Fifth Grade - Mrs. VanOcker


Welcome to 5th grade!

Mrs. VanOcker

Butterfly book

Fifth grade is an exciting year of transition at Sackets Harbor Central School!  The students learn to become more independent in preparation for going to Middle School next year.  We begin the year with an ELA/Social Studies unit that focuses on human rights, and we incorporate the knowledge gained throughout the unit into our classroom routines, procedures and rules.  This helps the student learn to be responsible, respectful and cooperative. 

My classroom is student-centered. The goal of student-centered learning is to develop learner autonomy and independence by putting responsibility for the learning path in the hands of students. This includes active learning experiences, open-ended questioning which require critical or creative thinking and cooperative (team-based) learning. 

I teach English Language Arts, Spelling and Social Studies to all 5th grade students.   Mr. Oak teaches Math and Science. 

The 2:30-3:00 period: 
Students are always welcome to stay to work on assignments and projects    Students may be asked to stay to complete assignments, work on projects, or receive extra instruction.


Planners:  Students are expected to take planners to all classes and write in all assignments.  After they hand in their completed assignment, they are to check off the assignment in the planner. 

Parents, please check the planner for the assignments.  When a student does not complete an assignment on time, it is recorded on the blackboard in the classroom until the student turns it in.  You will be notified of uncompleted assignments via the Weekly Progress Report.      

Weekly Progress Reports:  On the final day of the week, students will bring home a Weekly Progress Report letting you know how their week went.  Please sign them and send them back the following school day. 

Messages:  The weekly Progress Report is a very convenient place for notes.  You can also E-mail me at   Please keep in mind that I am busy working with the students during the school day, any urgent messages should be sent in with your child or called in to the school.  If you would like to meet with me, please e-mail or send a note with available times that are convenient for you, and I will set up an appointment. 

Homework and Grades:  Homework has three primary roles in my classroom.  First, it gives the student additional practice in a new skill or idea.  For example, spelling homework gives the student practice using the new words correctly.  Second, homework is often used to prepare the student for participation in classroom activities.  Often, 5th grade students have reading assignments that must be completed at home in order for the student to answer comprehension questions or discuss content with classmates. Finally, homework in the 5th grade helps the student develop good organizational skills for Middle and High School.  Homework and Classwork grades are largely dependent on the student’s effort and preparedness.  It is essential in a student-centered classroom that learning becomes more important than grades.  My grading system takes the emphasis away from grades and puts it on effort and improvement. 

Quarterly Awards:

Awards are distributed at our Celebration of Learning ceremony which is held at the end of each quarter. Following is the criteria for academic awards. 

Honor Roll = Average of 90 and above

Credit Roll = Average of 85 and above

Effort Roll = Best effort in all academics.  (Assignments must be completed on time) 

School Store:  The 5th graders run the Elementary School Store.  Students are asked to be at my classroom by 7:40 AM in order to set up the store in the hallway on their assigned days/week.  The school store work schedule will be sent home in a couple of weeks.  The proceeds of the store go towards our Wild Center trip, a Christmas dinner for a family in need, and miscellaneous celebrations and trips.         

Picking your child up early: Please send in a note in the morning to let the school know what time you would like your child dismissed.  When you arrive at the school, report to the office to sign your child out.  The office staff will call me upon your arrival, and I will send your child to the office. 

School testing:  STAR Math and Reading assessments are given twice a year to track the student’s progress and growth. 

State testing:

The NYS English Language Arts and NYS Math tests will be administered in April.    

Absenteeism:  If a friend or sibling is picking up your child’s homework, the homework will be in the office for pick up at 2:25.  If a parent is coming to school to pick up the homework, please call the office to let us know.  I’ll send the homework down to the elementary office by 2:25.