Issue 6-September 11, 2014


As "Mighty Voyagers," we experienced epic adventures, the details for which are as follows:

1. Math: We continued to use parentheses, brackets, or braces in numerical expressions, and evaluate expressions with these symbols. Students wrote their own word problems and shared them via YouTube! The goal then became to "Express Yourself," a fun game featuring this skill!

2. Reading: Our focus was to determine theme from details/summarize as well as read and comprehended literature, skills put to use as we worked to solve "A Royal Mystery," a satire of "The Princess and the Pea" fairy tale. Students made YouTube presentations, discussing the theme of these pieces of literature (See link below!) We also listened between the lines of the song, "Cat's in the Cradle," by Cat Stevens--and used inferencing skills to analyze a painting by Norman Rockwell.

3. Writing: We discovered that when you write personal narratives, you are writing…stories. Stories have a pattern, a way they usually go--and that writers vary the pace of a story for a reason. Writers elaborate on particular parts of a story to make readers slow down and pay attention to those specific scenes. Students made YouTube presentations about the four kinds of sentences (See link below!)

4. Social Studies: We embarked upon an understanding of how the Vikings were the first Europeans to explore America. We also investigated Norse mythology as a key to understanding the Viking mentality. We also worked to demonstrate an understanding of how Columbus's voyages led to European settlement of the Americas and an exchange of people, animals, goods, and ways of life between East and West.

5. Science: We investigated molecules and atoms and used critical thinking strategies to make inferences about--and research--the Periodic Table of the Elements, using the "Chem4Kids" website (See link below). Density was investigated using liquids, such as honey, Karo syrup, corn syrup, and water. And student physicists used Jello gelatin to learn about the three states of matter and used black marker to work some "Black Magic."

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The You Tube Edition of This Newsletter

Here is the You Tube version of this newsletter:

Spelling, Unit 5

Tomorrow, your child will take the Unit 4 spelling test--and the Unit 5 spelling pre-test. Therefore, he/she should bring home his/her Unit 5 spelling list--and the Unit 5 spelling homework. Here are links to the words and the homework, in the event that you need extra copies:


Students compared the fairy tale, "The Princess and the Pea," to the play, "A Royal Mystery." They then used the information to arrive at an overarching theme for both pieces of literature. Watch these presentations to see what they have to say:


And student grammarians created "teaching videos" about the four kinds of sentences. Watch what they have created, to brush up on your grammar:

Math Facts Practice

Encourage your child to practice his/her math facts. Here is a link to some FUN math facts games:


Please have your child go to Reflex Math, a great resource for building mathematical fluency:

Username: rmccoy313

Your child should already have his/her password!

Place Value Game

Do kids really understand place value or have they merely memorized by rote the things they know? This game is a helpful tool for assessing understanding and providing practice when needed. It addresses the Common Core domain Number & Operations in Base 10.

Have your child click this link, to immerse himself/herself in "Place Value":

The Place for Science

Article excerpted from and

How do our immune systems work? How do plants turn sunlight into energy? Science teaches students to investigate the world's everyday mysteries. From earth sciences (geology, oceanography) to physical sciences (chemistry, physics) to life sciences (biology, anatomy) to astronomy, the study of space, sciences can be some of the most challenging and most rewarding areas of study. Help your child realize that the world around him/her is really a science laboratory—and the things in it are there to investigate. Whenever possible, let your child experiment with items he/she finds fascinating. For example, if it hails, slice a hailstone in half, and look at the layers inside, the result of being buffeted about in the atmosphere, freezing and refreezing. Or experiment with different substances in the kitchen. And, yes, it’s okay if a science experiment goes awry. In fact, that’s what science is all about—finding out the answers to questions that we have and things we wonder about. Say, “I’ve often wondered that myself. How do you think we could find the answer to that question?” Then, look for the answer together. Although your child may never become a scientist, understanding the basics of science can help foster a love of learning and curiosity—which also helps in other subject areas, especially math and social studies! So ask your child questions about how everything works, and don’t hesitate to put on some goggles and make that model rocket.

In fifth grade students start measuring, counting, predicting, and recording. Your fifth grader is expected to remember science basics and be able to predict what the outcome of an experiment will be. By understanding the basics of what fifth graders will learn, you’ll be able to help your child with her homework. Generally, by the end of fifth grade, your “junior scientist” should be able to:

*Provide a reasonable hypothesis

*Write a testable question

*Defend conclusions based on evidence and revise conclusions based on more evidence and other points-of-view.

*Understand science inquiry

*Observe and experiment with physical and chemical properties, such as density and boiling/freezing point

*Accurately observe, measure, and record changes of a substance

*Measure, record, and graph the motion of an object

*Organize and order facts

*Identify and explain structures and functions of organisms

*Retain details about the solar system

*Explain the Earth’s place in the solar system, such as how the moon affects the tide and how Earth’s rotation and tilt affects seasons


Currently, we are immersed in the world of Matter and Energy. Direct your "junior physicist" to this dynamic website, "Chem4Kids!''--it is truly a blast:

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:



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