4th Grade Weekly Happenings

Reagan Elementary School - Leander ISD

Week of March 28 - April 1, 2016

STAAR Testing

We have had a wonderful time with your kiddos so far on Survivor Island this week as we've reviewed everything we've accomplished in writing this year. With the STAAR writing test next week, we wanted to take the time to celebrate their growth as writers and have loved watching them participate in activities and show off their writing skills. What an amazing bunch of students!

Because the STAAR test is a standardized test and must be administered in a specific manner, it is often something that students tend to get worried or nervous over. One of the reasons why we journey to Survivor Island is to show them how there's NOTHING to be worried or nervous about - they know their stuff and they've got this! However, since testing days are required to look different for the sake of consistency across the state, we're asking for your help.

And now for a WHOLE lot of STAAR specific information in regards to next week's test. We know it's lengthy, but ask that you please read it in its entirety...thank you!

Special Edition STAAR Memo:

This memo will give you some important tips and answer some common questions parents often have about the Writing STAAR.

  • Starting Now and Definitely the Night Before STAAR
    Students should be well rested for the test. If they typically have a consistent bedtime routine it helps to reduce the chance of a sleepless night the night before STAAR. It reduces stress and helps students feel like it is part of their normal routine, not another special circumstance due to STAAR! We would like to treat this as a “normal” day, if possible. Nothing to be nervous about, just do what they know how to do.
  • Time and Date
    The Writing STAAR Test takes place this coming week on Tuesday, March 29th . To keep kiddos as stress-free as possible, please make sure that your child comes to school on time. Students are able to enter the school as early as 7:15. The first bell rings at 7:35 to signal students that classroom doors are open. The tardy bell rings at 7:45. Coming early allows students to use the restroom before school, eat breakfast, and tend to other daily errands that are part of our mornings. We will start the directions for the test as close to 8:00 as possible. There are certain morning items to take care of (sharpening pencils, organizing the desks, getting attendance done, etc.) so please make sure your child comes to school on time that morning.
  • Breakfast
    Students need a nice, healthy breakfast everyday, and testing days are certainly no exception! Protein-rich and nutrient dense carbohydrates are highly recommended. A great breakfast keeps tummies full and feeds busy brains to help students do their personal best.
  • Snacks
    Students will have the opportunity to have a snack. We encourage you to send another healthy snack or two with your child. Please no sticky, greasy, messy, or sugary foods. This helps to keep our tummies full and brains supplied with the energy needed to get through a full day of testing.
  • Lunch
    Students will eat at the same time that they always have lunch. If you normally pack a lunch we ask to keep it as healthy as possible and no soft drinks. Unfortunately, the campus is closed to visitors on testing days and parents cannot come to the school on STAAR days for lunch due testing procedures.
  • Clothing & Jackets
    The room temperature can fluctuate beyond our control. Students are strongly encouraged to bring a lightweight jacket in case they find that they’re chilly. Comfortable clothing is recommended, as long as students follow school dress code.
  • Cell Phones & Electronic Devices
    Students are not allowed to have cell phones or other electronic devices in their possession on STAAR days. We understand that cell phones are needed in many instances, specifically at dismissal times. IF your child needs a cell phone that day we are required to collect them for the day (they will be returned at the end of the testing day). These will be collected and locked in a safe location.
  • Testing Schedule/Structure of Tests
    The STAAR test is a relatively new test. With all of the changes from moving from TAKS to STAAR in recent years, one of the biggest is the time in which students have to complete this test. Students will have 4 hours exactly to finish the writing test on testing day. The test will consist of a multiple choice portion with revising and editing and a written portion in which the students will be given a prompt to write about. They will have an Expository prompt (topic with supporting reasons explaining why) to write on.
    Examples of an Expository Composition:
    *Write about your favorite food and explain WHY this is your favorite food
    *Write about your favorite hobby and explain WHY it is your favorite hobby
    *Write about your favorite animal and explain WHY that is your favorite animal
  • Classroom Phone Calls & Emails
    All testing rooms will be forwarded straight to voicemail and teachers will not have access to computers or phones on all STAAR days. Due to phone calls being forwarded to voicemail and lack of email access, please make sure that all important messages be left with our front desk to be communicated to us. This includes changes in transportation. All transportation changes must be made by 2:00 please. You may call the front desk at 512.570.7200.
  • Results
    Result distribution is at the discretion of the state; we have absolutely no control as to when we receive the student result reports. However, any information we do receive will be passed along to you as soon as possible.
  • Appointments
    Please do not schedule appointments on testing days that will require students to miss school or leave school early.
  • Backpacks
    Students should leave backpacks at home on STAAR days. They will be supplied with pencils that day and will not need to take home or bring school any school supplies home.
  • Chapter Books
    After the students are done testing they have an option of resting or reading. They should bring in multiple books to read when they are finished testing. Bring these in on FRIDAY before the Tuesday test.
    Students will not be assigned homework the week of STAAR. We want them to enjoy restful, stress-free evenings.
  • Let's Celebrate!
    There is not a test in the world that will ever be able to show the progress, leaps, and bounds that our students have made this year! As 4th grade teachers, we have sat together and shared compositions that students have written throughout this year. We are their personal cheerleaders and invite you to not only help us to encourage them to write their best on STAAR writing day, but to celebrate their knowledge and writing ability. These students have worked so hard and we are proud of them!


