Introduction & Background
My philosophy of education
- My style of Teaching & Learning
- 21st Century Skills (34 of them!)
- Focus on Revision & Improvement rather than grades
- Student-led classroom
- Project-Based Learning – several projects may overlap – all done in school
- Differentiating Instruction so that everyone is learning at an appropriate level.
- The importance of struggle & failure in a nurturing environment.
- One student can’t ruin it for the class.
- All students in this classroom can and will learn.
- Consistency in praise, consistency in consequences.
- Class Website – assignments listed online (“Calendar”)
- Absent-Minded Professor
- When absent, just make everything up ASAP – no grade associated, no due date
- Vacations/2-Day Rule for Requesting Homework (5th grade policy)
- 0-50 minutes per night – recommend a consistent time & place
- Recap Board
- Whatever you don’t finish in class – every student is different
- ePortfolio blog posts, personal interests, revising/improving skills & work, etc.
- Homework Club
- Class Website – lessons listed online (“Our Weekly Schedule”)
- Math in Focus
- Words Their Way (Spelling & Word Study)
- Contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Healthy Snacks – fruits and veggies encouraged!
- Field Trips:
- Camp Duncan - October 2nd
- Historical Reenactment - October 6th
- Museum of Science & Industry - possibility
- The Grove (Pioneer Life) - May 31st
- South Middle School - Spring
- Robert Crown – three separate In-School Field Trips in the spring
- Optional Parent Night is 11/7 at Dunton (details to come)
- 1 - Drug Awareness (all together)
- 2 - Linda & Michael (separate boys & girls, learning about respective reproductive systems)
- 3 - Life Begins (all together)
Classroom Website: paulsolarz.weebly.com
- Parent Newsletter (blog)(Subscribe to get emails every time it’s updated)
- Check calendar on website daily for homework assignments
- Quick tour of our website
- Not sure how we’ll use it just yet – trying to prepare them for South when they’ll need a binder to travel with them from room to room.
- Assignment Notebook should be kept inside
- Folders should be labeled for each subject (Take Home, Math, Reading, Writing, Science, Social Studies). We don’t have a ton of papers in our class – most is online.
- @MrSolarz is our classroom account that the kids can tweet from
- @PaulSolarz is my professional account that I will re-tweet them from and I use excessively (follow at your own risk – LOTS of tweets!) ;)
What parents can do to help their child
- Check out the website regularly (daily if possible!).
- Create an “After School Routine” for your child that includes up to 50 minutes set aside for homework every night (even though there won’t usually be homework assignments).
- Praise all good study habits and other behaviors.
- Read with your child.
- Math facts are more important than one would think! (Multiplication & Division)
- Help your child with their work, but please don’t do it for them!
WHO IS THIS CHILD? (10 and 11 year olds):
I’M TEN and...
- Can take on anything- love a challenge
- Represents an end of an “appreciated dependency”
- Get pleasure from family activities and outings- still admire adults (parents and teachers)
I’M ELEVEN and…
- I’m an advocate and strong believer - passionate about my ideas, opinions and sense of justice
- Assertive- not intend to be rude, it’s a rehearsal for showing independence
- Devoted to peers and social cliques that begin to form
Math in Focus
Math in Focus curriculum strives to develop conceptual understanding with the goal of content mastery. Concepts are taught moving through a sequence of concrete to pictorial to abstract. Concrete learning happens through hands-on activities with math manipulatives, such as counters, coins, number lines, or base ten blocks. Pictorial learning uses pictures, drawings, or other forms that illustrate the concept with something more than abstract numbers. Finally, abstract learning requires students to use numerals, strategies, and problem solving methods to solve problems. Math in Focus supports the goals of the Illinois Learning Standards for Mathematics. It is a research-based program that focuses on classroom learning, discussion and practice. It strives to balance conceptual understanding, visual learning, and problem solving. Students will have access to math manipulatives, student workbooks, student textbooks and online resources.
Words Their Way
Word study involves focused attention to words and word elements, with the goal of helping children become excellent readers and writers. Word study is defined as an instructional process that involves the learner in an investigation of words” (Fountas & Pinnell 1998). “While important, phonics, spelling, word analysis, and grammar usage strategies are not the end goal of literacy education. Their importance lies in their contribution to reading and writing continuous text. The more students can solve words, derive the meaning of words, spell words, and parse language syntax rapidly, fluently, and unconsciously the more likely they are to read and write with competence and ease” (Fountas & Pinnell 2017).