Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Let Me Run Sign-ups Begin!

Dear Families of 4th Grade Boys,

Yeah! I am so excited and ready to begin our fall season of Let Me Run! (The version of Girls on the Run for boys!)

A brief introduction: Let Me Run is a non-profit prevention program aimed at strengthening boys in body and spirit. Our mission is to encourage boys to stay on track to living into their full potential by inspiring healthy friend, family and community relationships. We use the power of running and lively group activities to equip boys with tools to lead a balanced and fulfilling life -- emotionally, physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. Our boys feel the strength of being connected to others through positive communication and team interaction. Upon leaving the program we watch for our boys to take responsibility for all aspects of their health and confidently lead for positive change around them.

A typical Let Me Run practice begins with a healthy snack. From there, the team runs a paced "Unity Lap" with that day's "Words to Live By" (my favorite from last year: "The best part about being on a team is you always have someone on your side"). We proceed to dynamic stretches (that is, stretches that involve movement), and begin our run for that day. After the run, the boys do a static stretch (stretches that involve little movement), and we move into that day's lesson. The culminating event of our 7-week program is a 5k. This fall's 5k, Speed for Children in Need will take place on December 8 at 3:00 p.m. at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and from the details I've seen, it will be awesome.

This year, practice at Trinity will take place from 3:35-4:50 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons beginning Tuesday, October 23. Space is limited to 14 students, so if you are interested, please register as soon as possible here: http://trinityepiscopal.racesonline.com/

We will first open Let Me Run to 4th grade boys. Next week, we will reach out to 5th graders, space permitting. The cost to register is $100. Your registration is your commitment to have your boy at practice every Tuesday and Thursday, and at the 5k on December 8 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. If you or a family member is a runner, I encourage you to register for the 5k separately. It was amazing last year when some of the boys had moms, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters running in the race with them. They saw how big their team was!

This is my second year with Let Me Run, and I can attest to the powerful impact this program and the 5k had on all involved. I am thrilled to have just locked down our Healthful Living, cross country, and track coach Jason Martin as the assistant coach. He is an amazing runner, and I know his participation will teach the boys (and me!) so much.

Trinity has a special connection to Let Me Run; our retired Dean of Community Life, Joanne Stratton Tate, sits on the board of Let Me Run, and continues to play a fundamental role in developing its curriculum.

I cannot wait for our season to begin in just under a month. It promises to be full of challenges, hard work, deep soul-searching, and, ultimately, reward as the boys learn the vulnerability and courage it takes to be themselves. 

Please feel free to call me 704.607.6435 or email me amerritt@tescharlotte.org with questions!


Alex Merritt

Monday, September 24, 2012

Parent / Teacher Conferences

If you have not already done so, please take time to sign up for a conference.

Follow this link to the sign-up page:

Landmarks in Large Numbers

We will complete Unit 5: Landmarks in Large Numbers this week. The students have genuinely had fun learning various strategies for adding and subtracting numbers. We have used counting up and down number lines, the "expanded algorithm," and the US algorithm. Students have explored numbers up to the hundred thousands place in numeric, written, and expanded form. Our unit assessment will be this Friday.

Metro Connections

To help prepare our students for our experience at the Metro School, we have read aloud two very thought-provoking books. Ask your student to tell you about them.

First Day at Metro!

Questions to ask your student about our first day of service learning at The Metro School:

1) What were the teachers and students doing in the classroom?

2) Were you able to find a way to be helpful?

3) What was the most surprising thing about your experience?

4) What do you look forward to next week?

5) Did you connect with one of the students?

Math Facts

Your child brought home a yellow sheet for you to sign that showed their progress in our math fact timed tests for addition and subtraction. Each child in our class has already made drastic improvements. We feel confident that they are well on their way to meeting our 4th grade benchmark of 50 addition and subtraction facts in less than 2 minutes.

The red practice sheet is hopefully helping to make this an obtainable goal. Each week our 4th graders are required to practice 4 nights for between 5-10 minutes. It is his/her decision what nights this is depending on your family's schedule. We brainstormed fun and effective ways to practice. Our list included addition and subtraction war, flash cards, math wraps, songs, triangle-shaped flash cards, and various computer games. I will post a list of the recommended websites on our blog.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Metro Volunteer Form

**In order to volunteer with us at Metro, you must complete the CMS Volunteer form online.  I completed the form last week and within a day or two, received a confirmation e-mail that I had the green flag to volunteer.

Please go to the following link and click on register to volunteer

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jake's Birthday Book

Investigations: Unit 5

To learn more about Unit 5: Landmarks and Large Numbers, please follow this link.

Throughout the year the Investigation parent letters will be available on our grade level blog.

Math: Close to 1,000

Ask your 4th grader how to play "Close to 1,000." We have had so much fun playing this in class, and we have been impressed with the great mathematical strategies they have been using. If you would like to play at home, refer to page G3 in your Student Math Handbook. Although you won't have the official "Digit Cards" at home, you could easily use a regular deck of cards. Our class brainstormed that the aces could be the zeros, and the queens or kings could be the Wild Cards. (If this isn't making sense to you, trust me, it will to your 4th grader!) If you play this at home, I hope you will have as much fun as we have!

