Newsletter 34 – 5/30/15


This week we started our whole class NWEA tests. Students completed the reading and math assessments.

We also started our work for MAW – due to take place on June 10! On Friday we generated our theme for the MAW which will be Doctor Who. Student-designed exhibits will relate to moments in time and space. Kids chose their sub-committees and will find our their assignments on Monday.

This was also a big week because of FIELD DAY! Field day was a huge success, we hiked, played capture the flag, played scratch, slipped and slided, and enjoyed nature.

As the end of the school year nears, please make sure we are aware of any days your child may miss. In these last few weeks, we work together so closely as a community.

Here is the snack schedule for the last weeks:

Week of 6/1– Last names that begin with M-P
Week of 6/8 – Last names that begin with R-W
Homework in the next few weeks can be spent finishing up final assignments – capstone writing and final fiction writing pieces.
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Writers Workshop

In writers workshop this week, students finished up their second drafts of their writing pieces.

Math Workshop

Most math groups this week spent time finishing up and reviewing our end of year growth assessments.

Newsletter 33 – 5/22/15


Field Day is coming up next Friday! Everyone is super excited for it. Field Day is a day where the whole school takes a trip out to our beloved Ms. Sara’s farm. We play CTF and football, play in the horse troughs, Mr. Chris runs the Slip n’ Slide, and we generally have an awesome time. Make sure to pack your child appropriately with a water bottle, close toe shoes, towel, bathing suit, extra change of clothes, and a filling lunch.

Morning Meeting

This week we played a new activity. We did freeze dance. A greeting that we did – we told someone about if any of our family has served in the military. We’ve done a better job sitting and getting to know our classmates. We have been using cards in meeting. The cards have your name on them, and the teachers pass them out, mix them up, and sit next to new people every day.

Capstone Project

This week in capstone, we decided what our visual piece would be. Some of us finished our questions and some of us are still working on them. Parents are always helpful in working on capstone pieces at home!

Book Buddies

We were focusing on having our book buddies retell the story and give us examples of characters, plot and setting.

Ms. Kalei’s Math Group

We just finished a long end of the year assessment. We played games. Students are excited to continue our work on dreambox next week!

Mr. Jim’s Math Group

We did a long end of year assessment.

Ms. Caitlin’s Math Group

This week in Ms. Caitlin’s math group we have been working on re-arranging random triangles into rectangles and finding the area of them, which is harder than it sounds. We also did a review of all the math we have done for Ms. Caitlin to give to our future math teachers -sob- next year.

We have also been working on a group math project on Scratch, following the adventures of the blue-and-yellow George and his trusty striped cane.

Ms. Kandi’s Math Group

We are doing decimals – adding and subtracting them. When we are done adding or subtracting we always have to do the reverse operation to check our work.

Readers Workshop

We are reading independently every day. We are reading books of choice.

P3 Workshop

In P3 this week, we talked about immigration, child labor in factories, and the laws that were passed about alcohol. We talked about the KKK and their beliefs in white supremacy.

Writers Workshop

We finished our first drafts. We are working on our second drafts. Some people are working on computers. We shared our drafts with writing partners and partners looked  for:

  • Verb tense
  • Five senses
  • Climax – slow building tension
  • Paragraphing – Dialogue
  • Plot

Visual Arts

We have had free days this week. We have had things from dragons to mini sized clothes. Other then that we haven’t done much more. But a free day in arts is always magical. We have also been drawing something we have never drawn before and are creatively drawing pop art inspired patterns around it.


We watched a colorlines video about race. [Insert link]





Newsletter 32 – 5/15/15

**The whole newsletter was again written by Ms. Kalei. Student voices soon!


This week we finished ISTEP testing! Collectively, we are feeling a return to our community norms and expectations. Thank you for helping students get to school on time with food in their bellies and brains ready for quite the endurance test. This week, we spent a lot of time amping up our work in writers and capstone.

This week we also spent some time celebrating The Watsons Go to Birmingham. We watched most of the movie of The Watsons, and spent time generating a compare and contrast chart looking at the book and the movie.

We also read the latest issue of Indy Kids and discussed a working definition for racism, in relationship to our experiences with the words prejudice, stereotype, and race.

Writers Workshop

In writers workshop this week, students spent time thinking about character motivation. They connected the conflict the character faces to how they solve the conflict. They named WHY their character solves this problem. Writers also named an emotional arc for their characters using our mixed emotions cards.  Next week, we’ll be introducing a rubric for writers who are moving into a second draft or publishing their final pieces.


We are really zooming in on our capstone work. Researchers spent last week designing thick questions and are now answering them! This week, we introduced the template students will record information on.

Math Workshop

In Ms. Caitlin’s group, we are working on finding the area of irregular polygons. We also continued working on our whole group project.

