Category Archive for 'Class annoucements'

Some facts about our math practice

Monday, December 4th, 2017

I get a weekly update from Khan Academy showing how many minutes each student in class works, and I noticed there is quite a range. It led me to look at if the number of minutes of math practice makes a difference with a student’s math level. Here are some facts to consider, using data from September through November:

  • The average number of minutes our class has worked for the entire year is 800 minutes. The lowest value was 400 minutes, and the highest was 1750 minutes. So the hardest workers are working 400% more than the lax workers.
  • The top 25% of our class is working an average of 1300 minutes with an average math level of 5.1.
  • The bottom 25% of our class is working an average of 471 minutes with an average math level of 3.5.
  • The middle 50% of our class is right where you would expect them to be, in the middle of minutes worked and math level.

Here’s the data in a table, sorted by the number of minutes worked:

By Minutes WorkedAverageMinutes
Bottom 25%3.5471
Middle 50%4.4700
Top 25%5.11314
Class Average4.3796

It’s clear from above that the students that are spending the most time working are improving their math levels. The students practicing the least are below grade level.

Here’s the table sorted by math level:

By Math LevelAverageMinutes
Bottom 25%3.0543
Middle 50%4.5811
Top 25%5.51021
Class Average4.3796

What this table clearly shows is that the students that need the most practice, the lowest level math students, are working the least in the class. However, the average minutes in this table are higher for the bottom and middle percentiles than in the table that was sorted by minutes worked. That shows that some of the lower level students are spending more time trying to improve their math levels. Over time, that practice will pay off.

Two takeaways:

  1. Practice time makes a difference. While not a guarantee, the more time your student spends practicing math (or reading or any other subject) the better their level will be. This is why a daily homework time is essential.
  2. Grades will follow minutes. If your student has a lower math level than you would like, nothing is likely to change until you find ways for them to practice more at home. It would be great if your student would take initiative and practice on their own. But if they are struggling, it is likely that they are not practicing. You’ll need to step in and help them organize your time if you want to see a change. Over time, more practice will make a difference.

Mexican Fiesta and Holiday Traditions

Friday, December 1st, 2017

¡Hola Mexico!

We won’t be having your normal party. There won’t be any cupcakes. No balloons or pointed little hats. This December, Room 130 is going south of the border to learn more about our neighbor —Mexico.

Over 17% of our country is Hispanic, which is the largest minority group in America, and according to the New York Times, America has more Spanish speakers than Spain. More than half of the foreign-born population in the US is from Latin America, with more immigrants coming from Mexico than any other country.

Yet, many of us have little exposure to the rich culture of a significant and growing population in our own country and an important neighbor to the south.

In December and January, Room 130 will experience Mexico and its traditions through a look at the holidays Mexicans celebrate during this time of the year.

Nuestro Fiesta de Navidad

Our class will learn about Mexico through study of the following traditions celebrated during this time of the year:

  • Arbol de Navidad—typically a decorated artificial tree or shrub. Ours is will be displayed with Flores de Noche Buena (poinsettias).
  • El Nacimiento—the primary holiday display in most Mexican homes, a nativity scene complete with moss, lights, animals, cactus, mountains, and many people.
  • Las Posadas—celebrated from December 16th to December 24th (Noche Buena). This is a reenactment of the story of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter in Bethlehem. Entire towns in Mexico form processions to “seek shelter” in the inn (posada) and have a huge fiesta when they finally find room in the stable. Children are usually treated to a piñata.
  • Noche Buena—December 24th, the last night of Las Posadas processions. This evening usually involves a meal with traditional tamales (corn husks lined with corn dough and filling and steamed), and champurrado (a corn-thickened hot chocolate). Buñuelos de Navidad (fried flour tortillas with sugar and cinnamon) are also enjoyed.
  • Dia de los Reyes—Three Kings Day, January 6th. This is the traditional day in Mexico that children receive gifts. Their shoes are left out and they awake to find little gifts in their shoes left by the visiting Wise Men.

In addition to studying about these Mexican traditions, will will have a fiesta that will include making traditional Mexican tacos (not like Taco Bell!), buñuelos, and Mexican hot chocolate (move over Swiss Miss!), having a piñata, singing a few traditional canciónes (songs), and playing games. Later in the day, we’ll play the Jewish dreidel game and compare that game and tradition to a similar game Mexican children play.

The ultimate goal will be to experience the culture of such a large and growing portion of our own country and one of our nearest neighbors. This will allow us to celebrate the differences among cultures, appreciate the wealth of diversity our country enjoys, and recognize the value of our own traditions and cultures. The hope is that the world will become a little smaller place to Room 130. And so, to that end,

¡Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo!

Does your family have a holiday tradition that you would like to share with our class? Feel free to comment, email or send in a note and we’ll compare and contrast with Mexican traditions.



BioBlitz 2017

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Today was our BioBlitz field trip. We learned about falconry, met a Conservation Officer, learned about reptiles, hunted for mushrooms, and sorted aquatic insects. Thanks to the family members that attended and helped today.

BioBlitz 2017

34 new photos added to shared album

Spelling: None today due to our field trip.

Cursive: Cursive worksheet pp. 4-6 are available and due Monday.   

Reading: None today due to our field trip.

Writing: A personal narrative is due Monday, September 25. Your student should be publishing their final piece at this point, making sure their narrative is finished.

Math: None today due to our field trip.

Science: None today due to our field trip.

The Energy Fair project is due Friday, September 29. Here are the Energy Fair directions.

Social Studies: None today due to our field trip.


Our Mission:
All students in Room 130 will do their best and get ready for 5th grade.

Class activities for Friday September 8

Friday, September 8th, 2017

We finalized our class rules today. We learned that we wanted to have rules so that our class would be safe and allow us to accomplish our mission. The students made a list of rules, but soon we had over 100 ideas. That was too many to remember, so we decided on one class rule: “Follow the High Fives.” We figured that if people follow the High Fives (respect, responsibility, integrity, empathy and perseverance), we would have a successful class.

Students received several new materials today:

  • A whiteboard to use in class
  • A colored file folder to use as a writing portfolio. I asked students to decorate this folder with pictures, stickers, or drawings. I’ll laminate the folders and we’ll use them to store finished writing this year.
  • A yellow folder to use as our “fridge folder” where we can keep leftover work.
  • A planner.

We also played a game called, “Win as Much as You Can.” This was a game where teams can work together so that everyone wins, or compete against each so that only a few win. Our class wasn’t very successful. We chose to complete, so only one team scored points. We might try to learn from our mistakes and play this game again in the future.

Finally, it was Team Day! Students worked in teams to try to solve challenges involved with moving as a team, lowering a hula hoop together, and untying human and rope knots. We didn’t always succeed after the first try, but we learned that we can solve problems by working together, listening to others, and persevering. Thanks to all the family members that helped out today!

Team Day 2017

89 new photos · Album by Christian Howd



Welcome to fourth grade in Room 130!

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

welcome.resizedWelcome to 4th grade! Click the links below or to the right to find out more information about our class.