Newsletter 13 – 11/24/13


Isn’t it the same every week. This week is different, kinda different. We went to the 2/3 and 1/2/3 play. They were called Twinderella and Emperors New Clothes. Both were great! We are also starting new passions soon. I can’t wait. The most exciting thing though is THANKSGIVING BREAK!!!! I can’t wait I could use a break. Heres this weeks joke.


Q:What do you get when you cross a fish and an elephant?   (see answer at bottom of newsletter)


In writers workshop we studied capitalization with a familiar acronym MINTS (Months, I, Names, Titles, Start of sentences). We also had a student led lesson on run-on sentences. Students reviewed transition words to include when moving from paragraph to paragraph in essay writing. We will spend one more week typing in this genre and will end the unit a week after break.



In readers workshop, we are coming to a close on Historical Fiction. We plotted our books along a timeline, and talked about ‘milestone events’ in history. Students have an end-of-book page to complete, they should finish reading A historical fiction book by the time we return. Many students have read two or three choices already, and they can fill the paper out based on previous reading.


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Our P3 celebration was a grand success – we had councilman Steve Volan in to talk about recycling in Bloomington. Students also did a museum walk around the classroom and visited the work of others. Congrats! We also began our new unit on gender in the media. Students took a pre-assessment on Wednesday and spent the workshop time on Friday making collages to represent gender without using any faces. We had an incredible discussion about the origins of gender stereotypes.


In Mr. Jim’s math group, students wrapped up their work for this unit in a post-assessment. In Ms. Kalei & Ms. Pam’s group, students worked on converting measurements – adapting  a recipe serving size to 50!

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A:Swimming trunks

Kid Talk 11/20

So… Some new fads this week are..

  • Still, the Rainbow Loom Bracelets, but not as much…

Sadly, it seems like there are not many fads this week.

A new thing we are doing is GENDER STUDIES!!!!!!!!! everyone is super excited, including the beloved writer of featured section.

Newsletter 12 – 11/15/13


P3-a-palooza! We have been working tirelessly this week to complete our P3 projects. Students were responsible for a written piece as well as a visual/construction to represent their knowledge around the origins of climate change. We have public awareness posters, videos, letters to city council, and everything in between. During our writers workshop time we’ve been putting the finishing touches on our written pieces – which specifically address the relationship between climate change, student topics, and origins. We’ll be celebrating our work on Monday around 9:30, taking the form of a museum walk and small group share.

This week has been the same as usual but thats not what i’m supposed to be focusing on. This week we made Morning Meeting spots so we can grow as a community. Thats really it for this week.

Heres a riddle:

Q:Two children were born on the same day with the same mother but they were not twins. How is this possible?

Readers Workshop

Because of our commitment to quality of good work in P3, readers took the form of mini-book club meetings, students continued to read independently. Some students are finishing up their first or second novel and are moving on, while others continue to make connections and inferences to their first text.

Math Workshop

In Mr. Jim’s math group we did fractions, division, and problem solving. Students used diagrams of egg cartons as well as linear tiles to model equivalency. Mr. Bryan’s group worked on reading bar and pictographs. In Ms. Kalei’s group, we took a post-assessment on multi-digit multiplication & division story problems, and a letter is coming home about our upcoming unit on division and fractions. Ms. Pam’s group is measuring the area of the hallway carpet – dealing with the nooks, crannies, and curvilinear parts of the 2nd floor.

Morning Meeting Updates

Our morning time helps build community and stick to our agreements – checking in with greeting, share, activity, and message. Lately, we’ve danced away from our community norms and so the teachers have decided to assign morning meeting spots. As we get back to mutual respect and mindfulness, we will choose seats again – in the meantime, we will learn new facts about new friends.

A:They are triplets!

Newsletter 11 – 11/10/13


In Mr. Jim’s math group this week, we were building fractions and looking at equivalent fractions. We explored different methods of solving division problems. In Ms. Kalei’s group we did group presentations on several different multiplication strategies.


In writers workshop we finished off our work on examples, we learned about using anecdotes, historical references, and literary references to bolster and support our reasons. Students experimented with several interesting prompts – “Is it necessary for people to combine their efforts with others in order to be most effective?”


In historical fiction we are exploring the question “What historical problem is your character facing?” and asking students to support their answers with evidence from the text. They have had a few mini-conversations with folks in their same reading groups. Some readers have moved onto a second historical book and we are excited for everyone to explore choices throughout this unit.


Our big BIG work right now is in P3. We are pulling together our projects. This week, Mr. Jim explained the requirements of the written piece for P3, making a four-six paragraph paper that explores how our through lines relate to  climate change. As students start to turn their hard work into writing, we will be using our visual arts time to prepare our visual and constructive projects. Our “due date” for this unit is going to be on Friday, November 15th.

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Newsletter 10 – 11/3/13


Mix it up day! On October 29, 2013, students were asked to “mix it up” at lunch and sit with someone they never have before. The 2/3 class put together questions for students to use as conversation starters, and many 4/5 students that participated came away from the experience with a new friend.

Readers Workshop

In readers workshop, we have begun our study of Historical Fiction. Many students are in book clubs for this unit. Some of the texts featured include: The War Within, Riding Freedom, Esperanza Rising, Sign of the Beaver, Summer of My German Soldier, Bud, Not Buddy, Watsons Go to Birmingham, & the Diary of Anne Frank. Many small literacy groups also started this week with Ms. Pam and Mr. Mike.

Writers Workshop

In writers workshop we are having many heated debates on a range of philosophical topics. Mr. Jim introduced several prompts this week that pushed our thinking (example: Is it better to be unique or to fit in?). Students are having some tricky times focusing on one side of the argument.

P3 Workshop

In P3, we are still in our research phase. We have about 17 research groups in the classroom, and groups are answering a set of essential questions. We will start our written pieces next week and then our constructions/visual pieces will be the toward the end of this/the following week.

Math Workshop

In Ms. Kalei’s math group we learned the standard multiplication algorithm. Students are starting group projects to represent the 3-5 major methods they have learned to do multidigit multiplication.

In Mr. Jim’s group we finished our unit on multiplication and began working with fractions and division. Students used geo-boards to discover the many ways to create 1/2.


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