Martin's Memos

Volume 2, Issue 16: December 21, 2018

This Week


Please carefully read over the newsletter and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you to all of the parent who volunteered their time or sent in items for today's party! A big shout out to Jenni Wloch and Kim Lavallee for coordinating it!

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

-Ms. Kate Martin

Winter Party Pictures!

Thank You!

Thank you so much for all of the gifts! They are so thoughtful and amazing. The BEST part about this time of year are the hand-written notes I get from the kids. I keep them because they remind me why I come here everyday and why this work is so important. Thank you again!
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Positivity Project

This week focused on another strength: Self-Control

For individuals, self-control helps them delay the short-term gain in pursuit of a greater, long-term success. This strength is associated with having an “internal locus of control;” of being in control of (and responsible for) your own personal choices – and the outcomes of those choices. It gives people the power to diet, study for an exam, or practice a musical instrument. Some psychologists have likened self-control to a muscle: it gets stronger the more it’s used.

A group’s ability to demonstrate self-control often appears in the form of “self-monitoring.” This means that individuals demonstrate honesty with one another about successful group practices. When things are unsuccessful, group members have the ability to adjust roles in the interest of overall group success. It’s a crucial strength in our modern society and its mentality of impulsivity and consumption.

Need Fun Educational Ideas for Winter Break? Try These!

How about podcasts for kids? Great for long car rides!
Free audiobooks!
TED Talks for Kids!
Good old stand-bys.....

  • Khan Academy! Create a challenge for your child! How many points can they earn?
  • Reading....reading.....reading!

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 continued a social studies unit on Colonization. They will had a quiz on Monday since this is quite a large unit. The students also continued working on a biography project on their chosen historical figure from the 1600's/development of the colonies. Presentations are due on January 15th, and the test is scheduled for January 16th.

Reading: We are continuing to learn how to read and respond to nonfiction texts in our new unit - "Reading the Weather, Reading the World"! This week the students presented their work in groups in which they researched a topic on extreme events. They had to determine subtopics, delegate responsibilities, research and present to the class using their summarizing strategies.

Writing: We are continuing to write our 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. The students are starting their drafts and well on their way. We will be using our checklist to determine what we need to work on/revise/edit.

Enrichment: The students presented their enrichment projects this week! They significantly improved from the 1st enrichment project...but there is still more the learn from and grow.

Looking Forward to Next Week...

Positivity Project (P2)/Character Education: Perseverance

Math: Students will continue their in their math groups.

Yellow- I can understand percents and interest.

Green-I can understand integers and the coordinate plane.

Orange- I can interpret word problems.

Social Studies (5th): The 5th graders will continue a social studies unit on Colonization.

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 begin a new enrichment project - we will partner with all of the GT classes to benefit the Detroit Dog Rescue in honor of Ms. Scott. More information to come!

Congratulations to our 5th Grade GT Classroom Spelling Bee Winners!

Luca Nowinski, Aapratim Bhowmick, Annabel Anderson, Nicolas Chaparro, Katie McLaughlin, and Georgie Schaffer! These students are moving on to compete against other Woodland 5th graders at the school-wide Bee on January 24th. The students have a new list of words. Parents may attend - the time will be around 1:30.

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Continuous Important 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.

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 based on minutes per month! The students will receive the Reading Log by Minutes to keep track of the minutes. (linked above)

January goal = 775 minutes!

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

Jan. 8: PTO Meeting 7-9

Jan. 21: No School

Jan. 29: SOC Information Night @ Meadows - current families welcome at 6:30

Jan. 31: DIA Field Trip with Ms. Green

Feb. 6-Mar.8: SOC Application Window

Feb. 7: Late start or early dismissal

Feb. 7: SOC Information Night @ Meadows - current families welcome at 6:30

Feb. 14: Valentines exchange @ 10:45; 1/2 day

Feb. 15-19: Mid-Winter Break

Feb.26: 4th grade concert

Mar. 14: Late start or early dismissal

Apr. 1-5: Spring Break

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!