Class Updates

January 2018 

Upcoming Dates:

 February 14th- Field Trip and Valentine’s Day

     Field Trip:  We will be going to the capitol building for our PBL unit of study in the morning at 9:!5 and will return to school around 1:00 PM. I will send more information with the permission form on January 24th.


   Valentine’s Day: The last hour of the day, students will pass out valentines to their classmates. If your child participates, please ensure that he/she has created a valentine for each student. I will send home a class list of names as it gets closer along with additional information.


February 16th: No School: Professional Development Day


February 19th: No School- Presidents’ Day


March 15th: No School- evening conferences


March 16th: No School- day conferences




Students have been working with me in guided reading groups on various reading strategies. One strategy we have been working on is analyzing characteristic traits of characters and giving evidence from the text that supports that trait. We also used this strategy with a nonfiction text about great white sharks. We read two texts and gathered characteristic traits and evidence. This week, we will write an essay describing the traits of great white sharks.


In the next couple of weeks, the students will be a part of literature circles. We have been working on literature circles since the fall. Students will be reading a novel in class and will be responsible each week for not only reading the assigned pages but focusing on a reading strategy as well (summarizing, questioning, vocabulary, illuminating parts of the text, illustrating, etc.) Once a week, they will meet with other students who are reading the same novel to have a discussion and share their strategy.


Research shows that reading comprehension is tied to fluency. As kids get older, they stop reading out loud to parents and become more independent. I encourage you to continue reading with your child at least a couple times each week.  The practice of them reading out loud increases their reading fluency and can foster great discussions about what they are reading.



Our writing focus for the first part of the year was expository writing (giving information). The students have started to internalize the structure of an essay and have made great growth with expository writing as well as their conventions.


We will now be focusing on narrative writing. Our writing time will be a writer’s workshop where students receive a mini-lesson on an aspect of narrative writing and will then have time to use the new strategy. Students love narrative writing and I’m excited to read their stories. The ability to write a narrative will also be an important skill for our Colorado history PBL in late February and early March (stay tuned for more information....I think the kids will love it)!


I requested funding for cursive books from PTO and we received a book for each student before winter break! Thank you, PTO! Most students learned cursive in third grade but this opportunity provides additional practice. I feel it is very important for kids to know how to write in cursive so they can read it and know how to write a signature.


PBL (Project Based Learning)

This week, we will start a new PBL unit. The students will be learning about our state government. They will learn about the roles of the government and the branches of government as well as our rights and responsibilities as citizens. For their project, they will create a class government that mirrors our state government. We will have a class flag and motto.  Students will create a class law by going through the process of how an idea becomes a bill and then becomes a law. Students will act as citizens, the house of representatives, and the senate to pass a new law. I will act as the executive branch to approve or veto the law. It’s always fun to see what type of law they want to pass! We will also have a mock trial!



Please see your child’s math teacher for questions or specific updates regarding math.

It's hard to believe that we have only been in school for a week. I have really enjoyed getting to know your kids and love that they have already formed a caring and supportive classroom community. I'm very proud of them for all their hard work. 

Important Dates 
August 22nd- field trip permission form is due
Thursday, August 24th- field trip 
September 4th- no school 

Upcoming Specials 
August 14th-18th: Art 

August 21st-25th: Innovative technology 

August 28th-September 1st: Health/PE
*Health will be on Monday, Wednesday, Friday
*PE will be on Tuesday and Thursday 

September 5th-8th: Health/PE
*Health will be on Tuesday and Thursday
*PE will be on Monday and Wednesday 

Academic Updates  

Building Classroom Culture 
We spent a lot of time this week building our classroom culture. The students reviewed our Bison Strong behavior expectations and we wrote a class promise together. Everyday after the Pledge of Allegiance, we recite our class promise together. 

We had so much fun learning about each other through our mystery bag activity. The kids had some great inferences about their classmates! It was a lot of fun! 

The kids loved playing 13 (ask them to tell you how to play) and really enjoyed building Snap Circuits with a buddy. 

Our reading lessons for the week included: finding the just right book, understanding that reading is thinking, identifying feelings as we read, talking and listening to others share about books, and when you might abandon a book.

Students spent time finding a just right book and used our daily lessons to practice their reading strategies in their independent book. I have enjoyed conferencing with kiddos to learn about the books they chose, why they believe it's a just right book, listening to them read, and assessing their comprehension and fluency. I will soon be assessing the students using a QRI (Qualitative Reading Inventory) which will provide me with a deeper understanding of the students' reading abilities. We will also be giving the iReady test in upcoming weeks. 

Your students will be coming home with a reading log next week and will need to make sure they are answering the questions for each day in complete sentences. Please make sure that your kiddos are reading at least 20 minutes a night. Having them alternate from reading silently and reading aloud is very helpful at this age. Many students don't get a daily opportunity to practice their reading fluency, so continue letting your child read to you. 

The students wrote about a family tradition this week. This writing will be used to assess students' strengths and areas of growth. We also started writing about Colorado symbols. Students will be reading about the symbols, writing summaries, and will then create a fun pop-up book for the symbols. 

The students will be learning about ecosystems. This week, we learned about animals and the two questions we can ask when we see an animal...What does it eat? What is it eaten by? 
They played a "food chain" game together and students built food chains based upon the cards they drew. They were very engaged and even a little competitive! 

We are so excited for our field trip and are looking forward to expanding our knowledge of ecosystems. 

This year, students will be placed in math classes which will meet their individual needs (pacing, concept, and learning style). Starting Monday, the students will go to their new class. The classes will be flexible and we will be assessing and evaluating the students to make sure they are the best fit. By August 20th, the groups will be more solidified (although, there are still opportunities to move if needed). Please expect to hear from your child's math teacher around August 20th.