Newsletter 23 – 2/27/15


We are so proud of everyone on Monday night! The play was amazing, and we are still pumped! Everyone had their lines perfectly, and we had a ton of fun. We are so grateful to Mr. Chris and Ms. Sara for giving us this amazing opportunity. Read more in the Performing Arts section. We are very, ahem, excited for ISTEP, which will be happening on Tuesday. Get lots of sleep and eat healthy food, people! Please let us know if you are able to bring in the following items to support students during the days/weeks of testing. 

  • Mints
  • Gum- preferably spearmint or cinnamon (proven to help brainpower)
  • High protein snacks, including:
    • Bananas
    • Grapes
    • Cheese sticks
    • Strawberries
    • Apples

Readers Workshop

This we have been doing ISTEP prep we mostly write about the things we’ve read in the practice test. Normally we do the same process every time. The process is we read a story then answer some questions then we write a story by answering the prompt that they gave you. Then we do the same process on the same prompt but in the practice book. We will start ISTEP next week. Students have been working in smaller groups to handle grade-relevant prompts for the ISTEP. We have been working specifically with narrative writing in 4th grade and then with literary essays and “continue the story” narratives in 5th grade. Students are remembering to cite evidence and explain their citations throughout their pieces. 

This week in The Watsons Go To Birmingham, Byron, Kenny`s older brother plays with fire and almost gets burnt by his mom.

Math Workshop

In Ms. Caitlin’s group this week we have been working with Ms. Kalei’s group on ISTEP testing practices. On Thursday we did stations for things we wanted to review before starting the test on Tuesday. Some of the things we worked on were solving for unknowns, converting fractions and decimals, percentages, and subtracting/ multiplying fractions. It would be great if parents went over some math with kids to prepare them for ISTEP!

This week in Ms. Kalei’s math group we have been working on I.S.T.E.P. practice. We had conferences one on one with Ms. Kalei to focus on strategies that support us during independent work. On Friday, we have been doing some stations. There  was 8 stations. We have been doing these stations for I.S.T.E.P. practice/prep.

This week in Mr. Jim’s math group we have been working on I.S.T.E.P prep work. The istep prep is where we work on doing story problems and multi-step problems. We have been working on a new problem solving strategy that asks us to draw a diagram/picture as we are learning the information related to the problem. 

This week in Ms. Kandi’s group we utilized problem solving strategies we have learned throughout the year to tackle multi-step word problems.  In Guided Math we have been working hard to read charts and graphs and answer specific questions using the information provided.

ISTEP+ Reminders

Testing will begin on Tuesday for the majority of the 4/5 class. We will be doing the math assessment, english language arts assessment, and the science assessment (4th grade). If your child has testing accommodations, email us and we can give you more specific information about what days they will be testing. In any case, please support your child by: 

  • Establish an early bedtime routine, to ensure your child/children receives at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Remove distractions from his/her bedroom to ensure they have an uninterrupted sleep.
  • Make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast before school.
  • Be positive about the test! Don’t put undue pressure on your child’s performance.
  • Reassure your child, let them know that they just need to do his/her best.
  • Encourage your child to take his/her time, they are given plenty of time to complete the test.
  • Dress your child in comfortable/loose fitting clothing.

The second part of ISTEP, the multiple choice questions, will begin at the end of April.

Performing Arts

In performing arts, we have had are play! In my opinion it seems crazy that we are not still rehearsing our lines our song and our dance moves. Everyone still has lots and lots of energy from going to the waldron and seeing all the people (and babies) in the audience. ⅘ would like to thank everyone for being so, so supportive. We worked very hard last week on Friday and this week Monday and it all definitely payed off. We saw our play and after Mr. Chris copies the DVD he will be selling them at $5.


