Dec./Jan News

Orange Cluster Monthly News

December 7, 2018

Welcome back! We hope your Thanksgiving break was restful and full of family time. We are grateful for our supportive and enthusiastic families! We greatly appreciate you all being on time for your child’s conference and for working in partnership with us to continue the growth of your child!



Holiday Program – Wed., December 12th 8:45am, 11:00, & 1:10pm

Orange’s Winter Party – Fri., Dec 14th 9:00 – 10:15am

Last Day of Instruction in 2018 – December 14th

First Day of Instruction in 2017 – January 7th

Governing Council Meeting - January 17th at 5:30pm

Friend’s Meeting – Jan. 17th at 7pm

Minimum Day – Fri., February 1st  

Open School Day – Tues., Feb. 26th



Please ask to see your child’s orange homework folder. The goals set at the conferences have been placed in the front cover. Periodically please ask your child how they are doing in making progress towards their goals!


‘Tis the season to give back! We are working with the Department of Public Social Services to donate toys to children in need. The Toy Loan Program provides a free toy-lending service to the children of Los Angeles County. Through their 50-plus centers, Toy Loan provides a safe place to play and helps to develop a sense of self-worth through a merit system that rewards the responsible borrowing of toys. Toy Loan targets lower-income communities, where children often lack access to basic skill-building toys, which are an essential part of a child’s development. 

We are accepting the following items:

New or gently-used books
New or gently-used, unbroken, complete toys (no violent themes, no play guns/knives)
New stuffed animals or dolls
Video games and consoles

Let's show our students the power of giving back (while cleaning out those closets and toy bins)! Collection bins will be located in the office and the library.


The Open School’s Holiday program will be at 8:45am, 11:00am, & 1:10pm on Wednesday, December 14th.  The last performance will be the shortest as it does not include choir or the orchestra. On this day, please have your child wear an outfit with dark bottoms and solid (as little writing or designs as possible), bright, jewel-toned tops. (Do your best to approximate it – no need to buy new clothes!)


Orange Cluster will have a fun Winter Party on Fri., Dec 14th from 9 – 10:20am. Come on by! If you would like to help, please email our room moms, Sheri (Brooke’s mom) and Joanne (Kia’s mom).


On Tuesday, February 26th, we will have our annual Open School Day. On this day, parents lead small groups of kids in a meaningful activity that celebrates a cultural or family tradition. The focus of the day is to celebrate the diverse histories, cultures, and families of the Open School. In the past, activities have been done such as making latkes, Kwanzaa puppets, cornucopias, and learning about the tradition of Japanese tea. Any activity that is a special tradition in your family, celebrates your culture, or is otherwise meaningful to you is an excellent option! If you are interested and willing to help us out on this day, please let us know ASAP.

We will also have a huge multicultural feast on this day and we ask that ALL families contribute a savory dish (no dessert please) and come celebrate! You might start thinking about a favorite family dish to share. We will also need some help setting up and cleaning up the feast. Each year all the families send in the most amazing food and it is a great treat for everyone. Having this organized by some parents would make a big difference. This would include reheating some items, laying out the food, serving the students, and most importantly, cleaning up. Please let us know if you can help out. Preparation for the feast starts around 11am. Thanks in advance for your support (and yummy food donation)!



• READER’S WORKSHOP: We hope you are noticing an increased level of enjoyment of reading in your child - we sure are seeing it in school! After the Thanksgiving break, we’ve been reviewing all the comprehension strategies we’ve taught so far such as activating prior knowledge, visualizing, wondering, asking questions, predicting, summarizing, making connections, and monitoring for meaning. This week we taught the sophisticated strategy of inferring. We explain that the authors will not directly tell you everything about the character or story but they will leave you clues. It is up to the readers to pay attention to the clues and details and put them together with what we already know to better understand why a character feels or acts a certain way. It’s also referred to as “reading between the lines.” It is challenging and we will circle back to it throughout the year. When we get back in January, we are going to begin our unit on characters.

• WRITER’S WORKSHOP: The students have finished writing their personal narratives. While they are typing these stories in Word, the class is also exploring and developing original comics. The lessons they learn with the comic strip unit will help them plan and write future narratives. Once the typing of their personal narratives is complete, the class will learn how to make a book with a cover, title page, a dedication, and illustrations.

• SCIENCE/SOCIAL STUDIES: We are wrapping up our second science units! In January we will begin our unit on Rube Goldbergs. The class will meet in small groups to develop a complicated contraption that completes a simple task. The students will apply their knowledge of simple machines and the engineering process to build their Rube Goldberg.

• HOMEWORK: If you are checking over your child’s homework, please look for the following: complete sentences and correct spelling of all words that are printed on the paper and any Word Wall Words that have been sent home. These are “must haves” in all our writing now. Hopefully, the Word Wall lists are posted in a convenient location during homework time. Keep an eye out for more words to hang around the house!

• MATH: In math, we’re wrapping up our graphing unit. The students are familiar with bar graphs, pictographs, and line plots. They are adept at creating them and reading them. The tricky part is to always remember to check the scale (or key) on the graph as the squares (or pictures) can represent more than one. We are beginning to dive into our measurement unit. We’ve been measuring with inches and centimeters. We’ll continue exploring measurement in January and learn about area. This will dovetail nicely with Mrs. Granick’s lessons on multiplication in January. Then we’re going to move into perimeter and more measurement and geometry.

• We continue to work on solving word problems using a variety of strategies. The class has learned to use open number lines and friendly numbers to solve diverse “subtraction” problems. These problems are called change unknown (3 +               = 7) or start unknown problems (                  + 6 = 12). In January, we will begin digging into the concept of multiplication while still reviewing the previous problem solving strategies. Here are a few videos that demonstrate these two strategies:  and

• At conferences, the subject of math packets came up a couple of times. To clarify, we work on skill-based math packets (based on a child’s performance on a skill inventory) once a week in class. On Mondays, between recess and lunch, the children work in their math packets as well as meet individually with the teacher, practice facts and are assessed on their fact knowledge. If your child (or you), would like to spend more time working in their math packets, they may! They may bring them home any or every day to do more work. BUT, each page must be checked and initialed by an adult (to make sure they aren’t going on when they don’t understand something) and the packet must be returned to class the next day. It cannot stay at home.

• Please continue to work on ST Math at home. If you want to finish the year curriculum by May and get to the fun challenge levels, you should be 50% through the curriculum by the time we get back from winter break. Take advantage of your 3 weeks at winter break to get ahead! As one student says, “Can I do more?” Yes, absolutely!

The website below has games for practicing the math facts.

Here are a few apps that may be fun as well: Sushi Monster, Timez Attack

Expiration Date: 
Jul 31