# October 1 – 5, 2018

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Welcome back!  I hope everyone enjoyed their fall break.  I know I enjoyed my time, getting some rest and being able to relax and not be on a specific schedule.  Well, we are quickly coming to the close to the first quarter of the year.  We have this week and next left.  I have a feeling it’s going to be a very busy two weeks.  We will have conferences coming up very soon.  I generally have one late day for conferences, so if you need a later conference time (5:00 or so), please email me so that I can make arrangements to put you on the schedule first.  Please be looking for the fall conference confirmation form to be coming home this week.  Well, that’s enough about what’s to come, let’s get on with what we’ll be covering this week.

If you happen to have any empty 2 ltr. bottles, if you would send them to school for the STEM lab, we would be very grateful.  Mrs. Ucciferri has requested clean, empty 2 ltr. bottles to make rockets for the “Mission to Mars” activity that she has planned in the STEM lab.  Thank you in advance.

Math – This week, we will be working on measuring the perimeter of various shapes.  In order to determine the perimeter, the students will be expected to add all the sides of the shape.  For example, if the shape happens to be a hexagon, and one side measures 6 inches, then we would add 6″ + 6″ + 6″ + 6″ + 6″ + 6″ to get a grand total of 36″.  We will be looking at various shapes, but fortunately, it’s just remembering to add all the sides together.  Here’s a quick formula that I’ll be teaching:  P=s + s + s.  Just like the example above, perimeter is the addition of all the sides, no matter how many sides the shape contains.  This week, we will also be “showing” what we’ve learned by taking the touchstone test.  The touchstones are a county mandated test that we must give.  These are similar and a good indication of what the students will be tested on in the spring with the GA Milestones.  Please encourage your students to work hard, read all the directions, since I can’t read them to them, and do their best.

Reading – we are going to be working on paired text using some texts from Read Works (www.readworks.org) related to our social studies standards of the American Revolution.  I’m working on getting this passage loaded into an Office 365 Notebook, so that we don’t have to use so much paper to print them out, so I’m asking that if you agreed to allow your child to bring their device that they bring it (beginning on Tuesday).  We will also be taking the county mandated touchstone for the first quarter on Monday.  Again, this is county mandated, and the students have been taught everything that should be on the test.  Please encourage them to do their best, and use the “UNWRAP” strategies that we’ve been talking about recently.  I’m going to include a copy of the “UNWRAP” strategy that we’ve been using below.

Spelling – This week, we will pick up with Sort #4.  I’m attaching a copy of the sort, as well as the contract below, in case your child doesn’t happen to bring them home this week.  Our test will be Friday, 10/12/18.

Taking too long?

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Taking too long?

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Grammar – This week, we will be continuing to work with conjunctions, but this time with compound sentences.  We will be revisiting our mentor text, The Memory String, and we will be working on using the conjunctions we learned last week to learn to write longer, more extensive sentences such as compound sentences.  Compound sentences are when there are two independent clauses that is combined into one nice long sentence, using a conjunction..  This week, the students will be expected to tell if a sentence is a simple sentence – meaning it has one subject and one predicate and expresses only 1 complete thought, or if it’s a compound sentence – meaning that it has two or more subjects and predicates and the two clauses could be separated into two different simple sentences.  For example:  Back then, some people couldn’t read, so a string like this was they’re way of remembering.

Social Studies – This week we will begin our study on the causes of the American Revolution and several of the key leaders related to the American Revolution.  We will even have a special guest this week, “Queen Edwards” will be coming to help out with a special project on Friday.  Please understand that what we’re doing in class is just a way to get the students to understand how the colonists felt during the time of the stamp act and the various other causes of the revolution.

Question of the week – for a “No Homework pass” – What does Mrs. Uccefferi need?

ELA Touchstone – Monday, 10/1/18
End of first nine weeks is Wednesday, 10/10/18
Conference forms to come home – Friday, 10/5/18
Conference Week Forms due back – Monday, 10/8/18
Guidance with Ms. Whitton – Tuesday, 10/9/18
Early Release Day – Thursday, 10/11/18 – 12:30 Dismissal

Conference week – Monday – Friday, 10/15-10/19/18
Early Dismissal during Conference Week 12:30 dismissal
Field trip to Cobb Youth Museum 10/29 or 10/30
Field trip to see Willy Wonka at South Cobb High School 11/1
Election Day – Teacher Workday – No School for Students – 11/6/18

# September 24 – 28, 2018

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Happy Fall Break everyone!  I hope you all are enjoying your 9 days off!  Please be careful!  Enjoy and relax!  Only two (2) more weeks left in this quarter of school!  Be sure to read a good book and work on Xtra Math (www.xtramath.org), if you’re bored!  If you’re traveling, I hope you have safe travels and we look forward to hearing about your trip when we return!

