We hit the new year running at full speed here in the Upper Elementary classroom. It is so rewarding to witness the growth and progress that each student is experiencing. As we look back at the first half of the semester, and forward to the second half, as teachers we are full of pride and anticipation.
The Odyssey production is in full swing. We are rehearsing multiple times a week and have begun the serious work of creating sets, costumes and props for our play. Theater has the power to transform lives in a very real sense. Before becoming a teacher, I worked in professional theater in Washington, D.C, and on Cape Cod. During that time, I experienced first hand how deeply empowering it is to contribute creatively to a communal artistic effort. With our students, as well, I can see a growing sense of ownership, confidence, ease and leadership. Also, some of our most hesitant actors are blossoming on stage. This is truly a transformative experience for our children and our community.
There is a wonderful, dedicated group of parent volunteers assisting with this production, too. A lot is going on behind the scenes right now. We are really, really in need of a few more adults to help with costume making. You do not need to be able to sew, or even be crafty. If you have a few hours to come in and help sometime, please let us know.
We will also be posting a Bloomz sign up for volunteers to help us break down our production on Friday night after the play. In theater lingo, this is called "striking." We need to strike the sets and lights, load up the props and costumes, and transport everything back to school for weekend storage. Please consider helping with this very essential part of the production!
In other news, we will be publishing Semester 1 Progress Reports on January 30. You will receive an email with a PDF attachment. We will talk through the Progress Report at Parent-Teacher Conferences later that same week.
On January 27 from 9-10 AM, we are hosting our first Early Bird Event of the year. We'll have another one in April. This is an opportunity for you, as parents, to join us for an hour in the classroom. This is a relaxing social time, and students will be looking forward to sharing their first semester work with you and a self-reflection they have completed about their semester.
Last week, we began our Ancient Egypt study. The central aspect of this study is the Ancient Egypt Project. Students have selected an aspect of Ancient Egypt that they are interested in, researching it using books only (no internet resources this time), writing a short introductory piece, and then creating a hands-on display. The display will be presented at school, where classmates will be invited to touch it and learn from it. We'll also be inviting the Lower El class to come and explore displays. We will SeeSaw the guidelines so that you can see first-hand.
Display projects can be made at home or at school, or both. We will ask you to sign an agreement to support the at-home work. The agreement explains what your child will be doing for the project, and specifies what materials they expect to need.
Also, in the good news department, this morning I registered us to participate in UW Engineering Discovery Day on April 21. We'll be leaving here early, so that we can take the bus to UW. If you'd like to drive and chaperone, you'll see a Bloomz sign up soon.
As you may have read in the MCH Newsletter, I am heading to AMS administrators and leaders retreat this week. I'll be gone from Turquesa on Thursday, Friday, and Tuesday. Ms. Khavitha, former MCH teacher and frequent substitute, is a fully certified Montessori Elementary teacher. She's coming in to sub for me during my absence and will be supporting Ms. Alyx.
Also, there's a field trip Thursday afternoon to East Lake Sammamish Parkway rail trail to walk "Earth the Size of a Peppercorn" - this is a fantastic scale and distance model of the solar system!
Happy New Year,
Ms. Nicole & Ms. Alyx
El Salon Turquesa Co-Lead Teachers