Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February 9 "There seems to be so much more winter than we need this year." - Kathleen Norris

"Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments,
embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour."
- John Boswell
Great Addison shot, huh?? What a beautiful place to live and work!

Airplane procedure pieces were exchanged today so that peers could critique them. It was fun to watch the kids communicate with each other about their work in such a creative way. For some, the directions were easy to follow; for others, the process was more involved. To the students' credit, though, some of the models were pretty complex and the steps to recreate them were understandably difficult. Patty (Vincent) and I eavesdropped on a number of those conversations and were truly impressed by the level of support--and constructive criticism--these kids provided to one another. I must say, however, that it would have been a lot more fun, and would have culminated in an enjoyable activity, if it hadn't been for the fact that many students still weren't done. This was most disappointing, particularly in light of the extensions and additional support that was provided. Please help me to impress upon your children the need to complete assignments and/or projects in a timely manner. Grades are certainly affected, but the greater harm comes from not holding themselves accountable --a critical skill as they move toward more independence in Middle School. It's time to move on.

We began Grammar a day late, so we only did page one today. We completed Day two, however, in Spelling and Vocabulary. We'll get back on track in Grammar tomorrow.

In Social Studies, everyone should be completing their explorer timelines. Grade 6 timelines are due tomorrow; Grade 5 will be collected on Thursday. Today in Grade 5 we did a short activity about the explorer, Ponce de Leon. You know, that "Fountain of Youth" thing was't completely bogus. Some mineral-rich springs fed into the ocean, which, when the tide was low, produced fresh-water pools that were said to have "curative powers"... I don't know, though; the strong sulfur smell would be a huge deterrent to me... Anyway, the assignment for this little stroll down explorer lane is to complete a recruitment brochure (you know, "Ponce de leon Wants YOU!). It wouldn't be a bad idea to leave out the part about the hostile natives, however...
F.Y.I.: Teachers are assessing student reading levels during Literacy time each afternoon this week. This and other assessments will be reviewed as we prepare for our first Transition meeting with Middle School personnel next Monday. This meeting marks the first of many discussions we'll have as we prepare for their eventual assimilation into VUMS. (Don't worry, your part is coming up...)

Tomorrow at 12:30 we'll have a 15 minute whole-school D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) time. Why don't you join us, wherever you may be? What a great way to celebrate reading.

In lieu of a traditional "Valentine's Day" party, next Friday, February 19, we'll have a "Friendship Party" in the afternoon. It seems that it would be the most opportune/least disruptive time. Thursday we'll be gone most of the day on our Flynn outing, and we really SHOULD finish up some activities and projects before vacation mode makes it impossible to do so... I'm sure you know what I mean.
I hope you're all staying warm and comfortable as winter wears on... Before you know it, the earth will warm, the sap will stir, and birds will wend their way home.

Talk to you later...