# September 17 – 21, 2018

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Well, we’ve almost made it to the first week long break!  Just 5 more wake-ups until we’re out for an entire week.  In these five days, we have a lot to cover.  With that being said, let’s get started.  Want to help our school and take a night off from cooking?  Be sure to come out to Huey Louie’s on Hwy. 41 in Acworth and support our school on Wednesday, 9/19/18.  A flyer was sent home a couple of weeks ago.  Mention that your child attends Pitner and they will give back 20% of your bill back to Pitner.  Please come out and support the PTSA on Wednesday, 9/19.

Math – we will continue working with addition, subtraction, and subtraction across zeroes, as well as working with multi-step word problems.  We will be introducing a new strategy called “CUBES,” to help us solve these multi-step word problems.  I’m attaching a picture below that will be in your students’ math notebooks, but if you could encourage the use of CUBES at home, that would be very helpful.  I will be going over each step in class this week, as well as expecting them to use each and every time we have word problems.  I will be counting off when the students don’t complete each part.  Each word problem will be worth a total of 6 points, because this strategy truly helps them to understand how to solve word problems.  Please encourage your students to use this strategy any time they encounter word problems.

Reading – this week, we will be focusing on informational reading and working on determining the main idea of the passages that we read.  The main idea is more than just the topic.  The main idea is a statement that the author makes about the topic and what the text it mostly about.  The main idea is typically a sentence rather than a couple of words.  The main idea is usually found within the text rather than just in the heading or the title of the story/passage.

Writing – we will continue working on writing and publishing narratives (stories).  This week, our focus will be on completing an entire piece within one sitting.  The students will be encouraged to begin to brainstorm, draft, revise/edit, and publish all in one sitting.  We’ve had the luxury of spending up to a week to do all of these things, but we really need to begin focusing on getting all of these things done within one sitting, much like they will be expected to do on the GA Milestones that will be given in April.  We will also be working on knowing when to change paragraphs – when a new character is speaking, when there is a change in the setting, time moves forward a lot, or a new character is introduced.

Spelling – We will not be having a spelling sort this week.  I’m going to postpone the spelling sort (Sort #4) until after the break.  I don’t want the students to have to keep up with the sort over the break.  This way, I’ll just have it ready for them on Monday after the break.

Grammar – We will be continuing with our normal “mentor sentence” routine this week by reading a book called Those Shoes.  The grammar focus will be conjunctions within compound sentences.  A compound sentence is when there are two complete independent clauses (sentences) joined by a comma and a conjunction.  For example:  I like tea, but he likes coffee.  In this example, “I like tea” makes a sentence and “He likes coffee” also makes a sentence, but they are joined together by using a conjunction.  The way remember the conjunctions is “FANBOYS” F – for, A – and, N – nor, B – but, O – or, Y – yet, S – so.  Here’s a quick Schoolhouse Rock video that you can watch to help you remember when to use conjunctions.

Science – We have a great opportunity this week.  We have the Star Lab coming to Pitner!  This is so exciting.  We will have the opportunity to climb into a “small planetarium” that will be housed here at Pitner for the week.  In this Star Lab, it’s super important that the students wear jeans, because we are crawling around on the floor.  We literally “crawl” into this igloo shaped inflatable and look at the constellations.  So, needless to say, we will be continuing with our study of constellations this week in Science.  This is a special opportunity, because we’ve never had it come to Pitner before.  Students that are not able to control themselves, will not be allowed to participate and they will remain in the classroom with me.  Please be sure to ask your students about this opportunity this week.  Also, if you have an iOS device, you can go online and download an app called “Sky View” and you can take the device out into the night sky, hold it up to the sky and the pictures of the constellations, as well as some of the planets will be pointed out to you.  It’s an excellent app and it’s FREE!

Tuesday – Thursday – Star Lab at Pitner

Wednesday, 9/19/18 – Pitner Spirit Night at Huey Louie’s on Hwy. 41 in Acworth
Friday, 9/21/18 – Invitation to Edit quiz during grammar
Friday, 9/21/18 – Media center for Check-out – please bring back your books
Monday – Friday, 9/24 – 9/28 – Fall Break – No school for students/staff
Tuesday, 10/9/18 – Extra Credit assignments due
Wednesday, 10/10/18 – Last day of first quarter
Thursday, 10/11 – Early Release Day – 12:30 dismissal
Monday – Friday, 10/15 – 10/19 – Conference Week – Early Release at 12:30 each day – Report cards go home during conferences.
Monday, 10/22 – Friday, 10/26 – Red Ribbon Week
Monday, 10/29 – 8 students will go to Cobb Youth Museum for field trip
Tuesday, 10/30 – Remaining 15 students will go to Cobb Youth Museum for field trip
Thursday, 11/1 – Field trip to South Cobb HS to see drama production of “Willy Wonka.”
Tuesday, 11/6 – Election Day – Teacher Workday – No school for students
Monday, 11/19 – Friday, 11/23 – Thanksgiving Break – No school

Question of the week:  What does “FANBOYS” stand for?

