Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas!

The Holidays are just around the corner.  I don't know where December has gone.  Our Pirate Christmas program was a huge success.  The students did a wonderful job of performing at the Civic Center.  They all enjoyed singing on a real stage.  December 21 will be our last day of school before break.  We dismiss school early that day.  The bus bell will ring at 2:15 and the rest of the students will be dismissed following bus departure.   School will resume on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. 
I hope all of you have a joyous and peaceful holiday season.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

4th Graders are Learning to Type!

4 times a week Mrs. LaVan comes to our for typing time.  We use Neo 2 type computers for this learning activity.   4th grade students are learning how to do keyboarding without looking at their hands!  They know what "home row" means and how to place their hands on the keyboard.  Mrs. LaVan stresses to the students about using proper posture and keeping fingers on home row. 

Read what Mira Pappin has to say about keyboading:
     "Mrs.  LaVan always says 'Try to meet your goal!'  My goal is to pass as many lessons as I can in typing.  Some kids in my class are so fast at typing.  In typing time there are Speed Builders and the first is learning the letters.  At the end there is a Big Speed Builder and knowing the letters test.  I love typing.   Kids in Mrs. Hanshaw's class love typing time."

Congratulations, Michael!

We had our monthly assembly this week.  We are working on developing 7 good habits in our school.  This month we focused on "Putting First Things First" or "Work First then Play."  Michael Holt won the award in our class for Habit 3.

Michael Holt is a model student for “Putting first things first.”  He consistently hands in his homework on time and works on a task until it is complete.  He comes to class prepared each day to do his work.  Michael knows his responsibilities and always finishes his assignments.  His excellent leadership in the class and positive attitude towards school is noticed and appreciated by his teachers and his classmates.  Great job, Michael!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jefferson County Park Field Trip

We recently visited Jefferson County Park.  We've been studying ecosystems in science, so Therese centered her focus in this area.  We played a squirrel game in which all the children were squirrels and had to gather food for the winter.  We also went on a hike and learned about various interesting facts about the Jefferson County Park ecosystem.  We even found the skeletal remains of a deer.  Our class had a wonderful time learning and exploring.

Jefferson County Park on PhotoPeach

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Veteran's Day 11-11-11

We celebrated Veteran's Day on Friday November 11, 2011.  Staff Sergeant Jeff Crile came and spoke to our whole school about what it means to be a veteran.  SSG Crile has served in the 34th Army Band for 31 years.  He encouraged each child to go home and thank a veteran for his/her service.  He stressed the importance of our nation's freedoms and how proud veterans are to serve their country.  The school sang one verse of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and the 4th graders ended the program with "Bless Our Troops."  The assembly was an important reminder of what an awesome privilege it is to live in the United States of America.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quarter Assemblies

We recently celebrated finishing our 2nd quarter here at Washington School.  Every quarter, a student is chosen from each classroom who exemplifies a model learner, a responsible citizen, and a respectful classmate.  This quarter Lily Hoskins was our winner.  Maxx Anderson was our winner from the first quarter.  Congratulations to both students!

Maxx always takes responsibility for his own actions.    He is enthusiastic about school and loves to learn.  He tries his best everyday and is always willing to help out any of his classmates or teachers.  He is conscientious about his own learning and is willing to try new things.

 "Lily Hoskins is a fine example of a leader in our class.  She is diligent about completing all her work and returns it on time.  She is a responsible citizen both in our classroom and our school.  She comes to school each day with a positive attitude and wants to help out in any way she can.  She works hard and does her best on any task given. "

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November News

It was wonderful to  see all of you at our fall Parent/Teacher Conferences.  It's hard to believe the first quarter is over and Thanksgiving is just around the corner!  We do not have school the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (11-23).  Teachers have a day of professional training.  School does not dismiss early on the 22nd.

