Newsletter 12 – 11/28/16


Hope you had a lovely break!

Research, research, research – we are digging into our argument writing pieces by learning how to state a thesis and backing it up with related evidence and reasons. Filing through the notes we’ve taken, we’re trying to find compelling and interesting evidence for our readers. We are also taking on a research project as an end to our study of government and the election in P3. Students will have a variety of mediums to communicate a platform issue and how it is tied to the Constitution/Bill of Rights.


We will be seeing Oliver on December 22nd at the Buskirk Chumley! We are asking that families contribute $6.50 for this trip if they are able. No child will be prevented from going due to an inability to pay. If you are able to give more than $6.50 to fund another kiddo, please let us know!

Thursday, we’ll be starting a meditation series in our CPR groups. We’ll be using this information in our class to develop new strategies in stress and emotional validation/management. We’re also working on patience, flexibility, and compassion. We’ll be meeting several times a week for the next few weeks and then weekly after routines are established. Here is some information from yoga practitioner and 5/6 parent, Stephanie Dull:

Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, it can be helpful, but it can have harmful effects, if not properly cared for and understood. Children also experience stress and anxiety, they have big emotions, and their days have moments with the power to overwhelm them. They spend their day in school using their mind for challenging projects, resolving problems, and learning new skills. Teaching them how to manage the vast emotions and the stories they play in their head is a beneficial skill set. Meditation and deep breathing are two practices that can empower our children; they can learn that when they are upset, afraid, scared, nervous etc., there is contextual relevance for these emotions and how to manage these feelings. What we tell our brains to do, they will do. The result and the goal of meditation coupled with a contemplative breathing practice, is to have a tool to improve the neurological pathways in the brain, which creates mindfulness (recognized as the ability to know what’s happening in your head at any given moment)

In this series students will be given an overview of the Limbic System, and emotional processes. They will be taught breathing exercises along with guided meditations focused on gratitude, empathy, compassion, and awareness of the present moment. They will also learn ways to give their brain a break and how to recognize the sensations of stress and anxiety. The goal of this series is to promote peaceful mental well-being for our children.

My name is Steph Dull, I am the mother of 3 TPS children, and I am a 500 hr. I’m a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance, I have been teaching yoga since 2006 with over 5,000 hours of teaching. I have a B.S. in Behavioral Science along with an MBA. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at

Newsletter 11 – 11/11/16

Weekly Highlights

We really had a chance to dig into our CGTQ “Perspectives,” this week with all of our discussions on the election. We began to watch the film 1776 in P3, which has to do with the compromising and points of view in the development of the Declaration of Independence. It was fitting to see these dynamics in representative government play out while we were also building theories on what would happen to the “battleground states” during the election.

On Wednesday morning, after the results came in, we sat as a class in meeting and talked about what feelings we were experiencing in response to the President Elect Donald Trump. Students were so careful and non-judgmental with listening to the feelings of their classmates. Many points of view were expressed and much compassion and patience was exhibited. Later in the day, we had a chance to respond on Fresh Grade to the results, specifically in how the Electoral College and our simulation related to what actually happened!


The other big focus of our week has been on research in writers and readers time. Students are very excited to look more deeply into topics they feel passionate about – that begin with the question stem “should…” Some of their topics include:

  • Should schools have dress codes?
  • Should animals be tested on?
  • Should insect habitats be protected?
  • Should toys be segregated by gender?
  • Should gaming be considered a sport?
  • Should football be banned because of concussions?

We’ve been talking about student friendly resources to do research and also about how to determine key words in a search. A few photos of anchor charts are below for you to reference.

img_3622 img_3623


We are finally running low on snack. Please make sure you send it in if it is your week!

Next Tuesday we will be traveling to the library to see the 3/4 performance of The Lion King. This will happen around 10am.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • What is your topic in writers workshop?
  • How are you feeling about the election / election process / electoral college?
  • What new games have you been playing in morning meeting? Which ones do you like?
  • How were there different points of view this week in class?


Newsletter 10 – 11/4/16

Weekly Highlights

Getting work done has been the theme of this week! We tied up a lot of loose ends – our work with the 13 colonies, our silly stories, and our recent work with the Electoral College. Many folks in 5/6 have goals around responsibility, systems of organization, and taking initiative. We worked a lot on hustling to independent work and making sure your writing has quality. Make sure to connect with your child on what they were able to get done and what they learned about meeting deadlines.

We’ve been continuing with our body image work in Readers workshop. About half the class listened to a Ted Talk which you can find here, though it’s an edited and audio version of the original – sans some photos/language that seemed more mature.

We also had an amazing activity with Mr. Scott involving political platforms. Kids were asked to determine their opinions on ten major topics in the present election – but the opinions were unassociated with a candidate or party when kids read them. Later, he revealed which statement went with each party (generally). Check out your child’s reflection on Fresh Grade if you can – they were fascinated by the results as most of them were pretty spread out across the libertarian, green, democratic, and republican parties.


Reminder – snack schedule is on this page.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • What have you been learning about body image and advertising?
  • How is your group doing with the “Books and Beyond” books? What kind of book are you writing? What are your ideas?
    • What have you learned about Rwanda?
  • Tell me about Moment of Science (We’ve been including the WFIU podcast Moment of Science into our dismissal routine. You can find all the archived episodes here.)