Issue 5-September 5, 2014


From towering totem poles to infinitesimally small atoms and molecules, we explored "All Things Great and Small," as evidenced by the following accomplishments:

1. Math: We worked to find whole-number quotients of whole numbers with up to four-digit dividends and two-digit divisors, using strategies based on place value, the properties of operations, and/or the relationship between multiplication and division. Illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models. Use parentheses, brackets, or braces in numerical expressions, and evaluate expressions with these symbols. Games of "Multiplication Target Practice," "Brain Power,""Bonkers!" and "Your Choice" helped in the achievement of mastery.

2. Reading: We endeavored to determine theme from details/summarize as well as compare and contrast stories in the same genre on their approaches to themes and topics. Students listened to "The Iron Princess," to discern main idea as well as details. We also focused on the four kinds of sentences: declarative, interrogative, superlative, and imperative.

3. Writing: We reached a new bend in the unit. Instead of generating new stories almost every day, students chose one of those stories to be what writers sometimes call a seed idea, and then grew that seed across several days into a piece of publishable writing.

We also learned that professional writers revise; they don’t just insert doodads into their drafts. After drafting, the pros pause and think, “How else could I have written that whole story?” Then they rewrite—often from top to bottom. Usually as writers rewrite, they are working with the question, “What’s this story really about?”

4. Social Studies: Summarized the viability of the Native Americans of the Northwest Coast and Southeast. Each student constructed an authentic Tlingit totem pole as well as used an iPad to design an Educreations presentation about the five Native American groups we have been studying. Coming soon: The mighty Vikings!

5. Science: What is the structure of matter? We compared atoms and molecules, and students launched into a Periodic Table of the Elements scavenger hunt!

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The You Tube Edition of This Newsletter

Here is the You Tube version of this newsletter:

Spelling, Unit 4

On Friday, your child will take the Unit 3 spelling test--and the Unit 4 spelling pre-test. Therefore, he/she should bring home his/her Unit 4 spelling list--and the Unit 4 spelling homework. Here are links to the words and the homework, in the event that you need extra copies:

Writing Tips from Time for Kids

As you are probably already aware, your child is in the throes of Narrative Writing. As such, he/she has been instructed to dedicate time, each evening, toward thinking--and writing--about the people and happenings in his/her life. These writing tips, on the Time for Kids website, can help your child further this process:

Funny Numbers Math Game

Is there an easier way to teach regrouping? How about measurement, elapsed time problems and fractions? Funny Numbers make some of the toughest topics easier to teach and easier to learn. They're the perfect bridge to standard algorithms.

Have your child click on the link below to experience "Funny Numbers":

Moving Toward Toward Conversations

The following article was excerpted from the Scholastic website.
It isn't always easy to get the scoop on school from your own child. If you ask a perfectly normal, sincere question like, "What did you do at school today?" you're likely to get the classic response: "Nothing."

One reason is that so many things happen in the classroom that it's hard for the average child to answer a question like that. She can't remember everything she did, and even if she could, she wouldn't know where to start. It doesn't help to ask, "What did you learn at school today?" or "How was school today?" either. Both will elicit one-word answers ("Nothing" or "Fine"), because they're too broad and too vague for most children to process.

But it's still important to ask about school, because it teaches your child that school is important, and that you really are interested in her life. Here's what other parents say really works:

Don't ask too soon. "When my son gets off the bus, the last thing he wants to do is talk about school," says parent Mary Mitchell. "He's too busy thinking about playing with his toys or visiting his friends. So I've learned to let him chill out and play awhile before asking any questions."

Develop a ritual. "For my son, the magic moment is bedtime," says parent Charles James. "He's probably just trying to stall me, so he can stay up later. But when he's all tucked in and the lights are off, I hear the most detailed descriptions about school."

This portion of the article was excerpted from the Great Schools website.

