Weekly Newsletter 8/28

Mrs. Smith- Fourth Grade, Union Elementary

It was great to meet many of you last week at Curriculum Night. A half hour is not enough time to cover everything or answer all the questions that you may have. Please feel free to email questions or concerns any time or even drop by for a chat. I am in the building by 8 AM and almost never leave before 5 PM. I am happy to meet with you during those times.

If you were not able to attend curriculum night I have sent home a dismissal paper that needs to be filled out and returned. These will be kept in our emergency binder in our emergency back pack. It seems with our unpredictable Midwest weather lately we NEED to have our emergency plans in place. Our class did a fabulous job during our very long tornado warning on Wednesday. The expectation is that students are in position and silent. That's a tall order for 125+ fourth graders in a small space...EVEN FOR A SHORT TIME. So, I am very proud to report that your kids did an amazing job holding it together. I hope these storms have prompted conversations in your homes about safety and your own family emergency plans. I know they have in my house. The teenagers reluctantly agreed to huddle in the basement with their father while I was with your kiddos at Union. With 2 new drivers in our house we needed to review our expectations for car safety during storms as well. Ugh, this parenting stuff is stressful. The good news is: they all grow up eventually :)

Weekly Specials Schedule

Just a reminder... In case you are trying to make appointments or just trying to remember to lay out the gym shoes the night befor PE.

Monday- P.E. 10:45-11:15 (wear gym shoes)

Tuesday- Art 9:15-10:05

Wednesday- STEM 10:10-11:00

Thursday- P.E. 9:35-10:05, Music 10:10-11:00 (wear gym shoes)

Friday- Library 10:10-11:00

Recess: 12:30-1:00

Lunch: 1:00-1:30

Important dates

September 1: Jog A Thon Kick-Off during Lunches

September 5: No School- Labor Day

September 6: Dads Club Meeting, 7 PM in Teachers' Lounge

September 7: PTO Meeting, 7 PM in Cafeteria. Free Childcare Available

September 15: HotBox Pizza Night

September 19-23: Book Fair

September 23: PTO Movie Night 6:45 – 9:00

September 28: Jog-a-thon

Morning Work 8:50-9:10 M,W,F

Monday mornings students will practice cursive. We will review the different strokes for all the letters. Wednesday we began our year long investigation of the metric system and conversions. Students will tape a metric stair step model inside the front cover of their planner for easy access. Every Friday we will review science and current events. We started with third grade review material on sound in science. A brief little informal assessment indicates that we need to spend some more time on these concepts. So we will be designing experiments and investigations about sound that will also incorporate the scientific method (unit 1 Science Fusion).

Class & Team Building

Students used cooperative team work and a structure called "All Together" to come up with their team name. Keeping it positive, students worked together to come up with things that all members liked / had in common. Each member asked a question to the whole team. That student recorded the answer in one of 4 spaces. If all the team members had the same answer it went in the "ALL" space. If only two team members shared the same answer it went in the "2" space, and so on and so on. For example: if the question was, "Does everyone like chocolate?" and all the members say yes. The student writes the word chocolate under "ALL". The process repeats its self until there are at least 2 items in the "ALL" space. (You would be surprised by how hard this can be for some teams). This helps students find out things they have in common with the other students on their team. With the commonalities the teams then choose a name. They get to know a lot about each other. I get to see how they interact with one another. I see kids that are eager to share and participate and I also see ones that are not. I get a feel for students that are very aggressive and want to do all the work or students that are the exact opposite. I call it "Hogs and Logs". Hogs might want to do all the talking and all the writing- essentially ALL the work. Logs are happy to sit back and let those hogs do all the work. Neither type of team member is a true benefit to a team. Sharing the responsibilities and learning to assume different roles is the goal. Every member asks a question, every member writes an answer. Everyone participates equally and takes turns.

Every child has their own unique personality and set of character traits. The better I know them the better I can work with them. The better they know each other the better they can work together.

Teams are now in the process of designing their team flag. They will also create a team cheer/chant that they can use to celebrate when they experience successes. We are focusing on encouraging words, acknowledging a job well done, and using tact and kindness when we need to express negative feelings.

Next week we will brainstorm and come up with a list of ideas for a class name. The students will use a whole group cooperative structure called "Spend a Buck" to narrow it down to just one name. This allows individuals to "vote" for choices by spending all of their 10 bucks. They can spend less bucks on their least favorite name and more bucks on their most favorite name. It's fast and fun and no one notices who you're voting for because everyone is busy spending their own bucks. Look for our class name on our Jog-a-Thon flag!

Sign up for Writing Conferences

1) Click this link to see our SignUp on SignUp.com: http://signup.com/go/CKc2w5

2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.

3) Sign up! It's Easy - you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on SignUp.com.

Note: SignUp.com does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually.

Social Studies

We will be discussing latitude and longitude and Indiana's world "address". I am planning a hands on activity using a salt dough (made of flour, salt, cream of tartar, and water) can you please email me if your child has an allergy or sensitivity to any of these ingredients?

I will also be looking for about 4-6 parent volunteers to come in and get messy with us in the project room as we make our salt maps of Indiana. Please use SignUp.com if you are interested in helping on Thursday September 8th. I am also in need of 25 card board pieces (approximately 12" X 14"). Send in cardboard any day before September 8. We also need volunteers to make gallon size freezer bags of the dough. Each bag makes enough dough for approximately 3 students- so 9 bags should be plenty. If you are able to donate a bag of salt dough please use the link for SignUp.com or email me directly.

To donate salt dough:

Click this link to see our SignUp : http://signup.com/go/esWFWj

To help with the Indiana salt map project: http://signup.com/go/D5tziu

Room parents

Please send me an email if you are interested in being a room parent for parties this year. Let me know if you are willing to be a "head room parent", I will be putting all the names in a hat and choosing randomly if we have more than one parent interested in assuming this leadership role.

Field trips

We are planning a trip to the State Museum to celebrate the bicentennial in the fall. We are also planning a trip to the State House in the spring. Those dates are still TBD. The fourth grade also has an artist, guest speakers and an author scheduled throughout the school year. We are always looking for new experiences for our kids. If you have any ideas please let me know.