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Scott Hixon Locker

Scott Hixon


Mr. Hixon’s Team 17 Update!   Dear Parents and Caregivers,   Again, I just wanted to thank both students and families for the overwhelmingly positive parent/teacher fall conferences and the recent check-ins/meetings. It is a wonderful opportunity to ease concerns and celebrate the hard work we have all done. As mentioned, I am seeing exceptional growth and determined effort despite some obstacles. Congratulations to all!   I have mentioned some areas of concern on the report card (or discussed in conferences) that you may find helpful: 


  • How can I help comprehension? 
    • In short, reading more often and reading a variety of text (fiction, informational text, newspapers, magazines, etc) all require unique skills that force one to seek meaning/understanding in different ways.
    • Ask less who, where, what, how questions and deeper whyquestions that don’t have a right or wrong answer (open-ended) but the child needs to support their answer. 5th graders tend to know their facts but have problems explaining character’s motives and the author’s purpose (critical thinking). (i.e. Ask: “Why do you think an adult would write a story like Goldilocks and the Three Bears?” or “Who does the main character remind you of? Why?). The answers will not come quickly but the discussions can be great!
    • “Turn the tables” When you read with them let your child ask the questions. Can they stump you? Predict/infer, summarize, question, personal connection, clarify, (they know what these mean).
    • Lastly, and most importantly read regularly with and to your child!!!


  • How do I get my child to enjoy reading?
    • Visit a quality library and bookstore with you child (80% of teachers at a nearby school found this to be “highly effective”). Let them roam.
    • Your Child selects what they want when they read by themselves. When a child reads by choice they are reading for both meaning and enjoyment.
    • Let there be a goal or finished product to the some reading (cooking recipes, building a model airplane, origami books, household reading/writing tasks, etc.) They will be motivated to see the result.
    • Reading software can be a helpful, but it cannot replace an adult.
  • How do I help with grammar and vocabulary?
    • Besides regular reading, students often respond to reading a book while at the same time listening to it on tape or CD.
    • Dictionary use (let them pick a small one that will fit in their backpack and that is handy for school, homework club, and at home). This will help their writing conventions as well.
    • Using higher vocabulary in regular conversation  (not “talking down”)
    • Field Trips, museum visits, and “hands on” fun!


  • How can I help my child’s confidence?
    • Homework practice (quality over quantity) with an adult if possible. Many need the 1 to 1 instant feedback and modeling away from school.
    • Cooking: aids measurement/estimation/fractions/number sense
    • Flash Cards --- too many students don’t know their times tables and that hinders numerous areas (division, %, fractions, and simplifying to name a few), not to mention their confidence.
    • Besides tutoring, there are numerous homework clubs (Alameda Free Library, Sports 4 Kids, Leaps…) for review and support. And my “office hours” during math instruction.
    • Again, there are numerous educational math software games out there that are quite addicting (check Consumer Reports for the truly educational ones --- “Math Blaster” is one that I like).
    • Extra workbooks or pages off the internet for review (i.e. graphing ordered pairs, integers and so forth). i.e.,


  • What will help?
    • Dictionary/thesaurus use for spelling and word choice --- “spice it up”
    • Writing down household directions in outline form aids organization skills
    • Letters to real people (from family to actors to politicians to…)
    • Go over the editing/revising check list from their writing folder and ask them to choose three that they will do for everything they write --- from email to essays to creative stories. Let it become second nature.
    • When you spot an error tell them that there is something wrong without telling them exactly where the error occurred. Let them find the error.
    • Remember 5th grade writing focus has been creative story writing (narrative) and persuasive essays this winter trimester. See what motivates and works (i.e. practice writing new endings to favorite books, have them defend the villain in the story with supporting evidence, etc.).
    • Revising, revising, and more revising. Use our checklists located in the writing folder.  

  Other resources for enrichment:,,   Please let me know what works!  Have a great winter trimester!   

Warm regards,

Scott Hixon­­­­­

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