Newsletter 2 – 8/16/13


This week 4/5 spent many sessions creating classroom agreements. So far we have settled on five, and we have a sixth one to revisit in coming weeks.

  1. Seek & Spread Joy
  2. Be Respectful
  3. Be Safe
  4. Be Yourself
  5. Use Integrity

The conversation was facilitated by Mr. Jim, and students used fingers to demonstrate consensus. We had healthy arguments over phrasing and specific wording. Ask your child about our pending sixth agreement, around being an ally and including everyone in the class.



Otherwise, we moved to table groups and have established our crew lines (the seats for lessons). Students are getting used to the daily routines of checking off their name for attendance, participating in the morning message, and learning the songs that cue them for different workshops.

Bradford Woods

8/24  Saturday 1:00-4:00 Bradford Woods Open House (at Bradford Woods) for 4-5 Families.  Bradford Woods holds an annual open house for any family whose child will be attending camp this year.  Our 4-5 class will be attending Bradford Woods October 16-18.  While we will have a parent meeting at school, being able to experience where your child will be is something a lot of parents enjoy.

Readers and Writers Workshop

In readers and writers workshop we have begun to launch our big picture systems. Much of the focus of this week has been on getting into flow as well as generating ideas. We will be using this quote (Buddha) to continue our work with power spots and concentration:  “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

photo 4photo 1 (1)

Math Workshop

Math groups started this week and are being taught by Mr. Jim, Ms. Kalei, Ms. Pam & Mr. Bryan. Some groups will have flexibility and students might attend different lessons with teachers over time. You can find more information out about Bridges, our K-5 math curriculum on their website. This week we have done guided discovery and gotten used to the routines of transitioning to math workshop.


Our New Blog Team

We have a fabulous bunch of bloggers that will be taking over the newsletter next week. This will make the information you get about what’s going on more fresh and from a student perspective. Though Ms. Kalei will still be responsible for sending the newsletter (and occasionally editing), students will meet on Wednesdays to communicate the happenings of the week.




4/5 General Information

In an effort to make family communication more efficient and effective, each family will have a teacher who is their primary contact. While both Ms. Kalei and Mr. Jim are the primary teachers in the classroom, your family will be assigned a teacher to communicate with when you have a question, comment, concern, etc. Mr. Bryan, Ms. Pam, and Ms. Megan will also facilitate large and small group instruction throughout the day, and their contact information is available if you have a specific question.


Please do your best to bring your children on time every day. If a child cannot attend school, an adult family member must call (812.588.0041) or email the main office ( for the absence to be considered excused.


Homework systems will start to be put into place within the first four weeks of school. All homework will be given to students to put into folders on Mondays. They will be responsible for turning everything in by Friday each week. There is a grace period until Sunday. Homework can be emailed or turned in in person.

  • Reading: Students will be responsible for completing four nights of reading (20 minutes) and will document this on their reading log.

  • Writing: Students should write three times a week for 20 minutes. In their homework folders they can bring in writing pieces. They can also choose to type their homework and share it with their primary contact teacher on GoogleDocs. and three night of writing (20 minutes). A reading and writing log will be provided.

  • Math assignments are determined individual math teachers, around 2-3 per week.


Our classroom community celebrates birthdays approximately once every other month — typically on the last Friday of the month or prior to an extended break. Students with the same birthday month collectively decide how they’d like to celebrate and are give some time in class to do so. On each child’s actual birthday we do our best to recognize it during morning meeting.

Family Volunteers:

We would love to have family volunteers!  State law requires school volunteers to obtain a criminal history check.  This is simply to ensure the safety of all students.  If you need a copy of this, please let us know.  We ask that you notify us in advance so we can plan a specific role for you.


Each day we incorporate a time for a healthy snack into our schedule. Each week, a different portion of the alphabet (based on last name) will be responsible for snack. We will send this information in our weekly newsletter. When it is your family’s turn to bring snack, please be sure to bring 54 servings. To find more information about and ideas for healthy snacks to contribute to our community, please see the TPS Family Handbook.

Hopes & Dreams Lines for the Year

Below you will see who your primary contact will be, based on the “line” your child is in. Please feel free to contact us both at any time and we will get back to you in a timely fashion. We will send our preferred phone numbers by email.

Jim’s Line

Kalei’s Line






















































Bios of the 4/5 Team

Meet Mr. Jim, Mr. Bryan, Ms. Kalei & Ms. Pam. We make up the 4/5 team this 2013-2014 school year!

Mr. Jim is excited to join the wonderful 4/5 team at TPS.  Jim has been working in and with schools for almost 25 years.  He has been a third and sixth grade teacher, an elementary administrator, an official with the Indiana Department of Education, and, most recently, a teacher trainer working across Indiana.  Jim joins the TPS community with a happy heart.   Jim and his wife, Erika, and son Johnathan (14) visited the City Museum in St. Louis this summer and it was awesome!  He is looking forward to learning all this year.


Mr. Bryan is thrilled to be back for his second year at TPS.  Besides cheering on the Cincinnati Reds and Indiana Hoosiers, Bryan also enjoys camping, hiking, listening to and collecting music.  He spent a large chunk of his summer visiting family, which he always enjoys.  Bryan has two summer highlights:  the long, relaxing camping trip he took to Red River Gorge with his wife Andrea and two year old son Hudson and the impromptu dance offs that occurred in his kitchen with his son, especially the one where both Bryan and Hudson were introduced to Eric Burdon’s cover of Paint it Black.  He’s looking forward to getting to know the new 4th graders and catching up with his 5th grade pals.


Ms. Kalei is happy to remain on the 4/5 team for her second year at TPS! Kalei went to Hampshire College; a liberal arts school that she feels resembles TPS in all the best ways. She studied education – specifically policy and social justice education. Over her summer break, she went home to Davidson, North Carolina to spend some much needed time with her parents and sister – who is going off to college in Seattle in the fall. Kalei is looking forward to learning with a new bunch of students, many of whom she had in passions last year.


This is Ms. Pam’s second year here at TPS in the 4-5 classroom. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Purdue University Calumet. Before moving to Bloomington last year, she worked for Portage Township Schools as an elementary school teacher for 11 years. Pam and her family moved to Bloomington because of the incredibly welcoming community and arts culture. She has three beautiful daughters (Melanie 22, Lyndsey 19, and Kira, who will be in Ms Sophie’s 1,2,3 classroom, is 6). She is so excited to be starting a new year at TPS and she’s looking forward to a wonderful year.