Parent Questions

Parent Questions

Frequently Asked Questions: This page contains answers to common 
questions of students and parents.

Is it easy to communicate with you?

Absolutely. I send out a weekly Monday Memo that includes
information about what we are doing during the upcoming week as well as how
your child was the previous week both academically and socially. This Monday
Memo must be returned signed every Tuesday and has space to write comments or

This website will also have an updated newsletter before the
start of each school week. However, please call or e-mail at anytime if you
have any concerns. I will always try to get back to you as soon as possible.

Why does my child have SO MUCH homework?

(NOTE: This does not mean that your child WILL have a lot of
homework. In fact, if you look at the amount of homework an "average" fifth grader
receives, I fall well below the average. My answer is specifically for those who 
find themselves in a position of having a lot of homework.) 

There are a lot of possible answers to this question. I tell my
students that it is because their teacher is extremely mean - that's always
effective. However, if you can get past that there are some things you need to
understand. How your child uses his/her work time will heavily correlate to
how much homework he/she has each night. The term "homework" to me could mean
very different things to different children. Let's say I ask
students to come up with ten words from a novel we are reading
that they find interesting. I give them 20 minutes at the end of the day to
complete this and tell them that it is due the next day. Some kids will work
diligently to finish because they do NOT want to take it home. Some kids will
work diligently but need some extra time to finish it at home. Some kids will
rush through it and do not plan on taking it home whether they finish it or
not! Some kids will say to themselves, "I'll just finish this
at home anyway so I'm just going to stare at the kid's head in
front of me for the next 20 minutes." So, obviously there are many, many
reasons why a student could have this particular assignment for homework. 

Let's take a look at Student A and Student B. Student A plays the flute, the
violin, sings in the chorus,rides horses twice a week, does gymnastics three
times a week, is on the tennis team, basketball team, softball team,
volleyball team, soccer team, synchronized swimming team.... you get the
point. Student B, on the other hand, is a Nintendo Wii champion. So when Mrs.
Student A and Mrs. Student B meet up for their early morning run the next day 
they can not understand why there is such a difference in the amount
of homework between their two kids. Both kids could be equally busy (and
Fortnite can be addicting!), but how did they utilize their time both in
and out of school. 

Of course there are so many other variables but if homework is a concern just 
e-mail me. We'll figure it out. One of the biggest things
I try to teach all of my students is independence and responsibility. In
relation to homework, the change will occur within the first couple months of
school. Students will see the importance of writing down their assignments
each night and also get into the habit of finishing all of their work before
arriving at school since I require them to turn all
of their work in first thing in the morning (so no chance to
finish up a worksheet right before a 1st period math class). 

Students who can master the responsibility of finishing all of their work in
5th grade will find that their future years of school will be much easier when
they have five different teachers. I also use the term homework, but in
reality, when I say "homework" I really mean any work that I give students. If
it is something that we are not going to be working on together
in class again, I expect it to be done at home. Even though I
have said all of this, there are always other reasons why a student may have
too much homework or even too little. I am always happy to talk individually
to parents about this so please do not hesitate to give me a call, e-mail or
write me a
note if you have any concerns. This may all sound overwhelming,
but as the year progresses things will fall into place and the changes in
their personal responsibility level will drastically increase.

What can I do to help my child with his/her homework?

The key here is "help"; You could certainly do all of your
child's homework for him/her each day and your child will probably turn in
some immaculate work. But who cares? Students are not going to earn a college
scholarship in 5th grade! However, they ARE going to learn the skills in 5th
grade to become great students the rest of their school careers and then maybe
that scholarship or whatever else they decide to do with their
lives. I have high expectations for every single student in my class. No two
students are alike so my expectations are different for everyone, but one
thing is the same. My goal is to extract all of the creative and intellectual
juices out of their little brains and let them use those bits of knowledge in
the classroom. Instead of giving your child the answer, ask them questions to
help him/her find the answer on his/her own. When students do not do their
homework, I give them a homework slip that must be returned
signed by a parent/guardian the next day along with the completed
assignment. It is very important that you do not accept these. If kids feel
like it is no big deal to you, then it is no big deal to them. On the other
hand, I am very aware that I have very high expectations so I reward students
who meet these expectations. My students work hard and I make sure they are
rewarded for it in a variety of ways all year long. I'm not talking about
handing out Jolly Ranchers. My reward system is much more spur of the moment
such as giving out Dingos for doing a great job, verbal praise, or allowing a
student to lead in some activity the next day. I would ask that you also
reward your kids for being good students. Just like you, your kids have a
full-time job, and their payment should come from you in the form of praise
when they do a good job. If they do really good, maybe give them a little

What’s the deal with the Monday Memo?

The Monday Memo is a memo I send home to parents every Monday
that does two things: 1) It gives a brief summary of what we are doing during
the week and also includes important announcements or class news. 2) It gives
the parent/guardian a report of how their child did over the course of the week. 

This will include their ability to work with peers, their work
responsibility in the classroom, their general behavior, and
their current homework status. Sometimes I even will place notices or long
term assignments on the back that students have received but leave in school.
This will give you the opportunity to stay very up to date on what we do on a
weekly basis.

Is it true that Mr. Lynch is really mean?

It's true.

How often should I visit this website?

I recommend that parents check out my website's "Weekly Newsletter"
section at least every Monday. I usually update the site on Sunday evening and
I include detailed information about what we are going to do in each subject
over the course of the week. I give the basic important information for the
week on the Monday Memo that I want every parent to see (that is why I require
every student to have it signed and returned every Tuesday).

