Welcome to

 Mrs. Gray’s Class

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 6.51.46 PM.pngStudent Handbook 2017-18

Classroom Behavior: 

My expectations are fairly simple to remember and are the same for everyone. They also require much thought on a daily basis. In all that you do, I expect you will put forth your BEST effort.

If all else fails, keep your head up and do your BEST!

My discipline policy is also simple. I use Love and Logic. I want kids to view their behavior as an active choice. This year I will not be using rewards in my classroom.  During the first week of school the students and I will create a vision of what we would like the classroom to be like for the year. We will do this through a variety of team building activities.  There will also be natural consequences for their behavior.  For example, homework not completed – student will stay in during recess to finish it.


Homework will consist of any unfinished work from school as well math homework  and reading most every night.  Homework is due the following school day unless it is a long-term project.  I am asking kids to not pull out pages from their math book and to bring their math book home with them nightly.  That way they can refer back to the lesson pages if they need help.

The following items will be very helpful for students to have at home when completing their homework:  dictionary, calculator, paper, and pencils.

While late work is not ideal, I understand that sometimes it is unavoidable.  Students who do not have their work completed on the day it is due will stay in during recess to complete it. Late assignments will be docked 5% points.  

All graded assignments will come home on Friday in their Orange (Friday) Folder.  Please look through your child’s work carefully, and return the empty folder on Monday.  This is a great way for you to keep track of their progress each marking period.  

Aside from homework and projects, students are also encouraged to be reading at home.  Research shows that the more a child reads, the more fluent he/she becomes and comprehension levels rise. Students must read between 20-30 minutes a night.  

Redo work:  Children may redo assignments or tests that receives a 69% or less.  Assignments are to be redone over the weekend and are due each Monday.  A new grade is determined by averaging both scores.  

We encourage you to sign up for the Parent Portal! This allows you to monitor your child’s grades, attendance, and student bulletin. Within the Parent Portal, you have the capability of signing up for email notifications regarding grades and upcoming events.


Grading Scale:
























Below 59%



Planner/Assignment Books: 

Children are responsible for keeping a daily planner.  It will record their daily assignments as well as homework and important reminders. We are working on highlighting homework in our planner.  In addition to an organizational tool, the assignment book is also a good way to communicate questions/concerns to me.  Please read through and sign this planner. If your child comes home with an empty planner please check our webpage it will be posted there.


More time will be given to complete assignments when children are absent.  It is in their best interest to get caught up right away and to complete all work as soon as possible since new learning occurs each day.

The Union Hill School student absence make-up work policy is summarized below:

Student work will not be prepared in advanced for students that are absent less than five (5) consecutive days.

Independent Study: Independent Study is work that can be assigned for a student that will be out of school for a minimum of five days. Independent study allows the students to keep up on his or her schoolwork and the school receives funding for the student’s attendance for the days he/she was on independent study. Requests for independent study work should be filed in the office a minimum of a week in advance. All assignments are due upon the student’s return.

Field Trips:

4th Grade:        

5th Grade

This year’s overnight river trip is scheduled for Monday through Tuesday, June 4-5.  It is one of the favorite highlights of the year for many of our fifth graders. The cost will be approximately $180 per student and your child will have a wonderful time experiencing the outdoors. We hope that each child will be attending this fabulous adventure. Monthly payment plans will begin in September using a payment envelope.

Special Schedule:



WEDNESDAY - 4th Grade Library

THURSDAY - 5th Grade Library



Please know that you can contact me at any time with questions and/or concerns.   Feel free to email me or drop me a note or call the school. Notes can also be written in the student planners.  Please make sure that when you leave me a note in the assignment keeper you have your student bring that to me in the morning. This will give me chance to see it and have enough time to respond by the end of the day. Email is my preferred choice for communication but often emails end up in spam and are not delivered for 24 hours!  If you have not heard from me within 24 hours please send a note or call the school.

You can get in touch with me three different ways:

By e-mail: mgray@uhsd.k12.ca.us

By Phone: 530-273-0647 ext 164

(I will not answer during the day.  I’ll check messages at the end of day.)

By Note: Assignment keeper

I will do my best to touch base with you as soon as possible.


This year I am using Bloomz as a way to communicate with parents.   Bloomz is a free texting or email service that allows me to send a short informative text to you.  I won’t be sending messages everyday - I will use it to send out important reminders as well as letting you know our website is updated!

Classroom Website:

Our class website is still in progress. Our website will house our newsletter which will be posted every two weeks as well as other great things we are doing. Students will be posting the planner daily and I’ll be sharing little things as we go along.  So be sure to check it out frequently.  It also has great information for you…Our Class Blog (newsletter), Calendar (one for each grade level), Parent Resources, as well as curriculum information. The students post the planner on the website daily as well.

The site is regularly updated and usually has the answer to most questions. I encourage you to visit the site weekly to see what we are doing in the classroom.




4th Grade:

5th Grade:

There is math homework most nights (Monday through Thursday).

Language Arts

4th & 5th Grade

California Journeys: Focus on reading literacy and content of nonfiction articles and stories.  Students will be gaining knowledge of the world around them by engaging in a variety of reading materials.

This program incorporates reading, writing, grammar, and spelling.

Reading: Students read a wide selection of common core cross- curricular stories and have follow-up activities and assessments to build comprehension.

Word Study: Weekly, students will complete word study lessons that focus on spelling, word structure, phonics, and vocabulary. These lessons are closely connected with their story of the week.

