Issue 16-November 21, 2014


Venturing into the Louisiana Territory and exploring the Earth and the Moon: We were able to "Brave New Worlds":

1. Math: We worked to explain patterns in the number of zeros of the product when multiplying a number by powers of 10, and explain patterns in the placement of the decimal point when a decimal is multiplied or divided by a power of 10. Use whole-number exponents to denote powers of 10. Games of "Getting to One," "Estimation Squeeze," "Double Digits," and "Scientific Notation Toss" were among the resources we utilized to achieve a greater understanding of these concepts.

2. Reading: We went to sea with "James Forten," a tale set in the late 1700s, and we sought to explain the relationships between individuals/events/ideas/concepts in a text. We also examined "Modern Minute Man," an opportunity to compare texts. In the grammar sea, we worked with commas and semicolons.

3. Writing: We discovered that even within a memoir, both the external events and the internal feelings will usually evolve across a timeline, a story mountain. When you write a story, you know there will be a sequence of actions—that one thing will happen, then another thing, and another. But you may not always be aware that there needs to be a parallel sequence of reactions, of feelings and thoughts, dreams and fear. Writers often have to redraft their memoir so that each point on the external timeline affects the central character on the inside, creating a parallel internal timeline. You can listen for voice by reading your writing and pausing to ask yourself, “Does this part sound like me? Is this written in a way that only I could say it?” then, once you’ve noticed places whereyour voice is strong, think about ways to make other parts of your writing just as strong.

4. Social Studies: Moving beyond the writing of the Constitution, we sought to develop an understanding of how George Washington became President of the United States--and Benjamin Banneker's role in designing the layout of Washington, D.C. We then leapt forward to a study how the new nation of the United States doubled its size and expanded settlement westward. This involved a look at Thomas Jefferson's part in the purchase of the Louisiana Territory--and how Lewis and Clark were chosen to lead the exploration.

5. Science: How do the earth and moon compare? We explored the myriad differences as we initiated a study of moon phases, depicted using GIF Pal--and other computer applications. We also took a "Journey Around the Surface of the Moon." Each student has been assigned a "Moon Watcher" project, which will be due on Tuesday, December 2!

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Spelling, Unit 15

On Friday, your child will take the Unit 14 spelling test--and the Unit 15 spelling pre-test. Therefore, he/she should bring home his/her Unit 15 spelling list--and the Unit 15 spelling homework. Here are links to the words--and the Unit 15 spelling homework--in the event that you need an extra copy.

Make Time for Spelling

We are nearing the midway point for the Spelling Connections program, for this year. I have seen SUCH huge gains in spelling skills, thus far. We practice spelling every day in class. The focus is on spelling patterns…not memorizing words. Students sort words according to their pattern (for example, ar words spelled air). We work through the exercises in the student textbook; we play word games, featuring instant feedback on mistakes!

To make the most of your child’s spelling practice, at home, please use these suggestions:

žMake time for spelling! Spend time each week examining and writing spelling words together.
žMake a game of spelling practice! Many simple games such as "Tic-Tac-Toe," "I Spy," and "Simon Says" can be adapted to include spelling words. For example, your child must spell a called word correctly before taking a turn. Note: if your child misspells a word, always show the word to him/her, and ask him/her to spell the word aloud.

Moon Phases

Your child has been assigned a "Moon Watcher" project, which will be due on Tuesday, December 2.

In the event that it is too cloudy to see the moon, access this website:

Exchange City is Coming on Thursday, December 11!

Our preparation for Exchange City has continued. We will go on Thursday, December 11! To prepare for the day-long simulation, we have delved into these lessons, projects, and activities:

Each student worked on a job application and resume.

"Career Exploration," featuring a quiz designed to pinpoint career-related interests.

We also elected a mayor and judge for Exchange City!

Your child may run for Exchange City Mayor, Judge, or Police Chief. He/she needs to complete the "Intent to Run" form, prepare a speech, and design a campaign poster. The election will be held on Monday, November 24, at 12:45.

Job interviews will be held on Tuesday, November 25!

