Newsletter 9 – 10/30/15


In CPR this week we were all together for most days. We’ve been talking about the needs of adolescents – hobbies, friends, and success in school.


This week we started our institutes in reading, writing, math, and community. Much like intensives, Institutes have an academic focus, but they are more project base and work more to address habits of a learner.


In health this week we talked about hormones and the endocrine system. We introduced the “question box” and are starting our conversations about more physical changes next week.


In readers workshop this week we ventured to the Monroe County Public Library! Students used the catalogs and fabulous staff to find books regarding their topics of interest.


We are still working on our personal narrative pieces. This week students submitted a mid-unit assessment – a piece they planned and worked on over three workshop sessions. Soon, we’ll be breaking into groups that focus on elaboration/structure or on narrative craft.


To wrap up our rivers study, students wrote feedback to each of their group members (in the form of strengths and goals). They’ll be sharing this feedback next week.

Jim and Kalei started meeting with students that did not attend their own goal setting conference to discuss their first trimester strengths and goals. Kids provided some input on their ideas.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What institute are you taking and what are you learning?
  • What topic/book did you summarize in readers workshop?
  • What personal narrative did you write?

Newsletter 8 – 10/23/15


This week we we had a lovely time getting back to work together. We spent our CPR time focusing on what motivates us. We listened to two excerpts from the Ted Radio Hour on The Meaning of Work. We discussed habits every 5/6 student should have as well as what motivates us to work. Students set a single work habits-based goal and jotted it in their notebooks.

We launched work with the app Fresh Grade. E-Portfolios have been launched on the student side and we will be helping kiddos update them with assignments that show their learning.

On Friday we went and saw Peabody: A Science Affair at the Waldron.

Writers Workshop

We are continuing to work on personal narratives. This week we talked about story arc and how to stretch moments in a piece. We listened to the story “B-Pocalypse” (lots of podcasts this week) to hear about how rising action can seem like the climax of a story. Students generated a plan for a personal narrative that they will follow up with next week.

Readers Workshop

In readers workshop this week we studied main idea in many ways. Working with small text sets, we did close reading and worked to find main idea. We discussed how main idea can vary and really it needs to be justified with evidence. One strategy we used was closing the book and seeing what you remembered generally from reading.

Current Events Work

We spent Friday morning discussing the recent incident outside the Sofra Cafe. We’ll be talking about it more and thinking through action we can propose school-wide.

Reminder of Upcoming Unit

Reminder to families to please email Ms. Kalei (if you have not already) that you received our message regarding our puberty unit…it’ll be starting next Wednesday.

Newsletter 7 – 10/2/15

Indigo Dyeing

This week we had parents Rowland & Chinami Ricketts come in to teach us how to dye indigo! You can see so many beautiful pictures and videos of this experience on our photos page.


We wrapped up project work. We’ll be doing a celebration in the weeks following break.

Readers Workshop

We worked on celebrating our reading path work and launched our new unit of Nonfiction!!

Arts Updates

Mr. Chris & Ms. Sara would like to invite all of our families to experience arts from the student perspective! They’ll be hosting a series of open houses for students and their families to attend. There will be a brief intro to the curriculum, with an opportunity for families to actually experience arts lessons together. There will also be time for questions. Each open house will be split into two “round robin” sessions, so that families get to experience both visual and performing arts.

During the fall semester, Arts Open Houses will be held for three of our classrooms. The remaining classrooms will have their Open Houses in the spring semester:

7/8 class
Thursday, October 22

Monday, October 26

5/6 class
Monday, October 26

Our hope is that our students in these specific grades will attend with their parents if at all possible. There will be childcare available for younger siblings during the open houses. More details about childcare and reserving childcare space will be available in upcoming days.

Ms. Kalei’s Math Group

Many families have been asking about math homework in conferences. Kids can use premium accounts on that they setup in math class. Specifically work with fractions, decimals, and percents will serve them well right now!

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What personal narratives have you been writing?
  • What math assessments have you done this year? How have you felt about them?
  • What do you hope you get to read about in your study of nonfiction?
  • How did you connect to or feel about the indigo dyeing?