Weekly News 08/19/16

Classroom News

Welcome to Yellow Cluster! Every Friday we will send a weekly news home for you.  This week will are sending both a paper version and an email version, to make sure that everyone gets it.  (If you didn’t get this as an email, check your junk folder and if it’s not there, go to the Open School website and click on the Mail Chimp icon to make sure your email address is up to date or to add your email address.) Next week we will only send it by email, unless you let us know that you would also like a paper copy.  Paper copies sometimes don’t make it home until Monday, though, as we sometimes don’t write the weekly news until after school on Friday.

Also on Fridays we will be sending home two things for you to look at with your child - a piece of writing and a goal setting sheet.  The writing may be something written that morning or a piece we’ve been working on for a longer period of time.  This week’s writing has a letter attached to it explaining what we’re doing and what we’d like you to do with the writing, so please read that before you read your child’s writing.  As to the goal sheet, we’re working on helping them set goals that are academic, specific, and something they can actually tell if they accomplished it or not.  This is our first week of talking about that, so we’ll see how it goes!  We will be asking them to look at their goals on Monday morning to think about how they can work towards achieving them during the week, so please be sure the goal sheets are signed by you and put in their yellow folders.  Also, 

We started our writing work off by looking at describing things and descriptive words.  We read books with descriptive writing, thought about how to describe ourselves, and talked a little bit about how we would describe characters in a couple of books we read.  We looked for words that really helped paint a good picture.  We added this idea to our writing board “An effective sentence has precise adjectives and strong verbs.”  We wrote some effective sentences together.  We will be continuing this idea with more lessons and activities next week.  See if you find any really effective sentences in your child’s writing and compliment them, please.

As a part of the describing yourself piece, we used a website, tagul.com, to make word clouds / art using the words each student chose to describe themselves, which are now hanging around the room.  The students loved this and were excited to try it at home.  They are welcome to use our classroom account, but as we already have 5 pages of word clouds, it might be easier to create your own family account.  It’s free and only takes an email account.  (And it’s pretty cool!)

This week we also started one of our coding applications - Tynker.  This is a great website/curriculum that teaches coding through puzzles and game building.  We started on Friday with the introductory activities.  Students will be given time periodically to work in Tynker in class, but it is also available at home (and we’d love it if students did more at home, whenever they want).  Your child’s login information is on a sticker inside his/her yellow folder, in case it gets forgotten.

One of the math topics we’ve been working on is symmetry.  We’ve been building symmetrical pictures out of pattern blocks and colored cubes.  Students who were already familiar with the concept of symmetry took a pre-assessment so that we could see what they already knew and not have them repeat concepts they already know.  We will be continuing on, folding shapes to find all of their lines of symmetry and creating symmetrical pictures on the iPad.  Students with prior knowledge will move on to activities involving rotational symmetry.  You can support this at home by having your child find symmetrical things around the house or when they’re out and around.  Students who are having difficulty seeing symmetry can put things next to a mirror and see how the real object and the reflection are symmetrical.

We hope to see everyone at Back to School Night on Tuesday, August 30th from 6:00 until 7:30.  We’ll be sharing our curriculum and classroom procedures and telling you all about Yellow Cluster.  Please remember that this is an adult-only event and childcare is not provided.


Name Research:  Your child’s notes about his/her name are due on Monday, 8/22.

Digital Pictures: Please try and get the digital pictures emailed to us sometime this weekend.

Quality Learning Community:  This paper is due on Tuesday, 8/23.  We’ve been asking every morning if anyone has questions and have helped a few students individually, so we do hope your child is making good progress on finishing this assignment.  We will be using all of these ideas to make our classroom community standards and rules.

Cursive: Next week we will be sending home cursive as homework.  We know that some people think this is an outdated skill, but we believe it is an important skill to have.  Students will still need to read cursive and sign their names, and it’s a great way to develop fine motor skills and muscles as well.  Cursive can be an art form and really is faster than printing, once you know how to do it.  

    We’ve asked the students to let us know if they already know how to make all of the letters and are comfortable with them.  Those students will do a quick review of the letters so we can look at their letter formation and will then be using their cursive to write various things.  Everyone else either doesn’t know cursive or felt like they needed to start over at the beginning to feel more secure in their cursive.  We will be sending a large packet home that shows how to make all of the letters.  Each day we will be teaching a few letters that fit together based on how they are made and practicing them in class.  That night, at home, we expect the students to complete the work with those letters.  We will be asking the students to mark the pages that they should be doing that night so that they have something to refer to if they forget.  We do not expect the whole packet to be done in one night.  We will be collecting the whole thing at the end of all of the letters being taught, so if your child has a busy night one night, the work can be caught up later. 

Expiration Date: 
Jun 30