Exchange City Interviewing Tips

Article excerpted from

Interviews, for Exchange City, will be held on Tuesday, November 26. We will be studying interviewing techniques here at school. Here are some tips to follow as you assist your child, at home:

First impression is everything. Learn as much as possible about the hiring manager before the interview. It's always a good ice-breaker to mention some of your common interests or ties and let the conversation naturally slide into the interview. Engage the interviewer in conversation. Applicants should know the interview begins as soon as they arrive at the employer's office, making it imperative for them to project enthusiasm and confidence from the moment they walk in the door. Since employers form opinions quickly, importance is placed on giving a firm handshake, maintaining eye contact and practicing good posture. In addition to providing strong responses to a hiring manager's questions, candidates must project enthusiasm and a professional demeanor from the outset of the discussion.

Dress for success. Overdress rather than underdress especially in our business environment, give a firm handshake and use eye contact. Perfectly capable and qualified candidates are sometimes rejected because they forgot to polish their shoes or came in with dirty fingernails.

Prepare with Examples

For instance, if you are a graphic artist, come with samples of your work. Similarly, if you are in sales, be prepared to present details of your performance.

Exchange City Website

Here is a link to the Exchange City website:

Lewis and Clark Interactive Website

Join Lewis and Clark on their journey West:

Homework Plan

Article excerpted from wikiHow.

The key to your child’s success, with regard to homework, is to have him/her adhere to the following guidelines:

Write down your assignments accurately and promptly when they are given. You can't plan your homework time effectively if you don't know exactly what needs to get done. Record the following information:

Estimate how much time will be needed to complete each assignment. Be realistic. It's better to block out more time than less. If you finish early, you can use your bonus time for another subject. Remember that if you have extra time left over, you can reward yourself by doing something other than homework.

Determine how much time you have available for homework after school for each day of the week. For example: Monday - 1 hour, Tuesday - 1 1/2 hours, Wednesday - 1/2 hour, etc. Obviously, on days where you have other planned activities, whether it's an extracurricular activity or chores or quality time with your family, you will have less time for homework.

Write in break times. This will stop you from getting too overwhelmed and frustrated during long stretches of homework time and will also help you to keep your mind focused. A ten minute break for each hour of homework done is a good guideline. Use this time to stretch, wash your face, walk around the block, unload the dishwasher for your mom, or get something to drink, or do anything that won't tempt you to delay your return to homework. Do not extend the time you take to refuel (such as getting your juice) and do not start with activities that relate to goofing off. Stick with it. Once you have your schedule, follow it, or else all the planning in the world is useless. Your plans won't work if you do not work

Time Management

More homework advice for your child:

Break down your homework time. Look at your assignments and consider how much time you need to devote to each. Then find time in your homework schedule to get it done, preferably a day early. You have a “Moon Watcher” project due on Tuesday, December 3, for example, and you know it's going to take you 10 evenings to complete it, then decide on when you are going to go outside to look at the moon. Likewise, with the monthly reading logs. Budget a time to read every evening—and actually do it!

Also, Is your child coming home, each afternoon, and initiating his/her homework independently? If not, this is something we need to continue to strive for. It would make a GREAT New Year’s resolution, don’t you think?

Staying Motivated

Here are some more suggestions for keeping your child motivated during the holiday season:

*At least once a week, ask your child to teach you something that he/she learned at school. Not only will it show that you are interested in his/her education, you will become more familiar with the curriculum.

*When your child fails at a task, help turn it into a positive experience for him/her by asking, “What did you learn from trying to do this project?”

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


11/24--Election of Exchange City Mayor, Judge, and Police Chief

11/25--Exchange City Interviews

11/25- 4th Grade Earthworks Field Trip

11/20-5th grade & Choir Concert 5:30

11/26-11/30 Thanksgiving Holiday-



12/2-12/6- Liberty Food Drive Community tree

12/3- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

12/4 - 4th Grade Music program 5:30

12/8- PTA Exec Board meeting

12/11- All Pro Dads 7:00 am (library)

12/11- Kindergarten Music Program, 2:00pm

12/19- Winter Parties, 2:20-2:50/1st Sem. Ends

12/22-1/5 Winter Break


1/5- NO SCHOOL (Teacher Work Day)

1/6- School resumes

1/7- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

1/8- All Pro Dads 7:00 am (library)

1/13- PTA General Meeting 7:00 pm

1/22- Family Trivia Night

1/19- NO SCHOOL- Martin Luther King Day


2/4- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

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

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

The Specials Schedule for the Next Two Weeks

Here is the specials schedule for next two weeks:

Monday, November 24: P.E.

Tuesday, November 25: Art

Monday, December 1: Library

Tuesday, December 2: Music

Wednesday, December 3: P.E.

Thursday, December 4: Art

Friday, December 5: Library