Thursday, August 19, 2010 Dear Parents, As the new school year begins we would like to introduce ourselves.

Patrick Casey is beginning his sixth year of teaching, and his fourth year at Garden Gate. He has taught in several diverse environments and looks forward to a new challenge in fifth grade. Cris Lawson is beginning her fifth year as a 5th Grade teacher at Garden Gate. She has been an active parent in the Cupertino district for many years. Cris’s background in the automotive business and accounting brings a fresh perspective to our students. We are very happy to be teaching at Garden Gate School because of its very supportive parents, dedicated students along with a cooperative and caring staff. We would like you to know a few things about our philosophy of teaching and education. • We believe children deserve respect. • We believe children should not be humiliated, hurt, or embarrassed. • We believe a child's self-esteem should be nurtured tenderly. • We believe that part of our job is to help children continue to learn self responsibility. Student responsibility for completing and turning in homework is part of the learning process and an imperative life skill for success in future schooling. • We want your children to enjoy the learning process, and we want to help them develop their own motivation for learning. We do our best to encourage your children to succeed. • We believe modeling is a powerful way to affect a child's learning. • We have high expectations for conduct and for academic growth and performance. • We believe a good learning experience is built on a cooperative effort between parent, child, and teachers. With your participation in and out of the classroom, we can look forward to a productive, creative and fun year together. Mr. Casey and Mrs. Lawson

This is important - please respond! Student Name_________________Parent Name____________________ Phone Number Parent Email Address __________ In an effort to do the very best for your child, you can help us, by giving us some information that will help us understand your child. The best way to provide this information is by using the survey on our website at linked on the front page as well as on the first day packet page. This information may also be written on this form, in a note, or in outline form and returned to school with your student. You may also email us the information at:
Some things we are interested in include the following: • Important experiences that may be affecting your child (death in the family, a best friend moving away, etc.) • Special medical needs (medication that may affect your child's attention span, asthma, etc.) • Study habits at home (Good about doing homework alone, needs a lot of parent reminders, etc.) • TV habits (wants to watch all the time, plays electronic games, has limits to how much they can watch) • After-school activities and special interests (music lessons, sports, goes to day care, etc.) • Feelings toward school (generally likes it, doesn't like it, is interested in some things)

• What you would like your child to work on this year (How to become more independent, specific subjects, handwriting, computers, etc.)

• What you would like us to know about your child (needs more than one explanation, has to do things several times before things become clear, is very shy, takes a while to get going in school, etc.)

• We are interested in anything else that could be affecting your child, although it is not necessary for you to reveal personal information. Anything you say will be kept in confidence.

! HOMEWORK! Homework has a definite place in the educational process. It is an extension of the learning experiences children have during the day. Homework is designed to aid the student in achieving classroom and district standards. In addition, homework builds the work habits necessary in middle school and in life. Your child should plan on ~45 minutes of homework every day, Monday through Thursday. We assign many types of homework. • Unfinished work - If a child has not finished their work in class, and has made good use of their class time, they may take it home and finish it. • Skills practice - This is an extension of work that has been introduced in class. This homework is an individual skills activity designed to help strengthen the child's basic skills knowledge. • Research - This is work which involves the use of reference materials. It is assigned in advance as is expected to be completed over a period of time. • Review - Students should spend some time at home studying and preparing for Oral Language presentations, quizzes and tests. • Reading - Students should read for at least 20-30 minutes every night! (Weekends, too!) HOMEWORK IS DUE THE FOLLOWING DAY UNLESS SPECIFIED. Late homework will not be accepted 2 weeks after it has been recorded. If your child is ill, homework assigned the last day your child was present, will be accepted the day they return to school. It is your child's responsibility to get homework and class work they missed due to absences. If your child is going to be out (ill) for an extended period of time, homework may be picked up after 2:45PM by someone other than the child, on the third day of illness.

