Parent Orientation 2009

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					Welcome to Parent Orientation
Westwood Elementary School

                 Fourth Grade:
                   Traci Hren
                Mandi Matchinga
                 Frank Vosicky
Mandi Matchinga
• Mom to David (age 10) and Riley (age 7)
• Bachelor’s Degree from Capital University
   – Elementary Education grades 1-8
   – Special Education K-12
• Master’s Degree from Ashland University in
  Curriculum and Instruction
• Greater Cleveland Council of Teachers of
  Mathematics Elementary Teacher of the Year
• Jennings Scholar
• Taught 3rd Grade for 4 years in Texas.
• 9th year teaching 4th grade at Westwood.
Traci Hren
• Mother to Andrew (10 years) and Alex (5
• Westwood teacher of 15 years
• Bachelor’s Degree from the University of
  Toledo in Elementary Education grades
• Master’s Degree from Ashland University
  in Curriculum and Instruction
• Grades taught: Title 1 (1 year), First
  Grade (6 years), Second Grade (2
  years), Third Grade, (7 weeks), Fourth
  Grade (5 years)
Frank Vosicky
• This is my 16th year of teaching. I have taught
  4th – 6th grade at Newbury and West Geauga.
  I have been at Westwood for 13 years.

• My wife Laurie is a kindergarten teacher in the
  Willoughby-Eastlake system. We have a 6 year
  old daughter named Meridan and son named
  Cooper that will be 4 in November.

• I graduated from the Ohio State University and
  am a huge fan of all sports.
   – I have a Masters Degree in Educational
     Administration from Ursuline.

• We have a successful, proven
  system in place to teach your child
  personal responsibility.
• You are a facilitator at home for
  your child’s education.
• It is not possible, nor do we expect
  for you to know everything that is
  going on here at school.
Class Schedule
•   8:15-8:30     Bell Work
•   8:30-8:40     Switch One (Homeroom)
•   8:40-9:25     Specials (See Classroom Website)
•   9:25-9:30     Restroom Break
•   9:30-10:45    Switch One (Homeroom)
•   10:45-11:30   Switch Two
•   11:30-12:30   Lunch/Recess
•   12:30-1:10    Switch Two
•   1:10-2:35     Switch Three
•   2:35-3:00     Activity Period
•   3:00-3:15     Pack Up/Dismissal
Classroom Rules
• Follow directions the first time
• Ask questions and do your best
• Allow others to learn.
• Treat people and materials with
• Come to class with all of your
  needed materials.
• Our classroom website can be
  viewed at:

• Updated throughout the week.
  – Announcements
  – Important Dates and Upcoming Events
  – Study Guides
  – Project Criterion
  – Educational Game Links
  • (Voice
    mail 729-5901 ext. 4308)
  • (Voice mail
    729-5901 ext. 4303)
  • (Voice mail
    729-5901 ext. 4309)
  • (Voice mail
    729-5901 ext. 4302)
  • We make it a point to return calls and
    emails within 24 hours. If it has been
    longer than 24 hours, it is due to
    absence or malfunctioning equipment.
 • Assignment notebooks are to be signed
   each night by a parent, and are checked
   each day by the homeroom teacher.
 • If you have an academic concern, please
   contact the teacher of that academic
   area (Matchinga – math, Chase –
   reading, Vosicky – writing/spelling, Mell
   –science/social studies).
 • If you have
   concerns, please contact the homeroom
 • Please contact us via email or
   voicemail to schedule an appointment
   for a meeting.
• Given Monday-Thursday
• Per Board Policy, it should take about 45
   – This does not include time to locate pencils, take calls
     from friends, or fight with a sibling !
• Students should be able to complete it

• Homework ≠ Tears/Frustration
   – Do not work to the point of frustration! Please send a
     note if your student does not understand the
     homework, and we will remediate during activity
     period or study hall.
• Math Study Link pages given Monday-
• Compositions are started in class and
  occasionally will need to be finished at home.
• Reading assignments should take place for 15
  minutes nightly.
• Minimal science and social studies as needed.
• Studying for Tests (short reviews each night to
  help avoid developing the habit of “cramming”)
• **Unfinished classwork may also be sent home
  to be completed.**
• If a project is going to be graded by a rubric,
  the rubric will be posted on the website
  when the assignment is given.
• Ample time to complete the project will
  always be given.
• This is a project meant to be completed by
  your student. We expect the project to look
  like a fourth grader completed it.
• Other projects are to be completed at
  school. Please trust that we are monitoring
  the completion of the project. Fourth
  Graders often tell parents that they don’t
  have enough time to complete projects at
  school so that they can bring it home and
  get help. The “at-school” projects help
  foster independence and responsibility.
Friday Folders
• Sent home on the last day of the school
  – Graded papers
• A box will be checked if there is a
  student conduct slip or a progress report
  in the folder. Please sign and return
  these items in the folder.
• The other papers in the folder are yours
  to keep.
• Return the folder on Monday with parent
• We will begin this Friday.
Everyday Math
• The Books
  – Student Reference Books
    • “New” (Crowned Crane) stays at school
    • “Old” (Blue Butterfly) stays at home
  – Study Links (Stays at home)
Math Assessments
• Math Checks
  – Given on the last day of the school week,
    worth 20 points (THIS IS NOT A QUIZ)
     • Assessment FOR Learning
  – Questions resemble homework/classwork
    questions covered during the week
• Class review sessions before tests
  – No tricks, no surprises, worth 100 points
• Students are expected to explain their
  thinking on all assessments.
My Most Important Request

