3 weeks have passed into the New Year and I am in constant marvel of your children. If you ask most teachers what their favorite month to teach is in the school year - they will say January because it is as if all of the earlier learnings of the year are now solidifying and students are flourishing. For me, this is so true and watching your children this month has been an absolute joy. Before we left school for the weekend on Friday, Ms. Thomas and I told the students how proud of them we were. They seemed to be genuinely pleased with themselves.... and they should be!
During our Writer’s Workshop time -we have been working with the students to write persuasive opinion statements. Thanks to all of you who helped the students with their “tiny topic” journals. These journals have been a source of inspiration for the students when they are thinking of what “opinions” they want to express. We started the unit by looking at six different breeds of dogs. We learned a little about each breed of dog and then we asked the students come up with an opinion as to which one they would get if they could. In establishing a strong opinion we discussed that it is good to have more than one reason to persuade the person you are trying to reach. Ultimately, we have decided that in our writings we would try and come up with at least three different reasons to make a concrete opinion argument. We have moved from dogs to other subject areas like food, activities, places to travel and the most popular opinion writing choice- what is the best restaurant. So far, I think that one of the most compelling opinion statements came from Stefanie when describing why you should shop at Costco. Her reason being that “they always have clean bathrooms”. Oh, your children do make me smile!
We just finished up two math units in our Singapore Math. One unit was numerically based (Addition and Subtraction up to 20) and one was spatially based (2D shapes).
As we continue, we have been working on numbers up to 40, learning how to see the higher numbers as units of 10’s and 1’s. For example, 32 would be 3 tens and 2 ones. The next unit we will be doing is addition and subtraction up to 40. As the students quickly found out in the addition and subtraction up to 20, the automaticity of the basic math facts is essential to progress. We have spent a lot of time trying to find ways to get the facts more automatic and for the most part, the only way this is going to happen is if we practice, practice, practice. Therefore, we introduced you to IXL, which is a basic skills site that your child can practice. In our homework we are suggesting no more than 10-15 minutes on this site at a time. Even if your child doesn’t finish the assigned task, we ask that you close it down after that amount of time. The beauty of this is if you want to open it up another day, you can always do that. We don’t want this to take too long each time your child is on it. Another way that you can practice math facts is by playing different types of math games with cards and math facts. If you need ideas, please feel free to ask.
The concept of “Change Makers” has been further explored this month. In the fall we spoke of Jane Goodall as a “change maker”- a person who made a difference for standing up for what they believe in. This last month, we have learned about Helen Keller, Martin Luther King and a little girl named Ayanna. The students came home with a Scholastic News that described how a young girl can make a difference –as was depicted in the early 1960’s civil rights sit-ins. We were also graced with an amazing speaker at All School Chapel- Winona LaDuke spoke to the students about being an agent of change. She was so inspirational and motivational. We are having discussions about how we all have the potential of being a change maker. The homework assignment about, “If I Were President”.... led us into a conversation about the changes our students would like to see. Most of the changes centered around kindness. We talked about if we want to see change, we need to be prepared to stand up and tell others what we believe. Children were asked to read their “President Homework” sheets.
Being that we have a new president, the students spent some time sharing their thoughts. They were very curious about how one president moves out and another moves in. We found a couple of different websites to show them the White House. They were mesmerized! We found one site that said that you could take a virtual tour of the White House on Google Earth. We didn’t have time to do this.... but I told the students that I would let you know and maybe they could go on it at home.
For science, we will begin our discussions about the ocean this week. The following week we will be going to the MN Zoo to see ocean life. The people who are assigned to this field trip have been notified already.
In P.E. our skating units are completely done and we don’t have swimming until the end of the school year, so know that you won’t have to worry about any of that coming up soon!
A note from NAN ZOSEL!
Calling all BOXTOPS! Please bring in box tops by Feb. 14. Containers are located near door D in the Middle School. The money raised by box tops supports student led Philanthropy Projects. They do expire, so please bring them so that we can redeem them. Thanks!
A note from Katie Peterson
Breck Summer Programs 2017 registration begins on Tuesday, January 17 at 8:00AM! We hope you will join us for "The Most Fun Under The Sun!" Please contact Katie Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. The digital brochure is available on the Breck website or go to our online registration page here!