Monday, January 14, 2019

Quarter 3 Week 2 News

Mechanical Pencils:
Starting on Tuesday, scholars will be able to use mechanical pencils in our classroom. Pencils end up on the floor regularly in our classroom due to the desk size and shape, if your child is concerned about losing their mechanical pencils, you can send them to school with their name or initials on them.

Grade Reports:
Grade reports will be sent out at the end of week two, as there is not much in the grade book after one week of school.

MAP Testing:
Our class will be taking part in MAP Testing on Thursday, January 17th.

Clubs:
Clubs will begin during the second week of the quarter. Click here for more information on clubs this quarter.


Monday, January 7, 2019

Welcome Back!

I hope that your holiday season was full of family, friends, and many memories to share. Mrs. Arnold and I are looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, with school resuming tomorrow. Stay tuned to the blog throughout the next weeks for news in 4th grade. As our scholars continue to work diligently in the virtue of responsibility, the following changes are meant to better prepare them for life.  

Lost/Misplaced Homework:
Our scholars have had two quarter to practice their organizational skills in fourth grade. At this point, they have their folders and notebooks organized and are familiar with what type of homework there is for each subject. Starting in the third quarter, if a scholar loses or misplaces their homework, a new copy of the homework will not be issued. That being said, we understand that their are extenuating circumstances. For example, "What if my dog really did eat my homework?" Please send us an email if something out of your child's control happened to the homework, so that we may replace it. We have also added a resource page to the blog where you can find the pdf file for reading logs and math quarter nightly reviews, those seem to be misplaced the most. 

Late Homework:
Many of our scholars have risen to the occasion of getting their homework in on time! We are so proud at how much they have grown. However, there are a few that are still having trouble turning in their homework on time. Starting in the 3rd quarter, if a scholar does not turn in one or more of their assignments, they will be calling home to inform you. When your child calls you, please tell them when you would like them to make the work up, whether during recess or at home that night. Please know that your child still has until the end of the quarter to complete any late work that they may have. They will still receive 80% credit, up until the end of the quarter.

Tutoring:
Math tutoring will resume this Wednesday after school for scholars who have been invited to participate.
Wednesday: 2:05 - 2:40
Thursday: 3:05 - 3:40

Homework:


Before the break, the headmasters and deans sent out a homework survey. In all of the fourth-grade, there were only about thirty families who responded. Out of those who responded, a number of families said that homework is taking over 90 minutes. As teachers, we want to be responsive to the time students are spending on homework each night and are making adjustments to what homework will look like in the third quarter. These adjustments are probationary in nature because reducing the amount of homework could cause negative consequences in student performance. We also understand that many families were satisfied with the amount of homework their children were being expected to do. Below are the three adjustments you can expect to see in the third quarter.


Adjustment #1: During the third quarter, students will only be expected to write their Spalding words once with spaces but no rules or markings. The reason for keeping the spaces is because students need to be able to identify the syllables to correctly spell the words. The reason for getting rid of the rules and markings is because these aren't as essential for helping students learn to spell and most parents don't know what they mean so they can't help them understand why something is underlined or what the rule numbers stand for.


Adjustment #2: During the third quarter, the amount of math homework has been reduced. The purpose of all homework is to practice new skills so that they are mastered in the allotted time and to review previously learned skills so they are retained. This regular practice and review regiment is extremely important in a subject like math that is primarily skill based. We utilize three main types of homework assignments to meet these objectives. First, we use the regular workbook pages to practice current skills. One thing we will be doing is reducing the number of workbook problems. Second, we use Singapore produced and teacher made practice tests. These practice tests are meant to ensure that students have the required skills to demonstrate mastery on the upcoming test. Given the nature of these practice tests, these will not be reduced in size and they will usually be very similar in size to the test students will take. Third, we use the review worksheets to review previously learned material. These worksheets are also very important to us as they allow us to collect data on what students are failing to retain and what needs to be retaught. The adjustment we are making with these documents is that we are significantly limiting the number of problems on each worksheet. Instead of having ten to twenty problems per a sheet, most sheets have between four to six problems. We believe this will be a sufficient number of problems for students to practice the skills to remain skilled at solving them correctly while also providing us with the data necessary to determine if a skill needs to be retaught in class.


Adjustment #3: During the third quarter, all history tests and quizzes will be open notes and open reading packet. When talking to a number of families, they report that homework from one night another night isn't so overwhelming, but when they have to prepare to tests it becomes more difficult. Thus, we have chosen to transition history assessments to open notes and open reading packet.  The first reason for doing this is because it is real-world applicable. It is important that students learn to access their own notes, process the information, and be able to answer questions well. We hope this will reduce the amount of work done at home while at the same time developing the students’ critical thinking skills.


The reason for not making this adjustment in science is twofold. First, students do need to learn how to memorize information for assessments. Memorizing facts will be an important skill they use for the rest of their lives. Second, students in fourth-grade are required to take the Science AIMS, a state-mandated test. Therefore, in order to give students the best opportunity to perform well, we must ensure that they have set important information to memory and are able to use that information to formulate their own thoughts and solutions to different concepts and questions.







Sunday, December 16, 2018

Week 10 News

Hello Families!

