Planning for Next School Year?

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Welcome new students and parents!

Thinking about next school year already? What to bring to school?  First, I have provided several items:  subject folders, a pencil, eraser, white board marker and eraser, and a writing notebook — the basic items to get the school year started. I also have in the classroom tubs of colored pencils, scissors, markers, and a few highlighters. If you would like to bring school supplies to the open house to put into your desk, you may do that.

Students should attempt to have the following items by the first day of school:

  1. Homework folder to bring back and forth to school
  2. Pencil box for smaller items
  3. Highlighters
  4. 3×5 sticky notes
  5. Pencils (I prefer regular pencils to mechanical pencils as mechanical pencils always break and lead gets lost or dropped on the floor and this slows students down)
  6. Erasers
  7. Small Pencil Sharpener
  8. Dry erase markers
  9. HEADPHONES or EARBUDS to leave at school (for the ipads and macbooks)
  10. Ruler with inches and millimeters
  11. Glue Stick

Any donations of disinfectant wipes and tissues would be appreciated to keep our room clean and healthy. OPEN HOUSE is scheduled for 6:30 on Thursday, August 24. See you there!


Good Bye Class of 2016-17!

Wow! I can’t believe it is the end of the year! We had a great year learning together. I hope I fulfilled all the students’ expectations and more as a teacher to them. I will miss these fabulous kids!

Thank you to all the volunteers that help out all year to keep our classroom running smoothly, and thank you wonderful parents that spend that extra time at home to get the homework done!  I consider it such an honor to teach your children and to have you share them with me all year.  I have a smile on my face as I am typing and remembering all the special qualities in each one of them.  I will miss you students!

Parents, please talk with your student about their summer reading goals packet that came home yesterday. I hope they are eager to read all summer long! Also, Xtra Math is a good way for your student to keep up on math facts too.  See all the learning links on my blog to prepare for fifth grade.

Have a great summer! See you as fifth graders next school year – woo hoo!

Field Day and Egg Drop Pictures

Field Day pictures. What a beautiful, sunny day! We had a great time playing all the different games with our friends. Our class made it to the finals for tug of war which was fun although we didn’t win despite all the great effort. Enjoy the pictures!

Egg Drop Vehicles — look at the creativity!

The vehicles are launched!

And these are the students who had “surviving astronauts”.  Great job on the vehicles and protecting your astronaut!

June 5 – 9, 2017

Oh my! The last week of school! How exciting — but sad. What a great group of students this year that will be dearly miss.


  • Field day is tomorrow.  Remember sunscreen, field day t-shirt (if you ordered one), a sack lunch, and drink.
  • The annual 4th grade egg drop is scheduled for Wednesday morning at 10:30.  Students should bring their egg drop “vehicle” to school by Wednesday morning. I will provide the egg!
  • We will have the annual Alward Olympics this Friday prior to the 12:15 dismissal.
  • Report cards will be mailed on June 16th with next year’s teacher’s name.

I will post pictures and a good bye on Friday.  Have a great week!


May 30 – June 3, 2017

Happy Memorial Day! Hope you are having a great weekend and have time to give thanks to all who have lost their lives for our country’s freedom.

Our classroom had a guest speaker on Friday – Lt. Muir. He spoke to the students about the difficulties in serving in our military, the dedication the men and women have for their jobs, his personal experiences and friends he had lost, and relevant life lessons. Thank you Lt. Muir. The students were absorbing every word for about 40 minutes, and also asked him some appropriate and thought-provoking questions. I was proud of my students’ thoughtfulness and empathy. We then made thank you cards for 20 veterans to be delivered by Lt. Muir to a camp in Montana this summer. These veterans suffer from PTSD, and he said cards from children especially touch these hardened soldiers. Nice job kids!

Math – Math facts check and personal data booklets, tracking the student’s progress for the school year will come home this week.

Reading and Writing – Poetry booklets will come home soon. Take a look at your child’s creative writing!

Social Studies – We will finalize our state of Michigan research projects this week, and present our slides to the class next week.

Science test – the test review will come home for studying on Thursday, with the test given on Friday. Last test of the year!

We will meet with our first grade buddies this week for the last time and complete a scavenger hunt around the playground. Such fun with our little friends!


Tuesday – Field day. Sack lunches and drinks!


