Parents, Are You Visiting?
Saturday October 11th 2014, 7:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Before I continue blogging this year, I would like to know how many parents are actually reading the content and staying informed. It is my hope that many of you want to visit this site regularly as one way of being more involved in your child’s education. If you find this blog helpful and informative, please write a note in your child’s agenda book. Simply writing, “I read your blog” or “I’m following Easterling E-News” will let me know that you’re following my blog. Thank you so much, and have a great week!



October is Here!
Sunday October 05th 2014, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Letters to Parents
Comments Off on October is Here!

Welcome to October! Fall has definitely arrived with the cold nights and cooler days. As long as the sun is shining, I’m happy. 
Monday, Oct. 3, is an exciting day for teachers. The county has prepared a full day of professional development presented by experts in the field. The fourth grade teachers have decided to attend classes on Reading Workshop for the intermediate grades. We really want to see our students soar this year in reading.
I’m sure your child came home on Friday talking about the field trip we took to HCC to see a puppet show. Hobey Ford has been created puppets for 30 years and some of them are quite impressive. He came to Central Elementary on Wednesday Oct.1 to show our 4th graders how to create their own shadow theater. The children absolutely loved working with him. If you would like a peak at his work, go to http://www.hobeyford.com.
Division begins this week. Most of the children are moving right along in mastering their times tables, so computing answers in division should not be troublesome. We will slowly ease into long division, and with that, we will teach the students a new method called the Forgiveness Method of Long Division. I will send home a step-by-step guide for your reference.
This week begins spelling homework. A list of spelling words will be sent home Tuesday, Oct.4 with simple instructions to write all of the ‘A’ words three times in cursive. Every Monday will be a spelling test, beginning with our first spelling test on October 13. These test scores will be added with writing and grammar scores in ELA (English Langauge Arts) on the report card.
Have a wonderful week!



Self Managers
Monday September 08th 2014, 5:38 pm
Filed under: Letters to Parents

I’m excited to have a volunteer in our classroom during reading groups. Bailey’s mom will be working with a couple of reading groups on Tuesdays and Thursdays. An extra pair of hands means more reading growth for our students. Thank you, Mrs. Phillips! There are a couple of other parents who expressed interest in volunteering. I’m thrilled! I will get in touch with each of you in time.

Please mark your calendars, parents. Open House is scheduled for next Tuesday, Sept.16 at 5:30. Your child has a lot to show you that evening, so please make sure you attend.

Let me take a few minutes to tell you about my Self Managers:
A model student is a child who has superior behavior, study habits, and leadership traits. Intermediate teachers are often looking for ways to encourage and support those students who exhibit excellence, and at the same time trying to motivate the others to follow their example. This special position is highly esteemed by the students. Students who do not pull their cards for three weeks become a model student. We call them Self-managers.

Not only will these children have special responsibilities in class, but will be recognized at each awards program, earn “bonus” bucks for class coupons, and experience other special perks. They are the leaders of the class and deserve recognition.

When a child achieves Self-manager status, he gets a special card that he places in the front of his card pocket, signifying that he is a Self-manager. He also gets his photo displayed in the hallway. (When you come to Open House, you will see who my Self Managers are.) It’s a great disappointment when a Self-manager has to pull his card for something. He then has to start over, waiting three weeks to be reinstated as a Self-manager.

A few of the responsibilities that we reserve exclusively for Self-managers are:
Phone Operator answers the in-house phone that rings during class.
Store Cashier handles the purchases of Class Coupons.
Bank Teller pays students classroom bucks each day.

Please encourage your child to set his sights on this goal. The process of getting there is just as important as the award!

Have a wonderful week!



Multiplication
Monday September 01st 2014, 4:01 pm
Filed under: Letters to Parents

Parents,

We have had a wonderful start back to school this year. I am pleased with the group of students in my class. Besides the fact that they are possibly the cutest kids in the county, I also see that they are respectful, well-behaved, and sweet. They are a talkative bunch, which requires that I train them to learn when it’s a good time for talking and when it’s time to listen. However, I prefer a group of students who are verbal and enjoy sharing their thoughts. They will enhance our lessons and discussions a lot.

