Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Welcome Letter


As the saying goes, “Allow me to introduce myself.”  My name is Mark Richner and I will be your child’s teacher for the upcoming school year.  I wanted to take a few minutes to say “hello” and to give you a brief overview of some of the projects that await us. 

I am excited to be teaching fifth grade at Lewis this year!  As the story goes, I am originally from Madison, Wisconsin, where I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and then taught elementary school in the Madison public schools.  Evie, my wonderful wife, got into graduate school to pursue an art degree at the University of Florida in 2011.  During our “Florida years,” I got my masters in elementary education while working at a school with elementary kids and student teachers in the University of Florida elementary teacher preparation program.  So I’ve worked with students from age five through 23!

It has been a busy and productive summer.  Evie and I took time to visit with friends and family, including my grandma, aunts, uncles, parents, her sister and brother-in-law, and my brother who lives in Seattle.  There were plenty of evening walks and bike rides around the neighborhood, two of my favorite ways to wind down a summer day.  We made it out to the woods and took care of a few projects around the home.  I worked on a number of projects connecting to the classroom curriculum and read a number of fantastic books.  I’m excited for this new school year!

While projects and activities will vary over the year, the main emphasis of the room will be on helping the kids become strategic learners.  You will hear the word “strategy” and “system” often over the year.  It is my goal as a teacher to not only help kids understand and master the prescribed curriculum, but I want them to be independent, curious learners as well.  One way to achieve this is to help them initiate, plan, and carry out projects, paying attention to the strategies they use along the way. 

We will have many classroom projects this year.  We will participate in Lewis’s Outdoor Classroom.  The garden will be a springboard into several studies of our local, natural world.  We will be planning a trip to Fifth Grade Science Camp in May.  We will participate in the Global Read Aloud and even have bicycle safety class.   So, as you can see, we already have several major projects and events planned.

It’s going to be an exciting school year in room 20.  I look forward to meeting each of you and getting to know the Lewis Elementary community. 


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