Newsletter 10 – 10/31/14

The newsletter this week is all Ms. Kalei!


Book clubs and LLI groups meet. This week we started our first round of book clubs with the majority of the class. These book clubs will be focusing on several essential questions, including “What is normal?” and “Who decides that?” We will also be thinking about how to nurture empathy. While some students are in book clubs, other students are working in small reading groups (LLI) to help them tackle new strategies for comprehending an analyzing texts. For more specific information on what your child is doing during readers time, please contact your line teacher.

Writers Workshop

In writers workshop this week, we worked on our Identity Map Coding project. We also talked about the introductory paragraph and the concluding paragraph in our writing. Each of these paragraphs has a format that students spent time of over the course of the week. On Friday, they worked to complete their first draft. Teachers will be giving feedback based on these drafts and students will begin the process of publishing next Thursday. We will not have a typical celebration for this writing piece because students still need to finish their visual and performing arts pieces. We will celebrate all this work together.

Math Workshop

In Ms. Kalei’s group this week we talked about liquid measurement (gallons, quarts, pints, cups, fluid ounces). Please help your child at home by asking them to draw you the gallon diagram. Students worked on converting different measurements (i.e. 1/4 gallon = ___ pints) and wrote story problems to solve collaboratively. Students are also reviewing the standard multiplication algorithm. We are moving into a study of fractions. Students will begin with a guided discovery of some manipulatives on Monday.

In Ms. Pam’s group, This week students worked on understanding what makes the biggest product.  Students rearranges five numbers in order to find out what numbers if they multiply together give them a bigger product for example is 92×18 bigger than 98×12.  They also did work with understanding Greatest Common factor and negative numbers.

In Ms. Kandi’s group, students built arrays for 2-by-2-digit multiplication combinations and wrote their own story problems.  We then spent time learning to use base-10 grid paper to sketch rectangular arrays instead of building them.  We will continue to practice solving these problems by breaking the numbers apart into tens and ones, as well as, using the traditional algorithm.

Mr. Jim’s group has been working on learning several methods to solve multi-digit multiplication, measuring lengths in centimeters, and a little work with fractions and decimals.

P3 Workshop

In P3 this week we started our study of Earth Science. Students spent time investigating different kinds of rocks. They did a little pre-unit work by writing down everything they know about rocks and they had fabulous observations. Students are working on skits to demonstrate and show how metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks form. They are also writing nonfiction comics to teach some of this new information to a K/1 audience.

Current Events

In current events this week we discussed an article from Teaching Tolerance about a young girl who visited the Muncie Children’s Museum and noticed a lack of racial diversity in one of the exhibits. You can read the article to find out how social activism starts so young!

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What is the thesis of your essay?
  • What are you doing as a reader right now?
  • Tell me/show me one of your classroom procedures.


Newsletter 9 – 10/25/14


This week we came back from Fall Break! We are all excited to be back in school. We have started doing compass points work! The compass points protocol is something we use to get to know our selves better.

  • Northerners: Like to plunge in, get started immediately. Don’t like to wait around planning. Often wants to take charge.
  • Southerners: Caring, wants to know everyone’s opinion before starting. Has to know that everyone is OK.
  • Easterners: Wants to know the big picture before starting, needs to know all the possibilities and consequences before starting.
  • Westerners: Likes to know all the details before starting, the who, what, when, where, why and how. Plans all the little things before starting.

We also have started doing physical/mental community work/games to better understand which compass points we are. The game we did on Thursday was where we split into four groups. Then we got into circles with our legs stuck in the middle. We had to get a bucket across all of our legs without taking our hands from the ground, and then we were safe. (We were stuck on an island with poisonous crabs that wouldn’t kill us if we had our hands on the ground. We had to get the fresh water, and if the bucket touched the ground poisonous crabs would contaminate it.)

Snack Schedule

Week of 10/27 – Last names that begin with R-W
Week of 11/3 – Last names that begin with A-H
Week of 11/10 – Last names that begin with I-L
Week of 11/17 – Last names that begin with M-P

Morning Meeting

This week for share we have been bringing in significant objects to share. We said why we it is special to us and were we got it. so it takes much less time than the normal shares.

Good morning we have been doing new activities and we are doing SYMPHONY. In symphony, students break into two sections and sing a part of a phrase like “hot dog” to the tune Yankee Doodle.

This week we did these greetings: sleepy hipster,rotating rookies and vets. One of my faves was sleepy hipster – to do sleepy hipster you say “hi sup” in a sleepy way.


In Ms. Pam’s math group, we have been working on our end of the Chapter projects. In our math, we have different chapters that we work on for a couple weeks, then do a project that connects to us, the throughlines, and what we did in the chapter. Some examples of projects are: designing an tiny, earth-friendly house, and calculating the area of it, or calculating how much money you would have if you saved your allowance money every week until you were 18. Also, designing mathematical board games. We have also been working on clearing out our binders and finishing a backlog of fix and finish.

In Ms. Kalei’s math group we have been working on the math group agreements. We have decided listen, quality work, and be ready. We have also been working on long division, and efficient strategies with the multiplication menu. A multiplication menu is when you use known facts to build up to a large dividend. In the equation 386÷24, students generate a multiplication menu. 1×24, 2×24, 10×24, 20×24, 5×24, 3×24 and 30×24. After they calculate these products (which happens efficiently because they just add the zeroes) they build up to the dividend. This is an alternative strategy to multi-digit division. 

In Mr. Jim’s math group this week we have been working on large number multiplication.we.have also been working on more strategies .we are still working on uor 1s,10s,100,1,000,10,000 dot project!