WAYS TO HELP YOUR CHILD How can I help my child at home? That is the question most asked of a teacher by interested parents. Here are some suggestions that may be of help to you: • When notices and papers are brought home, look at them; comment on them; go over them with your child. Show genuine interest in the work. Check your student’s grades regularly. Compliment them on their results. Point out any missing assignments to help them see the need to get work in on time. This communicates the idea that education is important and encourages your child to do well in school. • Talk with your child about school and everyday events. • See that your child gets plenty of sleep. Encourage exercise and good nutrition. While many 5th graders are able to, and do make their own lunches, we have found that occasionally they may pack only cookies! Attending to learning in the afternoon then becomes very difficult if the child has not eaten a healthy lunch. • Monitor TV programs. TV can be instructional and also relaxing in proper doses at the proper time. Talk with them about the programs they watch. Turn off the TV during meals to facilitate conversation. • Monitor Computer Usage. If you have Internet access, please monitor web sites, emails, instant messages and chat rooms that your child is involved in • Encourage your child to do homework as early in the afternoon or evening as possible. • Provide a quiet study area for your child. Set up an area designated for study, free of distractions. • Take an active interest in your child's schoolwork. Keep up with your child when he/she has a test and needs to study. Check our website for information on what is going on in class. • Orally quiz your child to help him/her prepare for a test. • If your child has trouble understanding something, try to help. • Be aware of numerous study strategies, such as flash cards or listening to information read aloud or on tape, that can be shared with your child. • Provide learning experiences outside of school. Parks, museums, libraries, zoos, historical sites, and family games offer good learning experiences. • Encourage your children to write. Journals, Blogs, short stories; anything they like is good. • Read with your children. Encourage them to read for fun and discuss what they read. • Watch the news/ read the newspaper together and discuss world events.

$$ Donation Request $$ There are always some things that are helpful to have in the classroom. We have a small supply of these items, but projects involving large groups of students require additional supplies. We also do many hands-on activities that require supplies not available through the school. To begin the year, the teachers have purchased felt pens, markers, colored pencils and other classroom supplies for each student. We have also purchased a student planner for all students to keep track of assignments and due dates. We were able to purchase these in volume at a discount of $3.50 per planner. One will be given to each student and we will require that they be used daily. For 5th grade science, the students are required to have goggles. We will supply these for a cost of $3.00 per student. This year we will be using several on-line and print resource to improve our Social Studies and Language Arts curriculum. The first is a field trip and history resource from Williamsburg for our studies of Colonial America. There is a $4.50 fee per student for access to this material. The second is a subscription to Time For Kids for each student. In order to make these supplies and special opportunities possible we are asking for a $20.00 donation for consumable classroom supplies ($3.50 for the planner, $4.50 for History website access, $3.00 for the goggles, $4.00 for Time For Kids, and the rest for special math, art, social studies, and science projects). Use of funds will be documented and available, any excess will be donated to the end-of-the-year party. In addition, we appreciate any donations you can make to help keep our classroom stocked with supplies • Gift Certificates for Borders, Target, Barnes & Noble for classroom supplies and books • Fine-line dry erase markers • Kleenex • Hand sanitizer • Paper Towels • Colored card stock • Black or Color Ink Cartridges HP #60 or #60XL (Mrs. Lawson) • Black or Color Ink Cartridges HP 940 or 940XL Ink Cartridges (Mr. Casey) • Laptop computers (PC or Mac). We would like to add more computers to our classroom sets. New are best, but if you have an extra one that is < 4 years old we will look at it to see if we can use it. If you are an HP Parent and wish to make a gift in kind (HP pays 75%), please contact us. Enclosed is donation of $______________________for supplies. ___________________________ __________________



Suggested School Supplies - Mr. Casey/Mrs. Lawson - 5th grade – Room 14/15 Please label everything with your child's name. We have ordered individual planners for each student to record assignments. The cost is $3.50 and is included in the Donation Request section of this packet. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Backpack (that will fit under or on the back of your chair) Reusable water bottle (you’ll need a 32oz one for science school) 3-ring binder with at least 5 divisions or tabbed dividers Blue spiral notebook (70-page) Pencil pouch, inside binder containing: * pencils and erasers * pencil sharpener or mechanical pencil lead * 2 blue or black ink pens * red correcting pen or pencil * fine-line dry erase marker(s) 6. Ruler with both standard and metric measurements - will be needed both in school and for homework 7. Personal calculator - if purchasing a new one, Texas Instruments (TI-34). This calculator is available at Staples/Office Max/Target for ~ $20. This is similar to the calculator we will learn to use in class and will be usable through 9th grade. Your student needs a calculator that does order of operations and scientific notation for middle school math. This is a tool that will allow us to study number patterns and relationships; it will not be used as a crutch for solving simple math problems. If you purchase a different calculator, that is fine, but the teachers will not be able to instruct your student in its use. 8. Highlighter pens. 9. Colored pens or pencils. 10. Protractor 11. 4 Composition books (ie. Black & White, 100 sheets, 9 ¾” x 7 ½”). Two with lined pages, two with grid pages. 12. Clipboard Some of these supplies will be used up, vanish or fall into disrepair during the year. Please check with your child from time to time, to see that his/her supplies are complete. This list is also available on our website: