Thursday, January 18, 2018

Dear Parents,
      Happy Thursday!  Looks like we are in for a warm up tomorrow.  As nice as it is, everything will be melty and gross.  I hate it when it thaws a little and slush is everywhere. It doesn't make for good recess outside either.  When we go out and it is just too wet we usually stay in the courtyard and only on the cement.  Some kids want to be on the ground all the time and end up soaked, even if they have snow pants on.  Being wet for the whole afternoon is not any fun.  I know the kids think, "I hate rule" when it comes to recess but we really do make them for their benefit. Yesterday the feels like temp was 0 and I took them out.  It really wasn't bad at all. I rather enjoyed some fresh chilly air.  The kids all were very busy enjoying it also.  Today may be okay but tomorrow not so much.  Those who are not bringing boots still have to stand along the wall so they don't get their shoes wet and have wet cold feet all day.  Please be sure your child takes them to school so they can run around.

Language Arts -  This week we finished the week 15 story and end of week assessment.  We then moved on to the Unit 3 Benchmark Test.  We will finish it up tomorrow.  The last section we have to finish is the Revising and Editing section with deals with all the grammar we talked about in Unit 3.  The students have done a pretty good job, I feel, of taking their time on this test.  I hope the test results reflect this as well.  We have done some read aloud and some have had some time to read their book report books. I am working on a rubric for the students to look at while they complete the Character Sketchbook.  This helps them see exactly how I am going to look at their project and score it.  They can then double check that they think they are getting the number of points that they want.  I will have it finished by Monday for sure.

Math -  Because of the crazy late start on Tuesday and the Unit 3 testing I feel like we haven't done much math this week.  We will be working on learning the standard algorithm for Multiplication over the next few days.  This is the strategy that you and I learned as a kid.  When we were told there was only one way to work problems.  Such a shame that we   were told that.  I know I would have done better in math if I could have learned these strategies.  These strategies have been around a long time, we have just never really found it necessary to teach them. I am happy to do it so they can pick a strategy that is easiest for  them to catch on to.  We are  only have about 3-4 more lessons in this chapter and then we will test.  Because we have spent our time learning so much in chapter 2 and 3 I move on to Chapter 13 which is a fun chapter on Perimeter and Area.  We do some fun relaxing hands on activities with this chapter and practice our multiplication skills.

Social Studies - We have started on chapter 6.  We have worked on some vocabulary words, read a few pages in the first lesson which deal with the lay of the land.  We talked about the coast or shoreline and how it's elevation is 0 feet and why.  Then we discussed the Outer Coastal Plain, Inner Coastal Plain and Barrier Islands.  Tomorrow we will add the Piedmont Region and Appalachian Mountains.  They are also working on Georgia their first state in the Southeast to enter the Union.  We have a lot of different things going on.  They seemed a little excited to get a state to put into their interactive notebooks.  

Coin Wars -  The FBLA Coin Wars begin next week and go all week.  The class is asked to bring in change to put in out class container.  The class at St. Malachy that raises the most will get a pizza party and the 2nd place class gets a cookie party.  My class has had a cookie party before.  The money they are raising, goes to the Honor Flights.  There are currently 17 gentlemen in Creston  who are looking to take a trip to Washington DC to see the Memorials for all our wars.  It costs about $750 per person to go.  The FBLA is trying to help relieve some of the financial burden that this can be on some of the Veterans. What a great way to pay tribute to our local Veterans.  Send in some money if you can!

Catholic Schools Week is coming.  We have sent home the lay out of the week.  I will lay it out day by day next week in my blog.  If you have any questions just ask.

Auction Item - Yes it is that time of year again. This year is a little different for the class baskets.  The 3-5 grade classes will be putting together one basket for our grade band.  The homeroom mom's are taking control and making this happen.  You will get information today on the basket.  They have decided to put together a Gardening Basket.  Please send any monetary donations or items to school with your child.  I will be sure to get the items to the necessary people. If you are writing a check please do NOT make it to St. Malachy School.  The only one to cash that is Kim and we don't want an influx of checks coming in for her to cash.  Make the check payable to me or Calista Purdum.  Thank you!  They have some great ideas on the list but if you have anymore ideas please feel free to send whatever you want to help make our basket special.  I will try to keep an updated list each week of any items we receive.  Thanks.  Danielle Steele, Jennifer Simmons and I will be getting together to plan a silent auction item for the class to create.  I will let you know what that is when we make a decision.

