We hope you are enjoying your impromptu 3-day weekend. Since we follow Lake Washington School District's snow closure protocol, we cannot say why they needed to cancel school for what seemed like just a little snow and a lot of slush, but Ms. Alyx and I both enjoyed a day of relaxing at home.
Friday's snow day has an impact on a couple of things happening in the classroom. First of all, we will have our spelling post-test on Monday and that will be our only spelling for the week. Secondly, Wordly Wise Lesson 7 should be completed in its entirety on Friday, Dec. 16 and we'll have a vocab test on that day.
Students are hard at work on our most recent history project. They are just finishing their Mesopotamia travel poster mini-projects. These will be due on Tuesday instead of Monday this week. We will be sharing our gallery walk and assessments on SeeSaw on Tuesday, so you'll get a full view of your child's work.
In science, we are learning about rocketry, propulsion and our solar system. Students are creating science mini-projects on a subject of their own choosing. We gave a variety of options, offerings ranged from a travel guide to the solar system to a storybook of the constellations of the zodiac. These will be presented on Friday with some rocket science demonstrations.
Needless to say, it's been a busy, exciting time in Turquesa since we returned from Thanksgiving break! Students are working hard on math, geometry and sentence analysis too.
This week, we are counting the Mary's Place donations on Monday afternoon and delivering them on Thursday morning. We have some parents signed up to drive for the delivery. If you'd like to join us, please email me directly and I will add you to the list. Also, if you'd like to join us on Monday afternoon for counting, you are welcome then too!
Friday this week is our annual Pajama Day! Students are invited to wear pajamas to school (clean, not-slept-in)and they can bring a stuffed animal or blanket that can fit into their backpack. We are hoping to watch the old musical Singing In The Rain on Friday afternoon. This is a rated G movie made in 1952 - it's full of great music and dancing. Please let me know right away if you do not feel comfortable with your child watching this movie so we can make a different plan.
We have one more piece of safety-related essential news to share.
Safety is, of course, extremely important to us. We regularly practice Fire Drills and Earthquake Drills. In reality, though, we need to be prepared for any number of possible unexpected events.
After doing some research, the Elementary faculty team has decided to also incorporate an approach that we're calling a "Safety Drill." Practicing how to respond to an unexpected safety situation is the most important thing we can do to prepare. It's what NASA's astronauts do before they go into space - practice what to do when faced with an unexpected spot of trouble. It's part of preparing and being safe. Then, if trouble happens, we'll know what to do. We are purposefully not talking about what might happen - any number of things can happen whether we're in the classroom, on the playground, or on a field trip. We will not call this drill a "lockdown" because we believe that introduces unnecessary fear and anxiety into the children's consciousness, and does not really help them develop safety-based behvaviors.
We are practicing a set of safety behaviors that will enable us to stay safe no matter what's happening.
Here's a link to the article we used to come to this decision (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-simon-prager-phd/talking-to-kids-about-a-lockdown_b_4117330.html). It recommends P.A.L.
Pause - stop what you're doing, take a breath. (In Turquesa this week at a class meeting, we decided that the phrase "SAFETY FREEZE" is the code for making everyone Pause.)
Adult - go directly to the nearest trusted adult and stand within conversation distance while looking directly at the adult.
Listen - listen carefully to the instructions the adult is giving and do exactly what they say. (The adult will have more information than the child has and will give specifics based on the situation.)
I told the kids that they may have heard of something called a "lockdown" drill, but that we're thinking about "Safety Drill" instead because it helps us prepare and practice the most essential behaviors that will lead us all to being extremely safe.
The kids were really receptive to this approach in Turquesa. No one was afraid, and it felt productive. It actually seems to have enhanced their sense of well-being and safety. Please let me know if you have questions or feedback about our approach.
We hope you're having a cozy and bright weekend.
Nicole and Alyx