Ms. Tara Reischel
Manito Elementary School
I am a resident of Oakland, who grew up here and is a proud graduate of the
Oakland Public Schools.
I have been teaching in the fifth grade since the 1996-'97 school year.
I, along with my 5th grade partners, help to select the Manito Cabinet each
year. We continue the School Store, Manito Mail, and work on any new endeavor
for the student council during a school year.
Fifth grade is truly an important and rewarding year for students. It is
their last year here at Manito, and it is my intention to make it one of the
most memorable, enjoyable, and inspiring. The students and I work together to
try to create a fun, happy, successful classroom environment. Working
together to achieve this is an integral part of the process. Fifth grade is a
turning point; a year to prepare them for their later school careers and
beyond. We set expectations for each other on how we thought our classroom
would work best, I for them and they in turn for me. We are working together
towards holding up all of these. One of the key expectations I have for them
is to realize it is time to begin to take charge of their own learning. The
students and I have discussed how important it is that they accept this
responsibility and to feel that it is our classroom. I am here to help them,
(and you are too), in anyway possible for them to develop a love a learning,
become organized and establish routines for themselves to lead to success, but
ultimately it is up to them.
Our classroom is designed to give them this responsibility. They have to
start to feel that it is they who have to power to determine their own
success. We work in three basic ways: the students are asked to work
individually, cooperatively, and competitively. Students need to have and
demonstrate the confidence and capabilities to complete a task or assignment
on their own, since they determine their own success. Students are also
assessed and awarded for their individual work, talents, and effort. Students
also need to realize that learning may be an individual process, but it never
done solely alone.
A big part of our classroom is learning how to work cooperatively. This is a
way for students to take on more responsibility for themselves and each other.
Students are sitting and working in groups of 4 or 5. Groups are changed
each marking period. Each group member is held accountable and evaluated by
what they do, but also how they function as a group, since it is such a big
part of life. Students are asked to look out for, help, and guide each other.
Students should begin to recognize how learning with others prompts more
ideas to arise, where members have different strengths and talents that make a
job easier when pooled together. Students are also practicing the art of
compromising for the common good, learning how to concede what they may feel
is best in the interest of others. Within the groups, students take turns as
team leader. This leader is asked to help members work to their potentials in
our class: to help keep the group focused, prompt participation in class, get
ready for what may come next in class, check that members have all homework
assignments written in their assignment pads, and make sure they have all
books or worksheets needed to complete assignments that night. Students need
to realize that what they do affects others around them; choosing not to do
work or stay focused is going to affect their success but also that of the
other group members who are depending upon them. That is a powerful
Students are also working competitively in our class. To help students
realize that working together with others is integral to personal success and
to keep students motivated, there will be a 5th grade point system in our class. This is designed
as a way to incite students working in a class to try and do their best this year. The students earn
points when members follow the expectations of our class and the six pillars of character: complete
homework assignments, show interest and attention in class, actively participate, are
prepared for each activity and ready to begin without being asked, do well in
games or on assignments. At the end of each month, we will tally the points to
determine the top group in our class for that month. We hope to inspire students to work hard to
achieve this end, and a classroom spirit develops.
Completing homework is essential to success in our classroom. Both you
and your child signed homework contracts at the start of the year to show
recognition of its importance. Students should expect homework Monday through
Friday, about 60-75 minutes a night. Homework can be in any subject or can be
work to finish up from the day, but consistent nightly homework includes, a reading log, math, a
journal response, and spelling. Students have assignment pads/agendas in their binders
to write down all assignments. Hopefully it will help students establish and practice routines for
themselves as they prepare for
Valley and beyond.
I have been describing all of the things that the students and I have been
doing to create our class, and how we teachers will coordinate to create a 5th grade experience for
the students, but this is all only part of the picture. You arean essential part of the puzzle. All of
what we are trying to achieve in class cannot be done without your knowledge, care, and support.
You are the link that can make all of the expectations we’ve set in class work. I hope
this gives you some insight into the basic workings of our classroom. If you
have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am
looking forward to getting to know you and working with you.