Open House Night

Homework Expectations

(printable PDF brochure)

PHILOSOPHY
Learning takes place at home as well as at school. Homework is primarily a student’s responsibility; it has different purposes at each grade level. For younger students, it fosters positive attitudes, habits and character traits. For older students, it also facilitates knowledge acquisition in specific topics.

Homework helps students:

  • Develop organizational and study skills
  • Become independent learners and critical thinkers
  • Develop initiative, self-direction and a sense of responsibility
  • Strengthen previously taught skills
  • Develop time management skills

For all students, reading is a daily homework requirement. This includes a parent reading to a child, a child reading to a family member, or a child reading independently.

ORGANIZE HOMEWORK & SET PRIORITIES
A homework session should begin by reviewing the day's assignments. It is probably a good idea to draw up a list of daily and long-term assignments on a separate sheet of paper, so that you can help your child prioritize and divide longer tasks into shorter ones. The steps to follow might be:

  1. Check the day's assignments.
  2. Check long-term assignments and tests for which your child should begin studying.
  3. Make sure your child brought home the necessary books, worksheets, etc.
  4. Have your child decide in what order the work will be completed.
  5. Help your child estimate how much time it will take to complete the work.
  6. Make sure you have allowed enough time for your child to complete all homework, allowing for break time as necessary.

You might find it helpful to put together a calendar to keep track of activities and other obligations such as sports events, doctors' appointments, scout meetings, chores, or family events. Once each week (Sunday afternoon might be appropriate), sit down with your child and complete the weekly/monthly calendar together. Then, as you plan homework time each day, you can reference this calendar to allow time for other activities involving your child.

GRADE LEVEL GUIDELINES
The following guidelines relate to the amount of uninterrupted time that a child spends on a task. Teachers may adjust these guidelines to a child's needs; a child's learning style may vary the time being devoted to assignments. Our homework guidelines provide general estimates for children to complete assignments. If the time it takes your child to complete homework varies significantly from the grade level guidelines, please speak with the classroom teacher.

READING
For all students, reading is a daily homework requirement. The daily reading assignment is included in the total time estimate required for daily homework. This includes reading to your child, reading with your child, a child reading to a family member, or a child reading independently. The amount of reading time increases across the school year as children increase their reading stamina.

KINDERGARTEN
There is no regularly assigned homework. Homework assignments are to be given occasionally to help develop a sense of responsibility and carryover between home and school related projects. Activities that pertain to sounds or letters are examples. Reading to and with your child each day will help to develop good reading habits.

FIRST GRADE
Short homework assignments may be given to reinforce classroom objectives. Children may be asked to complete classroom work with parental supervision. Parents are asked to help children develop responsibility for materials and belongings. Reading to and with your child for approximately 15 minutes each day, in the beginning of the year and up to 30 minutes by the end of first grade, will help to develop good reading habits.

SECOND GRADE
Children receive regular language arts and math assignments. Children may be asked to work on special projects or activities. Children are expected to read for approximately 30 minutes each night. In total, students are expected to spend approximately 40 minutes completing daily homework.

THIRD GRADE
Students are expected to read for approximately 30 minutes each night. An additional 20-25 minutes of homework may be assigned. Examples include: spelling, math homework, and practicing math facts. Children may be asked to work on special projects or activities.

FOURTH GRADE
Approximately 45 to 60 minutes of homework (in total) is assigned each night in the subject areas. Students are expected to read for 30 to 45 minutes each night. Children will be asked to work on daily assignments as well as long term projects.

YOUR ROLE. . .HELP or SUPERVISE?
Many parents, particularly those of children who may be struggling in school, wrestle with the question of how much help they should give their children on homework. The following suggestions are offered:

  1. Parents may want to discuss with their children the nature of the assignment, to make sure they understand what they are supposed to do, and to guide them as they do the first one or two items of an assignment. Parents should not have to remain by their child's side throughout the entire session. If your child seems to require this, you may want to build in an incentive for working independently to wean your child off reliance on you for support or assistance. Setting the kitchen timer and telling your child to wait until it rings to show you the work or to ask questions is one way to gradually increase independence.
     
