Language Arts Newsletter

February Edition

On the Road to FSA

Happy month of heart-shaped boxes, roses and all things LOVE. During the month of February In Language Arts, we will be celebrating our love of writing every day in preparation for the FSA Writing test on March 1st. It will be a jammed-packed 4 weeks of preparation: Everything from daily FSA-minded bellwork working on critical writing skills to practice essays to , yes, nonfiction reading & writing homework. We will still incorporate creative writing during our weekly Invitation to Write sessions. I encourage you to check out our Edmodo page, "Writers' Block" to see our students' creativity at play. Read on for important due dates, a calendar of upcoming lessons and tips for test success.

With love for all you do to support your child,

Mrs. Groman

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Progressbook Suggestions

I am so proud of our students for being on top of their Progressbook accounts. That said, we have found that it is becoming a bit of a distraction in class as students are checking their grades while they should be doing work (oh, the irony!). I encourage you to remind students of healthy, productive Progressbook monitoring. Just as we wouldn't want our students weighing themselves 10 times a day, we may not want to let students check their grades 10 times a day. I conducted an informal poll in classes and found that about 75% of our students check Progressbook MORE THAN 10 TIMES A DAY, the vast majority of it being done during class! Imagine: If they take 3 minutes each time they check their grades x 10 times a day ,that's 30 minutes a day of staring at Progressbook. That's a lot of learning time lost. Please remind students to leave Progressbook for after their work is done.
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Class Calandar

Click the link below to see an outline of the upcoming month. You can see due dates for homework, anticipated quizzes and when practice essays will be given. Keep in mind that the classroom is an organic place where things sometimes change on the fly. Stay informed of changes by checking Edmodo regularly.
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Tips for FSA

It's easy for students to get overwhelmed during "Testing Season." As we approach this oh-so-fun time of year, encourage students to get out and play in between study sessions. Read below for more tips to make the next 4-weeks a little easier:

1) Start a Study Group**: Take turns hosting a small gathering of kids to review for upcoming tests. It's a good way to make studying a little more fun for kids, plus parents get a night off when it's not your night! When it is your night, Hot 'N' Ready pizza to the rescue!

2) Stick with a Schedule**: Easier said than done, right? But do try to keep things somewhat consistent so kids know what to expect. Try setting a designated time for homework if your child typically struggles to complete work.

3) Check Edmodo: Teachers send out reminders and schedule-changes via Edmodo. As we get bogged-down grading practice tests, we may not be as quick to check email when we get home as we normally are, so Edmodo is your best friend for staying informed.

4) Fake it 'Til You Make It**: Use positive-framing when discussing tests. Instead of , "You'll get a horrible grade and not make it into college if you don't study this stuff!" try, "You're doing a great job juggling all your classes right now, keep on top of studying so things stay that way!" In other words, don't let them see you shake. If you express confidence in them, they stand a much better chance of sticking with their task and getting the job done.

**Tips provided by my lovely Mom, a former-ESE teacher and all-around awesome woman. I cannot even pretend to fathom the complexities of running a household, as I struggle to walk my dog in a timely manner each day, let alone keep a family on track!

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...For being your child's homework checker, chauffeur, social director and cheerleader! They love you for it.