Frequently Asked Questions
Curriculum and Instruction
What textbooks and other published materials will be used in Mr. Holcomb's classroom?
The books used in Mr. Holcomb's classroom will be mainly the McGraw-Hill "Wonders" Reading textbooks (Reading-Writing Workshop, Anthology, Practice Workbook) and Collaborative Classroom's "Being A Writer" workbooks. The Houghton-Mifflin 5th Level English textbook will also be used as a frequent resource for grammar and writing instruction. Students will have daily access and interaction with hardcopy references such as dictionaries, thesauruses, and encyclopedias.
How is technology used and what websites will my child access in class?
Here at RBES each child will be provided with a Chromebook laptop for instructional use in class. Since we are 1-to-1 with devices there is no need for students to share or exchange their devices unless specifically directed for project purposes. During the majority of the first semester, your child will mainly use their Chromebook to complete weekly Reading assessments or build comprehension skills through interactive activities. Both of these tasks will take place within the Wonders Online Classroom environment. IXL.com is a standard-based skill building site that is also used periodically. Once the second semester begins, we will begin developing typing skills and digital publishing of essays, slide presentations, etc. These tasks will be done through the district's secure Google network, with full access to all productivity tools such as Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. Google Classroom will be used for language quizzes and the eventual submission of essay assignments. Students will be taught information literacy, in which they will learn how to effectively research informational text and apply it in the writing process. Subsequently, students will use Discovery Education and Google as reference sites.
Will homework be assigned? If so, how often?
Yes, homework will be assigned on a weekly basis. Our Wonders Reading program has a very systematic approach to literacy development with common routines and learning tasks each week. Students will be given a weekly overview or agenda that will list all of the fluency passages, vocabulary/spelling words, and comprehension skills that are to be practiced each night. From time to time, it may be necessary for students to bring home various assignments that need to be completed. As much as reasonably possible, homework will not be assigned during the weekend or days when school is closed or out for a break. This does not mean that your child will not find it necessary to use such time to complete or catch-up on work if that is their unique situation.
How do grades work?
There are two grading categories for 5th Grade ELA: Reading (80%) and Language (20%). All weekly reading assessments will be posted as a reading grade, while all journal assignments, language quizzes, and writing assignments (essays and compositions) will be posted as language grades. Weekly reading assessments are administered online within the Wonders Online Classroom environment. These tests are automatically graded upon completion with the short-answer response being manually graded by Mr. Holcomb via a grading rubric. Language quizzes are administered with Google Classroom and are also automatically graded upon completion. Both reading assessments and language quizzes are administered every Friday. Any exceptionalities to this schedule will be announced at the beginning of the week. Journal and writing assignments are graded through writing conferences between Mr. Holcomb and student, using a grading rubric to score all work. Grades are generally posted in INOW by Tuesday of the following week.
If my child scores low on a test or assignment, can the test be redone or the assignment resubmitted?
After each weekly assessment is completed, Mr. Holcomb will review individual and whole-group data. No test can be administered a second time without that week's content being retaught. If the entire class average falls below 75% then the content will be retaught and the test administered a second time. In these instances, and it does happen, parents will be notified via our communication apps and the re-take will be completed on the following Friday. The highest of your child's two grades will be posted in INOW. Please be clear that the decision to retest is solely based on the entire class' performance and just that of the individual child. If a student continues to struggle with tests, then Mr. Holcomb will schedule a parent conference (either phone or in-person) to discuss the obstacles at work and develop a unique support plan that will help with the student's achievement.
Journal assignments may not be resubmitted once graded. Essays and compositions may be resubmitted, as long as the assignment has not been submitted late. Grades on any and all late assignments are final!
My child is going to be absent on the day an assignment is due/test is given. Will he/she be allowed to complete the work on another day?
Yes! Students will have no more than three (3) school days, from the day of their return, to submit any and all work that was due when absent. For example: If Johnny is absent on Friday and returns to school on Monday, he must submit his assignment no later than Thursday of that current week. Tests must be taken on the day the student returns to school. Due to the Wonders Online Classroom and Google Classroom, students have 24-7 access to all of their textbooks, resources, materials, and assignments. Work can be easily submitted, and tests completed from any pc, laptop, tablet, Ipad, Iphone, or Android.
