- Alden School
December NewsletterPosted by Susan Riser on 12/5/2019
Winter may not officially be here until the 21st, but the snow this week has brought the feeling of winter! The children are heading outside for recess unless it is really cold, so please be sure that your child has the appropriate gear, especially jackets.
In Reading, we are working on our Poetry mini-unit. During this unit, we will be learning about figurative language and deciphering what poets are trying to share through the words they have carefully selected. In addition to reading and discussing poetry, this will also be a time that we enjoy writing some of our own poems. We are also starting our next Book Club, which will focus on the genre of mystery. Like the previous round, there will be reading and activities that are due each Friday (unless there is no school scheduled on a Friday in which case it will be due Thursday). Each child will have a schedule of readings, due dates, and activities descriptions in their Book Club notebook. While it is always a "Good Choice" option to work on their Book Club assignment if there is time in class, it is also expected that they will need to work on it outside of school as well. This round, there were over 10 books to choose from and each student selected their top 3 choices. What will your child be reading? They find out tomorrow!!
We continue to work on the personal narrative writing project about their favorite place to spend time. Over the next couple of weeks, children will be beginning their illustrations for the book that they are making. We are looking forward to when they have the opportunity to share their completed books with 3rd grade classrooms. Many of them remember hearing our 5th graders read their books to them two years ago.
In Social Studies, we have begun our American Revolution unit. We are currently learning about why there was a revolution and deciding if the colonists were justified in their rebellion against the King of England. Some of the material will be new, such as the French and Indian War, while other material be reviewed, such as the Boston Tea Party, as this material already covered in previous years. A reminder that if your child is absent they should check in to see what they missed for their Social Studies notebook.
Although it is only a couple of week until break, there is a lot going on. Please remember that if your child will be absent, we appreciate being told ahead of time. This helps us to plan accordingly. If your child is absent, has a change in dismissal plans, or needs a message delivered, please contact the office. Many mornings, once the children arrive, Ms. Kelly and I don't have a chance to check our email until lunch time. The office will make sure that your child receives the message in a more timely manner.
As a reminder, the Grade 5 Health video will be shown to the 5th graders on the afternoon of Dec. 20th. Mrs. Whitaker previously shared a letter regarding this, but I am also attaching it here. This letter includes links to the video that your child will be seeing so that you may preview it. Please take the time to review it.
Our homeroom parents are gathering volunteers for our team party that will be held from 10:30-11:30 on Dec. 19th. There will be a Sign-Up Genius sent out to the families on our team. In addtion to the party, our team will be designing their own "Tacky Sweaters" on the Dec. 18th. We are asking the children to bring in a plain tshirt or sweatshirt by the 16th. We are also looking for Tacky Glue to be sent in to be used that day.
As always thank you for all your support. Please contact Ms. Kelly or myself with any questions or concerns.
November NewsletterPosted by Susan Riser on 11/5/2019
Fall is in the air! The air has cooled off, and the leaves are those beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and red. The children are settled into our daily routines in school, too.
Thank you for all the help making Halloween fun for our team! The donation of materials as well as the volunteers running the stations for our party was so helpful and the kids had an awesome time. The holidays will be here before we know it, so please keep an eye out for an email from homeroom parents who will be organizing materials and volunteers.
We are wrapping up our first reading unit next week. We have been exploring fiction, learning to look deeper into our books to better understand the characters and theme of the book. The students are working really hard to be great readers that use the text to support their ideas. To help support them, please ask questions such as "What is happening that makes you think....?" or "How do you know....?" when you talk to them about what they are reading. These types of higher-level questions require the students to think beyond the obvious and find more examples to support their ideas. This week has been really interesting as we discuss how books have multiple themes, and how two books may have the same theme, but demonstrate that theme in different ways. The children are using graphic organizers to help them organize their thoughts and to encourage more details in their writing about their reading. Our next unit is a study of non-fiction, something that is engaging as students learn more about a topic of their chioce. Next week we will also be wrapping up our first round of book club with our historical fiction books. Please help us encourage your child to use their assignment sheet in their book club notebook as a checklist. We preview the next weeks assignment each week, but if there are ever any questions please have your child check in with me.
In writing class, the children are starting their "Up North" projects. This writing project centers around a place that is very special the individual child. Where did your child pick to set their story? This is a favorite project every year as they will be making their story into a book before we share it with third graders.
The first Social Studies test is this week. It covers our 13 Colonies unit. I have been encouraging the children to study their notebooks as that has notes from our readings and discussions. They should be able to identify the location of each of the colonies (we done this twice as a quiz as well this term) without support of the notebook. The rest of the test, they may use their notebook. Some questions come straight from the notebook, but some of the questions also asks them to see the "Big Idea" and to put pieces together. For example, students may be asked to pick which region they would have liked to live in if they were around in the 1600/1700's and explain what makes that region their choice or they may be asked to explain what made the 13 Colonies a land of opportunity for some people. For these types of questions they need to use the facts in their notebooks to support their answers. We have been discussing these types of questions throughout the unit, and especially the past couple of weeks.
