Issue 20-January 15, 2016


We embarked on the "Trail of Tears" with the Cherokees--and fought the Battle of the Alamo with William Travis! More about this week's "Trails West" can be found below:

1. Math: We continued to focus on explain patterns in the placement of the decimal point in decimal division. "Art Collector" and "Dungeon Rescue," decimal games, helped students attain mastery of this skill.

2. Reading: Figurative language returned to the forefront as we analyzed "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," the song by B.J. Thomas. We also traveled back to Medieval times, as we read "The Sword in the Stone"--and as each student designed an authentic coat-of-arms for him/herself.

3. Writing: Writers don't add details to their writing simply because they are true; they add details because they are important to the text, a fact we learned as we reconsidered the finer points of our memoir writing. We also worked to reread what we've written, thus far, drawing on all that we know to revise. And we have begun to write research reports, based on Westward Expansion. In so doing, we learned that researchers organize what they are bringing with them to their writing. When things are organized, it is easier to carry and use those things—that is true for information, too.

4. Social Studies: We concluded our journey through the Erie Canal and headed south, for a trek along the Trail of Tears, using a recollection of John G. Burnett as a primary source of study. We then headed to Texas, to fight alongside William Travis, "Defender of the Alamo."

5. Science: We learned about how the eye sees. We then sought to analyze--and design--optical illusions, to "trick" our eyes into "seeing" unusual things. We then began a study of forces and motion by going "On a Roll" and by experimenting with "Science Friction."

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Spelling, Unit 19

On Friday, your child will take the Unit 18 spelling test--and the Unit 19 spelling pre-test. Therefore, he/she should bring home his/her Unit 18 spelling list--and the Unit 18 spelling homework. Here are links to the words in the event that you need an extra copy. If your child needs another copy of the homework, ask him/her to email me!

Spring Conferences

Spring conferences will be optional, this year; however, I would like to encourage everyone to reserve a time. Your child gets to come to this conference; however, he/she will NOT be leading it. Instead, I feel like this is an excellent opportunity to reflect on your child's successes, up to that point--and to plan for the remaining months of the school year. Here is the schedule; PLEASE SIGN UP FOR A CONFERENCE!

Report Cards Coming Home on Friday, January 15!

Look for your child's report card in his/her Friday Folder, this Friday, January 15. Please sign--and return--the signature portion of the report card (You may keep the report card).

Classroom Diagnostic Tool

Your child will be taking an online test next week called the CDT (Classroom Diagnostic Tool) in Reading. The state has released this test to allow schools to experience a test that will be similar to the state MAP (Missouri Assessment Program) test.

This online assessment will give our students and staff an opportunity to sharpen the saw before our MAP test in April.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

As you are probably already aware, your child has begun to immerse himself/herself in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Here's a website with more information:

This study will be woven into the fabric of our daily academic regimen, in Jurassic Park, for the remaining months of school!

Light Energy and Light Waves

Check out this informative website about light energy and light waves:

The Trail of Tears

Here's a link containing a video about the Trail of Tears:

Giving Constructive Criticism

This article excerpted from

First we need to stress that to give this criticism to our children is not an option, it is an obligation. We have a parental obligation to correct our children. It is neither in our children's best interests nor do we do them any favors if we do not guide them properly. When we see things that come up in their daily lives that they do wrong, we must correct this behave. How can we as parents redirect our children's behavior? There are a number of things we should remember :
1- Children Have Feelings
This is probably the most important thing to remember when criticizing our children. It is obvious to everyone that children have feelings. Yet very often it is something that we as parents forget.
When our children are small, they are almost entirely in our control. It is easy to forget that they are little people. They have feelings that can be hurt and self-esteem that can be crushed if we criticize them in a non-constructive belittling way. We must try to relate to them as we would like others to relate to us.
2- Have Your Message Clear
The goal of proper criticism is to get your message across to your child. That means you have to have a message. If you don't have an idea you are trying to convey, then all you are doing by criticizing your child is venting your own anger and frustration. You will do nothing positive for your child, and your child will not change his behavior in the future. Remember, your goal with criticism is to educate, not to punish or embarrass or to seek revenge against the child. When you criticize, you must have something you are trying to teach. Never let anger interfere with the message you are striving to deliver!