Will there be grade deductions for late assignments? When is the final cut-off for late assignments to be turned in?
There are no grade deductions for late assignments. However, all grades on late assignments are final and will be posted in INOW as is. The final cut-off for late assignments is one (1) week from the original due date. Parents will be notified each Friday of any missing assignments.
HELP! My child always was a straight A or B student. Now it seems like they are struggling with C's or D's. What's happening here?
It is quite common for students who have a history of high academic perform to reach Fifth Grade and experience a slight drop. This is due to the fact that the academic focus and demand of Fifth Grade requires more critical thinking, in-depth analysis of problems, and the processing of abstract ideas and concepts. Many students are not used to that type of mental and productive demand and will need a bit of time to adjust and begin growing. The most important thing here is to not panic. Try not to put too much pressure on your child, but rather give the support and encouragement needed to tackle the challenges of Fifth Grade and succeed. Rest assured that a plethora of tools, instructional strategies, and resources will be utilized to help support your child's individual learning goals. If and when the struggle increases, then a conference will be scheduled to identify the factors and develop an effective plan for success.
Learning Environment and Expectations
Can my child have their device with them in class?
No! Students will not be allowed to have any personal devices in their immediate possession between the hours of 7:30am and 3:30pm. Devices may be kept in the student's bookbag or in their mailbox. Bookbags and mailboxes are kept secured in the classroom closets during the instructional day. Students who violate this expectation will receive the following consequence: FIRST OFFENSE - verbal warning, SECOND OFFENSE - parent contact, THIRD OFFENSE - device taken for parent-only retrieval, FOURTH OFFENSE - office referral. Students will be instructed to get their devices, if and when it is needed for a special project or task. Devices include all cellular phones, tablets, ipads, music/mp3 players, or laptops.
Can my child bring personal toys or games to class?
Students are not allowed to bring personal toys or games to class unless clearly instructed to do so. If this is the case, parents will be notified via our communication apps. Students who violate this expectation will receive the following consequence: FIRST OFFENSE - verbal warning, SECOND OFFENSE - parent contact, THIRD OFFENSE - toy/game taken for parent-only retrieval, FOURTH OFFENSE - office referral. Toys and games include but are not limited to, figurines, spinners, playing cards, Uno cards, baseball cards, Pokemon cards or any other character/tv-based collection, video game devices, video game cartridges or discs, board games, sling-shots, sports items, etc.
What apps are you using this year?
ClassDojo and Remind will be used as the sole communication apps for the 2019-2020 school year.
What is the best method to reach out to Mr. Holcomb?
The best method to reach Mr. Holcomb is by sending a message through ClassDojo. Due to the high volume of campus, district, and even state emails there are times when parent's emails can be unintentionally overlooked. ClassDojo is used solely for parent-teacher communication and messages are reviewed at the end of each instructional day. Messages sent after 4:00pm will most likely be responded to by the next instructional day. Though emails are always welcomed, you are strongly encouraged to send a ClassDojo message for a faster response.
I have some concerns about my child and would like to schedule a conference. What's do I need to do?
You are welcome to schedule a parent conference with Mr. Holcomb at any time. Simply, send a message on ClassDojo and Mr. Holcomb will offer available dates and times. Conferences can be either via phone or in-person. Keep in mind that first semester conferences are mandatory in Enterprise City Schools. Scheduling of these conferences generally begins in early September. All conferences may be scheduled directly with Mr. Holcomb.
Are there Wednesday Folders in the Fifth Grade?
YES! Each student will be given a communication folder that will go home every Wednesday. Wednesday Folders should be checked by parents each week. Any documents that are in the "Keep At Home" pocket can be taken out. Documents that are in the "Return To School" pocket should be SIGNED and sent with the student on the very next day. Students will keep their folders in their own mailbox until the Wednesday disbursement. Students who are missing Wednesday Folders or repeatedly returns grades/documents unsigned will receive a parent contact.
I have an important update to give my child. How do I get a message to my child about a change in transportation, etc?
If your child's method of transportation has changed for the day, please contact the main office at (334) 347-3535, by no later than 2:15pm. Any and all other messages or updates are to be directed to the main office as well. ClassDojo and emails are not checked during instructional time. Therefore it is expedient to contact the main office in these cases.