I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving Break and this beautiful weekend! With this amazing weather, it hardly feels like winter. It's been a couple of weeks since I wrote an update, so I'm hoping you'll take a couple of minutes to read all the way through this email.
Last week, we formally wrapped up our Nanowrimo writing! It was an adventure for sure. The students wrote more than 40,000 words all together. Incredible! Each child is going to edit a small section of their novel and we're going to be reading the novels aloud. A bunch of students have decided that their novels are not finished, and they will be continuing to write them independently. Later in the school year, students will be writing 1000-word Medieval Book Projects and I'm sure that this usually daunting history project will seem easy in comparison to their Nanowrimo work.
Now that Nanowrimo is over, we can return to our regularly scheduled events. We've enjoyed history lessons about castles, a science lesson about the electromagnetic spectrum, geometry work with the area of a triangle (5-6th graders) and the properties of lines, lessons involving theoretical probability, individual math lessons, and much more. We had three out-of-the-ordinary experiences this week as well: welcoming our new rats to Turquesa, learning about the Nutcracker from a PNB representative, and making homemade granola with a wonderful parent. It was a busy week!
We've also been enjoying 2 lessons a week called "Talkabout." This is a self-esteem curriculum that is fun and engaging, while addressing the very serious topic of how we feel about ourselves, how we perceive ourselves, and how to sustain our confidence in the face of social adversity. We have Talkabout lessons on Mondays and Fridays every week. Hopefully, your child has been sharing new aspect of our classroom life with you.
I wanted to let you know about a couple of things in particular:
This week, students should be practicing their Rocket Math every day. Some of the students are now in the range of facts that are proving to be more difficult to them. I highly recommend extra practice sessions if your child is needing 4-5 attempts to rocket (they will know this information about their endeavors, or you can email me and I will provide an update). Rocket Math practice is most successful when done in 5-minute sessions and is shared between parent and child. Use the practice path around the outside of the page that your child brings home daily. Also, if your child has a particular series of facts that are "sticky" (e.g. they always have difficulty with x8), then it will be best to add in additional practice with flashcards or another tool.
In other homework, children should be completing the first part of Lesson 7 in Wordly Wise; finishing their Choice Book in preparation for the Choice Book Project guidelines that are coming home at the end of this week; and lit book reading assignment.
In a couple of weeks, we will be heading into Winter Break. Homework for Winter Break will include a geography project called a Continent Folio. It involves a series of self-selected geography mini-projects that, taken together, are a fun multi-disciplinary collection of learning experiences about a continent. This will probably take 5-6 hours for children to complete. I wanted to alert you to the project in advance so that as you are making Winter Break plans, you can allot time for your child to work on their Continent Folio. Students will present their folios during the first week in January. Information/details and more will be coming home with your child and in email.
We are not going to the library in December. Instead, I am asking Turquesa students to bring their library cards to class so that they can practice signing in to their accounts and learn how to renew their books on line. Also, we will be looking at the different opportunities available to account holders on the library’s website.
Field trips -
In December, we are going to the Nutcracker at McCaw Hall on Friday, Dec. 12. We do not need drivers for this event. If you child is not attending the Nutcracker with us, please let me know right away.
Last week, we started our annual Adopt-A-Family service learning project with Bellevue Lifespring. Upper El students and 3rd Graders work together with Mr. Ben to make this amazing project happen. Next week, gift tags will be hanging on the snowman posters in all of the classrooms. On Tuesday, Dec. 16, we will be delivering the collected gifts to Bellevue. We need parents to help us deliver the gifts. We will be leaving here at 9:30 and returning by 11:00. Please let us know if you can help out.
Pajama Day -
Our annual Pajama Day is on Friday, Dec. 19! Students are welcome to wear clean pajamas to school and can bring a stuffed animal and/or cozy blanket. We'll be reading and relaxing a lot on Pajama Day!