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12/5/10 Family Letter
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 12:15 PM



The week that was:

Reading:  We began what I am calling the "Op/Op" books - Other
people/Other Places.  These selections seem to have gripped the kids
attention.  The books cover child labor in the rug making business, the
Japanese internment camps in the US in WWII, and a Minnesota man
determined to build schools in the middle east for children without
adequate educational facilities. I encouraged them to choose their first
book out of the three selections, and told them I hoped some would be
able to read two of the books before break - by the end of the first
week several kids were already on the third book.  We will continue with
this theme this week.  Please ask your child to share their book
choice(s) with you and ask what has surprised, amazed, shocked, or
disappointed them in the stories they are reading.

We had a brief discussion at school the other day reminding them of my
goal that each of them read a minimum of 25 books during the school
year.  Some are already way ahead - and others indicated that they
hadn't put as much home time into this as they realize they need. 
Please have the conversation at home about what your child needs to stay
of top of this - and remind them of the list they are to be keeping for
"at home" books (we talked about this at the fall goal setting conference).

Word Work:  My Augsburg practicum students prepared Word Work to
accompany the National Geographic magazine reading about Great
Migrations.  You might ask about the journal entry they wrote for this work.

"The Incredible Water Show" is the play we are working on.  This was a
fabulous week with lots coming together to prepare for our presentation
to the school.  All of the kids are working hard as directors, actors, 
costume designers or prop makers.

Science:  We almost finished our last "fair test" challenge with the
flippers.  Ask what they've learned so far about how angle of launch,
mass of the object, energy at release, or placement of the flipper stick
has taught their group. 

The week to come:

We will practice most every day to polish up our "Incredible Water
Show".  We will be presenting this at the All School Morning meeting
this Friday morning, 12/10, at 7:35AM in the Commons.  Please try to
join us if you are available, it will be over by 8:00.  This is our one
and only presentation and I'd love for you to see the fruits of their

Reading:  We will continue with the Other People/Other Places book

Word Work this week will not be the usual vocabulary/concept list. 
Instead I will be challenging them to come up with a creative story to
answer the big unanswered question in 204 - how did that hole get in the
middle of our chalkboard?  I will help them work through the elements of
creative writing as they prewrite with a story map to establish
character, setting and action.  Then we'll move on to revising and
editing, and hopefully by the end of the week be ready to produce a 
"publishable" piece.

Monday they will carry out their final "flipper" controlled experiment
and collect data for evidence statements.

For those of you with 5th grade students we recently finished studying
3-D geometry.  Here is a fabulous interactive website to share with your
child to extend their learning in this arena (good for 6th graders too -
they haven't done 3-D geometry yet this year I believe).

You will notice under the "pick another interactive" tab at the top
right that many subjects are represented. You may find lots of truly
educational offerings there you'd like your child to explore with their
"screen time".


Thursday, Dec. 16 Middles Roller Skating trip

Week of Dec. 13 - 17 Annual "Sneaky Snowflake" (secret pal) week in 204.
This is optional, of course, I will send home information to help you
and your child be a good "pal" if your child chooses to participate. 
The focus is on "making someone's day".

I hope you enjoyed the wonders of the pretty snowfall:)