Friday, July 15, 2011

Welcome Letter

Welcome to Communication Skills
Ms. Schlemmer   Room 214
HNMS ~ Team 7-A
Dear Students and Families,

I am very excited to be working with each of you this year.  I am sure that you all have many questions regarding the new school year and your upcoming experience in 7th grade.  The purpose of my letter is to answer a few of the questions you may have about Communication Skills in room 214; if I do not answer all of them here (and I am sure I won’t) please feel free to e-mail me.  I try to answer e-mail as soon as possible.  You can call, but please be aware that during classes, your call will go straight to voicemail.  I listen to messages first thing in the morning, during my plan time and at the end of the day.  Calls will be returned at the end of the school day.  I will respond to notes as well.  Your student’s planner is a good place for notes.  Please check out our class blog often, if not daily, for a summary of the day and to offer positive feedback to our blooming writers at 
You will find announcements and homework, several links filled with resources and learning games on the blog as well.  If you are looking for something and it is not there, let me know and I will try to add it.  Here are a few important expectations for our class:

Materials:  Each student is expected to have the following items in class every day.  If they run out it is up to them to communicate that with you:

  • 1 composition notebook (may need to be replaced if filled)
  • Loose Leaf paper (at least 150 sheets-may need to be replaced)
  • planner (provided by school)
  • pencils, pens (red, blue, and black, they should always have one of each)
  • 2 different colored highlighters
  • flash drive (minimum of 1 gig)
  • e-mail account in order to create a student blog and e-mail assignments to the teacher (if student does not have access to a computer, we can set this up at school)

Class Expectations:
  • Come to class prepared to work hard and learn
  • Listen carefully and respectfully to others in the classroom and make only thoughtful responses
  • Take ownership of your mistakes
  •  Follow the Panther Paw Laws

Student Blogs:  Each student will be creating a blog on Blogger of their reading and writing journey that will be followed and monitored by me.  This will not only act as an online portfolio of their best work, it will give them the opportunity to publish themselves to a real audience.  We will be working with other middle school classrooms in the district through these blogs, getting feedback and sharing our reading experiences.  Students will explore learning through 21st Century Literacy Skills.  All REQUIRED blog work will be done in the classroom to ensure that all students have equal access.  Students may add to their blog at home if they wish as long as it remains school appropriate and suits the purpose of the reading/writing community we build.  Details and a permission slip will come home by the end of September. 

Homework:  Homework is a vital part of the learning experience that provides practice for the student.  Students are required to write their homework in their planners each day and have the planners stamped by me.  This is another way, besides the class blog, for you to be aware of what is going on in our class.  Various types of assignments will be given at different times however; students will also have homework every night.  This will require them to read for 30 minutes.

Our class focuses on reading and writing.  Attached you will find the refrigerator curriculum set out by the district.  With each of the concepts we study, students will be setting goals and creating plans to meet these goals.  Through the use of feedback, students will monitor their progress towards these learning goals and adjust their plan to maximize learning.  Please be sure to ask you student regularly about the progress towards their own learning goals. 
In support of our district reading initiative we will create a community of readers.  There is great research out there to support the value of a strong reading habit.  We will be working on the development of this habit and on furthering each student’s individual reading goals.  One way you can support this community building at home is with frequent trips to the public library and sharing your own reading with your child.  If you have questions on this initiative or any other part of our class, please ask.  E-mail is best, but not always possible.  If this is the case, you may call or write.

I am looking forward to an exciting year with all of you.

Ms. Schlemmer