Monday, May 29, 2017

Thank You for Making this a Fantastic Year!

We enjoyed our last day of school immensely and want to thank every parent for doing your part to make this a wonderful school year!  

Yearbooks and Individual Self-Published Books
I hope you have enjoyed our lovely color yearbooks that reflect the hard work of each child.  It was a pleasure to see that the last of all our students' novels and anthologies were printed, sewn, bound, and decorated in a myriad of ways.  While most of our instruction is focused on process, I cherish the end of the year when everyone has a chance to truly see themselves as a capable and professional writer as we help each child express and organize their wildest ideas on paper.

 I am so grateful for our parent volunteers and Ms. Peggy, who were both so willing to help our students publish the book of their dreams.  I am thankful for Ms. Emily who has recorded many of the songs we have sung all year  and Ms. Kathy who is happy to make a last minute trip to the store when needed. I am thankful for every loving, supportive parent who sees the difference that a Montessori education makes and supports our school.  

2016/2017 Class photos
I have attached a couple of photos of our books via email and invite you to look at our google photo galleries saved from this year, found on MECroom102docs.  We will be deleting those photos at the end of the year, so please save the ones you wish to keep.  I will continue adding more photos next week.

Care of Birds 
We found families willing to take our frogs and snake, but so far our birds are still in need of a home for the summer.  If you are able to take the birds for all or part of the summer, please let me know by responding to this email as soon as possible.  

Lost and forgotten items
Please claim your lost items as soon as possible.  Everything left in the classroom will be added to the ever-growing school lost and found that will be donated June 1st.  We have found a lunch bag, a hat, a yearbook, and several water bottles.  Please have your child double check that they took everything home.

Summer learning resources
If you are looking for summer resources, there are many summer reading programs at public libraries and bookstores.  Online, we recommend Kahn academy and Aleks which provides differentiated instruction in math. Also, Nova scienceNewsela and national geographic are good for language and science.

Thanks again for your support this year and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.  Stay tuned for our information packet for next year, which will be emailed and send via mail.  It has all the information on next years dates and activities as well as supply lists.  We hope everyone has a wonderful summer and we look forward to seeing everyone again in August!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Important announcements for our final two days of school!

These last weeks have been a whirlwind of activity as our students prepared and carried out a phenomenal graduation program for our outgoing 6th and 7th graders.  Everyone worked so hard to make it the best graduation celebration ever.  Today, we took our graduates out for a special lunch and movie while the others finished sewing, binding, and decorating their books.  

Hidden Figures Movie Tomorrow
On Thursday, we will watch the movie Hidden Figures, based on the book we read in class last year.  Please make sure you sign the permission slip so that your child may watch with the class or simply write your own permission on a slip of paper if your child has lost theirs.

Makutu's Island on Friday
We are still missing a couple of forms and payments, so please let us know if your child will be at school on Friday, so that we can provide an alternative activity for them if they aren't going with us.  Also, every child needs a signed waiver and clean socks to attend.  We are sending waivers home tomorrow, but you can also find them here.

Our color classroom yearbooks are simply gorgeous.  We are attaching the color PDF that the children made in case you would like to share a digital version with family and friends.  We are amazed at the solid effort put forth by each child to plan and format their own yearbook pages.  This is truly the best student-made yearbook ever!

Published books
Tomorrow, all students should finish their self-published books.  It has really opened every one's eyes to the publishing process and so many are increasingly grateful for modern technology!  This year, most of our young writer's books were more than twenty pages and it took a long time for everyone to sew all their pages together. If your child brought their book home, please make sure that they return it tomorrow so we can take some of our author's celebratory photos as well as time for extra embellishments to their covers.

Thank you so much for supporting your child in our lovely classroom.  We could not do it with your support in the classroom and at home.  Your support has turned the challenging start of our year into triumph!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Social Media in the Upper Elementary

Dear Parents, 

We have had to spend a great deal of time today talking about incidents that occur off school grounds on student's laptops, tablets, and smartphones and we wanted to start an important conversation about social media use in children ages 9 and up.  With the continuing changes of technology, during a time that your child's brain is going through crucial development, it is important to be aware of the dangers of too much reliance on technology for social interactions.

