February Newsletter

February Newsletter 

I hope everyone is enjoying their Mid-Winter Break. I am having a great time relaxing and getting caught up with friends and family. The first few days, I went up to Seattle to see my family. I was able to catch up with my mom, brother and sister in law, cousins, and even made a presentation of Fly Car to a class in Kirkland.   I came back to Orinda late Tuesday and have enjoyed the rest of the week. Went to the movie Race, the Jesse Owens Story, which I would highly recommend. Looking forward to seeing the kids on Monday. Enclosed are some highlights from the past month. Enjoy!

Writing: Contrary to this photo, the entire month has not been a sugar induced party. We spent the past six weeks working on persuasive writing. Lucy Calkins Writer’s Works defines this genre as Argumentative/Opinion writing. The key is to use research as a way of supporting your position and writing in a convincing and compelling way. An essay that wins the reader over to a basic understanding of your position. We wrote a number of these essays including: Ice Cream, School Uniforms, Club Sports, Car Choice, and Career Essay. We concluded this unit with a posttest prompt. This score does not go on their report card, but does show whether the students picked up on the key elements of this writing style.

Reading: In reading, we completed the novel, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. This 1960 Newbery Award winner tells the story of Karana, a Ghalasat Tribal Member, who is stranded off the coast of Santa Barbara on San Miguel Island.   Karana learns to survive and thrive off what the land has to offer as far as natural resources. When we return we will be beginning a new novel.

Math: In math, we completed one-step, two-step, and multi step problem solving of word problems. Chapter #4 was not an easy unit, but there were some key strategies that helped. Highlighting key information, looking at math words (i.e. sum, difference, product, how many in each?), setting up the equation, and finally successfully computing and labeling your answer. We will be beginning chapter #5, which looks at measurement. This includes standard and metric measurement, measures of time, area and perimeter.

Science: In Science, we are coming to a close on our Magnetism and Electricity Unit. We will complete Investigation #5 and then take the Post Test for the FOSS Unit some time within the first two weeks of March. Just as a reminder, FOSS grades are broken down 20% I.Check Quizzes, 20% Science Journal, and 60% on the Magnetism and Electricity Post Test. Best of luck!

In closing, I wanted to thank all of the volunteers who made the Valentine’s Day Party a tremendous success. A huge shout out to Suzanne Gallie for coordinating the Valentine’s celebration. Thanks to Wendy Kuhnen for Bingo, Sharon Singer Christopher Ball and Candace Vesely on Snacks, Marina Nagy for Cookie Decorating, Theresa Bergeron for Wreathes, Kealailani for snow globes. If I missed anyone, I apologize in advance. Thanks again for your amazing commitment to kids.


Enjoy the rest of your Weekend!


John H. Fuller (4th grade, Oak Knoll Elementary)