday, March 9 & Wednesday, March 11)

 

      • Please see the link with the Spring parent-teacher conference schedule HERE

 

  • Scholastic Book Fair March 9-13 Our class’s preview day is Tuesday, March 10 and our shopping day is Wednesday, March 11.
  • Show off your 5th grade spirit! Join us in wearing our 5th grade shirts every Friday

 

March 3 – Symphony Trip (No chaperones needed)

March 6 – Early release

March 9 – Baldwin Street Middle School Visit 10:30-2:00 (Mrs. Walenta’s class only)

March 10 – Baldwin Street Middle School Visit 10:30-2:00 (Mrs. Wysocki’s class only)

March 11 – Baldwin Street Middle School Visit 10:30-2:00 Mrs. Ball and Mr. Cooley’s class only)

Math:

  • We are continuing unit 5, Division of Whole Numbers & Decimals.
  • Students should be completing MobyMax Fact Fluency practice at home for five minutes per day unless they have mastered all math facts.

ELA:

  • We’re continuing our reading unit which is investigating non-fiction texts and tackling text complexity.
  • We are publishing our literary essays which are about themes in our book club books.
  • Students should be reading for 20 minutes each night and filling out the reading log.

Science: 

  • We’re launching our unit: Go With the Flow which investigates invasive species and their impact on our waterways.

Social Studies:

  • We are finishing our fourth unit, Life in the Colonies, and beginning our fifth unit, Road to Revolution. We will be examining the events that led to the colonists declaring independence from Britain. 

What’s Coming Up – Week of February 17-21, 2020

Miscellaneous

  • Camp Chaperones – A letter came home outlining chaperone opportunities. Please return the form if you are interested in being a chaperone by Tuesday, Feb 18th. Parents will be notified by March 2nd.
  • Parent-Teacher Conferences (Monday, March 9 & Wednesday, March 11)
    • Please see the link with the Spring parent-teacher conference schedule HERE

February 21 – Early Release

March 3 – Symphony Trip (No chaperones needed)

March 6 – Early release

March 9 – Baldwin Street Middle School Visit 10:30-2:00 (Mrs. Walenta’s class only)

March 10 – Baldwin Street Middle School Visit 10:30-2:00 (Mrs. Wysocki’s class only)

March 11 – Baldwin Street Middle School Visit 10:30-2:00 Mrs. Ball and Mr. Cooley’s class only)

What’s Coming Up – Week of February 10-14, 2020

Miscellaneous

 

  • Camp Chaperones – A letter came home outlining chaperone opportunities. Please return this with your level of interest by Tuesday, Feb 18th. Parents will be notified by March 2nd.
  • Valentine’s Day

 

      • In fifth grade, we do not have individual parties for Valentine’s Day.
      • We will have an optional Valentine exchange. If your child chooses to participate, please have him or her bring a Valentine for each student in the class . 
      • We will decorate bags to use to gather our Valentines, so there is no need to create a box or container to send in.

 

  • Parent-Teacher Conferences (Monday, March 9 & Wednesday, March 11)

 

    • Please see the link with the Spring parent-teacher conference schedule HERE
  • We will be visiting BMS on March 9 from 10:30-2:00. Look for more details in the coming weeks!

Math:

  • We are beginning Unit 5, Division of Whole Numbers & Decimals.
  • Students should be completing MobyMax Fact Fluency practice at home for five minutes per day unless they have mastered all math facts.

ELA:

  • We’re continuing our reading unit which is investigating non-fiction texts and tackling text complexity.
  • We are publishing our literary essays which are about themes in our book club books.
  • Students should be reading for 20 minutes each night and filling out the reading log.

Science: 

  • We’re launching our unit: Go With the Flow which investigates invasive species and their impact on our waterways.

Social Studies:

  • We are continuing our fourth unit, Life in the Colonies, which examines the development and impact of growing colonial regions.

Kids Heart Challenge

Information about Kids Heart Challenge will be coming home with students this week.  Please note that this fundraiser is for the American Heart Association, it does also helps us get P.E. Equipment for GT.  The Kids Heart Challenge Fundraiser is done ONLINE (see link below) and will be open from February 6 until February 28.

When your child joins Kids Heart Challenge (formerly Jump Rope for Heart) they will hear from kids with special hearts and raise funds to help those born with heart defects.  Students learn about taking care of their own heart through fun challenges and activities for physical, social and emotional health.

Get online and register your student today:

http://www2.heart.org/goto/georgetownhudsonville

Please note that thank-you prizes earned by students will be handed out when they come to P.E. class.  Some prizes need to be ordered when the fundraiser is over and will be delivered sometime in March.  Any money donated after Feb. 28 will not earn prizes.