Newsletter 21 – 2/23/18

Weekly Highlights

This week we did some work getting ready for ISTEP+ testing. We took most of our practice tests as a big group as well as students that test individually & in smaller groups. We will begin actual ISTEP testing on Monday. Here are a few things to keep in mind with testing:

  • Establish an early bedtime routine, to ensure your child/children receives at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Remove distractions from their bedroom to ensure they have an uninterrupted sleep.
  • We are completing the “constructed response” section of ISTEP.  This section of the exam will ask students to respond to open-ended questions.
  • 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 their best.
  • Any appointments that are scheduled in the mornings are likely to impact student testing and makeups. If you have an appointment that you are unable to cancel, please let us know as soon as possible.
  • There are 3 subjects tested per each grade and 4 sections -ELA (2 sections), Math, and Social Studies/Science (5th/6th)

We used the image of a pie chart to talk about how to plan out the testing sessions. All of our testing this year is online, so we familiarized ourselves with the testing screen, buttons, etc.

To balance the structure of ISTEP, we worked on our Invitations topics during our P3 time. We also worked on a launching experience for our new writing unit.


We are in need of gum (sugar free), mints (lifesavers, preferably) and pencils. The mints/gum are for ISTEP testing sessions. Pencils, we have somehow run out of! If you are able to bring any of these items in, please let Ms. Kalei know!

We sent homework bingo home with kids on Monday. We are hoping they will bring it back by March 2. We also have a geography quiz scheduled for the week of March 5th. Your child has set their own goals for this quiz, and most have their first quiz grades posted on Fresh Grade.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • On Friday, you completed a challenge during your Fresh Grade time – what was it? [cuing words: drawing a picture, robots]
  • How did you feel about the pie-chart structure for ISTEP – do you think you’ll use it? How will it be helpful?
  • What is an injustice you’ve found in your Invitations study? How was power involved?


Newsletter 20 – 2/17/18

Weekly Highlights

Sorry for our delays in posting – all three of us have been struck down by varying illnesses…hoping you and your kiddos are feeling happy & healthy.
Last week – students completed their biography projects! They have adorned their cubbies outside our classroom with “busts” of Change-Makers – people who saw an injustice and worked to make our world more just and better for everyone.
This week – students began another round of Invitations. The invitations have continued to focus on social justice movements that have sought to increase access to power and opportunity to those who have been kept from it. This round, students chose one of the following groups:
  • Anti-War Movements
  • Zero Tolerance & Violence at School
  • Civil Rights & Racial Stereotypes
  • Land, Sea, Air – Environmental Movements
  • LGBTQ+
  • #metoo & Women’s Rights
Last week – students studied and wrote about how the setting of the story impacts the mood of a story.
This week – students studied and wrote about how authors develop characters through various ways in a story.
Last week – students continued to push themselves to memorize more African countries with the hopes they see Africa as a place that is MORE than just a continent.
This week – students took another quiz to see how much they improved. We will have them set a new goal based on how they did and do one final push to memorize more countries than they ever thought they could!!
Last week – most students started a new spelling group.
This week – students continued work in their spelling groups to recognize spelling patterns that continue to give them (or their teachers and parents…) headaches.


We have no school on Monday (Feb 19th). If you did not get a request for a winter conference and would like to have one, please email us. We are more than willing to meet with you to discuss the progress of your child.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • What have you learned about linking evidence to text?
  • What invitations did you choose and why?
  • How are justice and power connected?
  • How have your classroom “habits” changed throughout the year [we did a survey about this on Friday]? What do you think are strengths and goals for you in the classroom?

Newsletter 19 – 2/4/18

Weekly Highlights

We dug into analysis of our short stories (that students read for homework) this week. We did some work around theme – the lesson of a story. We studied how to find textual evidence to support the themes we generated. In small groups, students met to discuss themes of their stories after trying it out on their own. We also had a really lovely discussion of our favorite childhood books (The Hungry Caterpillar was very popular!).


This week we worked to finish the illustrations that we created for our Books and Beyond project. We are in our final stages of publishing these pieces and sending them off to be compiled in a book! We will be sending home a release form for your child’s name and photograph to be in the book. Since most of the work is done as a group, your child’s group’s work will appear in the book, but details related to them do not have to. Please return this permission slip by Friday this week!

We are also tying up our biography projects, which you may have started to see in the cubbies right outside our classroom. The projects that haven’t been completed yet will get sent home as a part of homework this week.

Mr. Chris gave out roles for our play James and the Giant Peach. Our play will be April 17th – so we have a few months to rehearse and learn the lines, lyrics & choreography. We will be practicing whole class numbers throughout the school day – the songs are so good!

We’ve been studying the countries of Africa, and students are setting their own goals for learning the names of these countries. We are doing a “quiz” type piece on Fridays, and students try and add to their goals. You can find out how many countries your child hopes to learn on Fresh Grade.


  • If your child has completed their biography, they will have two short stories and a writing piece for homework this week.
  • If your child has not completed their biography, they will have one short story and their biography project to finish at home.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • How did your Africa Country Challenge Quiz go this week?
  • What social risks did you take this week? How did the “big circle” for morning meeting go?
  • What was the short story work like? Did you feel prepared after reading the stories for homework?
  • What did you do to help your Books & Beyond team?