• Please support our curriculum and
  algorithms in front of your child.
• Your words are powerful. Your
  child usually values what you value.
Second Most Important
• Fourth graders must have their
  multiplication facts, x 0- x11,
• Students who do not have these
  memorized by winter break really
  struggle in math for the last half of
  the school year.
 Reading                                    Independent
   Guided Reading
                                        Students read from
 Mini lessons used to                 books at their level or
model strategies to                    slightly below.
comprehend reading text.                Activities used to display
 Reading level tested 2-3             comprehension.
times a year and reported               Teacher/student
to parent.                             conferencing used to
 Vocabulary completed in              facilitate selecting just right
class.                                 books.
 Literature Circles used for
students to discuss assigned
reading at their level.                  Whole Group Reading
 Activities used to display     Students read from the same novel.
                                 Literature circles used to discuss text and
                                 Partner reading to help with text.
                                 Activities used to display comprehension.

• Homework – Monday-Thursday
• Index cards- quick check to practice
  skill that was covered in class that
• Measuring Up – sometimes brought
  home to finish in class assignment
• Two at home projects
• Reading for 15 minutes each night
• DSA Leveled Spelling Lists
• Assessments modeled after the format
  used on Achievement Test
  – Choose the word that is spelled correctly.
  – Is the underlined word spelled correctly?
  – If the word is not spelled correctly, what is
    the correct spelling?
  - Units will be 2 weeks each. Word study will
    be done in class
• Fourth grade writing instruction focuses
  on continuing grammar instruction,
  correct paragraph formation, various
  writing applications, and legible cursive.

• Text used: Grammar book that stays in

• Composition notebook, Writing journal

• The writing applications covered will be
  descriptive writing, narratives, responses to
  novels, formal and informal letters (thank you
  notes, letters of request), informational reports,
  and informal writings (messages, journals,
  notes and poems)

• There will be approximately three compositions
  per grading period. Most compositions will be
  graded with a rubric.

• Some will be done online
Science/Social Studies
• Units will alternate between science
  and social studies and will last
  about 2 weeks.
• Weekly “checks” (quizzes) from the
  class notes and checks.
• Unit tests
• Occasional homework, most often
  just finishing up classwork.
Project Real World
• This is designed to be a managerial program that offers
  incentives for learning work skills.

• Students will interview for three different jobs on
  September 24th. They will have a resume and letters of
  recommendation. We will work on these in writing class.

• They will then be paid bi-weekly for doing their job. They
  must pay bills for rent, car, education, electric, and water.

• Additional money will be earned for completing
  homework, having the assignment notebook signed, and
  getting mail at the end of the day,

• Behavior or “judge” fines also will be given for not
  adhering to class rules.

• Money left over can be spent in the 4th grade prize or
  food store throughout the year or at our monthly Palooza
Project Real World

• This program is funded through grant writing
  and parent donations. Any assistance with the
  actual interview day or with corporate donations
  would be much appreciated.

• Jobs available are: librarian, financial manager,
  custodial engineer, health care worker, store
  manager, equipment manager, photographer,
  secretary, administrative assistant, postal
  worker, meteorologist, videographer,
  technology director, artist, party planner, disc
  jockey, reporter and graphic designer.
        Project Real World
• Reflections:
   – Will be written in class every two weeks.
   – They will reflect on job performance, student
     performance, and behavioral choices.
• Bonuses:
   – Odd jobs
   – Above and beyond
   – Citizenship
   – “We’re Proud of You” slips

• The first experiences can be an
  – It takes some students a quarter to get
    the hang of the amount of effort
    required to earn the grade they want.
  – If school has come easily to a student
    up to this point, s/he is sometimes
    surprised at the effort required to earn
    A’s and B’s in fourth grade.
Grading Continued:
• A “P” earned in third grade reflects a
  grade range from C- to a B+.
• We can’t expect all students to earn all A’s
  in all subjects.
   – If that were the case, our expectations are too
• Our focus is on progress.
• What have they learned, vs. what grade
  did they get?
Parent Assist Module (PAM)
• Called PAM
• Allows parents to check students’ grades
  online using a username and password.
• Grades will be posted periodically
  throughout the week.
• PAM does not accurately report the
  reading grade.
• Link to PAM on the 4th Grade website
Parent Assist Module (PAM)

• We have confidential letters for you
  notifying you of the username and
  password for your student.
• See your student’s homeroom
  teacher at the end or orientation to
  receive the username and
  password for your child.

• We model organization multiple times
  throughout the day.
• Pack up for home together at the end of
  the day.
• The binder will be color coded. See the
  website for details.
• 4th graders love to tell their parents they
  are “not allowed” to bring home certain
  materials. Students may bring home any
  extra books or materials that you require.
         Vacation Request
• In writing to homeroom teacher at least ONE
  week ahead of time – The child will get his or
  her work on the last day before vacation.
• If requested ahead of time, work IS due upon
• Tests will be made up within one week
  (discretion of teacher on days)
• Some things such as class discussion,
  experiments and activities will not be able to be
  made up.
• If work is given when the child returns, the
  number of days the child was out is the number
  of days s/he has to make up the missed work.
It is our goal to make 4th grade
an excellent year for your child
and for your family!
• Thank you for taking time out of
  your busy schedules to attend
  Parent Orientation!
• Conference sign-up sheets are in
  the Library.
It is our goal to make 4th grade
an excellent year for your child
and for your family!
• See your child’s homeroom teacher
  for your PAM letter.
• Please see Room Parents before
  you leave:
  – Matchinga Homeroom see:
  – Chase Homeroom see:
  – Vosicky Homeroom see:
  – Mell Homeroom see:

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