Sunday, March 30, 2014

Calendar Items

Wednesday, April 2 - Friday, April 4
Earthshine Lodge in Lake Toxaway, NC

Monday, April 7 - Thursday, April 10
ERB testing

Young Inventor's Symposium

Kudos to Grace, Lucia, and Sophie for entering the Young Inventor's Symposium this year. Grace and Lucia created an extension to put on an amputee's arm to help with brushing their teeth, and Sophie made a solar-power operated car! Good job, girls!

Emma's Share!

Emma traveled to India with her family over Spring Break. She brought back cashews to share with the class and brought in some of her souvenirs to share with the class. We all enjoyed learning from her about her travels!

Jacqueline Woodson's Visit

We were so excited to get to get to meet Jacqueline Woodson on Friday afternoon! Third through fifth graders joined together to hear her recite The Other Side and to hear her read from Feathers.  She took time to answer questions from our curious students!

Spelling 2-5-5

Ask your student about this powerful play that we saw on Friday morning. Read the overview of the play from the Children's Theatre website:

Simon's mother is always paying more attention to his younger brother, Jake, who has autism. So when a televised spelling bee is announced, Simon sees this as his opportunity to shine, until he discovers that brother Jake is a great speller, too -- in his own, special way. Simon has to decide if he can share the spotlight with his brother and come to terms with what makes us all unique. Making its U.S. premiere, Spelling 2-5-5 takes at poignant look at inclusion, compassion and sibling rivalry.

Upcoming ERB Testing

 ERB testing will take place from April 7th to 10th. In the weeks leading up to these important testing days we have been taking some class time to prepare for the tests. It is our goal to give the students experience with multiple choice testing and to have the tools they need in order to do their personal best. 

Want to support your child for ERB's?  Routine. Routine. Routine.  Anything you can do to re-establish a consistent routine with sleep and meals will be helpful, this week and throughout testing.  Successful children usually have predictable routines, but it can be especially important during times that require more focus or test the emotions. As you probably know, it is very important that the students get a good night's sleep and eat a healthy, nutritious breakfast throughout the week.

Current Read Aloud

"When his father returns East to collect the rest of the family, 13-year-old Matt is left alone to guard his family's newly built homestead. One day, Matt is brutally stung when he robs a bee tree for honey. He returns to consciousness to discover that his many stings have been treated by an old Native American and his grandson. Matt offers his only book as thanks, but the old man instead asks Matt to teach his grandson Attean to read. Both boys are suspicious, but Attean comes each day for his lesson. In the mornings, Matt tries to entice Attean with tales from Robinson Crusoe, while in the afternoons, Attean teaches Matt about wilderness survival and Native American culture. The boys become friends in spite of themselves, and their inevitable parting is a moving tribute to the ability of shared experience to overcome prejudice. The Sign of the Beaver was a Newbery Honor Book; author Elizabeth Speare has also won the Newbery Medal twice, for The Witch of Blackbird Pond and The Bronze Bow."

--written by Richard Farr
-- from


D E S T I N A T I O N :   1 8 4 0 !

Top on our "To Bring" list is an eager spirit.  Carpe diem! Seize the day, the moment, the opportunity. Earthshine offers you the opportunity for the best three days of school  ever. 

Now, what to pack.  We have a wonderful, natural setting.  When it's windy, it's very, very windy;  when it's wet, it's very, very wet.  Layers of clothes are better than one heavy jacket.  Wool is great because it's warm even if it gets wet.  Nylon stops the wind penetration.  I once heard "there is no such thing as inclement weather, just inappropriate clothing."  Be prepared!  Just remember, we are an OUTDOOR education center.  Anything that comes to Earthshine will get dirty -- wonderfully dirty.  Old, comfortable clothes are best.  Use wool, nylon, polyester and synthetics in place of cotton clothing as much as possible (Cotton, once wet, will not dry by the time they go home).  Bring only what you can carry.

