Newsletter 29 – 4/25/16

Weekly Highlights

Though we spent some mornings this week doing ISTEP+ testing online, it certainly wasn’t the focus of our week. We started new project work in P3. We are studying contemporary issues and comparing them with issues in the past. We’ve loosely categorized them into four groups – conflict/war, power/privilege, disease/health, and economics.

In writers workshop, we’ve finished up all of our revision strategies and are moving onto our last stage of this process before we PUBLISH! These pieces have been under our fingers for two months and we are excited to see the final drafts.

In our community, we’ve been noticing that it might be time to re-consider our classroom agreements. After all, we started as incoming 5th and 6th graders and we now have almost 6th & 7th graders (ahh!). On Friday, we met in CPR groups to think about the following questions:

  • Do our current agreements still serve us? If no, which ones should be changed/altered/eliminated? What agreements?
  • How could our structures adapt as we mature? For example, should our workshops be more blended (Readers/Writers)? Dismissal? Room Rescue? CPR? Stations?
  • How do we (peer-to-peer) hold each other accountable when the agreements aren’t followed?

The conversation was insightful and we are excited to implement some of the suggestions. One piece that came up was to have more field trips as we approach the end of the year (let us know if you have ideas – local is preferable). We are also going to blend readers and writers workshop work as we move into our next unit – Biography! A lasting suggestion was that maybe we have trouble holding each other accountable because we don’t trust the integrity of our peers ¬†and we should do a more focused study on integrity. Woohoo!

Announcements

Not sure if any of you are big This American Life listeners, but Ms. Kalei was listening to this episode on Middle School last week and felt some connections. It isn’t necessarily kid-appropriate, but you may find some of the content interesting or helpful.

As we near the end of the year, we are running through all of the supplies you sent in in August. If you are able to – we are in need of invisible tape, post-its, and kleenex.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What do you think about the classroom agreements – do they need to change?
  • What are you thinking about the read aloud The Giver? How are you seeing it connect to the “real” world?
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