Back to School Night Hand out

Welcome to Back to School Night 


The curriculum here at Phoebe Hearst is aligned to meet the standards set by the state of California.   

Language Arts

We use Open Court for our language arts curriculum.  The book is separated into units, which include: Cooperation and Competition, Astronomy, Heritage, Making a New Nation, Going West, and Journeys and Quests.  Each unit takes about six weeks to complete. Each week we read a story related to the unit topic, and focus on various reading strategies, comprehension, and vocabulary. At the end of the week the students will be taking an assessment test to check their understanding of that week’s story.  These assessments are open book.   We also use two workbooks to learn and practice grammar, parts of speech, punctuation and capitalization, paragraph writing and spelling.  In addition to the Open Court, we will be reading several novels in class.  The Sign of the Beaver, A Wrinkle in Time, Journey to Topaz, My Brother Sam is Dead, and Tuck Everlasting are fun books that the students enjoy reading and are extensions of our classroom learning. 


          Sacramento City USD has adopted the math program MacMillan /McGraw Hill which is a standard aligned, computational program that promotes algebraic thinking.  This program has daily homework, even weekends.  The homework is a combination of new skills learned and a review of past lessons.  Your student will study: number sense, algebra and functions; statistics and data analysis; adding and subtracting decimals; fractions and decimals; adding and subtracting fractions; multiplying and dividing decimals and fractions; algebra: integers and equations; algebra: ratios and functions; percent; geometry: angles and polygons; and measurement: perimeter, area, and volume.   McGraw Hill offers a wonderful web site that includes tutoring, games and extension activities for each lesson.  Please check it out at


          U.S. History is taught using MacMillan/McGraw Hill.  Students will learn how to take and organize notes this year as we read this textbook.  Notes are allowed on the tests, which are given after each chapter.  A study guide is given before each test.  A workbook accompanies the text as well, which we use regularly.  Some of the things your students will learn about are: Native People of North America; Exploration and Colonization; The English Establish 13 Colonies; The Struggle for North America; A New Nation; The Nation Expands; and The American People, Then and Now.


          We also use MacMillan/McGraw Hill for science.  We are going to be focusing on the investigative and experimentation parts of science.  Students will be learning about the scientific method and implementing it during lessons and inquiries.  This year in 5th grade we will be focusing on 3 big ideas- Life Science, Earth Science and Physical Science. 


Homework serves several purposes: 1) it is an extension of the lessons we are working on in class, and is given as a means of practice; 2) it communicates to the parents what we have been studying during the day; and 3) it is an additional way for me to check the students’ understanding.  Homework should take about 45-60 minutes to complete each night.  Please let me know if homework seems too easy or too difficult.          The students of room 8 will be assigned nightly homework, Monday through Thursday.  We review it thoroughly, and I write it down on the whiteboard for the students to copy onto their own daily planner.  Please ask your child each night for this planner so you can check to ensure their homework is completed. Please sign this planner nightly, as it is part of their homework. By signing it, you are saying you checked all the work and it’s complete.  Homework is considered late if it’s not done the next morning by the time class begins.  Students will receive a “Notification of Missing Assignment” paper that will be brought home and needs to be signed by both the student and parent.            A book or research project will be assigned monthly.  Each report is very specific and easy to follow.  I’ll always model them before they are due and will be available for help at any time.  The most challenging part of the projects is time management.  Reports must be turned in on the due date.  20% of the final grade will be subtracted for each day it is overdue.  Projects we’ll be doing this year include:  Cooperation and Competition Book Report, Explorer’s Research Report, Heritage Report with Family Tree, Element Report, State Report, etc.



I grade homework, tests, and projects, as well as in-class work.  Rubrics are provided for projects and writing assignments.  Please review, sign and return each graded piece that comes home, I will be keeping these assignments and return them to you at the end of each grading period. If you ever want to meet with me for a conference, please call me or email  me as soon as needed.

How do you reach me?I am always on campus by 7:45 am and stay until at least 3:30 pm.  Please feel free to visit me during those times.  Or, you can email me at  Email is the best way to reach me.  I will try to get back to you as soon as I can.  Otherwise, you can leave a message for me at the office by calling 277-6690.


We are very lucky to be in Sacramento where there are many field trips that relate to our 5th grade curriculum.  As a team, we have chosen field trips that best suit what we study, and are also enjoyable for the classes and parents who attend.  Below is a list of SOME of the fieldtrips we are planning and the approximate months we will be going. 

  1.  Discovery Museum-Mission to Mars- December 2  Please mark your calendars as we will need parent drivers for this fieldtrip.  We will be collecting money for this fieldtrip and we will let you know more details as the event gets closer.
  2. IMAX Theatre- The Lewis and Clark Expedition – March3.           
  3. River Cats- May4.           
  4. Skating Rink- end of year party- June

We need chaperones for all fieldtrips, and the more the better.  It makes each parent’s job easier if they have fewer students to look after, plus it’s more enjoyable for everyone.  You must get fingerprinted to go on any of our fieldtrips, so please see me if you need more information. 


Students are expected to be on time, in uniform, and prepared for class every day.  Once inside the room, I hope to have a climate where the kids feel safe and valued.  I have zero tolerance for teasing, name-calling, and bullying. An automatic and serious one-on-one chat will take place, should I observe any signs of disrespect.

All the teachers here expect similar behaviors in every classroom such as: 1) Raise your hand to speak; 2) Keep your hands to yourself; 3) Be respectful; and 4) Follow directions the first time.

I promote positive reinforcement.  When I see someone not following the rules, I’ll use another student’s good behavior as a positive example.  In situations where positive feedback isn’t working, a verbal warning will be issued.  The next offense would be a removal from the situation.  Usually this is where the student is asked to sit in another place in the classroom so they aren’t disturbing others. If the behavior continues, they’ll be given study center and a possible call home.  If required, a conference may be scheduled to hopefully help correct the problem.

Parent Hours

There are many ways to earn your 40 parent hours.  Donations, working in the classroom, taking work home, and chaperoning field trips are just a few examples.

  • Donations:  Rainy day games; hand sanitizer; scented plug-ins (the room can get some unpleasant smells!); raffle/rewards, stickers, fun pens/pencils, small candies, or other small items that can be bought at The Dollar Store; Clorox wipes; Movies: curriculum related and Rated G or PG
  • In the Classroom: Chaperone field trips; correct papers; filing
  • At home: Correct spelling test: these would come home Friday night to be corrected over the weekend and returned to me on Monday.  Answers and instructions are provided.
  •  *If you have any other ideas on volunteering, please let me know so we can make arrangements.  If you’d like to come to the classroom to work, please let me know a few days in advance so I have work for you.