# Patriot Day (9/11/18)

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In honor of Patriot Day, tomorrow, 9/11/18, please wear red, white and blue to show your support.

# September 10-14, 2018

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Just two short weeks until our first week long break.  We have a lot to cover in those 10 short days.  This week, we will have our 3rd spelling test, as well as a visit from Wellstar for a program called “Just Eat it.”  This program helps the students learn what foods are best for them, what foods they need “slowly,” and what foods they need very little of.  Every year that we do this, the students really seem to enjoy it.  So, without further ado, let’s get on with what we’ll be covering this week.

Math – We have begun our unit on addition and subtraction of larger numbers.  This week, we will be continuing our work on adding and subtracting.  One of the hardest things for the students to remember is that when they are regrouping from the ones place to the tens place that they are not regrouping “1,” but they are regrouping a “ten.”  I really harped on this last week, but the students seem to think I’m crazy.  I know that we learned that you were “carrying” over “1” when we were growing up and learning to add, but now it’s important for the students to understand that they are “carrying”/”regrouping” tens, rather than just single digits.  When the students are working at home, please help them to say “regrouping the tens” rather than the digit number.  As we work through subtraction, the students will need to remember that we are “regrouping” from the hundreds, tens, etc. to the next place to the right.  We called this borrowing, but if you were like me, you just borrowed “one digit” from the number to the left, they are “regrouping” 10 hundreds from the thousands, 10 tens from the hundreds, etc.  There are some videos on the “Math How-to Videos” page.  To reach this page, just click on the “Math How-To Videos” tab across the top of the blog.

Writing – We will be completing our narrative on “If I were an astronaut…”  We are in the process of publishing these pieces on the laptops.  We will also be focusing on adding some dialogue to our stories.  We have been using our read aloud book, Fish in a Tree, to help identify dialogue in a “mentor text,” and how we should include the dialogue with quotation marks, as well as creating a new paragraph each time someone else is talking.

Spelling – We will be taking our third bi-weekly spelling test on Friday.  Please be sure your student is working on their spelling contract.  Tests count as double, especially since the student have had two weeks to work on their spelling words.  If the students are completing their contracts, they should be making improvements with their spelling tests.  Contracts are due on Friday, along with our spelling test.

Grammar – This week our mentor test is 14 Cows for America.  The focus of the mentor sentence is visualization – helping the reader to “visualize” what is going on. We are also going to be working on identifying subjects and predicates.  Subjects are basically who or what (the noun and every thing to the left) the sentence is about and the predicates (the verb and everything to the right) are what the subject is doing.  For example:  Mrs. Poulos and her students will go on a field trip in October.  The subject would be Mrs. Poulos and her students.  The predicate is “will go on a field trip in October.”  The simple subjects would be Mrs. Poulos and her students (this will need to be underlined once).  The simple predicate would be “will go.”  Basically, simple subjects are just the nouns and the simple predicates are just the verb.  Hopefully, by the end of the week, the students will be able to identify the simple subjects and simple predicates in any sentence.  This week, we will also have homework in Grammar.  We have been introduced to a new website, No Red Ink (www.noredink.com) and the students will be expected to complete an assessment and lessons each night this week.  There will be log-in information placed into their agenda.

Science – We will be continuing with our unit on our solar system.

Question of the week:  What is a simple subject?  Please write the answer to this question on a scrap piece of paper and bring to Mrs. Poulos for a “No Homework” pass.

Extra credit packets are ready for students to pick up.  They can only choose 1 extra credit assignment per quarter.  Extra credit projects will be due no later than Tuesday, 10/9/18.  Please understand that extra credit is just that, extra credit.  It is not mandatory.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

Monday, 9/10 – Wellstar presentation – Just Eat it!
Thursday – Friday, 9/13 – 9/21 – ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) for all 3rd and 5th grade students.
Friday, 9/14 – Spelling Test
Monday – Friday, 9/24 – 9/27 – Fall Break – No school for students/staff
Monday – Thursday 9/24 – 9/26 – STEM Camp – \$75/day – held right here at Pitner!  Mrs. Home and Mrs. Poulos teaching
Wednesday, 10/10 – End of first quarter
Thursday, 10/11 – Early Release for all CCSD schools – Dismissal at 12:30
Monday – Friday 10/15 – 10/19 – Conference Week – Early Dismissal at 12:30 each day.
Thursday, 10/25 – Friday, 11/2 – Scholastic Book Fair at Pitner
Monday, 10/29 – 1/2 of Mrs. Poulos class to attend the Cobb Youth Museum Field Trip
Tuesday, 10/30 – other 1/2 of class to attend Cobb Youth Museum Field Trip
Thursday, 11/1 – Fourth grade field trip to South Cobb HS to see Willy Wonka (play)

