Issue 30-March 20, 2015


Strange, flashing lights; the mysterious explosion of the battleship Maine; and problems with mosquitoes at the building of the Panama Canal: We experienced it all--and so much more! Keep reading!

1. Math: Making a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8) was our initial mission. This involved using operations on fractions to solve problems involving information presented in line plots. We also used a pair of perpendicular numbers lines, called axes, to define a coordinate system. Students sought "Hidden Treasure" and played "The Grid Game."

2. Reading: We worked to determine the theme of "The Giant's Beanstalk," a fractured retelling of the classic fairy tale; and "Nori Noom," a far out science fiction tale featuring cryptic clues. We also summarized "OOPS! A History of Great Mistakes," a nonfiction article about the accidental discovery of such things as x-rays and potato chips.

3. Writing: When you are composing an argument, you will need to collect evidence not to support what you first think about the issue, but instead, evidence that allows you to think through the various sides of the argument. We also discussed that, when a writer writes an essay, the writer often organizes his opinion and reasons into a boxes-and-bullets structure. And writers of any genre, once they have a rough idea of structure, often try to get the whole piece of writing down on the page quickly, roughly, and then go back to revise.

4. Social Studies: We headed to Hawaii and Alaska, to identify how the United States added new lands in the late 1800s. We also identified how the United States became a world power in the late 1800s and early 1900s by investigating the causes of the Spanish-American War, with a focus on the explosion of the battleship Maine--and by learning about the building of the Panama Canal.

5. Science: How are living things grouped? We delved into the answer by using dichotomous keys to classify students in our class--and by reading about bird migration. We also conducted two investigations, "Build a Model Backbone" and "Strong and Flexible," and began a study of vertebrates. Each student has begun to research one--or two--vertebrate groups in preparation for a Jigsaw Tournament, scheduled for Friday, March 27!

Big image


Spelling, Unit 29

On Friday, your child will take the Unit 28 spelling test--and the Unit 29 spelling pre-test. Therefore, he/she should bring home his/her Unit 28 spelling list--and the Unit 29 spelling homework. Here are links to the words in the event that you need an extra copy:

Radical Challenge Field Trip Coming on Tuesday, April 21!

The Radical Challenge is a program developed by the Earnest Shepard Youth Center to promote communication, teambuilding, and cooperation through adventure games. Youth are placed in situations that demand leadership, trust, risk-taking, listening, creativity and physical effort. We will leave Liberty Oaks at 9:15 A.M. and return by 2:00 P.M.

PARENT VOLUNTEERS MUST REPORT TO EARNEST SHEPARD YOUTH CENTER AT 7:00 A.M., ON THE DAY OF OUR TRIP, FOR TRAINING. Also, my students will be engaged in productive academics before--and after--this field trip!

In the event of inclement weather, the field trip will be cancelled. We will most likely be unable to reschedule.

Camp Invention

Camp Invention is where BIG ideas become the next BIG thing! Join us as we celebrate our 25th year of reinventing summer fun!

In partnership with the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Liberty School District 53 is pleased to offer the nationally-acclaimed Camp Invention program to children entering grades one through six. It’s an exciting, weeklong summer adventure with lessons that explore connections between science, technology, engineering and innovation. Children will work together to seek solutions to real-world problems, turn ordinary into extraordinary and sharpen critical 21st century learning skills while rotating through several fascinating modules.

This unforgettable week begins on July 13, 2015, when Matthew Krohne will direct the Camp Invention Illuminate™ program at Liberty Oaks Elementary School.

In the KartWheel™ module, children let their engineering skills glide them across the finish line as they build, enhance and upgrade their very own freestyle racing cart. Boys and girls will explore what it means to prototype a product from scratch as they become an entrepreneur during the Design Studio: Illuminatemodule. In the I Can Invent: Next Level Gamers™ module, participants will take apart broken or unused appliances using real tools to create a physical video game model in the 3rd dimension! Finally, in the Inducted™ module, personalized video challenges from National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees are introduced along with hands-on activities like constructing super-structure mega-towers, assembling out-of-this-world space rockets and so much more!

Local educators will facilitate program modules and enthusiastic high school and college students will serve as Leadership Interns ensuring that one staff member is in place for every eight children.

Register on or before March 20, 2015 to receive $25 OFF the base price of $220 . Every registration includes a complimentary Camp Invention t-shirt. Availability is limited, so visit or call 800.968.4332 to secure your child’s spot today!

Taking Discovery Middle School by Storm!

This week, we have begun to read advice, from the Discovery Middle School sixth grade teachers, about how fifth grades can fine-tune their academic and social prowess for unqualified success next year--and well beyond! Be sure to ask your child about how he/she is preparing to take the next nine (ten actually) weeks be story!

Math/Science Night

Liberty Oaks Math and Science Night!

Tuesday, April 1 5:30-7:00

Motivating Your Child

Excerpted from the “Family Matters: Parent Guides.”