Spirit Day is tomorrow!  Bring a $1 to wear sweats and be comfy!  I hope everyone has a great weekend!  I am running to Des Moines to see a movie with some friends.  We read the books and are looking forward to the movie. 

God Bless,
Mrs. Sickels

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Dear Parents,
    Happy Thursday and Happy Snow Day!!!  I definitely did not expect this but ice can be a scary thing for a bus full of kids and high school kids driving.  I am happy the decision was made.  Also, we have had the flu hit school, so it gives everyone a day at home to rest and maybe stay away from illness or another day at home to help get over their illness.  Please refer to our illness policy in the handbook which talks about students being fever free, vomit or diarrhea free for 24 hours before you return to school. I know you have jobs to be at, but we can help limit the spread of the virus if you are not in the building.  We have been disinfecting desks, doorknobs, and bathrooms to try and help.  I hate  this time of year called flu season.  

Language Arts -  This week we are reading the last story in Unit 3.  It is called Ecology for Kids.  It talks about the science of ecology, what it studies and what it means to us.  It talks about ways in which we can help to save the environment.  It is not the most interesting but it is informational.  In spelling, we are working on words that change the y at the end to an i and add -ed, -s, -er, or -est.  This is a topic we have discussed before and now they get to apply what they know.  It was a tough list for some.  Grammar we are talking about irregular verbs, past tense verbs, and using the "be" verb.  We also talked about context clues for multiple meaning words.  I was able to give some real life talk about using context clues.  I am reading a book called "Lilac Girls", it is a book about World War II, and I find myself looking up the definition of many words.  Yes, the context usually helps me to understand but I feel to truly understand it I have to know exactly what the word means.  That is just me.  I talked about how I look them up.  They can't believe I do that as an adult.  Next week will be the Unit 3 test!  We will work on reading our book report books and finishing the read aloud book.  I am ready to start a new one.  Let the students know we will be doing Thursday's plans tomorrow and so Tuesday we will do our spelling posttest and end of week test.

Math -  We have focused all week on area model and partial product strategies for double-digit multiplication problems.  They have done a great job.  I have requested they write more than needed to show me that they understand what they are doing.  Our next lesson is actually the Mid Chapter Checkpoint.  The plan was to do it today and check it tomorrow. But I guess it looks like they will be working on it tomorrow. 

Social Studies -  We have finished chapter 5 and taken our test.  Now we are moving onto Chapter 6.  We will be learning the 12 states that make up the region, working on our interactive notebooks, learning their location on a map, and practicing their capitals.  There are 2 chapters that make up the Unit on the Southeast.  I hope to get through it in a decent amount of time.  We still have 3 more regions to get through.  We don't have a ton of interruptions this part of the year but Catholic Schools Week is coming at the end of the month.

Please be sure you child is bringing all necessary items to school for cold weather.  Our temps look to be down low again.  We will go out if the temp or feels like temp is above 0.  Don't try to guess what it will be and decide they don't need to bring their boots and things cause if we go outside it is no fun for those who don't have their warms stuff.  I am enjoying a day at home, mainly reading a good book.

I look forward to seeing your children in the morning! 
 Have a good rest of the day!

God Bless,
Mrs. Sickels

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Dear Parents,
     Happy New Year!  Welcome to 2018!!  I am glad we have a short week to ease back into school.  It has been a joy to be back with your children.  I know some of you were ready to send your kids back to school.  I am never fully ready to be here until I am here and the kids are in my room then I am happy to be here.  I missed them.  It was fun to hear about some of the things they did over break, best gift they gave and best gift they received.  The students seemed excited to see one another also.  That makes me smile.  So far these two days have been very good. 

