2015-2016 School Year

Below are weekly newsletters about what is happening in our classroom. Click on the date to see the full weekly newsletter.

If you need to reach me, the best way is by email kelly.pier@mpls.k12.mn.us.

Newsletter Week Ending 11/08/19
Friday, November 8, 2019 7:00 PM


Dear Families,
This week I gave out Golden Tickets (small yellow post it notes with a turtle stamp on it) to everyone who finished their Birth and Growing Up Years plus Education note taking.  This is an easy way for you to know if your child is staying on schedule with their research project.  Also, for homework this week instead of sending home literacy work I am asking that each child find 15 to 20 pictures related to their History Maker.  Print them in 3*5 or 4*6 size with maybe one or two 5*7s for those really important pictures.  It is fine for all pictures to be black and white.  Also, I have trifold boards for all the students and construction paper for them to mount everything on.  We need the pictures at school by November 18th to write the captions for our projects.
Things to look for: 
Portrait of the History maker as a child, or an adult
photos of their childhood or adult home, 
pictures of items really important to them (airplanes, chimpanzees, White House)
a map of the places they have traveled between or areas they lived in
Pictures of places very relevant to the history maker (coffee shop they wrote in, store they worked in, countryside or city park)
If you are interested in helping to edit our rough drafts, please mark your calendar for the week of December 5th in either of two afternoon slots (12:45-1:45) or (2:55-3:50).  Thank you in advance to those who are able to come help that week.
We are continuing to work in small literacy groups on skills like: identifying the main idea of a text or short passage, providing evidence from the text to support an answer, writing deep connections and read the text deeply to find hidden answers.    Thursday we finished the final chapter of Gooney Bird: The Fabulous and wrote a summative connection.  Look for the graded copy to come home later this week.
To support our Social Studies learning about Government, all of our literacy groups are reading books related to Government right now.  The assessment for Government will be this coming Friday (November 15th).  We focus on identifying the three branches of government and their roles.  Plus the services provided by each branch and members of each branch plus how they get their positions.
Have a great weekend.


Newsletter Week Ending 11/01/19
Friday, November 1, 2019 7:00 PM
Dear Families,
Thank you all (especially Louisa) for the fantastic Fall Harvest Celebration Thursday.  That was a lot of fun to watch.  The children had a great time with their stations (especially the science one).  In one they gathered spiders in a web on the floor and needed to use their balancing skills along with others.  In another they heard books and ate a snack.  Yet another had them learning about science with the pink slime looking material and the paper eyeballs. Bingo was as always a hit as well.  I'm curious to know how the shadow puppets from the craft station worked out. Did anyone try them at home?  If you can please do and talk about the shadows.  We will be working with light and matter later in the year.  Making the shadow puppets a great head start  building that foundational knowledge.
Last week everyone continued to read and learn about their chosen history maker.  The first set of notes is due next Friday November 8th.  By then they will need to have 10 (unless otherwise marked) notes for the Birth and Growing Up and Education categories.  Almost everyone has reached this goal already but starting Monday if anyone is seeming to be on track for not getting it done I am going to ask them to spend some time on it at home with their families.  I will try to send an email directly to the families of those students who I am asking this of.
We are close to finishing Gooney Bird Greene: The Fabulous, our current read aloud book.  For the last chapter I will collect and grade all the connections again so we (you and I) can see the progress individuals are making in making deep connections.  I know there has been quite a bit of growth overall based on the conversations and statements that the children are starting to use in literacy groups and class discussions.
Your child is approaching the end of the current math unit (Numbers to 1,000).  During this unit they have been working on knowing and understanding place value to the thousands place.  Being able to add and subtract numbers using multiple methods: standard adding and subtracting where the place values are stacked and regrouping occurs, jumping on a number line - when you place the numbers you have from end to end and starting at the smaller number "jump" to the higher number in useful increments then add the increments to find you answer, by pulling the numbers apart into their place value numbers and then completing the calculations.  One very important aspect of third grade math is being able to "explain/show" your work.  In third grade math classes we stress showing your thinking either through explaining using words or numbers.  Also, we really work on teaching them how apply their knowledge by solving word problems.
Standard addition and subtraction
   345                        897
 +234                      -678
--------                      -------
Jumping on a number line
345      349                379                                                                       579                      
    +4           +30                                            +200
Pull Apart
500 +70 +9  =579
We have also spent some time discussing the three branches of government are starting to learn the basics about them at the federal, state and local levels.  Ask your child the key job of each branch of the federal government or who is in each branch.  See if they can tell you how long each person serves in office or how they get their job.  Next week we are going to focus more and the benefits that come from the various parts of government and how those benefits are paid for.
We continue to do cursive as well but are not getting to it (or math morning work) daily right now so that they can have more uninterrupted time for research some mornings.  Many of our volunteers have been helping with research as well.
Have a great weekend.