If you want your child to be a stellar student, don’t limit learning to the walls of his/her classroom. Although the skills he/she is learning there are crucial to his/her intellectual success, your child needs your help to really “open up the world of ideas,” according to child psychologist Robin Foreman, PhD. His/her renewed joy in discovery will transfer to his/her schoolwork, so you’ll boost his/her academic achievement, too!

Fill your child’s world with reading. Take turns reading with your older child, or establishing a family reading time when everyone reads his/her own book. It’s important to show him/her that it’s not only a school task. Demonstrate how important reading is to you by filling your home with printed materials: novels, newspaper, even posters and placemats with words on them. According to Stephanie Fanjul, director of student achievement at the National Education Association, “Children can learn to read by living in an environment that’s rich in words.” Children learn by seeing and doing.

Manners are Imperative

This article was excerpted from

Great manners are the backbone of a civilized society and make interacting with people a joy. Manners also create a strong first impression, and they pave the way to good jobs, smooth relations with family and friends, and an easier time out in the real world. The lesson here? Make it a priority to teach your children the manners suggested below before they turn thirteen.


1. Saying "Please" and "Thank you" should be as automatic as breathing.

2. Teach your children to apologize when they've done something wrong. ("What do you say to Matthew?" gives freedom for sincere expression rather than the rote "Tell Matthew you're sorry.")

3. When your kids receive a gift, teach then to write a thank-you note.


1. Teach your kids how to make a proper introduction: "Mom, I'd like you to meet my friend Laura."

2. Children should stand when meeting or greeting an adult.

3. Teach kids to introduce themselves. They can start with their friends' parents. "Hi, Mrs. Beatty. My name is Maria."

4. A handshake is proper upon introduction. Kissing is generally for relatives and close friends, and it's their prerogative if your children don't want to be kissed. Teach then to politely avoid the kiss rather than to grimace or say "Yuck."

5. "It's nice to meet you," is impressive coming from a child, so go ahead and teach it.


1. At the end of your child's visit to a friend's house, he should make a special point of thanking his friend's parents.


1. Turn the TV off or mute the sound during a conversation.

2. "What?" or "Huh?" are unacceptable forms of the much more polite "Pardon?" or "What did you say?"

3. Don't allow your kids to say "Shut up" to anyone.

Teaching manners is actually quite simple, but it requires two things: repetition and modelling. You as the parent must model these manners always. It is not okay for you to expect your children to say and do them but you yell "What?" up the stairs to your husband, wife or child. This is the part I love about good parenting - it forces you to grow as a person.

Another great tip is that when your child says "thank you" or "please" be sure to tell someone about it in front of your child. He/She doesn't need to be a part of the discussion, but even if they are in the general vicinity, you can bet they will hear and truly feel proud of themselves.

Reward Progress

When your child fulfills responsibilities properly, such as completing homework, organizing his/her room, doing chores, etc., reward him or her. While success is its own reward, the victorious child has earned your praise and a special privilege. Remember: Rewards don’t have to be elaborate or tangible. On the other hand, when your child does not fulfill his/her responsibilities, allow your child to face the consequences of his/her actions—or lack of action. You may have to let go, rather than protect your child from the consequences. There are many more adventures coming this school year!

Panama Canal Activities

This website is a compendium of information about the Panama Canal, past and present:

Queen Lililiuokalani's Last Days

Most impressive about this website are the actual photographs of Queen Liliuokalani:

You Mean There was a Gold Rush in Alaska, Too?

You bet there was--and we studied it this week! Here is a website providing additional information:

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


3/20- Family Fun Spring Dance

3/24- Kindergarten Round up 5:30-6:30

3/24- Baskin & Robbins 4-8pm

3/25- Spring Picture Day

3/30 to -4/3 NO SCHOOL, Spring Break


4/8- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

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-Chipotle night (4-8)

4/15- Opera at school

4/7-4/17- Boosterthon on Campus

4/16- Boosterthon Fun Run

4/21-Radical Challenge FT-5th Grade

4/22- Science Night 5:30-7:00

4/23- Culver’s Night (Teachers work) 5-8

4/24- Movie on the Playground

4/30- 2nd grade Field Trip


5/4-5/8- Staff Appreciation Week

5/6- Bike- to- school Day

5/6- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

5/7- Open House & Art Show, 5:30 pm

5/12- PTA General Meeting, 7:00 pm

5/12- Baskin & Robbins 4-8pm

5/14- All Pro Dads 7:00 am

5/14- 10/15- Chipotle night (4-8)

5/14- 5th Grade Picnic 11:30-12:30

5/15- Field Day

5/18- - 4th Grade Egg Drop

5/18- 5th Grade Recognition Breakfast, 8:00 am – 9:00 am

5/20 Early Release & Last Day of School, 11:50 am

Next Week's Specials

Here is the specials schedule for next week:

Monday, March 31: Art

Tuesday, April 1: Library

Wednesday, April 2: Music

Thursday, April 3: P.E.

Friday, April 4: Art