Newsletter 12 – 11/17/17

Weekly Highlights

This week we got into some new and exciting topics. In P3, we spent four days talking about puberty. We’ll be talking about gender later on, so our focus here was mostly on what happens to you physically as you go through and experience puberty. We covered commonalities experienced by people during puberty, female bodies, and male bodies.

Below, you’ll find a list of some of the questions we addressed.  Some parts of puberty & growing up will not be addressed in our curriculum. As we move forward with the unit, we’ll send you a document of the questions we haven’t answered, so you can have these conversations at home in the way that you choose to.We are using the text It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley as well as Sex Is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg to guide our discussions.

Kids have handled these conversations with tremendous maturity and honesty. That was also visible today when we debriefed the movie Wonder. We watched it Friday morning, and after, we had a conversation about messages it left us with. We also talked about the ways that the message “Our actions are our monuments” may impact and/or show up at school. Students discussed and brought forward some ideas of what they think needs to change at TPS, and we’ll start addressing those as soon as we return from Thanksgiving Break.

After break, we’ll be doing some work with Middle Way House on building healthy relationships. This work will mostly explore power, violence, and how to set boundaries in relationships. We’ll also be talking about what healthy and unhealthy relationships can look like and feel like, and some ideas of how to help yourself/your friends if you find yourself in a dynamic that isn’t great. Kalei will be working on putting the curriculum together with Middle Way House folks too, so please email her with any specific questions.

Announcements

We are going on Thanksgiving Break! We will return to school on 11/27. Students may need to finish up book club work over the break, but there is otherwise no additional homework.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • How did you feel about the movie Wonder? What lessons did it teach/share?
  • How has learning about puberty been? What questions have you heard and/or asked that have surprised you?
  • What questions do you still have about the human body?

 

Some questions asked & answered during health/puberty work this week:

  • How do periods happen?
  • Do boys basically have periods?
  • Will tampons get stuck? How much do they hurt?
  • How frequent do ejaculations happen? At what age?
  • Is it ok to feel sad a lot of the time?
  • When does puberty usually end?
  • Why do people have stuff [discharge] in their underwear? How does that happen?
  • What do pubic hairs do?
  • Why do wet dreams happen?
  • How do body fat and age impact when you start puberty?
  • How do growing pains happen?
  • How can we notice these changes?
  • What is puberty?

 

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Newsletter 11 – 11/12/17

Weekly Highlights

This week in morning meeting we worked with the ideas of growth mindset. We talked about the windshield wiper method to de-stress. We imagined times that we get “stuck” and how these moments are like fog on a windshield. Eventually, the windshield is reducing our ability to see clearly and we have. We also talked about our current interests and hobbies – and reflected on those we’ve had in the past.

In readers workshop, we’ve been diagramming the plot of our books. We’ve been comparing conflicts/problems and breakthroughs as our stories move forward. Our read aloud Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere has been an incredible model of a plot where the character continues to be challenged and rarely experiences a breakthrough.

We began conversations in our classroom about gender and gender stereotypes. Soon into them, we discovered that students are very interested and curious about bodies – we’re hoping you respond to Mr. John’s email earlier about our plans to talk puberty this upcoming week.

Announcements

  • We are going to see “Wonder” on Friday. Please send in $6 for your child if you are able to. No child will be prevented from going based on an inability to pay.
  • We regularly use Google Classroom to send out assignments to students. If you have tech access at home, your child can show you how they log in by going to classroom.google.com and signing in with their @student.theprojectschool.org address.
  • The arts team has posted an update about 5/6. 
  • Art to Remember products online now include buttons, posters, and rulers
  • Repost of the snack schedule:

Last names Allen-Crouch – 8/14, 9/11, 10/23, 11/27
Last names Daniels-Lawson – 8/21, 9/18, 10/30, 12/4
Last names Leinenbach-Port – 8/28, 9/25, 11/6, 12/11
Last names Pulley-Wright 9/5, 10/2, 11/13, 12/18

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • Explain how the plot has looked in your book club book.
  • What is something you’ve gotten better at?
  • What stereotypes did you discuss in class?
  • How have you used Fresh Grade this year?
  • What new connections are you making?

Newsletter 10 – 11/5/17

Weekly Highlights

This week we worked on really moving up our responsibility. We had our first round of book club meetings that focused on inferring about who the characters are. Students met for 20-30 minutes once this past week and completed two written assignments about their book club reading.

We also started to move into some project work in our P3 unit about natural disasters. After putting final touches on research essays, students began to break into groups based on who may be more vulnerable in case of a storm or natural disaster. In small groups they discussed why some people may have more needs than others when a disaster strikes, and what might be done to address those needs.

Throughout the next few weeks, students will meet and do projects based on these vulnerable communities. We’ll have project time scheduled in a few times a week, and some students may also need/want to do work at home.

