Weekly Update - Owl #14

Hybrid Learning Week 10


It was a pleasure to meet with families last week to summarize student progress. I realize that this is a crazy time and an especially crazy time of year so if it didn't work for you to meet with me during conference time, please reach out in the future should you desire a conference. It would be my pleasure to meet with you.

Math Fact Fluency and Reading

Two topics that came up, again and again, during conferences were math fact fluency and independent reading.

Many students, as we might expect, lack the fact fluency to make the kind of progress that we'd like to see them making now that kids are back for some in-person learning. Fact fluency really is critical to mathematics learning. Without fluency, everything is much harder. Students who lack fluency will struggle through not only multiplication and division work but will continue to flounder as we take on fraction work, decimal work, and work around area and perimeter. One frustration I've heard communicated for years now is that we teach mathematics in such a different way today that it is challenging for parents to help their children. Truly, you can help your child to learn their facts in the same ways that you were helped. My own experience wasn't always fun. It involved being tested on my facts orally with flashcards and then my mom would make me write out the facts that I didn't know ten times each. (Think: 7 x 8 = 56, 7 x 8 = 56, 7 x 8 =56, etc.). Inexpensive flashcards can usually be purchased at places like the Dollar Store, Big Lots, Ocean State, and CVS. There are many game type apps available online for free too. I am attaching some links to some flashcards that are conceptual. I'm also attaching a link to a Google Slide show that I put together so that kids can practice these facts. By the end of fourth grade, students need to be fluent with their facts through 12 x 12.

During conferences, the conversation always turns to recreational reading and at home reading habits. Parents communicated that they would like to see a renewed passion for independent reading for pleasure. Admittedly, I have not been giving the students time to read in school which is the opposite of my typical practice. There is convincing research that suggests that students who read for pleasure outperform their classmates across ALL subjects, not just reading. For that reason, and because I believe that inspiring students to become lifelong readers will provide for not only success but happiness, carving out time during the school day, even if only 20 minutes, was important. Given that I only have your sweet children in school for two days a week, I've been hesitant to dedicate the time to independent reading. However, I will be working over the holidays to design literature circle instruction that will provide our students with an opportunity to read some wonderful literature, in a more social setting (think adult book clubs), while still developing skills and strategies. To the degree that you are able, please encourage your child to read at home. Ideally, your student should be reading for at least 20 minutes daily. As a mom, I am fully aware that we are all picking our battles these days. Please do what you can.

Not Your Mom's Flashcards

Google Slide Version of Not Your Mom's Flashcards

Yes, I hope to buy a goat!

Many years ago now, I started a tradition with my class after reading the picture book, Beatrice's Goat. It is the story of a young girl whose life is transformed because her family received the gift of a goat. In the story, Beatrice's family was given the training necessary to prepare their property for the goat, they were taught how to care for the goat and how to market their goat milk and cheeses. Because of this gift, Beatrice was able to attend school and her family was able to build a new, modest hut. Since first reading the book I have purchased many goats, a handful of chickens, a flock or two of birds, and even a water buffalo along with my students.

This year I told my students that I would purchase a goat on their behalf if they met their STMath goals for the next couple of weeks. They were pretty pleased with this arrangement. Motivated, they had no trouble meeting last week's goal.

When I showed them the catalog of animals we could purchase, a few wondered aloud if we couldn't do just a little bit more. I told them that they were welcome to donate toward this cause too but that they would need to earn the money. If, and only if, your family is able, please consider allowing your child to do some chores around the house to earn his or her donation. A donation of even a few dollars will help our class to make a difference. I have attached a link to the catalog so that you can read more about this project.

Thank you!

Heifer International

Weekly Workflow Checklist

Please find the weekly workflow checklist HERE.

December Calendar

I hope that the below link is helpful in navigating this month.

MURSD December Calendar

Packing for Hogwarts this Week

  • A fully charged iPad
  • Green Clough folder
  • Wonders Reading/Writing Companion (Unit 1-2) Workbook
  • Chapter 2 - Go Math!
  • 3 Composition Notebooks (Dear Harry, Math, Reading)
  • Pencil box containing things like pencils, scissors, glue stick, colored pencils, pencil sharpener, crayons, etc.
  • A spare mask in a ziplock bag
  • Snack and a water bottle

(Large white binders can stay at home)

Flu Vaccination

Flu Vaccine Documentation
Per the MA Department of Public Health, influenza immunization will be required for all children 6 months of age or older who are attending Massachusetts child care, pre-school, kindergarten, K-12, and colleges and universities. The new vaccine requirement is an important step to reduce flu-related illness and the overall impact of respiratory illness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All MURSD students will be expected to have received a flu vaccine by December 31, 2020, for the 2020-2021 influenza season, unless either a medical or religious exemption is provided. Also exempted are K-12 students who are homeschooled and higher education students who are completely off-campus and engaged in remote learning only. This new flu immunization requirement to enter school in January is in addition to existing vaccine requirements for all those attending child care, preschool, K-12, and colleges and universities in Massachusetts. Elementary and secondary students in districts and schools that are using a remote education model are not exempt.

Please provide documentation of your child’s flu vaccine to the school nurse prior to December 31, 2020. Please click here for more information on the flu vaccine requirement.