Newsletter October 22

Dear 4B Families,

I hope you all had a nice weekend. This Thursday 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 Thursday, November 1st at 8:35. The Sunday Mass will be November 4th at 10:30. We are looking forward to two very special services.

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.

The Living Rosary will take place this Friday at 8:35.This is a perfect uniform day, so no Gator Gear on Friday.  Join us if you are able. Please have students bring in a rosary if they have one on Thursday. We will be reviewing how to pray the Rosary in class on Thursday to prepare for this special service. I have extra rosaries for those students that need one. Thank you.

Scott Davies from the Pike Place Market will be coming to school this Friday to teach the students about some of the history of the Market, and prepare them for our upcoming trip in December.   He will also leave some wonderful materials for us to use to prepare for our field trip.  A permission slip will be coming home with your child on Monday for our December 4th trip.  I know it might seem early, but we need to send over the names of the chaperones to Melissa Tuthill early so she can verify that all drivers/chaperones are up to date with their Virtus and background checks.  This gives everyone enough time to take care of any updates if needed.  Thank you for returning the permission slips by this Friday the 26th.

Looking Ahead: Veteran’s Day HW Project: Next Monday the 29th the students will come home with a Veteran’s Day Homework assignment that is due on or before Wednesday, November 7th.  Each student will be asked to write about a Veteran (family member or friend) on this 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.

Religion: Most 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: Last week the students worked in groups to complete a presentation based on a specific type of energy. On Tuesday, we will view the presentations before moving onto activity 3. This week we will be looking at Activity 3 in our PLTW module. The students will begin by reviewing the story, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Then in part one they will use a coin battery and LED to construct an electrical circuit. This will allow students to see an example of energy conversion from chemical energy into electrical energy then into light energy. In part two the students will compare and contrast renewable and nonrenewable energy sources.

Social Studies: On Tuesday this week the students will be taking the Latitude and Longitude test.  All students have a study sheet in their filer with important terms they need to know for the test.  The Midwest State test will take place next Tuesday, October 30th.  Here are the links to the Midwest practice sites:  Midwest State and Great Lake locations and Midwest State Abbreviations. The abbreviations for these states are a bit tricky, especially the many “M” states.

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.  Spelling words for Unit 4 were passed out last Friday.  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).

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 to assisting your children 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”.

Homework overview this week:

  • Math homework and fact practice
  • review for the latitude and longitude test on Tuesday and the Midwest State test on the 30th
  • Spelling words for Unit 4, with a test on Friday
  • Have your child share the worksheet they complete at school on Monday about from our Touching Safety lesson.

Here’s to an excellent week of learning!

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