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Kristin and Dawn's Barton Dictionary



Academic Choice-

A goal -centered lesson in which students are given a choice of how to learn and/or what to learn. A foundation of both Responsive Classroom and Open School.

Advanced Learners

Minneapolis Public Schools is now screening all second graders with a test called the CoGAT 7 to see if they are “advanced learners.”  Advanced learners may need to move more quickly through a series of lessons, and have extra depth and complexity in their work.  At Barton,  each class has a cluster of advanced learners who may be grouped for instruction if it’s appropriate.  If you think your child might be an advanced learner, talk to your teacher about it.  This year for the first time we can offer the CoGat to kids in kindergarten and first grade if parents and teachers agree that it would be a good idea.

AE the fairy

A magical creature who hangs around the vowel and consonant forest, kisses a brownie, and makes him say “AE! IOU a kiss!” Stories about AE the fairy help us learn all kinds of phonics rules.  Created by former Barton teacher Chris Jaglo.

All School Morning Meeting

Every three weeks or so the whole school gathers to sing and share special work. These start at 7:35, so it’s extra important to be in school on time or a little early.  This is really for students, but parents are welcome if your child is part of the meeting.

AMC Math Assessment

A new tool that helps us target your child’s math instruction to meet specific needs in the area of number sense.  We will be using this assessment with a small group to see if we find it useful and might expand to the whole class.

Apology of Action

When we show (with a note, act of friendship, etc,) we are truly sorry for a mistaken behavior with our actions, a good deed or some other concrete way.


Learning from an expert and then working in an authentic way alongside your teacher and the other apprentices.  An important model at Barton.

Author’s Tea

(See culminating event)  The class will take turns reading original writing for an audience of family members.  It takes about an hour, including the tea and snacks after!

B.E.E. Book

It means Bring Everything Everyday!  A binder that holds take-home reading, important info and homework.  


Students at Barton go to the office on  the morning of their birthday and get a “happy birthday” ribbon.  In 102 and 104, we celebrate with a monthly party close to the last day of the month.  There will be songs and a birthday pencil.  We have phased out edible birthday treats, in accordance with district policy and the wishes of many of our families. Invitations for birthday parties should not be passed out at school unless the whole class is invited. Dawn and Kristin will help you with names, addresses, and emails so that you can communicated with other parents directly.


This is our third year with a blog.  We’ll be posting often. The blog will give you a look into daily life in the classroom.  Only students with permission to be included will be photographed for the blog.   Look at your class newsletter for the blog address.  

Book Clubs

Your child will get a choice of chapter books for you to read aloud at home.  We’ll have three rounds of book clubs this year, starting in September.

Book Club for Parents

This is a brand new group open to any Barton adult who would like to read parenting books together.  We have potluck supper and childcare.  Watch for news in the newsletter.

Brandon Royce-Diop

Our student equity coordinator.  Brandon helps out with our recess and also with student behavior.  He also works to build positive identity and relationships with all students.

Break (Take a Break)

When a child is showing, in a small way, that he or she is losing self- control or focus, the teacher says “Take a Break.”  The child moves to a chair in the classroom, sits, takes a few breaths and then goes right back to work.  It is not a punishment-it’s a way to keep little behaviors from escalating in to big behaviors.  If your child says he had to take a break, a good parental response might be “Huh!  Did it help?”  Taking a break is sometimes known as a “positive time out.”


An older child who is your child’s fifth or sixth grade buddy.  We meet with our buddies to do work and little projects together.

Buddy Room

Sometimes your child will need a time out away from the class and will be sent to a buddy room.  The teacher will get your child shortly, and have a little chat about the mistaken behavior.  Dawn and Kristin are each other’s buddy rooms.

Bus Pass

What you need if your child is riding a different bus, or getting off at a different stop than usual.  Send a note to Kristin or Dawn AND LeAnn in the office.


Stands for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expanding Vocabulary.  A way of setting reading goals for each student by conferencing individually and in small groups.


Stands for Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy and self-control, a set of social skills students (and all humans) need to learn and practice if they are to move forward academically and socially.


We have an overnight camping experience every spring, in tents, with our first and second graders.  We rely on lots of parent help.  Lots more later!


Our special name for the space by the stairs at the end of the hall.  


The big auditorium-like space in the center of our school.  It’s official name is the DeLapp Commons, after our dear former principal Steve DeLapp.  We go there for special events.


The assessment that indicates (along with MAP scores and parent/teacher observation) whether your child may be an advanced learner.  All second graders are offered the CoGat screening in December.  Students in K, 1, 3, 4, can take a longer version of the CoGat if parents and teachers agree that it would be a good idea.


When a teacher sits by a student and listens to them read, looks at writing or math, or has a little chat about behaviors she has noticed, both for encouragement and for coaching.

