Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Season of Caring

This is a wonderful and busy time of year for all families.  We're all excited about the upcoming holiday break and so I wanted to just give you an overview of my thoughts (which are always too long).

With respect to religion
I am a Christian and I share that fact with my students.  We do not discuss the core beliefs of Christianity.  My position is that the Christmas season is a season of caring and I am modeling that with random acts of kindness.  I will be giving your kids small winter themed gifts because I care about them.

We will be doing a Holiday's around the world unit that will include a lot of reading about Christmas, how it is celebrated in several countries.  I have selected countries that represent my student's heritage if not their religion and others to highlight the spirit of kindness.  We are also learning about other holidays that are not at this time of year to cover a variety of religions.  I am writing some of the material myself, so please forgive me for any inaccuracies.  They are unintentional.  Again my intent is inclusiveness.j

About Santa and elf on the shelf
That is your family's decision.  I think love and kindness is a magic all its own.  I will not encourage or discourage belief.  I will intercede when I think a student is going to ruin the mystery for another.

We will be doing some ELF writing ... and this is not the secular elf who works for Santa.  It is an acronym for Empower, Like myself and Focus on Strengths.  I think this is a great reflection for kids and will be a nice lead in for setting goals and resolutions in the new year.

Our current Math unit is geometry.  We'll start with 2-D plane figures and area and move on to 3-D solid figures in the new year.  All kids are great at geometry, but have difficulty with the vocabulary.  I plan to get a reference sheet to families before the break, any review in the car games would be appreciated.

In reading we are continuing to think deeper about fictional texts and have started a new readaloud "The Boy in the Girls' Bathroom" which is proving to be much more engaging that our last.  There's lots of great vocabulary and description. 

In science we have moved from rocks to natural resources and water.

Please, please, please hold your kids accountable for their reading over the long break.  They have grown so much since the beginning of the year and it breaks this teacher's heart when they backslide.  Reading for children is a muscle and it needs to be used!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Thanksgiving Lunch

Forest Creek Elementary will be hosting lunch for students and families on Thursday, November 15, 2018.  If you would like to join your student for lunch, please RSVP so that we may have your badge printed in advance, when possible.  This RSVP is separate from the meal RSVP you may have returned earlier.  This RSVP is to have your badge pre-printed.
If you have previously ordered a Thanksgiving meal through the cafeteria, the visitor price is $3.65, payable upon arrival. Your child's class will eat lunch during their regularly scheduled lunch time.
The opportunity to RSVP using this link for your pre-printed badge will end at noon on Wednesday, November 14.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

And suddenly, November!

It's hard to believe that we have been together as a class for 1/4 of our year.  In some ways it feels like we have been a classroom family for much longer and yet I already feel my time with your kids slipping away too quickly.  We have ALOT to do this year!

In math we are shifting our focus from Time back to addition and subtraction strategies.  The focus will be on regrouping for both and I will be encouraging students to let go of inefficient strategies.  I will be working with some students on the algorithm.  If you approach that method with your child and they have not done it in school, it may be that I am concerned that they don't understand the concept of needing to regroup yet.  They have to be able to visualize that ten stick breaking up and moving into ten ones.

In science we are studying magnets and patterns of motion -- always a fun unit and we have a couple of engaging STEM activities to support the learning.

In reading we are gradually moving away from Non-Fiction back to Fiction and thinking deeper!  New concepts will be inferencing and summarizing.

Writing is a bit of a mixed bag right now.  We are completing mini biographical paragraphs about a fellow student, thinking about procedural text and transition words and a little personal narratives.  We are also working on our writing foundations which are:  1- the sentence has to make sense!  2 - Each and every sentences starts with a capital letter.  3 - There must be punctuation at the end of sentences.  For some reason, even though students can parrot these rules and they have been taught and reviewed since Kindergarten, we are not consistent.  

So two weeks of really intense learning and then everyone gets a break.  Behavior is key during these days.  If I contact you about your child's behavior, please know that it wasn't a single event.  A student has to have redirections in the dozens or of such severity that I am turning to my parent partners for support.

Friday, October 5, 2018

NOTICE! My UIL team will practice on MONDAYS!

Last year the Storytelling team for 2nd and 3rd grades was awesome and did very well at competition.  I wanted to make sure that those experienced 2nd graders (now 3rd graders) were there to lead our team.  Because other UIL teams are practicing on Thursdays, I have now changed my team to practice on Mondays.

Thank you.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Technology Club

Are you interested in technology? Are you creative and like to collaborate to solve problems? If so, join the Technology club. We will  learn about DASH the robot, Lego Boosts, circuits,  and much more!  We will have two clubs, a 2nd/ 3rd grade club and a 4th/ 5th grade club. Each club will meet every other week in the computer lab.  The 2nd/ 3rd grade Technology club will begin on  Thursday, October 4 and the 4th/5th grade club will meet on Oct.11.  This first session of Technology club well meet from October through December 13. There are only 25 spots for each club due to supplies so please  don't hesitate to fill out your google application before October 2nd!   

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Be a Literacy Partner at FCE!

Do you have 30 minutes a week to read to two young students at Forest Creek?  Literacy Partners are matched with two children(Kdg, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd graders) and teachers can provide the books.  The Literacy Partner reads with each student individually for 15 minutes each week for the year. The child will be so excited to read with you and talk to you about books each week and you will be a huge positive influence in the student’s reading and language skills.  You will be amazed at the impact your 15 minutes per week will have on the child’s reading skills, confidence, and joy of learning! Can you help?

Contact: pam_bartholomew@roundrockisd.org for more information.