Dear Parents,

Here’s an update on all of our academics!

History: We’ve transitioned from the Middle Kingdom the New. This week we will be taking a closer look at Hatshepsut, a female pharaoh who had a lasting impact on Egyptian culture. We will also present the research projects that the students complete in pairs last week.  These projects involved researching a god or goddess and learning how to complete a bibliography and to rephrase facts to avoid plagiarism. The students showed cooperation and creativity in crafting their posters. Each group will be graded using a rubric provided at the beginning of the project.

Math: We have been working with multiplication concepts. Students are expected to know their 12s. Some students need to be practicing at home; please check in with your child or with me if there is a concern. We’re building upon our previous lessons in estimation and decimals by learning different strategies for multiplying across decimals and working with digits up to three numbers. In class, students have been spending a lot of time working on word problems and math puzzles that help them to develop their problems solving skills and foster a growth mindset. These puzzles are not designed to be solved in a single step or even during a single attempt and require students to play around with concepts and organize their data. I am encouraging them at home to work on problems independently and without parent instruction of algebra. It is important that they learn to try different strategies and struggle a bit on their own. Thank you for your support.

English: In grammar, we have been exploring basic syntactic structures of subject and predicate. Students learned to distinguish between simple, complex and compound variants. They are all improving in their understanding and ability to identify elemental parts of speech (verb, noun, adjective, and adverb). I am emphasizing in their weekly spelling test that the definitions of the words need to be ones that the students actually understand. In class, I am teaching them how to highlight and use sticky notes to mark important passages in Where the Red Fern Grows.

Writer’s Workshop: While the first half of the trimester was devoted to the Ideas trait, we are currently working on ways to organize paragraphs. This past week we took a closer look the components of a well-written paragraph: topic sentence, details, and concluding sentence. We discussed the distinction between topic and topic sentence and we practiced writing topic sentences as well. The students are becoming more familiar with the form and function of transitional words and phrases, and their importance to paragraph cohesion.

Integrated Studies: We try to devote one period per week to Typing Club. Some students may need additional practice at home; I will begin to assign some students practice this week.

Helpful Hints:

  • Please let me know if your child is not here for Thanksgiving Soup.
  • PTR projects are due on November 20.
  • Now that it is cold, please be sure your child wears a coat and brings a hat and gloves to school for recess.
  • Many of the students are complaining of hunger in the afternoon. Thanks to Arlin for sending in a bag of healthy snacks. We would love to have occasional donations of similar snacks, clementines, bananas or apples to have on hand.
  • Thank you to all of you for coming to conferences. I enjoyed sharing the successes and challenges of the kids with you, and appreciate all of your support and help.

Please let me know if you have any questions.