Newsletter 32 – 5/10/14


Istep is over and school still isn’t back to normal. We are all doing math together due to the fact that Ms.Pam and Mr.Bryan are helping with make up tests. If you want to hear what we did for math, read the math section! This week we had two major discussions, the first on the difference in ‘big bullying’ and ‘little bullying.’ We discussed the fairly consistent presence of ‘little bullying’ behaviors (and relational aggression) in our community. Using the book My Secret Bully as a guide to our conversation, we talked about what little bullying looks like and how we can change it. We had a class meeting about this problem and students considered how they would change their individual actions to not be a perpetrator, victim, or bystander when it comes to little bullying. 

Another piece to our community this week was our discussion of diversity in books. Inspired by the #weneediversebooks campaign, we’ve looked into our own personal bibliographies and libraries and discussed how and why we represent diversity. Students pointed out different kind of diversity: disability/ability, lesbian & gay, race, religion, appearance, age, and gender. Please look at the ‘questions to ask your child’ to help support this discussion at home. If you are interested in helping our classroom library diversify, Ms. Kalei has started a list on google docs of books we’d like to buy for our library. We also want to know what books you and your child have read and consider to represent diversity of experience. This discussion will continue throughout our last few weeks together.

Readers Workshop

In readers workshop, we have started our book clubs. Book club schedules can be found here.  If you are not sure what book club your child is in or your child is in LLI, you can email Ms. Kalei to find out what their specific requirements are. We are employing critical literacy work in this round of book clubs. Our first meeting centered around multiple perspectives. Our next meetings will center around power dynamics. We’ve been using The Sneetches as a mentor text to discuss power and perspective. 

Writers Workshop

In writers this week we are working on publishing our fantasy pieces. We are finishing rough drafts in our notebooks, and sometimes reading them with a partner. Don’t forget to check in with a teacher and maybe even a student to proofread before moving on to loose leaf! In visual arts class we are also making covers and maps for our stories. Many of the covers are very interesting and make you want to read the book. We have very artistic students. The covers are very unique, colorful, and carefully done. Some students may be working on these writing pieces over the weekend. Any student working on typing or looseleaf as homework needs to be sure to check in a teacher first – we want to give any revisions before final copies are started. To review the expectations of the piece, please consult our rubric.  Our deadline for these pieces is WEDNESDAY MAY 14, 2014!

Math Workshop

In math this week, we had four whole class sessions and one session in math groups. Mr. Jim presented students with the problem: How many blades of grass are in an acre? With some information (like square feet in an acre), students had to come up with a plan and set of calculations to determine their solution. We spent time in the park, counting square inches and square feet of grass. Students that counted blades of grass in a square inch averaged around 60 blades of grass, those that counted square feet found about 200. We considered that the square inch was more representative of actual measurement because it was so specific. We also played a word problem game. We’ll have regular math updates for you starting next week!


In P3, 4/5 has been continuing with their science unit. We started doing little section on bones and why we and other animals need them. We also watched a Brainpop  and a Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Questions to Ask Your Child

  • What is diversity?
  • Why do we need diverse books?
  • What are ‘little bullying’ and ‘big bullying’? How do they impact your schoolday?
  • What is an event from (your week/your book/today) that we can consider from multiple perspectives?
  • In __ situation, who has power?

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