Newsletter 22 – 2/26/17


So much of our week was focused on our incredible show HONK! We were so excited to see you at the performances and are so grateful for your help in at-home rehearsals, costuming, and nerve calming.

The shows were so successful. In class, we spent a lot of time talking about how to be an audience, the work of being backstage and making sure you meet your cues, and how to improvise when you forget a line.

Other work for the week centered around some test-genre prep. We talked about how to answer most short-answer comprehension questions in anticipation of the ELA test. We also started to plan and work on essays in response to a passage.


This week we will begin ISTEP+ testing. There will be large group testing as well as small group accommodations. Kids that test with the big group will test on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning. We are in need of some supplies if you’re able to provide them for testing, including:

  • gum
  • mints (lifesavers, typically)
  • snacks
  • pencils (#2)

Please let us know if you have any questions about testing.

We are also preparing for our final project with the IU law students that have been coming to teach us about legal literacy. Our mock trials will be on April 7th. More information coming soon!

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • How did you feel about your performance in the show?
  • What did you notice in watching the other casts (5/6 and 4/5/6)?
  • How are you feeling about ISTEP testing coming up?
  • Did you make any progress on your fantasy story this week? If so, what?


Newsletter 21 – 2/20/17

Weekly Highlights

The week of the show is upon us! Please see below an additional copy of the costume letter in case it never made its way home to you these past few weeks. There are two performances – both on Thursday – for the Hopes line and the Dreams line. We can’t wait to see you then.

Last week did quite a bit of work with our annual genre-study for the ISTEP+ test. We have been talking a lot about the qualities of “exemplar” ISTEP responses. After reviewing some scored materials, kids generated a list of what they think makes up a good response in these types of situations. They – in smaller groups – read passages and answered some short questions.

In Writers Workshop we finished up our fantasy stories and have moved onto the next step in this genre study. We’re CO-WRITING pieces with partners in the class! On Friday, these new partnerships met and planned out a plot arc in which 2-3 characters are all responding differently to a problem or conflict.

We worked on finishing up a project in Readers Workshop – viewfinders through which we’re able to see multiple perspectives on a situation in our novels. We’ll be completing these this upcoming week.


ISTEP testing will start next week (2/27). During these weeks we need some extra supplies from home if you are able. We typically try to provide chewing gum, lifesavers mints, and good-erasered-pencils during the ISTEP testing days. If you’re able to provide these items (or anything else you may think is good) – let Ms. Kalei know!

HONK! Jr. is this week. We’ve been practicing oh so much and are excited to see the show come fully into being.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • How are you feeling about the upcoming show?
  • What were the multiple perspectives you represented in your reading project?
  • What story did you plan with your writing partner?

Costume Letter

February 4, 2017

Dear 5/6 Families,

On the back of this letter, you will find a costume breakdown for our HONK! musical theatre performance that is just two weeks away! If you are unable to locate an outfit for the show or have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me at All outfits may be worn with black pants if you are unable to find pants that match their shirt color.

Performances will be at the Ivy Tech/Waldron Auditorium on

Thursday, February 23rd
Mr. Jim’s HOPES cast will perform at 6pm
Ms. Kalei’s DREAMS cast will perform at 7:15pm

There are TWO separate casts performing. Students in the 6pm HOPES show should arrive at 5:45pm. Students in the 7:15pm DREAMS show should arrive NO EARLIER than 7pm, in order to not disturb the first performance. Parents are welcome to attend the dress rehearsals earlier that day, if they would like to see the other cast perform.  See you on February 23th!

Mr. Chris
TPS Performing Arts Specialist, K-8



*All outfits may be worn with black pants, if you are unable to find pants that match the shirt color.

**Ava, Nora & Katrina also need all-white (swan) outfits that can be worn under their gray one.

Ugly Duckling all gray
Ida Duck all brown
Drake Duck all light brown
Maureen Duck all brown
Turkey dark brown
Grace Duck all white
Henrietta Hen all orange
Ducklings all yellow
Jim & Jay Bird Reporters all blue w/ suit jacket
Cats all black
General Greylag Goose all gray and/or camoflage
Dot Goose all gray and/or camoflage
Military Geese all gray and/or camoflage
Bullfrogs all green
Swans all white


Newsletter 20 – 2/12/17

Voices of 5/6

Here is your Voice of 5/6 update.  A small group of students met during lunch on Friday to comment on the events of the week and share highlights with families. The contributors for this week are Sydney, Zadyn, Sam and Surya.

