Newsletter 6 – 9/26/15

Readers Workshop

This week in readers workshop we finished our final text tool (A-ha! moments) and prepped for our reading celebration. Readers will browse a book museum to celebrate our six week study of rigor and independence!

Writers Workshop

This week we launched PERSONAL NARRATIVE! We studied qualities of personal narrative (first person, true, important) and worked to increase our productivity in a writing session.


This week we focused on health and nutrition. We used a food journal to track our eating and discussed proportions/the food pyramid.

Indigo Dyeing

Next Wednesday, we will have Associate Professor and Parent Rowland Ricketts coming in to teach us about dying with indigo. He will be taking half the class at a time to work on this project. Kids will need latex/latex alternative gloves if they do not want their hands blue – so any donations are much appreciated. If you would like to come in and help us out, we welcome volunteers that have completed our volunteer background check! Also – if anyone has extra 5-gallon buckets for this experience, we would appreciate you bringing them in. Email (Rowland) if you can volunteer any time between 8-10:30 on Wednesday.


We are finishing up our P3 work! Students finished written statements on their topics this week and started to model their problems in the stream table.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home?

  • What makes a healthy meal?
  • Describe simple subject and complete subject (this concept is still new to many kids).
  • What ideas do you have for personal narrative?
  • How is your P3 work going?

Newsletter 5 – 9/20/15


This week we spent time taking our growth-based online assessment NWEA. Students took their time, and most got through two assessments.

We finished our writing unit on elaboration, leads, and paragraphs. On Friday, we celebrated this launching writers workshop work with an authors chair. Students gave warm feedback to one another.

Our theme of CPR last week (and this next week) was Fitness! We spent time calculating our heart rate, talking about rigorous exercise and lighter exercise. We discussed the course of a good workout. Next week, we’ll take on more student-led workouts as we continue this work.

Students signed up for passions. We will begin our “intensives” work a week after fall break ends. We’ll give you more updates about how the structure of intensives will be changing as we near that time.


In readers workshop, we are finishing up our Building a Reading Life unit. Most students are finishing their second or third book on their reading path. Their deadline to have read at least two books that challenged them, pushed them, and inspired them is September 25th. We will have a book museum on the 25th so students can note and notice one another’s progress and ideas.

P3 Projects

We launched the projects for our first P3 unit on rivers. The problems: wetland depletion, water distribution, and pollutants. Students are researching these issues and will be responsible for generating a written piece with their group members. They will be creating a model of these problems in a stream table and eventually working to find a solution.


We are getting reading for our first trimester conferences. Mr. Jim’s line was sent home with a letter to indicate conference preference times. You can write back to him or email him with your preferences. Ms. Kalei is asking that families look at this document and email her your top three choices.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What P3 project are you taking on? What is your group learning?
  • What did you learn about fitness this week in P3?
  • How do you feel about your NWEA?

Newsletter 4 – 9/4/15

Committees have started! The blog committee met for the first time on Friday, and we are starting the student/teacher collaboration out right. Italicized text is written by Ms. Kalei, and everything else is student voice.


This week students went to Field Day at Ms. Sara’s farm! We had a treacherous hike, a session of fort building, and a fabulous game of instincts. Kids certainly enjoyed this 11th field day at Yard Dog Farm. 

We also spent time this week talking about independence and agency. We are working to build the skills of asking peers before adults when the question is quick/logistical, trying to solve problems for ourselves, and thinking of alternatives to a situation on our own. 

We finished our read aloud of El Deafo this week. We had a lot of empathy for main character Cece, as she dealt with the pressures of being 11 on top of having hearing loss. 

Next week we will travel to Bradford Woods. Students will be at TPS on Tuesday for “normal” school, but the rest of our week looks very different. If you have any last minute Bradford Woods questions, please email us over the weekend.

Do you know about our homework page? It exists.  We will be updating it regularly so you can find assignments here for writing.


In CPR this week we talked about hurricane Katrina and listened to interviews of people who witnessed it. We listened to StoryCorps and This American Life and talked with people who were affected by the Hurricane. Students shared their wows and wonders. 

Readers Workshop

What we did this week we are working on our reading path books that we chose three weeks ago. This is what we have been doing for the past week and most people (notice I say most!) are on their 2nd or 3rd book on their path. So this is the idea for this unit of reading. The whole idea is to finish books and then find new ones to read. This week we started work with “signposts and text tools” for fiction reading. We talked about memory moments and used a short story from the anthology 13 to practice finding these moments. 

Writers Workshop 

In writers this week we learned more about elaborations. We talked about how to add in extra information in our writing by putting details in between existing sentences. We are also working on paragraphing and making sure we transition into the next paragraph at times that engage and help the reader.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What did you do for Morning Work this week?
  • What social risks did you take at Field Day?
  • What stories did you hear in CPR about Katrina?
  • Where are you in your reading path?