Newsletter 5 – 9/11/17

Weekly Highlights

We began editing in writers workshop – adding commas, adverbs, adjectives, and peer reading our drafts for spelling and grammar. We will be publishing this week. We’ll have a celebration of these writing pieces as well as Bradford Woods in general on 9/25 at 6pm in Bryan Park!

In reading, we have been talking about what readers do with punctuation and formatting in a text. We’ve been talking about all caps, italics, spacing, ellipses, parentheses, and so much more.

In P3 we have been investigating light, energy, and doing some incredible work with THE SUN.

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Our Bradford Woods trip is up and coming on September 18th (a week from today!). Please make sure you check out the gear list and let us know if you have questions of what/how to pack.

Homework was due last Friday, September 8th. We plan to send out another homework bingo that will be due on September 29th. Following that, will be a four week bingo (two five in a rows) that will occur over fall break as well.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • Last week you set up your Fresh Grade account. How do you think being on tech in 5/6 went for you? What about for the class as a whole?
  • What is going on in the read aloud Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere? How can you make connections to what is happening with Hurricane Harvey & Irma?
  • How are you feeling about editing your first writing piece this school year?
  • What do you need to help you feel prepared to go to Bradford Woods?

Newsletter 4- 9/4/17

Weekly Highlights

In P3 we studied light! Prisms! Rainbows! And the moon! Kids have been really excited about the experimental aspects of our science work right now but are starting to connect to some bigger problems in our world. We spent quite a bit of time this week discussing Hurricane Harvey and the scientific reasons behind it. We also started a read aloud – Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere which is about a young girl in New Orleans when Katrina hits. We are making lots of connections.

In writers workshop, we are revising personal narrative pieces. We worked on revising internal and external description and our leads.

In readers workshop, we picked new novels up on Thursday/Friday. We talked about finding books that are just right, and part of that is student interest! Most students have finalized a choice to carry through the next two weeks.

We are going to have a publishing party / time to celebrate Bradford Woods on Monday the 25th at 6:00 in Bryan Park. The actual location within the park is TBD. We’ll have writing pieces there if you want to browse, some pieces we make with our trail groups after returning from BW, and most importantly – some opportunities to join in the games and songs we learn at Bradford Woods.


Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • What book did you pick in the readers workshop unit?
  • How are you doing on your homework?
  • How has your study of The Planets in performing arts connected to P3 work?
  • How have the lunch arrangements changed? How are you feeling about that?

Newsletter 3 – 8/28/17

Weekly Highlights

We had a TOTALLY AWESOME TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE last Monday. We spent the day doing special eclipse-related activities, reading myths, lore & tradition around solar eclipses, and watching live footage online.

We introduced our CGT for the year – CONNECTIONS – as well as the associated questions. We’ve been working on making, building, and questioning connections regularly.

We taught and practiced the Take a Break structure. When kids need to take a break from what they are doing -based on a teacher’s determination or their own, they have several spaces in the classroom to go. Here is an article from Responsive Classroom that talks about Take a Break from a teacher perspective.


  • Information about Bradford Woods went home on Friday via email.
  • Homework started today in 5/6. Over the next two weeks, students have a variety of assignments they can try for homework, and their goal will be to complete five. They’ll record what they do on a sheet and turn that in on September 8th. You can find a pdf of the assignment online and we have many extra hard copies in the classroom.
  • Bradford Woods paperwork will go home in the next two days. We’ll need these pieces back no later than September 6th.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • You wrote a first draft this week – what was that process like? What small moment story were you telling and why?
  • What has been the most successful part of your school days so far?
  • What has having morning meeting in a small group (CPR) been like? What have you learned about your classmates?

Newsletter 2 – 8/19/17

Weekly Highlights

This week we came together as a community to form our agreements! We used a word cloud that showed the different needs students in our classroom have to achieve their hopes and dreams.


After several days of brainstorming and consensus making, we decided on these:

  • Create a calm, peaceful environment.
  • Show kindness, respect, and support.
  • Push yourself in the risk zone.  Nicknamed: “Pushky”

We also jumpstarted our personal narrative unit. On Tuesday, we did our big memory museum to jog some ideas. We read some popular personal narratives and used them to make connections. We ended the week by writing short summaries of stories we’d like to explore.

In P3, we checked out the junior ranger eclipse packet – created by Bill Nye & the National Parks. We used a thumbtack and an index card to create a pinhole sun viewer.