We have a field trip to Jefferson County Park Monday Nov. 14 from 9:30 - 2:30.  Your child will need a cold lunch and a drink.   We will be spending most of our time outside, so please make sure your child is dressed warmly.  Therese always has a wealth of information for us to learn out in the park.  We look forward to her expertise and ability to teach us new insights about nature.

Please continue to help your child learn the basic multiplication math facts.  We will be working on those and then moving into harder multiplication.  I'll be sending home flashcards that might help.  Also, we're working on the Northeast region of the United States in social studies.  Your child will need to know the states and capitals of our Northeast.  Please practice these facts at home as well.

Thanks always for your support and help on the home front.   It helps your child's success in the classroom tremendously!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher Conferences are just around the corner.  The dates are  Tuesday Nov. 1 and Thursday Nov.  3.   We dismiss at 2:30 both of those days.  We have no school Friday Nov. 4.  If you have not had a chance to get signed up for a conference time, call Washington School and we'll get you set up.  Many of you signed up at our open house before school started.  Report cards will be given out at our fall conferences this year.  We have a new reporting system and the district thought it best to explain it at conferences.   I look forward to speaking with each of you about your child's progress.  I'll also have a stack of 1st quarter work to discuss. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Our Week in Review

     This past week was busy in our 4th grade class.  We finished up Chapter 2 in math.  This included measuring line segments in centimeters, working on harder adding and subtracting (3 digit + or - 3 digit numbers), place value in larger numbers up to hundred millions, and a geometry review.  Next up is starting to review basic multiplication/division facts.  Your child should be bringing home a math log each Monday.  (It's on the back of the reading log.)   I'll also be sending home multiplication flashcards to work on at home.  We'll be taking periodic timed tests over the basic multiplication facts, so it would really help to work on these facts at home.  Research supports the idea that children have a higher success in math if they know their basic multiplication facts.
     In social studies, we completed our study over the three branches of our United States Government.  We'll be moving on to the study of the Northeast region of the USA.  Your child will need to know the states and capitals over this region.  Perhaps you could begin working on them now.  We'll also be studying the geography, history, and climate of this region.
     In science, we finished up studying about invertebrates, animals without backbones.  Each student chose an invertebrate, researched it, and then wrote a report over it.  Some students researched slugs and cockroaches, while others learned about worms and jellyfish.  We also started sharing these reports with the class.  Over 90% of the world's animals are invertebrates! 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Social Studies

     In social studies for the past couple of weeks we have been studying about our United States Government.  We've learned about our nation's three branches of government.  The Executive Branch is the President of the United States and is responsible for carrying out the laws.  The Legislative Branch includes our members of Congress.  This branch is responsible for writing the laws.  The Judicial Branch includes our nine Supreme Court Judges.  They make sure all laws are following the Constitution.  We also learned about our system of Checks and Balances.  We live in a Democracy, so no one branch has more power than another. 
     Friday, October 7 we will have a test over the 3 branches.  Your child will be bringing home a study guide to use in preparation for the test.  The district benchmark that covers this area of study states that students will   " Explain the functions of the three branches of government and how each branch protects the rights of individuals."

Monday, September 26, 2011

2011 -2012 Grades

The Fairfield Community School District is moving into a new system of grading for elementary students.  The traditional letter system (A,B,C, D, F) will no longer be in use for 4th graders.  Instead, a simple numbering system (1-5) will be used to monitor your child's academic growth and progress.  Tests, worksheets, projects, homework, and daily class work will still all be included in your child's school day.  We are simply going to be able to give all families more information about progress.  I am keeping much of the daily work we are doing in order to chart, monitor, and gain an understanding of student achievement.  The following paragraphs give you information about the numbering system and what each level means.

