Issue 10-October 9, 2013


The Salem Witch Trials; Houdini's magical life; and mesmerizing comic books: The details of this week's "Hat Tricks" can be found here:

1. Math: We performed some "A-mazing" mathe-magic as students examined the relationship between multiplication and division, going on a "Division Drop," "Find the Factor," "Flip Flop," and doing an "Elimination," games to achieve mastery of math skills.

2. Reading: Making inferences at a whole new level was achieved as we investigated "Food in the Balance," scrutinizing Cracker Barrel menus to generate a balanced diet. We also did a close reading of an article about Harry Houdini--and as student magicians prepared to play tricks on the eyes as well as the mind. We also propelled ourselves into the realm of comic books as we immersed ourselves in an excerpt of the book, Lunch Money. Our grammar emphasis was on adjectives.

3. Writing: We learned that when writing a story, you aim to put the exact thing that you—or the character—did or saw before you thought something, felt something. As you write, recall how it went. You ask, “What was the exact sequence of actions?” Then you put that sequence onto the page so the reader can go through those actions too, and have those reactions. We also sought to ensure that every character, main and secondary, plays a role in forwarding the larger meaning of the story.

4. Social Studies: Life in the colonies focused on the Salem Witch Trials; the life of Benjamin Franklin, featuring a play; the geography of the 13 colonies; and the struggles of John Peter Zenger, who campaigned for "Freedom of the Press."

5. Science: "Water, Water Everywhere" has been a weeklong investigation featuring evaporation and condensation. We learned about clouds and precipitation and factors that affect the water cycle. Student teams made presentations, featuring "blue screen" techniques, to broadcast information about the 10 cloud types!

Big image



Conferences are schedule for the Week of October 20. Please make sure that you have reserved a day and a time:

Spelling, Unit 9

On Thursday, your child will take the Unit 8 spelling test--and the Unit 9 spelling pre-test. Therefore, he/she should bring home his/her Unit 9 spelling list--and the Unit 9 spelling homework. Here are links to the words and the homework, in the event that you need an extra copy.

The Great Harry Houdini

Would you like to learn more about the Great Harry Houdini? Check out this mesmerizing website:

Magic Shows Slated for Thursday, October 9!

Your child will get to prove that the hand is quicker than the eye when he/she participates in the Station 313 Magic Show Extravaganza! Here's a link to a website featuring ways to dazzle and amuse people with mesmerizing magic tricks:

Helping Your Child Make Decisions

Article excerpted from Fatherhood Guide, by Wayne Parker

Thomas was a high-strung kid. He had reached the stage where he was sure that his dad was just not as smart as he was. One morning, Thomas's dad was getting the kids off to school while his mom was out of town. Something Thomas's dad did wasn't exactly the way his mom would have done it, and Thomas kind of freaked out. He ran out the back door and climbed high up in the tree in the back yard to a very high branch - certainly higher than his father could climb and he refused to go to school. No amount of coaxing or bribing on the part of his dad could convince him otherwise. Dad had little choice but to get the other kids to school while Thomas pondered his actions high up in the tree. Later, after he calmed down and regained his temper, he carefully climbed down the tree and went to school. But his father knew that there had to be consequences for the inappropriate behavior. So Thomas got a tardy mark at school and had to stay for detention. When he returned home, Thomas's dad gave him an assignment to write a report on how he should act when things don't go the way he expects. And then Thomas and his dad had a long talk about making decisions. If you were Thomas's father, what would you tell him about making good decisions? How would you suggest that he think about his choices and make the best decision?

Helping children learn to think about and make good decisions is one of the most critical gifts a father can give.

Teach by example. Model your own best decision making skills where you children can watch and learn. For example, if you are in the mall and want something but don't buy it, visit with them about your decision and why you chose not to buy.

Start them off with a few options. When you are giving your children a choice, only give them a couple of options. "For dinner tomorrow night, would you rather have spaghetti or tacos?" Having some successful decisions where the choices are limited will help children develop confidence in their decision making skills.

A Decision-Making Formula


Article excerpted from

Most successful decisions come after following a basic formula. There are many, but most follow a pattern like this:

Define the problem. What is the decision you need to make? What is the problem it solves?

Explore the choices. To solve the problem, what options do I have? Are all the choices possible? Are they safe or risky? Ask lots of "what if" questions like, "What if I fail at this choice?"