  2. Parents may want to review homework assignments to check for neatness and accuracy. If the handwriting is illegible (and your child is capable of writing more neatly without an inordinate amount of effort), it is acceptable to ask your child to rewrite the assignment. If your child is ready to learn to proofread or to check for mistakes, you may want to hand the paper back with a comment such as "I found these mistakes on your math page," or "Please look for spelling errors." If your child is not ready for this, point to the specific mistakes and ask your child to correct them (without giving the correct answer).
     
  3. You might want to talk to the teacher if your child appears to be spending too much or too little time on assignments. Please refer to the grade-level guidelines that relate to the amount of uninterrupted time to be spent on homework.

FIND THE RIGHT PLACE TO WORK
In some families, having a central location where all children in the family do their homework is best. In other families, each child has his/her own study place. Some like to work with the radio on (and this helps them focus), while others are distracted by this kind of background noise. Think about possible distractions that will need to be avoided (e.g., a nearby television, the telephone) when planning your child's work space.

GATHER NECESSARY MATERIALS
To help your child save time gathering materials, stock your child's study area with the materials he/she is likely to need (e.g., a dictionary, appropriate references, pens, highlighters, scissors, glue, tape, colored pencils, stapler and staples, ruler, paper).
 
PRACTICE!  PRACTICE…
From kindergarten through fourth grade, you will see tremendous growth in your child's literacy development. While your child will receive a lot of educational guidance from teachers, remember that you play a major role in your child's success in reading and writing at every stage of development.
 
Reading is a daily requirement for all students. Read to and with your child for 20-30 minutes each day. Create opportunities to read aloud to your child by choosing books that he or she may enjoy and may or may not be able to read independently. Have a conversation about what you are reading. When reading independently, your child should choose EASY books. Reading easy books at an independent level will help develop your child's fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
 
Writing is an important activity that significantly contributes to language and reading development. Find opportunities to incorporate writing into your child's daily activities. Some suggestions include: write about what you read, write letters to friends and relatives, create grocery lists and make labels.

...Practice!

ABSENCE INFORMATION
Parents should notify the school when they know that their child will be absent.  If a student is legally absent [defined by New York State laws as emergency activities such as illness and death in the family] from school for more than one day, parents of 3rd- and 4th-graders may request assignments by phoning their school's main office by 10:00 a.m. on the morning of the second day of absence. Assignments may be picked up after school in the main office.
 
If a student is illegally absent [defined by New York State laws as non-emergency activities such as vacations, occasional employment, athletic events, and/or Take Your Child To Work Day] from school, parent requests for extra planning and preparation by teachers to accommodate such absences will not be honored. Students who are illegally absent should keep a written record of their experiences and fulfill their daily reading requirement. Teachers are not expected to provide homework assignments for students who are illegally absent.

(printable PDF brochure)

Meaningful Literacy Experiences In School and At Home

(printable PDF presentation)

► OVERVIEW OF LITERACY EXPERIENCES IN SCHOOL

Philosophy of Reading and Writing Workshop

  • Independence
  • Choice
  • Volume and Stamina
  • Opportunities to practice and receive feedback
  • Process and Habits: Teach the reader and the writer not the book or piece of writing
  • Authentic Purpose and Instruction: Teach something you would actually DO as a writer or reader and authentic purposes

What We Value

  • A Comprehensive Instructional Framework
  • Lessons to Support Skill Development
  • Units of Study
  • Time for Independent Reading and Writing

A Comprehensive Instructional Framework

  • Read Aloud
  • Shared Reading
  • Reading Workshop
  • Word Study
  • Shared or Interactive Writing
  • Writing Workshop

Lessons to Support Skill Development

  • Reading
    • Meaning – Comprehension
    • Fluency
    • Accuracy/Word Solving (print strategies)
       
  • Writing
    • Meaning
    • Organization and Structure
    • Elaboration and Development
    • Spelling
    • Conventions (punctuation, capitalization, grammar)

K-4 Units of Study

  • Common Goals
  • Different Genres and Different Purposes
  • Responsive and Differentiated Teaching

WRITING

Purpose:
      Teach students strategies they can use when writing independently
     • Support all aspects of writing

Daily Structure:
     • Mini Lesson
     • Independent Writing Time
     • Partner Writing Time
     • Share
 
Types of Writing

  • Narrative
  • Informational
  • Opinion


Encouraging Writing at home

  • Make it part of your day
  • Find reasons to write and encourage different kinds of writing
  • Support purpose: Say things like "Wow that seems important. . .What can we say about it? Why don’t you write about it?"
  • Make a place for writing and keep materials organized – writing center
  • Tell them about yourself as a writer – what do you write about, who do you write to?
  • Utilize technology
  • Talk – A LOT!

