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Grades 5 & 6 - Lee Van Dine


I want to extend a warm welcome to our classroom home page. I believe fifth and sixth grade is an exciting time for social growth, learning key academic skills, realizing one's potential, and developing foundational learning practices that will ensure success for each individual. This year will offer a variety of experiences for your child to foster their personal development while working hard to attain knowledge and confidence within themselves. Some of these will include field trips, experiential learning activities, and collaborative working experiences within the combination of our 5/6 classrooms and teachers. Essentially, I am excited for another fantastic year at the Waitsfield School supporting this class to reach their utmost potential!


Lee S. Van Dine

Upper Unit Collaboration:
In the Upper Unit, it is our priority to emphasize thematic collaborative work among the two classrooms on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Students will be exploring content themes with their upper unit peers through field trips, project based learning, service learning, guest speakers, leadership and teambuilding activities.

Classroom Themes

The major core block themes this year include:

Mathematics: Grade six: Connected Math Program. Grade five: Investigations Math Program.

Science:  Astronomy, Chemistry, and Human Body will be our major science themes this year. Within these units of study will be lab work, site visits, technology integration and design technology.

Social Studies: Early peoples, migration, early civilizations, Minoans, Greeks, Romans, World Culture Studies, and Elections. Geography and current events are woven throughout these year long themes. Inquiry, research, hands-on learning, projects, technology, and literacy are integrated throughout the science and social studies work.

Writing Literature: Reading groups, projects, technology, language skills, grammar, usage, and mechanics, spelling, Wordly Wise, journals, and student writing portfolio's and PLP's will encompass this core block.

Typical Schedule

7:30-Warm-up activity.
7:40-School starts~meeting/daily work.
7:50-9:10 core academic block
9:10-9:50 Challenge & Support time
9:50-11:50 Core academic block & specials, see below.

11:50 Recess
12:15 Lunch
12:40-2:00 Mathematics
2:00 Homework books, Rocks, share out, activities
2:25 Buses, end of student day.

Core academic block:
- Mathematics (daily 12:40-2:00pm)
- Language arts, spelling, vocabulary, writing, (daily core).
- Science & lab work 
- Social Studies, geography, project(s)
- Computer work w/ science, social studies, writing (research) integration, PLP'S, ongoing yearly within core block.
- Reading groups, morning core block.

Monday: French, 9:50-10:30; Music, 10:30-11:10 a.m.
Tuesday: Art, 9:50-10:40 a.m. 

Wednesday: French 9:50-10:30; P.E., 10:30-11:10 a.m.

Thursday: 11:10-11:50 a.m.( guidance 2nd trimester);
                 P.E., 9:50-10:30

Friday: 9:50-10:30 (Health 3rd trimester); 
             Library 10:30-11:10 a.m.

Typical Homework

Students will typically be assigned homework Monday through Thursday.   The amount assigned and the duration of work time will vary, but generally sixth graders will have from 60-75 minutes while fifth graders should expect a bit less. (about 60 minutes)  At the end of each school day we will spend time filling out assignment books and packing carefully to make sure what is needed at home gets there.  Here are a few homework reminders:

  1. Students are expected to take the responsibility for getting their work done, and done well. While it is fine (wonderful, in fact) for a parent to be involved, they should never feel the need to fight with their child about doing homework. 
  2. The homework book is a means of communication for parents to be able to "check-in" with their child's workload. Students should be using this tool as an effective way to stay organized and use good time management with weekly assignments. 
  3. There may be times during the year when a student can not get their homework done. This could be due to a special family event, an illness, or another unexpected reason. There may also be an assignment that a student attempts to complete, but finds too difficult for some reason. It is always appropriate for a parent or sibling to help, but please stop if the student reaches an unhealthy level of frustration. Just put a brief note in your child's assignment book stating that they tried but need some help at school. This shows that the student took the responsibility for their work, and communicated their need for help.  E-mail also works well, as I check it daily. Communication is the key for successful ownership when difficulties arise and student self-advocacy is an important part of early middle level development.  

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Our School Mission

  • Support students in achievement of high academic standards; we believe that all students can master challenging academic material and we expect them to do so.
  • Foster a safe, comfortable and challenging learning environment; help teach children respect for themselves and others, and teach them to accept responsibility for their actions.
  • Enhance global awareness and acceptance of diversity.