Newsletter 24 – 3/10/17

Weekly Highlights

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 Ava, Kaimi, Mark, Anen, Fallon and Keller.

This week we have continued planning for the mock trial.  During our planning we started developing questions for the trial.  The defense team and prosecution team worked separately.  We learned what questions should be asked when you are in a trial.

We finished ISTEP this week.  We are relieved.  

This week we worked on invitations.  We are working on the engagement part of invitations.  People are making food ads, public service announcements, slideshows and designing machines to make candy.  People are enjoying invitations and are learning a lot.  People are feeling excited about finishing their projects.

In writing we continued working on our multiple perspective fantasy story.  Today we decided to continue with our collaborative story or our individual story.  The partner stories were written in collaboration.  We decided which story to continue with after looking at some questions like “Which story is furthest along?  Which story will hold your attention?  Which story will others enjoy more?” After break we will revise and finish the story we picked.

In visual arts we are working on the A-Z books.  In performing arts we watched our video of HONK.  We have been performing music from other cultures.  We have been working on syncopation.

We have changed how we do Room Rescue.  We now have 5 “zones”.  Each day a team cleans their zone and then can get their backpacks.  The zones are Library, Sink, Doc Cam, IPAD and Lockers.  The group thinks this works better.  It makes people actually clean more.

This week we started to talk about people with disabilities for Disability Awareness Month.  We watched a TED talk about how people with disabilities can be objectified.  There are posters in the school.
In morning meeting we are sitting with different partners.  The purpose is to make new friends and make new friend groups.

One thing we discussed this week and will build on after break is the difference between entitlement and agency. In our community, we’ve been noticing a lot of moments where kids may think they are being advocates for their own needs, when in reality they are just not following directions. We talked as a community about some of the situations in which we see this dynamic arise. Some examples:

  • Direction: “Sit in crewlines” [i.e. assigned spots for lessons]
    • Entitlement: Sitting where ever you want
    • Agency: Trying the assigned spot, consulting with an adult to see if a change can be made because you have a specific reason you’d like to sit somewhere else
  • Direction: “Read independently”
    • Entitlement: Drawing, writing, or doing something other than reading because you either don’t want to read or want to do something else more
    • Agency: Asking individually if it’s okay to work on something other than reading because you have to get it done. An example of this may be asking to work on the fantasy writing pieces that have a loose-first-draft deadline of Friday.

We also talked about how peers can communicate with one another in helping to resolve these kinds of dynamics. So instead of saying “hey that’s entitlement,” helping peers to recognize their behavior but also redirect to what they should be doing. Room rescue was brought up as an example of a time when students are noticing others simply not doing the work, and discussed how alternatively, they can remind one another to do the work and perhaps introduce a specific task or idea. The goal here is not to let go of the overarching work, but to be mindful of this and take care of the immediate needs.

These articles are always good ones to reference around this time of the year for me, so perhaps you’ll find them helpful too:


We don’t need snack for a while! Thank you for sending it in.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What questions have been coming up for you in invitations?
  • How are the partners working for you in morning meeting? What new classmates have you learned about?
  • What are a wow and wonder you had after watching the “I Am Not Your Inspiration” Ted Talk?
  • What story are you choosing to work on after break?

Newsletter 23 – 3/6/17

Voices of 5/6

This week the Voice of 5/6 contributors are Kaden, Sydney, Zoey, Koral, Lucy and Surya.

In visual arts we are creating A-Z books on different topics.  We are finding words and making a design to represent each letter.  For example, if the topic were animals we could do D for Donkey and draw a donkey.  We are also making complex mazes.

In writers we have a deadline for a first draft for our partner stories.  Partner stories are fantasy stories about different creatures and lands.  We are working in pairs or groups.  Each writer has their own character.  We are writing the different perspectives of each character.

In ISTEP we finished the English/language arts and math.  Next week we will have science and social studies.

We started Invitations.  In Invitations we are researching a topic of our choice.  For example, “Food Advertisements” is one choice.  We choose something that interests us, we learn about the topic and we do a project.  We can suggest new topics.  Invitations are fun and interesting.

In performing arts we are working on singing the song “Away”.  We watched an interview with the choreographer from Moana.

At recess we have been playing Capture the Flag. CTF is a fun game to play at recess. About 20 people play CTF each day.


We will have whole group ISTEP testing tomorrow – doing the social studies & science test.

We DO have writing homework this week – kids are assigned to write a thank you letter to an adult in their lives.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • In writers workshop, you’ll soon choose which story to publish – your partner one or your individual one. What story do you think you’ll work on after spring break?
  • In Legal Literacy you’re planning for the upcoming mock trial (on April 7th) – are you on the prosecution or the defense? What do you think your arguments will be?
  • What invitation did you choose and why? What project are you thinking about doing?