Pleasant Grove AIG Updates

February/March 2019

I can't believe how fast February flew by! We are now beginning March, so I will recap February for my fourth and fifth grade parents and give a preview of what all students will be learning in the upcoming weeks. I hope you'll find the information below as valuable as I did about how important it is for us, as parents, to shift our thinking about failure and to be purposeful in our reactions to failure. Setting a "good failure example" is a challenge I face with my own children that I aim to improve!

~ Mrs. Foxx

Why we need to fail

Children learn how to behave by imitating others. That means one of the most powerful ways you can help your child develop a growth mindset is to model it with your own actions. New research shows that one powerful way that parents model mindset in front of their children is through their reaction to failure.

Model making mistakes

Modeling a growth mindset means being willing to try hard even when failure is likely because that's how growth happens. For example, parents should try to get excited when their children make mistakes because these mistakes can reveal important conceptual gaps that should be filled. When adults get excited about the learning that mistakes can facilitate, children start to think of mistakes as a natural part of the learning process. This leads to a few important changes in learning behavior:

  1. Children stop avoiding challenging work just because it could mean making more mistakes.
  2. Children become less likely to try to "sweep mistakes under the rug" because they stop thinking of them as something to be ashamed of.

Action Ideas

  • Make mistakes in front of your kids, have a positive reaction to those mistakes, and openly reflect on what could be learned from the mistake. Try to show that it's all about learning, not about being right.
  • At the dinner table, talk about a time that you struggled with something and how hard it is and how you overcame it. Then ask your kids if there's anything they struggled with, how they overcome it, and what they learned from the experience.
  • Get excited when your child makes a mistake and help her think through what could be learned from it. Even mistakes that seem careless can be good learning opportunities. For example, if your child forgot to study enough for an important test, it might be an opportunity to learn about prioritization and to-do-lists.


Learn more from psychologist Carol Dweck about how the type of praise we give our students can create a fixed mindset and a fear of failure in the video below:
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5th Grade

Language Arts

Fifth graders have been working hard on their rainforest research! They have successfully collaborated and improved their communication skills each week as they add the finishing touches to their TED talks. Presentations will begin next week! We are using Google slides with this project, so I hope your student has shared his or her hard work with you at home!

Next, we will be focusing on debating and opinion writing. We will begin by examining the parts of a good debate. Then, we will play an argument game where students pick different topics and decide if they are pro or con and defend their stance. We will discuss how persuasive words and convincing phrases can strengthen your stance. After that we will be focusing on coming up with solid assertions, reasonings, evidence and conclusions. Students will then pick a topic and have a debate.


During February, students used their knowledge of fractions to work on building their estimating fraction skills. Each student created a snowflake and was challenged to estimate the amount of space that was cut out of the snowflake. A variety of strategies were discovered and shared. You can see some of their work in the pictures above.

Students have also been exposed to a variety of riddles and puzzles during the past few weeks to strengthen their logical reasoning skills as well as their growth mindsets. So many are still quick to give up right away when faced with a harder challenge. Perseverance is a skill that sometimes has to be practiced!

Coming up soon, we will celebrate Pi Day on March 14th! The students will use their knowledge of fractions and decimals to calculate Pi with various circles. They will explore the concepts of circumference and diameter and participate in a hands-on activity to prove Pi.
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4th grade

Language Arts

Fourth grade students have been finishing up their "hybrid animal" reports. We have been focusing on research skills and identifying important animal adaptations. Students have used their critical thinking and creativity to produce something imaginary with realistic and possible characteristics and adaptations. See pictures of some of our finished creatures below! Can you guess what they are?

For our next unit and to enhance students' language arts study of the American Revolution, we are reading the novel Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. This novel will expose students to historical information while revealing a different perspective of the revolution, through the eyes of African American children. Students will strengthen their communication and critical thinking skills as we analyze and discuss the novel through Socratic seminars. Providing text evidence to support our thinking is always an expectation.


In math, students have been working with a variety of activities with fractions. I introduced the students to tangram puzzles and how we could use them to identify fractions. The first challenge given to them was to use the seven pieces to create the tangram square. This definitely stretched their perseverance skills! They were so proud when they finally put all seven pieces together! We will continue to work with fractions in the weeks ahead by comparing, adding, and subtracting them through problem solving activities.

Welcome 3rd graders!

This month, I have the privilege of beginning AIG classes with third grade students. I am always so excited to welcome new kiddos into the AIG family! I look forward to getting to know you and your student as we begin our learning adventures together!

Important Announcement

The Single Subject Advancement (SSA) nomination window will open on April 23 - May 6. The testing window will be May 14-20. I will provide more information on my website and through the Pleasant Grove weekly update as it becomes available. Please keep these dates in mind if you are interested in having your student test for SSA in math or language arts.