Issue 22-January 29, 2016


"Dot, Dot, Dot...DONE! The last rail is laid! The last spike is driven! The Pacific Railroad is completed!" We have moved on down the line, with the building of the Transcontinental Railroad--and the following:

1. Math: Solving word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions was our goal. We also estimated fraction sums by playing "Fraction Action, Fraction Friction."

2. Reading: Prairie-themed literature--"Fall Comes to Appalachia" and "Old Yeller"--provided us with the opportunity to compare and contrast characters, settings, or events, drawing on details. The grammar emphasis was on direct and indirect objects.

3. Writing: We discovered that, when you write and revise as a historian, it is important to keep in mind not only qualities of great writing but also qualities of great history. For example, historians think it is important to include details about the places where things occurred—about the geography of that place—because geography will always have an impact on what occurs. And here’s the cool thing: a history writer can think about the places in which a bit of history occurred simply by keeping a map close by as he or she reads, takes notes, and writes. When you are researching something, you need to not just move facts from someone else’s book to your page. You also need to think, to come up with your own ideas. And one of the best ways to do this is to ask questions and then to find your own answers to those questions, even if your answers are tentative: “Maybe it’s because…” “I think it is because…” “I wonder if perhaps…”

4. Social Studies: The Transcontinental Railroad was our focus as students worked to describe the challenges faced by the Union Pacific railroad while evaluating the importance of Chinese workers to the Central Pacific railroad. Students prepared for the monumental Jigsaw Tournament, which was held on Wednesday, January 21! We also got a glimpse of pioneer life as students began to learn about homesteaders on the Great Plains.

5. Science: What is work, and how is it measured? We sought the answer by conducting a "Making Butter Experiment," which was structured in the form of a performance task. We also examined machines and work and compound machines. Students watched a video presentation while searching for examples of the six simple machines.

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Spelling, Unit 21

On Friday, your child will take the Unit 20 spelling test--and the Unit 21 spelling pre-test. Therefore, he/she should bring home his/her Unit 21 spelling list--and the Unit 21 spelling homework. Here are links to the words in the event that you need an extra copy. If your child needs another copy of the homework, ask him/her to email me!

Spring Conference Schedule

Conferences are coming in three weeks! Your child gets to attend this conference, to share with you his/her academic triumphs. Here is the schedule:

The Transcontinental Railroad

Here is a quick overview of the building of the first transcontinental railroad:

Simple Machines

Here is a website that contains some great photographs of the six simple machines:

Pennies for Patients Next Week!

Monday (2/1)- Midnight Monday (wear PJs) & Bring Pennies

Tuesday (2/2)- Let’s Glow Crazy (wear neon) & Bring nickels

Wednesday (2/3)- Wild Wednesday (wear animal print) & bring dimes

Thursday (2/4)- Throwback Thursday (wear past decades) & bring quarters

Friday (2/5)- Red Friday (wear KC Chiefs or red) & bring dollars

Helping Your Child Cope with Teasing

Article excerpted from

Children who are teased on a school bus, in class, or during recess often don't want to go to school. Unfortunately, teasing can occur anywhere, and it is difficult to prevent--despite the best efforts of parents, teachers, and school administrators to create a more cooperative atmosphere. Children often come home upset because they have been teased by other children. Parents cannot always protect children from these hurtful situations, but they can teach their children useful strategies to help them deal with teasing.


*ATTENTION. Teasing is a good way of receiving negative attention, and, unfortunately, for many children, negative

attention is better than no attention.

*PEER ACCEPTANCE. It is not uncommon to see children engage in teasing behavior because they may perceive it as being the "cool" thing to do. It may help them feel part of a group. The need to belong may be so strong that a child may tease others to be accepted by the "popular" children.

*MISUNDERSTANDING DIFFERENCES. A lack of understanding of "differences" may be the underlying factor in some teasing. Many children are not familiar with or do not understand cultural or ethnic differences. In some instances, a child with a physical or a learning disability may be the target of teasing because she is different. Some children criticize anyone who is different instead of trying to learn or understand what makes others special.

*MEDIA INFLUENCE. Our children are frequently exposed to teasing, put-downs, sarcasm, and a lack of respect in many of the television programs geared toward children.