However, if you are reading this right now it tells me two
things. 1) You have access to the internet.  2) You care about your child's
education enough to read detailed questions and answers about their classroom.
So, for you, I urge you to come to the site at least once a week to check out
what's going on and to see new pictures of what your child is doing in school. I
take pictures of many of our activities throughout the year and
use them for both the website and many other things we do throughout the year.

When will the Red Sox win another World Series?

In 2098 - they are allowed three championships every 90 years or
so. But if you would like to visit the website of a team that will win many
championships in the meantime please visit

What are Dingos?

Dingos are our class currency. These are treated like gold in my
class and they should be. Students can earn Dingos by getting our Riddle of
the Week correct, signing up for a weekly class job (and doing it), writing
down their assignments (I do random checks), doing all of their homework,
winning special tournaments, being helpful in the classroom, or basically any
other reason I want. Dingos are treated like gold in my class because having
enough Dingos can get students an
extension on a homework assignment (this is expensive so students don't get
this very often) and allow them to purchase their desks. Students also earn
Dingos by working at our class store,
Bungles. As long as they do their job and show up to work on time, they
receive a paycheck on Friday. They really need this paycheck because all of my
students have to pay rent on their desks. (They can buy their desk to avoid
this rent - this is explained in another section.) 

Dingos can also buy students things like computer time or other rewards.
Everyone has a bad day or just needs something to boost their spirits so
Dingos are a great way to help students out in this department.

What is Bungles?

Bungles is our class store that is completely owned and operated
by students. One thing I discovered in my first couple of years of
teaching was that throughout the year students spend a lot of money on random
things such as  snacks in the cafeteria or other school supplies like pens,
pencils, highlighters, or new notebooks. This is completely normal, but I
decided that I wanted to do something about this anyway. For our class store,
we buy the items in bulk or at very cheap prices and then students
have these items available right in the classroom when they need
them. Our store managers slightly mark up the price (although it is usually
still cheaper than at most retail stores) and Bungles uses the profits to
stock up on new items. It's really a win-win situation financially for both
the buyer and the seller. Bungles uses real money, keeps real inventory, and
hands out real carbon-copy receipts. There is nothing fake going on here.
There is math involved in keeping the store running effectively and I
will do different activities during the year to supplement our math program
with Bungles related topics. The managers work very hard doing inventory
during their free time and keeping track of financial records. As the year
progresses the profits really start to add up. I sell shares of Bungles stock
throughout the year (purchased with Dingos) and students get voting privileges
as well as other classroom benefits for each share of stock that
they own. 

All students have the job as either a store manager,
sales representative, or advertising agent in our store. All of these jobs are
very important and showing up to work on time and doing the job correctly earn
students their weekly paycheck. Store managers monitor this activity and
decide if students should be paid or not - they also choose an Employee of the
Week who earns additional Dingos for this honor. In past years we have used
our profits to give to charity, buy a gift cards for High School volunteers in
our class, sent boxes of supplies to U.S.
soldiers in Iraq, held luncheons for students, and bought raffle items for an
end of the year raffle. Students have been actively involved in the store
throughout the years and it has proved to be a great success.

Can parents ever help out in the classroom?

Absolutely. Over the course of the year, I have all kinds of
opportunities for interested parents to help out with various activities in
the classroom. The biggest areas that are good for parents to come in
are during Writer's Workshop and during math activities. However, if you have
something you can offer the class let's talk and see if we can get you
to come in and share.

Do you really make students pay rent for their desks?

You bet I do. Students have to pay rent (one Dingo) to me every
Monday to use their desks. Once they have saved up 10 Dingos they can buy
their desk from me and I will present them with a Desk Title. Once they are a
desk owner they are no longer under any obligation to pay rent. Once a student
owns his/her own desk he/she can actually purchase other desks that I still
own. If they own someone else's desk they now collect rent from that student.
I have even sold my own desk for 25 Dingos in the past (it took
about four months before someone had enough Dingos to buy this)
and I paid the new owner two Dingos a week in rent. Not only does this whole
process teach students to save, it also teaches them something about long term
investing. A few years ago, one student spent the first few months of school
saving and buying up every desk he possibly could. At one point he owned five
desks (including mine) as well as two lockers (I had a few extras I
sold off). While some other students spent their Dingos as soon
as they received them (living "paycheck to paycheck") he saved and
invested wisely. For many months he earned six Dingos a week in rent and
another one for his paycheck! Needless to say, he became very wealthy and even
purchased enough stock in Bungles to own 30% of the company. Despite this
success story, there are other students who have a lot to learn about
budgeting and spending habits. If students fail to pay their rent they get
evicted. This means that they must move all the items from their desk into
their locker. (Oddly enough this actually helped organize the students this
happened to.) Only a handful of students had this happen to them - most
students borrowed from their friends if they were short on rent any particular
week. However, just like in the real world, students who borrowed too much or
too often found their lenders now unwilling to help them out. Spending money
wisely is a very important life skill and if kids could "get it" when they are
10 or 11-years-old it will make a huge difference in their financial future.

I heard you are constantly playing tricks on your students. Will my child come home and torture his or her brothers and sisters with these?

Yes. Most likely. Sorry.

What field trips do you take in 5th grade?

It varies from year-to-year, but in 2017-2018 the fifth graders
at Thompson Brook went to Winding Trails, Old Sturbridge Village, the Old State House, and 
the Nathan Hale Homestead.


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