Issue 15-November 14, 2014


There was much "Star Power," featuring the luminaries who crafted the United States Constitution and the beginning of a study of the Universe! Keep reading:

1. Math: We continued to add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to hundredths, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used. Games of "Haunted House" and "Do the Math" helped students achieve mastery.

2. Reading: We worked to quote accurately when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences as well as determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words. We delved into Revolutionary War-era tales, "They Call Her Molly Pitcher" and "Thank You, Phoebe Fraunces," as venues for utilizing these strategies. And, of course, the Titanic continued on its voyage of doom!

3. Writing: Student authors discovered that they need to be sure to think hard about how be inspired to do your best work. Writing well requires talent and knowledge and skill, yes, but also inspiration. We also discussed that learning is a bit like an onion, or the rings in a tree, and that it pays off to stop once in awhile and ask, “Am I doing everything I know how to do? Am I using all the strategies I know for powerful writing?"

4. Social Studies: This has been a continuation of Constitution Week, featuring a "Branches of Government Project" requiring a five-paragraph essay describing each of the components! We also used the website, "Ben's Guide to U.S. Government" to participate in a riveting scavenger hunt (See the link to the website, below!) You Tube videos were made by students about what they learned (See link to videos below!). Students also used old magazines to create the "Constitution in Living Color"!

5. Science: How does the Earth's orbit affect the seasons? We discovered that "Only the Shadow Knows," a day-long investigation requiring us to measure shadow-lengths at morning, noon, and afternoon. We also found ourselves "Moving Through Space," featuring models for the sun, earth, and moon. You Tube videos were made by students about what they learned (Visit our Twitter page to see the videos!) Last week, we learned about how ocean water moves and what makes waves!

Big image


Spelling, Unit 14

On Friday, your child will take the Unit 13 spelling test--and the Unit 14 spelling pre-test. Therefore, he/she should bring home his/her Unit 14 spelling list--and the Unit 13 spelling homework. Here are links to the words--and the Unit 14 spelling homework--in the event that you need an extra copy.

Ben's Guide to U.S. Government

Your child used this website to learn about the function of each of the branches of the United States government:

Exchange City is Coming on Thursday, December 11!

Our preparation for Exchange City has begun! Exchange City is located in the Hunt-Midwest “caves,” just south of Worlds of Fun. We will go on Thursday, December 11! To prepare for the day-long simulation, we have delved into these lessons, projects, and activities:

"The Tuba Factory," a tale about the barter system.

"Paper Chain Assembly Line," an activity requiring students to devise more efficient ways to increase productivity.

"People Need Laws," a study of what makes a great law and why laws should be followed.

"Archaic Laws," a look a some of the strangest laws in the United States!

In the weeks to come, your child will also be immersed in the process that adults go through to secure a job: Writing an application and resume; interviewing techniques—and actually participating in a “real” job interview; and collaborating with fellow employees, to prepare for the day when we attend Exchange City. Job interviews will be held on Tuesday, November 25!

We will need parent volunteers! A form will be sent home for you to fill out, if you are interested!

Exchange City Website

Here is a link to the Exchange City website:

Archaic Laws

Here's a website featuring 10 archaic laws that are still on the books:

Encouraging Study Skills

Article excerpted from

This article will discuss a number of proactive methods on how to help your child develop good study habits and skills.

1-Help your child recognize the importance of great study habits. Show him that possessing great study skills will help him later on in life and not just now in the present. Help your child to understand the importance of learning to study on his own. Relate this to your own life. How does possessing great study skills help you at work or while managing the household?

2-Isolate a nice quiet spot for studying. Turn off the television! It is next to impossible to concentrate on studying when your child’s favorite cartoon or kid’s show is on. If you live in a home where the computer dominates most of your child’s free time, turn it off too. Turning off the television and the computer erases major distractions that could otherwise hinder your child’s ability to study.

3-Be present when your child is studying. Be there when your child is studying and make yourself available for any questions that she may have. It is important for parents to show interest and participate in their child’s learning. When your child realizes that you are there to help her through this process, she will be open to studying harder. Also, be familiar with the topics your child is studying.

4-Ask viewpoint questions when helping your child study. Ask viewpoint questions that will help your child to use his brain while studying. Ask questions that will challenge the mind and stimulate further research and imagination in order to find the answer. Most children enjoy learning, but dread studying. Make the study time fun for them. Appeal to your child’s natural desire to learn and build on that.

Staying Motivated

Here are some 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?”

Time Management

Article excerpted from wikiHow.

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 Friday, November 21, 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!

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. 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.


Studies of schoolchildren have found that the more competent they feel, the more they want to study a subject. “Feelings of competence,” explains Deborah J. Stipek, an educational psychologist at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education, “are very motivating.” How can you instill this drive in your child? First, point out the abilities he/she has already developed. Remind him/her how he/she kept trying until he/she learned to ride a two-wheeler or how he/she struggled with a hard chapter in his/her social studies book until he/she finally understood it. “I counsel parents to help children focus on the things they can learn to do—and how much they’ve learned,” says Sharon Nelson-Le Gall, a developmental psychologist at the University of Pittsburg. Students reported they’d feel proudest if their grades were based on their own improvements. Researchers have found that the students whose parents encouraged them to be responsible for their work were more self-motivated.

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


11/11 - PTA Meeting 7:00 pm

11/13- All Pro Dads 7:00 am (library)

11/13- 1st Grade Music Program5:30 pm

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

11/25- 4th Grade Earthworks Field Trip

11/25-Exchange City Job Interviews

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

Next Week's Specials

Here is the specials schedule for next week:

Monday, November 17: Music

Tuesday, November 18: P.E.

Wednesday, November 19: Art

Thursday, November 20: Library

Friday, November 21: Music