Social Studies

We started our year in social studies by asking: “What is social studies?” The students had many wise thoughts about all of the different things that make up this broad discipline. From there, we’ve been working on maps skills. We introduced the Student Atlas, and our students familiarized themselves with the different parts of a map, including the compass rose, cardinal and intermediate directions, inset maps, and maps that show different types of information about a region. They followed the directions on their own maps of the United States, on which they labeled specific geographic features and regions. Over the past few days, we’ve discussed parallels and meridians, and used their corresponding lines of latitude and longitude to locate very specific places on a map. Ask your child to show you the “Latitudes have attitudes” and the “Loooooongitude” hand motions that will help them remember the difference! These map skills will be important throughout the year.  

Ask your student about the activity we did with the orange on Friday afternoon!

Metro School

We are excited to begin our Service Learning Partnership with the Metro School. We will have a 4th grade meeting on Monday, September 17th at 2:30 in our classroom. Parents are invited, but not required, to attend. I will send home an informational letter detailing the various classrooms that our 4th graders can serve in at Metro after we have that important meeting.  At that time I will also share a sign-up form for our students to complete about their volunteer interests. Our first day at the Metro School will be on Tuesday, September 25. Please be on the look out for more information from both me and our classroom coordinator. We truly believe that this opportunity is life changing for our students.

Book Talks

We are looking forward to the book talks that our students will be giving between now and Christmas break. If you misplace your sheet detailing our expectations and hopes for these talks or would like to look at the schedule, please use this links provided.

Important Dates

Monday, September 17 - Class meeting about Metro School at 2:30 in our classroom (parents invited if interested)
Tuesday, September 18-    4th Grade Parent Coffee, 8:00 - 9:00
Tuesday, September 25- First trip to Metro School
Tuesday, September 25 – Class Picture Day (note change of date!)
Wednesday, September 26 – NUTS day and early dismissal at 11:40
Thursday and Friday, October 4 and 5 – Parent-Teacher Conferences 
Monday, October 8 – Columbus Day / No classes
Tuesday, October 9 – Children’s Theatre, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Friday, October 12 – Blessing of the Pets, 8:00 morning chapel service

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tattletale or Whistle-blower?

Here is a question to ask your child about this mornings' chapel service:
What is the difference between a tattletale and a whistle-blower?

In this morning's chapel, Father Jacob focused on a few words in the Honor Code that have huge meaning and implications.Hope this will spark a great conversation at your house.

As a member of the Trinity Episcopal School community, I pledge to: 

  • Be responsible for my actions
  • Always do my best as an individual and as part of a team
  • Respect the uniqueness and gifts of others
  • Practice kindness and consideration
  • Celebrate the joyful, beautiful and enduring
  • Not lie, cheat or steal

  • I will follow this honor code, and will help others do the same as ambassadors of God’s grace and everlasting love. 

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Faith Studies

    Mr. Burton, our 4th grade Faith Studies teacher, asked that we share this Bible passage on our class blogs.

    The Lord the Shepherd of His People

    A Psalm of David.

    23 The Lord is my shepherd;
    I shall not want.
    He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
    He leads me beside the still waters.
    He restores my soul;
    He leads me in the paths of righteousness
    For His name’s sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil;
    For You are with me;
    Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
    You anoint my head with oil;
    My cup runs over.
    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    All the days of my life;
    And I will dwell[a] in the house of the Lord

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012


    • We introduced the Wheel of Scientific Investigation and Reasoning to the students today. As we train our minds to "think like scientist," we will frequently refer to this wheel. It was developed by the Center for  Gifted Education at William and Mary. Ask your child to explain it to you! Friday afternoon, we will have a science lab where we really put it to practice.

    Read Aloud

    We selected this book as our first class read aloud for several reasons. First of all, after having the opportunity to hear Jack Gantos speak this summer, I have a bit of an author crush on him! Gantos wrote this book after carefully reading back through his childhood journals. The stories that he writes are the slightly exaggerated tales from his life as a 4th grader. How cool for our class to get to read these at the beginning of their 4th grade journey! It is a perfect kick-off as we begin to keep our Writer's Notebooks and as we will begin to work on personal narratives in the coming month. Ask your child to share a bit with you about this funny book! Ask them who laughs the loudest at all the silly parts?

    Enjoy the review below that I found on the goodreads website:

    From the Newbery Medal–winning author of Dead End in Norvelt, eight side-splitting stories about a boy who is doing his best to keep his head above water

    As the Henry family sets sail for a new life on Cape Hatteras, fourth-grader Jack is struggling to chart a course between his parents’ contradictory advice on making friends and influencing people. Just tell people what they want to hear, Dad advises. Just tell the truth, Mom cautions. Jack finds there are no easy answers as he drifts through his crazy school year, falling desperately in love with his young teacher, getting suckered into becoming a bad-behavior spy for the principal, and being forced to make a presentable pet out of a duck with backward feet. Indeed, with an airheaded, air-guitar-playing neighbor the closest thing to a friend, and a judgmental older sister his relentless enemy, it’s all he can do to stay afloat.

    This colorful and comic new collection of interrelated stories featuring the author’s hapless alter ego is the first of five books in the Jack Henry series, praised by Booklist for their “hilarious, exquisitely painful, and utterly on-target depiction” of a boy’s life.

    Photos from DNC tour