Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Dear Parents,
     Happy Thursday!  I am kind of sad to be writing my last blog of the year!  I can't believe it is here. I know it seems like this online learning has been going on for an eternity but I just can't get rid of this feeling of unfinished business.  This year will always feel so incomplete.  I knew this class would be memorable, but not in this way!  My heart aches for all the time we have missed.  I really enjoyed every minute I had with your children in the classroom.  It is so sad when I go to my room.  It is still like March 16 in the room.  I am not looking forward to going in and cleaning up the room for the year.  

Language Arts - We are ending the year doing some writing.  The first day this week they were just to write about fun things they like to do with their families.  I t didn't mean just in quarantine.  I just wanted to hear about things they really enjoy doing with their family.  Wednesday and Thursday they were to work on Opinion writing.  Friday they will also have another writing for me to do.  It is one for me.  They might consider it another opinion paper.  I will ask them to write about favorite things about 4th grade.  

Math -  The kids have done a great job learning math through all this.  They have covered quite a few standards that I really don't always get to.  Thank you for all the hard work. I know it has not been easy.  Today is the last math assignment.  I feel like this is a good stopping place.  On Friday, I want them to use their math time to do Social Studies.  I am just trying to help them be done!  I know they are ready and so are you.  

Social Studies -  I hope they have enjoyed some of the last few lessons.  I am a huge fan of the Rocky Mountains so learning about the West is always very interesting.  I tried to pick chapters that I felt gave them the most information.   They have 3 lessons today because I just could't cut it off at 2.  This is the main reason I am giving them Friday to work.  I hope they continue to sing their states and capitals song and work on locating their states.

Thursday, May 28th -  This is our drop-off and pick-up day.  Mrs. Simmons has sent you a sign-up genius to choose a time to bring things back to school and pick up their items from their desks and lockers.  I will have all of it packed up all ready.  Here are the things students need to return, followed by the link to sign up for a time.

  * Computer and cord
  *  Library books
  *  Charlie and Chocolate Factory Books
  *  Any book borrowed from my book shelf. My name or 
      St. Malachy School will appear in the front.

We have had a great year!  Your kids have come a long way from the beginning of 4th grade.  Be proud of what they have accomplished!  I am super proud of them for the work they did in the classroom to the work they have done online.  We still had a few behaviors to work on, but again they have come a long way from the beginning of 4th grade.  This class will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart.  

God Bless, 
Mrs. Sickels

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Dear Parents,
     Happy Thursday!  This means we only have one week left of lessons.  YAY!  I am sure we are all excited about this.   I feel like everyone has done a great job doing daily work and keeping up.  This will benefit you  next Friday.  If all your work is done then you are done.  You can begin a true summer.  I am ready for that!  I have had 3 new books arrive this week.  I bought a couple with gift cards from Barnes and Noble that I received for Christmas. (Thank you!)  These will begin my summer reading list.  I haven'r read much because I am on my computer all day so reading is not what I want to do.

Language Arts -  This week the students are finishing up Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with a book report.  They have been assigned certain slides to complete each day.  The last two are tomorrow. So at the end of the day tomorrow they should have their report finished.  Next week, I will be looking for short reads to do or grammar items to review.  Only 4 days of assignments.

Math -  This week we have worked on factors and multiples.  These are things that are needed to know when moving into fractions.  We have covered so many new things since we have been online learning.  They are doing an excellent job.  Tomorrow they learn about prime and composite numbers.  I am not sure what direction I am deciding to go for the 4 days next week. I will decide that over the weekend.

Social Studies - The student have typically read 2 lessons a week but next week there will be 3.  I will still put them out on Thursday and it will still be due the next Wednesday.  The sooner they get it done the better for them and for me.  We have covered a lot of information over 3 regions since we have left the building.  I am super proud of them and all the work they have done.

Dates:  Important dates to keep in mind.  

     May 25th is the day late work is due. 

     May 27th Last Social Studies will be due.

     May 28th Day to pick up personal things from school and drop off any                              textbooks. library books, and computers.

I hope this is all finding you well. (As a tornado warning was just issued for Clark County.)  Stay safe from weather and illness.  I have so missed spending the rest of this year with your children. I know this has not been easy on them or you.  Thank you for all you are doing with them.  It is so important we keep their minds engaged and learning.  We have been able to do that togehter.

