Middle Creek Elementary

Common Core Newsletter

The Common Core State Standards

Dear Parents,

This year, North Carolina adopted the Common Core State Standards, resulting in changes to the curriculum taught in Wake County Public Schools. We understand that you, as a parent, want to support your child as much as possible with these new standards. Therefore, we have come up with some general and grade-level specific advice and resources to help you help your child.

As always, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher with any questions you may have.

Regards,

The Middle Creek Elementary Staff

General Resources and Advice

Start by getting to know the new Common Core State Standards. They can be accessed at: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/acre/standards/common-core/


Reading will be getting more challenging, so expect to see your child reading and using more complex texts. Appendix B of the Common Core standards is a useful document to read, giving examples of texts for each grade level and tasks that students may be asked to complete. Appendix B can be accessed at: http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf


The new standards encourage students to think more deeply about topics. Therefore, you may notice that some concepts are introduced earlier, and some have been eliminated, to allow students to explore concepts at a deeper level. Encourage your child to explain and justify their thinking.


Assessments and tests will change this year to reflect the new curriculum, including the EOG. For 3rd-5th graders taking the EOG’s, scores will NOT be available at the end of the school year. It is anticipated that they will be available mid-late fall.


Common Core Program Guides have been developed by the National PTA and are available here: http://www.wcpss.net/what-we-teach/curriculum/elementary.html


Wake County Public Schools provides a parent’s guide to the Common Core, which can be found here: http://www.wcpss.net/what-we-teach/curriculum/common-core.html

From Grade Level Teams

Kindergarten:

Math:
-Strong number sense (1-10): I can show different ways to break apart numbers (5 is made up of a group of 2 and group of 3)
-Fluent adding and subtraction (1-5): I can fluently add and subtract within 5.

Literacy:
-High level of phonemic awareness skills [(letter sounds, phoneme segmentation (breaking sounds apart), phoneme blending (blending sounds together)] to yield successful writing.

-Reading Strategies: I can retell a story including the story's sequence, characters, setting, and make a connection.


First grade

Reading

*increased emphasis on non-fiction

*when retelling focus on character traits, problem resolution, and author's purpose (with support from examples within the text)


Math

*counting on from any number e.g start from 12 and continue counting

*writing numbers above 100


Second grade:

Encourage your child to read a balance of nonfiction and fiction text everyday. This will help improve their fluency and comprehension skills.

Encourage your child to write everyday. The Common Core Standards place a great deal of emphasis on writing across the curriculum. A journal or diary is a great tool for this.


Third grade:

Students should be able to explain their thinking in all subjects. This requires providing evidence and support for their ideas and opinions from the text or from real world examples. (Math: explaining how they determined the answer of a multiplication problem 4x6=24; Writing: supporting their opinion on a topic with examples from a text or from their life; Reading: supporting comprehension questions with proof from the text.)

There is an equal focus on fiction and non-fiction (50/50) so students should be reading both at home.

There is a larger focus on grammar skills in literacy now. You can work with your child on things such as: prefixes, suffixes, root words, parts of speech, and expanding vocabulary in content areas (math, science, and social studies).



Fourth grade:

Language Arts

Parents should locate a quiet place in their home that children can read for 25 minutes a day.

Parents should have their child read out loud to them at least one night during the week and discuss with them what they have just read. This helps build their fluency.


Math

Ask your child to create and describe equal fractions. For example, have students take a sheet of paper, fold the paper in half, and then unfold and shade 1⁄2. Then have students take the same sheet of paper and fold the paper in a half again. Unfold the paper and have students discuss the number of parts that are now shaded. Encourage your child to talk about ways to show that 1⁄2 =2⁄4. (Students may continue this process creating other equal fractions.)

Allow children to help at home with baking, measurement, building projects, balancing the checkbook and/or any other real-world math problems.


Fifth Grade:

Language Arts

Parent should locate a place in their home that children can read uninterrupted.

Parents should get their child involved in the local library.