READING

Reading Instructions

  • Read Aloud
  • Shared reading
  • Word study – phonics, spelling, high frequency words, and vocabulary (interactive writing in the primary grades)
  • Reading Workshop
    • Explicit instruction in reading (includes modeling and demonstrations)
    • Small group instruction (guided reading and strategy lessons)
    • Time to engage in independent reading with appropriately leveled in a variety of genres
    • Scaffolding by a more experienced reader (with teachers and peers)


Variety of Texts Variety of Texts

  • Variety of genres
    • Fiction
    • Nonfiction
    • Poetry
  • Variety of forms
    • Picture books
    • Chapter books
    • Articles

Read Aloud

  • Purpose: Develop comprehension and conversation skills
  • What: Teacher thinks aloud while reading and prompts readers to think and talk about the book before, during, and after the reading


Why read aloud in school and at home?

  • Enjoyable experience
  • Opportunity to "share and nurture a love of reading, to help our three-, four-, and five-year-olds to love reading, and to encourage our nine-, ten-, and eleven-year-olds to continue to love reading" – Lucy Calkins
  • Conversation and comprehension skills developed
  • Higher-level thinking supported because children do not have to focus on the cognitive demands of decoding text and can devote their energy to deep thinking
  • Provides readers with experiences with texts above their independent reading level


Reading Workshop

Purpose:

  • Teach students strategies they can use when reading independently
  • Support all aspects of reading

Daily Structure:

  • Mini Lesson
  • Independent Reading Time
  • Partner/Club Time
  • Share

Word Study

  • Purpose: Teach students how words work so they can problem-solve words when reading and writing
    • Explicit instruction
    • Practice activities (making words, sorting, editing)

Tips for Engaging and Motivating Readers

  • Read aloud – Take time to think and talk!
  • Have family read aloud times at night
  • Read when your child can see you!
  • Indulge your child's passions
  • Take trips to the library and bookstore and make "no pressure" choices
  • Create reading and writing spots at home
  • Take books on long and short trips
  • Make storytelling part of your day
  • Leave "literary gifts" in your child's reading and writing spot
  • Start a parent/child book club


(printable PDF presentation)

Math In Focus

(printable PDF presentation)

Emphasis on Mathematical Problem Solving

  • Attitudes
  • Metacognition
  • processes
  • Concepts
  • Skills

Online Resources - Think Central
Parent online access includes: Student texts, virtual manipulatives, videos

Online Parent-Student Login In Information:
http://www-k6.thinkcentral.com or Math Resources page on the school homepage

Usernames (by school and grade level):
Password for all parents: MathInFocus (no spaces)

Grafflin

  • GrafflinK
  • Grafflin1
  • Grafflin2
  • Grafflin3
  • Grafflin4

Roaring Brook

  • RoaringBrookK
  • RoaringBrook1
  • RoaringBrook2
  • RoaringBrook3
  • RoaringBrook4

Westorchard

  • WestorchardK
  • Westorchard1
  • Westorchard2
  • Westorchard3
  • Westorchard4

Robert Bell

  • Bell5

Seven Bridges

  • SevenBridges5

Password for all parents: MathInFocus (no spaces)

Levels of Mastery
Challenging work - It is important to allow your children to struggle with challenging concepts and come to school with imperfect homework.  See youcubed.org for research on this topic.

Math in Focus provides students with opportunities to:

  • learn and practice basic computation skills
  • use those skills in direct application problems
  • approach novel problems, allowing them to strengthen their ability to generalize skills and "connect the dots" between mathematical concepts

Levels of Mastery

  1. The ability to apply concepts to novel situations.
  2. The ability to apply concepts in problem solving situations.
  3. The ability to perform computations without the support of concrete materials.
  4. The ability to perform computations with the support of concrete materials.


A Deeper Look at the Levels
Basic Computation Questions (with or without the use of manipulatives): These are questions that can be answered using a known fact or a standard, frequently practiced procedure. These questions are found in the bottom two tiers of the mastery chart.