# September 3 – 7, 2018

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I hope everyone is enjoying “the last weekend of summer.”  I know summer doesn’t officially end until September 21st, but traditionally, this weekend is the last weekend of summer.  Please don’t forget that there is no school on Monday, September 3, 2018.  The school will be closed in observance of Labor Day.  Also, if your student is interested in being a member of the “Green Club” that meets on Thursday afternoons, please feel free to pick up an application in our classroom (attached to the door frame) or download an application below.
Green Club Application-17s6i8w

This is a short week, so we’ll be cramming lots of information and fun into this short week.  So, without further ado, let’s get on with what we’ll be learning this week.

Math – We will be finishing up our unit on rounding by having a small quiz on Monday.  The students have been working so hard on this unit.  Some of us are still having a little difficulty remembering what “place” to round to, but once we have the place understood and realize that it’s all the same thing over and over again, we’ll get there.  We will continue working on this in our small groups during the week.  We will also begin our unit on addition and subtraction of larger numbers on Tuesday.  This too, should be a review of what the students completed in third grade, but please continue to work with them.  It’s so important that they understand that only 1 digit can fit into each place (ones, tens, hundreds, thousands..) and therefore, we have to regroup the ones, tens, hundreds…, when there is more than one digit (for example:  10 ones is the same as 1 ten + 0 ones, so we would place a “ten aka 1” over the tens column and a zero in the ones column.  These strategies are the same strategies that we learned as students, but now, we are focusing on saying “regroup the ten (hundred, etc.)” rather than “carry.”  When we get into subtraction, we will be “regrouping” ten ones (tens, hundreds…) to the ones place rather than “borrowing.”  I know this sounds confusing, because it’s not the way we learned, but it really does make a difference when explaining in words.  This week will also be a very exciting one on Wednesday, because our very own STEM Innovation Specialist, Ms. Alexa Dean, has invited our class to come and try out an “Escape the Classroom” activity.  Ms. Dean and I have worked together to make sure we are reviewing the standards that we’ve been covering in class.  I thought this was a very exciting opportunity that the students would enjoy.  We’re going to be using See Saw to record and post to the class See Saw page, so if you haven’t connected through See Saw yet, you might want to do that.  You don’t want to miss out on this opportunity to watch your students in action.

Writing – This week, we will be continuing our unit on narrative writing, by writing with a prompt of “If I were an Astronaut…”  We will begin to revise and edit while we are drafting and we will be publishing our stories by typing them on the laptops in the classroom this week.  I’ll send home a copy of the final draft, once we’ve had a chance to get them typed, edited, and revised.

Grammar –  This week, our grammar focus is on vivid verbs (using better verbs that help to describe the situations in the stories that we write) to be more descriptive.  We will also be talking about the figurative language aspect of “Personification.”  Personification is when the author gives “personal characteristics (qualities)” to inanimate objects.  For example, “the table just jumped up and kicked me in the shin.” The table is an inanimate object, but is acting as if it has personal characteristics.  This is a much more descriptive way of saying “I hit my shin on the table.”  Using personification helps the reader get more into the story.

Spelling –  We will continue with sort 3 this week and next.  You can find a copy of the spelling words below.  I’ve seen an improvement in the students’ scores among the students that taking the time to complete their contracts and those who are not.  I know the students are busy, but it really helps if they choose the four activities to complete over the two weeks.

Taking too long?

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Science – We have begun our unit on the Moon, stars, planets, and our solar system.  We will be discussing the repeated patterns of the moon phases this week, as well as doing some fun activities.  If you would/could, please send in a package of Oreo cookies by Friday, 9/7.  We will be using  these Oreos to demonstrate our understanding of the moon phases throughout the month.  We will be discussing the full moon, the waxing/waning crescent, the waxing/waning gibbous, as well as the quarter moons.  These Oreos help to represent these models.  Thank you in advance for your help with this little project.

Labor Day Holiday – No School Monday, 9/3
Cog-AT (Cognitive Abilities Test) for grades 1 and 3 will be 9/5-9/7
Wednesday, 9/6 – first 4 1/2 week progress reports sent home
Friday, 9/7 – Fourth Grade T-shirt orders due (this will be the only time we order our shirts this year).
Monday, 9/10 – First Wellstar Presentation – Just Eat it
ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) for grades 3 and 5 will be Thursday, 9/13-Friday, 9/21
Monday-Friday, 9/24 – 9/28 – No School – Fall Break
Wednesday, 10/10 – End of First Quarter of School
Thursday, 10/11 – Early Release Day – 12:30 Dismissal
Monday, 10/15 – Friday 10/19 – Early Release/Conference Week – 12:30 Dismissal