Have a great weekend!

God Bless,
Mrs. Sickels

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Dear Parents,
     Happy Thursday!   Which means tomorrow is Friday!! YAY!!  I think Monday thru Wednesday is when I put in the most work.  I can ease up on Thursday and Friday.  I start getting Social Studies ready for next week on these days.  This week I had some extra things to deal with.  I had a Dollars for Scholars meeting on Monday night. I had to meet and video a presentation of Dollars for Scholars scholarship awards and a personal family scholarship today.  I have a Food Pantry meeting tonight.  After this week, I hope things slow down until I am done with school.

Language Arts - Today your students answered questions over Chapter 24-30 in the book.  Tomorrow they will take the Unit test.  This unit test is found in the very back of the packet.  It is the last page.  I converted that test online.  They will need to take that tomorrow. Next week I will be assigning them a small writing project over Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  We will only have about 7 days left so not sure reading another book will work.  I will have to research some ideas of things to do to finish the year.

Math- Today wrapped up their study on measurement.  Tomorrow they will begin looking at factors.  I am going to be working on planning out the rest of the year in this subject also.  I have several directions to go, I just need to pick the best one for the kids.  Only 12 more days of this counting today.

Social Studies -  We are moving through the book at a faster pace than if we were in class.  I have this subject mapped out already.  They have been doing 2 lessons a week.  The last week they will do 3 lessons. I just don't want them to miss out on any interesting learning.  The last section is the West region and to me the most interesting.  I want to be sure they are getting that fun stuff.  I will not be able to test the students on anymore states and capitals but I hope they are still practicing.  This is one thing they always walk away with is knowing where all 50 States and Capitals are located.  Keep practicing and singing that song!

Thank you very much for the flowers I have received from a couple of students.  I love them.
Teacher Appreciation week is a special one.

I hope this all finds everyone well.  We are still doing great.  We try to support local businesses but we are not ready to sit in a restaurant yet.   We go to the store but usually in a mask.  I think Walmart has been the worst.  Tons of people, and mostly people who don't care about wearing a mask or 6 feet.  I am good with no mask but keep your distance.  I am not worried about me but I have family members that I am doing shopping for that I do worry about.

I miss your kids every day and it makes me sad that this is how we had to end our year.  We had a great year and your kids did a great job learning to manage their time, homework, and other activities. Be proud!  I most definitely am!   

We are headed to Ames on Saturday to bring home more of my daughter's things.  She has found out her summer classes are now online also.  So back we go to get more things.  I hope all of you find something fun to do.

God Bless,
Mrs. Sickels

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Dear Parents,
     Happy Thursday!  Another week down.  I think 3 more to go!  We are halfway.  We have done this for 3 weeks and we have 3 left.  We can do it.  Your kids have been rock stars.!! I really do appreciate all the hard work that they do.  Taking the time to do their work and then going out to enjoy the weather is what I want for them. I hope you are all getting some family time in also.  We have ate around the table, all of us, more in the last 6 weeks then in the last 6 years.  Again, I sometimes think this is God's way of telling us to slow down, remember what is important.

Language Arts -  We are ending the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I am working on what we will do next. I need to have them do a writing activity.  I am just trying to decide what that needs to look like.  Maybe something will come to me in my sleep.  I hope they are enjoying the book.  Some students have answered some of the questions using the movie.  We need to keep the answers based on the book.    This is proof the book is different from the movie and we need to remember the book came first.  I was always telling the students I try to read the books first before I see a movie because the book is always better.

Math -  We are continuing to work through measurement.  This first video which you have watched in small doses has been on Measurement benchmarks.  They are using those benchmarks when I ask them the questions, how would you measure this.  You are to use his examples and think what is best way to measure this.  On a few I was lenient and allowed for a couple answers. All of these lessons going over Customary Units and Metric Units are a part of a standard that I have to report on.  I felt a step at a time was the best approach, plus I don't want to overwhelm the kids.  Next week will start a different part of Measurement.