Direct Application Questions: These are questions that require students to apply content knowledge in application settings which are similar to those seen throughout the chapter. These types of questions are found in the center of the mastery chart.
 
Novel Questions: These are questions that require students to transfer deep understanding to problems presented in novel situations. They are intended to give students the opportunity to generalize skills and “connect the dots” between mathematical concepts.  These types of questions are found at the top of the mastery chart.   

Grade-level Examples: Levels of Mastery

KINDERGARTEN
Basic Computation
HoW Many? Count and Write. Picture of 7 flowers.

Direct Application
Picture of 11 ants. Count how many. How many more to make 15?


Novel Application
Group of 4 lady bugs. group of 2 lady bugs. Count how many. How many more to make 15?

GRADE 1
Chapter 8: Addition & Subtraction to 20
Basic Computation
What is 6 plus 13? A 9, B 10, C 13, D 19.

Direct Application
Alex has 17 stickers. Bo has 9 fewer stickers than Alex. How many stickers does Bob Have?

Novel Application
18 minus 7 plus 2 equals triangle. What does triangle stabd for?

GRADE 2
Chapter 6: Multiplication Tables of 2, 5, and 10
   Lesson 1 Multiplying 2 - Skip-counting
   Lesson 2: Multiplying 2 - Using Dot Paper
   Lesson 3: Multiplying 5 - Skip-counting
   Lesson 4: Multiplying by 5 - Using Dot Paper
   Lesson 5: Multiplying 10 - Skip-counting and Using Dot Paper
   Lesson 6: Odd and Even Numbers

Basic Computation
Questions that can be answered using a known fact or a standard, frequently practiced procedure.

8 x 2 = ?

Direct Application
Questions that require students to apply content knowledge in application settings which are similar to those seen throughout the chapter.

Miss Rogers divides 40 students into equal teams of 10. She has  ?  teams of 10 students each.

Novel Application
Questions that require students to transfer deep understanding to questions presented in novel situations.
Star times Star equals 100. Star stands for what?  

GRADE 3
Chapter 14 - Fractions

Basic Computation
Questions that can be answered using a known fact or a standard, frequently practiced procedure.
two thrids equals X over 6. Find the missing numerator.

Direct Application
Questions that require students to apply content knowledge in application settings which are similar to those seen throughout the chapter.
A loaf is cut into 12 pieces. Ann eats 3 pieces. What fraction of loaf is left? Shade to show your answer. Write answer in simplest form.

Novel Application
Questions that require students to transfer deep understanding to questions presented in novel situations.
3 oranges, 5 strawberries, 4 apples. What fraction of the fruit is apples?  

GRADE 4
Chapter 13 - Area and Perimeter
   12.1 Area of a Rectangle
   12.2 Rectangles and Squares
   12.3 Composite Figures
   12.4 Using Formulas for Area and Perimeter

Basic Computation
Length equals 12 cm. Width equals 8 cm. Find the area of the rectangle.

Direct Application
Carpet on a floor. Find the area not covered by carpet. Floor lenght equals 8 yds, width equals 7 yds. Carpet length equals 6 yds, width equals 5 yds.

Novel Application
2 identical squares. Perimiter of 42 in. What is the area of 1 square? A 7 in square, B 28 in square, C 49 in square, D 84 in square.

GRADE 5
Chapter 4 - Multiplying and Dividing Fractions and Mixed Numbers.

Basic Computation
Questions that can be answered using a known fact or a standard, frequently practiced procedure.
Multiply four fifths by 15 sixteenths. Give answer in simplest form. A 3 over 4, B 60 over 80, C 19 over 21, D 20 over 21.

Direct Application
Questions that require students to apply content knowledge in application setting which are similar to those seen throughout the chapter.
Claire used two fiths of apples for jam. She gave one thirdt of remained to a neighbor. What fraction did she give the neighbor?

Novel Application
Questions that require students to transfer deep understanding to questions presented in novel situations.
Klein read 30 pages on Mon. and one eight of the book on Tues. He read the remaining one fourth of the book on Wed. How many pages is the book?

(printable PDF presentation)

Scheduled Special Areas

Art

Headshot of Carolyn ElwoodCarolyn Elwood
Teacher of Art

Roaring Brook students will spend time throughout the year experimenting and exploring with a wide range of materials, learning about the Elements and Principles of Art and Design, generating original ideas and using the design process to brainstorm, plan, make and reflect.