First, think about the time of day and the kind of questions you ask. He may not want to talk about a tough math test as soon as he gets home from school. Experts recommend taking a few minutes to reconnect as a family after the busy day before addressing school and household issues. Let your kids know you're glad to see them and wait a while to ask about grades. Keep in mind that they may be tired or preoccupied when they first come home, or they may want some quiet time before launching into the evening's activities. When you start a conversation about school, ask specific questions about parts of your child's day or the school environment, advises Laurence Steinberg, author of The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting and a psychology professor at Temple University.

"The more specific you are in your questions, the more of an answer you're likely to get."

At the beginning of the school year, he suggests asking general questions to learn about a child's classroom, teacher, and classmates, such as:

«What does your classroom look like? Where is your desk?

«Who else is in your class?

«What did you like best at school today? What did you have for lunch?

If your child is not talkative, you can still learn a lot about her school

experience through other means. Read the school newsletter, email the

teacher, and talk to other parents on the phone. As you become more

familiar with your child's daily routine, you can ask more-specific questions

to get hertalking about a project or a class assignment.

Spelling is Important

Article from Spelling and

The importance of spelling has been questioned in recent years, especially because of the convenience of using spell-checkers and word processors, and some educational reformists have suggested that focusing on spelling holds back the creative processes of writing and that students will naturally develop spelling skills through reading. However, learning to spell is important!

Why children need to learn to spell correctly:

*Poor spelling creates a bad impression.

*It's the first thing a reader notices.

*Examiners, teachers, prospective employers,
often place undue weight on spelling.

*Anxiety about spelling inhibits a child's writing especially their choice of words.

*Even in these days of computers, there are
still times when we need to write.

To improve and develop their spelling,
children need to:

*Develop an interest in words.

*Feel safe about trying new words

*Basic spelling patterns of English

*Memorizing strategies

*The meanings of words

*Prefixes and suffixes

*Read for pleasure and read for

extended periods of time, while

building stamina.

*Have your child study his/her

spelling list, which is sent home

every Friday.

Fun Spelling Games

Here is a link to some FUN spelling games that your child can play at home:


Homework Hotline

Yes, I am the “Homework Hotline”! Call me, anytime, if your child is has a question about a homework assignment, or if you have an inquiry about something that occurred at school. My home phone number is (816) 415-0368. I do not mind, at all, being called in the evening!

Why My Child Can't Skip His/Her 20 Minutes of Reading Tonight

Student "A" reads 20 minutes each day = 3600 minutes in a school year =1,800,000 words.

Student "B" reads 5 minutes each day = 900 minutes in a school year = 282,000 words.

Student "C" reads 1 minute each day = 180 minutes in a school year = 8,000 words.

By the end of 6th grade, Student "A" will have read the equivalent of 60 whole school days. Student "B" will have read only 12 school days. Which student would you expect to have a better vocabulary? Which student would you expect to be more successful in school...and in life?

My Website

For the latest information about upcoming events and curriculum information, visit my website. It is updated regularly:



9/4- Culver’s Night (Teachers work) 5-8

9/9- PTA Meeting 7:00 pm

9/10-CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

9/11- All Pro Dads 7:00am (library)

9/11- Early Release, 12:50 pm, Prof. Dev.

9/12- No School

9/18- Papa John’s Night

9/18- Dads & Donuts 7:15-7:45 (Last name A-L)

9/19- Dads & Donuts 7:15-7:45 (Last name M-Z)

9/23- Baskin & Robbins 4-8pm

9/26 - School Pictures


10/7- McDonalds Night (Teachers work) 4-8

10/8- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

10/8 - Walk to School Day

10/9- Early Release, 12:50 pm, Prof. Dev.

10/9- All Pro Dads 7:00 am (library)

10/10- NO SCHOOL Elementary In Service

10/14 -PTA Exec. Board Meeting 7:00 pm

10/17- Fall Family Square Dance

- Scholastic Book fair

10/23- Parent/Teach Conferences, 4:30-8:00

10/23- Early Release, 12:50 pm Elementary Conf.

10/24- No School Secondary In Service

10/31- Fall Parties, 2:20-2:50 pm