Newsletter 3 – 8/26/16

Weekly Highlights

This week we started our small group morning meetings modeled after the middle school version of Responsive Classroom. Circle of Power & Respect (CPR) happened three times this week with the hopes line and dreams line separately. Kids worked on eye contact in our greetings, we played some new games and we did a share/activity called Rare Birds. In Rare Birds, kids write down a little known fact about themselves which are shared one at a time with the group. Then, kids try to guess who the fact belongs to.

In writers workshop we developed some of our seed stories into a FLASH DRAFT – kids wrote a quick but full version of one of their ideas from all our pre-writing in personal narrative.

In P3, we are finally moving the furniture around. Our unit on arranging our classroom (literally) has asked kids to draw and then move furniture into a design that optimizes mobility, accessibility, zones (distinct spaces for different kinds of learning) and inspiration. We’ve made it through four designs, each of which was reflected on in a different way. We have five more designs to go and will use components from all of them to determine the final arrangement of the classroom.

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Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • Where are you in your reading path? Are you reaching your goals?
  • What images did you choose for your collaging project?
  • What story did you write as your flash draft?


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Newsletter 2 – 8/20/16

Weekly Highlights

A huge highlight of our week was the start of our READING PATHS! In Readers Workshop, we are taking on some rigorous work – setting two, three, or four book goals for the next four and a half weeks. Students spent Tuesday browsing, Wednesday describing the next few books they’ll read and why, and then Thursday and Friday mapping out their reading and doing independent reading. Half of this unit’s focus is on having kids identify a progression of texts that feels risky but gets increasingly more challenging to them. We had just a few requirements – that the books are fiction and have a character (the other half of the unit is character analysis), that the books are risky to the readers (but not too easy and not too hard), and that the books are interesting to the reader. All students have selected a set of books they’ll be reading, and they dove in on Friday to the work. Each kid also made an individual schedule based on when they know their busy of how many pages they’ll read each day. Make sure to check in with your child about the progress of their reading path, checking off the “did I meet my goal?” section each day will serve as reading homework for the next four weeks.

Another major piece we worked on this week were our personal narrative seed stories. We discussed how we can start writing a story in different ways and developed interesting leads. Writers are thinking about many, many stories from their lives and just doing a little bit of jotting about each one but not getting too hyperfocused on any one story just yet.

We also got more into our P3 unit on our classroom design. We talked about four things to think about when designing and arranging furniture in a classroom – accessibility, mobility, zones (meaning places to different kinds of things), and inspiration. In groups of 5-6 students worked together to create a design of the classroom furniture that they think meets these four criteria. For the next nine school days, we’ll try a different design each day and give multiple kinds of feedback to the design.


The pool party is this upcoming Friday – August 26th.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What books are on your reading path? Which book are you reading right now?
  • What is Number Corner?
  • What are the classroom agreements?

Newsletter 1 – 8/13/16

Dear Families,

Our 5/6 classroom is off to a FANTASTIC start. We typically focus on a few main components of our classroom week in our newsletters, as well as give you any need to knows and announcements for the week.

Much of the week had to do with building new partnerships. We talked with our rookies (new students) and vets (veterans) in the classroom about their differing roles in this first part of the year. We used a protocol called Clock Partners to identify many possible partners to work with. We did team building initiatives outside, a few are pictured below.


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We also started setting up some structures for the year. We discussed independent reading time, independent writing time, and got some work happening with our hopes and dreams for the school year. On Friday, we started building our agreements as a class.

Snack Schedule – The snack schedule will usually be posted here but I have it below for the next few rounds. If you are able to provide snack for our class, we ask you to bring in enough for the whole class (usually 3-5 packages of any given item) during the week with your last name. No student will miss or not receive snack based on their ability to bring it in.

Week of 8/15 Families with the last names Ainslie-Daniels

Week of 8/22 Families with the last names Dimick-Jaynes

Week of 8/29 Families with the last names Kelley-Orth

Week of 9/5 Families with the last names  Osmon-Wisler

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What are your academic and social hopes and dreams for the year?
  • How have you been participating in Morning Meeting (greeting, share, activity, message)?
  • What was your compass point (north, south, east, west)?