Issue 24-February 6, 2015


Pecos Bill, Mike Fink, and Annie Oakley: Our Wild West adventures have begun!

1. Math: Patterns with fractions, as well as hefty portions of problem solving, kept us humming right along. Students had the opportunity to "Build It," a strategy-based fraction game. We also used properties of addition and worked to find part of a group of objects.

2. Reading: We worked to analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text, with the emphasis on the characteristics of a tall tale, using Mike Fink and John Henry as examples. We also experienced "Tucket's Travels" (out West) as we sought to explain the relationships between individuals/ events/ideas/concepts in a text.

3. Writing: We discovered that informational writers take a moment to look back over their research and conjure an image of what they hope to create, sometimes by quickly sketching a new outline, and then writing fast and furious to draft fresh versions of their reports. Also, researching a new topic, thinking about history, including about geography and time, and writing the sort of report that makes readers go, “Whoa! This is so well-written!” The goal will be to write nonfiction that is better than a good deal of what you will be reading.

4. Social Studies: Wild west tall tales lived again as we learned about Annie Oakley's role as a Western shooting star--and as student actors brought to life the play, "Pecos Bill," which we compared to the video version, comparing/contrasting these stories as well as analyzing the visual and multimedia elements and how they contribute to the meaning, tone, and beauty of the text. We also identified why cattle drives came to an end and evaluated the lasting effect of the search for gold in the West.

5. Science: What is work, and how is it measured? We discovered the answer as we launched "The Lever Experiment," featuring a pencil, clay, and pennies. We will also use wedges to whittle artistic masterpieces out of soap--and used soap pieces to discover what affects changes in motion.

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On Friday, your child will take the Unit 22 spelling test and the Unit 23 spelling pre-test. Therefore, he/she should bring home his/her Unit 23 spelling list--and the Unit 23 spelling homework. Here are links to the words and the homework, in the event that you need an extra copy.

Spring Conference Schedule

Conferences are coming next week! Your child gets to attend this conference, to share with you his/her academic triumphs. Here is the schedule:

Texas Ranch House

Head on down south, to experience life on a cattle drive, including "Stock a Chuckwagon"--and much more--with this website about cowboy life:

Children and Chores

Excerpted from the website,

Children learn from having chores. They learn responsibility and they learn that being part of a family means giving and taking. Children that do chores on a regular basis tend to do better in school, have better social skills and have greater self-esteem than those that do not do chores

Rotate chores from week to week. This way, if there is a specific chore a child does not like to do, they are not stuck doing it week after week. Make a list of the chores that need to be completed, for example: take out trash, vacuum, dust, fold clothes. Each child can do a different chore each week. This will take the boredom out of the chores as well as allow children to learn a variety of skills. Chores should not be divided according to gender but all children should be able to complete different chores.

Create a chore chart to keep track of what needs to be completed and by whom. You may want to include some of the chores completed by parents on a daily basis to avoid children feeling as if they are “doing all the work.”

Enlist your children’s help when dividing up chores to be completed. Finding a chore they enjoy or find interesting will help them to complete the task. Children thrive with routine. Have chores completed at the same time each day or each week. Make picking up toys part of the bedtime routine, make cleaning the kitchen part of the dinnertime routine.

Be patient. Children may not do such a good job at their chores in the beginning, but with patience, they will improve. Continue to teach them how to do the job they have been assigned, letting them share ideas they may have on improving how to complete the task.

Set consequences for not completing chores. For example, children cannot watch TV or go outside to play until chores are completed. Be consistent and carry through with the consequences.

Use praise frequently. Let your child know that he/she has done a great job.

Teaching Your Child the Value of a Dollar

The following article is excerpted from the website,

As adults, we all know how easily money can be wasted away. As parents, we all want our children to have the knowledge to put their money to good use and never do without. There are many things that we can teach our children while they are young to help them make the most from their money. With these valuable lessons, they should be able to spend, save, and invest wisely. Financial lessons are rated as some of the most important lessons that a child can receive, yet schools offer very little in this area. There are some things that should be taught at home, and teaching children how to deal with their finances is one of the best investments that a parent can make.

The first thing that every child needs to know is to put back some of the money that they earn. The ideal percentage of savings should be around 10% of everything that you make. This ensures that you have enough money for your living expenses and other necessities and still have a little left over that you can spend on things that you want. Putting back 10% on every dollar that you earn can lead to a wonderful amount in savings. We will use a relatively low figure, but let us say your child's first job pays $20,000.00 a year; if they save 10% of their earnings, they will save $2,000.00 a year. Over the course of just ten years, they would have saved a whole year's income.

