We are halfway through the second nine-week grading period, and I would like to update you on some of the things that are happening in the classroom.
We started working with fractions right after Halloween. We started with a hands-on activity of smashing graham crackers to understand the concept that fractions involve equal parts. We then practiced identifying and creating visual models of fractions. Next, we used models, then arithmetic, to create equivalent fractions. For the last few days, we have been learning how to find factors for the numerator and denominator and then identifying the Greatest Common Factor (GCF) to use in simplifying the fraction. This is still a work in progress. A solid grasp of multiplication facts will make this process much easier. Multiplication flash cards make a great stocking stuffer!
READING (Mr. Bishop's homeroom only)
We are continuing to work in small guided reading groups with leveled texts. Specific skills and standards are addressed in each group depending on the demonstrated needs of the students.
Besides guided reading, students are still working on independent reading through the Accelerated Reader program. Each student has a specific Lexile level determined by MAP testing, and they have a weekly point goal set by that Lexile level.
As you might expect, continued progress into the school year in math brings more challenging material. Grades on report cards are beginning to reflect the increased difficulty. We continue to take quizzes almost every week on the spiral homework material. Students always have the option to retake those tests if they score less than 100%. Many students are not taking advantage of that. Our grading system is cumulative, so the farther we get into the school, the more difficult it will become to improve a low grade. Please encourage your child to correct errors on these quizzes and resubmit them for a chance to raise their grade. As a reminder, directions are found here: http://scottbishop.weebly.com/study-materials.html
I have been trying to use the ClassDojo app to track positive behavior and behavior that needs improvement. Rewards for maintaining a positive percentage of 70 or higher for a week have become ineffective by themselves, so I have added in a visual colored card system. All students begin the day with a green card. If they engage in an activity that disrupts the class, they receive a verbal and ClassDojo warning. If the behavior persists, students are asked to move their card to yellow. This is also recorded in ClassDojo. If the behavior is not corrected, there are additional card colors of orange and red. Consequences are as follows: yellow card - silent lunch, orange card - silent lunch and laps at recess, red card - silent lunch, laps at recess, and office referral. If the student moves the card before lunch, the consequence is received that day. If it is after lunch, the consequence is received the next day. Cards are returned to green when the consequence has been received.
On a related note, the ClassDojo app does have a message feature, but it does not send messages specifically to the intended teacher. It is much easier and more effective for Mrs. Sisco and me if you email us rather than using the message feature.
As I mentioned above, email is the best way to contact me. However, I realize that you may not always have time to write an email. In my first blog post, I mentioned signing up for Remind.com. It is a free messaging service that allows us to send text messages to each other. I like to use it to send homework reminders, but so far, only two parents from each class have signed up. My instructions were a little confusing last time. You only need to sign up for whichever class is your child's homeroom teacher. I am the one using Remind.com, but I have separated the classes in case I need to send a message that is specific to only one class. I am including the link to directions again below.
With the beginning of a new school came a new method of handling supplies. In the past, I was able to get pencils and dry erase markers for students that might need them from a central supply closet in the front office. That has changed, and I am no longer able to supply them. Almost all of the students in both classes need pencils and in particular, dry erase markers. We use individual white boards on a daily basis in math, and the markers are a very important item. One of the things that causes such a high consumption rate is doodling on the boards with the markers by the students. I try to keep an eye on that, but I am not always successful. If you get more markers for your child, please help me make them last by having a conversation about not drawing non-education related things on the boards during instructional time.
That will be all for now. As always, please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns about your child’s progress.
Thank you for your help. Happy Thanksgiving!