Ms. Kane

May 15, 2014

END of the year ! Much to do.

Filed under: Uncategorized — mpkane @ 11:45 am

Week of May 19:
The students will finish the Smart Museum of Art project with one more Field Trip and then there is the culmination event – an evening reception tentatively set for Tuesday, May 27.
Career Day is Wednesday, May 21 when the students will have the opportunity to hear speakers from different occupations in the afternoon.
NO SCHOOL on Monday, May 25 for Memorial Day.
Ray Olympics is scheduled for the week of June 2-4.
Stay tuned to the Ray School Enews for the latest breaking calendar updates.

March 14, 2014

March 10 – 14, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — mpkane @ 8:06 am

It looks like we’re trading snow for mud! Students will be going outside for recess but restricted to the paved section behind the building.
The third quarter end March 27 and the Report Cards will be distributed at Parent Teacher conferences April 7.

For Women’s History Month we are studying the Suffrage Movement led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  The Common Core Standard outcome is the written essay summarizing what the students learned.

PLEASE encourage your child to read at least 20 minutes EVERY day.  It should be for enjoyment or for information as long as it’s his or her choice.

Thanks for all your support.


February 19, 2014

HELLO community of room 511!

Filed under: Uncategorized — mpkane @ 4:13 pm

We are working hard as we head into March. March means ISAT testing. It begins March 4 and it will be finished March 7. That’s a change from past years where we gave one test each morning and continued for two weeks. This year, we will give a Reading test in the morning and a Math test in the afternoon. (or vice versa) Thanks in advance for sending your children to bed early and encouraging them to work hard on the tests.

Parents – please send a note if your child cannot complete the homework. Homework is not optional. It requires organization and discipline. It reinforces what was taught during the day. If it seems like there is extra HW or too much, it’s because the students are not working as hard as they should all day. Unfinished work from the lesson becomes homework. I expect my students to give their best effort all the time. A valid excuse should be a rare thing. I’m hearing excuses every day!

If you’re reading this blog, you accessed the Ray School website so you can see a calendar for meetings and days off. The day off for students that was set for March 28 is now an attendance day. The next day off is APRIL 14! Spring break.

February 3, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — mpkane @ 1:53 pm

We made it to February but winter is still making some things very difficult. Let’s distract ourselves by focusing our attention on the school work! Really – hit the books.

As I’ve said, my expectations are raised now that we’re in the second half the the school year. Students must read 20 minutes every day. I’m giving points for CLASS PARTICIPATION. 0=F, 5=C, 10=A. (nothing in between) Students get 10 points for listening and putting forth best effort. Similarly, HOMEWORK will receive 0s for no name and for any thing that is incomplete. (ALWAYS – parents may call, text, email, write a note if there is a reason HW couldn’t get done.)

The African American History research and writing project is starting. The rubric and checklists will come home today, February 3. I expect much of the writing and rewriting to be done at home. I can provide time on computers and with library books here at school but any additional research done with parents would be that much better. As I always say, research on the internet is tricky and students have to learn it is not reliable. They have to be able to discriminate among ALL the sites up on the web. The Chicago Public Library has good research links on their website.

All for now. Please do look at other teachers’ blogs and stay tuned for announcements. NO SCHOOL ON WEDNESDAY next week. FEBRUARY 12 is Lincoln’s birthday!

January 20, 2014

January 21-23. One short week.

Filed under: Uncategorized — mpkane @ 7:32 pm

We have only three days of student attendance this week. The quarter ends, Report Cards are sent home and we start on the second half of the school year.
In WRITING, we will finish the big mechanics study with PROOFREADER’S MARKS.
In MATH we will practice mental math in addition to keeping up with Order of Operations. That means THINKING about numbers in a common sense way and being expedient in problem solving. 199 x 5 = ? Well if it were 200 x 5 the answer would be 1000 but it’s 5 less which is 995.
Homework cannot receive credit if it has no name. Don’t forget to write your name!!

December 9, 2013

December 9 – 13

Filed under: Uncategorized — mpkane @ 8:30 pm

Two full weeks of school – THEN two full weeks of vacation.  So let’s get the work done now!

Progress Reports will be sent home on Wednesday the 11th.  These are also called “midterms” – half of a grading period, between report cards, maybe a reminder to work for that “A” for the report card.

If it’s too cold for the students to go outside for recess, they go to the auditorium after lunch and sit for 20 minutes – with supervision.  Of course, this may not be playground-fun but we learn to live with these inconveniences in the Chicago winter.  Time to read, draw, talk to a friend.

In MATH we are looking at fractions and decimals again – from a new angle.  We review decimal place value and rounding. And we look at CIRCLE graphs as a way to represent data.

in WRITING we continue to work on the “G.U.M.” – grammar, usage, mechanics that make up the editing phase of written expression. Using APOSTROPHES to show possession is a little like following a legal rule – is the owner singular or plural???

There are just two things on the “Wish List” for room 511.  We need tissue and pencils.  Thank you very much.

You are the best parents for backing me up on everything!  Thanks.



November 25, 2013

WOW! November 25 & 26 at school – then it’s DECEMBER!

Filed under: Uncategorized — mpkane @ 9:03 am

Happy Thanksgiving Week. This is a first – getting the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off. Who couldn’t use the time to clean-shop-cook-be busy? Why not rest and spend family time watching a good movie, playing games, reading stacks of books from the library? Just a thought!

