Mrs. O'Rourke's Panther Press

For the week of Feb 20

Kindness Ninja Project

What a success!! The students seemed to have a fun time secretly researching a peer during the past few weeks to create a meaningful poster and informational write up about another person. The smiles were from ear to ear, and the conversations that I overheard and the gratitude that was shown made it a very worthy project.
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HUMANITARIANISM PROJECT #2 due Wed. February 21st

Year-Long Humanitarian Projects

Detailed information can be found on Canvas in the Humanitarian Projects Module, but here are the basics:

• This year students will have the opportunity to show 3 different humanitarian acts within the community.

• Each project will be documented with a picture of the student performing the act/event and a short paragraph. These will be displayed all year to celebrate our acts of good will.

• Between Mrs. O'Rourke's and Ms. Hill’s class, it is our goal to perform 300 acts within our community.

ISTEP - Feb 26 - March 5th

Students will be taking ISTEP next week. The school recommends that families do their best to avoid scheduling appointments that would disrupt the school day during these days. For Humanities, students will be taking the test in our regular Humanities blocks on Tuesday and Wednesday 2/27 & 2/28. We will be reviewing the online ISTEP experience in class this next week so that students feel familiar with the test formatting before the test. Please encourage them to do their best, but remind them there is no reason to stress. They are well prepared, and if they use their knowledge and the strategies we're learning, they will rock it! :)

If you would like to review more information about ISTEP, I have included the Indiana Department of Education's link below.


At the beginning of the year, I ask student to place a few key supplies in their pencil pouches to use each day. I keep an extra stock of everything in class so that if a student loses an item, then she/he can just grab one from my extra supplies. I never mind if they just take from my bin if they lose something or have something run out on them. However, some of my "surplus bins" have run out and we still have a lot of school left :). Please have your child show you his/her pencil pouch and make sure the following items are in there and ready to use in Humanities each day.

Pencils (a few would be good - I do still have some of these in my community bin that kids can have if they run out)

*Student editing pen/thin felt tip marker (not sharpies, please - they bleed through onto the desks, and highlighters are not good for editing. Red or any other bright color is fine but not light, hard-to-see colors)


Dry erase marker

**If your child does not have some of the supplies above, please replace them as soon as possible.

Thanks for keeping your kiddos well stocked so that we can maximize our class time.

Studying vs. Cramming

Part of our job as teachers is to help students learn various strategies to help them study, learn and retain concepts. We had an important discussion this week about the value of taking time to break up a topic and study it in parts rather than leaving the studying until just a few days before an assessment. Ideally, each day, a student should feel a little more confident about the subject matter than the day before. We talked about how this helps us really learn, apply and retain the information that we are learning. On any given night, your child should always have something that he or she could spend 10 minutes reviewing or preparing for. Please ask your child what he or she is doing to prepare for any upcoming assessments and help guide them and set schedules to avoid making "cramming" a study habit. Your support at home is SO appreciated! I want these kiddos to be the best that they can be!

Learning highlights from the past few weeks

O.Henry Author Study

Over the next few weeks as we focus on Literary Essays, situational irony, and creating literary essays with solid evidence to back our ideas, we will be reading some short stories by classic American author, O. Henry. He has hundreds of short stories from his time writing at the turn of the 20th Century that are still quite humorous and surprising to readers today. If you've never read a story by him, ask your children to share some of the short stories with you at home. Reading together as a family is always a fabulous way to help produce life-long readers!

#LOVEFISHERS Essay Contest

The city of Fishers is holding an essay contest for students to share all the reasons they LOVE living in Fishers. Please see the link below for entry details.


Your child should have read about 16-17 books by the end of February. Please check in with him or her.

Independent reading of self-selected text is, statistically, the most effective way for a person's reading abilities to grow and vocabulary to increase. Students have a 25 book reading requirement for the year. By now, they should have completed about 14 books. Please check in with your child to ensure that he/she is reading at home at least 15-20 minutes a day from a book that he/she enjoys. If kids are in a "reading rut" and can't find a book they like, they know that they can come see me for suggestions. I always have plenty of suggestions, and our classroom library is pretty extensive!! I know the students have other obligations, but establishing a reading routine at home will help your child in oh so many ways!! Happy reading!

2018 Civics Education Essay Competition - Enrichment Opportunity

Thank you, Mr. Hand, for forwarding this information/opportunity.



In recognition of Law Day, May 1, 2018, the National Center for State Courts is sponsoring a contest for elementary, middle school, and high school students. The contest entries will be divided into three groups: 3rd-5th graders, 6th-8th graders and 9th-12th graders.

Each grade group is encouraged to answer the following essay question:
Why did our Founding Fathers create three branches of government?

For more information about how your child can enter, see the link below.

Upcoming Assessments and Project Due Dates

This section will contain upcoming assessments so that parents can help students stay on top of their studying.

Next Few Weeks:

On going: Literary Essay Writing

Wednesday, 2/21 - 2nd Humanitarianism Projects Due

2/26-3/5 - ISTEP Testing


Canvas is the HSE district's new online learning management system. It has replaced Blackboard. Our classes and our students are all using Canvas now. Family access is slated to be available in October. More news to come!