Conference (Goal Setting)

A parent/ child/ teacher conference held outside of school hours to make plans for your child’s academic, social and expressive growth at school and at home.  Look for conferences in Fall and Winter.

Courageous Conversations

An adult protocol that informs our work with kids.  As we work to ensure equitable educational opportunities for all kids, it’s often important to speak clearly and openly about issues of race.  Courageous Conversations about Race gives us tools to do that.  Free training is available for parents and teachers through WMEP in a course called Beyond Diversity.

Culminating Event

At the end of each unit we will celebrate our learning by inviting parents for some kind of a “workshare.”  It might be an author’s tea, a play, a song concert or a “fair.”  These events may include the display of projects done at home.

Daily 5

(See separate document) Read Alone, Read Together, Listen to books, Word Work and Work on writing- the five things you need to do each day if you want to be a good reader.


We learn deeply when we take the time to study something for a long time and learn all about it.  Concepts that are part of a deep study usually have a wide reach, and will help us understand other things too.

Sometimes kids need to explore a wide range of topics before they are ready to choose something to explore deeply.  


Stands for Elbow Elbow Knee Knee.  A good way to sit if you are reading together.


The “Holy Grail” of teaching and learning!  It is that moment when kids are “into” their learning, anxious to keep going, and excited for new challenges.  We use every tool and strategy we can to help your children engage with their learning- if they do, achievement always follows.  

Exit Plan

What we do with your child at the end of the day.  We put them on the bus or bring them to the flagpole for you to pick up. Make sure we know yours, and that you send a note if yours is changing.


There is a Barton Parent Group on Facebook.  Read and contribute! Our facebook page is for celebrating, announcing upcoming events, and for fruitful, positive, respectful discussion about Barton.


This stands for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, where we get our snacks.  Kids get a chance to try new foods, which come to us every day from the nutrition center, all prepared for us to eat.  The cost is about $8.00 a month per child, so we will be sending a letter asking for your support.  We collect data about who likes what and change over time.


The district has a new policy on food that you can find on their website.  We are not to serve food in classrooms as incentives or for personal celebrations (birthdays).  We may serve food as part of our curriculum.  Dawn and Kristin serve small snacks at around 9:30, from the FFVP program. Sometimes we offer curriculum-related food as a part of a thematic unit.  Please let us know about allergies or other food-related issues.


Reading smoothly and expressively, while understanding the words and meaning.  Reading out loud is a good way to practice fluency.

Fountas and Pinnell

Two MAJOR reading gurus who devised a system of finding students’ reading levels and books to match.  This assessment tool is widely used at Barton and in the district.  If kids read books that are at the right level, “hard enough but not too hard,” they can progress quickly from nonreader to fluent reader!  CAUTION! Moving up in levels is just part of the work of becoming a good reader.  Reading levels are a tool,not a goal.  

Good Fit Book

A book that your child can read alone with just a few mistakes, or a book that your child very, very interested in because of the topic.  Finding good fit books is part of our reading curriculum.


That’s what you are doing if you talk about kids, parents or teachers at Barton in a way that isn’t kind or productive. It’s human nature, but It’s hardly ever a good thing.  Talking directly to the person you have a problem with, or asking for help from Paul, Holly, Dawn or Kristin to have that conversation together is the best path to solving problems and resolving conflicts peacefully.

Guided Math

See Math Workshop


Work like knitting, sewing, origami, weaving, etc.  This kind of work provides context and relevance for math work.  Handwork sets us up for work with pattern, number, space and data.  We’ll be doing some in school, and it’s good to do at home, too.

Holly Kleppe

Our assistant principal!  Say hello when you can!  We love her.  Holly is an instructional leader with teachers, and will also be helping with bus and school behavior.


Ways to support your child learning at home.  See separate document.  This year it will come home in the BEE book.  We believe that a sane and happy family life takes priority over homework, and that kids learn a lot by participating in their family activities.  Homework should provide extra practice and help bridge home and school life.

Human Commonalities

Eight “big ideas” around which we create of interdisciplinary units.  They are based on the work of Dr. Ernest Boyer, a progressive ed. guru.


Stands for Handwriting Without Tears, our handwriting curriculum.  It’s the best program out there if you want to learn to write neatly and efficiently.  This year Kristin will teach 1st graders and Dawn will teach 2nd graders.  

Identity Development

An important theme for us.  We want every  one of our students to know and be proud of where they come from, who they are, and where they are going.  Look for lessons and activities that support positive Identity Development.

Interdisciplinary Curriculum

Our lessons and activities are organized around a central, universal theme.  We connect reading, math, science, social studies to that theme.  Students learn the basics and how to apply them at the same time.  


Someone who is in training for a complex volunteer job.  Our webmaster will need an intern.  So will our chief cook at camp.  


The math series we use at Barton, along with other great resources.


Can be passed out at school if the whole class is invited.  See birthdays.

