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Kristen McLaughlin's Classroom: Team 15 News

Partnering with Parents to Enrich the Student Learning Experience

Monthly News! Check out what we learned this monthly and what we have coming up!

Team 15 Monthly News

Dear Team 15 families,                         

The month of November seemed to fly by! I enjoyed meeting with you on conference day and I hope you all had a relaxing Thanksgiving with your families. This newsletter will give you an overview of what we've been doing, but I encourage you to use it as a springboard for conversation with your child for more details.

Classroom Community: Students continue to work as a group to earn FROGS for good behavior and teamwork. They recently reached their goal of ten frogs and will be having their second celebration of the year. Stay tuned for details! In addition, we’ve had several students caught for good behavior and had their STAR entered into the weekly raffle in the office. Congratulations to Van and Gavin, our most recent Friday STARS.

Literacy: We wrapped up our first units in reading and math. Our next units will focus on personal and persuasive essays in writing, and non-fiction reading, with a focus on extreme weather. Students participated in a five station workshop led by Salem High School teacher, Mr. Fusco and his meteorology students last Wednesday, it was a blast! Be sure to ask us what we learned! Students will be learning more about the challenges of reading non-fiction, various text structures, and how to grow research-based ideas in our next reading unit. They will be assigned an extreme weather topic to research and present to the class. In writing, students will learn the structure of an essay while we work through a model essay with the thesis statement, I love ice cream. Students will then take what they learn and apply it to their own personal thesis statement, and eventually move from personal essays to a persuasive essay. We got our first experience with this before Thanksgiving as students wrote a persuasive essay from the perspective of a turkey, as to why humans should eat something other than turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. These pieces were a great pre-assessment for what’s to come!

Math: We wrapped up Module 2 of Eureka Math which included unit conversions and problem solving with metric measurements. We have begun Module 3 which will take us into the month of January. We will be focusing on multiplication and division in this module. Students will be learning a variety of algorithms for these concepts, so I encourage you to look at the Homework Helpers that come home with their assignments. Although these methods may look different than how we learned math, the theory behind them is to deepen students conceptual understanding of the mathematics involved. Once students have learned each of the algorithms, they will be encouraged to use the one that makes the most sense to them. November ST Math Challenge winners will be announced this week. As of this week, students should be at 36% syllabus progress. Please continue to encourage your student to be logging on at home, and remember, I am available in the classroom from 8:10 to 8:45 on Tuesday mornings for those students who would like to come up. There will be no December ST Math Challenge.

STEM: We finished our first STEM module of the year by finishing up our Alien Tilt games and creating a reaction time test. Our next modules will focus on collisions and energy conversions.

Odds/Ends: 

This time of year can be especially busy and hectic. I would like to thank everyone who donated to our coffee wreath (it came out fantastic!), the Thanksgiving baskets, and the Student Council clothing drive. Your donations are greatly appreciated. Please keep an eye out for an email with sign-ups for our holiday party.

As always, thank you for your continued support. It's been a great month. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Kristen M. McLaughlin, M.Ed.

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Team 15 Monthly News 

Dear Team 15 families,                         

The month of October has flown by! We certainly have been busy in Team 15. Below are the highlights of what we've been working on. This newsletter will give you an overview of what we've been doing, but I encourage you to use it as a springboard for conversation with your child for more details.

Classroom Community: Students have been working really hard as a group to earn FROGS for good behavior and teamwork. They recently reached their goal of ten frogs and will be having their second celebration of the year. Stay tuned for details! In addition, we’ve had several students caught for good behavior and had their STAR entered into the weekly raffle in the office. We’ve celebrated Grace, Sarah, Max, and Devon as our Friday STARS. They have been wonderful role models to the rest of the school.

Literacy: We are nearing the end of our first reading unit, Interpreting Characters. We have learned how to use patterns in the character’s actions to form ideas and ask ourselves why the character might be acting that way. We’ve learned to notice anything about the character that repeats and why, and we’ve learned to notice repeated details in our books and think about why the author is repeating them. We’ve also been examining theme and are able to determine the theme of a passage or a book. Ask us what some common themes are that we’ve been discussing.  November reading logs were sent home yesterday. Please be sure your child is reading at least 20 minutes per day. We are wrapping up our narrative writing unit. Students brainstormed small moments and then tried them out before creating a story arc for their realistic fiction narrative. We’ve learned to write strong leads, use dialogue, and write thoughtful endings. We can’t wait to edit and revise and then share our pieces with each other in another week or so. Ask us what we’ve been writing about!

