Weekly News - January 13, 2017

January 13, 2017

Classroom News

Sorry for the slightly late weekly news - Denise had a big bandage on her index finger that made typing quite challenging.  It’s down to a regular band-aid now, so here’s the news!

We had a productive first week back, making progress towards building our objects and diving into doing some work with looking closely and finding evidence for our thinking.  We looked at pictures, watched a short video, read a poem, examined an archeological map and artifacts, found clues in logic puzzles, and listened to Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” Speech, always looking for what we were thinking and finding evidence for our theories.  We were also emphasizing how your thinking can change as more evidence is found, or you hear other people’s thinking.  We’re trying to encourage deep observations and thinking, but also being willing to be flexible in your thinking as new evidence is found; instead of trying to make the evidence fit your theory, adapt your theory to fit the evidence.

In that vein, your child has brought home a picture that we did this work with.  The goal was to try and figure out the story in the picture - what’s going on here - but going deeper than just what you can see.  Where are they?  What is happening?  Why is it happening?  The process we did with this picture was as follows:  First each student looked at the picture independently and wrote down observations and questions in a brainstorming map.  These observations and questions led to a theory, which was written down next to the map.  The students then got into small groups and shared their thinking.  New observations and questions were added to their maps in purple pen.  A new theory was also written in purple. They are supposed to show you the picture and discuss your observations and thinking.  They can also use the internet to answer any questions that anyone may have that aren’t answerable by looking at the picture.  (A big one that came up in class was what does CFA stand for, which I didn’t answer for them yet.)  They are to add to their map in a blue or black pen, based on this conversation with you.  They don’t have to write a new theory unless they want to, as we’ll be doing this in class.

The archeological artifacts and map part of what we did this week was because we are lucky enough to have the Natural History’s Mobile Museum coming to Open School next week.  We’ll be spending 2 hours with them, one hour learning about archeology and artifacts from the Chumash peoples, and one hour in a simulated archeological dig, acting like archeologists, finding artifacts and creating theories about them.  Our fourth graders, and some third graders, will be doing this on Wednesday, and the rest of our third graders’ turn will be on Thursday.

Help needed: Open School Day is rapidly approaching (Tuesday, January 31st) and we need you!  We need about 5 parents to lead rotations throughout the day, we need someone to coordinate the feast, and then we’ll need all of you to send in food for the feast (and come eat, too, if you want!).  The rotations are opportunities for you to share something about your family culture with our class. In the past people have cooked a wide variety of foods, told stories, played games, made crafts - whatever works for you!  Please let us know as soon as possible if you can come lead a rotation or coordinate the feast.  We’ll send home a paper sign up for the feast on Tuesday.

We are also out of nice kleenex for stuffy noses, so we'd love some new boxes to be donated to the cold cause!  We have plenty of the district tissue, but it is much scratchier.

We hope to see many of you at the Thinking Maps parent education meeting being held on Thursday, January 26th.  It is going to be a great opportunity for you to learn more about these graphic organizers and how they are used to support our students’ academic growth and critical thinking skills.  Two trainers (and Open School parents) from Thinking Maps will be presenting and teachers from a variety of clusters (including Yellow) will be part of the presentation as well.  Thinking Maps are an incredible tool that we hope your children will be using long after they leave Open School, so this opportunity to deepen your understanding of them is a wonderful one.


Scholastic News: The cover story is about advertisements and how they influence people.  The map is asking the students to choose three of the five sections and figure out the main idea and at least two supporting details for those three sections.  The framing question asks them to then think about how this information has changed how they think about advertisements.  The framing question is often a big piece of the learning in the maps, so we encourage you to support your child in thinking deeply and critically about these questions. The magazine and map are due on Tuesday, 1/17.

Problem of the Week:  As the week has progressed, it has been really great seeing students who initially started out having a great deal of difficulty with the logic puzzles now saying they are becoming easy.  We know that not everyone has developed that attitude yet, but we’re glad  to see more students becoming more enthusiastic about these puzzles, as they are a great way to develop the very important skill of logical thinking.  We have loads of these kinds of puzzles, and are happy to share them with anyone who wants more for fun or for continued practice.  Our next problem of the week will be going home on Tuesday and will be due next Tuesday, 1/17.  Denise is still deciding which direction is going to be best to go next, so she can’t tell you exactly what it’s going to be yet.  

Word Study:  As we explained in our homework email earlier this week, our word study work is now going to be on Thursdays.  So the octagons and heptagons received their words this Thursday.  Their work is due in two weeks, on 1/26.  The other two groups will be receiving their words this coming Thursday, and their work will be due on 2/2.  All groups are being asked to do 6 activities to help them practice their words.  It’s up to them (and you) to decide how many of those activities are on Spelling City and how many are on paper.  They can all be done online, or all on paper, or any combination of the two, as long as a total of 6 things are completed.

Expiration Date: 
Jun 30