Last week, I began testing the children on their multiplication facts. Some children hit the ground running and have already passed several sets of times tables. Others are less motivated because they didn’t memorize all of their facts last year in 3rd grade. For our 4th grade math curriculum, it is absolutely necessary that the children learn their times tables quickly or they will have great difficulty learning new math skills. This year fourth graders will learn methods of multiplying and dividing larger numbers, equivalent fractions, long division, finding area, and word problems. The children who have memorized all of their multiplication facts will do very well. Students who have not mastered the times tables will find 4th grade math quite challenging.

To motivate the children to study, the 4th grade teachers are throwing a party in December to reward the children who master all of their multiplication facts. Students who do not reach this goal will be in a special study session to work on times tables. Some years, every child gets to attend the party. I hope this is one of those years!

EVERY CHILD can memorize multiplication facts, but at this age, many children do not study their times tables effectively without parental involvement. So please monitor your child’s study time. The goal is mastery, which means your child should continue studying until he knows all the facts quickly.

In the 1970’s, a German psychologist named Sebastian Leitner developed a learning strategy using flashcards that can guarantee success in memorizing times tables.

It’s quite simple: Designate two areas on the table to make card stacks. Place all of the flashcards on the table in the first stack. As you flash the cards to your child, place any cards he answers correctly into stack #2. Then, focusing just on the cards he misses, go through the cards again. Be sure to tell your child the answer of any cards he misses. Any cards that your child still misses go back to the first stack. Any he answers correctly goes into the 2nd stack. Continue reviewing the cards from stack #1 and moving any cards he answers correctly into stack #2.

The next day, begin by reviewing the previous day’s cards from stack #2, moving any cards missed back to the #1 stack. Then pick up the cards in stack #1 and begin the process from the day before all over again. If you or another family member will follow this method with your child for 15 minutes each day, your child will have all of his times tables mastered in no time!

If you have any questions about my explanation, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please send a note in your child’s agenda book.



Reading Homework
Saturday August 23rd 2014, 7:20 pm
Filed under: Letters to Parents

Although there are 24 children in my class this year, I am enjoying getting to know each and every one. They are enthusiastic, eager to please, and starting to learn the ropes in a new classroom.

For this upcoming week, I will be teaching the children how to select their own home reading books within their individual Guided Reading levels. Each time your child checks out a book from our classroom collection, he is expected to take an Accelerated Reading Test on the computer when the book is finished. This helps us to determine how well he understands what he reads.

Every book has a deadline. Each book will need to be completed by the deadline because the reading test will be given that morning. Your child should write the deadline in his agenda book so he knows when to finish his book. The deadline is determined by reading an average of 15 pages a day, four days a week. However, depending on the needs of your child, this can be altered to 12 pages five days a week, or 10 pages six days a week.

Every few months your child will be re-assessed and given a new Guided Reading level, which will be recorded in his agenda book. All home readers will then reflect the new reading level. My goal is for your child’s reading level to grow continuously throughout the year.

Please remember that the purpose of having your child read every night is to build his reading fluency and comprehension. Reading parts of the book to your child actually hinders his progress. It’s best to either listen to your child read aloud or allow him to read silently on his own. However, taking a few minutes to ask him to summarize the night’s reading would be helpful.

You may also want to ask your child questions about the book he is reading. The following questions are just samples that you can use as you discuss the book with your child:

Summarizing…
1. What is your book about?
2. Who are the main characters and why are they important to the story?
3. What was the main idea of the chapter you just read?

Predicting…
1. What do you think the next chapter will be about?
2. What do you think will happen next?
3. How do you think the main character will change throughout this story?

Visualizing…
1. Explain what you saw in your mind when you were reading the last chapter.
2. What do you think the character/setting looks like? Explain it to me.
3. Do you think this book would make a good movie? Why or why not?

Connecting/Comparing…
1. What are some experiences that you and the main character have in common?
2. How is this book like another book that you have read?
3. What circumstances are taking place in this book that are similar to those happening in our world?