This week we learned about computer research.We got to go on computers.  All students (a handful of exceptions) now have access to their google doc accounts. Their usernames are “first initial last name @ No spaces are in the username. Passwords have been individually generated and Ms. Kalei has access to them. We created a computer ethics policy which is listed below: 

Think before you type. (or speak)
Stay on the page that google gave you.
Don’t download anything. Avoid advertisements.
Carry the computer with two hands.
Be appropriate.
Stay on topic.
Use common sense (imagine your invisible audience).
Use reliable websites.
Be critical of your sources (websites, ads, text).

Morning Meeting

We did the game wax museum – it is where you have to be frozen and not laugh. Anyone tries to make you laugh and if you laugh you become a docent- trying to make other people laugh and you can get people out if they are moving. This week we did the dot to dot greeting  you take the other person’s arm and write good morning or hi in a dot to dot way. We also did the cold greeting – you do a handshake without touching the person’s hand- no germs!

Visual Arts

This week we have been doing task. Task is a thing where you write a creative thing to do on a slip of paper and the pick one yourself. After you pick the slip of paper you have to interpret  the slip in a creative way if its a drawing or a dress it super cool, awesome, funnylicious way!!!


FullSizeRender_1 FullSizeRender_2  FullSizeRender_4 FullSizeRender IMG_5291 IMG_5294 IMG_5295 IMG_5298 IMG_5302 IMG_5275 IMG_5277 IMG_5278 IMG_5288

Newsletter 22 – 2/15/15

Readers Workshop

In reader’s, we have been focusing on constructed response english/language arts questions in preparation for upcoming standardized tests. We began this study by discussing what we know about standardized assessments. We moved through a problem solving strategy. We practiced reading fiction and nonfiction text excerpts and answering questions by coming up with ideas and supporting them with evidence from the text. Students were given feedback on responses and then revised their ideas. 

Writers Workshop

In writer’s workshop we finished up our work with poetry. Mr. Kreilkamp came in on Tuesday to teach the class about sonnets. Students learned the rhyme scheme and syllable makeup of sonnets and then worked in trios to build their own sonnet. On Thursday, we celebrated published poetry as a class. 

Math Workshop

This week in Mr. Jim’s group we continued working with probability. We looked at the difference between certain and impossible, likely and unlikely. We did lots of problem solving, including multi-step problems that required multiple operations. We worked in teams.

In Ms. Caitlin’s group we are working on enlarging and reducing shapes on a coordinate plane and explaining the relationship between an original and a changed shape. We have also started ISTEP practice.

In Ms. Kalei’s math group, we have been working through some complicated mathematical problems to prepare for upcoming standardized testing. We have been working on multiplying and dividing decimals. We have been using a number line to compare fractions, decimals, and percents. We played some computational fluency games to reinforce these skills. 

In Ms. Kandi’s group – Last week students were introduced to a new game called Game Marker Goals, in which players tried to score goals by flicking game markers into a 10-centimeter wide goal area.  First, they flicked from 10-cm away, then 20-cm, and so on, until they flicked from 50 cm away from the goal line.  After making some observations and predictions about the likely outcomes of the game, students played Game Marker Goals in groups, recorded their own results, and then entered their results on a class chart. We then examined and discussed the data collected, and worked together to determine the total number of goals made by the class from each distance.  We thought a lot about theoretical probability vs. experimental probability this week.

Art to Remember Update

On-line Art To Remember late orders are here! If you would like me to hold them in the visual arts room for pick-up please email me. Otherwise, all orders will go home with the oldest student in your family this Thursday, February 12th, 2015, 
Thanks for your support,
Ms. Sara          

Snack Schedule

Week of 2/16 – Last names that begin with R-W
Week of 2/23– Last names that begin with A-H
Week of 3/2 – Last names that begin with I-L
Week of 3/9 – Last names that begin with M-P

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What is happening in The Watsons Go to Birmingham?
  • How are you feeling about the upcoming play? 
  • What do self-directed learners do? 

