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Dear Fifth Grade Student,

This year you will learn how to embrace failure and challenge as pathways to growth, to analyze text to find the symbolic meaning and to understand the author’s intent, how to find the meaning and spelling of words based on their origins and roots, how to think mathematically and solve problems using a variety of strategies, how to express yourself articulately orally and in writing, how to more closely examine the physical world around you, how to understand the impact and contributions of other cultures, and how to think critically and maintain a neutral stance as you discuss all these subjects and more with your peers and your parents.

In the upcoming months, you will stretch your muscles and your own thinking, and you will learn more about yourself, including beginning to see the cause and effect of your own actions, as you become a responsible and respectful member of a kind classroom community. Equally important, you will learn to listen to and value the ideas and needs of others, gaining crucial insights into yourself and others, sometimes revising your own perspective based on new information.

You will be given challenging tasks to complete, and you will learn to meet deadlines in a timely manner. You will come to understand the deeper meaning of argument, including how to make a valid claim and support it with relevant and compelling evidence.

You will read myriad books, poetry, and articles that will broaden your horizons and expand your emotional experiences. You will begin to think in complex sentences and to edit text for grammatical errors after you have revised for content and word choice.

By the time the year is finished, you will have produced volumes of original poetry, marveled at the wonders of the brain, learned measures of central tendency, created vivid art, sung and danced with, told tales, practiced the manners necessary in polite society, learned to take responsibility, and refined the art of conversation.

Your  report cards will help to show how well you have achieved some of these goals. However, learning and a growth in intellect cannot be measured solely by report cards or test scores. You will get out of this class exactly what you put into it. I will do my personal best for you, and I expect you to be the best that you can be and to do your personal best for yourself.

During the next ten months, I will issue Kleenex, books, and Band-Aids. I will encourage each of you to reflect upon the consequences of your actions as you interpret your own emotions and their impact on the feelings and rights of others.

You will grow as much as four inches taller and become a few pounds heavier. You will have plentiful opportunities to demonstrate your creativity and your intellectual ability. You will make me laugh and make me cry.  Come May, I will sadly wave goodbye to you and watch you run off into a summer full of adventures and a life full of hope and promise. If I am lucky, you will keep in contact with me to let me know the new shape of your life.

Welcome to fifth grade; let the journey begin!

Mr. Fahey