February 24, 2015
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!
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Ms. Nicole & Ms. Alyx
El Salon Turquesa Co-Lead Teachers
Montessori Children's House
5003 218th Ave. NE
Redmond, WA 98053
Founded in 1987