We have a new way of scheduling the fifth grade this year. The students heard a bit about it on the last day of school in June, and they will certainly come home next Tuesday with a lot of news, but I want to explain to you what's going on and why.
Fifth grade used to be set up exactly like K-4, with self-contained classrooms in which the students spent all day, learning all of their subjects. Along with the rest of Malden's K8s, though, we are now "departmentalizing" grade 5. What this means is that Ms. Coye and Ms. Bartlett are going to be teaching ELA and SS (Humanities), Mr. Umlah will be teaching math, and Ms. Rosenthal will be teaching science. Ms. Brennan and Ms. Barone will be supporting students with IEPs, pushing into their classes and co-teaching with the other team members in those sections.
Your children will be traveling in "homeroom pods" during their days. They will be with either Ms. Coye or Ms. Bartlett for ELA and SS, travel to a different room for math with Mr. Umlah, and travel to a third room for science with Ms. Rosenthal. Please also remember that they have some new exploratory teachers this year, now that they are on the middle-school schedule and side of the building: Mr. Gillis for Physical Education, Ms. Rittershaus for Computers, and Mr. Rooney (new to the building this year) for Tech Ed. Why is this happening?
- We think students are ready to begin switching classes. This means that they will have to learn to adjust to multiple environments within a day. They will switch fewer times than they eventually will in 6, 7, and 8, so this is good practice. Also, they will all travel as pods instead of by themselves, which will also be good practice for upper grades.
- Our teachers can specialize, focusing on mastering the material of their particular course(s), without having to plan for 4 different courses a day. It also means that they can spend professional development time with other teachers teaching the same course and the district director attached to that course.
From the Assistant Principals
While the two of us work across nine grade levels, looking to support all of the learning, teaching, and culture building that happens during a day at Linden, we are repeatedly struck by everyone's successes, struggles, dreams, and questions. Hopefully, this blog will be a space where we can address and dig more deeply into our work, forcing us to understand things better and helping us to share it with you.