Just Right Lending Library

Books that have a letter level according to the Fountas and Pinnell approach.  They are very helpful for beginning and emergent readers. We have a special collection to send home for reading practice.  They will come home in the BEE book, and should be switched for more when needed.

Lake Day

A day-long celebration of the year- all school, except for Kindergartners.  There is a program, a picnic, and lots of things to do.  It’s held at the Lake Harriet Bandshell and park.  

Lantern Walk

A special tradition.  We make some beautiful lanterns at school.  Then we pick an evening in October or November and meet at the Lyndale Farmstead “Bowl” to say goodbye to the light days of summer and welcome in the dark days of winter.  There’s a lantern procession, tasty snacks and singing.

Leadership Council

A parent/teacher organization that supports the school.  We discuss all matter of issues at Barton, and work to make sure that our decisions match our open school values and traditions. All are welcome to attend.  There is an endorsement process for becoming an official council member every spring.

Learning Targets

A focus for a lesson put into student language- “ I can sound out words when I write.”  “I can use tables and graphs to help me organize information.”  

Leveled Books

Books that have a letter level according to the Fountas and Pinnell approach.  They are very helpful for beginning and emergent readers.

Logical Consequences

A way of responding to mistaken behavior that is respectful to the student, and related to the behavior, and realistic. They are Take a Break, Restitution and Loss of Privilege. Part of the Responsive Classroom Approach.

Magnet Schools

Schools that are part of the public school system, but have a special emphasis (like “open”) and a wider attendance area.

MAP Tests

This is a standardized assessment of reading and math, given to students in grades 1-? twice a year.  Students take the tests on the computer. Dawn and I will try hard to let you know when they are happening.  We take a low-key approach to MAP tests.  We make sure that students are well prepared, but try not to let them feel pressured about the tests.

Math to World Connections

We would like to highlight these during our math time.  If you use math at home, (in cooking, projects, research, cleaning) say “Hey!  We are using math at home!  You should share about this at school!”  You can even write it down and put it in the BEE book.

Math Workshop

A name for our approach to teaching math.  We start with a lesson for everyone, including routines and some new info.  Then we go off in small groups to do some problem solving or practicing, with the teacher conferencing with individuals and small groups.  Finally, we get together to share work or tell about our mathematical thinking.


Mini math meeting.  The first part of a math lesson where we practice routines like telling time, counting money, finding missing numbers, etc.

Minnesota Reading Corps-

We will have two reading coaches who work 20 minutes a day, 1/1, with students who need a little boost to become confident, accurate readers.  They are provided by a grant from Target.

Morning Meeting

A daily ritual where we greet one another, share about our lives, enjoy fun activities and read a morning message together.  Morning meeting meets students’ needs for significance, belonging and fun, provides practice time for social skills that lead to academic growth.  Part of the Responsive Classroom approach.  

Morning Work

Some important, individual work students do as soon as they come to class, while we are waiting to start morning meeting.

Multiage Classrooms

We have two grades per class at Barton (sometimes three!)  There are lots of advantages- each child’s needs are met individually, older students show leadership and younger have role models.  Teachers get to know their students quickly and keep them for two years.  Multiage classrooms are part of the Open School Philosophy.  

Natural Learning Cycle

1.  Setting goals   2.  Gathering info, experimentation and practice   

3.   assessment and reflection .  Setting new goals,etc.

The wise teacher and parent plans  teaching in ways that honor the natural learning cycle.  Think about when your toddler learned to climb the stairs.  That was the natural learning cycle in action!

Observational Drawing

Often part of science, writing or other activities.  We teach students to look carefully at the lines and shapes that make up an object, and to make a slow, careful, scientific drawing.  Different than the sweet imaginative drawings kids make up on their own.

Old Class/New Class Party

A celebration to say good bye to students who are going to third grade, welcome new first graders, and enjoy our first get together at the end of the summer.  It’s at Kristin’s house the last Saturday before the students return to school.  Hope you can make it- it’s a lifetime invitation!

Open School

A school characterized by an emphasis on learning how to learn, interest-based teaching, interdisciplinary learning, project-based learning, a high level of teacher and student engagement in curriculum decision-making, authentic and meaningful parent/teacher/student partnerships, and an emphasis on social-emotional learning.  Teachers go by their first names, and we have multiage classrooms.  Competition, grades, and traditional testing are de-emphasized. Cooperation, mindfulness, connection, community and equity are emphasized.  AKA Progressive Education.


High interest mini courses that are taught by parents, older students and teachers. Students sign up for their choice of option, which are usually taught the last hour of the day over a series of afterneens.


Standardized tests are offered to all of our students. If you don’t want your child to take the tests, you need to officially “opt out” by filling out a form in the office and sharing it with Paul.


