It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the end of the 2017-18 school year! The students recently said they can’t believe how quickly our time together as flown by and I agree with them. Gosh, didn’t we just have spring break a few weeks ago? Spring has seemingly been a whirlwind of classroom projects, field trips, learning about middle school, tackling more complicated math concepts, buddy class visits, life lab activities, the big spring music performance, pelagic animals, and… well, it has been a full year to say the least. Naturally the kids are excited about the arrival of summer vacation, but also a little sad that our year together is coming to a close on Thursday.
This year’s crop of research reports was quite good and the students are justifiably proud of their efforts. We had about eight biographies, four state reports, a summary of the American Civil War, another about the Great Depression, a study of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in America, a history of the United States’ flag, and a report about the Everglades in Florida. This morning we were asked to narrow down our year’s learning activities to one thing to share with the rest of the school during the Step-Up ceremony on Thursday and the class overwhelmingly chose their research projects.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, we’ll have the 5th graders’ final time in Life Lab with Caprice and their pizza party. You are invited too; in case you didn’t see the email about it, here are the times and groups:
On Wednesday we’ll be packing up and doing some final assessments, but we’ll also take time for a quick celebration and some ice cream together in the afternoon. We’ll walk to Marini’s on Beach Street at 2:00 and be back to Gateway by 3:00. If you’d like to join us, please do! I’m buying, so no need to send money with your child (or bring it for yourself.)
For Thursday, we’ll wrap things up together in B-5 and say our good-byes. We’ll also participate in the school-wide activities during the morning and then listen to the 8th graders’ speeches in the afternoon. We’ll be outside a lot; please send your daughter or son to school with a jacket for the morning and some sun screen and a hat for the afternoon. (The students know what to bring but it won’t hurt to double-check that they haven’t forgotten anything.) Also, a sturdy grocery bag will be needed to bring home their portfolios of school work. (Paper or cloth is fine, but if it is paper, double-bagging will hold the weight better than single bags.)
With summer arriving soon, I have one concern to share. Our long summer break is great for a lot of things but we teachers often find that most students are pretty rusty when they return to school in late August. I hope you will help your child do various learning activities over summer, but especially in reading, writing, and math. If you want some help with getting useful math material, the school offers a summer skills math book that I think is good. But whatever the source, I would recommend all my students do some math over summer, say Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays for about 20 minutes per session. A mix of review and new material will be time well spent and they’ll go into middle school more able to tackle the concepts in their math class compared to those students who don’t do anything. If you are interested, see Nikki in the main office for one of the summer math books. I believe they are about twenty dollars. For reading, let your child’s interests be the guide, but they should be reading most days of the week for at least 20 minutes silently. If reading aloud to you, 8-10 minutes will work well for that. For writing, composing a few letters to grandparents or other distant relatives is a good thing to do, as is keeping a journal of each week’s events.
Well, I guess that’s it. Thanks everyone! Whether you volunteered to drive on a field trip, were a camp chaperone, helped us learn about marine science at the Seymour Discovery Lab, or bicycled with us to the new campus recently, it all made 5th grade better for the children. I want to sincerely thank everyone who volunteered to help us in any way, but especially all of you who helped with grading vocabulary workbooks on Fridays– in particular Carla Erwin, Jose Chavez, and Becky Luksich. A big thank-you goes out to Sherie L’Heureux for doing a fine job keeping us all up to speed with her great class activity calendars, and to the indefatigable Karen Jensen for again getting us to Marin Headlands so smoothly. I’ll look forward to seeing everyone during the next few days, but if we don’t connect I send you best wishes for a relaxing summer. For me, it is a bittersweet time. I’m looking forward to be retired soon, but also a little sad to be sending my last class of 5th graders off to middle school one last time. I’m sure they will do fine next year– and so will we all. Thanks, everyone, for a great last year at Gateway.