Social Studies -  The lessons I gave the kids this week will finish up the Midwest Region.  Next week they will do lesson covering the Southwest Region.  The first one is very interesting focusing on canyons, and the people of the Southwest.  Mainly explorers and the Grand Canyon.  Very interesting.  Hopefully kids will get to see the Grand Canyon some day, if they have not already.  The 2nd lesson will be over the varying climates in those 4 southwestern states.

I hope this all finds everyone safe and well.   I hope everyone can get out over the weekend and enjoy some outdoor fun.  I am meeting with my cousin on her farm tomorrow to have a picnic lunch for an hour!  I hope to enjoy the outdoors for a while and visit with my family I miss see.  But will do that while social distancing.  

Have a great weekend! Once again, please know how much I miss your kids!   A TON!!

God Bless,
Mrs. Sickels

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Dear Parents,
     Happy Thursday!   I am very happy to see Thursday.  Things begin to slow down a bit.  I have had a better week this week.  I have not spent as much time at my computer as I did last week.  BUT I am still making mistakes!  I have to drill into my head that when I want to assign a reading I have to send it as a PDF and not a google doc.  The google doc requires you to ask permission to get on it.  A PDF bypasses all that.  I am sorry. I sent all my Social Studies readings that way this morning.  Finally a 3rd grade parent texted me and asked if I would grant permission so his son could work.  The light bulb that appeared above my head with an angry face would have been funny.  I took me less than 10 minutes to take all of them down and put them back up the correct way. Hopefully I don't make that mistake again, but I am not making any guarantees.  

Language Arts -  The kids are still reading their Charlie and Chocolate Factory book.  I don't want to overwhelm them so a chapter a day is just fine.  Some may be reading ahead cause they want to read more.  The downfall to that is they have not done the vocabulary for all the chapters.  I am still trying to pull their assignments from their packets.  We only have about 6 chapters to go.  Then I will have them work on a writing project.  I hope to get another book in on Epic.  We will see how that goes.

Math - We finished up with Geography.  The kids learned 13 new things in Geometry.  They did a great job.  The standard that they covered was Standard 1 of Geometry: Draw points, lines, segments, rays and angles.  We are now moving into a new standard.  This is a standard in measurement. It is number 1:  Know relative sizes of Units within a measurement system.  They learned a few customer units of measure today and tomorrow they will learn customary units in liquids.  This is where any cooking or baking comes in. If you have the things in the home they are talking about maybe show your child. Also I would pause the screen with the chart of items.  Then go to the assignment and use the chart to help answer the questions.  You do this by having more than one tab open.  If you don't know how let me know and I can help you.  You will also talk about weight soon.  It is important for them to have an understanding of what these things look like.

Social Studies -  In Social Studies I am giving them the lessons in the book. I am typing in the lessons then adding pictures that are similar to what the book had.  Sometimes I add in some extra ones.  Assignments are based off of the worksheets they would have completed.  I am giving them a couple lessons a week.  This will continue until the end. I have it mapped out until the end of the school year.  I am covering the same things I would have if we were in the classroom.  

Remember on google form assignments I do not allow the computer to check your written answers.  It will show up as wrong when you turn it in. There will be a big red X.  I will check that one myself and give the appropriate points.  So when I return the assignment please focus no the points and not each question and that big red X

We have been given a last day of school. Right now it looks to be May 22nd. It is subject to change.  That will be the last day we will give work.  They will need to be sure all homework is complete and turned in that following week so that we can do report cards.  

This has been an interesting year so far.  I will be honest I don't miss the discipline part of being in a classroom but I miss the kids interacting with one another and asking questions.  Their questions is what guides all of our instruction. We would have read a story at the end of the year about a "teacher" being a computer.  It was fun for us to read and discuss what we would miss about a classroom.  Well, we are living it! That story is no longer futuristic.  

I hope all of you are still enjoying family time.  I am finding it harder to work during the day because the sun is shining. I want to be outside with my kids enjoying the sun.  I have gone out for a  while then just work in the evening. It is a fair trade to me.  I hope if you are still working that you are staying safe at work.  I pray this ends soon.  As I am sure all of you do also.

