Lower Primary Newsletter

May Curriculum Newsletter

Level 3 Language Arts
    Stephanie Marshall     

These last few weeks of school are going to be BUSY and EXCITING!!! We were so busy writing our stories for SHARE-A-STORY DAY!  We are focusing on editing our “sloppy copies” and adding details to make our stories the best they could possibly be for everyone to enjoy. The students have learned how to write, type, read, edit, illustrate, and speak clearly through this activity. We are looking forward to a great celebration and we hope everyone appreciates our hard work and enjoys our stories. We are excited that we have a day that celebrates the joy of reading. I hope you are as proud as I am when you listen to your child read his/her story. We hope you will join us May 19th after chapel for this celebration.

We have really focused on “chunking out” words…better known as CHUNKY MONKEY! This has been especially helpful as we learn about compound words and begin to decode longer and more difficult vocabulary. We have been working on “FLIP FLOP FROGGY” to help when decoding vowel sounds. Of course we have learned that there are always those words that “don’t follow the rules”! We have also been busy learning how to translate complete thoughts into complete sentences. 

Everyone has worked extremely hard to read on a consistent basis. PLEASE encourage your child to read during the summer months. It is most important to ensure they continue their great progress and continue the love of reading. I had one goal at the beginning of the year…to introduce every child to a book they would love and get excited about! I love to hear them read and share their opinions about their reading with their friends. It is truly exciting! 

A big thank you to all of the parents that purchased books from the Scholastic Reading Clubs for your child. Because of your generosity, our class received over 200 books this school year for FREE!!!!! Our classroom library is so full, we are running out of bins and space! 

Thank you so much for sharing your children with me. I am so honored to work with them every day and it truly is a privilege to listen to them read. I am excited to watch them for many more years to come and I can’t wait to see their sweet faces in August as LEVEL 4’s! 


Level 3 Math and Science
Claire Kyzer

The students have been working on recognizing and counting MONEY in math class.  This is a skill that requires lots of practice for students to be able to attain mastery.  We often don’t carry around coins in our pockets these days, but it would be great if you could set aside a small bag of coins so that your child is able to practice this skill.  Students have worked in the classroom with pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half dollars.   

In May the Level 3s will also take a few classes to look at MEASUREMENT and the different ways that we can measure things in our world.  Look for an activity related to this to come home in the Homework Folder.

The Level 3 students continue to work on improving their FLUENCY with recall of math addition and subtraction facts right up until the end of the year.  We will be playing math games, using apps on the iPad and working with addition and subtraction puzzles.  Some students are focusing on knowing all of their facts to ten; others are working beyond ten to memorize addition facts through twenty.  All of the students are working to solve addition and subtraction equations quickly.  This is a skill that students should practice over the summer.  The Fact Fluency paper in the homework folder is a great resource for activities to support these skills.

In the May Math Homework folders, students will once again be asked to complete a practice worksheet as part of their homework each week.  Due to this, students will return to only being required to compete TWO (2) activities from the Math Menu each week.  Fact Fluency remains as a choice on the Math Menu, along with Prompts, Splash Math, and Bedtime Math.  There is a sheet in their homework folders with all kinds of activities that the students can do to practice fact fluency.

Pebbles, Sand, and Silt

The students are learning all about the earth beneath our feet.  We have looked at the layers of the earth (core, mantle, crust) and discussed plate tectonics.  This has led us into our study of volcanoes.  Our culminating project will be for the students to pick one volcano to focus on and build a model that they will then make erupt!  This is always a very exciting project for the end of our study of Pebbles, Sand and Silt. I am sure you will be hearing all about it from your children.

A HUGE thank you once again to Professor Bramblett for all the time he took out of his schedule to prepare and present a great lesson on fossils for the students.  We are so fortunate at St.  Nicholas to be blessed with parents who are willing and eager to share their knowledge and talents with the students.


 Level 3 and 4 Social Studies
Stephanie Marshall and Katie McCorkle

In Social Studies, we will finish off the year with these topics:  “Communities”, “Tennessee Voices” and “Celebrate America.”  The kids had great fun creating their landforms booklet and making landforms from model magic to display for Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day!  We’ve had some great class discussions this year in Social Studies.  Please don’t forget to include Social Studies, whenever possible,  in your summer by visiting monuments and museums and discussing these experiences with your child.  Have a wonderful summer!