Can you believe the second quarter ends in just a few days? Mrs. Arnold and I are amazed by how quickly this year is flying by. Thank you to all volunteers who have helped make Khan Academy happen, the parents who have stepped in to file papers and do some quick correcting, and all of the communication you have kept with Mrs. Arnold and I throughout the weeks of busy schedules. We are so thankful to have your children in our class this year.

Before we step away from the blog for a couple weeks during the holidays, we want to share a couple notes about this week and beyond with you.

Half-Days:
Just a reminder that school ends at 12:05 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Math Tutoring:
There will be no math tutoring this week due to half days on Tuesday and Wednesday. Math tutoring will resume after Christmas break. If your child is receiving math tutoring and has shown improvement over the past quarter, there is a chance we may be graduating them during the third quarter. Stay tuned for more information.

R&R: 
There will be homework on Monday night; however, there will be no homework Tuesday or Wednesday night. I will provide an optional winter break packet for students interested in completing it. Students who complete any of it will receive extra credit for what they complete. Students who complete the whole packet will be invited to a lunch with their teacher (pizza provided).

Needs: 
Over the break, the cleaning crew will be cleaning the inside of the students' desks. Therefore, every student needs to bring in four plastic shopping bags or two heavy duty reusable bags. Students will bring their reusable bags home after break. The bags are used to hold the contents of their desks until they return after break.

Winter Celebration:
Students will be enjoying the winter celebration this Wednesday. Mrs. Driggs and Mrs. Reynolds have been working hard to prepare for the celebration and have sent out a number of emails about it. You're more than welcome to come to the celebration. The more the merrier! Our celebration will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday and go until 11:55 a.m.

Homework/Lessons:
Head over to the homework tab for information regarding lessons this week.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Week 9 News

Hoping you all had a wonderful week last week. Thank you to all the parents that helped out in our classroom last week with correcting and filing papers. I cannot thank you enough! Mrs. Arnold will be back with us, this week.

Tuesday, December 11th
I will be out of the classroom Tuesday to work on quarter two evaluations. Please copy my assistant, Mrs. Arnold on urgent emails so that we are sure not to miss them. 

Week 10
During week ten (next week), there are no quizzes or tests schedules. There will still be a good deal of learning happening on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday morning will be spent doing some classroom deep cleaning. Students will clean out their desks in preparation for the new year. The rest of the morning will be spent partaking in a winter celebration prepared by our classroom parents. 

There will be no math tutoring on Wednesday, December 19th. 

Homemade Gift Exchange:
Last Friday, students drew names for our class gift exchange. If your child left before the end of the day or was sick on Friday, they will draw a name on Monday. Students are to make/create a homemade gift for the person they draw. Gifts can be as little as a card, cookie, or as elaborate as an ornament to hang on their tree. It's the thought that counts. If a family wants to purchase something to make the gift, they are more than welcome to. However, it isn't a requirement. A good gift comes from the heart. 

All gifts should be brought in on Monday, December 17th. Please make sure to write who the gift is for on the outside of the package. In the past, students have enjoyed hiding their name inside the package to reveal the gift giver after it is opened. Gifts will be opened as part of our winter celebration on Wednesday. 

Please let me know if you have any questions. 


Friday, December 7, 2018

Our Archway Arete library has officially launched, and we are looking for volunteers to help students check out books. Sign up here to serve!
Our class will visit the library on the following dates:
(12/6, 1/18, 2/22, 3/22, 4/12, 5/10)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Week 8 News


Thank you for all of your thoughts, well wishes, and gifts over the past week! Mr. Otto and I had a beautiful wedding day in Queen Creek, surrounded by close friends and family. Both of us really needed a couple days to recharge after a massive Thanksgiving celebration, wedding, and birthday.

This week things are back to normal, well almost normal. Over the weekend, Mrs. Arnold was informed that a family member has fallen ill in Kentucky. She has flown back to be with them and will be away for most of the week. Mrs. Arnold plays a huge role in our kiddos lives. Each day, she takes them to specials, recess, and lunch. She monitors the classroom during lessons, grades papers, and keeps our classroom functioning as a well-oiled machine. This being said, if you have any desire to volunteer in our classroom, this would be a great week to do it! Please shoot me an email if you'd like to help with math groups, writing workshop, making copies, or filing papers.

Grade Reports:
If you're interested in viewing your child's most recent grade report, please send me an email. I am happy to send it over. With such a wild past two weeks, there aren't many more grades in the online grade book.

Late Work:
There are a number of students who still have a number of missing assignments. Students who are missing work must have it turned in by Friday, December 14, 2018. If students have missing assignments that require a worksheet, they should request these before school or during their morning recess. Parents may also request them via email.




Friday, November 30, 2018

Spelling Bee Winners

We conducted our class spelling bee today! All of the scholars worked very hard and should be proud of their participation in this event. 
After many rounds of spelling, we are proud to announce that the winners of our 4A spelling bee are Elise and Abby. Elise will move on to compete in the school spelling bee with her 4th grade peers. Abby will attend as a runner up. 
The school spelling bee is on Wednesday, January 9th at 6pm in the MPR. All are welcome to attend this event but only the 1st place winners from each section will perform in the school spelling bee.

Please reach out to Ms. Modisett (bmodisett@archwayarete.org), Arete's Spelling Bee Coordinator, with any questions or concerns.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!