Newsletter 30 – 4/25/14


The 5th graders are so excited about the trip to the Sycamore Land Trust. The 5th graders will be out for 3 hours, not including travelling. The 4th graders will be staying at the school and having fun with Ms. Kalei! Parents of 5th graders,you MUST REMEMBER TO SIGN THE PERMISSION SLIP, so that they can go and learn about nature. We sent an email home earlier this week. Please let us know if you need another permissions slip!


In P3 we are doing ENGINEERING SCIENCE! (As you know.) We made…

  • Marshmallow and toothpick towers. (Monday, last week)
  • Paper columns made to hold up 7-14 composition notebooks.    (Tuesday, last week)
  • Structures that hold marbles for 15 sec. They are made of limited materials and have requirements. We were able to get 10 different materials (Tuesday/Wednesday, this week)
  • Structures re-designed based on what we noticed in our weighing (Wednesday/Friday)

We have been relating the words “capacity,” “weight,” and “balance” to discuss how structures were supportive. See the pictures below to check out what we made (in our initial trial).

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4


In Ms. Kalei’s group this week we split into two subgroups. One group reviewed common denominators, adding/subtracting fractions, and learned about the area model for multiplying fractions. The other group worked on finding equivalent fractions and the least common multiple. We also did some brief ISTEP work. 

In Mr. Jims math group are doing prep for multiple choice ISTEP. We discussed how many times an answer looks related or tempting in a question, but is not the answer to what is being asked. We practiced this strategy individually and onlineIn Ms. Pam’s math group, the kids are making board games. The board games are based off of one of the units about negative and positive graphing, absolute value, and graphing on a x and y axis; the board games also have to tie to the origins.


In readers workshop this week we are getting ready for the English & Language Arts ISTEP tests. We discussed the strategy of saying either ‘maybe’ or ‘no’ to every answer choice. After you have all the answer choices with a ‘maybe’ or ‘no,’ you go back into the paragraph to prove the maybes. We also talked about (and applied) our understanding that we need to pick the BEST answer by reading the whole answer choice carefully, not just looking at the key words. 


In writers we are now working on mood and character purposes. We have previously worked on detail and continue to work on improving our details. We have also worked on setting and problem. Many great details, moods, characters, and setting have been shared during writers.

Teaching Points:

  • Monday: SettingWriters think about the land, sky, weather, people, transportation, homes, and other buildings.
  • Wednesday: CharacterWriters make sure every character has a purpose: Allies, Antagonists, Bystanders.
  • Thursday: Problem
  • Friday: Solution

On Friday we collected a mid-unit formative assessment to coordinate where our teaching needs to go next. 

Questions to Ask Your Child:

  • How did you choose materials to make your structure in science?
  • What was a passage you read in readers workshop to prepare for the ISTEP?
  • What did you do at BAM on Friday?
  • Did you have a reading or writing conference this week? What was it about?
  • Let’s make up a story problem based on a math concept you learned or reviewed this week.

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