Beginning of School Info and Weekly Newsletter/Calendar

This week’s newsletter/calendar is available for downloading/printing at the end of this post and on the newsletter page.

It was a pleasure to meet so many of you at Orientation last Friday! From familiar faces to new parents and students, everyone was friendly and enthusiastic. I have a good feeling about the upcoming year!

Instead of the typical Wish List asking for classroom supplies, I’m doing something a little different this year. We have an excellent science textbook, but will need to provide supplies for many of the experiments that we’ll be doing. Some of these activities are located in the book, while others I’ll find through other resources. If you’d like to help with the purchase of these items, please consider buying an Amazon gift card for this purpose. With 66 students doing the experiments, we will need a substantial number of many items. I promise to be frugal with your donations and spend all funds wisely. Receipts will be available for all to see at any time. If you decide to contribute, please send a virtual gift card to this email address or a physical one to my room. If you can’t donate at this time, there will be opportunities throughout the year.

An exciting part of the first day of school is the introduction of our new school theme. This year, it’s R.O.D.E.O. (Ready to Offer Differentiated Educational Opportunities for all)! Students are encouraged to wear western outfits to help get the year started. We’ll take and post some pictures of those who dress up.

Please be sure that you sign up for my class sites: my website, Twitter, and Shutterfly. Links are below and on my newsletter. If you have any questions, please let me know.




Parents (from all homerooms) should sign up for these sites.


Welcome to 5th Grade…


And welcome to our class! I’m happy to be your science teacher and hope that you’re excited about the new school year. Although you might be a little nervous right now, I’m sure that it won’t take long for you to feel at ease in our classroom.

See those smiles in the photo at the top of the page? Those were some of my students and they’re smiling because they’re happy to be there. Sure, we’ll work very hard on our science lessons. This is Jacksonville Beach Elementary School, after all. Our students love to learn and understand that nothing worthwhile comes easy. That doesn’t mean you won’t have fun, though. From independent projects to cool science experiments and much more, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy yourself while still being challenged.

By the way, I’m wearing Gator pajamas in that picture because that was something my class chose as a fundraising reward (as an Alabama fan, that wasn’t easy!). In fact, I’ve worn several different pajamas over the past few years! You’ll read about this classroom tradition later. Speaking of dressing up, this year’s theme is “Let’s Rodeo!” On the first day of school, I’ll wear an outfit that goes with the theme and I hope some of you come in costume, too! We’ll take some new pictures and I’ll post a few of them here and on Shutterfly.

This blog will be updated consistently throughout the year and will serve as the primary way information is distributed between our classroom and your home. On the right side of this page, parents will find a place to subscribe to notifications of updates to this blog. Doing so will ensure that families are kept current on assignments and other important information.

I believe that communication is a vital part of every person’s success. At school, this means open and honest exchange of information between everyone involved. I welcome and value the opinions and suggestions of all parents and students. You can call  at school, but email is the quickest and most effective way to get in touch with me. My email address is . An easy way to send me email can be found on the right side of this page.

Ms. Brothers, Ms, Taylor, and I consider everyone in our homerooms to be part of one big class. We’ll work together closely to develop, implement, and monitor a plan structured to meet the needs of each student. Some of our activities, both curricular and extracurricular, involve all rooms. We strive to work together as a team and believe that this helps us to best serve our students and their families.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please let me know. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you in the coming weeks. If you’d like, you can learn a bit about me on the “About Mr. Van” page on this site. In fact, part of your homework for the first week is to read that page, make a comment, and then click the link at the end. That link will take you to a page where you will tell me all about you! You can reach the “About Mr. Van” page through the link on the right side of this page. Thanks!

Oh, yeah — I’d love to hear your thoughts. Parents and/or students, feel free to leave a comment after any blog post.