I hope you and your family had a great weekend together! Our families are the foundations upon which we build our understanding of peace and compassion upon. You are all wonderful. I say that after what proved to be an amazing week of parent teacher conferences! I am so excited about our community, the support we have for one another, and our eagerness to continue our progress as socially responsible life-long learners!
This is going to be a busy week here in Room 223! Monday we will begin our weekly routine of different explorations including skyscrapers, graphic organizers, fiction boxes, x50’s (multiplication practice), writing prompts, and our daily world-map. Additionally we will be continuing our parts-of-speech study by analyzing “conjunctions”. In reading and writing we will begin our study of different literary elements, beginning with “character”.
In math, 4th years will begin multiplying by 10’s and estimating products. Fifth years will be starting long division by exploring a Montessori material called “test tube division”. Sixth years will continue multiplying and dividing decimals and may begin working with fractions.
In cultural studies we will be finishing up the Industrial Revolution before moving on to Immigration for much of the rest of the quarter. This unit will not only examine the historical impacts of immigration on our nation and world, but will also explore the ongoing story of immigration in today’s context. Every relevant topic is made much more meaningful when connected to our own lives. As such, if you have a personal story of immigration that you could share with our class, it would be an invaluable opportunity for our students to connect a concept to their heart and mind. Please let me know!
Another real life experience this week is our salmon dissection in class Tuesday afternoon. Thank you to the parent volunteers for making this possible! That appreciation also goes to those of you chaperoning for our field trip Thursday morning to the Performing Arts Center! You make success possible! That being said, please make sure children are dressed appropriately for a walking field trip Thursday morning.
If you have any questions about parent teacher conferences there is always a very open door policy for you to stop in before, during, or after school to chat. It goes without saying you may also call, text, or email to follow up with any praises, questions, or concerns about your child’s happiness and success!
What a wonderful winter wonderland we had this weekend! I hope you all had fun and stayed safe playing in the nature glitter! I’m so excited winter is back! Unfortunately it looks like rain should be here to take it away by Wednesday.
Speaking of Wednesday, for most of you, that is when Parent Teacher Conferences begin. The deadline to schedule online is Tuesday by the end of the school day after which time you may schedule through the office. As previously mentioned, if the available times do not work for you, please contact me so we may arrange a schedule that works for both of us!
Due to conferences, this Wednesday and Thursday students are dismissed from school at 12:30pm. Friday is an in-service day so there is no school for students. It’s also Red Ribbon Week and a spirit week: Monday is PJ Day, Tuesday is dress like Mr. Eddie Day, Wednesday is Superhero Day, and Thursday is Wear Red Day for Red Ribbon Week.
Although there are no classes on Friday, Denali Montessori is hosting a fall carnival that evening. The spooky and fun-filled annual fundraiser put on by our PTSA includes food trucks, carnival games, door prizes and costumes for all! Our class is hosting a fishing-for-prizes booth and will need students to volunteer for 30 minute time slots. The carnival is 6:30 – 8pm.
In class this week, due to the short days, we won’t be doing spelling, skyscrapers, new grammar lessons, or map of the week. However, we will be starting a new weekly reading comprehension work called “graphic organizers”. These worksheets practice isolating important parts of text and organizing them in a visual manner helpful to the reader. We’ll also begin a “map of the month” that students will be working on over the course of the quarter. Additionally, we’ll have some computer lab time, explore the different elements of a story, begin doing morning writing prompts, and continue studying salmon in science.
Ah yes, salmon in science…next Tuesday, November 1st, we will be dissecting pink salmon in the afternoon. A retired ADF&G salmon biologist, Greg Molyneaux, will be leading the dissection, but we’d really love a few parents to volunteer to help with the preparation, safe dissection, and clean-up. Let me know at conferences or by email if you can be part of this awesome exploration!
One last thing: Thursday we are going to do a classroom read-in all morning. This is a time for students to read simply for the pleasure of reading. Students may bring a pillow and blanket/sleeping bag, a stuffed animal, a cup/mug for caffeine-free tea, and at least one at-level chapter book. Graphic novels will only be allowed for 30 minutes. At the end of the morning students will note in their reading journal different elements of their story (plot, setting, etc.). There is a book fair at school this week if you’re looking for new reading material.
I am excited to see you all this week to celebrate success and set goals for progress! Keeping in mind we only have 20 minutes maximum per conference, if you have any major concerns we can always schedule an additional meeting for a later time.
I hope you had a great weekend and are ready for a short week! Yes, Friday is a report card day for teachers and thus there is no school for students. That means this is the last week of the quarter and students need to make sure they have everything in. Ask your child if they are caught up on Skyscrapers, Fiction Box reading, Pronoun and Adverb work, Industrial Revolution work, and their Math. Some students are finding themselves falling behind as they socialize. I thank you for your help in stressing the importance of work sessions as a time to develop our knowledge and understanding.
This week we will have some extra time to finish up work that is missing but will continue in our math groups, working with Montessori materials as well as a few items from GoMath. In language we will tackle prepositions and continue with our reading partners on Industrial Revolution books. In science we are working with 3-part cards as we study salmon. I am hoping to arrange a guest speaker on this topic in the coming weeks. If you are an expert on salmon and would like to share, please let me know! Have a story to tell of salmon? Come on in!
