Issue 26-February 20, 2015


We were in "Perpetual Motion," this week, as we propelled ourselves through the following:

1. Math: We compared fraction factors and products as well as working on fraction multiplication. We also delved into area and mixed numbers.

2. Reading: We delved into The Plains Indians and As Long as Grass Should Grow and Water Flow, books detailing the events leading to the Indian Wars in the West. So, was it fair for new settlers to take the Indians' land? We viewed a series of photographs, from National Geographic and utilized a guide for making judgments, which involves looking at the facts; thinking about what you know; and considering your own opinions and beliefs, to decide the answer. We also got blown away with "Storm Warriors," about a brave boy who helps save shipwreck victims. Our grammar focus was on direct and indirect objects.

3. Writing: We discovered that, although there are lots of ways writers organize their thinking or their information before they write, one thing all writers have in common is that they do organize it before they draft! Each of you will have to figure out which ways to organize work for you and your writing. Writers need to check to see if they have the containers—the structures and formats—that will let their information and ideas gro. As always, to see possibilities for ways you can structure your writing, you can turn to published authors.

4. Social Studies: Indian Wars in the West featured Geronimo's vain attempt to save his homeland, and and summarized the outcome of the skirmishes between the United States soldiers and Native Americans. We then shifted our focus to the Industrial Growth of the United States, investigating Charles Goodyear's invention of rubber and Frederick Tudor's innovative way to become economically successful!

5. Science: The Laws of Motion took center stage as student scientists conducted an "Egg-speriment"; flicked marbles on a grooved ruler; sliced away at checkers in a tower; and launched a "Balloon Rocket." Student teams used Pow Toon to design a presentation about the Scientific Method of Inquiry. We have also begun a series of Educreations presentations, designed to ensure that each student scientist is razor-sharp on all fifth grade science standards within these units of study: Scientific Inquiry, Matter, Weather and the Water Cycle, Force and Motion, and Living Things.

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On Friday, your child will take the Unit 24 spelling test--and the Unit 25 spelling pre-test. Therefore, he/she should bring home his/her Unit 25 spelling list--and the Unit 25 spelling homework. Here are links to the words and homework:


In the 2014-15 school year, a revised assessment system will be implemented across Missouri, allowing teachers and students more time for classroom instruction:

  • *In grades 3, 4, 6 and 7, students will take 30-minute survey assessments in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. (one hour total)
  • *Students in grades 5 and 8 – the transition grades – will continue to take the full assessments in ELA and math, as well as the current science assessment.
  • 2014-15 will be the first school year that the tests will be administered to all students with the results contributing to school district accountability.

    The benefits of the new assessments are as follows:

  • *Scores provide students, parents, and teachers with insight into college and career readiness early enough to address issues and provide extra support where needed.
  • *Missouri will transition to what are called ‘computer adaptive assessments' (CAT), which replace pencil-and-paper tests and can adjust the difficulty of questions based on student responses. A student who answers correctly will receive a more challenging item, while an incorrect answer generates a less difficult question. This will give educators better information about how to help individual students and improve local education programs.
  • *Online testing provides quicker, more accurate results with scores returned to districts within 10 business days for grade-level assessments and five working days for end-of-course assessments.

    The fifth graders will be tested in ELA (English-Language Arts), Mathematics, and Science, in late April through early May For the next several weeks, I will be including test-taking tips and advice, which comes primarily from two sources. Most of the tips have been suggested by Missouri teachers as well as A Teacher’s Guide to Standardized Reading Tests, by Lucy Calkins, Kate Montgomery, and Donna Santman (Heinemann 1998). Both of these sources have been gold mines of practical ideas.

    Tip #1: Read, Read, Read!

    One of the best and simplest steps to improve the reading ability of children is to provide sustained periods of time for children to read. In class, I expect your child to read passages, articles, and entire chapters of books independently. Some of this reading is accomplished in guided reading groups. We then discuss the important ideas and themes, with an emphasis on supporting details. You could do this at home: Assign a passage to your child. Choose a newspaper article or a chapter from a fiction book. Then discuss the main ideas and details.

    Tip #2: Read Like a Writer

    One of the best ways to improve reading comprehension is to teach children to read from the point of view of the writer. Even in the early grades, students can begin to “get into the head” of the author. Reading as writers improves both the reading and writing ability of children.


    A huge part of students scoring well on standardized tests is the test-taking strategies involved. We are working on test-taking strategies at school. You can help by reinforcing these strategies at home. Here is a website to guide your efforts:


    Article excerpted from

    Parents have a lot on their minds at all times. Children do not come with a handbook, and parents find themselves learning new things every day. While concentrating on your child's health and well-being, you may forget to provide some practical learning when it comes to everyday living, such as the art of conversation. Children do learn a lot from their parents and siblings when they are young. You are a big influence on your child's life, and you have the means to teach her good conversational skills at an early age. This week’s Class Meeting topic will be “Proximity and Offering Assistance,” which features information about etiquette when engaging in conversations. In conjunction with that topic, here are some ways to help your child become more of a conversationalist:

    1-Spend time with your child as much as possible. Don't just allow him to passively sit in front of the TV all day. Speak about your day with him and ask about his day as well.

    2-Role-play with your child. Tell her you are going to start a conversation and that she must respond appropriately. Take turns greeting each other and asking questions. Point out ways she can improve. Make sure she knows how to maintain eye contact when speaking with someone.

    3-Introduce your child into different settings in which he can use conversational skills. For instance, ask him to answer the phone and point out ways he can improve the next time he has the opportunity to use the phone.

    4-Model proper conversational behavior around your child. Allow her to observe you having a conversation with someone, and be aware of how you sound. Ask your child if she has any questions about the conversation afterward.

    5-Play games around the dinner table that encourage conversation. You can do things like ask your child his favorite part of the day. Prompt him to go into detail about it, and then tell him about parts of your day that he might find interesting.


    Aside from an inaudible "Sir Isaac Newton," this website is a great resource for interacting with the three laws of motion:


    Here is a website, published by PBS, that includes a great overview of the Indian Wars in the West, 1870-1880:


    Here's a unique website designed to help your child master or maintain his/her basic math skills:


    It is important that your child come to school, every day, on time—and remain at school until 2:45. I understand that appointments come up, from time to time; please make every effort to schedule these for days when school is not in session. If you child is ill and unable to come to school, I will contact you about his/her make-up work and arrange for you to pick it up—or send it home with another child. And, if you child begins to feel better during the day, please bring him/her to school…even if it is in the afternoon! Every day is well-planned, and your child must stay caught up on what he/she missed! Please have your child call me with any questions about the work!


    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!


    For the latest information about upcoming events and curriculum information, visit my website. It is updated regularly:



    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)


    Here is the specials schedule for next week:

    Monday, February 23: Music

    Tuesday, February 24: P.E.

    Wednesday, February 25: Art

    Thursday, February 26: Library

    Friday, February 27: Music