My role as an art educator is to create a learning environment that addresses the needs of a diverse population and provides students an atmosphere in which creative thinking is encouraged and developed. My goal is to ensure that each student is able to make choices and personal connections as they build skills and content knowledge in Art.

I will also be supporting students and collaborating with teachers in the Makerspace this year. In the Makerspace, learning happens through making, tinkering, art and engineering. Students are challenged to use design thinking as they identify and solve real-world problems. Students will be encouraged to take risks, fail forward, iterate and innovate as they develop a growth mindset. Students will have opportunities to collaborate with others and persevere as they tackle challenges both big and small.

I feel so lucky to be here at Roaring Brook and I am incredibly excited to be working with your children this year!

Library Media Center

Christine Eidem
Library Media Specialist

The Library Media Center is now part of our dynamic new Global Learning Center and renovation is almost complete.  The Library serves the entire Roaring Brook learning community and each class is scheduled once per cycle for a 40-minute information literacy class.  We follow an open library policy where students will have the opportunity for book exchange each day in addition to during their scheduled library class period.  Book exchange will begin once our books are unpacked and we begin regular classes in our beautiful new space.  Guidelines on book care and student responsibilities will be sent home with their first check-out.

All students will receive a grade-appropriate information literacy lesson that will focus on a variety of themes during the year.  We will focus on digital citizenship, research skills, literature, author and genre studies, library citizenship and book selection skills. We will utilize our new digital platforms to create and share book trailers and persuasive recommendations and we will once again participate in the NYS 3 Apples Book Award voting process.

Our digital resources include database and subscription sites which are available for use at home.  We will learn how to navigate these sites in addition to learning how to search and evaluate appropriate websites for information.

All of these skills will be embedded in Active Learning and Makerspace activities as well as Coding and Robotics as students develop in the areas of problem-solving, design thinking and the dispositional skills to succeed in these collaborative activities.

Our goal is to inspire children to read and access information in a variety of formats, and to instill in them a sense of responsibility and ethical use of technology so that they can be successful life-long learners in a 21st-Century society.

Music

Headshot of Don DuPontDon Dupont
Teacher of Music

At Roaring Brook School, students develop musical skills and concepts through an eclectic, hands-on approach which incorporates singing, chant and poetry, instrument playing (percussion instruments, xylophones, metallophones, glockenspiels, recorder) movement, dance and improvisation. Students are active rather than passive participants in the music-making process. Because students learn in many different ways, the general music program at Roaring Brook is rich with materials and approaches so that students can learn in a positive and effective manner.

Students at Roaring Brook receive forty minutes of general music instruction once each six-day rotation. As in any other discipline, music has its own tools, materials, skills and concepts which are developed with increasing understanding over time.  In addition, Fourth grade students study a band/orchestra instrument. Small group lessons occur once per six-day cycle.A musical sharing is presented at the end of the school year for parents.

Students at each grade level also participate in a musical performance each year on the Roaring Brook stage. These performances are often based on literature and incorporate singing, movement and instrument playing.

Physical Education

Bill Woolard and Elizabeth Lops
Teachers of Physical Education

Through movement and active participation, Physical Education helps to develop physical skills, promote self-esteem and the interpersonal skills that allow students to learn about themselves and how they interact and relate to others. Our program is based on:

  1. Fostering wellness while increasing strength through fitness
  2. Motor movement  with skill development
  3. Social skills development with an emphasis on the TLC (Tools for Life’s Challenges) themes

Students attend physical education class every other day for forty minutes.  In the early grades we will focus with helping these students with the following skills, body control (the ability to move safely in personal and general space), locomotors skills (walking, running, jumping, hopping, galloping, and skipping), eye hand and eye foot coordination, physical fitness skills, and positive attitude and participation development. In grades three and four, students we continue to work on motor/movement skills, and emphasize the importance of fitness, sports skills, and sportsmanship.  We believe that the following behaviors and movement understanding are key to the students learning, listening and following directions, making safe choices, comprehending activities or skills, and evaluating individual as well as group performances.

The goal of Roaring Brook's Physical Education program is to help students develop skills and attitudes that will enable them to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. We hope that with your help and encouragement, each child will develop habits of regular exercise which will enhance physical and mental well-being.