Checking In

We had conferences on Friday, and it was deeply satisfying. I really appreciate the chance to share what is happening at school, listen to what is happening at home, and make sure we have some goals in common for the year. I value the expertise of our families and the insights they bring to these conversations. While we always welcome the chance to sit and talk about a student's challenges and strengths, I am glad that we have one day where I know everyone gets that close look and reflection. It always makes me deeply grateful for the families who choose to send their kids to our school.

Morgan's PK and K Class

* Found numbered 1-10 pumpkins around the school that matched the numbered card I pulled at random.

* Worked on the letters Bb for our letter of the week.

* Found the letter of the week mixed in with the other letters of the alphabet on a spider web!

* Worked on copying different designs from one side of leaves to try and understand symmetry.

* Worked on using fine motor skills to trace small pictures with thumbtacks.

* Rolled dice and counted the dots then found the number on paper and colored that number.

* Used stretchy work out bands for building different large muscles!

* Explored slime!

Please check your child's folder each day.


Tracy's 1st - 3rd Class

We took a little break from some of our usual routines on Halloween. We read Puss in Boots to appreciate the crafty wiles of a cat and made black cats from our footprints. Glenn shared a story with us about "How Bats Came to Be." The children also listened to, then recreated "The Little Orange House." Hopefully some of them shared the story with you when they came home.


In literacy, the lovely weather had us enjoying our relax and read time outside. Everyone has been working on finding vowel teams in their reading. On a comprehension level, we have been working to find the main idea of a page, chapter, or paragraph. Everyone has finished a rough draft of their stories. We have read portions of them to a peer for feedback and editing help. Each child also worked with me to make some changes for their final drafts. We'll be sharing our stories on Thursday at a publishing party.


In math, our first grade class worked on estimating and counting large numbers - using piles of ten to help keep track of these bigger numbers. We are continuing to work on addition number stories and trying to develop some strategies for solving addition problems. Our second graders have been working on name collection boxes and are really starting to see the many ways they can make any given number. They are also working with "Fact Families" - a series of (usually) four related facts (ex: 3+5=8, 5+3=8, 8-5=3, 8-3=5). The third grade math group is working on rounding numbers, multistep number stories, equal group number stories, and making arrays to model multiplication problems. We have really been working on underlining or highlighting the important parts of the problem so that we can focus in on what we need to do to solve it.


Theresa's 4th - 6th Class

This week's essay asked the kids to write an essay from a different point of view - namely, the point of view of a turkey! The kids looked at arguments about why people should or should not eat a turkey for Thanksgiving, and then wrote an essay from the turkey asking people to either eat or not eat her. The oldest children were asked to fashion an argument that differed from their personal belief. It was hard. Tears were shed, but the children managed to step out of their own world view and consider a different one.

After the kids finish their weekly essay (or paragraph for our 4th graders) they get to work on their fiction! All of the kids have characters and are working on developing the conflict.


In math, we continue to make steady progress. That said, ALL of the kids would benefit from continued practice skip counting and with their multiplication tables. The eldest kids are working on multiplying and dividing fractions. The 5th grade child is working on long multiplication and division. The 4th grader students are working on rounding, place value through the millions and organizing data.


We are letting writing sneak into reading time. Usually, during reading, we focus on helping the children gain fluency and develop a love for books. We have noticed, though, that some of our kids need help with spelling and phonemic awareness. We are spending the first 5 minutes of every reading session examining the week's spelling words and making sure that all of the students are familiar with all of the sounds in our goofy and somewhat unpredictable language.


Our New Theme: Government

Morgan joined me in reading "The Kingdom with No Rules, No Laws, and No King." We talked about the purpose of government. We did a quick review of the three branches of government and made trees to model them. We also talked about three levels of government (local, state, and federal). Then we used a three circle Venn diagram to sort a big list of different jobs to figure out what level of government takes care of which job (ex: road repair, post offices, schools, jails, voting, police officers, etc.). Our focus this year is on the executive branch, so we'll be looking closer at how that branch functions over the next few weeks.

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