Newsletter 2 – 8/23/14

Families, this week you may notice some change in voice in the newsletter. The blog committee has re-convened and so many of the entries below have been generated by students. When I (Ms. Kalei) write something on the blog, I’ll indicate so by italicizing my words. 


Welcome to our second week of school! We are all loving TPS, and hope to learn more about each other. We have been doing a lot of community building activities, and we are getting to know each other more everyday. This week we started Book Buddies, which is a really fun tradition in TPS. We pair up with K/1ers and read books together. If you would like to learn more about it, you can find out at the Book Buddies page.  We are also starting our Current Events lessons! This is a lesson we will have once a week where we learn about things that are happening in our world. We use Time Kids magazine and Discovery Kids magazine for our information.

Morning Meeting

Morning meeting has four parts. The first part is the greeting. The greetings this week are : spider on a mirror doing push ups(don’t ask),fireworks, and elbow. We also do an activity: these are games that make the morning fun and we did hot & cold  and coseeki master and snaggle doodle. 

Book Buddies

This friday we got our new Book buddies! Some of us went downstairs to K-1 to read,but some of us stayed up stairs and read. Some of our Book buddies cannot read so we are going to try and help them this year become better at sounding out words so by the end of the year they will be proficient readers. 

P3 Workshop

This week in P3 we did P3 read alouds. We read ,Brave Irene ,andThe Librarian of  Basra.We also worked on labeling nonfiction tubs in the library. Students are in the process of cataloging the nonfiction tubs in the library. We hope as they explore new tubs, they find new interests. 

Writers Workshop

In writers this week  we did  four corners ideas and annotations. Four corners is a lesson structure where students rotate through four teaching stations and learn something at each. Our four corners lessons were about generating ideas for personal narrative. One station was milestones, ouch stories, firsts, and lasts. Another was in the library and students looked at picture books to inspire their writing. Ms. Teena led a group where she showed images and photos. We also had a station that was about using your “favorites” to give ideas. Students are now in a process of annotating a big list generated by the four corners activity. Annotations are short entries designed to “test out” a topic before you really commit to it. Next week, students will be choosing an annotation and developing it into a full length story. 

Readers Workshop

This week in readers workshop we learned about these teaching  points: Readers read everyday to build up their stamina,Readers collect data on themselves to set reading goals,Readers in workshop are ready have productive conferences. Students are reading in any genre. 

Math Workshop

Ms. Kalei’s Math Group: In math this week we learned factors, arrays, and prime numbers. We learned how to multiply, and divide them. we made the factors out of all of the arrays. we also started to make our math agreements. We put all of it in our notebooks. Students also explored the commutative property and work to solve algebraic patterns. 

Mr. Jim’s Math Group: This week in math we focused on the 4 operations of math and we started our dot thing where we are starting to make 1s 10s 100s 1000s and 1,000,000s. We are also working on understanding the four operations. 

Ms. Pam’s Math Group: This week in Ms. Pam’s math group we have been working on a variety of things. We are doing some work with variables, formulas for repeating patterns, and a very long assessment.(It has 43 questions and 15 pages.) The assessment reviews a ton of math terms and topics, and it is to see what we need to work on. We did a probability game, and are currently working on an impossibly hard formula for a pattern.  If you have any questions, you can: ask your child if they are in this math group, comment on this blog, or email Ms. Pam at .

Ms. Kandi’s Math Group: In Math Workshop this week students used pattern blocks to measure the areas of various shapes.  They experienced how a change in the size of the unit of measure inversely affects the total measurement  – the bigger the unit of measure, the smaller the total area measurement and vice versa.  Given the relative sizes of our pattern blocks, these area investigations lead to practice of basic multiplication facts and some informal addition of fractions.  At the end of the week students reviewed what they have learned so far about area and used squares of different sizes to measure the areas of various rectangles.  This activity provided a bridge to the area model for multiplication and another look at the effects of changing the size of the unit of measure.

Visual Arts

This week in visual arts this week we have been doing our art to remember, where we have our full name or a family quote, then we pick a symbol or two that symbolises us as a unique person in our school. We just  have  decorated our paper to make it wonderful  for other people to dazzle at and think it is amazing! We have also been looking at new table spots to see who we work best with,we chose table spots by Miss Sara the bomb and teacher of art class had different color table bottle caps and we chose our bottle cap without looking and now we are with amazing people at our table spots, but just to be honest so you know we think everyone in the classroom including the teachers are so wonderful and they couldn’t be more amazing than they already are. We also have been being creative by drawing things in the shapes of circles that we think other people won’t think of, and we are doing a wonderful job at that!  