Vocabulary…
1. What is a new word that you learned in the last chapter?
2. How did you figure out the meaning of that unknown word?

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s home reading. Feel free to comment on this blog, or write a note to me in your child’s agenda book.

Have a great weekend!



Welcome to Ms. Easterling’s Blog!
Monday August 18th 2014, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Letters to Parents

Dear Parents,

Welcome to another school year! Fourth grade is an exciting year. Our students will be studying the great state of North Carolina, long division, equivalent fractions, animal behavior, rocks and minerals, and so much more. The field trips we have planned this year will make these studies come to life and give the learning experience a little zing! Our first field trip will be to visit the Haywood County Fair this Friday.

I am eager to launch into an exciting new school year. I know I’ll be working with parents who are dedicated to the hardest job on earth – raising children! You are the most important teacher that your child will ever have, and I know you see your child’s education as important and valuable. I look forward to getting to know you this year.

Parent-teacher Communication – If you need to contact me, please write a note in the agenda book. The agenda book is our daily method of communication. When your child shows me your note, I will respond promptly. Please initial each day to let me know that you are monitoring homework, daily behavior, and my notes to you. If you prefer email, you may use my school address at seasterling@haywood.k12.nc.us. I check my email account several times a day.

Teacher Blog – I decided to start a blog for parents this year. I do not send home many letters to parents during the school year. With a teacher blog, I will be able to communicate more often with you. When you have a question about anything, please take the time to ask. It may be that other parents are wondering the same thing. If it pertains to all of the parents, I will post a message to all of you through this blog. Please visit my website frequently to stay informed about homework, class lessons, classroom procedures, field trips, calendar items, and more.

Bookmark the following URL: http://teacher.haywood.k12.nc.us/seasterling/.

Snacks – Please send your child to school with a snack each day. In addition, students are sometimes given special treats by me, so be sure to let me know if your child has any food allergies or issues. Since we do not take class time for trips to the water fountain, water bottles are required. Bottles will go home weekly for cleaning, unless you prefer disposable bottles.

Birthdays – Birthdays are important at this age and I will celebrate your child’s special day with singing, a special pencil, a birthday card signed by his classmates, and a brand-new book. With so much to learn in such little time, we cannot use instructional time for birthday parties. However, you are encouraged to send cupcakes or special treats on your child’s birthday, so we can celebrate at lunch.

Homework – Homework assignments are posted on the board every morning. Each student is responsible for writing the assignments in his agenda book, and making sure he has the necessary materials to take home. If classwork was not completed in time, he is also responsible for adding that assignment in his agenda book to finish at home. Typically, homework assignments are as follows:
A. Read 15 pages 4 days a week
B. Study multiplication facts
C. Spelling or Grammar assignment
D. Math assignment

Reading – Your child will take a comprehension test at school after each home reader is finished. Remember that the purpose of having children read every night is to build their silent reading comprehension. Reading parts of the book to your child actually hinders his progress. It’s best to allow your child to read independently since all testing at school is silent. However, taking a few minutes after he reads to ask him to tell you what he read would be helpful.

Daily Math Drills – Students are expected to study times tables each day for homework. You can help your child prepare for the quizzes by helping him study with flashcards or having him spend 15 minutes a day working with online flashcards at www.mathfactcafe.com or www.multiplication.com. You can even call out math facts to your child while driving in the car or waiting in the doctor’s office! Students who master all multiplication facts by December will be invited to a special party. Students who don’t master their facts in a timely fashion will discover a lower grade on the next report card.

Classroom Rules:
1. Look and listen when the teacher is talking.
2. Follow directions the first time.
3. Turn in all assignments on time.
4. Raise your hand to speak in class.
5. Show respect to others.
6. Be truthful.

Consequences for breaking rules:
1. Fines in Easterling Bucks
2. Walk laps at recess
3. Silent Lunch
4. Color change in behavior sticker (in agenda book)
4. Phone call or note home
5. Parent Conference

Expectations – The standards for my students are high. If we train well now, they will be more successful, happy and responsible as they grow older. Thank you for encouraging your child to always strive for excellence.

Sincerely,
Sheryl Easterling