Level 4 Language Arts
Katie McCorkle

The students have spent much class time writing stories for the Young Author books and they should be proud of the final result! They enjoyed showing them off on Grandparents’ and Special Friend’s’ Day. I hope you and your family enjoy it as a keepsake for years to come.

The last month of school brings many exciting activities.  We will continue reading AR books and taking quizzes which help us work further towards our school wide reading goal to help our “Animal Friends” as our outreach project. as well as work more in our Basic English and Vocabulary Workshop books.  The remainder of the Basic English book will go home for the summer, but the Vocabulary Workshop book will be given to their Level 5 Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Pritchett, for them to pick up in Middle Primary where they left off this year. The children will also spend additional class time applying all they have learned this year through various hands-on activities.  

To prevent a decrease in reading skills during the summer, what many teachers coined “The Summer Slide” I find it most helpful for rising Level 5 students to read at least 30 minutes just about every day.  If your child is spending time every day (or almost every day) reading, not only will this begin to become a lifelong habit, it will not matter how many books or pages or points.  It will matter that your child has acquired new vocabulary, discussed the books with you, read with you out loud, read silently to his or herself and, best of all… enjoyed books!!!  Please access our Librarian’s fantastic list of resources for summer reading on our school website.  Thanks Mrs. Wilkins!  

To help the students’ writing skills stay sharp, please encourage your children to write responses after they finish a picture book or after every few chapters in a chapter book (this depends on the lengths of the chapters).  I will be handing out the reading/writing response logs at conference as well.

Thank you for your support with the projects and presentations.  We’ve enjoyed having parents come to support the students during the presentations this year.  The students not only learned many interesting facts, but gained experience speaking to a group, started to develop beginning note-taking skills and sharpened their listening skills. 

I was glad to see students choose to participate in the Six Flags Read to Succeed program.  I hope you enjoy your day if you use your free ticket!

Finally, I would like to send a HUGE THANK YOU to parents who have volunteered to help in the classroom, help with special projects, and copying.  Your commitment has been very much appreciated and valued!!

Have a book-filled and happy summer!

Mrs. McC


Level 4 Math and Science
Kat Cantelou

We are ending on a high note in Level 4 Math and Science! We are finishing up with not one but two STEM Week’s in May. The first STEM week will focus on capacity and our second STEM Week will be a very exploratory week, with a lot of choices for the students. One station will be for each student to work one lesson from the Level 5 math textbook. This format is new to them, and with this exposure to the book I hope it will seem a little more familiar next year.

I am very excited to welcome Level 3 parent Professor Brambllet to come to class and share an exciting fossils lessons with the students! Each student will be creating something to bring home. 

As we near the end of school I hope you will all encourage your child to finish the year strong! We will be focusing on reaching a goal that I will be setting with your child in the first week of May. As we continue in Core they will be working towards this goal. 

A portion of Proverbs 10:5 says “A child who gathers in summer is prudent.” While is verse was really referring to farm life I think we can also use it for summer work! According to the National Summer Learning Association, “Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.” This can be avoided by working on the math packets that will be sent home in the final week of school.  


 Niveles 3 y 4 Español Noticias
Señora Bertani'

In mayo, we will complete our study of frutas, verduras (fruits and vegetables) and other comidas (foods).  We will use the book La Oruga Muy Hambrienta (The Very Hungry Caterpillar).  We have been learning about the food pyramid (Mi Pirámide De Alimentos), what makes a healthy meal (comida sana) and discussing our favorite foods.  We will continue to practice the calendar and weather as well.  ¡Que tengan un buen verano! (Have a great summer!)


Levels 3 and 4 Music
Kara Miscio and Carey Shinbaum

Lower primary students have worked on their Theme Day performance over the past month. Students have incorporated their musical talents with singing a variety of seasonal songs and implementing creative movement dance to interpret a musical selection on seasons.  Students have done a great job playing many instruments and reading the music for our performance. We will continue this month to prepare for one more performance with the school promotion and graduations.