Another important financial lesson that you should give your children regards that of borrowing money. First, they should understand not to borrow unless it is necessary. The reason they should avoid borrowing money is that it usually results in much more debt later on. If it becomes necessary for them to borrow money in the future, you should explain to them that they should never borrow more than that they are able to pay back. It is important for them to know, as they get older, they will be tempted to delve into loan and credit card offers so that they may acquire things that they normally would have to save for. Try to encourage them to avoid this type of impulsive behavior and inform them of reaping the rewards of earning and making purchases by cash.

Managing Money

While it is important that children learn to manage their money and put it to good use, it should also be expressed that giving to certain types of situations is a good thing to do. Charities, local fundraisers, churches, etc... sometimes require funds to provide their various goods and services to people. Let your children know that donating money to a cause that is decent and upright is moral, and should be done. This may be a good time to inform them that when they are older and must file taxes, they can write this type of investments off and receive financial awards from the government each year.

You should teach your children that when it comes to shopping, you could do so in a frugal manner to save a ton of money. While it may be nice to purchase a pair of brand name jeans at $100.00, it is more frugal to purchase ten pairs of store brand jeans at $10.00 apiece. Both purchases equal $100.00, but you get more for your money if you buy the store brand merchandise. If you are careful with your shopping and research both prices and products, you can save a lot of money. It is important for children to understand ways that they can save money while shopping.

Six Simple Machines

Learn more about the six simple machines with this intriguing website:

Let Me Run Boys

Let Me Run - Boys Running Program:

Attention 4th and 5th grade boys...

Let Me Run is back for the Spring 2015 season! Let Me Run is a running program, for 4th and 5th grade, designed to inspire boys through the power of running to be themselves, to build healthy relationships and to live an active lifestyle. The program guides the boys through lessons that include respect, positive competition and nutrition. Online registration will open February 9th. The season begins on March 9th and will culminate in a season ending 5k on May 2nd. Team practices will be after school on Mondays and Fridays until 4:15pm. Interested? Please contact Mark McWilliams ( for more information. Registration information and more about Let Me Run can be found on-line at

Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run Spring 2015 Season

GOTR registration for the spring season is now open!!!! Sign up your 3rd- 5th grade daughter for this awesome program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident. Our LO teams fill up fast, so make sure you register ASAP!!! Click here to register and for more information about GOTR. This is an experience that your daughter won’t want to miss out on! You can even sign up to help coach and enjoy this experience with your daughter!

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


2/4- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

2/10- PTA Exec. Board Meeting, 7:00 pm

2/11-10/15- Chipotle night (4-8)

2/12- All Pro Dads 7:00 am (library)

- Valentine Parties, 2:20-2:50 pm

2/12- Parent Teacher Conferences, 2:50-8:00 pm

Scholastic Book fair

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


2/16- NO SCHOOL- President’s Day

2/19- Papa John’s Night

2/19- 2nd Grade Music Program 5:30 pm

2/26- 3rd Grade Music Program, 5:30 pm


3/4- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

3/10 PTA General Meeting, 7:00 pm

3/10-10/15- Chipotle night (4-8)

3/12- All Pro Dads 7:00 am (library)

3/20- Family Fun Festival

3/24- Kindergarten Round up 5:30-6:30

3/24- Baskin & Robbins 4-8pm

3/30 to -4/3 NO SCHOOL, Spring Break


Spring Picture Day

4/7- McDonald’s Night(Teachers work) 4-8

4/8- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

4/9- All Pro Dads 7:00 am (library)

4/9- All Pro Dads 7:00 am (library)

4/9- Moms & Muffins 7:15-7:45 (Last name A-L)

4/10-Moms &-Muffins 7:15-7:45 (Last name M-Z)

4/14 - PTA Exec. Board Meeting, 7:00 pm

4/15-10/15- Chipotle night (4-8)

4/23- Culver’s Night (Teachers work) 5-8

4/23- Opera at school

4/24- Movie on the Playground

- McNights @ McDonalds (4:00-8:00)

Next Week's Specials

Here is the specials schedule for next week:

Monday, February 9: P.E.

Tuesday, February 10: Art

Wednesday, February 11: Library

Thursday, February 12: Day 0 (Early-Release)

Friday, February 13: No School