Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Student Treasures

We are going to be famous!  O.K., so maybe not exactly famous, but we are becoming published authors.  We are writing about our hopes and dreams of life when we grow up that will be turned into a published class book.  Parents have the opportunity to order copies of our book by using the Student Treasures form that was sent home.  These books make great keepsakes, autograph books, and memories to look back on for years to come.  Whether you choose to order a copy or not, please return the form promptly.  The form still needs to be returned if you order online, and also if you choose not to purchase a copy of the book.  Completed books will be delivered in May. 

Also, our class is once again out of tissues.  Please send a box with your child asap.  Thanks in advance.
Mrs. Atkins

Friday, April 8, 2016

Relay Day

WooHoo!  This class is amazing!  We won BOTH the girls and the boys relay races.  The hardware is clanking in the classroom today.  Congratulations and great job to our runners.  Our spectators did their part by finding lucky ladybugs and cheering our class to victory. Here are some pictures that Mrs. Lanik sent us to share.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Relays are this Friday morning at 8:00 on the track.  I hear we have a pretty fast bunch, and I can't wait to see these speed demons heat up the track!  Student fans should wear their blue class shirt and Friday uniform bottoms.  Runners can wear comfortable running shorts with their class shirt, and bring a change of Friday uniform clothes for after the race.  All students should bring water bottles.  Students may bring towels or chairs to sit on both while watching the race, and during lunch.  We will be having our lunch outdoors that day, weather permitting.  Sunscreen should be applied at home prior to arriving at school.  Hats and sunglasses are allowed if the child is responsible enough to keep up with them independently.  If you would like to join us, we will be coming out to stand around the track before 8:00.  We will have a regular school day following the relay races.  I hope to see you there. 

Mrs. Atkins

4th Nine Weeks Begins

April brings the start of the 4th nine weeks grading period.  There will be many important events coming up as we get closer to the end of the year.  Please check the "Important Dates" tab on this blog, the newsletter, also attached to this blog, and the agendas to stay abreast of current information.

Last week, we survived our first round of STAAR testing.  Thanks everyone for respecting our schedule and sending your kids well rested and fed for the writing test.  Our next round of STAAR will be math and reading on May 9th & 10th.   Please help your child review daily homework in April in preparation for the big day in May. 

Students had fun with our substitute, Mrs. Marlow, making the moon phases out of Oreo cookies Friday.  They were also able to enjoy some earned PAT (free choice) time and participate in 9 week good behavior extra recess.  We finished learning about the industries of the early 20th century and how they changed Texas in social studies.  We completed our module on measurement conversion, which is always tricky. 

As we begin the 4th nine weeks, we will be applying our knowledge of prepositions by creating a treasure map in language.  We will begin learning about World War I, and the role Texans played in it in social studies.  We are learning elapsed time, money word problems, and data tables in math.  Science leads us to discover facts about force and motion this week. 

Our focus in reading this 9 weeks will be paired passages.  This is a tough skill for students, as they have to alternately focus on one passage at a time, and then remember it as they compare and contrast it with another passage.  We've been working on this skill for quite some time, and will continue over the next couple of weeks. 

Please encourage your student to stay focused and do their best as the warmer weather beckons us to daydream and pull away from schoolwork.  Continue to check homework and agendas.  Continue to read each night to reach monthly and annual goals.  (Be aware that the deadline for all AR is May 13th.)  Try to keep a regular schedule and bedtime.  Tired, stressed kiddos are tough to convince to give their best efforts. 

Mrs. Atkins

Friday, January 22, 2016

3rd Nine Weeks Begins

We dominated the 2nd 9 weeks in Mrs. Atkins' class this year!  When I passed out report cards yesterday, many of the students reported raising their grades from the first 9 weeks.  All of the students earned free dress by reaching their monthly goals in November and December.  Many reading levels went up, and reading speed is zooming.  Everyone worked very hard, learned a lot, and grew tremendously as learners. Keep the polish on those thinking caps.  On to the 3rd 9 weeks we go!

This week, students investigated the water cycle via videos, textbook, and lab.  A study guide went home today, and the test will be on Wednesday the 27th.  On Thursday, we will begin the long energy unit.  Our focus for the end of this week will be mechanical and sound energy.

In math class, students are showing lots of focus and determination in wrapping their 4th grade brains around multistep equations involving strip diagrams and variables.  I hope you have been helping with, or checking their math homework this week, as it is challenging.  We will continue chapter 11 next week, and move on to chapter 12.  We will be learning about patterns, input and output tables, and more variables.  After that, we will review perimeter problems. 

Students learned about persuasive writing attributes, and reviewed author's purposes for writing this week in reading class. Understanding persuasion will help them with our media literacy unit, as we delve into advertising techniques.  The focus of the media literacy unit in reading is to create critical readers and  thinkers who question information and make their own decisions. 