Newsletter Week Ending 10/17/19
Thursday, October 17, 2019 7:25 PM


Dear Families,
Thank you all for coming to conferences over the last two weeks.  It was great to have some time to talk to you about your children individually.  Thanks also for your understanding and patience if I was running late for your conference.  
As I mentioned to many of you this coming Monday the students will be choosing the person they want to research for our biography unit (wax museum). Most of the work for this should be done in school but in the event your child is not on track to finish a step by the deadline I will email you directly and let you know that they need to spend some time on the project and what specifically they should be doing.  The celebration for this event will be in December and is a great event to attend.  I recommend letting grandparents, aunts, uncles or close family friends know about it so they can come support your child as well.  
Last week I handed out the long vowel O and U papers.  That contains the spelling words that will be used on the 25th as well as 5 from the ped/man/manu list used during previous weeks.  I will be trying to send the spelling words home on Fridays going forward so that everyone has an extra couple of days to study/practice the words.  One idea to help practice the words is to have your child move in relation to the size of the letters as they practice spelling the word.  For example, if spelling look the child would reach straight up in the air for the l and k and stand straight arms down for the o's.  For letters that go below the line (p,q,g etc) they can duck down.  Sometimes physical movement helps ingrain the spelling for the children better than verbal practice or writing it out alone do.
In math class your child should be learning to take a number and write it in expanded form, word form and standard number form.
Expanded form 8,000+200+30+2=8,232
word form eight thousand two hundred thirty-two
standard form 8,232
They also need to be able to understand the difference between the place a number sits in and the value of the number in that place.  For example the 8 is in the thousands place and the value of it is 8,000.  This is something that can be a bit tricky for the children to start with since they have used the words interchangeably for years.  Other skills to practice are rounding, estimating (using rounding) and applying the standard method of adding and subtracting.  It is especially helpful if they can do these skills easily so they can focus on being able to understand word problems.
We are continuing to work on making connections using Gooney Bird Greene: The Fabulous and now in our literacy groups as well.  This will continue for another week or two yet.  The literacy groups are moving from reading and using fables as our learning point to government and geography.  This helps to support the social studies standards we need to cover.  
Hopefully you had a chance to read some of the constellation fables in the hallway outside the classroom when you were there.  If not I invite you to stop in and take a look at the very creative fables and illustrations we have.  It was the first chance we've had to use our "fancy final draft paper" that was donated to the classroom.  Thank you to everyone who came in to volunteer and help with editing these.  We all appreciate it and I will be reaching out again for extra help with editing when the Wax Museum speech rough drafts are done in about a month or so.
The science unit Sun, Moon and Stars has wrapped up.  The children took the unit test on Thursday.  I graded them that night and then passed them back to the children Friday giving them the opportunity to use the book or notes to spend about 20 minutes and correct any they got wrong (using orange color pencils).  Overall the class did great on this test and from what I hear they are applying and using their knowledge in conversations with family and friends about the moon, its phases and the shadows we see outside.  To me that is a sign of material well learned and understood.
Tuesday we began reading and talking about the 3 levels of government (local, state and federal).  Soon we will get to put all the hot glue guns to use.  Thanks again to everyone who sent in a glue gun or refills.  If your family has smallish boxes (granola bar size) that you don't need please send some in.  I have managed to get almost enough boxes for all the levels of government but having a few extra to choose from will make the levels more varied thus representing the different government levels more accurately.
At this point we have also done most of the lower case cursive letters.  The children are getting quite fast and neat with those letters.  This might be a fun way to practice as a family or just to make neat cartoon pictures on a day when everyone is stuck inside.  I found ti on Amazon.com

Drawing for Kids with Cursive Letters in Easy Steps ABC: Cartooning for Kids and Learning How to Draw with the Cursive Alphabet (Volume 4) Paperback – April 15, 2016

Have a great long weekend.


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