Week of 10/15 – 10/19/18

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Well, well, well conference week is here.  If you have not returned your fall conference form, please do so ASAP.  I have tried to email everyone that has not responded.  I hope to see everyone here this week.  Here are a few reminders from the administrators:  1) This week is early release.  We release at 12:30.  Please be sure your students know how they are to get home.  2) There are no visitors during lunch this week, due to early release. 3) When we do have visitors for lunch, outside food (such as McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, etc.) is not allowed – this is a CCSD policy, not just a school policy.  Also, this week, on Friday, your students have a chance to be someone’s super hero.  For $1.00, your child can wear a cape and help support Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA).  Mrs. Homer and I will be the dynamic duo in our capes.  That’s enough about reminders, let’s get on with what we’re covering this week.

Math – we will begin our unit on multiplication and division.  Please continue to work with your students on addition and subtraction of larger numbers.  We took the CCSD mandated touchstone on the first quarter standards and we still have some gaps that we’ll need to work on together.  The main focus of this week will be on factors and multiples.  Factors are numbers that divide whole numbers evenly.  Factors are also numbers that is multiplied by another number.  A multiple of a number is the product and any whole number.  For example:  15 is a multiple of 5 because 3 X 5 = 15.

Reading – we will be working with informational reading beginning this week.  We will start with looking for main ideas and details in informational text.  We will be using a process called “Boxes and Bullets” to help us find the details that support the main idea.  The idea behind “Boxes and Bullets” is to write the main idea of the passage in the box and then list the details that support the main idea by using bullet points beneath.  Below, you will find an example of a boxes and bullets template, to help you get a better understanding.









Writing – We will write our first 45 minute narrative piece for our portfolios.  The students will have 45 minutes to brainstorm, draft, revise/edit, and publish a piece of writing.  This is different from what we’ve done this year, because we’ve been taking our time each day to focus on certain parts of the writing, but now it’s time to show what they’ve learned.  As you come in for conferences, I hope you will take the opportunity to read “the writing on the wall” so to speak.  The students have worked very hard to get a narrative “masterpiece” written and on the wall for your enjoyment as you wait for conferences.  After we complete our 45 minute writing piece, we will begin working on opinion pieces.  We will start out by generating a list of topics that we can write about.  Then, from that list, we will begin to pick and choose topics that we can write about.

Spelling – This week, the students will receive their sort 5 spelling contracts.  If for some reason, your student doesn’t bring home his/her contract, you can download it here. 

Grammar – This week, our mentor sentence comes from the book, The Spider and the Fly.  This week’s grammar focus is on similes.  Similes are part of the figurative language “umbrella” in which you compare two things using like or as.  For example, the light from the room was as bright as the sun. Or, his trumpet gleamed like a polished bell.  The students will be given a part of a sentence and then they will be expected to add a simile to finish out the sentence.  For example, the students might get “you’re as funny as…” or “you are wise like” and the students would need to complete the sentence and use either like or as to compare the noun in the sentence to something else.

Social Studies – we will not be covering any specific standards in Social Studies this week, due to early release for conferences.




Monday – Friday, 10/15-19/18 – Conference Week – 12:30 dismissal
Friday, 10/19/18 – Super hero Day – Bring $1 and wear a cape for CHOA
Monday – Friday 10/22-10/26 – Red Ribbon Week
Monday & Tuesday, 10/29 &10/30 – Cobb Youth Museum Field Trips
Wednesday, 10/31/18 – Mystery Reader – Please check your email for further details.
Thursday, 11/1 – Field trip to South Cobb High School to see Willy Wonka
Tuesday, 11/6 – Teacher Workday/Election Day – No school for students

Week of 10/8-10/12/18

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A super “Thank you!” goes out to Mrs. Allison Edwards, our assistant principal, for being our “queen” on Friday.  We had a great time having you visit our class.  We think the students really understand how the colonist felt during the reign of King George III, prior to the American Revolution.  As you may know, King George III placed several taxes on the colonists that were unfair and then, the colonists revolted, which is what started the American Revolution.  While Mrs. Edwards, aka Queen Edwards, was in the room, “parliament” would read the “tax” and the students, aka colonists, had to pay their taxes with skittles.  The students were outraged, much like the colonists.  We had several funny quotes from the kids.  Please be sure to read all the way to the bottom of this entry to see a short video that we took in class.  Well, that’s enough about last week, let’s move on to what we’ve got coming up this week.

If you have not already done so, please return the conference forms that were sent home last week.  Thank you to those who have already returned their forms.  If you aren’t able to meet at the time scheduled, please let me know so that I can make other arrangements.  I really would like to meet with each and everyone of you.

Math – We will be finishing our county mandated touchstone test and then we will continue working on finding the perimeter of various shapes using a new “game” called Bloxels.  With Bloxels, the students will have an opportunity to create a character with various colored blocks.  Once the students have created their character, they can upload the character into the Bloxels app and begin creating their own video game. It’s really cool.  Hopefully, the students will enjoy creating their characters and playing the games.