 Proficiency Level 5:  Exceeds Grade Level Expectations
  • Consistently demonstrates mastery beyond grade level
  • Needs Advanced assistance, instruction and guidance to further learn.
  • Engages to complete learning tasks thoroughly and accurately
  • Exhibits consistent deeper conceptual understanding of concepts skills
  • Independently makes connections to other concepts, skills and experiences

Proficiency Level 3:  Meets Grade Level Expectations
  • Demonstrates Steady grade level proficiency
  • Needs developmentally appropriate assistance, instructing and guidance.
  • Engages to complete learning tasks thoroughly and accurately.
  • Exhibits acceptable understanding of concepts and skills
  • Makes connections to their concepts, skills, and experiences with assistance.
  • Successfully acquires new knowledge and skill sets.

Proficiency Level 1:  Needs Reinforcement
  • Demonstrates minimal growth towards grade level proficiency
  • Needs significant additional assistance, instruction and guidance
  • Needs additional attention to engage in completing learning tasks thoroughly and accurately
  • Exhibits repeated misunderstanding
  • Makes little to no connections to other concepts and skills
  • Struggles to acquire new knowledge and skill sets.

The most important point for me to stress is a "3" does not correlate to a "C."  It simply means your child is meeting grade level expectations.  I know many of you will have questions.  Please feel free to send me an email and I will be happy to try and clarify any confusion.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

More Responsibilities!

Each day, before and after school, a group of volunteer students will raise and lower the flag and store it properly.  Mr. Schloss came to both 4th grades and explained the importance of taking care of our flag, being careful not to let it touch the ground, and to take seriously the job of raising and lowering the flag of our great nation. 

4th graders will also now help serve our school hot lunch.  On days your student serves or scrapes, a free hot lunch is provided.  Our school is appreciative of all the services provided by our 4th graders!

Other reminders:  The reading logs coming home are due each Monday.  I expect your child to read 15 - 20 minutes each day.  Also, the Planners coming home each night need to be signed.  I check them on Monday.  Thanks for all your support and encouragement on the homefront.  It does make a difference here at school.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

4th Grade School Responsibilities

     4th graders are indeed leaders here at Washington School.  Because we are the oldest class, we have many responsibilities.  Each day at 3:20, 2 fourth graders serve on safety patrol.  They help our walkers cross the streets safely.  They have this responsibility in the heat, the rain, and the snow.  They take this job very seriously and strive to keep all Washington children safe.
     4th graders also have lunchtime responsibilities.  2 students help in the serving line, and 2 students help scrape.  If they are eating hot lunch that day, they  receive a complimentary meal.  They work hard and help our lunch room routines run smoothly. 
     Washington staff members all appreciate the diligence and commitment from our fourth grade leaders.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Some of you may be wondering about my homework policies.  I try to send home a spelling homework assignment on Monday.  This assignment is due on Tuesday.  It is generally a worksheet or the words need to be put in sentences.  I also will generally send home a math homework assignment on Tuesday.  This is due the next day, Wednesday.  I do not send any homework on Wednesday nights because some students are involved with church youth groups.  On Thursday I might send another math sheet or extra spelling.  Watch the Assignment Journals for homework assignments.  I try to make it very clear to the students.  Your child will also be bringing home a reading log.  I expect my 4th grade students to read each night, 15-20 minutes.  The goal is to read at least 100 minutes each week.  Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement to your child.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Great Beginnings

Mrs. Hanshaw's 4th grade is off and running.  We had a wonderful first week of classes.  We discussed rules and consequences.  Our main rules are respect each other and treat others the way you want to be treated.  If your child breaks our rules more than three times in one day, I call home and have a discussion about your child's day.  My hope is that all my students will be in charge of their own behaviors and take responsibility for their actions.  I appreciate your support on the home front.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Welcome to 4th Grade!

Welcome back to school!  It is going to be an exciting year of learning and growing here at Washington School.  I believe each child is very special and has much potential to add to my class.  I look forward to beginning a new year of learning.  We will do many fun activities and share many new experiences together.  I expect each child to do his/her best and to come ready to learn each and everyday.  It's going to be a great year!