Category Archives: Lusero Blog

March Madness! Parent/Teacher Conferences and More!

Hello to all!  I think we are seeing the light at the end of this long winter tunnel.  At least, that is what I am thinking to get me through this really cold Monday.  The weatherman had best be telling the truth!

I wanted to touch base and let you know what my schedule looks like for conferences this time.  My plan is to be in each school on the opposite day from the first conferences.  This means I will be at Loveland on Tuesday, March 11th and then Sunset on Wednesday, March 12th.  I will attempt to make it to each scheduled conference in that building but I can’t promise that it will happen.  If our paths do not cross, and you would like to discuss your child’s progress, please call or send me an e-mail and we will set something up.  I wish there was an easier solution and I could meet with you all, but there doesn’t seem to be one.

The students in grades 4-5 are all busy working on their inventions or innovations.  They each will get a presentation board this week to use with their exhibit.  They are expected to have a prototype of their invention or a detailed diagram.  It is fun to watch them create.  Some struggle with the idea but are eager to create the advertisement and explanation.  Some are the opposite, the idea part was easy, but now they have to work at the writing piece.  And some are strong in both areas– we may have some inventors in our midst!

The sixth grade students are working in collaborative teams to create a Rube Goldberg Machine that will complete a simple task.  There are guidelines and a rubric to keep them on track.  This takes patience and perseverance.  Their creativity and problem solving skills will be tested as they attempt to make them work.  What looks great on paper, does not always work in reality.

Grades 4-6 will share their inventions, innovations and chain reaction contraptions with each other later this month as a culmination of our Innovation Concept.  Our next quarter will focus on Connections –  from the past to the present and the future.

I hope to see all of you next week, but please feel free to e-mail or call with questions or concerns.  Hard to believe we are in the fourth quarter!  Wow!  As always, thanks for sharing your children with me!



January News!

Sorry about the lack of communication lately.  There has been a lot going on!  Mica, our visitor from Argentina, is doing well and enjoying visiting our schools.  She has shadowed me at both schools and will be presenting to all students in Spanish classes soon. She has been impressed by the behavior of our students, which I find interesting.  It is fascinating to hear her thoughts and perceptions.

This quarter our focus is on innovation.  We have been talking about how innovation and invention are the same and how they are different.  We also learned a creative thinking strategy for innovation called SCAMPER.  Each letter in this acronym prompts them to think about change.  Ask your child to tell you what each letter stands for.  They were given the name of an object and asked to use this process to create an innovation.  There are lots of creative brains out there.  We also have been, or will be, talking about and watching some videos of really young inventors and how they were successful.  You never know, maybe this will inspire someone to market their idea!

We also continue to work on vocabulary enrichment through Wordly Wise.  Writing complete sentences when answering the passage questions, continues to be a challenge for some.  I will continue to be vigilant in my belief that they can and will learn to do this.  🙂

We have just completed our third Math Olympiad test.  I am impressed by the math thinking that goes with this.  The discussion that takes place after the test is amazing!  I really enjoy hearing their thought process, whether or not it led to the correct answer.

Be sure to look at the home page of our blog today and read about a new opportunity for all students, not just EY students.  Mrs. Spady has outlined an opportunity that may interest your child in the area of Science.  This is not a requirement, but simply another enrichment activity for those that are interested in the area of Science.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this or anything else.

That is all I have for now.  I am really enjoying working with your children.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Programming Resources-Check these out!

We have lots of kids who are super interested in programming, and I just know we have a few app developers in our midst!  How cool would that be?!

On the iPad…

1. Cargo-Bot: Free on iTunes
This app has students writing programs that control a robotic arm to move, sort, and stack colored crates.  The computer language is simple enough for younger kids, but challenging for even middle school kids.

2. Hopscotch: Free on iTunes
This app is a great introduction to programming for kids.

3. Move the Turtle: $2.99 on iTunes
Teaches students the basics of programming (actual coding)

4. Daisy the Dinosaur: Free on iTunes
Similar to Hopscotch

On the computer…

5. Scratch: Download for free at
Great programming environment for kids!  This is a must!

6. Codecademy: Learn programming on the web with interactive tutorials.  Create an account at and then choose from JavaScript, HTML/CSS, PHP, Phython, Ruby and APIs.  (note from Mrs Spady: I have done this with my 2nd and 4th grader, but I usually have to sit down next to them and help them through it.  It’s a little higher level, but doable.)

7. Another great online resource to learn programming.

8. Khan Academy:  Yet another great online resource to learn about computer programming.

November/December Notes

The last couple months are a blur!  We have been so busy with Spelling Bees and Geography Bees in addition to our regular schedule.  It has been a little crazy!  I hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving break and are looking forward to the Winter break, which will be here before we know it.

In EY, we have moved on from the strategy theme and are on to communication.  We have been discussing several literary devices, enriching what they are also learning  in the classroom.  This involves the creative side of their brains, which is fun to see.  We have some that really are able to think outside the box, for others it is a bit of a stretch.  But it is always good to step outside of your comfort zone now and then.

All students are working on memorizing a poem for the last week before winter break.  We are planning a poetry cafe morning when all the EY students in each school would come together, share their poem and enjoy some refreshments as an end of the quarter celebration.  This activity is to prepare them for future Poetry Out Loud competitions in high school.  This allows them to explore this and decide if it is something  they would like to pursue.   I encourage you to check out the website for Poetry Out Loud and see all the benefits of this.   It is a wonderful opportunity to develop speaking skills and confidence.  I am anxious to see how it turns out.  If you haven’t heard them practicing their poem,  you may want to ask them how it is going.