Getting the Message to Your Child

It’s time to give constructive criticism to your child. How? You must give rebuke. It is your obligation as a parent.
a. Criticize the Behavior not Your Child
Direct your criticism toward your child's behavior. Make it clear that it is the behavior that upsets you, not him.
b. Don't Label Your Child
Children get their sense of who they are from what others tell them. When a parent gives a child a label, this label will eventually stick, with disastrous consequences.
c. Give Your Rebuke Privately
It will be hard enough on your child to have to bear your criticism. You should do everything you can to spare him the embarrassment of having you rebuke him in front of others.
d- Offer an Opportunity to Correct the Wrong
Your child has to know what he did was wrong. He should also be given the opportunity to redeem himself by correcting his mistake. You should have suggestions how the child can correct the wrong. This will give your child the message that he can't hurt others and just walk away. He must say he's sorry or do the victim a favor. It allows your child to be responsible for what he does. It also allows him to put the misdeed behind him and go on.
e- Deliver the Criticism with Love
This is extremely vital. Criticism is a gift. It is a gift of knowledge, it is a gift of values. But it is an unwanted gift. Still, it is a gift nevertheless. No one wants to hear criticism. Our goal when we give criticism is to do it as painlessly as possible so it will be received properly. It also gives your child valuable feedback, to avoid making similar mistakes in the future. Never hesitate to provide this feedback! Your child will reap the benefits, three-fold!

Your Role in Your Child's Homework

Article excerpted from

Recognize your role is helper not doer. Sometimes in our quest to help our kids succeed, we may get carried away providing too much help. Make sure he’s doing the work--not you! Offering too much help robs your child of those powerful, "I did it!" moments, and he just may be saying to himself, instead, "Mom did it for me." Insist homework be her responsibility not yours. Resist the temptation of always sitting next to her and offer your help only when it’s really needed. If your child is having difficulties, help her understand the work by making up similar problems and showing her step by step how to do it.

Fun Grammar Games

Does your child need extra grammar practice? Send him/her to this FUN website:

Dive into Math Practice

For math practice of all kinds, send your child diving into this splashy website:

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!

My Website

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

Upcoming Events


1/14 All Pro Dads 7:10 AM - LGIR

1/12-PTA General Meeting 7:00 pm

1/18- NO SCHOOL- Martin Luther King Day


2/2-PTA Exec. Board Meeting, 7:00 pm

2/5- Family Trivia Night

2/3 CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

2/8 through 2/11 Scholastic Book fair

2/9-Parent Teacher Conferences, 2:50-8:00 pm

2/10-Valentine Parties, 2:05-2:40 pm

2/11 All Pro Dads 7:10 AM - LGIR

2/11-Early Release, 12:50 Parent/Teach Conferences, 12:50-8:00


2/15- NO SCHOOL- President’s Day

2/18-Papa John’s Night

2/18-2nd Grade Music Program 5:30 pm

2/25-3rd Grade Music Program, 5:30 pm


3/2- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

3/8-PTA General Meeting, 7:00 pm

3/10- All Pro Dads 7:10 AM - LGIR

3/11-Family Fun Spring Dance

3/15 Kindergarten Round up 6:30-7:30

Spring Picture Day

3/21-3/25 NO SCHOOL, Spring Break

3/30 CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm


4/14- All Pro Dads 7:10 AM - LGIR

4/4 through 4/13 Boosterthon Fundraiser

4/7- Moms & Muffins 7:15-7:45 (Last name A-L)

4/8- Moms &-Muffins 7:15-7:45 (Last name M-Z)

4/12- PTA Exec. Board Meeting, 7:00 pm

4/19 Radical Challenge FT-5th Grade

Science Night 5:30-7:00

4/21 Culver’s Night (Teachers work) 5-8


5/2-5/6Staff Appreciation Week

Bike- to- school Day

5/4- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

5/5 Open House & Art Show, 5:30 pm

5/10-PTA General Meeting, 7:00 pm

5/12 All Pro Dads 7:10 AM - LGIR

All Pro Dads 7:00 am

5th Grade Picnic 11:30-12:30

Field Day

4th Grade Egg Drop

5th Grade Recognition Breakfast, 8:00 am – 9:00 am

5/23-Early Release & Last Day of School, 11:50 am