Announcements

  • As one P3 unit closes down, we begin another. Over the next two weeks before Thanksgiving break, we’ll be doing some work around gender in 5/6. During our P3 times we’ll be taking on questions like “What is gender?” and “What are stereotypes about gender?” This quick study will gently touch on media/advertising influence, and also help kiddos develop a more comprehensive understanding of what makes them – them! Following Thanksgiving break, our work will be a little more focused on bodies (and puberty!) but we will follow up with details on that soon.
  • We are so very excited to share with you the opportunity we have to take our 3-8th grade students to see the movie Wonder on Friday, November 17. This is a movie adaptation of the amazing book Wonder by RJ Palacio. The book and the movie fit so well with the work we do everyday at TPS. Many students have read this book themselves or had this book as a class read aloud at some point in the past few years. What is even more exciting is that we will be going on opening day and viewing the movie before any of the regular show times begin!
    The cost will be $6.00 per student.  Every child will attend the movie, regardless of ability to pay. If you can send an additional donation, beyond the cost of your child’s ticket, that will be greatly appreciated.
    There will be NO concessions offered at our special viewing. Please do not send additional money for snacks/concessions with your child.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • What have book clubs been like for you this round? How did your first discussion go?
  • What vulnerable population did you decide to focus on? What draws you to that group?
  • What have you learned about the natural disaster you studied?
  • You’ve been spending some time during dismissal playing the game “Rare Birds.” What has that been like?

Newsletter 9 – 10/30/17

Weekly Highlights

We have started a quick-turn-around research paper on natural disasters. Students are studying natural disasters that could impact Bloomington as well as who is most vulnerable in our community. We have been doing notes in our notebooks to capture important details.

We also began book clubs in our afternoons. Our book club theme is “The Storm Is Coming…” We began the week by talking about deadlines and our book club meetings. Each of the students in our class worked on a personalized schedule to meet the book club deadlines set by their group. We will have two homework assignments this week for readers to complete, one on the beginning of the plot and the other on character. In our writing about reading, we’ll be working on answers that show comprehension but also use our higher level thinking skills to cite evidence as we build inferences.

Announcements

  • Art to Remember is due on Wednesday – PLEASE send it back in ASAP!
  • Book Club work is the only homework (other than math) this week. Please know your child has time in class to complete this as well.
  • We are so very excited to share with you the opportunity we have to take our 3-8th grade students to see the movie Wonder on Friday, November 17. This is a movie adaptation of the amazing book Wonder by RJ Palacio. The book and the movie fit so well with the work we do everyday at TPS. Many students have read this book themselves or had this book as a class read aloud at some point in the past few years. What is even more exciting is that we will be going on opening day and viewing the movie before any of the regular show times begin!
    The cost will be $6.00 per student.  Every child will attend the movie, regardless of ability to pay. If you can send an additional donation, beyond the cost of your child’s ticket, that will be greatly appreciated.
    There will be NO concessions offered at our special viewing. Please do not send additional money for snacks/concessions with your child.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What natural disaster have you been studying? What do people need to be prepared for this kind of disaster? How does this disaster occur?
  • What are your first impressions of your book club book?
  • What’s something that friends and classmates have in common? What is something that is different about friends and classmates?

Newsletter 8 – 10/6/17

Weekly Highlights

It’s hard to believe we are already at the Fall Break mark!

This week, our class spent a lot of time focused on independent work stamina. We had several big assignments that students worked on – an on-demand revision in writing, a reading response for our first reading unit, and new book club choices. Students were so focused during these work sessions — we are definitely in the swing of things in workshops.

In P3 we worked on replicating and understanding more of what happened during Hurricane Katrina. Our read aloud, Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere follows a young girl in NoLa during the storm. In P3, we used stream tables to simulate the normal water cycle, a flood, and then our final experiment was to attempt to control a flood. Students designed levees, filtering systems, special housing, etc. to prevent homes and trees from being destroyed. Our read aloud is perfectly aligning to these experiments as our main character Armani has just been hit by the worst of the storm, her family currently seeking refuge in their attic.

 

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Announcements

Please check out a birthday invite from Weston here! 

We had a homework assignment due yesterday (October 5th, 2017). We did not send home anything for Fall Break! If you can help your child to find some reading time, we’d appreciate that greatly.

Please sign up for conferences if you haven’t already. Conference signups are live – you can find Mr. John’s (hopes) signup here and Ms. Kalei’s (dreams) signup here. Ms. Rebecca will be attending conferences from both lines.