Our former principal. We appreciated his dedication to equity and expect to keep up that work. He is now working with principals and teachers in St. Paul, supporting their development and helping with their equity work.  AKA Dr. Patrick Duffy.


Our new principal, who comes to us already trained in Responsive Classroom, differentiating instruction, and the special needs of magnet school.  We are happy to welcome Paul as our new leader and and get to know him as he joins Holly Kleppe to lead our administrative team.  AKA Mr, Paul Scanlon


A collection of significant student work that shows progress over time. The portfolio is an important assessment tool.  You will see your child’s work at the end of each theme, and take the portfolio home at the end of the year.

Portfolio Sharing

An event in which children and parents take a systematic look through the portfolio so far.  Usually happens prior to a goal setting conference and at the end of the year.


The way to get good at something. Reading, math, behavior- they all take lots of practice.

Private Conversations-

We know what they are, but sometimes we have them, by accident, in front of kids or other parents.   When you want to share a concern, sticky situation, etc. in order to solve or prevent some kind of problem.  If you need to have a private convo with Dawn, Kristin, Holly, Paul, or Brandon, call or Email to set up a time.


A homework project usually takes a few weeks to plan and complete and will need parent support in the early years.  We assign to projects each year and have a “fair” to show them off to the school.  There will be lots of guidance about the projects.

Quiet Place

Another name for the “take a break chair.”  What we all need when we are losing focus or self-control.  A minute in our quiet place can be very helpful.

Readers’ Workshop

A name that describes our approach to reading.  Begins with a whole group lesson, moves to individual conferences or small group work where kids work on targeted reading tasks, ends with a work-share.  

Read Naturally

A set of leveled stories with which students can read along using the computer and some headphones.  Awesome for kids who need repeated practice and work on fluency.

Responsive Classroom

Our approach to behavior management, academic choice and attending to our school community is based on Responsive Classroom. See separate document.   Learn more at

Responsible Independence

Our goal for your child’s behavior. That moment when a child knows what to do and does it, without being told.  (It takes a long time to get there.)


Our organics recycling program!  It’s where we sort our trash.  Ask your kids or refer to the posted directions.  We have saved TONS of trash in the past four years.  


Part of morning meeting.  Students share thoughts, experiences, ideas verbally.  It is not the same as show and tell.  Objects from home are usually not part of sharing.  The goal of sharing is to practice important social rituals and get to know one another on a deeper level.


Speaker raises a hand and waits for quiet. A chime may be used as an auditory addition to the signal.


SPEND is a way we organize our math learning around Minnesota State math standards.  S.P.E.N.D. stands for Space, Pattern, Explaining, Number, Data.  We plan math projects around each of these areas, and create games and activities that address each one.  Students get a “balanced math diet” that leads to deep, focused math learning that has context and relevance.  You won’t find it on google- It’s Dawn and Kristin’s way of making sense of the math standards, and we haven’t written our book yet.


One of the goals of the Daily Five reading approach- students need to build stamina in their ability to read independently.  The idea extends to other areas as well.

Student Teachers

Our co-teachers who are in their final phase of a rigorous teacher education program, usually at Augsburg or the U of M.  They work under our supervision and with our feedback, eventually co-teaching the class. They are not only an extra pair of hands: they help us improve our work by giving us a connection to current best practice.


Something urgent but possibly trivial that Dawn or Kristin feels needs to be attended to and won’t let go of until there is resolution.  This dictionary was an example of a “taco” Kristin had.


A sense of urgency is part of what helps students develop their ability to read, write and do math.  The best sense of urgency is the kind that happens after a success-  kids feel great about their work, and want to do it again, but even better next time!  Urgency is not the same as competition or racing to get your work done quickly.


If you tell us something in confidence (vent) we put it in our “vault” and don’t pass it on.  It’s a nice tool to keep in mind if you need to stop some gossip in its tracks.


The person who actually manages and loads things onto our class websites.  The teachers in 102 and 104 depend on parent volunteers for that job.

Weekend News

Our weekly writing assignment where students draw and write about a “small moment” from their weekends. It is great when parents can highlight weekend news possibilities for the upcoming Monday.  

Words Their Way

 Students sort words based on the patterns they see. The work starts with learning initial consonant sounds, and progresses until students are sorting words based on Greek and Latin roots!  We give regular assessments that help us choose the right word sort for your child.

Writers Workshop

Our approach to writing.  We start with a lesson, move to individual work while the teachers conference with students and end with a “workshare.” Our writer’s workshop is based on Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study for Writers.


It’s the reflecting,/assessing part of the natural learning cycle.  Students share finished work or work in progress with the class.  Sometimes the work is displayed, sometimes put in the portfolio.  Students become proficient in describing their process or their thinking.  After the workshare, they may set new goals for their next piece of work.


The place to look for pictures of school events, newsletters, homework, and forms and documents that have come home but you might have lost.  Thanks to our webmasters for all the work!