Welcome Letter

Dear Parents/Guardians,

My name is Tiffany Benitez and I will be teaching and guiding your child through their 5th grade year here at Braddock Drive Gifted Magnet. I graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a minor in Spanish. I went on to attend graduate school in the Portland area at Lewis and Clark College, where I earned my Master of Arts degree in Education. I hold two teaching credentials: Single Subject Social Studies and a Multiple Subject credential. I look forward to a positive year where your child experiences academic, social and emotional growth.

Academically, your child will be exposed to a common core focused curriculum. This year, Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop will be implemented in the classroom. CGI and Fosnot Math will be implemented for mathematics. These are all programs that are focused on student led learning and are being adopted by progressive districts and educators around the country. Students will also be given the opportunity to express themselves academically and artistically through a variety of projects and assignments in Science, Social Studies and Health.

Socially, your child will be expected to comply with school and classroom rules. All rules of the classroom will be agreed upon as a class. The goal of our rules will be to create and maintain a safe, productive learning environment at all times for every student in the classroom.

Emotionally, your child will be provided with a safe and positive environment when they enter the classroom each day. I always work with students to focus on positive behavior and solutions to address any other type of behavior. I will reach out to you as a parent by phone or email to keep you updated on your student’s behavior progress if necessary.
FAQs:

Homework

Homework will be assigned Monday-Thursday. The depth, subject and material assigned will be dependent upon what we are covering in class. It may focus on review or it may ask students to expand their thinking on a topic discussed in class. Students will be expected to turn in homework first thing in the morning. Students will be provided a homework log each week where they will be required to fill in the assignment and due date. This is a great way for parents to stay informed about assignments. If a student does not turn in homework, their parent/guardian will be notified by email or phone. This allows the teacher, student and parent to be up to date about homework progress.

Incentives

Students will earn group points and will have the opportunity to earn incentives throughout the week. The incentives will be special privileges agreed upon by the class in the beginning of the year.

Consequences

Here are the steps that will be implemented in the class if a student is unable to comply with the classroom rules:

1. Warning
2. Recess/Lunch mini student/teacher conference (to discuss steps for changing the undesired behavior). Parent will be notified.
3. Loss of time at recess or lunch. Parent will be notified.
4. Parent/Teacher/Student conference: the purpose of the conference will be to collaborate and come up with ideas to support the student and enforce consistent consequences

Attendance

Please have students to school on time every day. Time in the classroom and daily routine will be key to your child’s success. Of course, if there is a health issue, family emergency etc. arrangements will be made to make up work or material missed in class.

Parent Volunteers

Parent volunteers are always welcome and greatly appreciated. Please let me know if you would like to volunteer in advance, so that we can obtain the proper clearance by the principal and the district.

Birthday Policy

As a class, if it is someone’s birthday we will celebrate by singing to the student and having them bring in a special item to share that is important to them.

Curriculum Overview

Reader’s Workshop:

Materials: novels, Reading Strategies, Benchmark Advance, Words Their Way, Spectrum 5th and 6th grade

Students will read books from the Fiction and Non-Fiction genres. They will coincide with the writing units will be working on.

Students will be build vocabulary knowledge through investigating spelling patterns. Students will be have weekly quizzes on spelling patterns.

Writer’s Workshop

Materials: Writer’s Workshop, Writing Strategies, Benchmark Advance

Students will be engaged in a 20 day in-class intensive writing process for each of the following writing categories Narrative, Informational/Expository and Opinion/Persuasive. During the 20 day process, students will learn strategies to strengthen their writing in the areas specific to their individual needs. We will repeat another 20 day cycle for each genre the second half of the year.

Students will also be expected to practice their writing outside of class. Students will be given prompts based on material we have discussed in class in a variety of subject areas (science, social studies, health, reading etc). Prompts will address common core standards and will help prepare students for testing. Parents will be expected to help students with revisions during this process. These writing assignments will gradually lengthen over the course of the school year. Writing assignments will average one per week, but will not necessarily start on Monday or be due on Friday. Those dates will be dependent on our class pacing.

Math:

Materials: Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI), Fosnot Math, My Math

Students will explore the Common Core standards using Cognitively Guided Instruction. This is a student led way of approaching math. Students will be given realistic story problems to develop 5th grade math concepts. It is the teacher’s job to facilitate the instruction and guide student thinking. Fosnot Math is also a student centered way of exploring math concepts that approaches math by having students solve mysteries. Both CGI and Fosnot math will be used interchangeably throughout the school year. We will use My Math as a way to address common core vocabulary and key concepts throughout the CGI process.

Science:

Materials: Foss, Foss Kits, Mystery Science

Students will explore the Next Generation Science standards through experimentation using Foss Kits and Mystery Science. We will use the Foss textbook to study science vocabulary and focus on key standards based concepts

Social Studies:

Materials: Our Nation, Primary Documents, Historical Novels, UCLA History Project

Students will learn about Social Studies through project based learning. We will complete several different projects throughout the school year. We will also use primary documents and historical novels to access the early history of the United States.

Health:

Materials: Health and Wellness , Second Step

Students will use the Health and Wellness textbook . Health will also be a project based learning experience. We will complete several projects throughout the year that help students understand their physical, social, emotional and mental health.

I look forward to a great year of collaboration and learning. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email me at tiffany.aria@lausd.net.

Sincerely,
Tiffany Benitez