Our Week – August 28

making mini-mesWe’ve had a wonderful start. It seems as though everyone is glad to be back at school.  We have been sharing our summer fun and beginning to think about our hopes and dreams for a new year of learning.  We are getting used to our new schedule and classroom routine.  U.A. classes are at different times from last year and we are working to learn how to be our best together. The class feels kindness and working to understand others is important.  We have a great draft of class rules started.  It is feeling like we are going to have a thoughtful, caring year of learning.

Home School Communications

  I intend to send a note home every Friday.  It is important to me for you to know what we are doing and why.  I know my own children were skimpy on the details when sharing what was happening in their classrooms (for years I worked in the school they attended, and I still didn’t know) – so I am guessing some of you might wish for more information.  I will share what I can through these notes.  At first I will send this message both in paper and post it on the blog – the address is 3enews@edublogs.org  I like the blog because the news can be illustrated with photographs so you can see the classroom.

I hope the weekly memo will provide you with conversation points.  When children feel their families are interested in what they are doing in school they do even better.  Hopefully this note will give you things to talk about.

Knowing Ourselves and Caring for Others

Our Social Emotional Learning Focus

Our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) focus for the first month of school is becoming more aware of ourselves as learners, friends and members of the school.  We have to be true to ourselves, but we also must be respectful and aware of others.  We have spent part of all four of our days defining the kind of learning community we want to build and be part of.  We read I Got Big Plans, Someday and Do Unto Otters. We talked about the nice things that people can do and the not quite-so-nice things people can do.  We talked about kindness and what is important to do to support our classmates’ learning and our own.

We had fun reading Quick as a Cricket and Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great as a way to add to this discussion. Each of the children made a self-portrait and wrote a few sentences to describe themselves.  We interviewed each other about “favorites” and listed our “passions.”  We also explored the idea of how our choices lead to success.

Learning The Work of Scientists

creating diagramsEach day this week we have been learning about what scientists do.  We have learned that they observe and record data. We know they use tools to be more precise.  We know they make and label accurate diagrams.  And we learned they ask questions and look for answers.  We have been working to do all of these things.  We have been outside trying to see all the plants and animals we can see in “one small square” of earth.  We also looked at some different weeds and seeds, first with our eyes and then with magnifiers.  Sometimes seeds that looked smooth and hard at first looked as hairy as spiders when they were magnified.  It was very interesting to see.  We have wondered:  Why are some seeds and seedpods hairy while others are smooth.  We think – the hairy ones stick to things and get carried away.  What about the smooth ones?  Do they just drop?

Bits and Pieces:

  • We enjoyed our first chapter read-aloud this week, Donovan’s Word Jar.  Donovan collected and shared interesting words like profound, zeppelin, cantankerous and kaleidoscope.  It is fun to think about how interesting words sound and look.
  • Talk to your child about math – to see how addition and multiplication go together and to see what kinds of math problems feel like just right challenges.
  • Thanks to the families who have been able to complete ALL the forms so far. We know it takes a lot of time and we truly appreciate your efforts.  Please try to send in whatever remains on Tuesday.  Thanks so much.
  • Nearly twice a month we will have challenges with Mr. Caron on Tuesdays.  The schedule is included in this week’s packet of papers.
  • A HUGE thank you to the Friedman’s for bringing in the fans.  They have made our days so much more comfortable.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

tic-tac-15reading together




It’s Monday – here are some books to enjoy

131536191932655719326561Here are some non-fiction chapter books to enjoy.  Each of the books in this series has three different stories told in three chapters to illustrate the books theme.  Best Friends Forever shares the friendships of Roscoe the dog and Suryia the orangutan, Koko the gorilla and her cats, Jasmine the Greyhound friend to all and Owen and Mzee, the tortoise and hippo pair. Horse Escape Artist! shares three different stories of animals behaving badly – one a horse, one a cow and the last, goats.  Animals definitely have different personalities and these stories show that clearly.  What do you do with an animal who likes mischief?  What do you do when an animal decides to get revenge – on you?  How do you help animals when they haven’t been treated well?  How can you rebuild trust?  Parrot Genius! tells the stories of three exceptionally smart animals.  You’ll meet an African Gray parrot, Einstein who could make 200 sounds on cue.  His act at the Knoxville Zoo was pretty spectacular – Einstein’s even been on tv.  You’ll also meet Otis,  a skydiving pug and Mudslinger, a performing potbellied pig.  It’s fun to read about how the animals were trained and how much they seem to love doing things other animals can’t even dream of.

 There are several other titles in this series that you’d enjoy reading too.  You can read about animal heroes, daredevils and rescuers.  Their stories are interesting, amazing and fun.

It’s Wednesday – here are some problems to solve

numbersThere were 240 eggs in the store.  156 eggs were sold.  How many egg were left?  BONUS: How many dozen eggs is that?

Katie decided to read a book that was 649 pages long.  She has already read 495 pages of the book.  How many more pages does she need to read to finish the whole book?

There were 356 animals at the SPCA.  Some of them were healthy.  Some of them needed medicine.  172 of them were being given medicine so they would be healthy for adoption.   The rest of the animals were already healthy and ready to be adopted.  How many of the animals were healthy and ready for adoption? 

It’s Monday – here are some books to read

162768598585187In the middle of the school year when we were learning about empathy, acceptance and understanding, we read When I Was Eight about the Inuit girl who left her village to go to the outsiders’ school.  Remember how at first Oleman was excited to be there because she so wanted to learn to read, but how quickly that excitement turned to fear and disappointment.  They cut her hair and made her change her name.  They made her only speak in French and English and forced her to do endless chores with little food.  When I Was Eight and the chapter book version of the same story, Fatty Legs, tell the first part of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton’s story.  Not My Girl and A Stranger At Home tell the second part.

1870657111482930Eventually the ice melted in a summer long enough for a boat to travel up the Mackenzie River to bring Margaret home.  After two years at the school Margaret couldn’t wait to be with her family again in Tuktoyaktuk.  When she arrived, everything had changed.  She no longer knew the Inuit words she needed to talk to her family.  Her uniform and canvas shoes were impractical from Artic life – even in the summer,  and her stomach was now unaccustomed to the rich and fatty foods she had once so well loved.   Though she was home, she felt like an outsider.

Margaret was afraid she didn’t fit anywhere.  She was neither part of the Outsiders’ world, nor part of her family.  Fortunately, family is just that – always a place to come home to and Oleman finds her place.  Eventually she feels at home again with her sisters and her parents and her dogs.  But, once change happens it stays.  Not My Girl and A Stranger At Home helps us think about change; how we learn and grow to understand more about other people and ourselves through our experiences.   We all have choices.  We can see differences as weird and bad – something to get rid of so we are all the same.  Or we can see differences as interesting and wonderful – something to celebrate so we are richer because we are unique.   These are great books to read as a family.  There is so much to wonder about and consider – even the questions left unanswered are important.