Newsletter 25 – 3/11/16

Weekly Highlights

This week was so incredible! We met a rigorous writing deadline – all writers that were here all week finished a second story first-draft. We are so excited to have a revision unit coming up after break and have multiple pieces to choose from in publishing.

We finished up ISTEP+ testing this week – part one. Kids were so very excited to have accomplished these tests – but also – to lift the “be quiet in the halls” rule 🙂

Ms. Kalei’s math group has been working on an incredible ratio-based projects. She’ll be posting a separate piece about it at it’s conclusion.

This week we also discussed use of technology – instagram, snapchat, messages, google chat – in terms of our agreement “help build each other up.” Because of some recent relational aggression issues in our classroom, we really wanted to talk about how exclusitivy can be digital, too. In the same spirit as our current read aloud, The Misfits, we started a conversation around how to ask yourself if it’s necessary when a secret is shared, or a friend is pulled aside, or if a share involves an inside joke. Kids were really receptive to this conversation and several shared personal experiences with feeling excluded. We’re working on it. Below, I’ve pasted some pages (not all of them) from the recent chapter of The Misfits that relates, in case you’re interested in referencing conversations at home.

Please be sure to check the snack schedule during break. We are totally out of snacks, so anything you can send it would be appreciated. Thanks, thanks!

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Newsletter 24 – 3/4/16

Growth & Development Patterns

This week, I (Ms. Kalei), revisited an old friend – the book Yardsticks by Chip Wood. It often becomes a great reference for me around this point in the school year because it reminds me that sooo much of what we see in our classroom is totally and completely normal. Below I’ve included a few pictures that talk about common characteristics of 10, 11, and 12 year olds. Yardsticks is a book that goes farther in depth with explanation, and one of the key points is that kids have a “developmental age,” in addition to their “chronological age.” I hope that you find this information helpful and if you want more of it – I’d be happy to share my copy of the book, or even copy a section for you and send it home with your child.

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Weekly Highlights

LYLS was this week. Students were amazing and had great activities. During LYLS we learned a lot of interesting things like, power poses, how to tie a tie, dirt bikes, Dr. Who. Kids experienced several “how-tos.”

We are working on a new unit in P3. We watched a movie about the Middle Ages. Mr. Jim dressed up as serf. A serf is someone that works for the lord of the manor – we are studying hierarchies and power. We also worked with some nonfiction texts to compare elements from the past to the present. Soon, we’ll be focusing our study on just a few elements that emerge from student interests.

ISTEP testing has happened this week. The big group did ELA and Math. Most kids (if not absent or in small groups) have just one more test next week. Kids were incredibly positive and supportive of one another during all of the hard work.

When not testing, we read some really good books.

Some passions updates from kids…

  • In Harry Potter passions we received handcrafted wands by a local wood-smith, got sorted into houses, earned house points and did potions.
  • In TASK, we built civilizations with a sheriff, a jail, and several other elements
  • In dance passions, we got to do the Whip and Nae-Nae
  • In chemistry passions we worked with batteries and water – there was potential for fire – yikes! 🙂
  • In model making passions we have been learning things about making models, someone in our passions is creating the Wright Brothers’ plane out of toothpicks
  • In playground passions, we played football
  • In reading, writing, and drawing, we’ve been creating a board game

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • How did your LYLS presentation go?
  • How do you feel about taking the ISTEP?
  • What are you doing in new units (art, P3)?
  • What are you excited about for next week?