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September 19, 2014
Friday, September 19, 2014 11:10 PM

Dear Classroom 120 Families,

            We continue to roll along as we build friendships, skills and stamina within our classroom. Our community is strong; students are working hard, having fun and helping others.

            We have had the pleasure of having Haruko from the Midwest Food Connection visit our classroom for the past two Mondays. She has been focusing on local food choices. The first week Haruko taught us about some general local food choices and gave us a taste of local cheddar cheese. Then we explored the Barton “Spirit Garden” where we found and tasted cherry tomatoes and squash flowers.  Our second week was spent learning about seed-holder, root and leaf vegetables.  The students worked together to sort a variety of vegetables and then worked together to assemble a small salad. We get to have two more sessions with her (the next two Mondays); I look forward to seeing what she will bring next!

            The students also started their music rotation with Lisa, They have been learning about “singing from the heart”. They showed me their “performance” of Michael Jacksons “ABC” song; it’s so great to see such eager participants, they really love to sing!

            Linda has begun working with our first graders for math. They have been participating in many counting activities and practiced the terms “estimate”, “exact”, “increase” and “decrease.  The second graders have been working with me. We’ve practiced counting accurately, representing “big” numbers in a variety of ways and gained famialrity with the hundreds chart as we play “Guess My Number” and practice increasing and decreasing by tens as we travel down and up the columns of the chart. We also enjoyed practicing our addition facts as we played a game called “Four Sums-in-a-Row”. Both groups took an initial math test; we will take this test at the end of the year too.

            Writers Workshop has also been productive. The students brought home their “Seed Necklaces” last Friday. The hope is that they will use it to record story ideas as they come up. Many students have enjoyed the process of recording ideas, bringing the necklace to school and expanding on an idea during writer’s workshop time.  We’ve also met with our writing partners to practice telling our story to someone before the quiet writing time begins. Please continue to encourage them to tell you stories across their fingers and to record their story ideas and bring their seed necklace back and forth to school.

            In science we have been observing and recording “properties” of rocks. We have compared them and recorded how they are alike and how they are different. The students also enjoyed working with Kathy, Naomi’s mom as she led an art lesson linked to the book Agate. They then looked closely at a rock and used watercolors with “special paper” that didn’t soak up the paint to create beautiful rock pictures, which are displayed outside of our classroom.

            I have talked to other teachers, thought about it and at this time do not wish to participate in the snack program that is offered by the district. Some parents have offered to bring in healthy snacks to share and that seems to be working out fine. We had clementine oranges one day and apples another this week. This allows for flexibility and reduces waste. If you would like to donate a healthy snack, Monday, Tuesdays and Wednesdays would be the best day to send it. Thank you!

            I am very excited about our trip to the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts on Oct. 2nd. Your child should have brought home a yellow field trip slip to be signed and returned to school. Finally, I am sending home a blue note about paying for the Handwriting Without Tears workbook. We also started this on Monday. The workbook is great. It groups the letters by stroke; frog jump, corner starters and center starters. I am sorry to have to ask for money but the cost is $8.00. Please send in this amount with your child’s slip.

            Thank you for your continued support. I am looking forward to starting our conferences next week!