Sunday, January 28, 2018

Time to catch up!

Hello Parents!  With all that has happened in the last couple of months, I totally forgot I had a blog!  Let's see if we can catch up!

My surgery recovery is slow going but going well.  I'm finally going to try to drive this week but I'll still be in and out of my big boot! (I had a bone spur and part of my heel removed on December 1 which involved unattaching and reattaching the Achilles's tendon. ).

Last week we said goodbye to Mrs. Sladky and thanked her for jumping in to help us out.  We are so thankful and appreciative that she did so.  Also last week, Natalie Frank joined us and will continue with us until the year's end.  We feel fortunate to have her as she is full of fantastic ideas, enthusiasm and determination and I'm so impressed with the great job she's doing.  We are lucky to have her!

These transitions have been hard for a number of students who have been acting out by ignoring directions and comments by the adults, talking when they should be working and not following our general classroom and hallway rules etc.  Friday, January 19, grades 3 through 5 met together to have reminders about following the Wolfpack Way in the hallways, bathrooms and classrooms.

We did some team building work early in the week talking about feelings and skills we have individually and then realizing how much stronger we can be as a team.  We all shared in a workshop called a Kindness Retreat on Thursday.    This retreat included all fourth graders in our district.  An organization called Youth Frontiers comes to conduct this workshop set up by our school psychologists.   All day we are team building through talk, dance and music. We work in large group and in small groups where high school group leaders are trained to take over.  By the day's end we are able to quietly share ideas for how we can show kindness, how we can thank someone in our lives for showing us kindness and how we can say we are sorry to someone for not being as kind as we could have been.  We carried this theme through Friday where we wrote a reflection of our day and talked about ways we can carry on being kind.  We started a chain in the hallway where each link is an act of kindness we can do at school.  We brainstormed ideas and I hope to see that chain grow in the coming weeks.

Friday we had an assembly about determination and perseverance.  We also learned about Jump Rope For Heart.  Materials came home to explain this event.

MATH:  We finished Module 5 which involved fraction work and metrics.  We are now working on Module 6 and learning to multiply using the partial products method.  Here is a video that shows you how we are doing this. Partial Products Multiplying  The video explains how to do this and what our goals are by the end of fourth grade.  Please continue to help your child multiply using the algorithm  you learned especially when doing double digit by double digit.  It is a lot less writing using that method.  We continue to work in the math workshop model - 15 minutes mini lesson, then small group rotations of book pages, math binder work and Khan Academy.  Looking for more?  Check out my math web page or ask your child to bring their math binder home.

MAP Testing:  You'll receive information this week about your child's MAP scores from January.  I'm busy analyzing these scores and will update them in Khan Academy shortly.  You'll get a student profile and an information sheet.  If you have questions after you see this info, just let us know.
You'll be able to check the breakdown of the different areas of math and reading to see where the highs and lows are.  We use this information to direct our instruction.

MATH HOMEWORK:  Reminder - math homework is to work on Khan Academy for 20 minutes three times a week.  Students are to work in the MAP Recommended Practice.  I get an email each week that tells me how many minutes total students are doing.  We need to get going!  I do allow time in class each day (10-15 minutes) to use Khan Academy so this should not be a tough task!

SCIENCE:  TEST on Wednesday.  Students read an article, read a book lesson and were given a study guide for this short test on Matter.  In addition, I have linked videos on their Google classroom site that support our learning.  Students did a great job last week working on one specific video about matter, taking notes and then transferring those notes into a "quick write" about what they learned.

SOCIAL STUDIES:  We spent December working on the history of Wisconsin and keeping all of our studies in red Badger binders!  We are about to talk about the lead rush and how Wisconsin moved from a territory to becoming a state.  Looking ahead, our Madison field trip will be Friday, May 4 and we'll return by 4:30 so you can be ready for a PTA sponsored dance/event that night.  Cost for this trip is yet to be determined but will be around $34.00 per child.  Coach buses have been reserved!  Each child will be able to bring one adult with them on this trip (at no extra cost) and it's a very enjoyable day.

ILLNESS:  Please follow our school guidelines about keeping students home when they are ill or for the appropriate time before they return.  We are cleaning our tables daily with wipes to disinfect.  If you have an extra canister to donate it would be appreciated.  We are only halfway through the flu season!

END OF TRIMESTER:  February 15 - that means we are working on assessments and getting ready for that second report card.  It also means we have one trimester left so we will all be trying to give our best focus and effort on the work that lies ahead!

Thanks for your support!  As always, feel free to contact Natalie Frank or myself with any concerns.

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