Martin's Memos

Volume 2, Issue 15: December 14, 2018

This Week


There's lots of information packed in here! Please carefully read over the newsletter and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you to everyone that has donated to the food drive! Our class ended with a total of 263 pounds of donated food, and the school totaled 3,934 pounds! WOW! #OtherPeopleMatter

Our class holiday party is on Thursday, December 20th at 8:45am! Please check your Sign Up genius if you are bringing in anything. Thank you!

-Ms. Kate Martin

Important Friendly Reminders


Please check Friday Folders regularly. Return the empty folder on Monday. Some of you may have noticed that on reading passages with questions, quizzes and tests.... if a student earns a "1" or a "2", I'll also write "RE-DO AND RETURN" or something similar.


-A growth opportunity! The students can "fix" their mistakes and learn what they did wrong.

-It improves their score/grade! I'll increase their score if they return their "fixed" paper.

When should it be returned?

-Please return them within a week of receiving the paper. I can't change any scores/grades if it is returned in a different trimester than when it was originally completed.

What if they don't do it or return it?

The grade stays the same.


All of my students are assigned to a book club group that meet one day (Tuesday-Friday) each week. Your child is expected to read the agreed-upon amount (determined by the group members) and complete their job in a week's time PRIOR to meeting with their group on their normal day.

I have noticed an increase in the amount of students NOT completing either their reading or their job. BOTH of those must be completed and they must come prepared (book, job sheet, pencil) to their meeting. If they complete their reading and job, they receive a "3" for that week's book club score. If they don't complete any part of that, they receive a "1.5".

How can you help?

-Check in your child's agenda. Look for something written or a 1/2 sheet stapled inside with information about their job/reading.

-Don't let them wait til the day before to complete it. Pace it out! Leave time to do the job, not just the reading.


The BEST, most research-proven way to become a better reader is to....READ!

The students are very honest with me (for better or for worse!), and I have recently noticed that they are not consistently reading each night. Some say they just read their book club book during the week (which may only consist of 20-40 pages worth) or they're only reading "for fun" books at home.

What can you do to help?

-Make sure they are reading a book every night for a minimum of 25 minutes.

-Make sure at least every other book of their choice is near their least 900L or above.

Positivity Project

Big picture

This week focused on another strength: Humility. Humble people have an accurate (not underestimated) sense of their abilities and achievements. They hold the capacity to acknowledge their mistakes and limitations, and are open to advice and new ideas. They do not show off their possessions or accomplishments.

Humility and modesty are often characterized as synonymous with shy or meek. This is false. True humility is a sign of strength; it is a quiet confidence in who you are. It requires an honest self-reflection on your strengths and weaknesses, and self-control over ego, arrogance, and vanity. It encapsulates a person’s feelings, thoughts, and actions. It includes resistance to false modesty or the “humble brag.”

Developing humility is associated with positive developmental outcomes in individuals. It allows a person to honestly reflect on their abilities and acknowledge how and where they can improve. Humility opens them up to new ideas, advice, and (consequently) abilities that pride, arrogance, or pretentiousness often block. Therefore, humility makes them desired members of a team.

We had some great discussions this week about humility and our personal character traits related to giftedness. We had to reflect...and realized it was hard to come into a classroom where we weren't necessarily the "best" in the class at everything! It's also hard to come to the realization that we have areas to grow in - our weaknesses. Everyone has them - and it's OK! It helps us grow when we recognize our weaknesses and actively learn from them.

Photos of the Week!

What Did We Learn This Week?

Math: Students will continue their in their math groups.

Yellow- I can understand percents and interest.

Green- I can understand ratios.

Orange- I can fluently multiply and divide large numbers and decimals.

Social Studies (5th): The 5th graders will continue a social studies unit on Colonization. They will have a quiz on the first half of the unit on 12/17. The students also started a biography project on their chosen historical figure from the 1600's/development of the colonies.

Reading: We will continue learning how to read and respond to nonfiction texts in our new unit - "Reading the Weather, Reading the World"! This week the students worked in groups to research a topic on extreme events. They had to determine subtopics, delegate responsibilities, research and present to the class using their summarizing strategies....all in 3 days! On our "Targeted Practice Mondays", we also started learning about the language of Shakespeare....and how to understand it!

Writing: We will continue personal narratives. The focus for this personal narrative is to write a story of a time when you learned a lesson or had a significant realization. It's been challenging coming up with ideas and experiences - but the students are starting their drafts and well on their way.

Enrichment: We will continue working on our enrichment projects. Students present the week of 12/17. Enrichment 3.0 (FYI: Enrichment 2.0 is our community service project we had to put on hold until January!) This week we assigned presentation dates during the week of December 17th. Your child has their due date in their agenda.

Looking Forward to Next Week...

Positivity Project (P2)/Character Education: Self-Control

Math: Students will continue their in their math groups.

Yellow- I can understand percents and interest.

Green- I can understand ratios. Test this week.

Orange- I can fluently multiply and divide large numbers and decimals.