Parents should read with their child each day and help make real world connections


Math

Allow children to help with measurement in the home, by completing simple wood working projects, baking, etc.

Have children demonstrate multiple ways to multiply, divide, add and subtract whole numbers and decimals.

Encourage your child to explain how they are solving their mathematical equations.

From Our Specialist Teachers

Media Center Highlights

Middle Creek students already love to read, but now they have one more reason to get excited about their school library – new books! Thanks to the hard work of our PTA volunteers and book fair chairperson Dawn Matta, and the support of our wonderful MCES families, our library earned $9,900 in Scholastic credit last fall to spend on new books and materials for our students and faculty. The first shipments arrived in December and have been cataloged and added to the collection. Students now are seeing new books on display each week when they come to media special, including popular novels like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, award-winners such as A Ball for Daisy, biographies of tech titans and important historical figures, new non-fiction titles in science and technology, and many of the books on the 2013 North Carolina Children’s Book Award List. Students in kindergarten through 5th grade will be reading those books and will then join children across the state in voting for their favorite titles.

Music Class

What's Happening in K-2?


As we enter the third quarter, the students in the Kindergarten classes begin to understand how music is written. Unlike letters and words, music notation must also indicate the loudness (dynamics), the speed (tempo) and the number of people playing (texture). The kids make comparisons and see reading music and reading words, although looking quite different, rely on the same principles of left to right and top to bottom.

The 1st graders have begun to follow and construct “listening maps,” which show in pictures events or sounds they are going to hear. By looking at the “musical road signs,” the students prepare for more advanced score reading in later lessons and subsequent years.

The 2nd graders are beginning their “Journey Around the World,” unit, where different cultures, groups of instruments and languages are examined and compared. Next year, the students continue this journey through all continents of the earth.



What's Happening in 3-5?


The students eagerly proceed into the new year.

The 3rd graders are continuing a multicultural journey begun in the 2nd grade, as they experience the music, dances, languages and instruments from 41 cultures, including the United States. From Inuit to Zuni languages, the students learn the vast differences and similarities between peoples of the world.

The 4th graders have concluded their “exclusive” lessons on the recorder and have begun their unit on the music of North Carolina. From the earliest Native American connections, through the English influence in Coastal N.C., the Civil War’s artifacts of song from the Piedmont region to the Scottish/Irish influences in the mountain music, the students trace the development of our state’s music history.

The 5th graders have been working on a journey, not through distances, but through time as we integrated the music of the American History covered in their Social Studies. From the Colonial period, through the Westward expansion, the musical legacy of slavery and the development of jazz and rock and roll, the students trace the origin of current pop styles back through history. They learn that using musical songs as a primary sources, they are connecting with someone who was actually there at that moment in history (the composer) and not just reading from a book created from relayed information.


Technology Times

The Fifth grade students have been doing a comprehensive project on photo editing and webpage development. They have edited photographs of a local produce stand and have created a web page to showcase the produce and products sold. The students have used programs such as Be Funky and Weebly to create their designs. In the next few weeks they will bring home their web page address so friends and family can see all their hard work. They have also reviewed internet safety rules on such topics as protecting privacy, creating passwords, sharing personal information, and consequences of cyber bullying.



The fourth grade students have worked on learning the parts located inside of a computer and how a computer functions. They created a PowerPoint to share their work with their classmates. They are currently using Edmodo, a classroom network site where they create profiles, comment on classmate’s creations, and post information they are learning on fossils and geology. They have also reviewed internet safety rules on such topics as protecting privacy, creating passwords, sharing personal information, and consequences of cyber bullying.



Third grade students started the year off by learning Microsoft Excel and researching the cost of school supplies. They then “bought” items using an allotted budget and created a circle graph in Excel to show where they had spent their money. They are currently using Edmodo, a classroom network site where they create profiles, comment on classmate’s creations, and post information they are learning about space and patterns and cycles. Some classes are even creating Voki avatars to speak their poems that they have created in class. These avatars will then be posted so they can be shared with the class. They have also reviewed internet safety rules on such topics as protecting privacy, creating passwords, sharing personal information, and consequences of cyber bullying.



