Friday, May 15, 2015

Week of May 18th

The following message is from the staff at Warner: 

Greeting Future Warner Families,
We are excited to inform you that our Incoming 5th Grade Parent Orientation is coming soon!

What: Incoming 5th Grade Parent Orientation
Who: Parents of incoming 5th grade students attending Warner Upper Elementary in the fall of 2015
Where: Warner Upper Elementary School – Gym
              30303 West 14 Mile Road
              Farmington Hills, MI 48334
When: Monday, June 1, 2015
Time: 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

 One of our main priorities is to provide a comfortable and supportive transition for our students and families as you leave elementary and move to upper elementary.   We are thrilled to welcome all of you as we begin this journey together.  The parent orientation is for parents.  Our incoming 5th grade students have a Student Orientation field trip scheduled this month to visit Warner. The 4th grade students will come to Warner with their 4th grade teacher on buses on their scheduled day.  
If you have not already done so, please sign up for our Warner listserv for valuable information:

 We hope you are able to attend the Parent Orientation on June 1st and we can’t wait to meet you!

We understand that you may not be able to attend the Parent Orientation.  If you cannot attend, please look forward to a future ListServ that will provide you with a link of the information from the orientation.

Here's our plan for the week and important upcoming dates....

 Important Dates to Remember:
Tuesday, May 19th: Room Helper/Safety Field Trip (Don't forget to wear socks)
Friday, May 22nd: Half Day (Upper Elementary and Elementary Only)
Monday, May 25th: No School - Memorial Day
Tuesday, May 26th: Delayed Start
Wednesday, May 27th: NWEA - Math
Friday, May 29th: 4th Graders will be visiting Warner
Monday, June 1st: Reading NWEA
Tuesday, June 2nd: End of the Year Parties (lunch)
Wednesday, June 3rd: NWEA Make-Ups

Friday, June 5th: 4th Grade Field Day 8:30-11:00
Friday, June 5th:  Volunteer Luncheon
Wednesday, June 10th: 4th Grade Field Trip to Bonaventure
Thursday, June 11th: 4th Grade Graduation at 2 PM
Friday, June 12th: Last day of school (1/2 Day)

Language Arts:  Much of our Language Arts time has been spent writing and typing our research books.  This has turned into a HUGE project so thank you for helping out with the typing at home, if need be.  As you know, there is so much time, effort, and concentration that goes into a project like this and the majority of the students have really stepped up to the plate and are giving it their all!  We will be finishing up the books in the next few weeks. 

Math:  Graded Area and Perimeter quizzes are in Friday folders this week.  We have started our Geometry unit.  Throughout the unit, we will be working on lines of symmetry, types of angles, 2 dimensional shapes, measuring angles, and will also be covering perpendicular and parallel lines.  There is a lot of vocabulary in this unit as well so I'm reminding the kids to make sure they not only keep good notes in their math journal but also to place corrected homework in their math folder.  This will help us at test time!   

Social Studies: Graded Economics tests are in Friday folders this week.  We're in the midst of our last unit in Social Studies...Government and Rights and Responsibilities.  We'll be working a Government lapbook and I'll be adding in some fun games and activities throughout the unit.

Science: We have an open note quiz on Monday.  We reviewed with a game last week and students have everything they need to prepare for the quiz.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Week of May 4th

Information about the Farmington After School and Summer program was sent home on Tuesday this week.  This is a wonderful program for parents looking for summer camps and after school activities for 5th-8th grade.  All of the information you'll need is in the folder, but if you have any questions, you can contact Todd Lipa at

Important Dates to Remember:
Tuesday, May 5th: No School - Voting Day...Please vote. :)  
Thursday, May 7th: M-Step - Math
Friday, May 8th: M-Step - Math
Monday, May 11th: M-Step - Science
Tuesday, May 12th: M-Step - Science
Tuesday, May 19th: Room Helper/Safety Field Trip
Friday, May 22nd: Half Day (Upper Elementary and Elementary Only)
Monday, May 25th: No School - Memorial Day
Tuesday, May 26th: Delayed Start
Wednesday, May 27th: NWEA - Math
Friday, May 29th: 4th Graders will be visiting Warner
Monday, June 1st: Reading NWEA
Tuesday, June 2nd: End of the Year Parties (lunch)
Wednesday, June 3rd: NWEA Make-Ups
Wednesday, June 10th: 4th Grade Field Trip to Bonaventure
Thursday, June 11th: 4th Grade Graduation at 2 PM

Here's the plan for the next couple of weeks....