In our two days of school we will practice MATH, continue our READING decoding instruction and WRITING skills practice.  Parents, please help your children take personal responsibility for their homework.  It’s as much about instilling good habits as getting the work done!  Thank you.

UPCOMING FUN EVENT — Tuesday evening 5:30, December 3 — LITERACY NIGHT AT RAY.  Many exciting activities including an appearance by children’s book illustrator Jan Spivey Gilchrist.

November 18, 2013

November 18 – 22

Filed under: Uncategorized — mpkane @ 9:10 am

It’s a FIVE-DAY week! With the first report card out, it should be the student’s goal to improve any grade less than an “A” and to work to keep any “A” they received. It doesn’t happen without their effort. Here’s a summary of our topics for this week.

In Math, we continue to master DIVISION. There will also be review of the cumulative math vocabulary from the beginning of the year.

In Writing we will continue practice of specific skills – sentence combining, subject/verbagreement and punctuation.

In Reading, we are enjoying the classic The Phantom Tollbooth and are on schedule to finish by Thanksgiving.

Parents – please check the homework folder every night and remember to jot any communication about unfinished work. Fifth graders should expect to spend up to an hour on homework – Mon. through Thur.

Thank you for all your support.

November 12, 2013

November 11-15

Filed under: Uncategorized — mpkane @ 2:41 pm

Yes – another short week for students. But I am always impressed how well they work after they’ve had a break. There is a full week coming up and then we’re off for Thanksgiving!

As I’ve said during Parent Teacher Conferences, our WRITING focus will shift in the second quarter from students writing and rewriting their own ideas to a study and practice of grammar and mechanics. We will be editing sentences and paragraphs from a Writing Instruction Textbook. I hope that this will give the students confidence to be editors and use that skill in their own writing during the third quarter.

In MATH, Division is in! We will learn a couple of different methods (“algoithims”) and students can choose the one they prefer.

We’re still reading The Phantom Tollbooth aloud 20 minutes before lunch. It was published in 1961 and uses a lot of expressions the students haven’t heard before. “It goes without saying.” They really have to use their inferencing abilities to get the meaning.

LAST REMINDER – State of the School address on Wednesday, November 14 at 5:30.
As always, thank you for you support.

November 3, 2013

November 4 – 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — mpkane @ 8:34 am

Here’s an idea for how to spend the extra hour we received Sunday morning — Look outside and enjoy the beautiful colors of the season!
Ray teachers had a good day of inservice on Friday, November 1. Highlights included iPad help and a training for a great online Math program called ST MATH. The S stands for Spatial and the T stands for Temporal. Individualized learning and fun to boot!
Many 4th and 5th graders will be at Camp Duncan Monday and Tuesday for the Environmental Field Trip. Let’s hope for good weather.
Here’s a thumbnail look at our learning objectives for the week.
READ ALOUD – The Phantom Tollbooth
MATH – Angles – all the vocabulary and drawing and measuring.
WRITING – The basic task of editing and rewriting is always in progress.
For Social Studies, Civics and Science, visit the other teachers’ blogs. There is much useful information and their blogs are much prettier than mine.
As always, thank you for your support.

October 27, 2013

October 28 – 31

Filed under: Uncategorized — mpkane @ 1:52 pm

A short week for students! STUDENTS DO NOT ATTEND FRIDAY NOVEMBER 1. It’s the end of the first quarter. Grades will be entered for Report Cards so students still have time to show their best effort. Listening, asking questions, being organized and positive is the key to classroom success. Parents, if you can help your children develop and attitude of perseverance and not feel defeated when learning doesn’t happen quickly and easily – work that magic. Too often, I see shoulders shrug and heads droop as if “I can’t get it – it’s too hard”. I don’t give them work they “can’t get”!
Students generally feel successful in our Wilson Reading lessons because it’s mastery based – they are not supposed to guess. After teaching and independent practice, the students are charted on word lists. If they miss a word, it shouldn’t be a big deal. They color their chart for the correct words and read another list the next day. They move on to higher steps only when lists are 100% correct. Some days, it’s a big disappointment to read only 14 out of 15 words correctly!
Without going into detail about the math and writing lessons for the week, please be vigilant about the homework. Just hold your child accountable for an hour of work. Read every night. If homework really can’t get done, write me a note. I take late homework but there’s a penalty.
Thank you for your great support, always!

October 21, 2013

OCTOBER 21 – 25

Filed under: Uncategorized — mpkane @ 12:40 pm

We are closing in on the end of the first quarter and report cards will be distributed during Parent/Teacher conferences on November 12.
DAYS OFF – there will be no school for students on Friday, November 1 (a school improvement day {teacher meetings}) and again on Monday, November 11 – Veteran’s Day AND students do not attend on Tuesday, November 12. It’s fine with me if the student attends the conference. I leave the decision to the parent.
Also a reminder about HALLOWEEN. Ray School will not be dressing up or passing out any candy in any classroom. No parties. And I don’t think I’ll give Homework that night. Thank you for your cooperation.
In MATH, we are looking at Rates, Ratios, and Proportions.
In WRITING, we have two short topics again: “Why do Leaves Change Color in the Fall and Why and Where do people go on ‘Color Tours'” “Is Halloween an Exclusively American Holiday or do other Countries Celebrate it in the Same Way?”
Thank you for all your support.

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