The most important social interactions begin in the home and continue with family and friends outside the home.  Social media is not an adequate replacement for meaningful social activities that help build community, courtesy, and new connections that can last for life.  Research shows that screen time should be limited in the early years to make more room for concrete experiences that are a true preparation for life.  Scientists from Dr. Montessori to our more modern neurology researchers  all echo the importance of real-life situations, hands on and experiential learning, and group activities to engage the reasoning mind in lasting learning.

If you are a parent that allows your child unrestricted access to a device with few time guidelines or limitations, we encourage you to read one or more of the articles below.  We also encourage you to spend time creating real-world social situations with family and friends in the form of playdates, after school activities, family traditions, sports, and hobbies with other like-minded individuals.  If you you are looking for a specific resource in your family, or have questions or concerns, please feel free to come to us at any time.

Thanks so much!

Ms. Liza and Kathy

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Update for May

We are amazed at how hard everyone has been working on their books and that most are ready to publish!  A couple of students are still working on typing their final copies into their google docs so we can format, print and bind their books tomorrow. Please ask your child how they are doing.  We are truly astounded by the plots, poetry, pictures and persistence of our learning community.  All have assured us that their final copy will be finished tomorrow morning so we can begin the final stages of formatting, folding, stitching, and hardcover binding. 

Water Day
Our water day is tomorrow morning, from 10:30-12.  Please make sure your child is wearing adequate sunscreen and has a change of clothes. Only children with signed release forms may participate. See the separate email from the school for more details. 

6th grade graduation 
It's hard to believe our graduation ceremony is this Friday!  Our fifth graders have been busy preparing a class luncheon and fancy appetizers for parents attending our event at 1:30. We will provide pizza and salad for students at lunch time, so there will be no need to bring a lunch that day. Our sixth graders have prepared a lovely program of music and photos. We cannot wait to see everyone there!

Spirit week
Our sixth graders have also been busy preparing special activities for our final week of school. Our last day will be spent at Makutu's Island. Please return your permission slips and payment by tomorrow. We will also be taking our sixth graders to lunch and a movie next Wednesday afternoon. We sent out permission slips, since the movie is rated PG.  

Care of animals during the Summer
We are seeking for volunteers to house one of our animals for all or part of the summer. If your child is interested in taking care of our birds, frogs, or snake, please send us a note for which dates are most convenient for your family. We appreciate all our parents and children who have taken care of these special members of the classroom. 

Progress Reports
We sent home progress reports last Monday to a few children whose parents were unable to attend during our three weeks of scheduled conferences. If you have any question about your child's report, our door is always open to have a conference. Please contact us as soon as possible to get on our schedule. 

Chess club and tutoring
We have been having chess club (started by one of our students) and tutoring concurrently on Tuesdays and Thursdays and that seems to be going well for both groups. We will probably continue a similar schedule next year. 

We thank you again for your support and hope that you will let us know quickly if you have any questions or concerns. We are so pleased with how much each child has grown and so grateful for your tremendous support! We are growing more excited for the activities and learning that we have planned for next year!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mercado, Tutoring, and Other Activities

We wanted to let parents know that our doors are open for students to finish work or recieve help with our writing projects on Tuesday or Thursday, from 3:20 to 4pm.  Any student choosing to work after school must check in with aftercare during carline and come in with us at 3:20 so that parents will not be charged for that time.  Our doors are open until the end of the year except during conferences (April 26-May4).  We hope that everyone signs up for conferences as soon as possible!

Our students are working hard on formatting their yearbook pages.  Please see these links below for the three photo galleries we already have.  We will be adding more photos as we recieve them.  If anyone would like to add any additional photos from our school activities, please  share or add an album to our google drive on our account.  Your child already knows the password.

Yearbook photo galleries links have been sent to all our parent's email accounts on file.  If you did not recieve the link, please let us know your current email address!

