Friday, November 4, 2011

Newsletter November 4, 2011


November 4, 2011
MathWe finished unit 3 and did the pre-test for unit 4 today.  Unit 4 is all about division so the students need to keep practicing their math facts.  Many are tested out for the trimester, which helps them greatly during class.  We will start unit on Monday November 14th and the test will be November 29th.  This is only a 7 lesson unit.
Social Studies – We finished chapter 2 yesterday and are doing our awesome simulation right now on the explorers.  Students have to travel the sea to get to the Americas for either Portugal or Spain; survival is not guaranteed.  We start groups again on November 14th with chapter 3 that has to do with the Explorers.  We also finally did a mystery Skype call with the whole class.  It is an incredibly engaging way for the students to use all of their geographical knowledge of the world to determine the mystery place. 
Reading We continue our discussion of main idea and details and have also started listening and reading along to Harry Potter.  The narration is impeccable and the students are having fun figuring out the hidden meaning of names, which then transfers into their writing.  We work a lot on inference in all of our subjects and have many discussions on what we do as great readers; it is wonderful to hear the kids speak of their reading skills, thus developing their metacognition.
Writing This week we finished the examples of types of topic sentences we can use and are moving into transitions sentences.  The students have repeatedly shown me that they know what a paragraph consists of.  However, when asked why they don’t then use that knowledge in their writing, they replied, “Well, we get so excited that we forget!”  Fair enough, I love excitement any day.  We will continue with our back to basic writing to get them ready for middle school.
Science – We finished our variables unit with the Flipstick Olympics; talk about science thinking in action. The team representing Japan ended up taking the gold.  We are in the midst of our first science research paper where we are trying to answer which bubble gum is the best.  The students are performing the experiments and trying to either prove or disprove their hypothesis.
Special Notes
* These kids make me so proud.  I am still getting to know them better and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it.  Through the blogging challenges they are giving me their opinions and feedback, which are duly noted so if you haven’t seen their writing take a moment to check it out.
* Thank you to everyone who will be donating snacks and drinks next week, it really helps us get through WKCE.
*  Conferences have started and these are student and teacher led so your child has to come to it.  If you would prefer a meeting without your child present, let us schedule another meeting.
* Also, thank you to all of the incredible parents that made our Harvest Party such a success.  It was a great time for the kids and the food was wonderful.  I am humbled by all of the parent support I get.
* Don’t forget to practice for the in class spelling bee taking place November 7th through the 10th.  The top 4 spellers will represent the classroom at the school spelling bee on December 9th at 8:40 AM.
* Dates for your calendar:  swimming is November 7th, 9th, 14th, 16th, and 18th.  Conferences Tuesday, November 8th through Friday, November 11th, CRT Early Release Wednesday, November 23rd, No school (Happy Thanksgiving) November 24th and 25th. 
*  On a personal note, my brother is finally coming from his tour of duty in Afghanistan.  Some of you may remember he came to speak to the kids last year about being a trauma nurse over there and I am hoping I can get him in again.  It was a riveting hour long discussion with the kids.  To say that we are thankful he is coming home is an understatement.

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