Newsletter 21 – 2/6/2015


We have been working hard on our Going West play, but you can hear more about that in Performing and Visual arts.  A very important part of the Capstone project is Librarian Mentors! Each member of our library lunch committee has a few people they are in charge of finding resources for. The resources can be from our library, the public library, or other places.

P3 Workshop

This week in P3 we finished our assessment about Native Americans. The test included different tribes that we studied. We had to identify different words like “pueblos” and “longhouses”. We have been getting our information from History Of Us, that is a series that is about how we evolved and made inventions. We have finished our section about Native Americans.

Writers Workshop

In writers workshop this week we have learned some new poetry forms which are the tanka “dream” form and sonnet cinquain rhyme free verse ode and  haiku the shape poem and the kinnings and the word placements. We also worked on political poems like ebola,civil rights movement and others.The poem of the day is.

Readers Workshop

This week we started and finished a timeline project.We took quotes of injustices and moments of joy from our texts and put them in time order on our timelines.We wrote explanation why it represented joy or injustice too. We also finished our Historical fiction books. We are excited for their next unit. Although Ms. Kalei and Mr.Jim have not told us what the unit is yet. We have continued to read The Watsons Go To Birmingham. In the section we have introduced a new character his name is Rufus. the book talked about a former friend of his who stole his dinosaurs. And How his older brother By made it so he wasn’t bullied so much.

Math Workshop

This week in Ms. Kalei’s math group we have been working on doing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of fractions and decimals. We have been working on how to be a  good partner.

This week in Mr. Jim’s math group we learned that lw means length times width which is the formula for area. We also got a huge packet with a ton of different math terms that we have to define what they mean there where small changes to our problem solving groups but we are still going with the groups. We got our assessments back with our scores on them.

In Ms. Caitlin’s math group, we have started some huge chapters, and started new projects. We are working on figuring out length without knowing the numbers. We have been doing a lot on number lines, positive and negative, and measurement. Also graphing on coordinate planes, and enlarging on coordinate planes.

In Ms. Kandi, this week students were introduced to a new game called Game Marker Goals, in which players tried to score goals by flicking game markers into a 10-centimeter wide goal area.  First, they flicked from 10-cm away, then 20-cm, and so on, until they flicked from 50 cm away from the goal line.  After making some observations and predictions about the likely outcomes of the game, students played Game Marker Goals in groups, recorded their own results, and then entered their results on a class chart. We then examined and discussed the data collected, and worked together to determine the total number of goals made by the class from each distance

Book Buddies

This week in book buddies this week we just got to read. Our book buddies are doing a non-fiction unit. They each have a topic that the are studying. It is very fun to read there non-fiction books because we learn stuff we don’t even know! Our book buddies look like they are very into their topics. They are recording information they learned on post-its and are sticking them on a folder. They have a lot of information!

Morning Meeting

Hello we have fun doing the game “hello” it is where you stand in the middle the room and you spin in a circle. The teacher says stop and you stop and you point at some and then in an disguise voice and then with there eyes closed  they guess the voice and if they get it right then they get to pick the next person to do it and if you get it wrong then you get to chose the next person  then it gosse on like that for all. This week we did the german greeting you say guten morgan (good morning in german) cool I know. one of our fellow students helped mr.Jim on how to pronounce it.

Visual Arts

This week in visual arts we are finally doing set design! If you don’t know what set design is, it is where we make the set props for the show. We are making things from trees to prairie schooners. We are getting in all the time we can. We are breaking off into committees, and it is working very well. We all hope the best and that all the set pieces get done. So that’s it ‘till the next update. I hope you all will enjoy the play.

Performing Arts

We have been working so so hard to memorize our lines, all the songs (our solos too) and the dance moves. Mr. Chris sent out papers that tell you who your children are in the play and it says what your child needs to wear for the big night! You should help your child know exactly what  their lines are  even if they have memorized their lines. Dreams is having their play at 7 o’clock and Hopes is having their play at 6 o’clock. Both of the plays are on the 17th at the Waldron. Everyone is very, very excited.