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Room 120 Announcements 2011-2012
Jane's Mar. 6 Parent Letter
Monday, March 12, 2012 10:40 PM

March 6, 2012

Greetings Room 120 Families,

Thank you for the wonderful participation with our portfolio sharing and conferences. It was great to be able to meet with you and your children and revisit the goals we had set and look ahead at new goals. The children are truly invested in their learning and they feel the support from the caring adults who surround them.

We are sending home login information for students to access the Pearson online math learning supplement from your home computer. I believe everything is loaded for students to review the prior unit. There are activities, quizzes and general practice opportunities. The work is intended to be a fun review of concepts previously taught in class. The first graders are finishing up Unit 7, which works to help them gain skill with subtraction solving challenging story problems. Second graders finished the unit about fractions, both parts of a whole and parts of a set.

Every student is reading and discussing books with their groups. Some of the more recent titles include: Stars: We’ve been working on word type skills like closed, open, magic e and “two vowels go walkin’ the first one does the talkin’”. We’ve also read: The Hungry Kitten, A Trip to the Beach, Planes, Trains and More. The Comets also worked on some of the word types and read Schools of Fish, Meet Erdine and I’m Isabella Monk. The Meteors read Meet Erdine, The Beauty of Bali and The Coral Reef. Finally the Asteroids read The San Francisco Exploratorium and The Coral Reef. The Meteors and Asteroids will be working together to make a coral reef collage and research project.

We are working had in our revision unit of writing. Students are using special pens to make spelling corrections, insert carats with details and just today we read Owl Moon and talked about dialog with quotation marks. We then worked to insert some dialog into the group story on the document camera and finally worked to insert dialog into our own piece of writing. The students are doing a fantastic job of working on this revision unit!

On the note of research projects, I am assigning one as a project that will be completed at home and presented at school. The topic should be one that your child is interested in learning more about; I remember the choosing of the topic being one of the most challenging parts of the process when my kids were younger; I recommend choosing a topic and sticking to it. So far this year we have learned about the human body, our community and a lot about places in the world. Please have your child choose a topic that connects to one of those “big ideas”. It could be anything from how we keep ourselves healthy, some places or people that are important to our community, or animals that are found in a certain place in the world. Most any topic will be fine as long as it is informative. The project presentation should be no more than 5 or 10 minutes max. This project is required for 2nd graders and optional for 1st.

Here’s the assignment: 1. Choose a topic. 2. Research and take notes. 3. Organize information and write at least one page. 4. Prepare a visual aid- it could be a poster, video, demonstration, a book or anything else that would support the project. My goal is that students have some time to lead the class, speak in front of their peers and that the audience learn from the presentations. We will sign up at school for presentations. There will be times 7:50 a.m., 8:00 a.m. and again at the end of the day 1:10 and 1:20. Parents are free to join us though many students do present without a parent there; either way is o.k. I will send home a small note letting you know what time your child is signed up to present. Our first presentation will be right after spring break, on Tuesday, April 10th.

We will be going on a field trip toward the end of the year to a farm. One of the project we will do there is to make a bird nest. Please save your clementine bags and onion bags for us to use when we go on this fun trip.

Hopefully your child brought home their PALA activity and nutrition log sheet. We will be working on completing 4 of the weeks toward getting our certificates. This is just week one and we are going by the honor system for the first 3 weeks and at the end of the 4th,week, March 29th,we will collect the log which should be completed at home.

Just a quick reminder that Student Author Night is Thursday, March 22nd from 6-7 p.m. We have 4 students signed up. It’s possible that the work from our revision unit would serve as a good piece of writing for our students to share. It’s not too late; the sign up sheet is still posted in our room.

Hope you’re enjoying the warm weather,

Jane and Holly

Jane's Dec. 9 Parent Letter
Monday, December 12, 2011 10:35 AM

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dear Classroom 120 Families,

I hope you are all staying warm in the cold weather. It is important that all of the kids come to school prepared to go outside for recess: warm jacket, boots, gloves or mittens and a hat; snow-pants are a good idea too!

