READ BEFORE YOU PROCEED
The following letter contains 1,323 words that will begin to shape your fifth grade year. Be sure you have time to read them all carefully. You may like to have your parents sit and read with you so you can all be excited about fifth grade together. You should also have dancing shoes on (true story) and a video camera or camera handy.
Ready? Of course you are! Because you are about to become...
FIFTH GRADE AND FEARLESS!
We are excited for the year ahead - but first, we need your help in knowing what next year is going to look like.
Yes, your help!
What this year holds, is, in large part up to you. We have our plans, our ideas, our goals....what about you?
We have been teaching for many years combined, but every year we begin the school year as a different person. We decide on that first day and then every day thereafter, who we are as teachers. What is important to us. What we want to accomplish. What we want our students to see when they come to school. We choose that. We don't let other people tell us who we will be, and we don't become who other people want us to be. We read, we think, we write, and then we decide.
Who Will You Be? (This is a big question - take your time to think about this!) Will you be the kid who has brilliant ideas? The kid who loves math? The kid who looks to help other people? The kid who......? Fresh start. Clean slate. We all get one (that includes you!), and we all get to begin fifth grade as the person we want to be.
What is important to you? (This is another big question, and one we are really curious about so we will ask it twice.) What is important to you?
(**Assignment One: Email us about: 1. Who will you be in Grade 5? 2. What is important to you? This is your AWESOMENESS! Due: Wednesday, September 2nd)
There are lots of things that are important to us:
Mrs. Walker: fearlessness, traveling, passion, my husband, my dog Tipsy, sharing ideas, reading, innovation in education, being creative, gardening, tennis, teaching what I love, discovering things, sleeping in, staying up late and knowing when to say sorry.
Mr. Lindsay: family, friendships, baseball, patience, riding my bike, caring for others, playing basketball and tennis, creating enthusiasm in my students, having fun, mountains, the ocean, the Red Sox, sharing all the experiences of life with others.
As your Grade 5 teachers, there are a few more things that are important to us:
* Having a relationship based on respectful, open communication. We promise you that no student we have ever worked with has ever 'gotten in trouble' for respectfully sharing their opinion with us.
* Having our students as co-creators - We want your input in our units. We have the skeleton plan for what concepts we will explore, but this is an inquiry based program! There are no things we 'must' do. We are inquirers, thinkers, explorers - right? Be prepared to help decide where our learning will go.
* You won't get grades, you might get test scores every now and then but you will, for sure, get lots of feedback and more importantly we will engage in dialogue about your work. That means we both talk. We are not the people you should be trying to please or perform for. That person is the one who looks back at you when you brush your teeth. Your objective is to impress the pants off that person. We are here to help you do that and so are your classmates. The chance to discuss, review, revise, rework, tweak and try again - not a punishment, a chance to show yourself just how awesome you can be.
* We believe in collaboration. We love to share ideas and get ideas and try new things and even when those things fail, we know we are just one step closer to finding what does work. We encourage you to be generous with your art - whatever that may be. The more you give away of yourself, the more you will grow and the more your awesomeness factor (as calculated by The Universe) will exponentially explode (true story).
* Inquiry is where it's at. "No one cares what you know. What the world cares about is what you do with what you know." Think about that. Chew it over. We can all Google and find stuff out - but then what? After we know stuff, what we do with it = inquiry. And, that is what the world, and us, care about.
* Time is precious. So are you. We don't like wasting time and we especially don't like wasting your time. That means we try to come to school ready, fired up, and prepared to make a ruckus (we like to think that a 'ruckus' is the sound your brain makes when it is challenged to be creative, thoughtful, inquisitive and world-changing - it is a beautiful sound). Some days we forget to put our Awesome Pants on. We all have those days and we hope you will go easy on us when we have ours.
* Technology is part of the process. We love technology because it allows us to connect to new ideas. We like to think about what we want to do and look for tools to help us do it. We want to hear your ideas on technology and what works for you.
* We are not in this alone. We are a community: our class, our families, our school, our neighborhood, our city, our state, our country, our world. There are so many amazing people doing amazing things. We bet you can think of ten amazing people who do amazing things right now. Your mom and dad should be on that list. They are awesome.
* We like to take some risks. We hope you do too. It is scary sometimes and it fails sometimes but sometimes, more often, it is just A-MAZ-ING! Someone smart once told us that, "Fear and excitement are shades of the same color." Cool, huh?
Hang in there...the end is near!
(Feel free to pause for refreshments!)
OK...if you made it this far and are still with us, congratulations, you are a rockstar. Stop reading right now and do some kind of victory dance. (Hopefully you are reading this in a public place and people are watching and we bet they are thinking, "I should dance more...."). If you are reading this with your family, make them dance too. Are you dancing yet? No? Afraid you will look silly? What is the worst that could happen? Even if it was a four second shimmy, we hope you danced!
So....what now? How can you best prepare for the extreme awesomeness of fifth grade?
· Be extraordinary.
· If you have any questions you can always email us. Anytime. No question is too big or too small.
· Think about what we said about being who you want to be. Most importantly, remember that everyone else in our class is thinking about that too. Be gracious to those who are brave enough to set lofty goals and make the effort to become an even better version of themselves.
Despite having now used over one thousand three hundred words, there are no words to describe how excited we are about working with you this year!
PS. If you didn't get up and dance before and are now wishing you did, there is still time to do it. Anytime. (**Assignment Two: Send us a video or picture with your best dance moves! Due: Wednesday, September 2nd)