Newsletter 16 – 12/17/18

Weekly Highlights

Last week we spent a lot of time reading nonfiction pieces about genetics-related issues. We read about Dolly the Sheep and about GMOs in our food. In writers workshop we looked for the structure of topic sentence/supporting detail to build greater awareness in our own paragraph writing.

Connected to this reading/writing work, we have been going in depth with genetics in our science studies. This week we wrapped up work with Punnett Squares, watched a related episode of the Magic School Bus (they travel on the CRISPR express!), and watched the beginning of a NOVA documentary on identical twins.

In Reader’s Workshop, we’ve begun to read aloud The Giver. If you haven’t read it, it’s an amazing book that talks about a utopia/dystopia. Students are already making connections to the society the main character lives in, and the many rules, boundaries, limits, etc. that he encounters. We are talking a lot about using literal text to make inferences, and students have been writing down inferences they have in their own independent reading books. We are taking weekly (ish) trips to the library to continue to make sure kids are reading books of great interest and great challenge.


  • For homework this week, students will be given a choice between working for 30 minutes outside of class on their creative writing pieces OR writing a kindness letter to someone in the school. Homework will be due on Thursday!
  • The whole school will be going to see Cardinal Stage’s production of Beauty & the Beast on December 20th at 10am. We are asking that families send in $6.50 for their child to attend this performance. No child  will be prevented from going based on an inability to pay. If you are able to contribute extra money to cover the cost of someone else, please send that in with your child.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What is happening in The Giver ? Describe the character of Jonas.
  • What happened on The Magic School Bus episode you watched? What was and was not something the kids could “gene edit” ?
  • How do you think studying GMOs, CRISPR, and cloning relates to boundaries?
  • What is your creative writing piece about (this is something we started today!)?

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