Newsletter 23 – 2/27/16

Weekly Highlights

This week we did a lot of different kinds of genre prep for our upcoming ISTEP. In reading, we did some work on reading the question and trying to answer it before looking at the multiple choice answers, we restated the question, and we re-employed our “no-maybe” strategy.

We had a guest teacher (a parent!) come in and teach us how to do some graphic organizing work with our current read aloud The Misfits. Students picked one of a huge menu of options in organizing their thinking around this very, complicated novel.

We also did a TON of prep for our LYLS project – students finalized visual pieces, rehearsed for one another, practiced with Mr. Chris after watching a Ted Talk (about giving Ted Talks), and created active engagement pieces for participants.

Previews for Next Week

LYLS is tomorrow! We will have about 30 7/8 students at any given point attending workshops, in addition to our own students. For the keynote presentations, the 3/4/5 class will be attending. Woohoo! The schedule (by “school of thought”) is pasted below. Your child should be able to tell you what part of the day they’re presenting in, but if you have questions – you can email us. There are a few kids that need soccer balls, footballs, rubiks cubes, and tennis balls for their presentations. If you have any to let us borrow – please send them in tomorrow with your names written on the item. 

  • 8-8:30 – Whole Class Meeting
  • 8:30-9 – Natural Science Workshops
  • 9-9:30 – Critical Social Inquiry Workshops
  • 9:30-10 – Humanities and Culture Workshops
  • 10-10:30-Cognitive Science Workshops
  • 10:30-11:30 – Math
  • 11:30-12:30 – Lunch/Recess & Lunch/Recess Workshops
  • 12:30-1:10- Keynotes
  • 1:10-1:40 – Interdisciplinary Arts Workshops
  • 1:40-2:30 – Reflection & Clean Up
  • 2:30-3:10 – Passions

ISTEP testing begins tomorrow as well. While the larger group of 5/6 will not be testing tomorrow, small group accommodations will be happening in/throughout the building for the next two weeks. On Tuesday, we will be doing practice tests, and on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, we’ll be testing our big group. Next week, we’ll do the science and social studies test.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What are you most excited about with LYLS?
  • What will your second narrative piece be about? Have you planned it?
  • Which character do you think is most interesting in The Misfits? Why?

Newsletter 21 – 2/22/16

Weekly Highlights

The big work of the week was LYLS! We worked on refining our teaching points and planning our visual drafts. We also handed out a plan for the active engagement that was due today (Monday) that helped kids focus the activity component of their lesson. We also worked on writing up blurbs as some other classes will be attending LYLS workshops.

In writers workshop, we finished up our narrative writing pieces (the first drafts!). We learned about endings by watching highlights from a few music videos. Kids decided if they wanted a circular, emotional, or surprise ending.

In current events, we read a few articles about the primary elections and the death of Antonin Scalia. We talked about separating ideas in an article – important ideas and interesting ideas. We highlighted to code our ideas.


Homework for this week is to rehearse the presentation for LYLS. Kids need a signature on a paper we sent home. 

ISTEP Starting!

ISTEP starts next week on Tuesday in the 5/6 classroom. We will send more specific scheduling information in our next newsletter.

Newsletter 20 – 2/13/16

Weekly Highlights

We finished up our Rwanda books this week. Kids have been doing incredible group work. Some photos are posted here. 

In writers workshop we talked a lot about sequence in story. Three ways writers sequence is…

  • Shifting mood
  • Using paragraphs to move forward (we have a chart in the room on when to change paragraphs)
  • Using transition words like…”little did I know…” and “suddenly…”

In readers workshop, we are doing some short-story analysis. We are focusing on asking common questions about a text. We did a little bit of title analysis .


Snack schedule can be viewed here. 

Homework will actually, hopefully, be coming home this week for LYLS work. We are going to have kids work on their visual pieces in class for some bits of time next week. They’ll need to start rehearsing what they will say in their presentation. Details about LYLS and scheduling will be forthcoming.

Conferences will be ON for Monday even if weather is yucky. Please let Jim and Kalei know if you will NOT be able to make your conference.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What are your teaching points for LYLS?
  • How are you using Fresh Grade in CPR?
  • What has been happening in The Misfits?
  • How did your group collaborate successfully for the Rwanda project?

Newsletter 19 – 2/6/16

Weekly Highlights

We spent time in P3 affinity mapping the characteristics of a sixth grade graduate. Students reflected on where they are in relationship to the five characteristics most essential to them.

We are finishing up our books to be sent to a primary school in Rwanda. Mr. Jim sent an email about the release form coming home!

We started to work on LYLS proposals. Students worked on filling out an initial workshop proposal (mostly in class) and brought it for a feedback session on Friday morning. Next week, homework will consist of re-working this presentation based on the feedback teachers give over the weekend. You can find a copy of what kids filled out last week here. We may add additional prompts to homework for this upcoming week based on what we read. Kids are working to include all the parts of a typical mini-lesson, though they are able to specify length. Some groups also specified preference of how many people would be in their workshop.

Kids working on book clubs have finished up their study! We are going to be working on a unit that focuses on close reading of short stories next.

Remember – kids can access typing club to practice typing at home! If you have questions on how to access typing club, please let Kalei know.


Jump n’ Jive Juliet DVDS

DVDs from the 5/6 play are on sale in the front office. They cost $15.00 and include both performances.

Monroe County Energy Challenge 

The 3/4 class has been working on an energy unit in P3 to identify our energy usage at school and find ways to reduce our usage. They have decided to take this work out to our homes as well. One of the resources our students are using is the information from the Monroe County Energy Challenge (MCEC).

The Monroe County Energy Challenge (MCEC) is a broad coalition of community organizations collaborating to reduce energy use in Monroe County, Indiana. MCEC was created in response to the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a nationwide, two-year energy savings competition. MCEC is one of 50 communities competing to see who can reduce their electricity and natural gas use the most during the 2015-2016 competition period, by using innovative, broad-reaching methods. The winning community will receive $5 million in prize money to further promote energy efficiency projects in the community!

They would like to hold a family information night about energy usage and what you can do at home to help reduce your energy consumption.  Members of the MCEC committee will come into our school to help educate our families.  If you are interested in coming to this informational meeting please fill out the following survey.  Free weatherization kits will be given out at the meeting for those who attend. (while supplies last!)

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 1st from 5:30 – 6:30.  You do not have to attend the whole time.  Just pop in and learn what you can do to help our environment and the challenge!