Social Studies (5th): The 5th graders will continue a social studies unit on Colonization. They will have a quiz on the first half of the unit on 12/17.

Reading: We will continue learning how to read and respond to nonfiction texts in our new unit - "Reading the Weather, Reading the World"!

Writing: We will continue personal narratives.

Enrichment: We will continue working on our enrichment projects. Students present next week!

We Earned a Pizza Party!

Because we had so many of the students in our classroom participate in the Fun Run, we earned a pizza party from the Woodland PTO! The students will get 2 slices of pizza on Tuesday December 18th at lunch time. Students should still bring their own drinks and snacks that they'd like to accompany the pizza. Students may also go through the lunch line if they'd like additional food at the start of lunch.

Need More Gift Ideas for the Holidays? How About Books?!

Don't forget that you can order books online for your children!

Choose books with (or for) your child from the paper flyers or online at: There are many books with higher lexiles - you just need to browse the collection!

To order online anytime, connect to our class using our Class Code: R3CHK

As soon as your order is delivered to our classroom, I will send it home with your child. If you want it to be a present - let me know and I can email you when I'm sending the books home in a closed bag.

Every order you place earns FREE Books for our class to share. Thank you for your support and happy reading!

NEXT WEEK! 5th Graders only - Scripp's National Spelling Bee

Big picture
Big picture

Continuous Important Reminders...

Jackets/Coats, Hats, Gloves...


Sweatshirts aren't going to be enough! Remember that the students go outside unless the temperature is below 10 degrees. (Including wind chill) They go outside during lunch recess, 2nd recess and sometimes during P.E.

When it gets snowy, your child is welcome to leave their winter gear in a large bag in/under their cubby during the week. They must bring it home each Friday and bring it back on Monday.

Box Tops!

GOOD NEWS! Our class collected the most Box Tops at Woodland! 387! We get to keep the "Box Top Trophy" in class and all students received a small prize.

Keep collecting and sending them in! Don't forget to label your child's name on the baggie so they can get credit.

Don't forget to clip and save your box tops! Send them in in a baggie with your child's name on it. We have a plastic bin in the classroom we keep them in. A representative from the PTO collects them on a regular basis and counts how many we collect for our class. Prizes are awarded to individual students and classes that bring in the most!

Book It!

This year our classroom is participating in the BOOK IT! Program to encourage your child's love of reading. Plus, we know that the best way to become a better reader is to READ, READ, READ! Our nightly expectation is 25 minutes per if they are doing that they should be able to meet our reading goal of 750 minutes per month! The students will receive the Reading Log by Minutes to keep track of the minutes. (linked below)

December goal = 525 minutes (Collected on December 21)

Logs need to be turned in by the last day of each month. This is when I'll be passing out the "Free Personal Pan Pizza" coupon!

Khan Academy: What is it? When should my child use it?

Khan Academy is a website that has math video lessons and practice problems based on grade and subject. It is mostly geared toward math and science. Most of the students should be using Their username and password is on a sticker in the front of their agenda. When I input their MAP scores onto the website it automatically generates personalized math lessons for each student. Research has shown that when students consistently use Khan Academy Mappers they can grow by more than 2 years in math.

In class, the students use it if/when they finish their in-class math lesson with me. However, sometimes I ask that the students do this instead of homework pages. Students can always log on at home and work on it anytime.

Standards-Based Grading

You may notice that some papers are coming home with a 3, 2, or 1 on them. We will be utilizing Standards Based Grading rather than the traditional grading system. This allows for more meaningful grading, adjustment of curriculum, and helps the students understand quality work. Report cards will utilize the language below, so we will use it in the classroom to keep things consistent. Students will be assessed based on their personal curriculum they are following.

3 = Meeting or Exceeding Grade Level Standards

2 = Adequate Progress Toward Grade Level Standards

1 = Limited Progress Toward Grade Level Standards

Please note that more detailed information will follow from Avondale Administration prior to report cards, and that 4th and 5th graders will still receive letter grades in addition to their standards based grading.

Upcoming Important Dates

Normal School Hours: 8:32 - 3:39 (GT dismissal 3:34)

Half Day Hours: 8:32 - 11:45 (GT dismissal around 11:40)

Dec 18: 3rd Grade Concert @ 7pm

Dec 24-Jan 4: Winter Break-NO SCHOOL; Return to School Jan 7th

Jan. 8: PTO Meeting 7-9

Jan. 21: No School

Ms. Martin's Student Handbook 2018-2019

A paper copy came home with your child within the first week of school.

Volunteering Spreadsheet

Add your name in if you'd like to come in and volunteer!

Meadows Transition/Avondale GATE F.A.Q.

Please click on the button to learn more about our transition to Meadows.

Thank you to those that attended our meeting to discuss the transition to Meadows next year. The link to the presentation is below. Feel free to contact me if you have questions. Please remember that there are many decisions still to be made - but we are well on our way to ensuring the best possible experience for our GATE students. Thank you for your continued support!