Tuesday the 18th is Alaska Day and Monday next week is PJ day (wear PJ’s to school). If you have not already signed up for parent teacher conferences please do so online at http://www.asdk12.org/parents/conferences/ Don’t forget to select grade level as “mix”. If you feel that you cannot make it for these times, please contact me so we can try to arrange something that will work for both of us. Students are invited and encouraged to be part of this meeting, though it is not necessary depending on your own personal preferences and availabilities.
Another awesome autumn is upon us! This week our fine State has summoned me to serve as a trial juror and I have a pretty low service number meaning, odds are, I will be selected (or by the time you have read this, have already been selected). Apparently I can only defer so many times. Alas, I have arranged for Mr. Mason to be our guest teacher in the event of my absence. Mr. Mason was a student teacher with Ms. Rily and a long-term substitute for Mrs. Hundrup last year and is a part of our culture here at Denali Montessori; I am excited to have him in our classroom this week.
Just around the corner is the end of first quarter which means parent teacher conferences! I am so excited to discuss the progress of your children over the past quarter and eager to hear more about how things are going on your side of their education. This is a time to celebrate achievements and reflect upon goals and progress. If you have any concerns or a desire to talk in length, you are always welcome to schedule an additional and/or separate time for before or after school. Of course, invitations always stand for any families to visit the classroom while we are learning if you would like to see us in action!
For information on parent teacher conferences go online to http://www.asdk12.org/parents/conferences/ . To locate a good time for you, make sure you select “mix” for grade of student. I have made my schedule available Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, as well as Thursday morning. If you feel that you cannot make it for these times, please contact me so we can try to arrange something that will work for both of us. Students are invited and encouraged to be part of this meeting, though it is not necessary depending on your own personal preferences and availabilities.
This week we are excited to be studying salmon more and begin transitioning our bulletin board into a giant cycle of life! We are also continuing our study of the industrial revolution and will begin doing some small group reading and reflections on some ASD provided texts regarding the topic.
In math we are continuing in our math groups with assignments nearly every day. Many projects we complete in the class span a week or more meaning time management is important to ensure math is kept up on. Checking in with students each evening asking if they finished their math for the day is a good step towards enforcing accountability. Next week and the week thereafter we will begin working in even more groups to provide “Response to Intervention” (RTI) opportunities. RTI is based upon the AIMSweb testing we did last month; results and plans will be discussed at conferences.
We are also excited to announce a new pen pal project with a 5th grade class in Kwethluk, Alaska, (just upstream of Bethel). Although students will still occasionally have a homework assignment to write the pen pal that they picked at the beginning of the year, I couldn’t resist the invitation to share and learn with children on the other side of Alaska as well. Our Kwethluk pen pals will be class-work instead of homework.
I wanted to thank everyone ahead of time for your help in making the field trip to the salmon hatchery a success! This experience is to allow the class to tour the facility, learn about one of the most amazing resources in our great state, and collected enough eggs to study the first chapter in the salmon’s story throughout the coming school year. What fun!
The next field trip is in a month and is to our Performing Arts Center (PAC) downtown. This walking field trip is Thursday, November 3, and is to watch a live production of the Lightning Thief, an adaptation of the young adult novel of the same name based on Greek Mythology. Experiences at the Performing Arts Center like these allow our students an opportunity to see an age appropriate stage drama on our city’s premier stage! As the casts are professional actresses and actors at the PAC, there is an $8 fee per student and per chaperone. This fee can be paid online or sent in with the permission slip (please indicate your method). As always, donations are asked for to provide scholarships for families unable to cover the costs.
As winter is coming perhaps quicker than you may desire, it is a good time to remind everyone that indoor shoes are necessary for our classroom and PE. These shoes need to be different then the shoes worn outside. This is especially important on snow days, to avoid tracking snow around the carpet that we sit upon and lay out our Montessori materials. Children that do not have shoes to change into when entering the classroom will be asked to borrow a pair from PE (in case of evacuation drills and for hygienic purposes, footwear must be worn at all times).
In class this week we will hopefully finish up our read aloud book based on the industrial revolution, A Bandit’s Tale, and begin reading passages from the newly published book, Made of Salmon: Alaska Stories from the Salmon Project, edited by Nancy Lord. Our ASD science kit on circuits and pathways will be pushed down the line to allow for a few weeks of close examination of salmon as we begin growing baby salmon in our fish tank. Thus, salmon will be integrated into language and other parts of our coursework in addition to science. I love salmon!
This Thursday we will also have a master gardener, Cindy Helmericks, as a guest speaker to discuss plant hardiness in colder climates as well as go over specific care for the growing plant collection in our room that students are tasked with keeping alive and strong.
This week in math we will continue our studies in what are now grade level math groups. Sixth graders will be focusing on 2-digit divisors, prime factors, LCM and GCF as well as surface area in geometry. Fifth graders are exploring 2-digit multipliers, place values, and algebraic properties as well as plots and graphing in geometry. Fourth graders will continue working with place values, multi-digit addition and subtraction, and properties of 2-dimential figures in geometry.
I am excited to have math going full steam but as you can see, there is a lot to do. It is vital that each child make full use of their work session to maximize their potential. Families can help support this dedication by discussing different assignments completed each day, viewing and discussing the “Assignment Tracker” each student is required to maintain, and helping children stay accountable to their progress.
Thank you all for you commitment and encouragement!