Fresh Grade portfolios will be shared with you sometime during/ just after break. If you get a link inviting you to Fresh Grade – please don’t archive it, follow the link to see your child’s portfolio.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • How do hurricanes/floods/etc impact an environment?
  • What books are you interested in book club choices? (If you’d like to preview the books yourselves, you can have your kiddos show you their “classroom” on google and preview the pdfs)
  • What do you think you are doing really well with so far this school year?
  • What’s a goal you have for yourself after Fall Break?

Newsletter 7 – 10/1/17

Weekly Highlights

We were so happy to see many of our families at our Bradford Woods & Writing celebration on Monday. Thank you for joining us at Bryan Park for so much fun together.

This week we spent quite a bit of time with our new technology. We set up typing club accounts, worked a lot on FreshGrade, learned all about our new Google Classroom, and took on several independent technology work sessions. Students were quick to generate a list of “dos” and “don’ts” for tech use.

We are wrapping up our first reading unit, which was really building our reading stamina and focus, as well as pushing ourselves into the risk zone as readers. We are excited to move into our first round of book clubs very soon.

Habits have also been an underlying focus of the teaching team this week. We’ve been working with your children to make sure they are ready to go for each workshop, making efficient transitions, and remembering all the materials they need. We did a Multiple Intelligences inventory and will be using this data to make adjustments after Fall Break.

Announcements

  • Conference signups are live – you can find Mr. John’s (hopes) signup here and Ms. Kalei’s (dreams) signup here. Ms. Rebecca will be attending conferences from both lines.
  • We are asking for donations of books for our first round of book clubs. If you are able to purchase a book or two for us, or send us a gift card so that we are able to purchase books, please let Ms. Kalei (ksabaratnam@theprojectschool.org) know.
  • The snack schedule has been updated on the general info page, and copied below.

Last names Allen-Crouch – 8/14, 9/11, 10/23, 11/27
Last names Daniels-Lawson – 8/21, 9/18, 10/30, 12/4
Last names Leinenbach-Port – 8/28, 9/25, 11/6, 12/11
Last names Pulley-Wright 9/5, 10/2, 11/13, 12/18

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What did you think of the writing feedback your teachers gave you? What are your strengths and goals as a writer?
  • How did your first week with the Chromebooks go?
  • What connections did you see between the different experiences of hurricanes people have had over the past 10 years?

Newsletter 6 – 9/24/17

Weekly Highlights

This week we went to Bradford Woods! We had such a fun time with many many memories to share with you. Our trail groups focused on lessons around: benthic macro invertebrates, outdoor survival shelter/skills [including building a fire], nighttime adaptations of animals, how different rocks are formed, and how to leave no trace.

Another big part of our Bradford Woods experience was learning about YUK! — or food waste. Make sure to ask your child how their tables worked to reduce food waste in the dining hall.

We also spent a lot time thinking about connections – what the connections were between ourselves and our natural environment, the connections to the Bradford Woods staff, to TPS students, to our habits, etc. While incredibly exhausting, the experience left many students feeling different about the world than they did just three days before.

Announcements

  • We have been experiencing a lot of tardies in 5/6 – 19 children were tardy at least once in the last two weeks! Please make sure your child is here by 8:00am to get all the things done in the morning that help them prepare for the day.
  • Our Bradford Woods and Personal Narrative celebration is in Bryan Park tomorrow. Please see the letter pasted below for more details and what we need families to bring.
  • We will start using our new (!!!) Chromebooks this week. Kids are very excited about having 1:1 functional technology in our classroom.
  • Homework got passed out on Friday – it will be due on October 5th — the paper says September 8th, which would be a very difficult deadline to meet without a time machine.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • How did you feel about learning outdoors? What did you learn?
  • What kinds of creatures, trees, and ideas did you encounter while at Bradford Woods ?
  • Why does the presence of certain animals tell you about water quality?
  • What are helpful things for a camper to have if they are staying overnight outdoors for multiple days?
  • How do different animals adapt to night time?

Invitation to Celebration

Dear ⅚ families,

We are having a celebration at Bryan Park. This celebration is for our Bradfordwoods  trip and to celebrate our personal narrative writing pieces. Our celebration is this Monday, the 25th of September, between 6pm to 7:30pm.

You can stop by anytime in between 6pm and 7:30pm. We will meet on the big field on the south-west-side of the park.  At this celebration we will be playing Bradford Woods style Capture The Flag, having s’mores, singing songs from Bradford Woods, arts and crafts, and showing our Bradford Woods journal and our writing pieces.

If you have any of the following that you could bring Monday, please contact Ms.Kalei, Mr. John, or Ms. Rebecca. :

  • Fold out tables
  • Pop up tents
  • S’more roasting sticks
  • Chocolate (for s’mores)
  • Your child (you don’t have to contact ms.Kalei about this one)

If you come please make sure your child is wearing his/hers Bradfordwoods T-shirts.

From the ⅚ friends!