Strategies for Parents

Article excerpted from

Not all teasing is harmful--playful teasing can be fun and constructive. Teasing and being the target of teasing can help young children develop social skills that they will need in adolescence and adulthood. Playful or good-humored teasing occurs when it causes everyone to smile or laugh, including the person who is being teased. In contrast, hurtful teasing includes ridicule, name-calling, put-downs, and saying or doing annoying things. Unlike playful teasing, hurtful teasing may cause the person being teased to feel sad, hurt, or angry. More hostile teasing, which may include tormenting or harassing, may require ongoing intervention by a parent, caregiver, teacher, or school administrator.

When your child experiences teasing, it is important to see the problem from the child's point of view. Sit down and listen attentively to your child in a nonjudgmental way. Ask your child to describe the teasing. Where is it happening? Who is the teaser? Understand and validate your child's feelings. It might be helpful to relate your experience of teasing as a child. The following strategies may also help:

*Do not overreact. A parent's overreaction can result in a child overreacting.

*Convey the message, "You can handle it."

*Encourage children to be with children who make them feel good, not bad.

*Review your own behavior. Do you model the behavior of a "victim," or do you tease your children inappropriately?

*Most types of teasing can be dealt with effectively by the children involved, sometimes with the assistance of parents, caregivers, teachers, social workers, or counselors.

Homework Strategies

Homework tips from longtime teachers Janice Harper and Lynn Morrison, authors of Homework is for Kids, not Parents:

1. Create a positive work environment. Together choose a quiet place that is well lit and free from distractions. A desk or table also helps.

2. Keep all supplies nearby. After each interruption to search for supplies, it takes a child 2 to 3 minutes to regain focus.

3. Arrange a fixed, nightly homework time. Treat it as you would an appointment.

4. Encourage your child to work independently. Completing assignments by themselves helps children to become confident, responsible and independent adults, key factors in their success inside and outside of school.

Kid Rex

Your child is beginning work on a research report. Here's the link to Kid Rex, a search engine that he/she has used at school:

Valentine Party

The Valentine’s Day party is rapidly approaching and will be held on Wednesday, February 10, from 2:10 to 2:40 p.m. Our class list is on your child's Friday Folder (You can also access a class list on my School Loop site.) Your child is not required to participate in giving valentines; however, if he/she does participate, a valentine should be included for each member of our class. I will provide a bag for each student, but, if your child would like to decorate a box at home, he/she is welcome to bring it to school on the day of the party. During the party, the students will get to “mail”—and open—their valentines.

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


2/2-PTA Exec. Board Meeting, 7:00 pm

2/5- Family Trivia Night

2/3 CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

2/8 through 2/11 Scholastic Book fair

2/9-Parent Teacher Conferences, 2:50-8:00 pm

2/10-Valentine Parties, 2:05-2:40 pm

2/11 All Pro Dads 7:10 AM - LGIR

2/11-Early Release, 12:50 Parent/Teach Conferences, 12:50-8:00


2/15- NO SCHOOL- President’s Day

2/18-Papa John’s Night

2/18-2nd Grade Music Program 5:30 pm

2/25-3rd Grade Music Program, 5:30 pm


3/2- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

3/8-PTA General Meeting, 7:00 pm

3/10- All Pro Dads 7:10 AM - LGIR

3/11-Family Fun Spring Dance

3/15 Kindergarten Round up 6:30-7:30

Spring Picture Day

3/21-3/25 NO SCHOOL, Spring Break

3/30 CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm


4/14- All Pro Dads 7:10 AM - LGIR

4/4 through 4/13 Boosterthon Fundraiser

4/7- Moms & Muffins 7:15-7:45 (Last name A-L)

4/8- Moms &-Muffins 7:15-7:45 (Last name M-Z)

4/12- PTA Exec. Board Meeting, 7:00 pm

4/19 Radical Challenge FT-5th Grade

Science Night 5:30-7:00

4/21 Culver’s Night (Teachers work)


5/2-5/6Staff Appreciation Week

Bike- to- school Day

5/4- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

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

5/10-PTA General Meeting, 7:00 pm

5/12 All Pro Dads 7:10 AM - LGIR

All Pro Dads 7:00 am

5th Grade Picnic 11:30-12:30

Field Day

4th Grade Egg Drop

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

5/23-Early Release & Last Day of School, 11:50 am