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Thursday, January 7, 2016


Welcome back to school! I hope everyone had a joyous holiday break! I certainly enjoyed the time to reset, recuperate, recover and reflect, and watch a lot of Star Wars. I also enjoyed the time to catch up on some Netflix shows, decorate the house with a little holiday cheer and reunite with my wonderful family.  

But alas! Now we are back to the daily grind. On Monday, the kids seemed a little tired, as they were getting back on their daily schedules. Even with the challenge, they did a marvelous job keeping a positive attitude and giving it their best! Everyday we are getting better and better. 

Currently, we are a little behind on the informational unit. Because of this, I had to cut the unit down a little bit more so than usual so we could focus more on the essentials of informational writing, not so much the accessories. I've asked the kids repeatably to use some of their time at home to research for more evidence and facts to support their ideas. Some of the kids seem to have jumped on that opportunity to work on it at home a bit, and some not so much. We are going to be typing up our drafts next week and hopefully polishing it up and presenting it after MLK day. I encourage you to ask your kids about their writing progress so far, and check in with their work. A lot of the kids think they have a lot, but once they start typing, it will shrink and most of them will be a little disappointed. 

In reading, we just started working on our argumentative research. The next writing project coincidentally is an argumentative essay, so we are working on understanding how to build a strong argument and the components of such. The kids have been divided into groups that are trying to argue pro/con a certain issue. Together, they should be able to create a pretty convincing argument. 

We just finished up our short explorers unit, and took our first "Plickers" test. A Plicker test is a really neat way to take a test or quiz without pens or paper. Kind of like in college professors would have us use a clicker to answer, the kids are given a number and a card with a weird QR like code, which they use to answer multiple choice answers. If they answer a question "A" then they turn the card a quarter turn until the A is facing up. I then use my iPad and scan the room, and the answers will then pop up on my device and record it. The kids loved it! I am looking forward to using this strategy again. 

So now that Social Studies is over, we are now beginning the Mixtures and Solutions unit in Science. To start us off, today the kids and I worked on understanding the Scientific Method briefly. Then I pulled out some borax and glue (apparently every teacher has these materials in stock in their classrooms) and told the kids we are making Oobleck. Through trial and error, and changing some variables, we are going to make some interesting slime. The first attempt however, got a few laughs, and will soon be visiting the trash can. They are really excited to try and figure out how to do it, as am I. So if you know how to do it, please DO NOT TELL them, and do NOT let them figure it out online! We're using the good old trial and error method. 

On some side notes, 
#1, the assessment window is open through the end of the month, which means that I will be retesting the class with Fountas and Pinnell (new reading letters coming soon hopefully!!) and MAPS math testing will be taking place. 
#2, for Word Study, I had to use a harder spelling list for assessments, which means that some kids went down a level for words. No worries, we'll keep working hard on it! 
#3, Percy Brown,our equity coordinator is coming in to talk this Friday with the kiddos about concepts of equity and racism in the morning. We have talked to Mr. Brown a few times this year and we are all very excited to talk with him! 
#4. Gayle Rosengren, author of What the Moon Said  and Cold War on Maple Street is coming in on the first week of February to talk to the kids about writing and inspiration on her books. If you are interested in purchasing any of the books, the kids took home a pink form for you to fill out. 
Lastly, #5, the Mindfulness Study. 

If you have not replied back with the large golden brown envelopes filled with the mindfulness packet study permission forms, please do so immediately. My class will be starting in the study very shortly and I want to make sure we do everything legal and correctly. It's going to be a lot of fun- I've truly enjoyed working with the researchers so far.  

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns. 2016 is looking to be a great year already (knock on wood!)

Jennifer Davidson 

P.S. Thank you so much to all of the families for the wonderful and thoughtful gifts your children gave me before break. I felt very grateful and blessed to have such a wonderful and loving community. 

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