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9/8/15 Newsletter and Homework
Monday, September 7, 2015 5:55 PM

Dear Families,

Although many schools in the area are just starting, our students have already established a classroom community in room 102!  Children (all humans, really) thrive on predictable rituals and routines.  Those also give us safe ways to take risks and push back against the rules a bit!  It’s been a lovely Labor Day weekend, without “first day jitters” to contend with.


We have learned about fish and ants through fiction and non-fiction.  At the same time we’ve thought together about empathy and self-control, two social/emotional skills that are important to academic success.  This week, we’ll turn our attention to frogs- they are great communicators, and wonderful examples of mindfulness.  Those frogs really need to stay in the moment to stay safe and catch their dinners!  We are scrubbing out Amanda’s old fish tank, and hoping to add an aquatic frog or two to our classroom menagerie. 


Our mornings start with math work, which looks a lot like math play!  Inspired by the experts at the state fair’s Math on a Stick, I’ve been putting out lots of things that are fun to count.  I am finding out all about the different ways our students approach working with numbers.  If you have a box or jar of something that is wonderful to count, send it! We count, count a different way, and talk about how we counted. 


We decided to have spelling and a spelling test last week, just because there are so many great ant words to learn!  I was so proud of everyone!  Our Friday test usually brings a bit of discomfort, but we got through the moment, and everyone was so proud!  Our beginning spellers might choose to learn the six pattern words, our avid spellers might choose all twenty.  This is a weekly chance for all learners to set goals and feel proud of their accomplishment, whatever that is.

A caution:  It’s tempting to push hard with spelling, or to reward for “correct words.”  This kind of motivation usually backfires and kids just get stressed out.  I learn so much each week from seeing how students solve problems and sound out words during our spelling tests!  They learn so much from taking risks, listening for sounds, and writing them down.  It truly isn’t about memorizing the “dictionary way,” but about listening for sounds, and being brave.  Encourage your kids to learn the pattern words, and whatever else will help them with their writing and reading.  I promise that everyone will learn to spell.  And “6” really is an AWESOME score for our beginning spellers!

Parent Information Night

I hope to see lots of you Thursday at 6:30!   Thanks,  Kristin

Spelling Words
























Homework Ideas

*  Make an inspiration page for your writing folder.  Use the paper in your BEE book to record things that you like and might write about sometime.  (There’s an example in your BEE book as well.)

*Count!  There are so many cool things to count.  Find some counting to do.  Try to count more than one way.

*Go frog hunting.  Frogs live in window wells, under bushes and in gardens.  Watch a frog and seek what it does.

*Sing some frog songs to someone at home.  Try “five green and speckled frogs,” “down by the banks” or “hear the lille frog.”

*Write your spelling words in green.  Give them spots. 

*Find facts about frogs.  Bring them to school to share.

*Teach your families about the brain.  Which part does the best thinking?  Which part holds your feelings?  Which part makes you fight, flight or freeze?

*Read for pleasure and for practice!

*Do your own thing!