Levels 3 and 4 Art
Mandy Bohner

We wind the year down with a look at the art of Georgia O’Keeffe, Mary Cassatt and Jackson Pollock - a wide variety to be sure! Georgia O’Keeffe, best known for her flowers, provides an excellent base on which to build both still life and landscape work. Challenged with a way to present a subject in a close up and different way, the children create flowers using watercolor crayons on paper. O’Keeffe also produced many desert landscapes using simple shapes and shades of colors. We will study the art of landscape, particularly hers, with each child creating his or her own using paint and paper.

Mary Cassatt was a trailblazer in her own time, forging her way through conceived notions of propriety of women’s activities and societal barriers in the time of the Impressionists. She excelled in presenting captured moments between people, most often mothers and children, and we will do the same - just in time to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Finally, we conclude our yearlong study of American Art with a look at Abstract Expressionist, Jackson Pollock, while also hopefully dispelling the widespread comment one hears when viewing Pollock’s work:  “I could do that!”  Weather permitting, we will move the art room outdoors and action paint everything we can get our hands on.

From Romare Bearden to Georgia O’Keeffe, this year has been wonderfully full of adventures - from new artists and techniques to a brand new room - all in all a fantastic year!


 Levels 3 and 4 Movement
Cathy Harvey

In May, we will participate in softball, bowling for dollars, wind wands, obstacle courses, and whiffle ball. 


 Levels 3 and 4 Library
Wendy Wilkins

Our Spring Scholastic Book Fair was a great success. Thank you to everyone who helped make this event possible and fun for all. Proceeds from this fair will be used to purchase many of this year’s outstanding and notable books including STEM (science technology engineering math), Social Studies and Children’s Choice Awards. Links to these lists will be provided below as suggestions for summer reading. 

This month we will celebrate Children’s Book Week from May 1-7th.  Children’s Book Week was established in 1919 and is the oldest running literacy initiative in the country. Our celebration will include reading and voting on this year’s Children Choice Books. The winners will be announced on May 31st and will be posted on the Children’s Book Council website:  http://www.cbcbooks.org/ccba/

The last week to check out school library books will be May 1st-5th. All library books will be due back by May 12th so that we may begin an annual inventory. 

Links to support Summer Reading:

For students to read reviews on suggested books: https://www.bookopolis.com/#/

To view American Library Association 2017 Notable Children’s Books: http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/notalists/ncb

To view Children Choice Book Awards: http://www.cbcbooks.org/childrens-choices/

To view Outstanding Science Books: http://www.cbcbooks.org/outstanding-science/

To view Best Stem Books: http://www.cbcbooks.org/2017-best-stem-books/

To view Notable Social Studies Books: http://www.cbcbooks.org/notable-social-studies/

To view Outstanding International Children’s Books: http://www.usbby.org/list_oibl.html

To view New York Public Library 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions: https://www.nypl.org/events/summer/reading-challenge

Be sure to a weekly visit your Public Library this summer with your child. They offer many wonderful activities to encourage reading and learning. The children librarians are also very helpful in suggesting books for your child. Happy Summer Reading!


Levels 3 and 4 Gardening
Melanie Mayo

May is a bountiful time in the school garden!  The plantings of April produce harvests in May and through the summer.  Students will enjoy the sights, smells and tastes of the spring veggies, herbs and butterfly-attracting flowers.  We spotted Monarch caterpillars munching on our garden milkweed this year, which was very exciting for everyone!  Our focus in the last weeks of school is to be in the sun, with our hands in the dirt as much as possible.  Our chickens hatch from the incubator early this month, which provides endless learning and observation opportunities.  This month Level 7 learns about “lunch around the world” and conducts a garden lettuce taste test among the primary levels.  Level 6 studies the importance of clean water and learns how vital it is to the garden and all places around the world.  Middle Primary finishes their plant life study by dissecting a fresh lily to learn the parts of a flower.  Level 3 students plant various varieties of basil in their herb garden and learn about the medicines found in many plants.  Level 4 finishes their study of compost by sifting our school’s finished compost. Level 2 students harvest garlic and strawberries in the ELC garden and learn to make smoothies with the strawberries.  Level 1 makes chamomile tea with fresh plant parts and learns about the life cycle of a chicken.

St Nicholas School 7525 Min Tom Drive - Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421
ph: (423).899.1999 - fax: (423).899.0109 - info@stns.org
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