Hello families of Room 173!!

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to our learning community, and to tell you just how excited I am to be able to work with your family this year. As we build upon the successes and challenges of our first three years here at STEM, there are bound to be a few questions, and this letter is intended to answer as many of those questions as I can. In addition, the PTA has provided a range of important forms on their website, and if you have not already done so, we would greatly appreciate it if you could complete these as soon as possible. If you are unable to complete the forms online, please let me know and I would be happy to provide hard copies for you.

In the classroom welcome packet (sent home Friday 9/18) you will find several informational forms to fill out and return as soon as possible. I apologize for the redundancy in gathering some of this information, but it is very important that I have accurate records, and our wonderful front office staff have better things to do than be badgered by me when I need to get in touch with you! The Walking Field Trip Permission Form is of utmost importance, as we would like to start getting out of the building as early as next week. 

We will be working closely with the other 5th grade class, led by Ms. Martin, in order to ensure that your child receives the best possible instruction tailored to meet his/her individual needs and interests. Specifics regarding our Project Based Learning approach and curricular resources employed will be shared over the next few weeks, as well as at our Curriculum Night/Open House in early October. Stay tuned!

Home Folders & Planners
Your child will have a Home Folder that s/he will take home every day and return to school every day. The folders will be distributed next week, unless students choose to use their own. This will carry important notes from school, weekly & daily Extended Learning assignments, and books. Please help your child remember to bring his/her folder to school every day. Additionally, we will be using the same planners that the 4th grade classes used last year; we are waiting for them to arrive, and when we receive them, students will be expected to fill them out & carry them with them every day.

Extended Learning Policy
Extended Learning Assignments [XLA] are an integral part of your child’s learning experience, and my expectation is that students will complete all work within the given time period. Assignments will frequently be assigned on a daily basis, on most days consisting of a mix of math practice, language work, and project research. In addition, students are expected to spend at least 30 minutes every evening engaged in independent reading. We will provide more specifics & clarity on Extended Learning as we decide, as a community, how this system will work best for us.

Classroom Supplies
In Room 173, nearly all learning materials are shared within the classroom community. If your child has a special pencil box that s/he would like to use, that is fine, but all crayons/ markers/pencils/etc. will be added to the general classroom supply. Students will receive mechanical pencils & lead from me, though they may use their own if they prefer. In terms of other useful classroom supplies, we always need more tissues and sanitizing wipes (NOT baby wipes, please!!). Simply put, if you want to donate something to our classroom, we’ll find a way to use it! Anything that you can contribute is appreciated.

We have also asked for each family to provide $35 that will go into a general classroom supply fund. If you have already sent this in, thank you very much! 

Snacks are a very important part of life, and our classroom is no exception. Donations are always appreciated, especially when said snacks are of the healthful variety. We have a general “no frosting” rule in our classroom; if you wish to celebrate your child’s birthday with us, a small, special treat may be arranged with me directly. Fruits and vegetables are always the ideal, and we have a refrigerator in the classroom to accommodate. I am interested in getting our class a subscription to one of the many fresh produce co-op services available, and will be asking for sponsorships for this and other classroom needs in the near future.

In the next week or two, you will receive an invitation to join our class calendar on Google, and here we will have a system for signing up to bring snacks for a particular week.

By far, the best way to reach me is via email (drgluck@seattleschools.org). I will endeavor to return all messages within 24 hours, whether by email or by phone (206.252.8483). In addition, if you are on Twitter, please follow us @MrGlucksClass for news, home extension activities, and whatnot. 

Our class website at MrGlucksClass.net is a one-stop-shop for all information regarding what we’re learning, extended learning assignments, lesson resources, classroom calendar, and many other pieces of information. We might end up using one or more other online platforms for various aspects of communication and file sharing, and we will update you on details as soon as we figure them out.

On this note, we will not be sending out specific media releases this year, as SPS has asked us not to; instead, families have the opportunity to opt out via the FERPA form (available on the PTA website or in the front office). I have included in this packet a copy of our social media policy, which describes what type of content might be published and how we will be using various publishing & communications platforms. As the FERPA form covers a very broad range of information, if you choose to opt out I would like to speak directly to discuss what specific permissions you might allow for the purposes of our classroom communications and projects.

Please check your child’s Home Folder every Monday and Friday for important notices and forms, especially during the first few weeks of the year. Additional information regarding field trips, special events, and volunteer opportunities will be coming soon.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Please feel free to get in touch. If you would like to speak with me in person, I am happy to schedule a meeting with you and can typically do so on short notice if necessary. If you choose to come to my classroom unannounced, I will do my best to accommodate you but cannot guarantee that I will be free to talk.

Finally, on the issue of attendance and scheduling, I understand that family life is busy and often chaotic, with unexpected events and changes cropping up now and then. For the sake of your child’s experience in our community, it is very important that I know as soon as possible if your child is going to be missing any portion of the school day. This includes needing to be picked up early; we will be taking many walking trips around the community, and unless I receive prior notice (by noon at the very latest) I cannot guarantee that your child will be on the school grounds. 

Again, thank you so very much for joining us on this adventure. It’s going to be an awesome year!