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News and Notes Email - Feb 26, 2010

Greetings on a beautiful sunny morning,

The week that was:

Reading:  The class wrapped up their civil rights connected readings by
writing either a "Bio Poem" connected to a main character in their book
or a more traditional book summary (their choice). We practiced the "one
thing at a time" editing strategy with this work by taking time to go
through the almost completed work looking first for capital letters in
all necessary places, next for missing words or word endings, and lastly
for suspiciously spelled words to check.  I find that asking students to
edit - which they usually interpret as looking through a piece for every
possible error at once - is often overwhelming, but that checking for
one "focus correction area" at a time tends to bring more success.  You
may want to try this at home when working with your child on a writing
piece also.  Please ask about their piece and what they picked out as
the theme of the book they read.

The class also chose their first book for our annual "Newbery Fest".  It
is truly so cool to put these books out and listen as they gleefully
tell each other, "Oh, you have to read this book, it's so great,"  or "I
love that book."  Or better yet, "I took my book home last night and I
couldn't stop reading it.  I already finished it."  I am hoping each
child will read a minimum of 2 of these award winning books before
spring break.  I am pretty sure a reading-lovers sub-set of them will go
far beyond this.  I put out quite a few of the Newbery Honor books as
well to be sure everyone can always find new choices.

Science:  I asked them to mess around with lever systems to see if they
could find the three ways the elements of the system could be arranged
(load, effort, and fulcrum)to create different types of lever systems.
This created some consternation for a bit as what they could see was the
opportunity to keep the elements in the same arrangement, but move them
different distances apart.  Eventually someone in the class discovered
changing the effort from a push down to a pull up and then they could
see the possibilities expanding. There really are 3 types of lever
systems - can you remember them?  Please ask your child if they can
remember the schematic drawings to show you the three ways to construct
these, and then think about them in your everyday life.   The basic goal
was to have them think like engineers and use the  lever in different
ways that would then accomplish different tasks for different purposes.
 Keep trying to spot levers in the heavy construction equipment as you
drive around and talk together about how you think these particular
levers must work, and what job they are meant to accomplish.

Each child in the class spent three sessions with Aki, our Book Arts
artist creating components of the contemporary art books we will
continue to work on through the rest of the year.  They also are with
Meri in art at this time doing more work thinking like a contemporary
artist - particularly through the concept of change in a piece of work.

It was the first week of winter options.  Hopefully your child found
some fun in their choice.

The week to come:

Reading:  Newbery Fest continues.

MN History:  Information on how the land in MN changed hands, the
treaties that led to the Ojibwe and Dakota ceding most of their land to
the US government, and the tensions and difficulties in this process.

We'll have three more sessions this week with Aki - now mostly thinking
like an artist and creating pieces with specific prompts.

Wed. morning, 3/3,  please join your child for their portfolio share -
hopefully the invitation really did reach home.  Join us any time
between 7:15 and 8:40 that morning.

Wed. afternoon will be options session #2.

Thursday is Afton Alps ski day.  Field trip slips need to be returned by
Wednesday. Also, if they are planning on staying late at Afton and
riding home with another parent I need written notice of this by Wed.
also.   If your child is not going skiing please let me know so I can
make the appropriate arrangements for the back here at school.  All the
Middles kids not going will be together and support staff here at Barton
will be working with them.

Hope to see you Wed. morning.

Upcoming:  I am planning a family event night around our work with the
Walker Art Center and contemporary art.  I am thinking late April or
early May.  In order to choose an evening, 6:30 - 8:00 ish, a Tuesday or
Thursday (because those are the evenings the building is always open
late) I'd appreciate any information you know about spring sports
schedules.  I want to choose the best day of the week when most families
will be able to attend. Please inform me if you know there are days
better avoided.  Thanks.

Have a wonder-filled weekend.


Kathy Scoggin
Barton Open School

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.  It is
the source of all true art and science."
 - Albert Einstein