We are continuing to work on printing practice, word wall (100+ most common words), writers’ workshop and reading groups. We recently wrote a story to accompany the collage work, which was done during our Art rotation.

In math, all students have been working on collecting and organizing data. We are also learning how to interpret graphs.

I plan to begin working with the students next Monday, December 12th, on our Flat Stanley project. Thank you so much for the awesome addresses I have received. I am thrilled, as we will be writing to some close-by places and many faraway places. Addresses include places like South Africa, Australia, the UK, Japan, Italy, Chile and many more! If you would like to send an address, I will be accepting them up until December 16th. We still need 10 more addresses! I am hoping to mail all of the “Flat Students” next weekend, the 17th. If you would like to contribute any funds to help out with the costs of postage, feel free to send in a few dollars too.

We had a fabulous time at the Children’s Theater. The production of The Wizard of Oz was fantastic! The music, acting, dancing and special effects were extremely well done. We also got to interview one of the actresses, as she is a student in Jaci’s class. I just booked a bus for our class to go to the MIA on February 8th. I will send that permission slip home soon.

I am working on two other projects. One is a folding and stringing project making small origami swans. I have the materials, one instructor and 1 parent. If you are available to help on Monday, December 19th at 7:45 a.m., it would be great to have you here!

The other is a project with our “Big Buddies” in which we make air fresheners. I would appreciate any donations of small (the smaller the better) oranges, clementine or mandarin, whole cloves and little tiny ribbons. I need 58 oranges, approximately 16 containers of whole cloves and 58 tiny ribbons. Ali and I are planning to make these on Wednesday, December 21st at 7:35 a.m.

Just a quick reminder that next Friday, December 16th, is a school spirit pajama day. It is important that students still have appropriate footwear (no slippers without soles) on that day.

Thank you for all of the wonderful support; addresses, money, materials and most of all your time. It all makes a big difference to our class!

Jane Spicer

Jane's list for the Wild Rumpus Book Fair!
Friday, November 11, 2011 12:20 PM

We hope you all have this fun event on your calendars! The Wild Rumpus Book Fair, which raises money for Barton and puts new books in the kids' classrooms, will be Wed., Nov. 16. On this day only, from noon to 8 PM, Wild Rumpus bookstore (located at 2720 W. 43rd Street in Linden Hills) will donate 20% of all sales to Barton. Jane has put together a wish-list for books for room 120 that will tie in nicely with upcoming themes our kids will be studying. And, Jane would welcome any books that students and parents pick out! Her wishlist will be available at the bookstore on Wednesday, but if you would like to get an advance look, you'll find Jane's list here..

Date change for costume day! Now Friday, Oct. 28!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 10:40 PM

The date for dressing up in costumes has been changed to this Friday, October 28th. Read on for the details...

Jane's Oct. 12 Parent Letter
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 2:55 PM

Dear Classroom 120 Families, I have enjoyed meeting with many of you as we set goals with your child. Read on for my full letter this week...

Check out our class's new "Student Activities" section
Friday, October 7, 2011 12:45 AM

We have added the "Student Activities" section to our classroom's section of the web site -- you'll find it the right-hand column on this web page. Check here often to see new photos and descriptions of what the kids are doing. From math, to writing, to science, to field trips, and more, you'll see room 120 in action here...

Field Trip to Ordway Theatre on Oct. 26
Thursday, October 6, 2011 8:10 PM

We have an exciting field trip coming up! On Wed., Oct. 26, we will head to the Ordway with other primary and upper primary classes for a morning performance by Luna Negra Dance Theatre. Read on for all the details, and if you missed seeing the permission slip, download it here & turn it in to Jane.

