Mrs. O'Rourke's Panther Press

September 1, 2017

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No School on Monday-Enjoy the Holiday

A Few Important Things to Note - Keeping our kids organized

Daily Assignments -

We have asked the students to find an organizational system that works for them so that they can write down the daily requirements for their classes each day. Our team suggested that students open a new Note in their "Notes" app and title it "Assignments". They should be able to update their daily assignments there. In humanities, we are trying to establish a routine where the first thing students do when they come in is update their daily assignments. I remind them each day at the start of class. Some students are choosing to use planners, and that is ok - whatever works for each student is fine. But, please monitor these for the first few weeks to make sure that your students are keeping themselves organized and aware of their assignments and when they are due. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Thanks!

WOWZA! Some Great Books!

Thanks to a generous family's Amazon gift card donation and to the Scholastic Book Order Points that accumulate when families order Scholastic Books, we were able to obtain a ton of new books for our classroom library! The students made a list of books that they want us to add to our classroom library. That list is where I pull ideas for titles to purchase for the students. I definitely want them to have the books that THEY want to read!!n What a diverse group of books they chose!
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Model Readers Wanted!

We would LOVE to have parents and family members come in and read with us during our independent reading time on Fridays. It is so important that children see that the adults in their lives value reading. Please come read with us. We'd love to have you. The sign up information for September is below. Remember, you must have an active background check to volunteer in the school. Up to 3 parents can sign up for each slot, but just be sure to ask your child which block he or she is in (Block 1-morning, Block 2- afternoon). See the link below to sign up and don't forget to bring a book to read!

Scholastic Book Orders - Due September 15th

This month’s Scholastic Reading Club flyers were sent home last week! Please take a few moments to explore the selection together and let your child help choose books he or she is excited to read. You don't need the flyers to order. You can always just log on to the website below and browse for books. (The flyers are actually online too!)

It is preferred that you order online at, where you’ll find a wide selection of quality children’s books that are just right for your child’s reading interests. Or, return your paper order form to me with a check made out to “Scholastic Reading Club.”

Remember, you help our class earn FREE Books and supplies with every order. Thank you for supporting your child’s reading both at home and in the classroom!

PS: Please let me know if your order includes a gift for your child, and I will contact you when it arrives!

First Time Ordering Online?
•Go to
•Enter our one-time Class Activation Code: NCZKF
•Shop and submit your child's book order.
•Your books will be delivered directly to the classroom.

Learning highlights from this week!

Achieve 3000 All-Stars!

Students use Achieve 3000 to practice critically reading from non-fiction texts. The program assesses students on their understanding of what they've read and each student works at his/her own reading level with the goal of improving their reading comprehension over the year. Each week we will honor students who showed high performance and understanding on the Achieve 3000 assessments, and each month we will celebrate students who showed the most growth!

Our Achieve All-Stars from this week are:

Taylor, Maia, Zahra, Armitha, Myla, Saanvi, Manav, and Samaira

Way to go!

Map Projects

For the past 2 weeks, students have been learning about how to read maps, what cartographers are, and how to create their own maps. They showed so much creativity in making their own countries based on a theme and making physical, political, vegetation, and resource maps for their country.
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Quizlet Live - Collaborative Vocabulary Study!

For our bi-weekly vocabulary study, students completed various activities to help gain a better understanding of our new words and how they are used in writing. We then played a fun, collaborative review game on Quizlet Live! It was a big hit!
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Strong Leads

We are learning how writers use different techniques to draw a reader into a book or article. We call these "hooks" or "strong leads". We searched through books to find examples of different kinds of leads that made us want to read more!
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8th Grade Book Buddies

Our Block 1 students are paired with 8th Grade Book Buddies from Mrs. Cooper's class. They choose their book buddies based on similar interests and are now reading the same book and meeting every two weeks to talk about it! What a fun way to share in conversations about books and make new friends!
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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 Week:

Friday 9/8- Characteristics of Plot and Character Assessment

Friday 9/8- Grammar Assessment over weekly grammar lessons


Canvas is the HSE district's new online learning management system. It has replaced Blackboard. We are in a transition phase now as teachers build their pages and begin to teach students how to use Canvas. Family access is slated to be available in October. More news to come!