Reading – This week, we will be focusing on Point of View.  The Point of View or the perspective, is who is telling the story.  For example, with first person point of view, the narrator is generally a character in the story, if not the main character and they are telling the story from their perspective.  There is also third person point of view, which is when the character or the narrator is not necessarily a character in the story, but is telling the story by looking in on what is happening.  We will be working with our independent reading books, as well as reading various passages to determine the point of view.  As your students read at night, please be sure to ask them what the point of view of the book is.

Writing – The students have been working very hard to create their first “masterpiece” and I hope that you will take the time to read them when you come in for conferences next week.  They are very creative.  This week we will be writing another “narrative masterpiece,” but this time, we will be using Bloxels again to work on character creation, as well as the setting.  The students will have a chance to create their settings and really get the reader into the world of their story.  Hopefully, by taking the time to create their characters and the setting with Bloxels, they will enjoy writing even more.

Spelling – We will be taking the Sort 4 Spelling test on Friday.  Please be sure that the students are working on their contracts and studying their spelling words.  If you need another copy of the spelling list, you can download it below.  

Language Arts – This week, we will be focusing on the story How Spider Got a Thin Waist by Anansi.  The grammar focus will be on compound predicates.  Much like a compound word, a compound predicate is when there are two or more verbs or verb phrases that share the same subject and are joined with a conjunction.  Examples of compound predicates are:  “Adam lives in Bangor and speaks Welsh,” or “The telegram was late but contained exciting news.”

Social Studies – we will be continuing with our study on the American Revolution.  This week’s focus will be on the influence of key individuals and groups during the American Revolution.  We will also be having our monthly guidance lesson with our counselor, Mrs. Whitton on Tuesday.




We have a lot going on this week.   Please be sure you stay up to date by checking your students’ agenda each day.  Here are our upcoming events.

Thursday, 10/11/18 – Early Release Day – 12:30 dismissal
Monday – Friday, 10/15-18/18 – Conference Week – 12:30 dismissal
Tuesday, 10/16/18 – Fall Picture Retakes (if you’ve already purchased your pictures, you will need to return that set to get another set).
Monday – Friday, 10/22-26/18 – Red Ribbon Week
Monday, 10/22/18 – Special Guest coming to Media Center
Friday, 10/26/18 – Fall Book Fair Kick-off and Red Ribbon Week Assembly
Monday, 10/29 – Field trip to Cobb County Youth Museum for most of class.
Tuesday, 10/30 – Field trip to Cobb County Youth Museum for rest of class.
Thursday, 11/1 – Field Trip to see Willy Wonka at South Cobb High School

BYOD and 2 liter bottles

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Good evening parents!  I apologize, but we weren’t able to use our devices today in class, because we had to redo somethings that had not been done correctly to begin with.  Tomorrow, Thursday, 10/4/18, if your child has a device that he/she can bring to school, please have them do so.  We will be answering some comprehension questions from our guided reading books on the devices.

Also, if you happen to have any empty, clean two liter soda bottles at home, please send them in.  Mrs. Ucciferri is working on a STEM project with the students called Mission to Mars, and we need to use the bottles to make rockets.  Thank you in advance for your continued support and cooperation.

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.

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?

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.

Reading – This week, our focus will be on identifying the “Theme” or the “Message” that they author is trying to portray and provide evidence from the text.  We have been working on a new strategy called “UNWRAP” which stands for U – Underline the title, N – Number the paragraphs, W – Walk through the questions, R- Read the passage, A – Answer the questions, and finally, P – Prove your answer.  Even when the students are looking for the “theme” or the message, if they are reading a passage that they can write on, rather than a “story/book,” if they will follow the “UNWRAP” strategy to “unwrap” the passage, they will have a much easier time of being able to prove their answer.  Many times, when it comes to identifying themes and inferences in reading, there may not be “1” answer.  If the students can prove their answer, even if it isn’t the “exact” one, there is proof, so it wouldn’t necessarily be counted “incorrect.”  We will be working with identifying the “theme” this week, both in our independent reading books as well as on worksheets.

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.

Reading – This week we will continue working on the notice and note strategy of “Contrasts and Contradictions,” as well as learn a new strategy called “UNWRAP” that will help us to “unwrap” passages and look for the answers within the passages.  These two strategies will be helpful as we begin to prepare for the GA Milestones in April.  Please be sure to talk to your students about these strategies.  I will create an anchor chart and post it to a “Reading” page on this blog for you to view.  We have worked hard with “Contrasts and Contradictions” these past two weeks and we will be taking an assessment on this first strategy to close reading on Friday.  There really is “no way to study” for this assessment, other than to stop and note when there is a contradiction or contrast in the story.  Be sure to ask your students about some of these that they’ve noticed in their own independent reading during class.

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.  

