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12/17/10 Family Letter
Sunday, January 23, 2011 8:20 PM

 

The week that was:

Well, NEVER in my teaching career have I been so surprised with two snow
days in a row – and on the last week before holiday break.  Needless to
say it put quite a monkey wrench into our plans and so we did the best
we could.

Reading:  The groups met to talk out the 10 most important things they
believed they learned through reading the books about Other People/Other
Places – here is an example of a few things they wrote:

We take a lot of things for granted.
Not everyone is free.
Think ahead and make sacrifices.
Some people are mistreated because of their looks.

I feel that this shows they gleaned what I hoped from the experience. I
was looking for “life lessons” that will help them reflect on new
situations they encounter as they mature.

Writing:  I got through the editing process on about ¾ of the kids “Hole
in the Wall” stories – there wasn’t either enough available computers or
enough of me to go around to quite complete this task.  This afternoon I
invited kids to read them to their classmates.  We only had time for
about five, but they were inventive to be sure.  How do you think that
hole got into my chalkboard?  Be sure to ask your child for their idea
and what they remember from other stories as well.  I will put these
together into a book when they are all done and they’ll be available for
pleasure reading.

Sneaky Snowflakes treated each other very well – everybody loves a
surprise and lots of smiles broke out during the week. (Thanks for your
help with this too.)

You’ll see some cute snowpeople coming home – a creative activity for
the artists in them all.

I handed out the December Homework Project; it’s theme is “Persistence
and Creativity”.  PLEASE do not stress about this – it could happen in
one morning or afternoon and there is no time or writing requirement. 
The point is to practice persistence and creativity – two of the Habits
of Mind I started the year with.

Examples of past projects that may help you settle on something:  
learning to cook or bake a favorite family holiday recipe
building a birdhouse or creative snow sculpture
knitting a scarf
learning to sew something
stuffing a squirrel ( I am not kidding – I had a kid who wanted to learn
taxidermy and found someone to help him . . .)
learning to snowshoe, cross-country or downhill ski (or new “tricks” in
these sports)

I sent home a blue sheet that needs to be filled out at the completion
of this project – photographs will suffice as evidence – there is a
portion for a family member to complete as well.  (I am also putting it
on as an attachment  to this email min case it didn’t get home, you
could just copy it out.)

Things coming up after break:

We start our unit (which will continue throughout the remainder of the
year) on American History.  Word work will often coincide with this.

We will start new book groups.

The Middles team is embarking on a several month look at the issue of
bullying. we will have Climb Theater folks here to do a show for us on
this theme to be followed by classroom workshops with theater artists
and also a visual artist.

I will plan the date for a morning portfolio share for families in later
Jan.

We will swim 4 days the second week in January.

Please keep this Japanese proverb in mind: “One kind word can warm three
winter months” – the winter solstice occurs on Tuesday, 12/21.

May you enjoy many joyful wonder-filled moments in the next several weeks.

Cheers,

Kathy


Kathy Scoggin
Barton Open School
Kathy.Scoggin@mpls.k12.mn.us

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.  It is
the source of all true art and science."
- Albert Einstein