Room 120 News - September 18, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011 1:40 PM

Dear Classroom 120 Families,

We are off to a great start in Classroom 120. The students have been busy making friends, building a strong community, considering hopes and dreams, learning and working with our big buddies from Allison’s 7th/8th grade homeroom. I am pleased to have Ashley in our classroom for the next 7 weeks. She has made great connections with the students, worked hard to help keep the room running and has great ideas that she will be implementing with the students She has been a wonderful addition and a great help.

We are finishing up our first unit kicking off the writing series. We worked to “zoom in” on a small true moment and put that onto paper. This Wednesday we will have a very small celebration in which each student will share one piece of writing, we will share a treat and begin to move into “Writing for a Reader”. As students share their writing each day under the document camera they will continue to be praised for what is communicated. Now we will add compliments for things that writers do to make the idea on the page even more readable (many letter sounds for each word, spacing, a bit of neatness and even some punctuation). “Writing for a Reader” is the name of the upcoming unit. I am also beginning to assess each student’s reading level. As the assessments are completed I will begin leading book groups. In the meantime we are reading each day, independently and as a whole group. Hopefully the students are reading at home every day for at least 15-20 minutes. We have been checking out books from Media each Friday. Please send the library books and the Friday News notebook back to school each Friday. Books can be renewed and it is a great idea to have a book at school ready to go for Drop Everything and Read time each day. If your child is reading chapter books, keeping one handy in their chair book bag can make the reading time more enjoyable. One fun literacy activity that the students did was a team project that sprang from a book called the Bedspread. The students worked with folders blocking each other’s view to try to add details to a house described to them by their partner (no hand motions allowed). I team the kids up and they took turns describing the detail, drawing it and then being the one to add and describe the next detail. It was especially fun to remove the folder and see how funny the non- symmetrical houses turned out. Ashley and I modeled this at the start, the activity was intended to be fun and the kids seemed to enjoy participating in it. The big idea was to try to communicate clearly as well as discussing the mathematical concept of symmetry.

Math is going great. The first and second graders are working on making combinations through a variety of games and activity book pages. Some of the combining activities we have been working on include filling in shapes with pattern blocks and counting the blocks used, “Pocket Day” counting pockets, determining if there are “Enough for the Class” of a given object, if so how many extras? If not, how many more are needed, coins and money were also explored. Upcoming, everyone will be working to solve story problems.

We ended Media as our specialist and started Science with Sue. I know she has been teaching about trees. We are also starting the “Solids and Liquids” science unit in the classroom this week. The unit will teach about a variety of properties of solids and liquids as the students explore different items.

Upcoming events include:

  • I will be reading Flat Stanley to the students this week. I would like to mail out a flat cut out of each of your children to accompany by a letter explaining the project as we try to learn about a wide variety of places in the world. I believe that if we mail them early, we will have a better chance of a greater number of returns and possibly more interesting responses as the recipients won’t feel so rushed. Basically I would like to get them in the mail, put the project back on the back burner, and revisit it more toward February. Please begin to think about family or friends that would be willing to receive a flat cutout of your child, answer some simple questions, possibly send pictures (we often get postcards), write back to the class and mail the flat cutout back to Barton. I have had wonderful luck with faraway places in the past with this exciting project. It’s a great way to learn about a wide variety of cultures as we map and post the communications.
  • Our 2nd graders will be taking a required M.A.P. test on October 3rd and 4th 7:45-8:45 a.m. (especially good days to eat your Wheaties!), Speaking of food, I would welcome donations of small, easy to hand out, snacks to hand out during story-time.
  • We have a field trip to the Mill City Museum on Friday, October 7th.
  • I am also scheduling conferences on a first-come, first serve basis. please see attached schedule. I look forward to meeting with each family; I appreciate goal setting very much and believe the authentic process facilitates having the best year filled with the most growth for each individual student. I look forward to seeing you soon! 

Jane Spicer 

2011-12 Supply List
Monday, August 8, 2011 12:30 PM

Welcome to the 2011-2012 school year. It’s going to be a great one! Here’s a preliminary list of school supplies that I know we will need.
There may be a few add-ons later, but for these are the staples, please click here....