Second grade students have been practicing typing skills with programs such as Dance Mat typing, Type to Learn and Spider typing. They have also begun to create brochures using the ipads and Microsoft Publisher to share what place they would most like to visit. Look for the brochures to come home in the next few weeks. We have also discussed internet safety and watched several short videos to help them understand what to do if they are online and a stranger contacts them.



First Grade students have been enjoying using Discovery Education to watch videos on animals. They have used the iPads to play problem-solving games and practice sight words and math skills. They recently have learned a bit about Excel and created bar graphs and pictures to go along with stories we have read in class. We listen to Storyline Online and use the Smart board to touch and move the parts of the story in the order in which they happened. We have also discussed internet safety and watched several short videos to help them understand what to do if they are online and a stranger contacts them.



Kindergarten students have enjoyed using Tumblebooks, ABC Mouse and Storyline Online to listen to books. They have used the ipads to play problems solving games and practice sight words and math skills. They like PBS Kids to do learning games with their favorite characters such as Wild Kratts and Curious George. They are doing a great job logging in and finding where they need to go. We have been practicing a bit of typing with Spider Typing. The students also enjoy their favorite parts of a story with Kid Pix. We have also discussed internet safety and watched several short videos to help them understand what to do if they are online and a stranger contacts them.






PE Highlights with Mr. Brown

Kindergarten: Mr. Bookworm – extolling the benefits of learning to read and taking pleasure in reading; Movement Education– walk, fast walk, hop, skip, jump, gallop, leap, tip-toe, slide, and skate; Tossing & Catching, and Dance


1st Grade: Movement Education– walk, fast walk, hop, skip, jump, gallop, leap, tip-toe, slide, and skate; Tossing & Catching; Parachute Activities – waves (small & large), tsunami waves, umbrella, mushroom, mountain, Tom & Jerry, and Dance


2nd Grade: Parachute Activities – waves (small & large), tsunami waves, umbrella, mushroom, mountain, and Tom & Jerry; Trojan Push-up Tunnel Tag; Fitness Stations; Tossing and Catching, and Dance


3rd Grade: Parachute Activities – waves (small & large), tsunami waves, umbrella, mushroom, mountain, and Tom & Jerry; Trojan Push-up Tunnel Tag, Hurricane Tag; Chinese Ball; Basketball; Fitness Stations; Bowling, and Dance


4th Grade: Chinese Ball; Silent Speedball; Partner Tag; Fitness Stations; Bowling; Castle Ball, Protect the Pin; Bombardment; Line Dance, and Square Dance


5th grade: Castle Ball, Protect the Pin; Bombardment; Line Dance; Square Dance; Chinese Ball; Silent Speedball; Partner Tag; Fitness Stations; Bowling; Castle Ball, Protect the Pin; Bombardment, and Human Growth & Development

Art

Hello MCES parents!

It is with great enthusiasm that I introduce myself and my program to you. I am very excited to get to spend my time with your children.

My 2 true passions are art and working with kids. I am a 2 time graduate of Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. I graduated with a BA in English and a BA in Art with K-12 Visual Art certification and a minor in art history. I have been teaching art for over 13 years. I have taught for the Wake County public school system; in private venues, including ArtsTogether in Raleigh, KidzArt in Apex, my own home studio (The ArtBox Studio) www.theartboxstudioonline.com; The Scrap Exchange in Durham and as a contract instructor for the N.C. Museum of Art.

I will be bringing art history to your children's art experience along with the use of many varied art mediums. Your children will be learning about painting processes, printmaking, drawing, sculpture, collage, clay and more. I am happy to welcome you into the art room at any time that you would like to visit with me or your child during his/her class time and thank you for dropping in!

Ashley Bettini, Visual Arts Instructor, Middle Creek Elementary