This week in Ms. Kandi’s math group we began math workshop with some measuring.  Students used base-10 pieces as referents for centimeters and decimeters.  Together they listed some things that might be best measured in centimeters, decimeters, and meters. They practiced measuring in centimeters for homework.  Students focused on multiplication by 10 in the context of area measurement.  Students modeled multiplication by 10 using the area model and made generalizations about the process.  A Home Connection was sent home to provide more practice multiplying by 10.  At the end of the week students solved multiplication story problems by breaking apart the numbers to make them easier to work with and we linked this work to the traditional algorithm.

Readers Workshop

This week in readers we wrote a formal  letter to the character in our realistic fiction book. We are now morning into a book club unit. We had seven choices.  Now,  the new update on Flora and Ulysses.We are still reading it as a class together. The book clubs will deal with realistic issues in kids lives. We will use our next round of book clubs to develop a deep sense of empathy for multiple characters in the book. Students will have required reading (deadlines) for their meetings as well as assignments. We will send home this information with students on Tuesday, when book clubs are assigned. You can read more about the book club choices in this document. 

P3 Workshop

This week we got our energy kits. They each have six CFLs. Thats stands for Compact Floresent Lightbulb. It also includes a faucet head,a shower head ,thermometer, a bag for experiments and more. These are all for saving energy.

Writers Workshop

In writers workshop this week we did our identity pieces and we also worked on our paragraphing. Students worked on stamina, paragraph formatting, and extending their paragraphs. We will be moving into introductory paragraphing, essay formatting, concluding paragraphs and thesis generating. 

Visual Arts

This week in Visual Arts we have been working on our identity pictures. There was five choices for our identity pictures, the choices we had for the pictures were… Mind map, abstract painting (landscape of the mind),  my life in post-its,mind map and identity wall.

Performing Arts

In performing arts, we have been inventing songs on garage band! It is very exciting because the whole class is doing things connecting to are I identity so it all fits together. We brought are writers notebooks so that way Mr.Chris could see how are short melodies connect with are writing pieces. On garageband, they have a thing were you could get a piano and create your short melody and Mr.Chris said we had to write one with the piano and then add already recorded pieces to are short melody!We are designing melodies that we feel can show the different parts of our identity. The melodies will be that base for our identity song pieces.

Questions to Ask Your Child

  • What compass point are you? Why/what’s an example? What do you think you need to work on?
  • How can we improve energy efficiency in our house?
  • What object have you/did you bring in to share? If you haven’t yet, which one will you bring next week?

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Newsletter 8 – 10/2/14

Ms. Kalei is in charge of all blogging this week, as the lack of school Friday prevented students from typing it up. 


  • This week we finished up all of our NWEA tests.
  • Students do have homework over the break, they have been asked to log 100 minutes of reading and complete a short writing assignment, which can be found here.  It came home in silver folders on Thursday, but we know some were forgotten.
  • We are asking families to participate in a 4/5 classroom survey.
  • Please schedule a conference with us if you have not yet been able to.

Writers Workshop

In writers workshop we started writing paragraphs about the topic sentences we generated last week. We expanded on the “I am” statements by learning a new paragraph structure: Topic Sentence, Explanation, Anecdote, Lesson/Importance. We will be building on our identity maps soon by color coding. We will explore what parts of our identities are given, chosen, both, and neither. In arts and performing arts, we are integrating our identity work. More on this from students after the break.

Readers Workshop

In readers workshop, students finished up their realistic fiction books. They worked on a triple venn diagram that compared setting, characters and plot in their novels.

P3 Workshop

In P3 this week we did map projects to demonstrate our knowledge of Indiana. Students worked in groups of 2-5 to draw a large scale map of Indiana. They were responsible for labeling Indianapolis and Bloomington, the North, Central, and Southern regions of the state, the Ohio River, Wabash River, and Lake Michigan, and all the bordering states. They had to record other measures on their maps such as major airports, rainfall, Native languages, natural resources, etc. Students presented these maps to the entire class.

Math Workshop

In Ms. Kandi’s group, we began the week with a post assessment for our first unit of study.  Students completed a variety of tasks revolving around multiplication and division concepts.  We discussed the terms centimeter and decimeter and measured various objects in the classroom using base-10 pieces.  We ended the week with determining the area of each base-10 piece in square centimeters and discussed the fact that the area of each piece represents its place value.  Students also built models of of the base-10 pieces through 10,000 to display on the classroom wall.

In Ms. Kalei’s group, we learned the algorithm for long division. We practiced with multidigit numbers. Some students are working on dividing into decimals with the remainder. Some students are practicing placing the remainder on the top of the division “house.” We did area and perimeter, just a review. We also took an assessment for unit two. Students have long division homework for the break. If they misplaced it before they got home…here is a digital copy.

In Mr. Jim’s Math Group, we’ve been exploring all sorts of different strategies for multiplying 2-digit numbers by 2-digit numbers. We’ve been working on arrays, abbreviated arrays, the box method, chinese stick method, partial product, and the standard algorithm.

In Ms. Pam’s Group, students have jumped into their first math project.  With this project students have to come up with something that represents themselves using any of the math concepts they have learned so far.  Many have decided to make a game or chose something in their life such as backyard chickens or their bedroom to use as the first step to creating this project.  Students also worked on finding area of irregular shapes, algebraic equations, and understanding decimals.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What can you teach me about Indiana?
  • How are you helping out your 4/5 community? What are you excited to take a break from? What are you excited to get back to in two weeks?
  • What goals do you have for yourself at this point in the year?
  • What realistic fiction book did you read?