  • In writers we have been working on drafts for our first fantasy story.  Fantasy stories are based in real world.  Then the reality is twisted with fantastical elements that are beyond reality.  Writers often use people that they know as a base for their characters.  Writers give little hints about bigger things that happen at the end of the story.  The first story draft is due next Wednesday (2/15).
  • In Arts we are working on Honk set design, blocking the play and working on lines.  We have a lot of the set design done but we still have a lot to do.  Everyone should have their lines memorized by now.  Feel free to question your kids about their lines.
  • In Readers today we had our last meeting for book clubs.  We record what has happened in the meeting We start project work next week.  
  • We are learning outlining.  It is a skill we are practicing for for our testing genre.  We play “quick thinking” games and do 6 minute planning on writing prompts.  The prompts have been about Honk.
  • In Legal Literacy we have been talking about the Constitution.  Today we learned about the 14th Amendment and what it has to do with immigration.  We are going to be getting ready for the mock trial.
  • We have started using agenda books.  Not everyone likes the agenda books.  
  • On a 1-10 scale, the group thought this week was a 7.2.


Agenda books are up and running. Thank you for your support at home!

We added a new piece to our schedule – Perspectives Workshop. This week we listened and watched some pieces that were about food waste.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • How has working with the agenda book been a help or hinderance to your responsibility?
  • What is your fantasy piece about – what work have you been doing with showing, not just telling?
  • How has the process of developing outlines been?

Newsletter 19 – 2/5/17

Voices of 5/6

Here is your Voice of 5/6 update.  A small group of students met during lunch on Friday to comment on the events of the week and share highlights with families. The contributors for this week are AJ, Wade, Josie, Katie, and Tori.

  • We have started drafting our fantasy stories. We are using notebooks or tech to write.  We have been looking at different themes to use in our stories.  One writer is basing her story on the theme of “betrayal”.  
  • In P3 we are testing the sugar content of different foods using yeast.  This week we used different kinds of breakfast cereal.   We found that Fruit Loops bubble up a lot and smelled bad. Yeast reacts to sugar and Fruit Loops have lots of sugar.  We made graphs from all the class data.
  • In readers workshops we continued our book clubs on perspective.  We are focusing on the different perspectives of each character and how they connect to each other.  We planned when all the meetings would happen and what pages to read to.  We are doing this all on our own.
  • In arts we are continuing our work on HONK.  In visual arts we are doing set design.  We are working on clouds, rain drops and leaves.  In performing arts we practiced lines, songs and choreography.  Rehearsals are going really well. Most people know their lines.  The deadline for knowing lines is next Wednesday.
  • On Friday Steph taught us to think positively about ourselves and others.  This Friday she had us think about what we are grateful for.  


There is big news this week! And it comes in the form of AGENDA BOOKS! We’ve had a lot of talks this year about planning, organizing, and meeting deadlines. While some folks seem to be getting the hang of things, a majority of our class could really use a planning tool. On Monday, we plan to roll out a new structure – the use of a daily planner where kids record their assignments and keep track of them. We’ll be talking about these with kids on Monday!

The books look like the ones I’m binding below and you can see what the inside looks like – here is the pdf of the master document.

IMG_3737.jpeg IMG_4154.JPG

Every  morning, kids will have time to write in their assignments for reading, writing, math, and anything additional. They will definitely write in whole class homework and may write in upcoming workshop deadlines (i.e. finish lab report by Friday). There are additional measures of accountability that you or we may decide to use – there is a place for family initials if that becomes a helpful tool, there will be check-ins during dismissal time for kids that need the extra love to make sure they wrote down what they needed to, etc. There are also some goal-planning pages that we may use with kids in varying capacities.

IN other news… Snack! We are running low on snack so I’m posting the next few weeks below. We are in need of a break from goldfish – pretzels, crackers, produce (carrots, apples, bananas, clementines), string cheese, etc. are all welcome!

Week of 2/6, 3/6, 4/17 Families with the last names Ainslie-Daniels

Week of 2/13, 3/27, 4/24 Families with the last names Dimick-Jaynes

Week of 2/20, 4/3, 5/1 Families with the last names Kelley-Orth

Week of 2/27, 4/10, 5/8 Families with the last names  Osmon-Wisler

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • How did you feel about the lab assessment (last yeast experiment) on Friday?
  • What fantasy story are you writing? What’s the theme?
  • What have you learned about sugar?