Here Comes the Sun

As I write this email, I am soaking up some much needed sun in my backyard. I hope you, too, are able to enjoy some time outdoors today!! Last week was short, but busy. We paid tribute to the lives lost on September 11th, and shared some personal reflections that day brings to mind. Earlier in the week, we also shared some funny stories ranging from blackberries to skunks. We are so happy to have opportunities to share and laugh together.
As Mrs. Psimaras mentioned, we have set up accounts in typing.com for both classes and Miss King and Mrs. Zimmerman have been walking the students through the first few lessons. We also set up virtual bank accounts for the 5th grade through this site where we will begin to deposit Hawk’s Tickets that students can redeem for rewards. At our 2:30 meeting last Friday, several students earned $5.00 worth of Hawk’s Tickets ($1.00 = 1 ticket) from Mrs. Neil and Mrs. Zimmerman for showing us their yoga skills with a perfect tree pose. A list of rewards for Hawk’s Tickets can be found here.
In ELA this week, we will continue to study Explanatory Writing and start brainstorming topics that interest us. We will also take our spelling pre-test. This test will allow us to see where each student is with spelling so we can place them at an appropriate level for the year. We will be creating accounts for the students using a site called Spelling City where the students will use a variety of activities to practice their words each week.
In social studies, we will have some fun with our own version of the Stock Market. Last week each class brainstormed a list of companies they would like to make available on the market. On Monday, each student will purchase shares in five of these companies. From there, we’ll see if our investments pay off! Toward the end of the week, we will begin our study of colonial America and the original thirteen colonies. Several paper activities were sent home in the yellow folders last Friday that will guide us through the beginning of this unit. These activities will give the students a break from the work that requires a computer.
Speaking of the computer, we share your concern with spending a long amount of time “on screen” each day. We always encourage students to spend their hour for lunch and recess away from their computer. We also provide time during every class to work independently, often with paper/pencil activities, reading a book, or using math or science manipulatives. Please encourage your students to step away from the computer during that time whenever possible. A screen share of this Bitmoji Classroom is used for students to take note of what they should be doing and how much time they have to complete the activity so that they can check in as needed.
We hope you’ll be able to join us for our Virtual Curriculum Night on Thursday from 6:00-7:00 You’ll hear from the Specials teachers and the 5th Grade Team about our plans for the upcoming year. Please use Mrs. Neil’s personal Zoom to participate. If you can’t join us during that time, we will make a recording of the event available on our websites afterward. These websites are linked to each Teacher’s Page on the Prairie Crossing Parent Portal.
As Mrs. Psimaras mentioned, we will be holding some practice sessions for NWEA this week with plans to deliver the test during the week of 9/21. And finally, please note we will have an Early Release this Wednesday at 1:00.