Friday, August 31, 2012

Our Class Visit to the DNC!

This morning, our class had the amazing opportunity to walk up to the Time Warner Cable Arena to get a sneak preview of the Democratic National Convention. Our trip began at Trinity under the arches, where the 4th and 5th grade teachers taught a short lesson about important convention vocabulary. From there, we walked in the muggy heat up to the convention. Upon arrival, all students, teachers, and chaperones received podium tour credentials (which we get to keep!), and we got a quick look inside the arena. The convention hall is impressive; the students eyes were quickly drawn to the state delegation signs, the famous national monuments that adorn the backdrop, and the boxes reserved for newsrooms, among many other cool details. The tour was brief, and the DNC folks kept us moving, but we were all impressed with the intricate details in the convention hall.

We took many pictures, which we'll post to the blog shortly.

When you discuss the convention with your child, review with them the vocabulary that we discussed in our mini-lesson. They are big words for a 4th grader!

Political conventions are fun to watch and read about. It helps to know the vocabulary!


A political convention is a meeting of a political party, typically to select party candidates.


A person sent or authorized to represent others, in particular, an elected representative sent to a conference.
Bonus question: Did you know the word delegate is a verb and a noun? Can youdelegate to the delegate? What are some other words that work like this?


A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.


A formal and organized process of electing or being elected to political office.


A prevailing tone or central theme, typically one set or introduced at the start of a conference.


The act or an instance of submitting a name for candidacy or appointment.


A party platform or platform is a list of the actions which a political party or candidate supports in order to appeal to voters. "Party planks" are individual topics that make up the platform, for example issues such as education or healthcare.

Political Party

A political party is an organization of people with similar views who seek to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office.


The elected head of the United States. The President serves in a 4-year term.

Vice President

The person selected by the presidential candidate as a running mate and as the person who could potentially take over if the candidate is elected President and is at any point unable to serve.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Special Opportunity on Friday!

Trinity's 4th and 5th graders have been invited to visit the DNC convention tomorrow for a preview tour! We will share pictures and observations from this exciting opportunity with you!


We can't wait for you to have the opportunity to read the interviews our students have written! We have spent these first six days of school getting to know one another and working through the writing process.  After interviewing their partner and taking detailed notes on the information he/she shared, students wrote a first draft. We were impressed with the way they were able to jump right into revising their papers and to recognize what was great about their first drafts and what they hoped to improve. Many students chose to focus on improving their lead, create varied beginnings to their sentences, and write a better summary/closing sentence. We are so proud of the PROCESS and PRODUCT.  If this is the starting place of these 4th grade writers, we can't wait to see where this group will go in their writing lives this year!


We are beginning our math journey with the Investigations unit “Landmarks and Large Numbers: Addition, Subtraction, and the Number System.” We will be focusing on the base-ten number system, computational fluency, and whole number operations. I have talked with the students about how important it is for mathematicians to have all the tools they need for success: one incredibly important tool is mastery of addition and subtraction facts. We will have timed math tests each Monday and Friday to help the students track their progress in this area. We will talk about how there are many fun way to practice facts. Here’s the helpful list of suggestions:

Readers' Workshop

At the beginning of the year our focus will be on reading for meaning. We are working to help students be able to identify if they are reading an easy, just right, or challenging book. Our goal is for students to be reading just right books that allow them to successfully be applying many reading skills and strategies. 

A big focus as we are reading for meaning is about story elements. Good readers are constantly thinking about these as they are reading and are easily able to identify and discuss them.We are currently focused on characters, setting, plot, change, and movement through time. Ask your child to tell you about how these are at work in his/her book!

We expect the children to be reading the same book at home and at school. This is an important consistency to establish at this point in the year. Please remind your child to not leave his or her book on that bedside table!

STEM Project

What can you do with some old magazine, newspapers pulled out of the recycling bin, and 4 pieces of 3-foot long tape? You can build a bridge! On Monday the class worked with their table groups to complete a STEM challenge. What is STEM? A project that combines elements of science, technology, engineering,and math. We loved watching as the groups as they put their heads together to decide how to use the meager supplies to build an object that a book could pass underneath and that would hold up when a book was dropped on top of it. The various groups approached the challenge in such different ways. In the end, the winning "bridge" was able to remain standing after I dropped SIX student math handbooks on it! We will do various STEM projects throughout the year and will look forward to seeing how the students thinking evolves throughout the year.

First Day of School

We have had such a wonderful first day of school. What an inquisitive and friendly group of scholars! In addition to our time in the classroom, your student went to art with Ms. Rankey and Healthful Living with Coach Martin. There is so much information at the beginning of a school year, and we wanted to share a few things with you today.

SNACK: We will have a short amount of time for a snack each morning. Please send a healthy snack for your child. They may get water from the water fountain or keep a water bottle in our room.

AGENDA: Students will record their homework in a school-provided agenda. We will sign everyone’s agenda to ensure that all homework is recorded. Your job is to sign the agenda at home each evening.

READING LOG: Each student will fill out a reading log to record their reading at home. We encourage students to read a minimum of 20 minutes at the beginning of the year. Please touch base with your child each night about this and check to see that they are filling the log out properly. It should come back to school each day in the homework folder. We have reviewed the expectations with them today.

BAND INSTRUMENTS: Our class will head to music on Thursdays and Fridays. Tomorrow morning the students will bring their instruments to our classroom. Mr. Postle and Ms. Burns will communicate their expectations about where to bring their instruments from that point on.

NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES: We will be doing a STEM project this Friday afternoon and are in need of supplies. Please send in any old magazines and newspapers that might be in your recycling bin. (STEM stands for Science / Technology / Engineering / Math)

Questions to ask your child about our first day together:
  1. Who are you interviewing for your writing project?
  2. What was your fruit or vegetable in the get to know you game?
  3. What are the new Dining Hall expectations?
  4. How do you play Sum-Total-15?

Thanks so much entrusting us with your children! We’re off and running for an amazing 4th grade year!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

5th Graders! (Please unsubscribe from our blog)

Dear 5th Graders and Families,
It was wonderful to see so many of you at Wildcat Roundup! We're so glad you'll be across the hall from us.
As we will begin a new school year full of information you will no longer need, please unsubscribe from the class blog.  You should be receiving this as an email telling you there is a new post.  There should be a link to unsubscribe in this email.  You should also be able to simply go to the blog page and unsubscribe.  Thank you!
Wishing you all the best for a wonderful first day in the 5th grade!
Mrs. Rencher and Mr. Merritt