Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Term 1 2012
Dear Parents and Caregivers
Welcome back to school!  Hopefully everyone had a very relaxing and enjoyable holiday. The teachers have been hard at work preparing for the year and we are all looking forward to what 2012 will bring.
The team consists of:

                                                              Deane McKay –Room 12 (Year 5/6)

                                                             Murray McMillan –Room 11 (Year 5/6)

                                                          Raihania Chadwick –Room 13 (Year 5/6)

                                                             Kirsten Berry –Room 14 (Year 5/6)

Sally Velvin is another valuable member of our team. She will be teaching on Fridays and every second Thursday in Room 12.  Ruth Hooke is continuing to run the schools Performing Arts programme throughout the school and will be working with the Y5/6 classes in preparation for camp skits.

Parent Interviews
Thank you to everyone who attended these interviews last week. It was fantastic to catch up with you to discuss your children. All the teachers have come away with valuable information which will assist in meeting the needs of your children.
Camp 2011 Forest Lakes (6th -9th March)
Our major focus for the beginning of the year is camp at Forest Lakes. This takes place in week 5 of this term.
There is a cost involved with coming to camp; it will cost $220 per child. This covers every eventuality that may arise. We ask that you pay before going to camp. If there are any problems with this please contact your classroom teacher. It would be appreciated if you completed and returned the forms that were sent home last week.
It is important that gear is being organised so that we are ready for Tuesday in Week 5. Let us know if you are having any difficulties as we can help you borrow gear. A gear check takes place at school in the morning before boarding the bus and you will be contacted if there are any major items missing. It is important that students are aware of what they have in their bags. Encourage them to take responsibility for checking their gear list and packing. This will be their responsibility while at camp.
If your child requires medicine to be given while on camp please make sure that it comes to school on Tuesday 6th March (or earlier if possible) in a named plastic bag and is given to the class teacher.
We are holding a meeting at 6.30pm on Wednesday 29th February in the library for parents coming to camp for the full week. We will be discussing routines and also your responsibilities while at camp. It is important that you attend if you are coming to camp as a full timer. We hope it will take only about 30- 45 minutes. If your circumstances have changed please let me know.

Curriculum Topics
Our big idea for the year is ‘Make it Happen’.  We will be forming our major units of work to fit round this throughout the year. This is a school wide theme and we are adapting it to best meet the needs of the students in our area of the school.

We have decided to wait until after camp to officially start homework so students can enjoy the sunshine and prepare for Camp. However we will be expecting that the students are reading for 15 minutes every night.  Your child will need to record what they have read in a reading log.  We will then ease into spelling homework. Your child should have between 8-10 spelling words to learn at home during the week. They will then be tested on these words on Friday. These words may be from the Essential Spelling Lists if your child has not already mastered them or from the De Arth spelling programme.  After camp, information will be sent home outlining expectations for homework.

Cross grouping will start after we get back from camp. Until then we will start the term looking at Number Knowledge, such as exploring place value and basic facts.

We are beginning the year focusing on recounts.  The experiences of camp will be valuable in supporting the learning of the students.

We will start the term with an inquiry unit based upon the problem:
How can we adapt and improve a playing environment to provide a safe yet challenging experience for all.
This unit fits nicely alongside the camp experience.

Visual Art
Students will be learning about various concepts of shading and tones.  Students will be involved an arts week later this term using Van Gogh as inspiration.

Please ensure that stationery is at school as soon as possible so written work can start promptly. If you are covering books with duraseal please ensure that you have put labels on the front for the names, as it is very time consuming finding the owners of unnamed books. Names written in vivid pens are easily rubbed off. Labels are the best option.
Daily Reminders
Please help your child remember to check they have everything they need each morning and they are at school in time for the first bell at 8.40. Students should see that being organised is part of growing up and an important life skill to be developing.
They will need a water bottle (named) to keep hydrated during the day. It helps with concentration and learning. Ensure that it comes home regularly for a wash.
All students are expected to wear a wide brimmed sunhat during all outside activities. The hat needs to be kept at school for easy access.

Swimming has started. Every class will be swimming everyday so please ensure that your child has their swimming gear ready. The gear should be named and in a suitable bag. We are lucky enough to have the assistance of a qualified swimming instructor for the first two weeks.

This year the year 5 and 6 students will have many opportunities to be involved in a range of sporting events. These sports range from netball and soccer to cricket and hockey. There will also be zone and inter - zone events such as swimming, cross-country and athletics. Parent support and transport at these events is much appreciated and it is also a wonderful opportunity to come along and see your child in action.

We will be continuing the success of classroom blogging. These blogs can be accessed through the school website. It is worthwhile visiting regularly and checking out the updates. It really is a fantastic way to see the learning that is occurring in the classroom. We encourage you to leave the comments for your children or the class – they really get a buzz out of it!

If you need to contact your child’s classroom teacher please feel free to drop by the classroom before or after school or make an appointment for an interview at the office. The easiest way to touch base with us is email e.g. teacher’s surname@muritai.school.nz
Thank you again for your support
Deane McKay
Year 5 and 6 Team Leader.

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