Math:  I graded the Decimals test and sent them home in Friday folders.  The kids did very well!!  I was impressed with their hard work!!  This week, we focused on Perimeter and Area.  We'll do this for a few more days and then test on it before we begin our Geometry unit.  We've been doing some hands on activities with these concepts which has really helped them decipher between Area and Perimeter.  We'll take a short quiz on this next week and then move onto our Geometry unit. 

Language Arts:  In Writing, we're gradually working through our research paper.  Unfortunately, the M-Step has cut into our writing time, but we'll make it up next week since we only test 2 days!  Turning our notes into organized paragraphs is a very difficult task and is requiring a lot of time and effort on our part.  We're going to be typing up our different sections and gluing them into books.  We are so thankful to the Kenbrook PTA for purchasing the hard cover books for us! Our finished products will be beautiful but there are many more things to do before it is finished.  Over the next month, our computer time will be limited because the third graders will be sharing our laptops with us.  There will be some evening when your child will be finishing their typing at home so they don't get too far behind. Those flash drives you sent in earlier in the year will be very helpful in the next few weeks!!

In Reading, we'll continue working through our informational unit.  Our big focus lately has been pulling out the main idea and supporting details. In the next few weeks, we'll be working on text structure and looking into text a bit deeper. 

Social Studies:  We're gearing up for a test! I sent home the study guide today with the kids.  I had them vote on whether they wanted the test Wednesday or Thursday and they all voted for Thursday.  So the test is Thursday. :)  Many of the lessons we focused on centered around the Economic vocabulary.  Not only will they need to know the economic terms, but they will also be presented with many examples and scenarios involving the vocabulary.  Many students did quite well on the quiz so if that's the case, they should do very well on the test.  I still have another lesson or two to work through as well and I'll finish that early next week.  
Science: Next, we're onto the moon! We'll be looking at phases of the moon and learning a lot of moon vocabulary that goes along with that.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Week of April 20

I hope all of you had a wonderful break!!  We're back at it and your kiddos have done an amazing job this week getting back into the groove.  During the week of April 20th, we'll be doing our FLE lessons and the week April 27th, we'll be starting the M-Step.  Between all of that, we'll be working in a lot of curriculum too so it will be a few busy weeks!!

Math: We're plugging away at our Decimals unit and just about ready for a test.  My plan is to review Monday or Tuesday and test either Wednesday or Thursday.  After I make my lesson plans this weekend I'll know more, but that's the plan right now.  I'll make sure the kids write the test date at the top of the review sheet as well as their agenda so you're aware as well.  If you notice your child has been struggling with the Decimals concepts, please spend some time over the weekend working on these skills.  Our next unit of study is Geometry.  Many of the Geometry concepts are a review from previous grades so we'll be building on that as we progress through some concepts such as using protractors, perimeter, Area, types of angles, and geometric shapes.  This unit is full of vocabulary words so we'll be singing some songs and playing some games to solidify the concepts.

Language Arts: In Reading, we'll continue working some more with main idea and supporting details.  This week, we worked on a flip book to write paragraphs that included a topic sentence, supporting details, and a closing sentence.  This is exactly what we'll be doing once we begin writing our research papers so it was time well spent!  I'll also be grouping the kids next week to hone in on these skills.  We'll be reading more informational text articles and finishing up text structure as well.
We're officially finished with the research part of our papers.  Kids who weren't able to finish their research in class were instructed to take it home to finish the research.  Please check in with your child to make sure they've finished all of their research.  If they don't have enough information next week, it will make it very difficult to write paragraphs on their topics.  Thanks for your help with this.

Social Studies:  We'll be finishing up our Economics unit within the next few weeks.  The field trip really helped us gain a better understanding of division of labor and specialization.  Next week, we'll talk more about the assembly line and we'll also be able to try one out for ourselves.  The vocabulary in this unit has felt like a lot so designing our own products has really helped!  I will keep you posted on a test date in the next few weeks.