Some language we’ve referenced in class that you may need at home:

  • agreements: classroom rules, created by students
  • hopes & dreams: the goals children set for themselves academically and in the community
  • crewlines: assigned lesson seats
  • work spots: independent work places (mostly assigned)
  • IDR: independent daily reading, a quiet reading time when students simply read a book they are interested in
  • flow: a state of being/feeling in which time doesn’t occur to the person because they are so engaged in what they are doing


–Please remember to check out our snack schedule on our General Info page
–Our Family Survey is still live – please fill it out if you haven’t already
–If your child will be absent for the day/part of the day on Monday to see the eclipse, please let us know.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What were some of the activities you did in morning meeting this week? How did they help the community?
  • What have you been reading during IDR? Stamina pushed to about 30 minutes this week, how have you stayed focused?
  • This week there was a focus on individuals sharing, both in morning meeting and in writing. Did you share? Why/why not? What did you learn about others?

Newsletter 1 – 8/11/17

Weekly Highlights


We spent the week building our community. We did some work to identify who the individuals in our community are, reflecting on shared interests, as well as identifying our hopes and dreams for the year.

Some of the basics about 5/6 can be found on our “General Information” page, including how to get in touch with us, snack schedule, the general schedule, etc.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. We will typically send more information about our week in our newsletter, but since the page above is a long read, we figured it would be enough for now.


  • TPS pool party is on August 25th at Bryan Park Pool
  • Fill out our family survey to let us know some more about your child.
  • We have an assignment kids need to complete by Tuesday in order to launch our writers unit. Please help your child bring their mementos in!

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What did you learn about trajectory this week? How did your “goal launching” go?
  • What are some of the ways the 5/6 community is coming together?
  • When you reflected on safety, risk, and danger zones – what did you put in your risk zone? danger?
  • What read alouds have you done and what did you think about them?

Newsletter 35 – 6/19/17

Dear Families,

The end of the year is always so bittersweet for me and Mr. Jim. We love working with your children and you so deeply. We’ve all had such silly times, serious times, times to question, and times to answer.

Our final community project – the MAW is often overflowing with the feelings that come when something reaches an end – bursts of energy, struggles (and not) with patience and flexibility, a push for something big and great, something that unifies us, and something that we work on very hard and together. Thanks to so many of you for supporting not only our MAW last Tuesday, but also the work of the MAW, the work we’ve done all year long.

Some quick announcements~

  • We have a few pairs of shoes from the MAW that we will hold onto until next year if you want to claim them.
  • Our Zine is currently for sale at Boxcar Books, Hopscotch Coffee, and Gather! Please encourage your family and friends to purchase it.
  • If your child did not receive their copy of the zine for free, we will be holding these copies through early next year – additionally, I’m super happy to drop them by (seriously!)

Below are some photos from the MAW and the last days of school. Please feel free to reach out to me and/or to Jim with questions you have about the end of the school year/next school year. We’ll do our best to respond promptly.

Newsletter 34 – 6/4/17

Voice of 5/6

This is your Voice of 5/6 update.  A small group of students met during lunch on Friday to comment on the events of the week and share highlights with families. The contributors for this week are Tori, Surya, Phoenix and Zadyn.

In MAW we worked on our theme.  We have been meeting in groups to plan.  We finalized the exhibit plans and started making signs. We had a vote on who is going to be in each committee.  MAW is pretty fun.  It is one of our big projects.  We are putting a lot of time into the project.  We get to work with new people and it is fun to be involved.

In Readers Workshop we have been reading a book centered on one theme.  Most of us have finished our novel. We have moved on to picture books.  We are looking for picture books with the same theme.  Then we are looking for a poem with the same theme. Most people are finding that finding the poem is difficult.  Others think that the picture books are tough to match with a novel.

In Performing Arts we have been working on playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the ukulele.  We have been thinking about the meaning of the song.  In Visual Arts we are working on Pop ART and connecting it to our P3 project on food, bees and migrant workers.

In Writers we worked on our spring On Demand piece.  We wrote stories at the beginning of the year.  We looked at them and rewrote and fixed them up to show what we learned about writing this year.  Our stories are much better now.

We finished NWEA testing.  

The noise level in the cafeteria has been a problem.  It has been too loud and some complaints have been made.  Recess has been pretty calm.  


We are going on two field trips this week! We could still use two chaperones (one for each day) for the library trips!

On Tuesday – Dreams goes to Mather’s Museum @ 9:00 and Hopes goes to Library @ 10:20. Both back before 11:30.
On Thursday – Hopes goes to Mather’s Museum @ 9:20 and Dreams goes to Library @ 10:20. Both back before 11:30.
PLANTS – We are planning on sending home plants this week from our P3 unit. Our hope is that these splendiferous plants will bloom and blossom some delicious eats for you and your family members in the next weeks. Students can use a pot from school, but if you have your own pot (~10-12inch) please send it in on Wednesday. We plan on sending home tomato plants or pepper plants because we have so many of them!
We need perhaps one person or two to send in snack for these last two days. If you’re willing, let me (Kalei) know.