We also completed our first Math Olympiad competition.  This is a test we take in class each month from November to March.  I was impressed with the scores and enjoyed listening to their strategies for solving the problems.  We will take the second one next week.

Wordly Wise is also an expectation that I am pleased to say is going well.  I have had very few late assignments and the quality of the work has been excellent for the most part.

Twenty-five years ago, my husband and I hosted an exchange student from Argentina.  He now has a daughter of his own and she will be visiting us for a couple of months.   She will arrive Dec. 20th and will be here until the end of February.  We are excited about her visit and I plan to have her visit my students and discuss the cultural differences.  It should be interesting!

That is all I have to share for now.  Once again, please contact me if you have questions or concerns.

Just a Couple Things….

Here are a couple of announcements for you:

1)  When I meet with each group this week, they will receive information concerning a Science Olympiad opportunity at ESU #3 on Nov. 5th.  If your child is interested in attending, please fill out the permission slip and send back to me or there is a link on the slip  that you may also use to register on line.  Please only do one or the other, not both.  We are only able to take 16 students in grades 4-6,  so we will be randomly drawing students on Oct. 29th.  You will be notified if your child’s name is drawn.

2)  Classroom spelling bees will be held this week.  The students will be taking a written exam consisting of 20 words.  These will be scored and the top 12-15 students will be asked to participate in the school bee. Sunset’s  school bee will be held on Nov. 4th at 1:30 in the gym.  Loveland’s school bee will be held on Nov. 12th at 1:30 in the gym.  Family members of the contestants are welcome to attend.

3)  Fourth grade EY students will take a written math exam this week to determine the top 24 students that will attend the Marrs Magnet Math Competition.  When those students have been determined, they will be given some practice materials to use.  The Marrs Competition is on Monday, Nov. 18, there will be more information coming for those that are selected to attend.

That is all for right now! 🙂  Please let me know if you have questions or concerns.  Thanks!


Parent/Teacher Conference Information

Hello Again!  I wanted to touch base with you before conferences to tell you that I will not be sending home participation records.  We, the EY Coordinators, have decided that our blogs will be more than enough information and that the participation records would be somewhat redundant.  I will be checking to be sure that everyone is able to access the EY

Blog and if we need to send copies home, I will do that.  This tool is so easy to use and I think I will keep you more in the know than the participation records ever did.  I hope this is acceptable to you.  Please feel free to voice your opinion as a blog comment or in an email.

I also wanted to comment on the Daily Challenge.  Each day, at the beginning of class, I post a short problem for the students to solve.   These may be math related or language arts brain teaser sorts of puzzles.  The students are required to write the problem down in their notebook and try to solve before our next meeting.  We go over the answers the next time we meet.  At the end of each quarter, I will look at their notebooks to check for completeness and award a certificate and a small treat for those that are done.  I have just starting looking over the first quarter ones and I am impressed by their work.  Hopefully, they will keep it up!

I believe all students are now enrolled in the Khan Academy–  They have been pretesting in the math area and just exploring the site.  We won’t spend a lot of class time on this, I just wanted them to have access to this as a resource.  They can always go there and learn something new!  🙂  Their username is their first name, last initial, 66– all together, no spaces, and their password is their 5 digit number that should all know.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

That is all for now!  Have a great day!

September/October News

Hello to all of you!  This is my first blog ever– I think this will work well as a communication tool.  I will send out a short e-mail blast each time I post a new entry.  Please feel free to provide input as we move forward.

Time is flying by!  I can’t believe the first quarter is almost over.  We have been very busy!  Our big family wedding took place last Friday and all is well!  Lots of family time and a beautiful evening for the wedding!  We are so proud and blessed to officially welcome Kamrie into our family.

Ok, back to business!  In EY, we have been busy discussing stategy in all walks of life but mainly focusing on math problem solving strategies.  Each of the students have kept a booklet summarizing and practicing these strategies. I think these will be very helpful as we begin doing some math competitions.  I have been impressed by how they have been able to connect these strategies to real life experiences outside of math class.

Our vocabulary enrichment, Wordly Wise, is also coming along.  The students are settling in to the expectations and have been pretty good about being prepared for class.  We will continue to work on this.

The Strategy Seminar was a huge success!  Many thanks to Mrs. Spady and Mr. Lee for all their organizing efforts.  I heard lots of positive comments from the students and  parents.  Hopefully, we can do some similar activities again this year.

Conferences are coming soon, Oct. 15-16.  My thoughts are that I will be at the school that I am normally at on each day for the first conferences and then I will switch for the second set of conferences.  So, that means I will be at Sunset on Tuesday and Loveland on Wednesday for the October Conferences.  If possible, I will come to your teacher conference at your scheduled time.  If I miss you, due to the number of students that I see, please feel free to call to set up an individual time.  I will be glad to meet with you to discuss your child’s progress.  There will be Participation record sent home with report cards.  There really isn’t a grade because much of what we do is group based, but there are expectations.  I will be sure to let you know if the expectations are not being met.

We have a couple of math competitions for 4th and 6th grade coming up. Unfortunately, I cannot take all the students so we will have to take tests to determine the participants.  This really stinks!  I wish I could take all, but they limit the number of teams per school.  You will receive a permission letter when we have the teams determined.

Thanks so much for all your support.  I am enjoying working with all the students.  Their enthusiasm and love of learning is contagious.  Thank you so much for sharing them with me!  Have a great weekend!