Science:  We are wrapping up the first investigation of our Sun, Moon and Stars unit.  The focus has been on the sun and shadows.  The students have learned how and why the sun appears to move across the sky each day, as well as how the sun's path is different in the summer than the winter. On Monday, the students will take an open-note, open-book quiz on the sun and shadows.  Students will be allowed to use any of their notes and worksheets, as well as the science book to help them during the quiz.  The book offers several diagrams about changing shadows that will be helpful.  I still encourage everyone to study their notes and the worksheet "Sun and Shadows" to be better prepared. The quiz has some multiple choice questions, but for the most part, it has free-response or short answer questions.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Week of March 30th

This week at conferences, many parents were asking what they could do over the summer to ensure their child stays current with their skills.  Every summer, I order the Summer Bridge book for my own girls and it really helps to not only structure our day but also helps review some of things they learned in school that year.  The books are only $10 and well worth it.  Here's the link in case you're interested:

Important Dates to Remember:

Spirit Week - Next week is spirit week but the 4th grade team had to make a little change because of our field trip.  On Monday, the students are supposed to wear their Kenbrook apparel but instead they are going to wear their PJ's.  Thursday, they are supposed to wear their PJ's to school but we are going to wear our Kenbrook apparel since we're going on the field trip.  There are no other changes on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Field Trip - Thursday 4/2: Please remind your child to bring a disposable lunch to the field trip. 

Spring Break - 4/2-4/13 

FLE - 4/22 and 4/23: Your child will not be allowed to participate in the FLE program unless they have a signed permission slip on file.  Please let me know if you need an additional copy.   

M-Step - 4/28, 4/29, 4/30, 5/7, 5/8, 5/12, 5/13:  Note -  Because of the availability of the computers, all 4th grade classes are not taking the M-Step on the same day.  We have been doing many things to get prepared here at school for this online assessment that has replaced the MEAP.  We are trying to make it as stress free for your kiddo.  I know it seems like a lot of testing but we'll try to make sure we find the healthy balance between doing their personal best without putting on too much pressure.  We are good at that around here. :) 

Here's our plan for the next few weeks...

KID Groups: Your child might have mentioned that our KID groups have changed a bit.  We have completed our work with Place Value and have moved onto some different skills.  Earlier last week, we gave the kids a pretest involving concepts such as multiplication, division, and word problems.  We divided up the groups based on how they performed on this test.  The students are either working on skills that weren't mastered earlier in the year or they're learning new skills that haven't been covered yet.  In either case, kids are getting what they need and having fun too!!  We love the KID groups! It's our favorite time of the day and it's nice mixing up the students so we see new faces!  

Math:  We just tested on our Fractions unit and I'm in the midst of grading those tests but should have them for you next week.  We started our Decimals unit today and will be delving into that more next week.  We'll be pulling out our place value blocks so we can the relationship between the tenths, hundredths and whole numbers.  Then we'll be moving onto finding equivalent decimals and comparing them as well. This will be a shorter unit since it's at the tail end of our Fractions unit.  Our next larger unit will be Geometry.  There is a lot of vocabulary involved with this unit so we'll be getting out of our seats and learning some fun songs along the way!  

Language Arts:  In Reading, we're continuing to move through our Nonfiction unit.  We have been examining non fiction pieces and locating the text features and we've starting working a bit with text structure as well.  Next week, we'll continue working on main idea and pulling out the topic, topic sentences and supporting details. In writing, we're in the midst of our research project.  We'll continue finding information on the next few topics and then the following week, we'll begin to use our notes and organize them into paragraphs.  This is the hard part and what we're doing in Reading will really help us with this process.  This is a BIG unit and will most likely take a good 6 weeks.  After we're done writing, we'll put it together in a book.  

Social Studies:  We're continuing our study of Economics.  There are many vocabulary words tied to this unit so we've been doing some fun activities with our product we have made to help us understand these concepts.  This week, we took a vocabulary quiz to see how the students are progressing so far in the unit.  We can tell that some students are putting in the time it takes to do well on a quiz and some students are not.  We have had these conversations with the students as well.  These results will be sent home next week as well.  