In Ms. Kalei’s group we continued our discussion of algebraic functions and graphing. We read the book The Kings Chessboard. We also started some work on Dreambox – an internet program that is adaptive and responsive to student needs in math. We will be using Dreambox several times a week through the end of the year – and we’re excited to be integrating tech into our work. Students can access Dreambox at home, by going to this link: Here is more extensive information on parent facing stuff from dreambox:

In Ms. Kandi’s group students used base-ten pieces to represent and compare sets of decimal numbers and fractions.  They ordered 15 numbers between zero and two.  They then built collections to represent three different numbers that would come between 0.3 and 0.4 on a number line.  At the end of the week students learned a new game called Round and Add Tenths.  In this game, students practiced modeling, comparing, and using decimals to tenths.  They also practiced rounding decimal numbers to the nearest whole number.

In Jim’s group we finished our unit of study of decimals. We have been converting decimals and fractions, adding and subtracting decimal numbers, and ordering decimal numbers.


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Newsletter 31 – 5/9/15

The entire newsletter was teacher written this week! 


Thank you for the snacks! Kids were testing during many sessions this week and felt a lot better having special tasty treats. Many fifth graders are done with testing, and 4th graders will take the science assessments next week. We had a conversation as a class about how we function as a community during testing. Students were insightful in the discussion, pointing out how the community is out of routine and needs different opportunities to be together and remain connected.

We finished The Watsons Go to Birmingham this week and had a discussion of the historical accuracy of the text. We did a written reflection – What will we do? What do we believe after reading this book? What are we thinking about? What do we feel?

P3 Workshop

This week in P3, we went back to the early 1800s-the 1900s to discuss The Underground Railroad, the Native Peoples loss of territory, and the Civil War in Indiana.

Math Workshop

In Mr. Jim’s math group this week we finished up our tile graphs. We talked about probability and percent.

In Ms. Kalei’s math group this week we studied algebraic functions, expressions, and equations. We discussed how to identify a pattern in a sequence of tiles, and how to graph a function.

In Ms. Kandi’s group this week students explored strategies for adding decimal numbers.  Through sharing and comparing their strategies for combining money value pieces, students continued to develop understandings of decimal fractions as well as effective and efficient methods for multi-digit decimal numbers.  Students used base-ten pieces to explore strategies for subtracting decimal numbers.  Through sharing and comparing strategies, students continued to develop understandings of decimal fractions as well as effective and efficient methods for subtracting multi-digit decimal numbers.  Independently students solved story problems involving the addition and subtraction of decimal numbers.

Readers Workshop

In Readers this week we finished up some work on digital slide presentations. Using Google Slides, students presented work about setting, plot, characters, author’s purpose, theme, and author’s agenda. They created these presentations around a text they finished over the past few weeks and celebrated their work together on Friday.


This week in capstone, we narrowed our focuses. Students identified 3+ essential questions that they have answered in their process of researching so far. They will be elaborating on answers to these questions using multiple sources and gathering this information into paragraphs.

Questions to Ask Your Child:

  • What are the three questions you’re answering in capstone?
  • What book did you read in the author’s agenda unit? What did you learn about the book?
  • How has morning meeting been different this week?

Newsletter 30 – 5/3/15


We have had a wonderful week of ISTEP! Positive attitudes abound. Next week we will continue our work. Remember to have early bedtimes, healthy brain food and of course BE SUPPORTIVE!

Foods we recommend:

  • Fruit
  • Protein (yogurt, lentils, seeds, fish, lean meat, eggs, peanut butter)
  • Healthy Carbs– maybe toast with peanut butter and orange juice for breakfast (DON’T TEST ON AN EMPTY STOMACH!)
  • Fish
  • Dark fruits and veggies (kale, people, its not that bad, and this is a kid talking)
  • Eggs
  • A protein smoothie with healthy ingredients is great.

This isn’t food, but seriously, get lots of sleep. Also not food, but comfy clothing!

Readers Workshop

This week in readers workshop we are bringing our unit to an end!We are making slides about one of the books we read.We are making one slide for the title, setting(s) , the characters, the theme(s) , the author’s porpuse/ and the plot. This week we continued to read The Watson’s Go To Birmingham. The Watsons continued their trip to Birmingham and when they finally got there Byron became very respectful and polite to Grandma Sands started to act all southern.

P3 Workshop

This week in P3 we started learning about Indiana from 1600-1800. We wrote down the information we learned on our time lines. We went back in time because we’re Time Lords. Time Lords can travel back in time (Time Lords are from Doctor Who). We traveled back in time and  learned about Native Americans that lived in the 1600-1800 in Indiana. We also talked about Indiana’s two constitutions.

Writers Workshop

This week in writer’s workshop we wrote and finished our plan and started writing stories about our characters.

Performing Arts

In Performing Arts, we have been working on our recorder skills. Both lines did some outside practice to take advantage of the beautiful week. The Dreams line did some skits of fairy tales and myths. We played all together and got to show each other where we were in our music, which was really fun!