Weekly News - January 20, 2017

January 20, 2017

Classroom News

As a school, we are spending the next 6-8 weeks thinking, talking, reading about, and practicing gratitude.  This is part of the Socio-Emotional Curriculum that we’re developing for Open School.  So far, we have brainstormed ideas related to gratitude as we’ve worked together to develop a definition of the word and come to an understanding of what it is, how you feel it and show it, and why it’s important.  Over the next few weeks we will do other activities and read and discuss books that continue the theme, all with the goal of encouraging out students to feel grateful and appreciate what they have and this wonderful world around us. As a part of that, we’re changing our weekly goals sheets for those weeks.  Instead of reflecting on whether or not we achieved last week’s goal, we’re writing a couple of things that we are grateful for and why.  Research has shown that writing about what you’re grateful for can increase your happiness and satisfaction with life, so we’re giving it a try.  Come see our attitude of gratitude board as it grows over the next few weeks!

We are sending home a writing piece for you to read and comment on.  We had the students plan and write a paragraph describing the evolution of their thinking about the man giving the koala water picture that you should have seen and talked about with your child last weekend.  Please read the paragraphs and see if your child clearly communicated what he/she first thought independently, how that thinking changed after talking to other students, and how their thinking yet again changed or evolved after the discussion with you, as well as any additional information they learned once I told them the story of the picture.  Please write a compliment or two on the paper, as well as any questions you might still have about their thinking or the picture (that you think should have been answered, anyway) after reading the paragraph.  This needs to be turned in on Monday so we can read the paragraphs, too.  We had many students who didn’t do last weekend’s work, or who didn’t have their original picture and map from last weekend, or who left the yellow folder at home today and didn’t have what they needed, so please help support your child in both getting the work done, and in making sure it is in the yellow folder and brought back to school on Monday. If your child doesn’t have a paragraph, please know that there was lots of time given, and much support for the process, so that is an indication that his/her time was not used effectively.  Some of the students who didn’t finish asked if they could finish it at home and they were given a very enthusiastic yes.

Open School Day is quickly approaching and we only have two rotations and two food items for the feast.  We can’t make Open School Day the wonderful experience that it is without you.  We need three more people to lead rotations, we need someone to coordinate the feast, we need people to help set up and clean up the feast, and we need food, lots of yummy food.  Please send back the yellow papers we sent home earlier this week as soon as possible so we can plan accordingly.  If you can run a rotation, or coordinate the feast, please email us also.

We finished up Spy School and have moved on to reading The Ballad of Lucy Whipple.  This is a historical fiction story set in the early days of the California Gold Rush.  This is a time period we’ll be studying, as well as presenting during our Object Parade, so we wanted to give the students a picture of what life was like then before our performance.  We’ve already learned about the contrast between boom towns and life in settled cities on the East Coast, how long it took for mail to go back and forth between the coasts, and about privies and chamber pots, among other things.

We will be placing the latest book order on Sunday, so you have until Sunday morning to place an online order.  There are many great books in this order, including the next book in the Dav Pilkey Dogman series, which we know many, many students are very, very interested in reading.  We so appreciate your book orders, as they allow us to get free books for our classroom library.

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: Next week’s cover story is about a basketball player who set up an anti-bullying program.  The map asks the students to write about the program he developed and do some thinking connected to that.  The magazine and map are due on Tuesday, 1/31. 

Problem of the Week:  Next week’s problem is about reading clues carefully and using the clues to draw a picture that fits the clues given.  It’s due on Tuesday, 1/31.  

Word Study:  The octagons and heptagons have their work is due in two weeks, on 1/26.  Pentagons and hexagons work is 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