Newsletter Wednesday December 17 2014

University Park Elementary School


 December 17, 2014

Message from Ms. Davis

Happy Holidays!  There are only two more days before the students and staff leave for a well-deserved winter break!  Please be aware that the winter vacation begins Friday, December 19th after dismissal and lasts until January 4th.  School reopens on Monday, January 5, 2015.  The next newsletter will come home Wednesday, January 7, 2015.  Until then have a joyous and safe holiday!!!


Thank You

Thank you to our wonderful PTA for sponsoring Ms. Camper, Ms. Bidjou, Ms. Kuessner, Mr. Favero, and Ms. Pawlowski’s attendance at November’s National Gifted and Talented Conference (NGATE) in Baltimore.    Teachers gained many new ideas and strategies that benefit all students.


Thank you to Jennifer Cibor for coordinating the Cookie Exchange for staff this week.  The cookies were delicious!


Class News


There are many expectations for Kindergarten in the New Year! Each class will review the 35 sight words and use them to make sentences in their weekly writing activities. We will also review our reading strategies and have opportunities for students to use these strategies when they utilize the classroom library each week. Finally, we are counting to the 100th day of school, so kindergarten will prepare objects to sort, count, and share as an introduction to the 100th day celebration.


First Grade

First grade discovered winter holiday customs and traditions from countries around the world.  We learned songs, tasted foods, made crafts and read stories from each country.  We discussed traditions and customs in England, France, Germany, Italy and Mexico.  We also discovered Hanukkah traditions.  As the New Year begins, first grade will write personal narratives in the form of New Year resolutions.


Second Grade

This has been a busy season for second graders! We kicked off our new unit in Health with a guest speaker; Mrs. Aydilek (Nur’s mom) discussed her job as a pharmacist.  Students were very engaged and asked great questions. 

Second graders have also been making connections between subjects. Our students have been reading several types of texts to answer the question: “How do animals play a part in the world around us?” They’re currently in the process of extending their knowledge by researching an animal for an upcoming science report!

We are very pleased that our second graders have been working very diligently to add and subtract 2-3 digit numbers in a variety of ways: mental math, open number line, 100’s chart etc… After the winter break, students will also learn how to add and subtract 2-3 digit numbers with regrouping!

Looking ahead, many of our second graders will continue to participate in Jr. Great Book discussions. All second graders will continue to read for 20 minutes every night but will be recording their thinking on a new reading log!


Third Grade

Third graders are Designing Robots as a culminating activity of their area and perimeter unit in math class. Students will choose rectangles of different sizes and shapes and design their own robot. Students will measure using rulers, and then calculate the area and perimeter of their robot’s body. After naming the robot, students can add special features such as eyes, hair, hands and feet.

Third Grade students are also learning about fractions:  identifying, partitioning and labeling fractional parts. Parents can help our students learn more about fractions by helping them observe fractions in their everyday lives.


Fourth Grade

All students are in full swing of working on their STEM Fair projects. They are all very excited to complete this hands on assignment! Please support them by making sure that they have the materials that they need, and ensuring that they are meeting the deadlines for turning their work in. Please consult the STEM Fair guidelines book for help while students are working at home.


Nonfiction texts are the focus of the 2nd quarter in Language Arts. Students have been reading and analyzing texts about multiple topics including weather, plants, and animals. They have even read a few short biographies. 

Fifth Grade

As we come to the close of the calendar year, the fifth grade team would like to express its sincerest thanks to those parents and teachers who participated with the Camp Schmidt trip at the beginning of December. Although the weather did not fully cooperate, a good time was had by all, and the students were rewarded with an exceptional learning experience. We could not have done it without you!

In 2015, the fifth graders will begin the year further developing their STEM Fair projects. They should make sure that they adhere to the established deadlines in order for their projects to fully exhibit their talents and knowledge. Additionally, students will be working on writing biographies in Language Arts. If possible, students can use the winter break to research their chosen topics so that they may come back ready to compose and publish their work. In Mathematics, students will continue to prepare for PARCC by engaging in higher order problem solving with potential multiple answers.

We look forward to a highly productive new year. As always, parents, thank you for your input and support!


Sixth Grade

The Sixth Grade has been very busy this month.  Ms. Pawlowski has been teaching the class about unit rates and ratios.  Do you know what your walking rate of miles per hour would be if you walked from UPES to Washington, DC? In Mrs. Phillips' Reading class, we have been working in Literature Circles and we will write a narrative about a Christmas Memory. Also, Mr. Clark has been working with Mrs. Phillips' classes with GOOGLE DOCS.  Each class is now able to log onto their email account an access any homework or quizzes.  They can also open up a template and begin working on their science fair project for Mrs. Morris. 

Starting after the New Year, we will be gearing up for PARCC.  Students will visit the lab in order to practice Math and Reading Common Core skills.  We will also celebrate our Reading Marathon on January 9th.  We have been training to read for 90 minutes straight. Please feel free to come and join us.


Anacostia Watershed

Rain Barrel        Storm Drain Mural Painting


The Anacostia Watershed Society is thrilled to announce a 2 year partnership with University Park Elementary School to educate students about watershed issues and engage them in greening projects that will be taking place at the school. These projects will include tree and shrub planting along the stream, painting and installing rain barrels on the temporary classrooms, storm drain mural painting, rain garden planting and more! Please join us at the February PTA meeting to learn more about this exciting new partnership!


Technologically Speaking

Over the past few weeks, students in grades 3 through 6 visited the lab or used the laptops to practice logging in with their PGCPS username and password.  Also, students completed an online student teacher perception survey, part of the new teacher evaluation process.  Mr. Clark introduced several classes to several Google applications (Gmail, Google Docs, Google Presentation, and Google Classroom).  Using their PGCPS GMAIL account and Google Apps, students created and shared files with one another and the instructor.  In addition, students have access to a Science Fair Template (for the backboard) via Google Classroom. They can modify or redesign the template as needed.

Moving forward, students will continue to explore a number of web based tools available through their PGCPS email account. Furthermore, students in grades 3 through 6 will examine PARCC assessments.  Students will review PARCC testing tools and take sample tests.  

Students in grades K through 2 will have opportunities for exploration as well.  Second graders recently completed a pilot assessment online.  Mr. Clark is looking forward to working with primary students.   

Lastly, Mr. Clark stressed to students acceptable and appropriate online behavior. He will continue to emphasize online safety and responsible online behavior with all students.  


Write A Book

The Write-A-Book timeline is below.




Final Drafts are due and must comply with ALL Write-A-Book rules at this time.

Week of 1/12-16

Write-A-Book submissions will be bound. This will take place both during the day, and in one evening with the support of parent volunteers.


Judging is conducted.


Submissions are returned to UPES

5/13, 7-9PM

Annual Write-A-Book Award Ceremony


2014-2015 Science/Stem Fair

The 2014-2015 Science/Stem Fair timeline is below.





Materials list and procedures returned to students. 


Research Report Due




Project Testing done at home.  Collect data on a data chart. 15 trials minimum


Data charts, graphs completed at home or finished in class


Data charts, graphs due to teacher or finished in class


Results and conclusion due to teacher


Results and conclusion returned to student

1-15 to 


Backboards completed at home. 


Science Fair Completed Projects due to teacher/Presentations practiced in class.


Intermediate STEM Fair & Judging



Upcoming Events

Monday, January 5-School resumes

Monday, January 19-Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday-No school for students and staff



Last modified: 8/28/2015 12:55:39 PM