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

August 27 – 31, 2018

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Wow!  It’s hard to believe that we’re already coming up on Labor Day!  This first month of school has flown by.  I have really enjoyed getting to know your students and I’m looking forward to continuing our work together! 

Please remember to sign your student’s Graded Paper folder that came home on Friday.  There is a neon green page in the back that needs your signature, please.  If there are not check marks on the green sheet, your student’s behavior is great.  If there are checks, this is the easiest way to communicate where they are lacking.  If it was a big problem, I would have emailed.  Please just be sure to check the back of the folder as well.  All the papers can remain at home, just return the folder on Monday, with the neon green sheet in the back.  Please remember that if your child has to be out due to an illness or doctor’s/dentist’s appointment, please be sure to send in a note within three (3) days of the absence.  If your child has three (3) unexcused absences, you will receive a phone call from me.  If and when your child reaches five (5) unexcused absences, you will receive a letter from the school.  It’s very important that your students are at school, but please keep them home if they have a fever or if they are vomiting.

After Labor Day, I will be ready to have parents come in and help in the classroom and to make copies and such.  If you are interested in helping out with “Fast Fact Fluency Thursdays” or coming in once a week to make copies, please send me an email and let me know your availability. 

This week, we will be welcoming a KSU student, Ms. Melissa Kohlhagen.  She will be coming in on Wednesday and Thursday mornings to work with several of the students.  We are very excited to have her join us. 

Also, coming soon will be our first annual Grandparents Day Ice Cream Social.  Monday, your child should be bringing home an RSVP form for the Grandparents Day ice cream social.  We hope that we have a great turn out.  Sure wish my grandparents were still around to come.  In case your child doesn’t make it home with the RSVP form, you can download it here.  Besides Early Release on Wednesday, here’s what we have going on this week:

Math – We will be continuing our work on rounding.  We’re getting there.  We will probably be having a test either the end of this week or Wednesday following Labor Day.  Be sure to check your child’s agenda and the blog next week for an update.  Please continue working with your student on this skill.  I don’t know why, but it’s probably the most difficult skill that we cover in math all year.

Reading – We will be starting to use “Notice and Note,” which is a way to help us with our close reading.  This first week, we will be focusing on “contrasts and contradictions.”  That means, while your child is reading and he/she comes to a part in the story where the character is contrasting or contradicting what they normally do or how they normally act, hopefully your child will begin to ask themselves, “why did Johnny Jo Jo behave like that?”  This will help the students begin to get a better understanding of the characters, the theme of the story, as well as the internal conflict and the relationship between the setting and the plot.  We will continue working with this first “signpost” for a couple of weeks, with a variety of texts.

Writing – we are beginning our narrative pieces this week.  We are going to focus on where we get our story ideas, as well as really developing our character by focusing on internal and external character traits (qualities).  We will have the opportunity to write personal narratives, as well as general narratives.  This is probably the most difficult writing task, because many students, myself included, don’t like to be that creative when it comes to writing.  I know I have a hard time coming up with topics to write about.  Hopefully, this won’t be too brutal for the students.

Grammar – This week, we will be focusing on a book by Patricia Polacco called When Lightning Comes in a Jar.  Our focus will be on identifying vivid verbs.  Again, we will work with the same sentence all week long and then the students will be expected to complete the invitation to edit where they are to find the mistakes in the sentence, rewrite the sentence correctly, and then identify the verbs within the sentence.

Spelling – we will have our second spelling test on Friday, 8/31.  The students received their spelling lists on Monday, 8/17. so they should be ready for the spelling test on Friday.  Please be sure they are completing at least 4 of the activities on the spelling contract. Unfortunately, this week, the contracts didn’t copy properly, so the contract was on one sheet and the list was on a separate sheet.  Sorry about that.  The next spelling contract should be coming home on Tuesday, 9/4 and the test will be the following Friday, 9/14.

Social Studies – We will have our first social studies test on Tuesday, 8/28.  There was a map test study guide that was sent home last Tuesday, 8/21.  Hopefully your students brought it home and have been studying.  With Early Release being on Wednesday, we will begin Science on Thursday, 8/30.  Mrs. Homer has lots of fun things planned for this upcoming Moon and Stars Unit.

Monday, 8/27 – Media Center Checkout
Tuesday, 8/28 – Maps test
Wednesday, 8/29 – Welcome Ms. Kohlhagen
Wednesday, 8/29 – Early Release – 12:30 dismissal
Friday, 8/31 – Spelling Sort #2 Test
Friday, 8/31 – Grandparents Day Ice Cream Social RSVP forms due
Friday, 9/7 – Grandparents Day Ice Cream Social – 1:00 p.m. 
Monday, 9/3 – Labor Day – No School for students or teachers
Tuesday, 9/4 – Guidance with Ms. Whitton
Tuesday, 9/4 – Mrs. Poulos and Mrs. Homer out to training (all day)