Thursday, September 12, 2013

Newsletter September 13, 2013

Special Notes
* I have been particularly proud of how well the class works.  It is quite a sight to see 27 students reading silently and getting their work done.  It is also quite a sight to see 27 students working together as a class to create a vision, to survive a zombie apocalypse, and to come up with great dance moves.  I love the balance we strike between quiet and noise and I cannot wait to see what else the year will bring.  
*  Book orders go home today and are due next Friday.  I have my eye on several new books for our library as always.
* Our first assembly is this Monday at 2:25 with a theme of team-wear,  so students should wear their favorite jersey, bowling shirt, or whatever else they may have.  I have a feeling Mr. Getz and Mr. Wicsher will finally get me to buy a Badger shirt.
* If your child is involved in any after school activities and have a big game, performance or something like that coming up – let me know.  I like to come and see and so do other kids in the classroom.
* My door is always open so if you are wondering what goes on in our room, feel free to stop by.
* This classroom is really buzzing with excitement over what we are doing.  I am thrilled to see the kids come together as a community and really representing us well wherever they go.  I have gotten countless compliments on how well they are behaved from the specials teachers as well.
*Map testing starts next week already!  We will test reading on Wednesday, September 17th and math on Wednesday, September 25th.  If your child is absent they will make it up when they get back.  
*  I have posted all orchestra and band dates on our classroom calendar up through November.  Please check here if you are not sure if they need to bring their instruments.
* Don’t forget to sign up for fall conferences.  Here is the link to sign up
*  Please watch the classroom vision posted on our website, I am so very proud of the students and the work they did to create this.  We have gotten compliments from all around the globe for it as well.
* Swimming dates have already been posted on our website, check them out if you want.
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars:  All school assembly Monday, September 16th 2:25 PM, MAP testing Wednesday, September 17th 10:45,  Picture day Friday, September 20th, Sub afternoon only Friday, September 20th, Book orders due Friday, September 20th,  Math test unit 1 Monday, September 23rd, MAP testing Wednesday, September 25th 10:45-11:45, New math unit starts Wednesday, September 25th, PTO Fall Dance Party Night is Friday, October 4th 6 PM.  

MathWe are in the midst our our first math unit of the year that is part review, part new concepts.  We have been discussing factors, arrays, and divisibility rules.  We have also started testing our math facts every morning with our 3 minute timed tests.  If your child is at less than 50% on any test this should be a major priority for them.  Math facts are essential for 5th grade math success, as well as in the coming years.  The first math test is set for September 23rd at the moment.  After this unit, we will start pre-testing and then grouping students.  
Social Studies – We have started our surviving the zombie apocalypse in land regions and I must say that I am pretty impressed with some of the conversations taking place in the room.  Students are looking at the biomes of their regions, as well as national forests and other geographical variations that can possibly shield them and provide a place to recreate civilization.  they are also studying natural resources as well as supply lines.  So far, this has been wonderful to be a part of.  The presentations by the groups will be September 27th.
Science – We started science by not doing science this year and instead discussing how to do a basic constructed response.  This is a skill the students will need for when they need to explain their scientific thinking, as well as in general literacy.  We then tear apart our responses and evaluate them together to grow from ourselves.  Actual science experiments will start next week.
Reading I have loved the honest reading discussions happening in the classroom including those discussion how reading can be amazing, how we can get through confusing part and also about our reading attitudes.  We have also started planting the seeds for rich literacy discussion by practicing building off of each others’ comments, connecting our comments to the text and introducing new questions spurred from the discussion at hand.  I love seeing how the students are growing as discussion participants.  
Writing This week was all about memoir and paper blogs.  We finally started blogging today and will from now on have a weekly blogging challenge.  Please visit the students’ blogs here and leave them a comment.  Memoir is what ended 4th grade and it is what begins 5th grade.  We therefore take this opportunity to really focus on our writing skills such as paragraphing, formating our text, as well as controlling our handwriting.  Most of September will focus on memoirs and then we move into essays.  We also got through our first week of DLR which is a great relaxed way to discuss grammar and had our first spelling test.


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