It was great to have the opportunity to sit with so many of you during conferences last month. We love spending our days getting to know your children and seeing them grow. One of the things that we are working on as a team is keeping our hands/feet/bodies to ourselves. We are seeing that "joking" is starting to go beyond what is funny to other students. This includes things like "flat-tire-ing" students in line (basically stepping on the back of shoes of the child in front of them), literally poking or kicking another child, or even braiding the hair of another student during class. Students that are struggling with this expectation will be completing a paper that helps them to identify what happened and what they should have done instead. The student and teacher will both sign the paper. This paper will then come home for you to sign before being returned to the teacher.They are such a wonderful, kind group that we appreciate the support from home in helping us follow this school expectation.
As always, please contact us with any questions or concerns. Thank you!
October NewsletterPosted by Susan Riser on 10/9/2019
The feel of fall is in the air! This is a time of the year where layers are a great idea - days that start as really cool in the morning can warm up as the sun comes out.
In Reading class, children are moving into book clubs this week. Given three choices, each child selected their first choice and groups were made from there. Ms. Kelly and I are mixing our classes for this first round, so your child will be in a group of 3-4 students from both classrooms. Each week, groups will meet on Fridays to discuss the reading they have done for the week and the activities they completed. Reading as well as the activities are done independently during the week between meetings. This round consists of 5 meetings. Students are expected to keep on top of the assigned reading and to carefully complete the required activities in their Book Club notebooks. A description of the activities for the week as well as meeting dates is outlined in their Book Club notebooks.
In class, we continue to find ways that we can be great readers. We are examining strategies great readers use when reading (ex. stopping and thinking about our reading, going back into the text for support, jotting our thoughts on Post-its as we read). We are also looking deeper into books, thinking about how different story elements affect each other (ex. character's motivation, how setting is important to the plot, how the characters and plot create a theme for a book). There are lots of great discussions and time for reflection as we read.
In Social Studies, we are wrapping up the Thirteen Colonies unit in the next couple of weeks. There have been great discussions centered around how leaders received the land for colonies as well as how some colonies were not always British. We are seeing how ideas such as religious freedom and a government of elected representatives grew during colonial times, leading to the basis for the American Revolution and our country's Constitution.
The next few weeks are busy ones! Please see the list below for important dates. Also, Halloween is quickly approaching....please keep an eye out for an email from our Class Moms, Cathy Leitner, Fleur Pang, and Jeanne Vaughn, about a party! Thank you!
11th - No School, Professional Development
14th - No School, Columbus Day
18th - Dragon Dash
23rd and 24th - 1/2 Days,
31st - Halloween
September NewsletterPosted by Susan Riser on 9/16/2019
It was wonderful meeting so many of you the other evening at Open House! As I said that evening, it has been a joy getting to know your children these past couple of weeks and it is going to be a great year.
We are settling into our routines. In Reading, we will be spending a couple of days a week in stations, allowing for some independent practice and application of skills as well as small groups that will meet with me and allow for instruction on particular focus skills. Other days we will be working on reading skills in a Reader's Workshop setting. In this type of setting, a skill is introduced, students have time to practice it while I meet with students to talk about their reading and then we share out as a whole class what they came up with. For example, if we are discussing themes, there would be a mini-lesson on what a theme is as well as some examples of themes. Students would then spend time reading and reflecting in their Reader's Notebooks a theme that they are seeing in their individual books, offering details from their book to support their idea. Then we gather together to allow students to share out their observations and ideas.
In Social Studies we are moving on in our 13 Colonies unit. We have been discussing the leaders as well as the geography and resources of the New England colonies. This discussion will continue over the next few weeks as we move into the Mid-Atlantic and Southern colonies. Please encourage your child to continue studying the 13 colonies map. They have already had a quiz, but we will be assessing it again throughout the term. It is important that they be able to picture that map in their minds as we move through the first couple of units this year.
Camp Wing is quickly approaching! If you haven't already sent in your child's Camp Wing materials, the due date is this Friday (9/20). We will be tie-dying t-shirts later this week - please send in a white, cotton tshirt for your child by Wednesday. More information about Camp Wing including pick-up plans and other reminders will be coming home the beginning of next week.
Other Important Dates:
9/18 Instrument Pick-up (Alden Cafeteria)
9/20 Camp Wing materials due
9/24 Alden 1/2 Day
9/25 Go Gold (Childhood Cancer Awareness)
9/26 Picture Day
9.27 Camp Wing
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please email me! Thank you!