Mrs. Ayers' Newsletter

February 1st, 2016

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Happy February!!

I usually get my newsletter out on Sunday night but this one is so jam packed with info that it has taken me longer. Thank you for your patience. Please note that there are some homework changes as well as loads of links and information about what we are doing in class. I have also included some links to some great educational sites.

I include these as a resource to you but please note that I am NOT asking you to teach your child at home. These are just extra resources you can use to support and reinforce what we are doing IF you chose to do so.


  • Report Cards went home today. Please sign and return. If your child earned A or A/B Honor Roll, I sent home a white copy for you to keep to take with you to the restaurant listed on the sticker for a free sandwich. I will only need the yellowish copy signed and returned. Let me know if you have any questions about report card grades.

  • Field Trip on Tuesday, February 23rd to the Asheville Community Theater to see the musical "Seussical". Cost $8/ Money due by February 15th. Permission form will come home by Wednesday.

  • Awards Ceremony- February 11th at 8:15. I will send a note or email by Friday if your child is being recognized.


I am super excited about all of the ways that the kids have been able to use their laptops to enhance their learning. You would be AMAZED and PROUD of your child if you could just see the amazing job they have done following directions and getting logged in.

During the snow days. I spent many hours watching Youtube videos and researching learning sites other teachers in other schools are using. I wanted to see which ones were the best. There are so many good ones but I feel confident that the ones I have chosen will add to the academic growth of each child.

I will give a brief overview of each of the sites we use and an example of how we use it.


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The picture above is a picture of how the students responded to a questions by using Padlet to type their responses on their computer. As they respond, their answers pop up on the screen at the front of the room.

This is a great way for students to give input on a topic, sometimes anonymous and sometimes with names. I can then save their responses and check them for understanding.

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Kahoot is the kids' favorite NEW computer program. I created a quiz on the book Pictures of Hollis Woods. After reading a chapter or two and after discussing the text in depth, the students take a quiz. As they log in, their name pops up on the boards letting me know they are logged in. Then they click on the answer they choose. The program creates a bar graph on the board showing the correct answer and how many people chose each answer. We then stop and discuss each question and clear up any misunderstandings without anyone knowing who missed the questions. Each student sees their own grade and so do I, but their classmates can not see their neighbor's score.

They also took a survey asking some questions about their thoughts on the new technology. Kahoots is really similar to PLICKERS but I like it better because I am not scanning papers with my phone or IPAD.

Below is the student view of Kahoot.

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Soon, I will teach the student how to create their own Kahoots. For example, students will work together, after studying a branch of government, and create a Kahoot for their classmates to take. This takes learning to a new height. They have to apply their knowledge of a subject when creating the Kahoot.

Math Facts Tests

Above, you will see the link to a site where the students can log in and take timed tests. This site is great because it won't let students move to the next fact set until they have mastered that set. For some, this is exciting and challenging. For a few, it has been frustrating. But what I have tried to tell the students is that it is about GROWTH!!! Are they showing IMPROVEMENT? If they are not showing growth, then we will have to take a closer look at why they are not showing growth. You and your child can go into the site and check their progress. I will have them do this at school so that they will know how to do it at home as well.
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NEWSELA/Differentiated Reading

This site is super because I have been able to place students into reading groups based on reading level. Here is how it works. We have been studying about Zoos so that they can write an opinion paper. I assign the same article to ALL students. The CONTENT is the same but each group has a different article based on their own reading levels. They take quizzes and then submit them to me for a grade. These grades do count.
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There are 7 students in our class who have finished all 18 levels of Lexia Core so these students are required to complete a minimum of 4 Moby Max Reading Passages each week. All students have taken the Reading Placement Test so once again when any student reads and answers questions they are reading on their own reading level.


We are not currently using Moby Max for Math but later on we will. It also has a math placement test.

What is Symbaloo?

Above you will find the link to Symbaloo where I have bookmarked all important web sites which your child will need to access at school and at home. It is a short cut to the links.

It is my goal to be able to have each student create their own Symbaloo which will be on their desktop and allow even quicker access to activities.

Character Trait and Literary Terms Replace Flocabulary for a Few Weeks

Based on the results of the common Reading Assessment Test, I realized that there are three common areas of weakness which need to be emphasized immediately. These three areas of focus will take the place of Flocabulary for a few weeks until I feel that the students have an adequate understanding.

The areas of weakness are:

  • Knowledge of character traits
  • Understanding of Literary Terms
  • Going back into the text and proving answers.


Your child brought home a homework folder with a list of 10 Literary terms, a page of Character Traits and the QUESTION ANSWER RELATIONSHIPS study guide, which you can see below.

The test on Friday will be on Character Traits 1-10 and Literary Terms 1-10. They will need to know the definitions. In addition, they will read short paragraphs describing someone and then they will have to choose which character trait describes that person.

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Literary Terms

Literary Terms 1-10

1. Cause: What makes something happen

2. Effect: What happens because of something

3. Significance: A part of the story that is important

4. Impact: A dramatic or large effect on the story

5. Main Idea: What the story is mainly about.

6. Purpose: why the author wrote the passage

7. Opinion: How a person feels about something

8. Mood/Tone: The way a story makes you feel

9. Characteristics: Traits a character has

10. Fact: A statement that is true

Character Traits

Character Traits

1. Focused- to concentrate

2. Unsuccessful-

3. Serious- characterized by deep thought, grave or somber disposition

4. Determined-not willing to let anything prevent you from doing what you have decided to do

5. Careless-a careless person does not think about what they are doing, so they make mistakes, hurt people, or damage things

6. Annoying- irritatingly bothersome

7. Lazy-

8. Bossy-someone who is bossy keeps telling other people what to do, in a way that annoys them

9. Sloppy-careless or untidy

10. Impatient-annoyed because something is not happening as quickly as you want or in the way you want

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  • EVERYONE will need to read the short story, answer questions, highlight proof. If the answers are correct and the proof is not highlighted then the answer will be counted wrong.
  • Meet Lexia goal each week
  • If completed LEXIA, then COMPLETE 4 stories each week and complete and submit a test for each article read.


  • There will be a few math problems each night. There was no homework on Monday night.


  • Some students will have to bring their Opinion Paper on Zoos depending on how much they complete in class.