Turner's Learners Power On

Ways to Promote Learning Growth this Summer and Beyond

Thank You, Parents, for a Great Learning Partnership

As the school year comes to a close, I would like to thank you for your active partnership in your child's fourth grade experience. Your child's enthusiasm for learning is a reflection on the importance that you attach to education. It has been my joy to share this interesting year of growth, discovery, and reflection with you and your child.

Your child is fortunate to be a learner at an exciting time in history. Technology affords many opportunities. Some of our classmates created a video to thank our school's foundation, which has worked tirelessly to integrate technology into our learning experiences. The video provides a splendid summary of ways that we have been using technology to strengthen our learning. While the video is not embedded into this newsletter, it is being sent to you via Email. Enjoy!
August will be here before we know it! Therefore, I would like to offer a few suggestions for summertime activities that will help build and reinforce your child's skills.

Challenge Your Child to Explore Hoagies!

Hoagies' Gifted Education Page is my absolute favorite on-line site! The "Kids Fun!" section is good for every child, not just those who wear GATE labels. Once inside of "Kids Fun!" a good starting place for exploration is Links, followed by Hot Topics Reading Lists. If your child is passionate about a subject, then he or she is bound to find a meaningful way to learn more about it through Links. Trust me. This site is worthwhile.

Personalize Learning with Technology

Technology provides your child with many exciting pathways to personalize education to meet his or her unique learning needs. Please encourage your child to use the following two research-based, computer programs this summer to strengthen math and language arts skills. Remember that optimal growth is achieved when your child works on each of these programs for 60 to 100 minutes per week. This can easily be broken down into 20 or 25 minute blocks of time. Have your child do one program in the morning and the other in the afternoon 4 to 5 times a week.

Compass Learning (math activities are tied to spring MAPS score)

Lexia Core5 (try to finish all of the levels)

Reading, Writing, Math, Social Studies, and Science Take Us to Exciting Places, Both Virtual and Live!

Type! Type! Type!

Keyboarding skills are essential. Have your child hone and practice keyboarding through sites such as these:

Read! Read! Read!

Encourage your child to engage in LOTS of reading this summer, either with paper or on-line versions of books. Hopefully, our school will continue to have access to Storia over break. If so, this is a powerful way for your child to access on-line reading material and to take quick reading comprehension quizzes. As I stated above, Hoagies has terrific reading recommendations. It also has good links to vocabulary building activities. Other sites to explore include the following:

Adolescent Literacy Site (resources for grades 4-12; summer book list; author interviews)
www.adlit.org

www.justonemorebook.com (get podcasts that review books; tips on selecting books)

www.rif.org (parent resources and booklist)

Since vocabulary development is crucial in the upper grades, encourage your child to keep a list of unfamiliar words that he or she encounters while reading. Have your child use a dictionary to learn the meanings of these words. On-line dictionaries like www.dictionary.com work well. This site has a "word of the day" that your child might enjoy discovering, too. When reading "paper" books, your child may want to read with an electronic device next to him or her, so that words can be quickly defined and pronounced through the use of a dictionary app or site.

Remember, Lexia Core5 helps build reading skills, too.

Write! Write! Write!

Encourage your child to write daily, either on paper or on-line. Examples include entries in a writing notebook, E-mails, letters, poems, plays, book reviews, stories, trip journals, learning logs, grocery lists, and thank you cards. Hoagies has an excellent section entitled "For the Love of Words" that promotes all aspects of writing. One site it links to is www.readwritethink.org which is a popular writing site. Another good place to explore is www.scholastic.com and its "Story Starters" section.

Some children like to explore writing in the world of apps. Book Creator is a favorite one. Other fun storytelling technology tools are Puppet Pals and Videolicious. Some apps do have to be purchased.

Solve! Solve! Solve!

Promote math this summer. In addition to encouraging your child to do Compass Learning Math on the computer, play strategy games such as Chess, Checkers, Monopoly, Tic-Tac-Toe, Dominoes, Battle Ship, Clue, Risk, Pit, and Blokus. Jigsaw puzzles and mazes help your child improve spatial reasoning, while having fun, too. Of course, card games are great ways to keep math skills sharp. Hoagies does link to many, many, many great math sites! Have your child check them out. Additionally, your child may want to explore the following sites:
www.mathmovesu.com
www.khanacademy.org
www.ixl.com

Stay Connected with Happenings in Our Ever-changing World Via Twitter Searches

In class, we have used twitter searches to keep abreast of quickly evolving science stories, such as volcanic eruptions and Santa Barbara's tragic oil spill. Rest assured that when we search twitter at school, we use devices that do have filters on them. Such filters can easily be installed on home devices, too. We also are not creating our own social media accounts. Rather we use the following search address, which does not require that users be 13 years of age:
http://search.twitter.com

or

http://twitter.com/#!/search-advanced


Social media is a part of our children's world. By using it responsibly, such as described above, we model acceptable usage of it. Please do know that I have told all of the students that they cannot use this research tool at home unless they have parent permission.

Final Reflections

These are just a few ideas for you and your child to investigate together. You know your child and what is best for him or her. Of course, it is important to explore the outside world, too. Hopefully, your child will have opportunity this summer to do such things as hike, camp (could be in the backyard), visit museums, travel, splash in the pool or sea, draw, build forts, and get lost in daydreams.

It is always difficult to say good-bye to a class of great students and caring parents. Teaching your wonderful and amazing children has been an honor. I will miss each and every one of them! I offer you my sincerest thanks for a terrific year!

Kathy

Bon Voyage 4th Graders

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Happy Landing in 5th Grade

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Hands-on Math, Science, Art, and Music Activities Engaged Our Learners and Formed Special Memories