Holifield Happenings

September 18, 2014

Upcoming Events

Sept. 25 (Thurs) - Interims go home

Sept. 26 (Fri) - Dr. Doug

Oct. 1 (Wed) - Fall Picture Day

Oct. 3 (Fri) - Moms Make a Difference

Oct. 8 (Wed) - Early Release & Parent/Teacher Conferences

Oct. 13 (Mon) - No school for students (Professional Development Day for teachers)

Oct. 17 (Fri) - Hands due for PBIS Bubble Mania

Oct. 22 (Wed) - End of 1st Nine Weeks

Oct. 24 (Fri) - PBIS Bubble Mania

Oct. 28 (Tues) - PTO Spirit Night - Marco's Pizza

Oct. 29 (Wed) - Report Cards go home

Oct. 30 (Thurs) - Celebration of Learning

Oct. 31 (Fri) - Hero Hustle (Fun Run)


The character trait for September is Cooperation. I will be looking for students who display cooperation throughout the week. One student will be chosen each week. In addition to a certificate, that child will be entered into a drawing to earn a slushy from the cafeteria. They will also earn the right to wear the Hero cape from our classroom around the school for the next week.


Wow! What a great first week! Your children are progressing well with ALEKS! I am pleased with the way their Pie pieces are filling up. However, we did talk today about changing topics if they get stuck. If they find a topic that they are challenged by and the explanation on ALEKS is not helping them, they need to shift to a different topic. One example is the "division with a remainder" questions. These questions will require long division. As you all know, this is something that very few people "get" the first time it is explained to them. If the explanation that they receive on ALEKS does not click with them, no worries! I will be teaching this in class!

I reminded your children that each topic on ALEKS represents part of a 4th grade standard. Many of those standards are things they have been exposed to in Escolares last year. However, the remainder of them are things that they have not been taught. Most of the topics that ALEKS explains to them are simply a matter of being told what to do and then it clicks. If we accomplish those things with ALEKS, we don't need to spend classtime on them. However, that will not be the case with all topics, thus the reason for the discussion today.

I hope this information helps your child to get the most benefit from ALEKS - without any frustration! :-)


Reading: Edmodo assignments will begin next week. I am in the process of acquiring the usernames and passwords from Mrs. Letourneau and Ms. Frederick for those of you that still need that information. I will email the information as soon as possible.

Writing: While the TFK quiz is part of our Reading Workshop, your child will eventually be expected to answer one of the questions by writing an essay. Next week, I will be modeling my expectations for them and will begin grading them accordingly.

For now, the questions that require writing are worth double: 1 for anwering the question with correct information; 1for answering the question with complete, thoughtful sentences. Next week, I will be looking for complete, thoughtful sentences that are organized into paragraphs and the expectations will grow as we work on transitions, endings and more detailed organization in writing. What I am looking for will be made clear to the class each week.


We are deep into the Scientific Inquiry chapter. The best way to study Scientific Inquiry is to practice applying the skills. Your child was warned this week that memorizing the facts on the notes is only the beginning.

So far this week we have discussed the difference in observations and inferences with regard to Scientific Inquiry. This is a challenging concept. Please practice making factual observations (just the facts, ma'am) with your child. They should also be able to determine if an observation is qualitative or quantitative.

We are in the middle of discussing the steps in a simple scientific investigation or a fair test. The concepts that tend to be most confusing for this age are the different kinds of variables. We've discussed Manipulated, Controlled, and Responding at length. Again, they will need to be able to apply these concepts, not just define them. We will be practicing at school, but a few minutes of home each day would be extremely beneficial. This does not need to be time spent with the notebook or textbook in front of you. The perfect time might be while driving down the road or cooking dinner. Present different scenarios to them and see if they can identify the variables. :-)


Help our school earn donations by snapping your receipts! Download the app, Shoparoo and take pictures of your receipts whenever you get groceries, eat at a restaurant, or go shopping. Each receipt gets our school a donation or a chance to win prizes of up to $15,000. Use the special code, OUTOFMILK. After entering the code, enter Harbison West Elementary to begin.

I signed up on Thursday and have used it this past week. It couldn't be easier. I love the idea that my regular purchases can benefit the school. More bang for my buck!! :-)