Newsletter 34 – 5/28/16

Weekly Highlights

This week we had so much fun and so much work. Students are really hustling to finish up their visual arts pieces, which will be hung in a show in about 10 days!

We also started working on our MAW exhibits, breaking into subcommittees, and reflecting on struggle and progress. There are some big ideas out there, and our steering committee has been meeting during lunch daily to help bring consistency to each of the 10 exhibit groups.

In Biography, we’ve moved onto the writing of the piece. Our deadline will be this Thursday, June 2nd. We’ll have pretty long work sessions Tuesday/Wednesday. Biography won’t have it’s own publishing party but will be a display at the MAW!


Reminder that we need to know if your child needs a sack lunch for either Field Day (6/2) or our trip to the Children’s Museum (6/9). We also are still collecting money for our museum trip – no one will be prevented from going based on an inability to pay.

Class pictures will be this Wednesday (6/1) in the afternoon.

We do NOT have school on Monday.


Newsletter 33 – 5/22/16

Dear Families,

It’s been quite a week. And we’re definitely getting to that time of the year where deadlines are frequent and time is limited. We have a tentative calendar below of upcoming dates and important information.

We’ve been really focusing our study of biography on the writing piece. We’re thinking about how to tie information we gather to the larger theme of the “changemaker” unit. We are using a structure called “what?-so what?” in which kids think about why the notes they’ve taken are important.

We’re also starting work on our Museum of Authentic Work (MAW) and have formed sub-committees. We listed which units were most significant and students filled out applications. Some will be on two committees because they applied for the “steering committee” which oversees the MAW and makes sure the whole 5/6 classroom is streamlined. Kids will do some planning this upcoming week on their exhibits. Our trip to the children’s museum will be informative as a capstone to the creation of our MAW. Reminder that we are accepting $6 from families to help offset the cost of the bus, but that no one will be prevented from going based on an inability to pay.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
23 24 25 26 27
No School – Conference Day
No School – Memorial Day
31 1 2

Field Day

6 7 8 9
Children’s Museum
13 14

Last Day!


Newsletter 32 – 5/14/16

Weekly Highlights

This week we did a round of NWEA testing – the assessment that shows student progress over time. It’s a responsive test, and kids in 5/6 really took their time and were careful with the questions. Hopefully, the conclusion of NWEA finishes off all our testing for this school year!!!

We did quite a bit of reflection work this week in anticipation of our end of year conferences and our MAW. We’ll be including some student contributions to the conference notes based on an online survey kids completed in class.

We started a new project in Performing Arts called the Integrity Song Project. In groups of 3-4, kids are writing new lyrics to an original or existing song that handle and treat the concept of integrity. We’ve already seen some amazing creative genius come out of the few days we’ve been working. Some questions you can ask to follow up with the project at home are: What is integrity? Why is it important? How can you show/model/have integrity?


As we mentioned earlier in the week, we are planning a trip to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis (we still haven’t told the whole class yet!). We are collecting a small fee of $6.00 – though all students will go regardless of ability to pay. You can send in money any time, the trip will be on June 9th.

We are starting up conferences next week. We’ve heard from so many of you (thank you!) and know we’ll hear from the rest soon. If you haven’t scheduled a conference, please contact Mr. Jim or Ms. Kalei.

Newsletter 31 – 5/10/16

Weekly Highlights

Families, sorry for the delay in the newsletter! Hoping you had a great weekend.

The big news of last week is that we launched our Biography unit. Students have been working to define what a changemaker is, did a tea party and book buffet to meet a bunch of activists and historical figures, and went to the library to pick out books on who they’ll research for the next several weeks.

We also had a publishing party to celebrate the writing we’ve been working on for two months! Students read one another’s work for almost an hour, and then did an appreciation circle. We are amazed with their stamina and endurance on these pieces.


We are beginning NWEA testing this week!

We are planning on a trip to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis on June 9th. Kids do not know about the trip just yet, but we will start accepting $6.00 per child to offset the cost of the bus. No child will be prevented from going based on this fee and if you are able to donate money for more than just your student – we greatly appreciate it. Since the trip is right before the MAW, we’ll likely be looking at how museum displays are accessible and interactive, and use the information we gather to put on our best MAW yet 🙂 More details to come.

We are also starting Spring Conference sign-ups. Jim and Kalei will both send home a hard copy letter and email you with their schedules.

Newsletter 30 – 4/29/16

Weekly Highlights

This week we finished up our writing unit on revision. Students needed to have pieces in by Friday, though we know a few will still be coming in this week due to absence. We will celebrate this writing on Friday at 8:45am if you would like to come in!

We also worked on wrapping up our Medieval unit which Mr. Jim sent an email home about over the weekend. Students worked on brainstorming an action based on a current event or problem.

The other work of the week was around agreements and making our community stronger. As a whole class, we brainstormed challenges we are facing as far as agreements, accountability, and classroom structures with literacy, cpr, dismissal, and room rescue. We came up with several actions based on student responses including fewer/no take a breaks, rather different kinds of reminders that help student understanding, combining reading and writing into one block, and signing up for class jobs rather than having them assigned.

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In anticipation of our upcoming Biography unit, we will be traveling to the library on Thursday (hopes) and Friday (dreams) of this week.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • How did it feel to take the reading assessment on your book club book? Did you have trouble with any of the ideas (symbolism, author’s message, power, etc.)?
  • What changes did you advocate for in the small group meetings you had about changing the agreements, class schedule, and how you hold one another accountable?
  • How are you feeling about being DONE with your writing piece ?