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?

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