Issue 31-March 27, 2015


Will we measure up? Working with fractions and patterns; planting little seeds to grow big plants; and championing mighty causes with Theodore Roosevelt has kept us busy this week! The long and the short of it can be found below:

1. Math: Graphing fraction-related data and generating patterns, as well as graphing ordered pairs, was the focus. Students used their skills in games of "Do the Math," "Contig," and "Express Yourself"!

2. Reading: We ventured forth on a "Quest for the Tree Kangaroo," featuring the opportunity to explain relationships between individuals, events, ideas, and concepts in a text. In conjunction with planting gardens, in science, we visited a strange farmer and his family, via "McBroom Tells the Truth," a way out fantasy story. The grammar focus was using conjunctions, such as and, but, and or, to combine sentences and ideas.

3. Writing: We discovered that writers don’t just say what they think personally. They give compelling evidence to prove their point. To do this, they pore over research materials, analyzing which evidence will really support their claim—perhaps the exact evidence that convinced them in the first place—and they often start by putting that evidence into their letters in their own words. We discussed that, when you write arguments essays, as when you write stories and research reports, it helps to include the exact words that people say. You already know in stories, quotations can make a character come to life. In the same way, quotations can also make your view, your position, come to life

4. Social Studies: We examined how reformers worked to improved conditions in the United States during the early years of the industrial age. We explored Blue Laws, John Muir, and Yosemite National Park and Grand Canyon National Monument. We worked to develop an understanding of--and be able to create--political cartoons, many of which featured Theodore Roosevelt! We also identified how the automobile changed American culture in the early 1900s by learning about the innovations of Henry Ford.

5. Science: An investigation of invertebrates involved us in learning about structure and function. Our monumental Vertebrates Jigsaw Tournament was held on Friday, March 27.. And we have also begun to study plants; each student designed a garden comprised of annual, biennial, and perennials. During the coming weeks, the plants will be measured and the characteristics studied.

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Spelling, Unit 30

On Friday, your child will take the Unit 29 spelling test--and the Unit 30 spelling pre-test. Therefore, he/she should bring home his/her Unit 30 spelling list. Here is a link to the words in the event that you need an extra copy:

The homework is not available via the Spelling Connections website (since this is a review unit). Have your child email me if he/she needs an extra copy of the homework.

The Smarter Balanced (M.A.P., C.A.T.) Assessment is Coming

We will be testing every day, MORNING AND AFTERNOON, Monday through Friday, during the

Weeks of April 27 through May 1

AND May 4 through 8.

It is IMPERATIVE that your child be at school, if at all possible, each of those days, all day long. If at all possible, please schedule appointments for 3:00 P.M. or later!

Radical Challenge

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, this field trip will be cancelled. Most likely, it will be impossible 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.

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!

Helping Your Child Stay Focused in the Spring

This article was excerpted from

April is here, and the days are starting to get a little longer again, the sun a bit warmer, and on most mornings the birds are out chirping in full-force. Hints of spring are everywhere. But is your little Suzy dragging her feet in the schoolwork arena? Do you know she could do better than the coasting through class she seems to be exhibiting? Perhaps your youngster’s lack of initiative is more than just a case of spring fever. This is a difficult time of year for some students, as they are past the excitement of the holiday season, losing steam because they are two-thirds done with the school year, and feeling a little disenchanted until summer break draws nearer. Here are some easy pointers:
1. Get Organized: Most students—from 1st graders to seniors in high school—will perform better if they are organized. The earlier he/she recognizes this, the better. Begin with the backpack, help make sure that everything has a place and there is no excess. So, while school supply shopping is the highlight of back-to-school time for many children, don’t let little Bobby go overboard. Allow children to have two or three pens or pencils at a time, not 47. Fewer pens are easier to keep track of, and your child will learn about being responsible and keeping things in order. Have a folder for each class and keep notes or handouts in one pocket, and homework or assignments to be turned-in on the other side, so your student will know where exactly to find an assignment and won’t spend the entire homework session rifling through a blizzard of crinkled papers ranging from math worksheets to social studies handouts.
2. Set the Schedule: Next, set up a homework schedule and be firm about it. Ten minutes of homework time per-grade is a fair benchmark (a first grader will have 10 minutes of homework, a sixth grader an hour), but be sure to talk with the teacher to get accurate estimations of what is expected of your student. Remember, homework time means homework time. Do not allow your student to have distractions such as friends, T.V. computers, snacks strewn about, etc.

Be Consistent

By knowing what needs to happen, where, and how; students begin to develop routines and schedules. Organization in one area of their lives will spill over into other areas for later on in life as well. As a synthesis between organization and scheduling, make sure your child has some consistency and routine in his/her life. Upon arriving home, have him or her empty out the backpack. Take out the lunch box (that is, if it made it home in the first place…), and put books and folders at a designated homework spot. Don’t let the child read or do homework on the bed or a couch, because he or she will inevitably get a little sleepy, want to play with stuffed animals, etc. Remember, you are trying to make sure your student gets on-task and done with work as quickly as possible!

Teaching Pre-Teen Hygiene


The following article is from

Does your daughter go for days without washing her hair? Does your son fret about impressing girls and always want to look and smell his best? Either way, bodies sometimes mature faster than grooming habits. While this can be touchy ground, appeal to your child's growing maturity. Offer support and advice, but make it clear that these self-care tasks are his responsibility — and you know he can handle them.

Bother to Bathe. The most basic of hygiene rituals — but somehow the old soapy routine doesn't appeal to all tweens. A shower every day or two is a must, and always after a rigorous sports practice or outdoor play. Equip her with washcloths and soap, or special face and body washes for her skin type.

Make Time for Toothbrushing. While it may bewilder you to think about that fuzzy feeling of unbrushed teeth, some kids hate to do the deed. Be persistent. Talk about gingivitis, cavities, and bad breath (often the most convincing evil of all). Always have floss and mouthwash on hand.

Look, Ma: Clean Hands. Encourage frequent hand-washing, especially before eating and after using the bathroom, sneezing, or playing with pets. Make sure your child knows to scrub with warm soapy water for at least 15 seconds, rinse, and dry.

Sweep Away Sweat. Body odor usually becomes evident when puberty hits. Discuss the difference between deodorant, which controls bacteria while adding fragrance, and antiperspirant, which is supposed to stop or limit sweating.

De-Grease Hair. Many preteens find their hair gets oilier as they grow. Encourage a thorough washing every day or two. An added benefit: keeping hair clean and out of your child's face will lessen breakouts caused by oil and greasy hair products.

The Five Vertebrate Groups

Students are researching the five vertebrate groups for an upcoming Jigsaw Tournament. Here is an excellent resource:

Progressive Era YouTube Video

Would you like to learn about the Progressive Era in American History? In less than 10 minutes, you will get a handle on it; just watch this video!

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


3/24- 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

The Specials Schedule in Two Weeks

Here is the specials schedule for next week:

Monday, April 6: P.E.

Tuesday, April 7: Art

Wednesday, April 8: Library

Thursday, April 9: Music

Friday, April 10: P.E.