Science:  We're in the midst of our Sun, Moon and Stars unit. We'll be learning about the sun and shadows and the kids will be doing some outdoor activities as well.  

Friday, March 13, 2015

Week of March 16th

Hello Families!!  Here's the scoop for the next two weeks...

Math: We're trucking right along with Fractions!  This week, we worked on Mixed Numbers and Improper Fractions.  We're also very comfortable making equivalent fractions.  This will be helpful as we compare fractions and eventually add and subtract fractions.  This year, the fourth graders are responsible for adding and subtracting fractions with like denominators and they should be able to add and subtract with unlike denominators using models and pictures.  Next year in fifth grade, they'll build on that and extend their learning even further.  I've been trying to send home corrected work in Friday folders so you can see how your child progressing with this concept.  If you notice your child is having difficulty, you might want to spend some additional time at home working on these skills.  Mrs. Jahn and I both have our own groups so the students are getting a lot of additional one-on-one help.  It's been a gift to have the extra hands in the room!!  Next week, we'll be solving some story problems involving fractions, working with fractions on a number line and also reviewing some of the concepts we've already covered.  We're just about at the end of our unit so we'll be testing soon.  I'll be giving a  short quiz early next week to assess their learning so far.

Language Arts:  In reading, we have been looking at the layout of a non-fiction piece and discussing how text features help us understand the article.  We have also worked hard this week paraphrase short pieces of text after we have read it.  This will be helpful as we continue the research process next week.  Next week, we'll focus more on reading short articles and discussing the main idea and we'll pull out supporting details as well.  We'll also spend some time pulling out important details to help us write a strong summary of an article.  Reading and writing will begin to go hand in hand as we work through our informational unit.  In Writing, we've been getting the kids geared up for our research papers.  As you know, there is so much involved in a research paper so we have started small and focused on paraphrasing.  Students picked their topics this week and began taking notes on their animal.  Next week, I'll have them check out a book at the library on their animal and we'll continue the note taking process on the computer.

Social Studies: We're continuing our study of Economics in Social Studies.  The students are creating a product to market and will be learning about the economic concepts through the product they create.  As you know, there are many vocabulary words in our Economics unit and it's difficult for the kids to understand all of them.  Creating a product will make it easier...and fun!

Science: We are just at the end of our Motion and Design unit.  Our next unit is Moon, Sun and Stars.  We'll be doing a little research along the way and tie in some fun activities as well.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Week of March 2nd

Here's the plan for the next two weeks...

Field Trip: We have a field trip coming up on Thursday, April 2nd.  We will be going to the Ford Rouge at Greeenfield Village.  I'll be sending home more information and permission slips later next week but wanted to give you a heads up on the date. 

Language Arts: In Reading, we've been working hard in our book clubs. In our groups, we've been focusing on digging deeper into our books and thinking deeper about character's actions and thoughts.  This helps the flow of our book club discussions the next day. We have also been working hard on visualizing.  I'm impressed that just about all of the students are visualizing while they read.  They do it without thinking and it's wonderful they're doing it naturally!  When you read with your child at home, practice this strategy by discussing the pictures they make in their head. Compare their movie with yours.  This will help them practice the strategy and understand the story better.  Next week, we'll begin our informational unit which will pair nicely with our research papers.

In Writing, we're finishing up our Persuasive letters and then moving onto our research papers.  After the final papers are graded, I'll be passing them back and kids will chart their progress in their data notebooks so they can see their growth from the pre to the post test. Next week, we'll be starting research papers and our focus for the project will be animals.  All the students will pick an animal they want to learn more about and then I'll take them through the research process.  It will be a lot of reading, paraphrasing information and then putting their information into organized paragraphs!  We've got some good little writers in this room so I'm excited to see how well they do!  