Healthy snack

Water bottle

Lightweight jacket

Chapter books

Glasses (if needed)


ALL unnecessary electronics


Hope this helps answer some questions you may have. As always, please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions. Thank you all for being so wonderful and supportive. We love your kiddos and are so very, very proud of how far they have come as writers!

Our Current Week


  • Purple specials day
  • State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) Writing
  • Red specials day


  • Orange specials day


  • Health lesson - alcohol awareness for Mrs. Eddy's homeroom (see details below)
  • Yellow specials day


  • Health lesson - alcohol awareness for Mrs. Weltzin's homeroom (see details below)
  • Fun First Friday in 4th Grade - Illuminocity Atrocity (wear neon clothes!)
  • Green specials day
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  • No homework


  • No homework

Health Lesson - Alcohol Awareness

On Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1 in your child's PE class, we will be having a health lesson on drugs and alcohol. This is something that we do once a semester. The lesson has a video provided by the district and then we will have a short discussion over what the video touched on. The main topic of the lesson is what to do if the students as a child come across something and preventive strategies for the students. If you would like to preview the videos they will be available in the library on Monday (3/28). The videos will not be available to preview on Tuesday and Wednesday due to STAAR testing.

This semester's topics are:

K-4th: Alcohol

5th: Inhalants

Notes of Encouragement for STAAR

Your child came home Wednesday with an envelope with his / her name on it. In the envelope you will find a blank note card. Please take a moment to write a brief note of encouragement on the note for them, return it to the envelope & seal it, then give it to your child to bring back to school ASAP (no later than Monday so that we can prepare for Tuesday's test day). We will collect the note cards from and give them to your child before the test next Tuesday. As teachers, we are not able to encourage our students when we want to the most due to test administration protocol, and a kind, encouraging word from you puts their little hearts and minds at ease. PLEASE RETURN THE NOTE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE - THANK YOU!!!

4th Grade Field Trip to Camp Twin Lakes

On Friday, April 15, 4th grade is taking a field trip to Camp Twin Lakes at the Twin Lakes YMCA! We will depart Reagan at 9:15 and return by 2:00. Permission forms were sent home in this week's Wednesday folder and are due by Thursday, March 31. If you need an extra copy of this form, it is linked below. A cash payment of $7 per student is due along with the permission form. If you cannot afford the $7, please contact your child's teacher and we can make arrangements to help you out. Parents may sign up to chaperone on the permission form; in order to chaperone, you must be an approved LISD volunteer and provide your own transportation. Students may bring their own sack lunch or purchase a sack lunch from the school on the day of the field trip. We will be wearing our tie-dye t-shirts to the field trip.

Help Needed!

Please contact Elizabeth at elizabeth.weltzin@leanderisd.org if you are willing to help out with a volunteer project that should take about 1 hour. I need a parent to help pull the staples out of 48 math workbooks and then 3-hole punch them. This could be done in the Reagan work room, or you could pick up the workbooks and do it at home. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Math Unit 7: Patterns & Problems

Next week, we are starting a new unit in math. To see what we'll be learning about, check out the info letter below!

Upcoming Dates

Please view the calendar linked below on our classroom website to find out about important events and dates that 4th grade families at Reagan should be aware of. We will keep this calendar updated as new events arise or dates/times change.

Classroom Supply Wish List

Our classrooms are currently in need of the following items. If you are able to make a donation to our classroom please send the supplies in with your child to school. Donations are not expected but are greatly appreciated!

Mrs. Weltzin: Sandwich-sized ziploc bags, Click to view my classroom wishlist on Amazon

Mrs. Eddy: Glue sticks