Weekly Update

Owl #30

MCAS dates

ELA testing May 11

Math practice test May 12
Math testing May 13th

Please, please, please ensure that your child's iPad is fully charged each and every day but especially on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week.

Please do everything you can to ensure that your child is present and well-rested on the day of these tests.

I absolutely want no pressure put on my students to perform. This has been a challenging year and students do not need any more stress in their lives. Plus, this is the first time fourth-grade students will take an MCAS test. They will be nervous enough without any added pressure. However, please do not tell your child that the MCAS test doesn't matter! When students hear this from parents and teachers they are apt to not do their best. Instead, please continue to support your child by telling them that you expect your child to give their best effort. Acknowledge that the test, like iReady assessments, may seem hard and that you only expect your kiddo to do their best. Remind them that you are ALWAYS proud of them when they give their best effort.

Many educators do not always support the administration of MCAS, especially during this pandemic, however, if the data is to be at all helpful in meeting students' future needs, our students need to do their best. I am so happy that the test has been shortened. Please know that I will do everything in my power to ensure that MCAS administration is a stress-free experience that is as positive as possible for our students.

Teacher Appreciation

Boy did you ever make us feel appreciated this past week. Thank you so much for the basket filled with all of our favorite goodies. The fresh blackberries were so delicious that they didn't even make it to the fridge! I did share some of my chocolate with my family and the coffee will be enjoyed this week. The gift was just so thoughtful. I feel lucky to work with such amazing children every day. This token of appreciation was really the icing on the cake! Please accept my very sincere thanks!

This Week's Schedule & Our Specialist Schedule

This week's schedule reflects a typical five-day week BUT there is a 1/2 day on Friday

The students will have a specialist class every day from this point to the end of the year. Our schedule is as follows:

Monday - Library

Tuesday - Technology

Wednesday - Art

Thursday - Music

Friday - No special 1/2 day


Our district has recently revisited the practice of assigning homework. I have never been a huge proponent of assigning tons of homework. My philosophy is that homework is helpful if it provides students with meaningful practice, helps to build confidence, and helps students to acquire and maintain critical skills.

Over the last year, all educators have really dialed back on homework in an effort to attend to students' social/emotional wellness and in the interest of maintaining parent sanity. I know you join me in hoping that next year will really be a return to normal. Typically, our fifth-grade team has also shared the philosophy that homework should be reasonable and meaningful. I fully anticipate that all fifth graders will have homework in the fall. Now that we are back fully in person, I will start to insist that students fulfill some minimal homework expectations. Beginning this week, homework expectations are as follows:

Reading: 20 minutes of silent reading Monday through Thursday evenings (silent reading is recommended seven days a week) There will be occasional accountability checks. PLEASE support your child in developing this important habit. Truly, reading will help your child to excel in ALL curriculum areas. Students who do not develop a reading habit will be more apt to fall behind their peers across all subjects, including mathematics.

Math: 20 minutes of STMath daily completing a minimum of 12 puzzles (You can check your child's progress as they work...ask him or her how. I am also happy to show you how. Please contact me if you need assistance. As you know, the STMath goals are often completed IN SCHOOL. Students are asked to work toward their time and puzzle requirements at home if the work was unable to be completed in school.

Practicing math facts as needed. We have finished our unit on division and fractions. Students with fact fluency have had a much easier time with these units. As the year concludes, we will continue to work with fractions as they are a major fourth-grade focus. (We'll also be studying geometry and measurement.) I can't emphasize how important multiplication fact fluency is to the mastery of our fourth-grade fraction standards. Please continue to encourage your child to practice and learn his or her multiplication facts. Knowing their facts by heart will make tackling the content in future fourth-grade units, as well as fifth-grade units, so much easier for the students. Students who know their facts by heart are far more confident and take more risks in math class. Anything you can do at home to build fact fluency will be greatly appreciated by the teachers at Hogwarts. Working on fact fluency twice a week for about five minutes each session is enough for the typical fourth-grader.

I will email parents to let you know if your child is NOT completing homework from week to week. Frequent parent check-ins with students will help to show your child that you care and that this small amount of homework is important.

Packing for Hogwarts

Now that we have returned to full in-person learning some of your students' school supplies should be returned to school by now.

Should be returned by now...

  • the hard-covered Wonders anthology (This is IMPORTANT to return!)
  • the Wonders workbook
  • their composition notebooks
  • their three-ring Hogwarts binder
  • folders purchased for school
  • the clipboard

To be sent in daily...

  • A fully charged iPad
  • The green Clough folder
  • A spare mask in a ziplock bag
  • Snack for the afternoon and a water bottle

To be kept at home...

  • The whiteboard. We have a set in class. Leave the whiteboard at home "just in case".
  • Any old GoMath! workbooks (chapters 1-5).

The students will be bringing their iPads home each evening. Please continue to support your child in fully charging his or her iPad each evening. This is important as we'll continue to use the iPads in school. It is also great practice for Miscoe.

Staying Connected

Let's continue to stay connected. Please reach out should you have any questions or concerns. Also, always feel free to share triumphs you're noticing in your child. We love hearing stories of growth and increased independence. We are committed to helping your child overcome obstacles and to set and work toward meaningful goals. As a parent myself, I know how tricky navigating parenting during typical days is let alone during a pandemic. Let's continue to keep the dialogue open as we move through the school year. Don't ever hesitate to contact us.