Welcome to Fifth Grade!

Welcome to fifth grade! My name is Miss Mary Ellen Harmeyer and am looking forward to a great year with the class of 2022!

A little background on me: I attended the University of  Pacific in Stockton, California, for my undergraduate degree in British Literature and English.  I worked in the private sector as a publications writer for a small company's national magazine  for four years before returning to school at St. Mary's College to get my teaching credential. I moved to Oregon eighteen years ago and have fallen in love with the Northwest. I found my parish and my job at St. Clare.  I went to back to school yet again, and I earned a Master of Arts in Teaching with a focus on curriculum development from Lewis & Clark College. This is my seventeenth year teaching at St. Clare.   Fifth grade is an awesome year, and I think we are on a great adventure!

A few key things:  

PE: Fifth graders dress down for PE.  As fifth graders, we are starting to sweat more.  With our PE class first thing in the morning, we are more comfortable if we are able to put on fresh clothes after running around.  

Homework: Students can expect to have homework on a daily basis.  Generally, homework will be a mix of work that was not completed during class, material that needs to be practiced/reviewed, and occasional long term projects.  I feel that if we work hard during the week, we can be rewarded with homework-free weekends!  Students can expect around an hour per night.  We will work together to map out long term projects.

Late work: Students may have as many days as they were absent to turn in missed work.  For planned trips, I will do my best to get students any work ahead of time.  However, as lesson plans often change last minute, this is not always possible.  Every Monday (or first day of the week) students will receive a Missing Assignment sheet if they are missing any assignments.  This sheet will list any missing assignments, and will have a due date.  Missing Assignment sheets are to be signed by a parent and returned with the completed work by the due date.  If the work is not turned in by the due date, a Missed Opportunity sheet will be sent home notifying parents that no credit will be given for the listed assignments.  This sheet is also to be signed by a parent and returned to me.  

Reading logs: Students will be expected to complete an additional two hours of reading each week.  This is in addition to other homework, but may include assigned novels.  Reading logs are due on the last day of each week; generally FRIDAY.  

Study skills: As we prepare for middle school, fifth graders need to develop study skills, note taking skills, and organizational skills that work best for them.  Throughout the year we will explore different strategies, and work on finding the best fit for each student.  It is important for students to focus on their strengths and learning styles, so that together we can find strategies that best suit each individual.  I will guide and help them through this process. 

Grading: Grades are based on a percentage of possible points. 

Planners: Students should use their planners on a daily basis in order to utilize them effectively.  This year we will use the "buddy systems" to make sure we have written down homework each afternoon.  Table groups  will check their planners together to ensure that they have written down the homework correctly.  I will initial planners myself on an individual need basis.  

Graded work: Graded work will be passed back, and students will be expected to put assignments in the appropriate folders. As a parent, you can expect graded work to come home. Please check in with your students.  This also gives the students an opportunity to ask any questions right away instead of having to wait through the weekend.  

Kindergarten buddies: This year we have kindergarten buddies.  The fifth graders have been very excited about this opportunity, and take it very seriously.  Mrs. Nguyen and I work together to pair up some great matches!

Partners in Peace (PIP): As fifth graders, your students will volunteer to be recess monitors.  We call this program the PIP Program.  Your students will work to mediate any conflicts on the playground, and make sure that all students are demonstrating safe and respectful playground behavior. 


I look very forward to spending this school year with your student.  I am confident that together as a team we can help your student be a successful fifth grader!  


Thank you,

Mary Ellen Harmeyer