Math: We finished up Module 1 of Eureka Math. We learned all about place value, rounding, and algorithms for adding and subtracting. We have begun Module 2 which includes unit conversions and problem solving with metric measurements. This is a short module with only five lessons, therefore, students will be assessed on this module at the end of next week. We continue to plug away with ST Math. Congratulations to all of our ST Math Challenge winners for the month of October. The November challenge was sent home on Monday and is due 11/30. As of this week, your child should be at 27% syllabus progress. Please encourage them to be logging on 2-3 times a week at home.

STEM: Students have been working really hard during STEM class. They have learned all about the different parts of the brain and their functions and created a clay model of the brain and spinal cord. They learned all about inputs/outputs and have started their computer science module. In this module they are learning to code and are busy creating their own game, Alien Tilt. Ask them to tell you about it!

Odds/Ends: 

Thank you to everyone who donated to our Halloween party. Although the weather didn’t cooperate for our parade, the kids loved dressing up and had a fun time playing Halloween bingo and making a craft during our party.

Please check your email tomorrow for a sign-up to help with our Festival of Wreaths. This is a new event sponsored by our PTA and we need your help! Thank you in advance.

Parent /Teacher conferences are scheduled for Tuesday, November 12th. Thank you to everyone for signing up for a time through the link I sent. If you are unable to keep your conference, please let me know as soon as possible. If something comes up on the day of conferences, please let the office know and they will get the message to me.

As always, thank you for your continued support. It's been a great month. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Kristen M. McLaughlin, M.Ed.

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Team 15 Monthly News

Dear Team 15 families,

Can you even believe that September is over and we are heading into October? I think this has been one of the best and quickest Septembers I have ever had! We certainly have been busy in Team 15. Below are the highlights of what we've been working on. As I mentioned at Open House, this newsletter will give you an overview of what we've been doing, but I encourage you to use it as a springboard for conversation with your child for more details.

Classroom Community: We began our year by getting to know one another and established daily routines and procedures for our classroom. We developed our Social Contract after brainstorming expectations around how we treat each other, how we do our work, how we take care of things, and ways we stay safe. Students worked hard to earn their first frog celebration and we've had two ticket exchanges as well. On the Fridays we do not have a ticket exchange, we do Student Shout Outs - ask your child about them. Our Friday STARs are up and running, and in addition, Mrs. Peters implemented an additional kindness program that students can be "caught" and recognized for displaying qualities of a Lancaster STAR. The kids are super excited about this - have them tell you about the weekly drawing for a free ice cream! In addition, students have begun leading Morning Meeting. They have a calendar and planning sheet in their homework folder and they should be preparing for this role the night before they are scheduled to lead. October calendars will be in their folders on Tuesday - keep an eye out!

Literacy: We have been working on building our classroom community of readers and writers during the month of September. We reviewed what good readers and writers do during workshop, we built our reading and writing stamina, and generated a heart map for writing. We have begun our first reading and writing units and developed interest journals. We also brainstormed ways readers choose books, talked about schema and metacognition, and reviewed comprehension strategies that help us understand what we are reading better. Ask us what it means to read intensely and some of the strategies we've been practicing. We are reading two read-alouds, The Tiger Rising and Fish in a Tree. They may be the same genre, but the books themselves couldn't be more different. Ask your child to tell you about them!

Math: We are about mid-way through our first module of our new Eureka Math program! The first couple of lessons were challenging for us all, but I am so proud of the way the students persevered while adjusting to the new program. We have been learning about place value, comparing and ordering numbers, and reading/writing letters in standard, word, and expanded form. We will be reviewing and taking our first mid-module assessment toward the end of this week. Students have been doing a great job on their sprints for homework, and don't forget, they should be trying to get onto ST Math at least twice a week at home. Just a reminder that Tuesday mornings, I am available from 8:15-8:45 for any students who would like to come in for ST Math during that time.

STEM: We have started our first STEM module - Brain Science. Students have been learning about the senses and how they are controlled by different areas in the brain. They have completed some vision tests and will be completing some memory/reaction tests this week. We've talked about ways to protect your head from a concussion, what a concussion is, and they will be building a clay model of the brain in the next week or so. Our computer science module will begin the week of October 18.

Beginning of the Year Assessments: Students completed iReady testing in reading and math, as well as a Benchmark assessment to determine their reading level at the beginning of fourth grade. These assessments will be completed again this winter and again next spring.

Odds/Ends: Our Halloween party and parade will be here before we know it! Please check back here for updates and further information. Don't forget about Scholastic Book Orders! Fliers usually go home once a month. If you would prefer to order online rather than send in a check, the classroom code is on the homepage of our class website.

As always, thank you for your continued support. It's been a great month and I am looking forward to a great year!  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Kristen M. McLaughlin, M.Ed.