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211 News -- Week of March 5
Sunday, March 11, 2012 8:10 PM


Steve’s Retirement

As you know Steve is retiring at the end of the school year. So, we are proactively working to hire the best replacement for him.
Please look at what your parent council is asking of each family!

Dear Families  -
Last Thursday the Council met with Assoc. Superintendent Theresa Battle to share parent and teacher feedback about hiring a new principal for Barton. In the meeting Ms. Battle asked for as much feedback as possible from stakeholders in this important decision. She also explained the hiring process for our new principal. At the meeting, it was decided that to get the most information to the district, it would be best if teachers sent the survey monkey link with questions re: who/what Barton needs in a principal to their homeroom families. This is the link for the staff and parent survey.

The turn around on this is short because the data needs to be gathered, read, and a profile of a new principal constructed before they look for candidates. Both Ms. Battle and Steve would like to hire someone before the end of the school year. In order for this process to be expedited, feedback from the survey is due by Mon. Mar. 12. All data from the survey will go directly to the district. Sorry for the short notice and extra work, but it is an important endeavor.

Best, Amber

Swimming:  We are having our last swim session Tuesday, March 13 through Friday, March 16. I still need many permission slips. Please send them in on Monday so we are not scrambling for them on Tuesday!!

Reading:  Our new novel for Lit Circles is Wood Song by Gary Paulson. We will be doing a combination of reading together, reading alone and reading in a small group. We will have much discussion as it is a difficult book. The kids are up to the challenges posed in this novel and it is a great tie in to the Iditarod and a local Minnesota author.

Word Work:  Our word wall is getting renewed interest as we came across 3 words in the first 6 pages of Wood Song: tandem, idiotically and paradox! We’ll add them to our wall and hopefully to our speaking vocabulary!

Barton Cabaret (talent show) will be held Friday, April 20. Try outs will be Wednesday, March 28 at 1:05. A signed permission slip will need to be turned in for students to try out. It was sent home on Wednesday.

211 News -- Week of February 6
Saturday, February 11, 2012 3:45 PM


SNACKS: The cupboard is bare. Please contribute if you can.

Math: As you have probably heard from your child, its all about Fractions, Decimals and Percents. If you have not heard ask them about it. This week we did a lot of talking about paying attention to when and where fractions, decimals and percents are present in their lives. We also made fraction kits and have just begun playing around with them. My question to them is: What do you notice? The fraction kit is made by cutting strips of paper into halves, fourths, eighths and sixteenths! We will then do a variety of things to understand fractions.

History: We are continuing our conversation about freedom and equal rights. The children have dozens of questions, ideas and comments about the turbulent times of the 50’s and 60’s. Our conversations are rich and interesting.

Amelia Earhart is also on our minds. The Historical Perspectives show we saw on Monday was well done. We are reading the Amelia Earhart biography in class. Many questions and concerns are being raised about the whole idea of women’s equal rights too!!

Stamp Club Presentations: The presentations are starting to come together. You may or may not know, but one of the requirements of Stamp Club is that an oral presentation is given to the class. This work is done in school and usually, but not always, with a partner. Some of Stamp Club time each week needs to be spent on putting together a short presentation based upon a stamp the child has found to be interesting. Ask your child how they are doing on their Stamp Club presentation. I filmed this Thursday’s presentations and with any luck I will be able to figure out how to get them posted on the class web site.

Book Order: We have had two great conversations about books this week. First, we had a conversation about the Newbery winner this year. No one has much information about it but when they looked over the list of previous winners there was a great deal of excitement as they recognized many titles. They took the list from 1922 to present and highlighted those they already read and then marked the ones they were interested in. I am now going to let them know which titles are appropriate for them to read now. On Friday we had a good discussion about the books in the book order and how many of them connect to what we are learning now in the classroom.

Valentine’s Day Party: We have been working very hard in room 211 and the Valentine Celebration is just what we need to congratulate ourselves for our hard work. In addition it is such a joyous time to see kids' happy faces as they read the many Valentine cards they receive. The boxes and bags are decorated and we’re ready! Thank you to the following families for helping with the celebration:  Mandlers, Bodes, Bessette-Reiters, Yusufs, Holcombs, Petersons, Auckenthalers ,
Havilands, Parkers, and Speckers.

Ashley Gonwa: To my fourth grade families. Many of you may remember Ashley Gonwa, our student teacher last year. She landed a 1st grade teaching position in Alberta Lea, Minnesota. I have kept in contact with her as a mentor and friend. She happily emailed me today to let me know that she has been nominated for Minnesota Teacher of the Year. The kids were really excited when I shared the news with them.

MCA Testing Info
Monday, February 6, 2012 9:10 AM

We have posted some sample information about the upcoming MCA tests here.

For the math section, there are several files that show the types of problems the kids will see.  There are separate files for each grade level.

For the reading section, you can log in as a guest, select your grade level, and see and practice a sample test. Here is the link:

211 News -- Week of January 30
Saturday, February 4, 2012 9:10 AM


MCA testing: The annual spring testing schedule has been released. Everyone in grades 3-8 will be taking the MCA reading tests on Tuesday, April 17 and Wednesday, April 18. It is a paper pencil test. Room 211 is scheduled in the Media Center on Monday, April 2 and Tuesday, April 24 for the online MCA math testing.  I will give further details as we get closer to the testing days.

