August 25, 2013

Dear Parents,

         You may email me any time with questions you may have as the year goes on. I check my email before school starts and then not again until after the children go home.  You can also request a conference, but I ask that you not stop in without a prescheduled time set up as I have many things to do before and after school to prepare for class.  Unplanned meetings hinder my readiness.  A caution about phone calls...  Just know that if you call to speak to me during school hours, the phone is in the classroom & chances are so are the students, who are “all ears” listening to my end of the phone conversation!  I am happy to take your calls after school hours and to meet with you with an agreed upon day & time.  The best way to get me is through email.  If you have an email address, please send me an email so that I can put you in my contacts and on a class distribution list so I can keep you informed.  Thanks to those of you who have already sent me your email address!  

            One question that parents always ask is, “Does my child have homework?”  YES!  The following is a list of homework your child is responsible for:

  • Silent reading at least 30 minutes daily (longer on the weekends!)
  • Math facts practice – your child should know with automaticity & accuracy ALL multiplication, division, subtraction & addition facts (in that order for 4th-6th grade level math work).  It is critical that if your child doesn’t know the facts that he/she spend time each night practicing with you.  I send updated lists of facts home with your child for you to “post on your refrigerator” so you know where your child is in this process.  Please practice the facts on & below the level your child is on.  (ex. If your child is on level P, then you would practice the facts that are on levels A-P only.)  I will work on adding the levels & facts to my web site for you to reference.  Some students who have mastered all math facts are challenged with reducing fractions & changing decimals and fractions to percents.  Also with speed and accuracy!  This is quite a feat & students feel quite accomplished when they can go this!
  • 4th graders will start Homophone homework soon!  Your child will have a new list every Monday & it is due on Thursday.  This gives him/her 3 nights to complete the assignment.  A letter explaining the process will come home along with the first assignment.  Check my web site for the homophones lists along with the due dates.
  • Reader’s Notebook letters – Every student is to be silent reading a book of his/her choice every day he/she eats!  Students will write me a letter in his/her Reader’s Notebook answering my questions, summarizing what was read & sharing his/her thinking about the reading.  At times I will give your child a specific topic to write about after the summary.  This should be your child’s work, however, feel free to read the letters making sure that what was written is clear.  It doesn’t have to be perfect!  I am most interested in seeing what your child learns from the reading & writing.  You know when your child’s letter is due by looking at your child’s planner and the letter inside the front cover of the Reader’s Notebook.
  • Article of the Week (AoW) – Most weeks your child will receive a Scholastic News magazine and an assignment sheet.  I explain & give the assignment on Friday mornings.  It is due the following Wednesday. The due date is always written on the assignment sheet.  The magazines, assignment sheet and written student responses are kept in a 3-ring notebook.  Again, please feel free to discuss this assignment with your child, but allow your child to do his/her own work.
  • Literature Circles – Groups usually meet once or twice each week.  Your child has borrowed his/her own book to read until the group concludes.  It should be kept in his/her backpack so it is at school when needed.  Each week, a section of the book is to be read & questions are to be answered about the reading.  While literature circles are not technically homework assignments, I encourage students to do this work at home since they do not need any shared materials to complete it.
  • Time management is a big thing to learn at this age! In order to complete the work that is on his/her workplan, some work may need to be done at home as homework.  Students are expected to copy 1-2 works that don't require any materials during my read aloud story & take it home to complete it.  Students who take advantage of this are able to finish their workplans.  Workplan work that is not completed becomes “make up work” on the next workplan.
  • History packets – Occasionally there may be short reading & multiple choice/short answer questions.  These assignments are always given with more than one night to complete and are due on the same day of each week.
  • Projects – 3-4 times a year your child will have a project to do.  This is research and work that is done at school and at home.  Often, students will need a 3-fold display board. At times, we may make a Power Point.  A notice with directions and scoring rubric will come home when projects are assigned.

This may seem overwhelming but note that I NEVER give homework assignments without giving multiple nights to complete it.  Students have at least 3 nights to complete work and most assignments are weekly with the same due dates each week.  This is the age where your child is learning to manage his/her time and should not wait until the night before an assignment is due!


As you can see, when you ask your child, “Do you have any homework tonight?” The answer SHOULD be, “YES!”

Thanks for your support!

Karen Liddell

Mark your Calendars:

    9/1/14 No School - Labor Day
    9/4/14 Open House 6:30-7:30
    9/22/14 Make Up Picture Day
    10/3/14 So School SIP Day (teachers School Improvement Planning day)
    10/9/14 Parent Teacher Conferences 4:00-7:00
    10/14/14 Parent Teacher Conferences 4:00-7:00
    10/27/14 Field Trip to Coronado (Reach for the Stars)
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