Language Arts -  We will start our 5th story in Unit 3 next week.  This means we will back to our normal routine of spelling tests, a story to read, vocabulary and grammar lessons.  This week we have used the time for reading our book report books, read aloud and some practice testing on fluency.  They have loved the reading time and been completely silent and into their books.

Math - We have covered two lessons all ready since we have returned.  The first one was on estimation.  We worked on estimating double-digit problems.  We used rounding and compatible numbers to work do this.  they picked it up rather quickly. Today we learned how to use the Area Model to work double-digit problems.  This is my favorite lesson.  I love having a visual to show me what I am doing and this one I feel is the best.  The kids have done similar problems so they picked this up quickly also.  They did a few problems in class on their own and now working on the worksheet.  I think all of them feel very confident with this strategy. Woohoo!  We are off to a great start!

Social Studies -  We jumped right into this and covered our last lesson in Chapter 6.  They will start a study guide tomorrow.  We will check it on Monday and then they will test on Tuesday!  We will officially finish the Northeast then.  We will start the Southeast next week!  Back to interactive notebooks and practicing our states and capitals song and locating the region on a map.   They will need to practice the Northeast on a map because they will be tested over states and capitals on this test.  It will be the same thing they have been doing.  Some students need to STUDY!

St. Malachy Trivia Night is schedules for Saturday, January 20th at Crestmoor Golf and Country club.  There are still some table available.  Get your team of 8 signed up!  It's will be a lot of fun!

I hope you are all keeping warm!  Darn this cold weather.  We hope to get the kids outside soon.  They were out for like 5 minutes today.  Please be sure your child comes prepared to go outside every day because we will make the decision right at the time we are scheduled to go outside.  If it is 0 or above we will go outside.  If windchills take it below zero we will not.  Make sure they are prepared to bundle up!

God Bless,
Mrs. Sickels

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Dear Parents,
     Happy Thursday!!  It is our last Thursday before Christmas break!   We have had a fun week.  Today we have had a day of Christmas Celebration.  We began our day with PE and then came back to the room and did some house cleaning.  They cleaned our desks and expanded files.  They took everything out of their desks and even cleaned inside with clorox wipes.  We rearranged desks ready to go for the new year.  We then got to play games and enjoy each others company.  This afternoon we watched a movie with 3rd and 5th grade to celebrate with our whole grade band.  It has been a very nice day and really for the most part they have behaved appropriately.

Thank you!  
I would like to thank all of you for the wonderful Christmas gifts you have given to me and to the classroom.  I love them all.  The kids know me so well!  It is so nice of them to think of me.

Thank you!  
We would also like to extend a huge thank you to our homeroom mom, Calista Purdum,  for supplying us with treats today.  She gave us a couple different snacks, a drink and a saran wrap ball with candy bars in it for the kids to unwrap.  They sat in a circle and unwrapped until a candy bar fell our then passed it on to the next person.  It was a fun game.  We appreciate all you have done so far this year, Callie!  Thank you!

Language Arts 
 This week we had cuddle up and read day, and I assigned the students a new book report.  The report is not due until February 5th so they have plenty of time to work on it.  This one is a Character Sketch book.  They can work on these pages at school.  I require them to read the entire book first then they can come to me for a rubric to help them put their project together.  When we return from Christmas break we will spend Wednesday through Friday getting geared back up for routine!  We will do a writing project that will deal with Christmas break.  Then the following week will do the week 15 story, and the following week will be Unit 3 test week.  What a way to begin the new year!  I hope everyone gets to read a good book over break!  I will be reading The Lilac Girls for book club.  

 We will come back and dig right into chapter 3 in Math.  This chapter is on double-digit multiplication.  We are taking some of the same strategies from chapter 2 and applying them to double digits.  We will work hard on this chapter since it is a shorter chapter for us.  

Social Studies 
 We have one more lesson in this chapter then we will have a chapter test.  This will be in the first two weeks of our return from break.  We are going to have quite a busy time when we get back.  