Friday Physics: Ask to see the energy toys that we made this morning. Can your child explain where the potential and kinetic energy is?

New Website: Thank you to Abdala’s mom, Shamso, for bringing this web site to my attention: I have registered our classroom and enrolled all the kids. They need to use the same user name and password that they use in school.

Valentine’s Day: We will have a small Valentine’s celebration on Tuesday, February 14, at 1:10. Thank you to the families that have already donated items. We are set with red napkins, and sprinkles. Let me know if you can donate any of the following items:

• Small Plates
• Juice boxes
• Cookies plain unfrosted sugar cookies
• Frosting
• Plastic knives

Emergency Dental Work: Thank you for all the sympathetic wishes about the root canal. It turned out just fine. No pain!! Now I have to go through the process of getting another temporary crown and then the permanent one after that!! Fun, fun, fun!!

211 -- New picture post!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 3:00 PM


Thanks once again to Jessica's wonderful photography, we have new pictures posted of the kids' Magic Tree House projects and candids of Stamp Club activities.  Both sets were taken before Winter break (my bad for the late post -- Mark).

Magic Tree House

Stamp Club

Let Patty know if you have other pictures of school activities and we can get them posted.

Goal setting conference preparation
Thursday, January 19, 2012 2:50 PM


It would be very helpful for me, in preparation for conferences, if you would help your child fill out the organizer to help them reflect on their progress. It was attached to the fall goal setting sheet. Our time is so short when we meet that I like to be as prepared as possible. I look forward to going over them on the weekend.

211 News: Week of January 9
Sunday, January 15, 2012 10:10 AM


Happy New Year to you all. The beginning of the new year seems so long ago!

Goal Setting Conferences: I am filling the conferencing schedule. If you have not signed up for a time please do so ASZP. I also sent home the planning worksheet along with the original goals from September/ October. Send those forms back by Wednesday, January 18.

Energy and U: The field trip was a huge success. Kids were excited, surprised and engaged! Two University of Minnesota professors gave several LOUD and explosive demonstrations to help us understand the concept of energy. The big idea was that energy cannot be created or destroyed.

Friday Physics: Friday Physics had to of course center around the idea of energy. We made rubber band shooters and are in the middle of running trials to see what happens when we vary the amount of pull we put behind the launching of the rubber band.

Specialist Change: We have finished this round of music and have moved on to Art.

Dictionaries: The Minneapolis Rotary Chapter has donated dictionaries to all the 3rd and 4th graders at Barton. We will be using the dictionaries in school for some dictionary work then they will be sent home.

Martin Luther King Jr.  We will be using the MLK Jr. holiday as a springboard for our social justice unit. Throughout the spring we will be reading about and discussing some Civil Rights issues from our history.

Quick reminders for this week
Monday, December 5, 2011 4:45 PM


I need swimming permission slips from more than half of the class. The kids will need swim gear for the rest of the week.

The playground is full of snow! Boots and snow pants are a MUST.

Stamp design homework is due on Wednesday. I gave several pointers on what an effective stamp would look like.

I am still missing several November reading logs. Please help your child remember that it is important to fill out the log before they read and when they finish reading.

211 News -- Week of November 28
Saturday, December 3, 2011 9:00 AM


Well the week flew by. Monday and Tuesday were a flurry of last minute finishing touches and practicing of presentations. Wednesday and Thursday were days for reflection about the whole nonfiction research reading club and poster making process. Friday letters should be full of details about the behind the scene action that went into the creation of such wonderful posters. Most kids say they can hardly wait to do it again.

Next week we will have a heavy emphasis on math. We are in the middle of our data collecting unit. We have done much work as a whole group and will be ready to take our data collecting knowledge to the next level. The children will be creating their own survey question, collecting the data and then figuring out how to display that data.

We are also swimming next week. The permission slip came home today (blue) along with math workbook homework.

Math homework should be returned on MONDAY, DECEMBER 5.
Swimsuits/towels should be sent in on TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6.

Our poster making extravaganza has depleted our supply of glue sticks. If you are out and about and can pick some up to donate that would be great.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the generosity of the 211 students. We have collected $63.21 for the East African Famine Relief Fund. Keep it up, we are now trying to reach $100.00!!  I heard some kids are volunteering to wash the dishes to earn money!!   :-)

Have a super weekend., all the kids are hoping for enough snow to go sledding.

Homework due Tuesday
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 8:10 PM


Thank you to everyone who helped their child remember to turn in their name homework on time today. I still need a couple of kids to bring the homework in. It will serve as a prewriting activity. The next step will be to write a paper about their name. We will do that part of the work in school.

Today I am sending home Wednesday homework that will be due TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, as there is no school on Wednesday. It is a writing assignment. It includes a planning activity, a rough draft, (remember we let our rough draft rest for a day) and a final copy. It is not something that can be left till the last minute as it involves much effort.

Finally, Our yet unnamed hamster needs a place to stay for the Thanksgiving break. If you are willing to have the little winter white critter send a note or email. If multiple kids want the chance we will have a drawing. Know that she will be available at other times in the year and she can always go home for a weekend if you would like.

See you at the Barton Book Fair at Wild Rumpus!!

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