We are hoping you enjoyed your weekend. We had a great time at the Back-to-School BBQ with so many of you!
We hope you've connected with us on SeeSaw and Bloomz in the past week. Please get in touch if you have not been able to connect yet. We're sending out lots of information on the curriculum, specific lessons and more via those two conduits.
In this email, we want to remind you about a couple things.
First, we have parent volunteer training this Thursday at 3:45. You will need to attend if you are planning on driving for field trips this year. If you cannot attend, I will be scheduling an alternate training. Please let me know asap if you'll need to take advantage of this alternate so that we can make plans.
Second, last week, Ms. Alyx and I enjoyed our Parent Night Meeting. If you were able to attend, you know that we shared tons of new information and that we've changed quite a bit this school year. It was also great to connect with you, answer your questions and share some good laughs. If you were unable to make it, we're sorry that you missed it!
We sent Parent Night packets home with your children the next day. Please get in touch if you have any questions.
Third, I am scheduling an IslandWood liaison visit for next week, and I'll be able to share that scheduling information soon.
Fourth, homework. Your child is bringing home Rocket Math every day now. Please be practicing five minutes every day. Spelling words will come home today too. Also, children should be working on their Wordly Wise. This week, they should focus on the Reading Comprehension passage and questions. On Friday, we'll be taking our first Wordly Wise vocab test. We're also introducing Literature Circle this week, and will be embarking upon our new lit circle system. We'll be sending more news about that this week.
In other news, this week we'll be sending home guidelines for an amazing beginning of the year project called "Inside Out." This creative project will happen at home, and then come to school to be shared. It is all about self-esteem, exploration of self, and more. Be on the look-out for the guidelines in the middle of the week.
Nicole and Alyx
Overview of the week:
What a fantastic week in Turquesa! We took our time getting to know each other, building a foundation for a strong, healthy community. Pretty soon, students are going to start taking risks in their learning, experimenting with new ideas, exploring with new concepts, making mistakes, asking for help and trying again. They will experience tremendous pride and successes, while also overcoming challenges and difficulties. In order to make this possible, each person in Turquesa needs to feel safe and secure with a deep sense of belonging. That is what this week was all about.
On Friday, students were introduced to Choice Books Projects. Just as in previous years, each student must choose a chapter book to read (at least monthly, if not more often) that they have never read before. It must be either fiction or biography. Otherwise, there are no restrictions or guidelines. They will write us a formal letter identifying it as their Choice Book and get a teacher's signature. When they have finished reading it, they will choose a project to complete about the book. There are a wide variety of projects options including many different aspects of literature study (everything from setting to narrative structure to themes). When the project is complete, they present to a small group of peers for feedback and questions. We suggest that students complete one project a month, but they are welcome to do more. These projects will often be done at home, and we encourage you to ask your child about their Choice Book reading and project work frequently (try to extract details, goals and specifics from them). We are also happy to fill you in on your child's progress if you aren't getting clear info from them. They must complete at least nine during the school year. This year we made changes based on student feedback from last year; we've given students a visual record-keeping device and simplified the process to enable kids to proceed with too much paperwork or delay. Tomorrow we'll be checking in with all of the students to make sure they have selected a Choice Book for this month.
Integrated Cultural and Science Lessons:
We launched history and science lessons with the First Great Lesson (the Birth of the Universe), and an introduction to the ways in which human understanding of the universe’s origins have evolved over time. This week, we will formally being life sciences with the Second Great Lesson (the Earth History Timeline) and our study of early humans with the Third Great Lesson (the Coming of Humans). These foundational Montessori lessons are familiar and they enable the children to build a context for all of the new and challenging work they are about to do. In order to make a learning experience deeper and more complete, we work hard to help the students integrate it with what they already know. So we start with the Great Lessons, and then move into unfamiliar territory.
In other news, the Upper El students have been working hard on initial assessments in many different language arts disciplines. This week, we’ll complete our math assessments as well, and begin formal lessons. We’re keeping busy, for sure!
We’re looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday evening at Upper Elementary Parent Night at 6pm. Please remember that this is a parent-only event.
Please make sure your child has indoor shoes and a homework folder. Spelling, Wordly Wise and Rocket Math start tomorrow. Specialists start this week too! We'll provide more details about everything on Wednesday night.
In the meantime, please keep in touch. You'll probably notice that we're double-posting this on Bloomz, so that it's easy for you to find if you need to refer to it.
We’re looking forward to a great year!
Ms. Nicole & Ms. Alyx
El Salon Turquesa Co-Lead Teachers