God Bless,
Mrs. Sickels

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Dear Parents,
     Happy Thursday!!  It has been so long since I have written a blog!  What a crazy week!!  I hope everyone is getting familiar with their Google Classrooms.  I know there really is a lot to navigate through.  I have never learned so much new stuff in two weeks. I feel like a college student all over again.  I hope colleges are teaching this, but my daughter that is going to be a teacher says yes/no.  She is to student teach in the fall and she does not want to do it with Online Learning.  She wants to learn classroom management and observe discipline with other teachers.  I am wondering what kind of an experience she will end up with.

Language Arts -  We are working through the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I am not too concerned about the students completing the packets I gave them,unless you as parents want them to.  The assignments we will focus on are the ones I create for them to turn in.  So far I have been able to keep up and send the corrected work back to them with comments.  I think that is why I am working long days. I want to get it back to them quickly.  I may need to relax on that a little bit.  When we are done with this book I have asked the kids about a second book to read. I am only missing 2 responses from that.   Will and Logan didn't respond.  You will need to look in their emails for an email about "Which Book to Read on Epic".  I sent 2-3 weeks ago.  I need to get some writing lessons in.  I will be working those and maybe recording myself.  The main things left this year is are writing.  I will have them writing something after we finish the book we are reading now.

Math - We have moved into geometry for Math.  I have found a teacher who has recorded lessons for all the 4th grade Math standards.  I will be using his videos for math.  I am trying to break them up so they are not so overwhelming.  I just want the kids to learn a little something everyday then prove that to me in their assignments.  Division was to be our next topic.  In talking with Algebra teacher, Mr. Dunphy and collaborating with Ms. Surma we made the decision that division needs to be taught in the classroom.  Ms. Surma does a lot with division so she is going to be teaching all of division next year.  I am covering geometry and hopefully covering enough to help her out.  I also hope to get into fractions so that helps her out.  

Social studies -  Well, this first week they are actually reading from their textbooks exactly where we left off. I have them finishing up the Southeast and moving right into the Midwest.  I hope to continue in the book...but it may change.  I was taking pictures of the book and found a way for the computer to convert it to a document.  At the end of the Midwest chapter it decided to quit allowing me to do that. I am not sure why. but I typed in the last 2-3 pages. Actually that wasn't that big of a deal. My typing skills came back and might have taken just as much time as the conversion process.   I think yesterday was so busy because I added 3 more subjects to the day to create.   We will keep chugging away.  Be sure to have your kids sing the states and capitals song and practice their regions.

Here are questions I have had to answer or fires to put out with homework.

*On Google classroom you will find a lot of things on "stream" and some things in "Classwork". Those are tabs at the top of the Google Classroom page under the purple picture.

* It is VERY important the student follow the work in order on their checklist under the subject.  They can choose to do Math first just do those things in the order I wrote them.  Some are trying to do the homework assignment without reading anything or watching any videos first.  This can not happen.

*  Create a schedule. Your children thrive on a scheduled day.  Make sure they know when they are to do their work.  When they can play. When they need to sleep! ( my body has forgotten about a sleep pattern)

* The students may need to play with new websites or programs on their computers.  They are eager to learn a new video game, so why not a new educational tool.  Kami is the one they will need to play with and learn to use the drawing tool, or can they use another program in Kami that helps them.

*  We are all learning, we are all in this together. 

* I am going to make mistakes!  Maybe lots of them.

* Things are not going to be smooth in the beginning.

* Things may be hard.

* Your kids are not going to want to do their work.

*  I do not give the students anything they can't handle.  You as a parent should not have to sit by them and be sure they are doing things. I am trying to make it easier for you.  

* Please enjoy this extra time as a family.  You get to teach the fun things.  Help them learn to bake or cook their favorite meal.  Teach them to write old-fashioned letters to send to their classmates they are missing.  Teach them proper way to dust or vacuum. Organize their rooms.  Purge things to donate to the Rerun when it opens back up.

* Please know just how much I truly miss your kids.  I miss them all day!  My favorite time of the week is the two days I have 30 minutes with them.

We have to find the positive in all this.  The world is changing as we know it.  We have to move with it.  Maybe God was speaking to us that we needed to slow down and come back together and really find what is important again.