I hope everyone enjoys their break!  Read a good book and get some rest.  I am very excited to spend the time with all my girls!  We end up staying up late and sleeping in every day.  Not a good routine but it is fun!  

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!

God Bless,
Mrs. Sickels

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Dear Parents,
     Happy Thursday!! Boy, can you tell it is close to Christmas because I sure can!!  This class is just very chatty and sometimes can't stay in their seats.  We are working on it.  I am keeping them busy.  I have even told them I could give them more to keep them busy.  Tomorrow is the last day to bring items for the Food Pantry.  When I look at it we don't have too much down there.  We could use some toilet paper and toothpaste and I know toothpaste an item they really wanted.  They have trouble keeping it in stock.  Thank again for any donation you are able to give.

Language Arts -  This week they are reading a story called The Life and Times of the Ant.  It is an informational piece about ants and how they live.  It gives lots of information about the ants working together, their jobs, the chambers in an ant hill, and food.  I find it interesting .  Some of the students found it more interesting than others.  This week in grammar we have talked about present and past participles and participle phrases.  These are adjectives ending in -ing and -ed.  Great lesson to follow two weeks worth of spelling lists on words ending in -ing and -ed.  I have put this week's words on Quizlet so they can study them on computer.  Tomorrow will be the regular end of the week testing.

Language Arts Next Week -  I am not going on to do a story next week.  I plan to have some other activities.  One of the activities will take place Monday.  I usually do it during the week of Thanksgiving but it didn't work this year.  Monday will be cuddle up and read day.  The students are allowed to bring a blanket, pillow and a stuffed animal to school that day.  They can bring one thing or all three whatever they want.  We will spend out language arts times cuddled up on the floor reading the whole time.  We will read from 9:00 - 10:15.  It is an easy 75 minutes for book it this month. Plus I like to celebrate the joy of reading.  Tuesday they will be assigned their next book report.  This report will appeal to the artists in the room.  I will go over all the directions on Tuesday and they will then need to begin picking a book for the project.  I will stress a book with a strong character.  We will also do a writing project here at school that week.  This gets them out of the book and doing some other fun educational activities.  It is best to do this on this week because they are all so excited for Christmas break!

Math - The students finished chapter 2 this week.  They took a test made corrections and we have begun work in chapter 3.  We will do the introductory pages and the firs lesson.  Then depending on the students I will take the time to teach them to play Suduko.  I love to do Suduko puzzles.  I have an app on my phone that I do a daily challenge and then there are just other puzzles to do.  Some may all ready know but to some it may be new.  I also have some Christmas Math pictures they will do next week.  I deals with chart and graph skills or plotting points.  They will get specific instructions on how to color in some boxes.  If they don't locate the correct boxes their picture will be wrong.  It is just a fun Christmas item to do.  If they can't handle the fun activities then we will go back and work hard on the chapter.  This chapter will flow pretty easily because it is stuff they all ready know it is just applying it to double-digit multiplication.

Social Studies -  This week we have focused on timelines.  We learned what a vertical timeline was and created a vertical timeline on their lives.  They could pick 10 important events in their lives to place on their timeline.  One day we worked on a list of events and the students were to go home and ask about dates, then the next day I showed them how to create it and they worked on it  in class.  Today they shared their timelines with the whole class by presenting them.  There is a specific standard on reading and creating timelines.  I feel they all understood and mastered it.  We will have another map test tomorrow on the Northeast Region.  Please be sure your children are studying the maps so they can do well.  They also are working on their last state of the Northeast for their interactive notebooks.    We will be getting back into the book to finish the 2nd chapter on the Northeast.  We will finish up and test after Christmas.  Then we move on to the Southeast Region and do all the same activities.

