Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Welcome to Room 201!

: R E A D     C A R E F U L L Y :

This post contains 1,210 words that will begin to shape your year as a fifth grader. You may like to have your parents sit and read this post with you so that we can all be super enthusiastic about fifth grade together!

Are you ready to read on about becoming a fifth grader at Robinson?

I am so excited for what this 2013-2014 school year will bring! If you read the letter I sent to your parents, some of this may be a review. But just in case…

I taught fifth grade at Robinson last year so some of you probably already know who I am just because you’ve seen me in the halls and around school. But remember, I was with another class last year so you didn’t have my full attention. I’m ready for you now!

This will be my fifth year of teaching! I taught in Chicago before teaching/moving to St. Louis. Yes, that’s Chicago as in the Cubs, the Bulls, the Bears, and the Blackhawks! The Blackhawks? That’s right! Home of the Stanley Cup Champions, my friends! [That’s hockey, my non-sports friends.] Okay, okay. Enough bragging…but seriously, I hope you don’t count that against me. We may have some differences, but I married a St. Louis native who is all about the Cardinals and the Blues, so I’m slowly learning more about your sports teams. I even cheer for them from time to time, of course when they’re not playing my teams.

I am married to my wonderful husband, Peter. You may see him around at school sometimes because he likes to visit with our daughter, E. Have any of you already seen her around school? She is turning one this September! In my Korean culture, turning one is a really big deal, so I can’t wait to celebrate!

I’ve told you some personal things about me, and I’ll share more with you as our fifth grade journey progresses, but now it’s time for you to get to know me as your teacher. So here are some things I value:

1. YOU

The number one thing to know about me is that I am rooting for you…ALWAYS. I will be your number one fan [outside of your family, of course] in and out of the classroom at all times. This means that I am even rooting for you next year or when you’re on your way to high school! This means that I am rooting for you on the soccer or baseball field! This means that I am rooting for you when you’re on stage! [Just ask last year’s students!] Sure, you WILL struggle and MAY even fail, which is totally OKAY! Even adults struggle and fail and you’ll see that I will do that many times this year. But it is how you get back up, continue, and finish your journey that helps you learn from your struggles and build character! And I will be the fan that sticks with you through the ups and downs this year may bring…I mean, have you seen the Cubs? And I’m still a fan? YUP! I am rooting for YOU!

2. Respect

Yes, I am YOUR number one fan…but you are not the only one I’m rooting for in OUR classroom. I am the number one fan for all of my students. I know you know this, but I am stating it here because I value it so much!

I value RESPECT. I give it and expect it in return in my classroom. I expect you to treat others the way you would want to be treated. We respect each other’s personal spaces, ideas [even when we disagree!], backgrounds/cultures, and so forth.

3. Collaboration / Communication

I love to collaborate! I love sharing ideas, getting ideas, and trying new ideas with other people! I can’t wait to work with the two other fabulous fifth grade teachers at Robinson so that our teaching reflects the best of three minds! What does this mean for our class? Well, it means that we’ll be doing a lot of collaborating and communicating with one another. The more you share and the more you listen, the more you will learn and grow! I love group projects and/or group work and I encourage you to be generous with your great ideas and to be attentive to your peers’ ideas, even if you disagree! Remember, this is where respect comes into play.

Not only are you collaborating and communicating with your classmates, but with me too! I not only love sharing my ideas with my students, but I enjoy receiving ideas from you as well! We are going to be giving each other feedback, where we engage in a dialogue about our work and how we can continue to learn and grow! Remember, I’m rooting for you to become the best possible person you can be!

I was privileged to be a part of the iPad Mini scout with my fifth graders last year and I am so pumped that WE will be beginning the year with them! Not only does this mean that we get to learn and grow in a number of ways, but that we also get to showcase what it means to be respectful, collaborative, and communicative on a whole new [digital] level!

There are a lot of other things that are important to me: family, time, fearlessness, taking risks, reading, discovering things, continuous learning, working hard, friendships, knowing when to apologize,… I’m sure my list could go on forever, but this is what I wanted you, my students, to know about me first.

I know that was quite long, but I hope that you are as excited as I am to be learners in Room 201 this year!

So what now? Well, I’d like you to do three things for me:

1. Ask yourself, “What is important to me?” You can make a list or write about each listed item or maybe this list is already deeply rooted in your mind. Either way, I’m hoping that each one of you will take the risk to share with our class so that we can strengthen or even tweak our own lists!

2. Ask yourself, “What does it mean to have someone rooting for me? What does it mean to be respected and to respect others? What does it mean to collaborate and communicate with other people?” Again, I hope that you will share your thoughts with the class so that we take the first steps to having the best year ever!

3. And…here’s that homework part I’m sure you were gawking at in my letter! Drum roll, please!

I would love to add the finishing touches to our classroom with a framed 3x5 or 4x6 picture of you and your family! If you don’t have a frame, that’s okay! But I’d still love for you to bring in a picture; it’s a great way to remember the ones cheering for us even when they are not in our physical presence.

Well, that’s it…for now. :) If you have any questions or comments about this post, feel free to leave me comments here or email me at:

I can’t wait to meet every single one of you!

Mrs. Hong

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