I have enjoyed having all my kids at home with me.  The conversations the laughter.  The serious discussions.  No more selfishness.  We have family members to think about.  Really seeing how our actions can effect others has been an eye-opener.  Maybe we take it too seriously, maybe not seriously enough.  It is super hard not to hug my mom when we take her groceries but we know it's best we don't.  We do it for her.

Keep Safe and as always God Bless,
Mrs. Sickels

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Dear Parents,
     Happy Thursday!!  The weather has been one to lift the spirits this week! YAY!!  I think we all needed a little sunshine in our lives.  Spring break is just around the corner and I think we all need it.  The kids definitely need a break from each other.  I hope they will come back refreshed and ready to finish out the year.  I am looking forward to break.  I think I may get a little trip with Mrs. Lane to Lake Okoboji with our kids.  We did the trip several years ago to take them to a concert. It will be fun taking them again.  I also get to attend 2 track meets over break.  One at Iowa State and one at Northwest Missouri State in Maryville.  It will be busy but a nice break from school work.  I am looking forward to talking to all you you next week.  Again if you have not signed up for a conference time, please be sure to do that.  Here is the link.

Language Arts -  We read the story Hercules'Quest this week.  This has been a fun story to read.  It is very different from the Disney movie version.  Some kids say they have never seen the Disney movie.  I would like to show them the movie, but will not have time this week. I may fit it in next week, but not 100% sure it will work.  We worked on Prepositions and prepositional phrases this week. Very hard topic to teach and explain to 4th graders.  I hope they got the general idea.  Our spelling list was on the prefixes re-, -un- dis.  The decoding skill also focused on those prefixes and how they change the meaning of the base word.  The vocabulary strategy was on adages and proverbs this week.  These are short little sayings that have meaning or teach a lesson: examples Practice makes perfect, look before you leap, the early bird gets the worm.  

Next week we will also have short week.  So just like this week we will be doing all our testing on Thursday morning before the kids leave for break.   So spelling pretest on Monday and Post test on Thursday.

Math - We have learned about perimeter and area and also how to find area of joined rectangles.  I plan on giving them their dress rehearsal today, go over the dress rehearsal on Monday and they will take their final test on Tuesday.  This was a quick 3 lessons but it is a benchmark that appears on the report card that I need to teach and since we just finished multiplication it is the perfect place to put it.  We will do a basic math fact test sometime next week also.  I do not plan on starting chapter 4 on division until after Spring Break.

Social Studies -  We are working through our chapter on the Southeast.  The students worked on a map skill where they had to follow directions and place things on a map.  Some still need to work on using a compass and knowing their directions.  They struggled with this task.  We went over them today. They are making corrections on them for tomorrow.  We only have one more state to enter into our interactive notebooks.  They will also take  one more map test over the Southeast.  Please be sure they are continuing to study.

Field Trip -  Tomorrow is our field trip to the Civic Center and to Pappajohn Sculpture Park.  We will be leaving right at 8:30 so please be sure your student is here by 8:10 when we let the students inside.  We will be walking from the Civic Center to the Pappajohn Park.  Please be sure your child has on appropriate walking shoes.  It is about a mile walk.  I also ask that your child not wear shorts  tomorrow. Mainly I ask so that they are not cold on our walk and we plan to eat outside.  I will worry about them being comfortable if in shorts. The temp is to be around 50 degrees but that will seem chilly when we are outside for a long length of time.  Tomorrow they also need a sack lunch with a drink.  Because it is Friday and we are respecting the no meat on Friday for Lent, we are asking that all sack lunches be meatless.  I have talked to the students about this.  They may bring whatever drink they choose.  We will be returning to the building by bus time so everyone can still have the same end of the day plans. This field trip includes all grades 3-8 so I think it will be super fun.  I look forward to a great day.

Electronics -  The students are welcome to use electronics on the bus.  They need to be able to turn the volumes off so not to disturb others.  We also request no devices that require internet access.  This is to deter any texting or use of social media on the bus.  Thank you. 

Conferences are next week!  I will not have a blog since I will be meeting with all of you. May all of you have a safe enjoyable spring break with your family and friends.  I will be anxious to have the kiddos back on March 23rd!!

God Bless, 
Mrs. Sickels