KID Groups: KID Groups are going really well and the kids are doing great!  We are currently focusing on place value and some of the groups are working with powers of 10.  The instruction is geared to what your child needs and they might be coming home with additional math to work on if they weren't able to finish it in their KID groups. During this time, we are either extending their learning or getting some extra practice on a concept that was tricky for them earlier in the year.  As you have probably noticed, Numbers and Operations in Place Value was our first unit that we taught back in September.  Based on your child's test results and our data analysis, we strongly felt that it was important to your child's academic progress to reteach some of the skills they missed. Therefore, it may be necessary for you to help them at home to deepen their understanding of these concepts. In addition to this, they may be coming home with additional homework if they weren't able to finish it in their KID groups. Thank you for your continued support as we work to get your child what they need.

Math:  The Division test was corrected and placed in Friday folders this week.  We are in the midst of our Fractions unit and rolling right along!  We've been working with egg cartons and clocks to learn more about the fraction concept.  We're becoming more familiar with  equivalent fractions and will eventually realize that you make equivalent fractions by multiplying the numerator and denominator by the same number.  Next, we'll be focusing on adding and subtracting fractions and we will play a few games to reinforce the concept.  

Social Studies: In Social Studies, we're wrapping up our unit on Human Geography.  Corrected tests were sent home in Friday folders. This week, we have been working on a fun project called Oregon Trail where kids go back in time to learn about the hardships people faced while traveling west.  They are having a blast with this activity!  Our next uint of study is Economics.  We'll be taking a field trip in about a month that will help the kids learn more about some economic concepts.  In the next few weeks, however, we'll be focusing on needs, wants, scarcity, and supply and demand.  We'll be doing some fun activities to learn more about these concepts.  

Science: The students have just took their second quiz on motion and design, which focused on the concepts of rubber band energy and friction.  Those quizzes should be graded and placed in Friday folders next week.  Our last unit of this unit will focus on propeller-driven vehicles.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

Week of February 9th

Hello Parents!  Here's a quick update on what we're learning the next few weeks. :)

KID Time:  Koality Instruction Day has been going great!!  Kids are excited and are doing an amazing job in their groups.  KID time rolled out very smoothly last week and everyone benefited from the smaller, individualized instruction!!

Language Arts: In Reading, we're just about ready to start round 2 of book clubs.  I had anticipated starting them this week but the two snow days interfered with my plans.   I'll be mixing up groups just a bit and they will run similar to how I ran the first round.  Mrs. Jahn will be working with two groups and I will work with the other two.  Everyday one of us will be running your child's reading group and discussing their books.  Thanks so much for being so diligent about making sure your child is ready and prepared for their reading group the following day.  I know evenings are busy and homework has increased a bit.  Kids are handling it though and making school a priority.  Thanks a ton for your support!  Soon I will begin individually assessing your child's reading level.  I'll be pulling kids while Mrs. Jahn is teaching and I'll be discussing levels with the kids as well as noting them on report cards in March.  Our next unit of study is non-fiction which will fit in nicely with our  research papers!  Stay tuned!

In Writing, we're just about at the end of our Persuasive unit.  Again, the snow days slowed us down a bit so my timeline is a little off. I anticipate finishing this unit mid February.  Next week, we'll write one or two more pieces and the following week we'll start our final writing piece.  Just like our writing units in the past, I'll be sending home graded pre and post tests so you can see how much your child grew.  Many are doing an amazing job adding details and staying organized!  Very impressive!

Math:  This weekend, your child has a Division review sheet to work on.  They didn't have homework yesterday but will have homework over the weekend...that was our deal. :)  The review looks pretty similar to the actual test so please take some time this weekend to work on this with your child.  I'll review a little more on Monday and we'll test Tuesday.  This unit was pretty tricky because we learned so many different strategies along the way.  They pushed through and I think we're ready to move on!  We'll begin Fractions on Wednesday.  We'll start the Fractions unit using Geoboards and rulers to help us learn more about fractions.  After that, we'll use egg cartons to learn more about numerators, denominators, and equivalent fractions.  Also, we're continuing to make progress

Social Studies:  We're just about at the end of our Social Studies unit and will begin reviewing next week.  As of now, I'm planning to test next Friday but will give the kids more of idea next week.  As we do in the past, I'll be handing out a review sheet the kiddos can use while they study.

Science: In Science, we're currently using rubber bands on our vehicles to learn more about kinetic energy.