Newsletter October 21st

Dear 4B Families,

I hope you all had a nice weekend. This Friday, we will begin our All Saints Day Mass practices in the church.  Those students that have been assigned reading parts should have a copy in their filer.  They can keep this copy at home.  When practicing please stress the importance of saying each word clearly, pausing at punctuation and reading much slower than they would normally.  Thank you in advance for your help practicing with your child and helping him/her prepare a costume.  Remember, the All Saints Day Mass is next Friday, November 1st at 8:35. The Sunday Mass will be November 3rd at 10:30. We are looking forward to these two very special services. Hopefully, you have started making plans with your children about their costumes. We do not make costumes at school. Costume creation is done at home. Thank you!

Mid-Trimester Reports will come home this Friday along with the fall MAP test scores. Look for a report card type envelope in your child’s filer.   I have asked the students not to open the envelopes until they are with their parents.  This report will not have letter/percentage grades. The 4-3-2-1 standards-based scoring system will be used. At this point in the trimester do not expect to see 4’s except perhaps for spelling tests and certain social and work skills. We are early in the year. A “4” means the student is going above and beyond–exceeding expectations. At this point in the year it is not appropriate to give a “4” in most subject areas as we have not had the opportunity to delve deep enough into the content to warrant this exceptional score.  4-3-2-1 scores do not equate to A-B-C-D grades. Please refer to the explanation of each numerical score when looking at your child’s report. The students are off to a great start this year and should be very proud of their progress. Thank you, and please let me know if you have any questions.

We will be meeting in our Faith Families for the first time this Friday at 8:35. It is a chance to meet our new members and focus on our theme for the year of “I am the vine, you are the branches.”

Looking Ahead: Veteran’s Day HW Project: Next Monday, October 28th the students will come home with a Veteran’s Day Homework assignment that is due on or before Wednesday, November 6th.  Each student will be asked to write about a Veteran (family member or friend) on a flag. You can be talking with your child a bit about this person in preparation for the activity. If you do not know a Veteran there are many sites online to learn about Veterans. Here is one you can explore. No need to worry about any writing until the directions and flag template come home next Monday.

ReligionMost of our religion time will be used to practice for the All Saints Day Mass.  We will complete the Touching Safety Lesson on Monday.  The students will bring home a worksheet they will complete as part of this lesson.  For Monday homework I would like the students to share what we talked about in the lesson with you so that you can follow-up with this important safety topic.  You do not need to return the worksheet.  Thank you for reminding your child to show you this information.

Science: In science, students are getting geared up to become mechanical engineers! At the end of the unit, they’ll be creating a windmill. To get ready, we’ll be talking about work, simple machines, and compound machines. Look for simple machines around your house. You could point out that the blinds use a pulley to work or kitchen knives are wedges. Getting familiar with simple machines will help with our first mechanical engineer creation: A Rube Goldberg Machine! Stay tuned for more information about the machines. The goal is to start creating them next week.

Social Studies: Look for the corrected Latitude/Longitude/Map skills test in your child’s filer on Monday.  We will be moving into a study of the Native People of Washington State this week.  On Thursday the students will be tested on the NE States and abbreviations.  All students received study sheets for this test on  October 7th.  I also introduced the students to an online practice site for this test.  See the attached links.  NE State Locations  and. NE State Abbreviations.

Reading and Spelling: Our reading work will continue to focus on reading fluently, with expression and pacing, character traits, vocabulary and using text evidence to support written responses.  The vocabulary words that we will be focusing on for chapters 5-7 of Charlotte’s Web are: salutations, detested, untenable, and conspiracy. Also, look for a corrected reading assessment in your child’s filer this week. The assessment covered comprehension of chapters 1-4 in Charlotte’s Web. This week, we will begin focusing on a complete written response to reading. Spelling words were passed out last Friday. (ee, ea, ie) The test will be this Friday as usual.

Math: Look for math homework most nights this week.  Weekly homework includes regular multiplication and division practice.  Students should visit Xtramath at least 4 times each week (seven days) until mastery is reached.

Just a note on XtraMath: This site is designed to build fluency with math facts. It is not glitzy, but it does require about 10 minutes of focused attention—GRIT—you might say. Mastering facts for automatic recall is hard work—but mastery is the ultimate reward. Most students get fairly competent typing numbers after only a few sessions of XtraMath. Again, GRIT is required—but the students can do this!

Most of the work we will be doing for the remainder of the school year will require mastery of multiplication and division facts. This includes not only multiplication and division of large numbers, but also fractions, decimals, and measurement skills. I do encourage a variety of practice types including flash cards and paper/pencil reviews.  Thank you for your support and dedication in assisting your children while they master their facts!

From the XtraMath developers: XtraMath is designed to measure what basic math facts students can recall, not what they can calculate. Three-seconds is a carefully selected compromise that is long enough that a relatively slow typist can enter a recalled answer, and short enough so that most finger-counted responses are not erroneously considered fluent. If you increase the interval then you are no longer measuring fluency.

For maximum effectiveness, XtraMath adjusts to each student and has him or her practice near the limit of his or her abilities. This might be uncomfortable for some students. If students do not get the correct answer within the three-second threshold they should not perceive it as a personal failure, but as a normal challenge of the XtraMath “game”.

Be sure to check your child’s filer regularly for corrected tests and class work.  Your help organizing papers into their correct locations is also appreciated.  Study sheets for tests that have already taken place can be removed.  Thank you.

Music: Students have received their recorders! They are expected to practice for five minutes each night. It is important that students remember to bring their recorders to school every Wednesday and Friday for class. Students are expected to take care of their recorder and only play it at appropriate times and places.


Homework overview this week:

  • Math homework and fact practice
  • Spelling words for Unit 4, with a test on Friday
  • Review for  NE States test
  • Have your child share the worksheet they complete at school on Monday about from our Touching Safety lesson.
  • Read ~20 minutes
  • Talk about what new learning.

Here’s to an excellent week of learning!

Ms. Benson

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