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News and Notes 01-13-12
Thursday, February 16, 2012 1:15 PM

Greetings in the New Year,

The week that was:

Reading: This week all the students in the Middles started reading "$66 Summer". This book won the Milkweed Prize for Children's Literature and was published here in Minnesota by Milkweed Editions. Copies have been provided to us at a very low cost by the Allianance  for Reading Program - also here in MN.  We will be working with artists to process themes from the story in about a month.  At this time of year we typically study social justice issues, and this selection helps us to better understand racism in our country during the 50's through historical fiction.  We have read up to about page 100 in our "$66 Summer" books.  Please ask your child to summarize the story for you thus far and ask how they feel about how life was back in the 50's in the south.

MN History and Word Work:  We read and took notes on Chapter 4 in our "Northern Lights" books about the Ojibwe in MN.  It would be good to ask about the Ojibwe travels to get to the land now known as MN and about the "skirmishes"  (vocabulary word) between the Dakota and the Ojibwe as it connects to the early fur trade. 

On Wednesday my friend Wren, from the Mohawk tradition, came to tell the story of "Skywoman" to the class.  Please ask them to tell you what they remember of this creation legend.

Today Jay came and told them a Dakota tale of how turtle's back got the "cracks" and another Aztec tale about Montezuma.  Ask what part of the story their group acted out and what they enjoyed from another group's presentation.

As you can tell, this week was about "stories".  I also handed out the next homework project where their job is to be a family "historian" and collect a family story that somehow connects to MN.  Please help them brainstorm and prepare some interview questions to get started on this soon.  If you feel unclear about anything in the packet please be sure to contact me with questions.

Krista, our new student teacher started full time this week.  Here is her introduction to you:

Hello 204 parents! My name is Krista Bjoraker and I will be student teaching in 204 for the next fourteen weeks. I am a senior at Augsburg College where I am studying Elementary Education. A few of my hobbies include watching and participating in sports, reading, and baking. I was fortunate enough to spend some time here last semester before starting my student teaching experience, and what a wonderful place I have landed in! Along with helping in class, I will be working to complete a number of tasks I am required to videotape myself teaching a lesson. I will be sending a video release form home with the students within the next few weeks. I am very excited to be working with, and learning from your child this spring! 

Ask about the "jelly marbles".

The week to come:

Word Work:  We will suspend Word Work for a concentrated week of writing practice.  They will be composing personal narratives about a time when they felt happiness and/or pride in their success at something.

Reading:  We will continue on with the "$66 Summer" books.

The school-wide spelling bee will be Friday morning.  We await word on whether or not any 204 students will be part of the competition.

Thinking ahead:

Now is the time to start thinking ahead, and hopefully setting aside funds a bit at a time, for our Middles trip to Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in April.  We are anticipating the cost for each student at somewhere arount $150.  If you could tuck away about $15 per week starting now it may help in your family budgeting plans.  We will do our best to bring the cost to the lowest level we can through grants, etc.  If you have an leads on possible grant funding through your work or other organizations - or have expertise in securing grant money please let us know.

Here is the website for a preview:

We will hold parent information meetings as well as send home lots of paper for you to read.  We need chaperones, of course, and the dates are April 11-13.  Please let me know if you are planning to set aside the time to accompany us soon.  I promise fun and adventure.  I personally love this outdoor learning experience and feel our students are fortunate to be able to attend  (I am too).


Friday, 2/3  Morning Portfolio Share for 204

Have a wonder-filled weekend.