(high in the upper 60's / low 70's during the day; 
lows in 40's at night; chance of rain on Friday)

What should be brought to keep warm, dry and happy? How about....
  • sleeping bag (or bedroll) and pillow
  • towel and wash cloth (old ones)
  • toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, hairbrush, etc.)
  • water bottle 
  • underclothes
  • socks
  • pajamas
  • pants (at least three pair because the first two may get wet!) 
  • hiking boots or shoes (a pair to get wet, a pair to stay dry)
  • T-shirts, *sweatshirts, sweaters (cozy and comfortable)
  • rain gear (from head to toe), dry is happy!
  • *hat (cover those ears)
  • *gloves 
  • windbreaker and warm jacket
  • plastic bag to bring home wet stuff
  • curiosity, sense of discovery, and smiles
*These items are vital in the winter!

Optional items:
period clothing (i.e. bandana, headband, vest, apron, overalls, bonnet, nothing huge or expensive), chapstick, flashlight, and sunscreen.

PLEASE DON'T BRING:  gum, radio, cell phones, IPODs, snacks, matches or lighters

Fractions and Decimals

We will be taking our unit assessment on Tuesday. Students have been working very hard on some tough concepts. We have been working on many different strategies for adding and subtracting decimals, understanding mixed numbers, ordering fractions, comparing fractions and decimals, multiplying fractions, and more! See below some photos from math workshop.

OM champs!

Congratulations to Andrew and Kane whose OM team placed 1st in the regional competition! They are now headed to the state competition on April 5 at Wingate University.  Kudos also to Mr. Merritt; his team came in 1st place as well and will be headed to states. Good luck, boys!

Colonial Gardening

Many thanks to Jenn Siegfried who is our classroom gardening representative! She is bringing great energy and so many wonderful ideas to this work. During our first day of gardening, students learned about native plants through a variety of stations.  While in the classroom they examined the uses of red onions, cucumbers, carrots, and lavender while also thinking of the modern and colonial uses of each. We then headed down to Jamie's Courtyard to rotate through more stations. Here's what they did at each one:

1) planted carrots; ate carrots with dill dip with Kristin Wallis (thanks for coming in to help!)
2) planted a variety of herbs
3) planted lavender and enjoyed homemade lavender lemonade (hope you enjoyed making this at home with the kit that Jenn sent home with each child!)
4) learned about the colonial medicinal practice of blood letting with leaches!

Pig Heart Dissection with Dr. Addison

Kate's mom came to school and guided the class through a pig heart dissection. Students were able to see the big the vena cava and aorta are, how thick the walls of the left ventricle are, to examine the valves between the heart chambers, and more. Dr. Addison also brought in a variety of stethoscopes and blood pressure monitors for the students to examine and experiment with. Thanks, Dr. Addison! This is definitely a highlight of our unit for the students!

Andy's Birthday Book

Andy (aka Gandhi!) and his mom!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Camp Math-a-Lot

Move over Camp's math's turn! This Friday afternoon we will have TWO HOURS devoted to math games. Think Sumoku, Yahtzee, Yamslam, Double Shutter, puzzles, Qwirkle, Ken Kens, and online games. It's going to be a fun-filled afternoon. Please feel free to send in any fun math games from home.

Fractions / Math Update

We are in the midst of fraction fun in 4th grade! Students are slowly growing more confident with our work adding, subtracting, ordering, and comparing fractions. It is complicated work to add fractions with different demonimators. We are working hard on these skills each day. Because we don't want to lose any ground over Spring Break, we will be sending home an optional fraction packet for your child to work on. Be looking for this in backpacks on Friday.

Important Dates

Thursday, March 13 - Dr. Addison coming to be our guest speaker to dissect pig heart
Friday, March 14 - Camp Math-a-Lot in the afternoon
Week of March 17 - Spring Break
Friday, March 18 - All Trinity Reads (see Good News for specific information)
Wednesday, March 26 - "Spelling Bee" at Children's Theatre
Wednesday, April 2 - Friday, April 4 - Earthshine Lodge (overnight field trip)
Week of April 7 - ERB week

Author Study / Jacqueline Woodson

We have started to do an author study on Jacqueline Woodson. I hope you have your calendars marked for All Trinity Reads on Friday, March 28 when she is coming to our school! We are enjoying reading her rich stories and learning about the life of this amazing lady so that we can get as much as possible out of her visit!

Also, we will be kicking off a new unit after Spring Break where students will be selecting an author; research his/her life and influences, and read several books by the author. We will write a mini-biography, write a letter to the author (or publishing house), and do an analysis of similar themes across a range of texts. It's going to be very exciting work!