Ross / Ellis Weekly Newsletter

January 29, 2016

"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world."

– Robin Williams

What Will We Be Learning This Week?


We will be finishing up our unit on fractions next week. The plan is to test on Friday, February 5th. I will have students complete a practice test on the day prior to the test. Students were not required to master Accelerated Math objectives this week due to snow days, but they are required to master 5 objectives by next Thursday, February 4th.


The trip to the Science Center was rescheduled for Tuesday, February 2nd. Please send a lunch from home on that day unless your child filled out a green form to order a bag lunch from the cafeteria. If you are chaperoning the trip, please plan to meet us at the Science Center at 8:45 am. We will leave the Science Center to return to school 11:15 am. We look forward to seeing the planetarium!

Language Arts

Our Greek Mythology projects have been postponed due to the snow. We will be creating Discovery Education Boards (online) with the help of CCS Technology Facilitator Linda McCray the week of February 15.

In the mean time we will be resuming guided reading groups, focusing on the aspects of myths as well as vocabulary.

Social Studies

We will be learning about various events that occurred in North Carolina during the buildup to the Revolutionary War.

Odds & Ends

Valentine's Day

If your child would like to bring in Valentine cards or a Valentine mailbox, he/she is welcome to do so. We ask that if you choose to send in cards, please include all students in your child’s homeroom class. Valentines can be sent in on Friday, February 12th. We will have a snack and deliver Valentines at some point on that day. Thanks so much!

Grandfather Mountain Field Trip

We are looking forward to our Grandfather Mountain Field Trip on Tuesday, April 12th. We will be sending specific information regarding the trip closer to that time, but wanted to mention the date for planning purposes. This is an exciting day, as we will be chartering tour buses and the trip will extend beyond the school day. Students will need to be picked up by a parent at Blackburn at approximately 4:15 pm.

Most important at this time, however, is if you plan to chaperone this trip. We will need from several chaperones per homeroom, and ALL chaperones must have an up-to-date Background Check on file. Chaperones will meet us at Grandfather Mountain and will need to pay the current adult admission price to enter the park. If you need to complete a form for a background check, please let Mr. Ross or Ms. Ellis know as soon as possible, as it does take time to process.

Language Arts Homework

Next week there will be an important change in how we handle our language arts homework in my class. On Mondays I will pass out a weekly language arts homework slip that students will glue into their agendas. This slip will contain all of the language arts homework assignments that your child will have for the week, so students will no longer need to write down their language arts assignments on a daily basis. (Math homework will still be copied into student agendas on a daily basis.) I will also pass out all of the weekly assignments on Mondays, so students will be given their spelling, NC Studies Weekly and EOG Reading Passage all at once.

The most important aspect of this change is that I will do my best to give students the opportunity to complete their homework assignments in school on a daily basis for the purpose of reducing the amount of homework that students are required to complete at home. My goal is for students to only have two homework assignments that students must complete at home on a weekly basis: their daily 25 minutes of reading and Thursday night's spelling assignment, the Parent Writing Sort. In an ideal week students will have the opportunity to complete all other spelling assignments, the NC Studies Weekly and the EOG Reading Passage in school. Students will have the time to complete these assignments during their seat work portion of our guided reading groups, during our Morning Work period at the beginning of the day and during our Intervention and Enrichment period at the end of the day.

There are two issues that I foresee happening with this plan. The first is that students will not be able to complete all of their homework at school. This may be because some days I will not be able to provide them with the time to work on their homework during my language arts class due to the nature of the lesson. Also, some students are pulled during Intervention and Enrichment time for ESL and other small group instruction. I will do my best to remedy this by giving students the time to complete homework in class as best and consistently as I can, but unfortunately I cannot guarantee this opportunity on a daily basis. I will just do the best that I can. Another reason that students may not be able to complete all of their homework at school is because they are not applying themselves to their work enough to complete it in a timely manner. For these students having more work to complete at home than students who do work hard during the day seems like a reasonable consequence to me.

The other issue that I foresee happening with this plan is that parents will not able to work with their children as easily on their homework because much of it will be completed in school. To remedy this, I will require students to show you each assignment before they turn it in to me. I will also require students to have their parents (you!) initial the weekly language arts homework slip next to each assignment that they have completed to show me that you have seen each assignment. This will give you all the chance to review each assignment before it is turned in and to help your children with them as necessary. ​​

Below is a link to the master copy that I will use to print the weekly language arts homework slips. It will be updated on a weekly basis so feel free to refer back to the link in the future for reference. Notice the lack of spelling homework this week. All you will need to initial this week is next to the NC Studies Weekly and EOG Reading Passage.

Weekly Language Arts Homework

Please let me know if you have any questions about this, and please also be patient as we transition into this new homework system in my language arts class. In the long run this will hopefully greatly reduce the amount of homework that your child is required to complete at home, ideally freeing up time for other extra-curricular activities such as sports, scouting, etc. that are frankly equally as important as school work.

Upcoming Events

Feb. 2 – Field Trip to Science Center Planetarium

Feb. 15 – This is now a student school day due to the recent snow days.

Feb. 16 – Lego Night 6:30pm in Gym

Feb. 23 – Progress Reports

Mar. 2 – Read Across America Day

Mar. 3-7 – Spring Book Fair

Mar. 8 – PDQ Night 5-9pm

Mar. 9 – Battle of the Books Competition (Hickory Metro Center)

Mar. 18 – March Madness Dance

Mar. 25 – No School – Teacher Workday

Mar. 28 – Apr. 1 No School – Easter Break