Understand the consequences. Each choice has pluses and minuses. Some choices cost more than others or take more resources. Some choices have immediate benefits; for others, the benefits are delayed. Some choices made will preclude others. Thinking through the consequences of each choice will help children learn to narrow the range of acceptable choices.

Make a decision. When there are different choices, your child must pick one and implement it. Stalling out a decision without a good reason is just indecisiveness.

Evaluate and learn from the decision. Once a decision is made, find out what you can learn. If the decision was the best one, look at how the decision was made and help that become a pattern. If it was the wrong decision, look at the process and see what the children missed.

Don't solve their problems. Too often, parents want to be in the "fix it" mode and try to solve problems for their children. Rather than making a decision for your children, help them make it themselves. And then don't bail them out when things go wrong if they do.

Be there before they decide. When the children are younger, be around them enough that you can help them think things through before they make a decision. Talking your children through the process before is a lot easier than helping them repair a mistake later. Taking the time to walk your children through the process of making a decision will help them learn the best way to decide. Remember, they will learn more from a little trial and error than they will if you make every decision for them. Having strong problem solving and decision making skills will help your children learn what they need to be strong decision makers in their adult life.

Involving Your Child in Decision-Making

Article excerpted from

1. Show your children by example how decisions need to be made. Whether big or little choices, giving them a solid example on how to choose and what variables you use, as a parent, to make choices helps them understand how a choose is made. It also allows a child to see how a choice has a result to identify what result they want.

2. Talk to kids about your decisions as you make them. Decisions as simple as picking apples to as complex as how to drive a new way home give children an insight on what you do and how they can mimic it (until they get a grasp on actually choosing themselves.)

3. Allow your child to make small decisions around the house and for school to help them practice for bigger choices later in life. After each decision, give them praise for their choice and offer positive constructive criticism for the choice. Include time to dwell positively on the results.

4. Remind your children that decisions don't have to be rushed. As adults some choices we make are instantaneous, but other don't need to be made immediately. Encourage kids to think about their decisions before they finalize them to ensure the outcome they want to see.

Colonial Kids ThinkQuest

Send your child back in time, to the Colonial era, via this website:

United Way Week

Spirit Week for United Way

Next week (10/13-10/17) is our United Way campaign! Each day next week, we will be collecting coins and dollars to raise money for United Way, our goal is $3,000. If you would like to donate, please send the following coins with your child next week and have them wear the following in celebration of the week…

Monday: Reach for the stars (penny day and pajama day)

Tuesday: Find your Match for United Way (nickel day and twin day)

Wednesday: Mix it up United Way (dime day and mix-n-match day)

Thursday: Dress from your favorite decade (50s, 80s, 90s) for United Way (quarter day and decade day)

Friday: Show Your Lion’s Pride (dollar day and school spirit day)

Halloween Party

Our Halloween party will be on Friday, October 31, from 2:10 to 2:40 P.M. If your child chooses to wear a costume at the party, he/she will need to bring it to school in a sack. The costume should not include weapons, blood, or gore.

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:

Next Week's Specials

Here is the specials schedule for next week:

Monday, October 13: P.E.

Tuesday, October 14: Art

Wednesday, October 15: Library

Thursday, October 16: Music

Friday, October 17: P.E.



10/9- Early Release, 12:50 pm, Prof. Dev.

10/9- All Pro Dads 7:00 am (library)

10/10- NO SCHOOL Elementary In Service

10/14 -PTA Exec. Board Meeting 7:00 pm

10/17- Fall Family Square Dance

- Scholastic Book fair

10/23- Parent/Teach Conferences, 4:30-8:00

10/23- Early Release, 12:50 pm Elementary Conf.

10/24- No School Secondary In Service

10/31- Fall Parties, 2:20-2:50 pm


11/5- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

11/11 - PTA Meeting 7:00 pm

11/13- All Pro Dads 7:00 am (library)

11/13- 1st Grade Music Program5:30 pm

11/18- - Math and Science Night

11/20- 4th Grade Earthworks Field Trip

11/20-5th grade & Choir Concert 5:30

11/26-11/30 Thanksgiving Holiday


12/2-12/6- Liberty Food Drive Community tree

12/3- CiCi’s Pizza Night, 4:30-8:00 pm

12/4 - 4th Grade Music program 5:30

12/8- PTA Exec Board meeting

12/11- All Pro Dads 7:00 am (library)

12/11- Kindergarten Music Program, 2:00pm

12/19- Winter Parties, 2:20-2:50/1st Sem. Ends

12/22-1/5 Winter Break