News from Room 208

Weekly Updates from Miss DeWitt's Class

January 29, 2016

School Supplies

It's that time of year when all of the brand new supplies that we brought at the beginning of the school year are diminishing. Each of your children should have brought home a supply list this week with highlighted items. These are the items that your students are either missing or are in short supply. At your earliest convenience, it would be much appreciated to send these items to school with your child. Hopefully this will last us until the end of the year!


We began Unit 4 this week. This unit covers algebra expressions and equations as well as word problems in which students need to write equations and solve for a variable.

We started by talking about the Order of Operations, which we need in order to solve equations. We use the acronym, PEMDAS (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction) to determine which order we solve each equation with multiple operations. We talked about the properties associated with algebra that students are going to see. We learned about the Identity, Commutative, Associative, and Distributive Properties.

The class had a lot of practice first with combining like terms. If a term with a variable is being added to a number without a variable, then we can't combine them (4a + 6). We also learned that when a variable is written right next to a number (4a), it means that the number is being multiplied by the variable.

We then practiced solving an equation with a variable when the problems tells us which number the variable is. (a=7, 4 + a -2= ?). The kids are loving this algebra unit, and it is so great to see excitement in the classroom about mathematics!

Social Studies

We dug deep into Chapter 3 of our Social Studies textbook. This chapter is all about Wisconsin's first people. We learned about the Paleo, Archaic, and Woodland people of Wisconsin. As we read, we made a chart for each and took notes on specific topics (shelter, food they ate, tools they used, did they move around a lot?, etc.). We were then able to compare the three and look at similarities and differences. We have been using a lot of inferring, just as historians and archaeologists do when they discover artifacts from the past. We really put our Historian "hats" on this week!

The students were also very interested in learning some of the Native American myths that were passed down from generation to generation. I checked out a few picture books and read to the class about how the Cheyenne people told Crater Lake in Oregon was formed and how the North star was put in the sky, how the Potawatomi people told how the bat came to be, and more!

Both classes will be starting Junior Achievement next week. We have a guest speaker who volunteers through JA to come into classrooms and teach Our Region, where students will examine regional and state resources and supply chains, and they solve problems by weighing risks and potential rewards. We will be having JA every Monday in February.

Language Arts From Mrs. Edwards


During our short week, we dove deeper into how to read a poem. Knowing we read a poem three times: first for fun, second for meaning, and third for structure/craft. We focused on the second reading this week. We first learned how to focus line by line and write what we think the author is trying to say. Then we learned the ‘two per line’ strategy. The students had to pick only two words from each line that really stand out to them. The students enjoyed this the most because they said it helped them focus and made the meaning more clear for them. We then moved on to what we do once we finish the poem. We discussed that in order to do “active reading” we not only have to use our brain and think about the words we are reading, but also use our heart, and connect to the poem/story. This turned on the light for many of our students who admitted the majority of the time they read without being an active reader. We ended the week looking at Kenn Nesbitt’s website We learned what we do AFTER we read a poem- reflect and paraphrase what the poem was about. Quiz your child about some of the poems we heard this week and ask them to paraphrase (retell in their own words) what the poem was about.

Of course, I hope everyone heard about our Holes’ field trip. The students were dressed so nicely and did a great job representing Horizon. After the trip we did a small group discussion with both classes. Each small group compared the book to the play. The students felt like “Holes” experts, and sounded like them, as they were frustrated that their favorite scene wasn’t in the play, or that the actor looked nothing like the character described in the book. Nice work boys and girls! You are truly impressive readers, and theater critics.

Book Clubs:

We tested out our new “role sheets” this week. The quality of the work was not up to the standards I would expect from my students. We had a discussion after and hope to see the quality of their work truly show their potential. On the other hand, we had so many roles sheets exceed the expectations, and went above and beyond. Your work is not overlooked! Keep up the high standards! Parents, as a reminder, every Thursday your child’s Book Club meets. They have a week’s reading to do as well as a role sheet that shows their understanding.


We are rolling with our personal essay unit. The students did a lot of hard work this week. We first reviewed the person in our life who is very special to us. Then we moved on to choosing a place or a thing that is special to each student. We learned how to make an outline for our essay. The students had to think of their topic, then 3 big ideas (adjectives) about that person/place/thing. The students moved on to creating stories, evidence, or examples to support their big ideas. Finally, we took our thoughts and created a thesis. Once the students finished their rough outline we began to expand our notes into full sentences with complete thoughts. The essays are turning out to be truly from your child’s heart. They are opening the world of how special their mom or dad is to them, recalling their favorite place from their childhood (since they are so grown up ;), or sharing their most valued item (most of which are baby blankets or lovies). Please make sure to ask your child what he/ she is writing about for their personal essay.

Report Cards:

My deepest apologies for making the students’ grades in the wrong term. They should be moved to Term Three and all corrected. Thank you for your patience and kind emails! I am almost 100% sure I won’t make that mistake again!