Hello Turquesa Folks,
As you know, this year we are having weekly Mindfulness lessons with Ms. Jessica. To give you a glimpse of the kind of work she’s been doing with us, here is her overview of their work in the right now. Here is what she says:
“…We are working on "Nature Meditation" in mindfulness right now. This will be a series of 4 sessions. The intention of this practice is to help children identify and connect with elements in nature as a reconnection to self. For each lesson they will learn the intent and purpose of the element being introduced, and a simple breathing exercise that goes with it. Last week we learned about our "inner mountain". We brainstormed what makes a mountain significant and then reflected on when we feel our inner mountain the most. Students talked about sitting in a tree, reading a book, swimming, or spending time with mom. Next, they selected a stone or shell from my box and drew a picture of a mountain on it. Next, we practiced the breathing exercise - "Breathing in I see myself as a mountain, breathing out I am solid and calm, nothing can move or distract me." This week we will learn about our "inner flower" and how it helps us stay fresh, joyful, and beautiful. Each student received a small colored mesh bag which will hold their nature elements. The nature meditation bags will remain in the classroom through the end of the year.”
To bring mindfulness into our everyday classroom lives, we are introducing mindfulness tables to the classrooms where students can go to practice mindfulness, make wishes for love or peace, give thanks to the earth, or just quietly reconnect with themselves. This table sits someplace quiet and free from traffic and distractions. It is covered with a simple cloth with space to add a basket for the nature mediation bags and other elements of mindfulness, peace, and nature. Students can use the table in many ways, including "mindfully" selecting items from outdoors to add to the table each week and return the previous items back to nature.
We are doing our best to stay mindful, present and peaceful in Turquesa. We hope you are having a peaceful week!
I hope everyone enjoyed the beautiful weekend. It's pretty amazing to see daffodils and cherry trees blooming! I took some lovely long walks with my dog and family, celebrated my wedding anniversary, went to see Alton Brown at the Paramount, and read a great article in the Seattle Times about one of my best friends from college (that was a nice surprise!). It was a busy, fun weekend for me, and I hope your weekend was great too. I have a detailed update for you this week, including information about language arts, history, upcoming dates, and a special welcome.
We're excited to be back in school for a full week. We've been missing our regular routine. While it's wonderful to learn how to be flexible and maintain a sense of calm focus when things are shifting, it's also really important for kids to have a routine they can count on. I'm always relieved and grateful when we get settled back into regular life after Mid-Winter Break.
This week, we are wrapping up this round of history projects with student presentations. For 4 or 5 weeks, children have been hard at work on their "Great Thinkers and Accomplishments in the Golden Age of Islam PowerPoint Team Projects." We used the formal writing process to create these projects - moving from prewriting/research through drafts, feedback and revisions. Last Thursday, I sat down with each team for 20-30 minutes to talk through their PowerPoints, make suggestions and give direct feedback that relates to PowerPoint best practices. Each team emerged from our meeting with a specific list of final revisions/edits. Monday, they finished this work. Today, they will focus on practicing their presentations. On Wednesday, they will be presenting their projects in front assembled classmates and visitors. These presentations will be happening from 9:30-10:30 on Wednesday morning. Parents are welcome to join us. If you cannot join us, I highly recommend that you ask your child to bring home their flashdrive that contains the PowerPoint and ask them to give you their presentation! They learned so much about this time in history and are so inspired by what they've learned that I hope you can take the time to share it!
We have starting a new focus in our writing lessons: punctuation and mechanics. As a review, we've begun a series of focused lessons on the uses of different forms of punctuation. Over the next few months, I'll be looking closely at children's writing with them in order to help them see how to improve it and make it more legible. As always, we want this work to be interesting and inspiring because the motivation must come from within the child. One of the approaches I'm using right now involved Neil Gaiman's incredible book "Fortunately the Milk." We're reading it daily and using it to launch mechanics lessons, creative writing and other fun language arts work. Ask your child about the book - it's a daily part of their life right now and we're having lots of fun with it!
I want to send out a warm welcome to a new Turquesa class member, Gage. Gage moved full time into Upper Elementary last week and we are really excited to welcome him. The students of Turquesa have been so hospitable and helpful to Gage during his transition, and we're all feeling really wonderful about our new classmate. Gage is still a Third Grader, and he has a whole bunch of Turquesa people excited to help him out with his upcoming Passion Project. Welcome Gage!
Library Trips: Thurs., Feb. 26; Wed., March 18; Wed., April 15; Wed., May 13; Wed., June 10
ITBS Parent Meeting (optional - for parents who would like more information about how and why we administer the Iowa Test of Basic Skills): Tues., March 10 from 3:45-4:15
ITBS Testing for 3rd-6th Graders: Mar. 23-25 from 9:00-12:00
Book-It Repertory Theater Residency: Mar. 27-April 2
Theatre Performance: Friday, April 3 (we will do the performance at 10:30 and 1:00, and parents will select which performance to attend - specific details will be coming to you soon)
As always, if you have questions or concerns, please let me know. I'm looking forward to a busy spring!
It was wonderful to sit down with so many of you at Parent-Teacher Conferences last Friday. I always enjoy the time we spend together.
We were so busy last week with math, history projects and much more. The students of Turquesa seem so independent and happy! It's a complete pleasure to be their teacher. This month, Ms. Khavitha transitioned to supporting Morado in a full-time capacity. I'm excited for her to get lots of great experience in Lower Elementary; it will be an amazing benefit for her teacher training. In Turquesa, we will have frequent support from Mr. Robin starting next week and we're really going to enjoy his company.
Tuesday, February 17th will be our annual Friendship Day to celebrate Valentine's Day. Students can bring in a Valentine card for every student (36 students total because we celebrate with Morado). Please no candy or treats. Students will distribute their cards at a celebration in the afternoon. New this year - we are doing "Secret Pals" with the Morado class. Today, students picked another student's name. This is their "secret pal" and they are responsible for making a surprise gift for their pal. The wrapped gift must come to school on Tuesday, February 17. Students will then take turns and hand their gifts out to each other. Gifts should be hand-made using less than $5 worth of materials. The kids are really excited about this new tradition! Your child brought home a letter from his/her "secret pal" today so that they can start to think about a gift.
Ms. Nicole & Ms. Alyx
El Salon Turquesa Co-Lead Teachers