Social Studies brings us to The Civil War.  Students are usually very interested in this topic, and we are supplementing the textbook with many outside resources.  This week, we were focused on the causes of the Civil War, the parties involved, and life during that time period.  Students were asked to read about and analyze a situation during the time of slavery in America.  They then chose a side and composed a persuasive letter justifying their choice.  We have studied maps and viewed a video.  We are also reading a true story about slavery during the Civil War.  Next week, students will create a persuasive advertisement or letter convincing a reader to join the North or South side. 

We spent the week in language class reviewing editing strategies and grammar rules.  Complete sentences, verb agreement & tenses, comma rules, capitalization rules, combining sentences, and some spelling rules were all covered this week. We will be doing the same next week, and then writing expository compositions the following week. 

Now that swimming is over, our schedule returns to normal.  Students will attend regular art, music, and PE classes.  Please send coats and long pants as dictated by the weather forecast, as we do try to have recess daily. 

Our class got off to a sluggish start with our AR reading after the holidays.  Friday, January 29 is the last day for students to earn their AR goal for free dress in January.  Also, please remember that the Splash Day goal is 75 AR points.  Students who read more than 100 points by the end of the year earn other rewards, and students who read all 20 Bluebonnets earn a trophy.  Please encourage your young reader to commit to their nightly reading habit.   

Thanks for being a great bunch of parents to work with!

Mrs. Atkins

Monday, January 11, 2016


In math class, we have concluded our study of fractions as 4th graders.  This unit covers a lot of subtopics, and can get confusing for students, especially after we move on to new topics and they forget what we learned.  For your child's continued success, please review this topic often.  Students need to be able to add and subtract fractions with like denominators.  They need to be able to recognize and create equivalent fractions.  Students should be able to convert improper fractions to mixed numbers and vice versa.  Comparing and ordering fractions is still another 4th grade skill.  Most questions will be asked in the form of word problems, so they need to be able to analyze & attack the problem.  All answers should always be stated in simplest form. 

Tonight, a small review over adding and subtracting fractions is coming home for homework, and tomorrow will be a longer review that covers many fractions skills.  Please go over the reviews with your student so that you are aware of any gaps in their understanding.  Feel free to use the online textbook to get more practice to help your student if needed. The students are doing well in class, but some of us are getting confused when we put it all together.   

Tomorrow in class, we will be reviewing division, and Wednesday is our 9 week district test.  In the 3rd 9 weeks, we will study algebraic reasoning, measurement, and geometry.  Thanks for your support at home as we work together to make your child the strongest student they can be! 

Mrs. Atkins

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Happy New Year

I hope everyone had a relaxing and refreshing holiday break.  I would like to start the new year in gratitude by thanking all of the parents who have helped out with party planning, bulletin boards, taking home projects, sending in donations, and all of the many other things that you have all done to help out this fall semester.  This is truly one of the most supportive groups of parents I have ever had the privilege to work with, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

We are back to business already and have hit the ground running.  The end of the 2nd 9 weeks is January 15th.  We will have many district checkpoint tests next week.   Don't forget to check the page on this blog about important dates so  that you don't miss anything.  Weekly newsletters can be found on a page on this blog as well.      

Swimming continues until January 21st.  Please send a dry suit in a plastic bag daily.  Also, please refrain from setting appointments during our swim time 12:15-1:45. 

Science Olympiad try out permission slips went home Monday.  These are due by Friday, as try outs are Monday after school. 

I loved seeing 100% of our class in AR free dress today!  We were the only 4th grade class to earn 100%.  Way to work Mrs. Atkins' kids!  This month, the goal is 8 AR points, but remember that to earn Splash Day, students must go above and beyond minimum monthly goals.  The 4th grade annual Splash Day goal is 75 points, and almost half of the class has already qualified.  Medals are given for various other point goals, such as 100 & 200 points. The Bluebonnet deadline for reading 10 books for the celebration is January 22.  Students may continue to read Bluebonnets until mid-May to earn a trophy for reading all 20 books. Readers are thinkers!  Thanks for supporting your child's reading habits at home with daily reading.

This week, we are learning adding and subtracting fractions in math class, and reviewing the 9 weeks in Social Studies.  We are learning about weather in Science and will have a test next Tuesday.  In reading, we are practicing comparing and contrasting 2 passages at once.  We are writing expository papers about our favorite free time activity in Language class, as well as editing friendly letters.   

Students may wear Texans spirit gear on Friday to support the Houston Texans in the play offs. 

I am so happy to see all of my students back at school.  It's going to be another great semester in Mrs. Atkins' class!

Mrs. Atkins