Grammar: Grammar practices are incorporated into the Journeys  program.

Writing: Writing genres include persuasive, narrative, creative, informational, compare and contrast, poetry, summary, and journaling.

NOVELS:  We will be reading/discussing various novels throughout the school year.


Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, Patty Reed’s Doll by Rachel K. Laurgaard, and By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman.  


Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe  by C.S. Lewis, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, and  Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

AR REQUIREMENTS: Students will be required to pass two AR tests per trimester on books of at least 100 pages (based on their reading ability).  These AR tests are taken at school and one is due no later than the mid trimester point.  

Social Studies

4th Grade: Focuses on California, past to present, incorporating many hands-on activities and games.  Students will develop research skills and be expected to complete a County Historical Site Report and project.   Students will also participate in a Pioneer Day and be starring in a movie depicting the story of Black Bart.  (Mr. Albano)

5th Grade: Focuses on United States history (pre-Columbian settlements, early explorers and their explorations, Colonial America, American Revolution, developing the US Constitution,and human geography.) Students will develop research skills and be expected to complete a State Report and project.


4th Grade: Focuses on ecosystems (plants/animals), geology, electricity, mass, matter, and magnetism.  Through the scientific process (hypothesis, experimentation, observation, and conclusion), the students will be learning about the world around them. (Mr. Lynn)

5th Grade: Focuses on elements and compounds, structure of living things, the water cycle, weather and the solar system. As well as hands on experiments using the scientific process.

FOR 4th Grade Science/Social Studies -

  1. Assignments must be turned in on time.  If an assignment or test is turned in late, the highest grade it can receive is a 70%.  After being one week late (not due to absence), the student will be given a zero for that assignment.
  1. Students have the option of redoing an assignment/test in which they earned a “D” or “F” grade in math and reading.  In Spelling, Science, and Social Studies, tests cannot be retaken for a higher grade because of the study sheets provided ahead of time.
  2. Students will have one week to complete “redo” tests or assignments in math and reading.  The maximum grade a student can earn on a “redo” assignment/test is a 75%.  Students must write the word “REDONE” on the top of the assignment before turning it in.

Physical Education

Our P.E. program is a skills-based program that will focus on increasing students’ strength, flexibility, balance endurance, and sportsmanship.  P.E. is held outside, weather permitting, so your child must be dressed appropriately for active games, including appropriate footwear.  Mr. Dudek is your child’s P.E. teacher.


Twice a week students will be learning keyboarding, graphing, spreadsheets, and other programs in our school’s computer lab. As well as research skills.  Mr. Thibodeau will be the teacher for this class.

Music (4th Grade)

Once a week students will participate in music appreciation, singing, and playing the recorder.  Mr. Lynn is the teacher for this class.

4th Grade Teacher Contact Information

Dominic Albano        dalbano@uhsd.k12.ca.us                273-8456 ext. 161

David Lynn                dlynn@uhsd.k12.ca.us                273-8456 ext. 162

Heidi Kirkpatrick        hkirkpatrick@uhsd.k12.ca.us        273-8456 ext. 163


This year I am happy to introduce a very exciting learning tool in our classroom; our very own student written blog.  A weblog, or blog for short, will function much as our classroom walls, except through posting and creating work online, we will be able to solicit comments from students across the globe on our work, as well as classmates. This new writing opportunity affords us the chance to help students develop their writing while exposing it to a potentially global audience, thus leading to in-depth discovery, reflection, and redirection in their literacy skills.

The blog’s main function will be to promote a continual writing process, featuring book reviews, poetry, journal reflections as well as a chance for students to develop critical thinking skills as they comment and guide each other.  Not all work will be graded, however, all work will be assessed for effort made and progress shown.  By having a real audience, students will learn to focus their writing to target specific groups as well as continue to develop their own unique writing voice, all in an e-portfolio format.

This wonderful learning project is setup to eliminate any Internet risks for your child.  No personal information will be disclosed and students will get to create a username or “handle” for themselves as to not reveal their true names.  Passwords will only be made available to the individual student and teacher.

I will set up our student blog and students will be given access to post their finished work and comments.  All comments and posts have to be approved by me before they are made visible to the public, however, students with at-home computer accessibility will be able to post assignments and comments from home, too.   Parents and family members are encouraged to also get involved and will be given the website so that they become part of our learning conversation.


Before proceeding with this blog we will discuss proper Internet usage, blog etiquette, as well as how to comment constructively and not critically. Students will be expected to sign and follow all of the Internet safety pledges set forth in our Classroom Internet Safety Plan (attached).

All of these skills developed through this blog are part of our lifelong learning and I hope to set the students on a wonderful path of Internet exploration and usability!

Internet Safety Plan

As a member of this classroom, I pledge to:

I have read and understood this plan, and I pledge to uphold it:

Student Signature:  ______________________________________

Parent Signature:     _____________________________________        

P.S. Don’t forget to fill out the back side too!

Mrs Gray’s Handbook Contract

After reading through the handbook with your family answer the following questions and return this page to Mrs. Gray.

My child’s work (no name) may be published on the website:            YES       NO

My child’s picture (no name) can be viewed on the website –           YES       NO

My child and I have visited the class website:                                YES       NO

My child and I took the time to review the entire handbook:                YES       NO

Student Signature                                                                Date

Parent Signature                                                                Date

Please return as soon as possible.