Performing Arts

Mr Chris is a very kind teacher who helps us when we get questions wrong and makes us feel very comfortable, and safe to say what you want to say. He also helps us get to have fun and get to do things we enjoy doing. We’ve been playing a game called Freeze And Justify. You can ask your child how to play. Mr.Chris is very generous and he gets musical instruments for us but have to follow his rule of No Gum in the Classroom.Mr.Chris also enjoys doing fun accents  so he makes us laugh a lot.He also just states funny sentences.

Pictures of our week:

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Newsletter 1 – 8/16/14

If you have any questions about what the workshops below are generally, please refer to our 4/5 “101” to read about general information! We will be posting photos with our newsletter once our photo permissions are in for the school year.

Morning Meeting

During morning meeting this week we learned the structure of a share. During share, students use one main idea and three supporting details to tell their classmates about a personal story or item. They can ask classmates to comment or question their share. We also introduced the greeting. The greeting is the part of morning meeting where we help everyone feel acknowledged and welcome. We asked students to greet a variety of peers, and “mix it up” as they settled into the morning meeting routines.

Snack Schedule

Week of 8/18 – Last names that begin with A-H
Week of 8/25 – Last names that begin with I-L
Week of 9/1 – Last names that begin with M-P
Week of 9/8 – Last names that begin with R-W

Community Development

As a community this week we spent time enjoying one another during outside games and whole class activities. We talked with students about their “safety,” “risk,” and “danger” zones, which help them navigate how they should feel challenged, but not unable to do something. We always start off the year with writing down our hopes and dreams for the school year. Using the mentor text Cloudette, students drafted and then finalized a social-emotional hope/dream (i.e. want to build new friendships) as well as an academic hope/dream (i.e. want to learn the periodic table). We worked to build our agreements, and a student suggested that we use the acronym T.R.U.S.T. which stands for Treat others well, show Respect, Use your talents and skills to help others, be Safe, Think before you speak. Students worked on art pieces to show the different classroom agreements.

P3 Workshop

This week in P3 we’ve been focusing on words that build our community. We read the books If Everybody Did. The Mermaid and the Shoe, Officer Buckle and Gloria, Phooey, and 999 Tadpoles . Each book had a word that we discussed in terms of our community: self-control, individual talents, joy, awareness, and cooperation respectively. We challenged students to list 50 things that bring them joy, which they got very excited about.

Writers Workshop

In writers workshop this week we did a writing survey. Students thought about what spots worked best for them to do their work (power spots). They also wrote their first piece of the year about something they did this summer.

Readers Workshop

In readers workshop this week we used picture books to learn about the tools of the readers workshop. Mr. Jim taught us how to use our readers notebook to note anything that strikes us in our books. We also learned about using post-it notes to mark pages where we notice something or see an illustration that stays with us. We learned where to write the teaching point (the objective of each individual lesson) in our readers notebooks. We also spent some valuable time building stamina with independent reading. We had hundreds of picture books in circulation throughout the week.

Math Workshop

This week in math we were put into tentative groups to work on building a math community and taking pre-assessments. Next week, we’ll lengthen our daily math time (to 1hr 15min) and begin to start our first units. Most students will know their yearlong math group sometime next week, and in next week’s newsletter, we’ll have updates about what each individual math group is doing.

Carnival Updates

Our class has been asked to help support our wonderful school by creating a “Family Game Night” themed basket (or two) to be auctioned at the upcoming TPS Carnival at Bryan Park on Saturday, September 6. In order to make this happen, we are asking each household to contribute an item that will help make our class basket marvelous! There is no specific monetary expectation for this contribution; please feel free to be as creative as you want and as generous as your budget allows. Some folks may want consider going in together with another household to make a purchase. In order to have time to arrange the baskets prior to the carnival, we are asking that contributions be sent to school no later than Friday, August 29. There will be a laundry basket available in the classroom for collecting items.

Questions to ask your child at home

  • What are your hopes/dreams for this school year?
  • What is a “crew line” ?
  • How did you build community this week?
  • What are the classroom agreements and how will you live up to/show/help others understand them?
  • How is your stamina in readers and writers workshop?