Each student will need a bag for cleaning out his/her desk to bring home all those “treasures” kept in there all year

May 22 -26, 2017

Good morning!  Three more weeks of school. Wow! This month is going so fast! We have our last library this morning. Be sure your student has access to books all summer long. Students who do not read during the summer typically lose about two reading levels. Libraries in the area and Barnes and Noble in Rivertown Mall have incentive reading programs your child can participate in all summer long and earn prizes! Also, if you would like your child signed up for Raz Kids, a very effective reading website, please email me; and I would be happy to get you the information to use that as well. I run this program all summer for Alward students.

Math – Unit tests 5 and 8 will come home today. Students who are being tutored this summer — I highly recommend that these tests are saved and given to your tutor. We will continue math with performance (real-world) tasks and problem solving activities.

Science – Hands on labs this week for electricity and heat energy!

Reading & Writing – A variety of poems

Technology – State of Michigan report projects starting

We will be making cards for veterans on Friday for Memorial Day commemoration. A friend of mine will be volunteering at a camp this summer for veterans with PTS, so we are hoping to thank them and cheer them up ( :

Pizza lunch Friday for April – summer birthdays! Please bring your own drink and snack.




May 15 – 19, 2017

Happy Friday! Great to see the sunshine so much this week. I will be attending my son’s college graduation this coming Monday and Tuesday, so there will be a very capable substitute teacher in my room for those two days. This is also the reason why you are getting next week’s blog early.

Sack lunch order forms will come home today for field day on Tuesday, June 6. With that said, it is really much better for your student to bring a lunch. Those that order a lunch have to go stand in line with the rest of the District for their lunches on the other side of the stadium, so it is not very convenient for him/her. Just a note about field day: Ms. Stokes discourages parents attending field day. The field is packed with kids and teachers helping, and it is often hard to find your student.

Math – Unit 5 tests will be completed today; however, I am waiting for a couple absent students to catch up, so the tests will not come home until the following week. We will work on unit 8 (geometry) test reviews next week with the test on Friday.

Science – Energy and Electricity

Reading – Comprehension skills and testing

Writing – Spelling, grammar, and poetry

Have a Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you moms for all you do! We love you!

May 8 – 12, 2017 Week

We made it through the M-Step! I’m very proud of the students’ perseverance and discipline to do their best throughout the week.

Onward to finish off the yearly strongly — Math unit 5 (on measuring systems) test reviews this week, with the test scheduled for Friday morning. Looking through the test reviews and studying with your student will help him/her prepare for the test. I will be meeting with small groups and students as needed this week.

Choice reading will continue, and we will start poetry reading and writing too. Science begins again next week.


Book fair shopping on Monday, and our buying day is Wednesday at 1:00. Watch for the “wish lists” coming home. This is a great time to buy books for summer reading.

Remember, early release on Friday.  Have a great week!

May 1 – May 5, 2017 M-Step Week

Happy Monday! We had a fun time with our first grade reading buddies on Friday playing the Alward Mathlete Game.

M-Step begins on Tuesday this week at 9:00, and it is scheduled for each morning through Friday morning. Please avoid all appointments during this time. The students have worked hard to prepare, so I think they will do their best — and that is all that matters. Two of the tests in math and reading are “CAT’s” (Computer Adapted Technology), so each student’s test will be unique to his/her abilities.

Parents can help by encouraging plenty of sleep each night and providing a healthy and balanced breakfast each morning before school. They will have to wait until 11:00 for snack each morning, so be sure the belly is full to feed the mind. Water bottles are always a good idea too.

The week of May 8 is our last book fair at Alward. Great time to get books for the summer! I will not send out a Scholastic order form for books again until June, in order to support the book fair. Our buy date is May 10 at 1:00 for the Book Fair.

April 24 – 28, 2017

Big week this week as it is the last week of preparation before M-Step. We will continue double math, units as well as practicing “performance tasks” related to mathematics. Also, reading comprehension practice and test taking skills this week. M-Step will be every morning (but Monday) next week. Please no appointments!

I have suggested that students make a stack of papers at home that they need to practice and briefly review this coming weekend before M-Step. Each student should know areas of strengths and weaknesses based on the work we have been doing in class.

Friday is popcorn Friday.

Volunteer celebration open house Thursday and Friday morning 9:00 – 11:00 at Alward. Thank you for all you do moms and dads! We teachers truly appreciate your work every single week you are here!

The Alward Artist Reception is tonight from 5:30-7:30 @ the Hudsonville City Hall.