• Shannon Gary                                                      Shelley Nelson


            Math   & Science                                         ELA & Social Studies

    shannon.gary@dvusd.org                                shelley.nelson@dvusd.org



    Dear Parents,

    This week begins a brand new school year for all of us, and the Fifth Grade team would like to extend a warm welcome to our students and their parents.

    This handbook is full of information to help you and your child become familiar with our expectations for the school year. Please read through this information and then sign the handbook acknowledgement slip by Friday. If you need to contact us, we prefer email if possible. We check our email each day and will respond promptly. If you do not have email, please call the classroom and leave a message.

    We are looking forward to an exciting year. Thank you for your cooperation in getting this year off to a great start!


    Shannon Gary

    Shelley Nelson



    Behavior Policy/Economy System

    A positive learning environment is essential for learning. We want students to feel successful both in the classroom and in life. The fifth grade behavior system is based on an economy. Students participate in a money reward system where expectations are rewarded with a payment in class money. Students may “purchase” privileges with the money they earn. Students make the choice of their actions and see the consequences. This is a life skill that will be beneficial to learn now before “real life”.

    Attendance & Illnesses

    Regular school attendance is critical to the learning process. Our school day officially starts at 8:15 a.m. and we begin “morning work” assignments at that time. When your child is absent or tardy, he or she misses valuable instructional time. 

     Mid-morning Snacks & Water Consumption

    We have found it beneficial for the class to have a mid-morning healthy snack since our lunch is at 12:15. Only send enough for one day, and please don’t send snacks that need refrigeration. Please do not send in sweet or sticky items like cake, brownies, frosted cookies, or cupcakes. Students also need to bring a water bottle to school to keep at their desks during the day and to use at recess. Plain water is the only beverage permitted in the classroom, and the bottle must have a secure lid. Water bottles should be taken home each day to be cleaned. The following are examples of healthy snacks that we can enjoy while we continue to work.

    * Please avoid anything with nuts or peanut butter due to allergies.

    Homework/Class work

    Homework is necessary for practicing skills that have been learned or for enriching the classroom experience. On the other hand, we don’t believe in overloading students with busywork! In many cases, homework is simply review or class work that was not finished. We try to give ample time in class for the completion of assignments, but some students work more slowly and must finish at home.

    In order to help students get their homework assignments done, students will be offered an agenda for $2. They will write their assignments in their agenda each day for each class. We encourage parents to review your child’s agenda each night.

    All homework and class work should be turned in on time. Students will not be allowed to call home if they forget their work. Students should pack their backpacks at night with all the materials needed for the next day. Organization is the key to success!


    Students have their own code to log on to Powerschool and check their grades. They are encouraged to check their grades often and complete any missing work. Parents should get their own code from the front office so that you can also keep up with your child’s progress in school. You can even have an email with their grades sent to you. Just log on and sign up!


    Math is going to be more hands on and most of the work will be done in class. Our district has adopted the Common Core Standards and it requires more thinking and rigor from the students. You can expect their homework to be review problems or explaining a concept they have practiced in class. Their math grade will mostly consist of quiz and test scores. You can check out our math program at www.engageny.org.


    Students will be writing opinion pieces, informative/explanatory pieces, persuasive pieces, and narratives. The writing process- prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing- will be used to improve student writing. 


    Students will be reading texts from a variety of genres: fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and biographies. Additionally, students will be working in “literature circles” with other students. In these lit circles, each student will have a specific role that will assist them in their comprehension and analysis of the texts they read. Throughout the year students will also be meeting with Ms. Nelson in a small group setting and working collaboratively in reading centers.

    As part of their weekly homework, students should read for at least 30 minutes a night. The best way for a student to become a better reader is to be reading every day- it’s a proven fact!

    Social Studies

    Social studies will take us back in time to recall how America began. We will start with the early explorations through the revolutionary war. Learning will be through class discussion, research, group collaboration, projects and tests.


    Science will consist of inquiry, experimentation and discovery as we learn about forces and motion, levers and pulleys, the human body, the sun, the moon and the stars, and the scientific method. We will have class experiments, small group collaboration, research papers, projects and tests.


    We love to have parent volunteers in 5th grade to help with various tasks like reading with students, help with math, help with science experiments, Xerox, or anything else that needs to be done. It would be great if you could come in regularly on a certain day of the week or at a certain time. Doing so will help the teacher plan activities that need a helping hand! So if you would like to volunteer please send a note or email with the best days and times for you to work in our classroom. A new guideline for classroom volunteers is that they need to attend a volunteer training before they may work in the schools.