Also, Mercado is literally around the cornder next week, Friday, April 28.  Your child will be returning their Mercado forms soon.  We have stressed with them the importance of staying within their parents' budgets. Also, please stay tuned for information on the end-of-year activities planned by our 6th graders.  We will have meetings soon about our 6th grade overnight trip. Remember that our 6th grade graduation ceremony is May 19th and our end-of-year trip is May 26th.  

Thanks again for your support this year.  We look forward to a fun-filled six weeks!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Please Sign up for Student-Led Conferences

We are thrilled that testing is behind us and everyone had a wonderful time this week, whether they stayed with Ms. Kathy or ventured out with the rest of the class.  We will post a photo gallery soon and plan to add details of our trip into our class yearbook. We especially hope that all families are able to sign up for student-led conferences as soon as possible.  We are so pleased with every child's progress and look forward to that time where each student is able to present the results of their daily efforts.  

Please call or stop by the office to reserve your time.  If you would like a phone conference or an alternative time, please let us know by replying to this email or leaving us a message in the office. Conference times are after school from April 24th to May 4, and all day on May 5th, when classes are cancelled. Please remember to bring your child so that they can have the opportunity to present their portfolios. Childcare is available after school for siblings, please let us know when you sign up if childcare is needed.

Also, please check with your child on Monday, when we will send important information home about our end-of-year writing projects.  If you would like a sneak peek, please take a look at the previous posting on this blog, right here.

We hope everyone has a happy and restful Easter Weekend and look forward to seeing everyone sooon!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

End of Year Writing Projects

End of Year Writing Projects

As the school year winds down, we always stay busy with writing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences we have enjoyed.  There are two big writing projects that are an integral part of our year-end wrapup.  The first is our class yearbooks and the second is our bookbinding project.  Please read below for information on both writing activities. Students may stay after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays if they need extra help, except if there are conferences, April 25-May 4th.


Students will choose from their writing in their portfolios or side projects at home to create a novel or anthology of selected poems, short stories or expository texts.  The work will be revised and a final copy will be made on the computer to print into a book which will be bound in class by hand.  Students may type their final copies at home or school, but please email us the final copy so that we may format it into a bookfold which can be bound properly.  We will also assist with any illustrations that may be hand-drawn directly on the pages or scanned into the document before printing.  

We seek a few supplies if you have any of the following on hand:  thick, tagboard type cardboard that can be used for covers, fabric scraps, decorative paper, needles,  bookbinding and duct tape, and spray glue.  If you are interested in learning how to bind books and helping in the classroom, please let us know!

Suggested deadlines (will vary depending on the length of the book):  

Topic selection:   April 8
Rough Draft:     April 24
Final Copy:   May 10

Class Yearbook Project:
Every year, our students choose their favorite artwork, writing, photographs and other work to showcase in the two pages they get to design themselves as their contribution to our classroom yearbook.  This year, we will be sending out our 60+ page color yearbooks to the printer for a cost of only $14 each book.  We will also be able to offer copies of previous years editions for the same price.  The deadlines for the yearbook are a little more precise, due to the deadlines needed for payment and publishing.  If you would like to see a sample of previous yearbooks or if you are interested in assisting with any of the formatting of our book in progress, we would love to hear from you!

Hard Deadlines

Payment deadline for current and back issues:                                                        May 4
Page named and opened on google docs in class:                                                   March 31
Writing selected to be scanned and added to doc:                                                  April 8-18
Photos from google drive selected to be scanned and added to doc:                   April 10
Additional text added to google doc:                                                                          April 21
Special features created and added by sixth graders:                                              April 19
Writing/layout conferences:                                                                                         April 21-24
Table of contents and pages all merged into one document:                                 April 28
Final inspection editing conferences:                                                                           May 4
Yearbook sent to publisher                                                                                              May 5
Yearbooks will arrive                                                                                                         May 11/12

Please Cut and Return this portion to order your glossy color yearbook copy

Yearbook order form

Name____________________________   # of 2016/2017 yearbooks_____

Back issues ordered:     2013/2014   2014/2015  2015/2016   (please circle)

Quantity                            ______      ________ _______

Total quantity x $14 = amount due___________________

Cash or check enclosed_____________________________

--additional funds (if any) will go toward Room 102 Activities Budget