December 21, 2017 - We will have a very busy day celebrating Christmas this day.  I plan to finish anything that needs finishing in the morning in case their is a subject that I need to kind of put an end to before break.  Then we will begin our Christmas Party.  I ask that the kids bring a board game from home that they love to play.  I don't have a ton of games in my room so if they want to bring something that I do not have they can.  We will spend some time game playing games with each other and enjoying a snack provided by our homeroom mom.  They eat lunch with their advent angels that day so they need a sack lunch.  We will have caroling in the gym right after that.  Then the afternoon will be spent watching a fun movie with 3rd and 5th graders.   You are welcome to join your child for any part of this day.  You can join in when we play games or sing carols or the movie i the afternoon.  I feel that we need a day to celebrate Christmas as a class and have some fun.  I may even ask the students to come dressed in the Christmas Spirit. I will have a Christmas sweater on that day for sure!

Important Items to remember:

Monday, December 18 -  Cuddle up and Read and Mrs. Sickels gone in the afternoon
Thursday, December 21 -  Bring a sack lunch, dress for Christmas, and board game.
Friday, December 22- January 3rd -  Christmas Break

I will be gone the afternoon of Monday the 18th.  I will be at the doctor with one of my kids.  I love this time of year but have to pray for patience often.  The kids are all excited and so am I.  My kids are all home and under one roof which makes my heart full during this time of the year.  Only problem is we stay up late enjoying each other's company and then I am tired the next day. I hope all of you have a wonderful and safe Christmas Break.  I have family coming today and we have our first family Christmas this weekend all weekend.  I also am having a baking day with friends on Sunday to make all sorts of Christmas goodies!! I love this time of year.

Merry Christmas!!
Mrs. Sickels

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Dear Parents,
     Happy Thursday!  I hope you are all having a great week!   The Christmas Program was fabulous last night.  Hopefully the little snow fall and Christmas Music put everyone in the Christmas Spirit!  I was struggling to get there with 60 degree temperatures!  That is not Christmas!  The kids love having Mrs. Stoner as their music teacher and seem to have a lot of fun with her while they are learning.  We are very grateful to have her at our school.  I am asking for you help.  Please, please, check with your child and see if they need red checking pens or pencils or new colored pencils for the classroom.  Some of them I am constantly loaning them these items.  With half a year down some of these items need replaced for sure.  I keep telling the students to ask for more.  Thank you in advance.

Language Arts -  This week we are reading a very interesting narrative nonfiction story about Antarctica.  It is called Antarctic Journal, about the author who went and lived there for 4 months.  She then created this story from her journal entries.  I think we all found it interesting.  Do they love it, probably not but they did find some of it interesting because it is not a place we would visit on vacation.  Plus they all like to talk about penguins.  In grammar we were talking about the proper use of words like may, can, might, could, should,  would, and must.  These words can easily be used incorrectly.  The students were learning what each expresses and trying to use them properly.  This is difficult because they read a sentence  and if a word fits an it makes sense they write it down, but with these you have to figure out what the sentence is expressing and which word is more appropriate there.  They had a difficult time. Tomorrow is there end of the week test.  I did not get the words on quizlet this week, I am falling behind.  I will get them on today because I know some use this as their study aid.

Math - We are finally at the end of our chapter.  Today we are working on the review. Tomorrow we will check that together and Monday they will take the test.  I am excited to be finishing up.  We can then move on to chapter 3.  It is over double-digit multiplication.  I have some "fun" math we will do the week before Christmas which involves plotting points and coloring a Christmas picture.  It gives them a little break from the regular grind of math.  Also, if make mistake your picture doesn't turn out correctly. They are doing a great job of working hard on their math.  

Social Studies -  We have our first Map test our of the way.  Some did awesome, some still have some work to do.  Please be sure your child is studying up on those Northeast states and capitals.  We will have another map test next week probably towards the end of the week.  We will see if those who aced it can do it again and it's a chance for some to redeem themselves!   We are also working on putting more states in our interactive notebooks.  They are working on Maryland today and I think we are doing New York tomorrow.  

Absent -  I will be absent on Monday.  I am taking my mother-in-law to her eye doctor in the morning and moving my college kids home for Christmas Break in the afternoon.  They live in sororities and you switch rooms every semester so they have to basically move out. Which is not convenient but not my rules!

