Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Fifth grade and middle school can be a challenging time for students, well for any grade actually. If you start developing good habits at the beginning of the school year, it will help you be successful all year long. Here are 4 areas where you need to stay organized:

1. Your backpack
~ Buy a good, sturdy backpack with plenty of room and pockets. Keep folders in one, textbooks in another, workbooks in one, etc.  
~Do not just shove papers in your backpack! Remember everything has a place.
~Always pack your backpack the night before. When you are finished with your homework put it in your backpack where it belongs.  Teachers don’t want to hear, “I did it but left it at home.” Remember it is your responsibility to put your homework in your backpack - not your parents. They have already been to fifth grade! Late assignments can receive points off ,so if you don’t want points off put your homework in your backpack!

2. Your locker and desk
~Please do not shove papers in your desk or locker. Remember-everything has a place and make sure papers go where they belong. ~Keep your special classes organized in your locker. This will make it easy to find when you move to those classes. You only have a short amount of time between classes. Being organized in your locker will help you get to class on time.
~Please do not leave food and drinks in your locker/desk. Take home any uneaten food at the end of each day or throw it out in the class trash can. Your classmates don’t want to smell strange smells coming from your locker or desk.

3. Your homework place at home
~Have a quiet place at home where you can do your work free of distractions.
~Set aside a reasonable time each day to do your homework.
~Have paper and sharpened pencils ready to go.
~It is your responsibility to do your homework.
~This article has some very cool ideas.

4. Your homework
~Most likely you will be using a planner to copy homework, due dates for projects, etc. Look at it! Some assignments are due the next day and some are given on Monday and not due until Friday. If you have soccer practice on Monday and Wednesday make sure you organize your time to do the work on Tuesday or Thursday.
~Never leave assignments until the last minute.
~When you are done, put the work in your backpack where it belongs. This will make it easier for you to find in the morning at school, so you can hand it in on time.

A.A. Milne once said, “Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it - it’s not all mixed up!”

Fifth Grade Teacher

Saint Francis Xavier School
Developing the whole person:
Academics, Faith, Community and Character

Interested in learning more about Saint Francis Xavier School? Just fill out our inquiry form and someone will be in touch!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Back to School

It’s time to get back into the swing of the school year routine! Are you ready? I am… getting there! Last year I missed out on the excitement of heading back to school and instead hunkered down with my two year old as we got ready to add a newborn to the mix. This year we’re gearing up for more changes as my oldest daughter and I come back to Saint Francis Xavier School for the 2016-2017 school year, and my baby heads to daycare. I am equal parts excited and nervous for the change in routine. To get ready, I asked family and friends (seasoned parents and educators among the group) to send along their top tips for transitioning from summer days to school days. I hope this helps you get back-to-school ready!

Talk about it...
The transition back to school should not come as a surprise to your child. Talk about some of the changes that might be stressful (e.g., bathroom, lockers, lunchroom, friends) and reassure your student that they will be an expert in no time! Remember to check in with your older child as well; you can help them set academic goals and talk about how they plan (with your help) to achieve them this school year.

Be a team...
Be the coach, give your child jobs that help keep the team organized (tidy their room, get their backpack ready, put out their sneakers for gym, help get snacks/library books, etc. into their bags), and let them contribute to a successful school year. Have a pre-game (school) dinner, pick a cheer (this year our family motto is “Kindness is Cooler”), and celebrate wins and successes. Your child needs you to be a strong leader and their biggest supporter!

Focus on organizing something...
I have eliminated so many headaches by using the weekend to meal plan and grocery shop. Knowing what’s for dinner every night reduces stress after school and that is always a win for me! Next up will be choosing my outfits for the week on Sunday, every minute counts when you’re getting two kiddos out the door before 7am! Other parent experts recommend packing snack and lunch separately, and setting up family sharing if you have an iPhone calendar.

Ask specific questions... As the school year gets underway, encourage meaningful conversations by asking specific questions. Check your school’s website and Facebook page, read classroom newsletters, keep a copy of your child’s schedule, and ask questions that will spark interest and excitement on the drive home or around the dinner table. Ask more than “How was your day?”.

This is going to be a fantastic school year! If all else fails just remember that in a few weeks the dust will settle and things will feel normal. That’s what I’m counting on!

See you soon!

Mrs. Eileen Barendse
Assistant Principal and
Director of Early Education

Saint Francis Xavier School
Developing the whole person:
Academics, Faith, Community and Character

Interested in learning more about Saint Francis Xavier School? Just fill out our inquiry form and someone will be in touch!