We only have 4 ornaments on our tree!  Hopefully more of you will be getting out your decorations over the weekend so your child can add one to our tree.  Just a reminder that we get out for Christmas Break on Thursday the 21st.  That day we will have a small celebration in the morning with our class, we will have our Christmas Caroling at noon and them a movie in the afternoon.  I will give you more details about the day next week.  Have a great weekend!

God Bless,
Mrs. Sickels

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Dear Parents,
     Happy Thursday!   I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving!  I know we did.  We traveled to Chicago to my sister-in-law's house.  We had a great meal and then did some Black Friday shopping!  I got a few really good deals.  In Chicago, Black Friday is not as big a deal as it is here.  No lines waiting to get into stores or for certain items.  We always come home with a very full car.  Report cards are finished and will be available online to you soon. You will need to watch for information to come.

Language Arts -  We are reading a story called The Earth Dragon Awakes this week.  It is a historical fiction piece written about the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.  It really is a very detailed story of what happens to a father and son.  I explained it is not true but all other things discussed about the actual earthquake is true.  I also told them they could look up the topic and read more about it or at lease figure out what was truth.  The story kind of scares me talking about buildings burying people alive.  In the end they are rescued but it is pretty nerve wracking.  In grammar this week we have talked about possessive nouns.  We focused on Singular possessives and  plural possessives. Some nouns have to have the spelling changed in order to make them plural like child/children or words that don't change like moose/moose.  We talked about how to make them possessive also!  Remember tomorrow is a spelling post test and end of the week test!  We are back into a full routine!  So happy to have a full week of school and the fact that I am done traveling!  

Math - This week we reviewed partial product and then moved on to the standard algorithm of Multiplication.  Which is the way you learned to do it growing up.  The kids caught on pretty quickly, which could be that they have learned it at home.  We have only worked on 2 digits times a single digit right now.  We will move on to 3 digits times a single digit next week.  We are getting ready to end a chapter which means a test will be coming soon.  I doubt it will be next week.  But it will be the next for sure then I have some fun Christmas math activities the students will do before we start the next chapter.  I will say chapter 3 will go quickly because we are taking strategies we all ready know but applying it to double digit multiplication.

Social Studies -  This week we are working on our interactive notebook and getting some more states in there.  We also started on maps.  The students were given 4 blank maps of the Northeast Region.  They are to make an answer key map where they label each area with correct state and capital.  Then they have 3 practice maps to practice labeling.  We will have a map test next week.   It will be the exact same map that they must label with states and capitals.  I try to get them to memorize a region at a time so at the end of the year the entire 50 states and capitals are not so overwhelming.  Please be sure your child is studying these!

Food Pantry -  From November 30 - December 15th we will be collecting items for the food pantry to help boost their inventory.  The items asked for are toothpaste, toilet paper, kleenex, and Food.  The Food needs to be non-perishable canned fruits and veggies or boxed meals like Hamburger Helper, tuna helper, suddenly salad,ect.  Monetary donations are also accepted.  Please send an item or more than one with your child to help the food pantry provide for our community.  Thank you very much.

Christmas Program - Our Christmas Program is fast approaching!  It is Wednesday, December 6th at 6:30 pm.  This event is being held at the Creston High School.  I love our program, it definitely gets me in the spirit of the season.  I have heard the 4th graders singing and they are fabulous.  I am very proud of them and know they will do a great job!

Class Tree -  I have a classroom tree which is just a tree on a bulletin board but I would like the students to bring in a Christmas ornament and I will hang it on our tree.  Yes, real ornaments but you might send one that is not breakable or totally special to them.  Lots of things can happen in their bags on way to school and if it would fall off the tree it would break.  I have never had any fall of the tree only students dropping them and breaking them.  They will bring the ornament back home with them at Christmas Break.  Thank you!

I hope everyone is getting their shopping done and decorations put up.  Molly and I went and purchased our tree Tuesday night.  It is in a bucket in my garage right now but we hope to get it up tonight or tomorrow.  The decorating of the tree will take place Saturday.  I have a lot of my shopping done.  Have a great weekend!

God Bless,
Mrs. Sickels