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Classroom Updates

Updated: Dec 17, 2018

Acorn Nursery News from Ms. Jan:

What a fun week we had preparing our gifts with the children.  It is so much fun to see them excited about making something to give to you, their dear parents. The children worked diligently and carefully on their special project (I'm sure some told you what it is!) and this week we will prepare to wrap them all up as the days before our break wind down.  We will celebrate the last two lights of Christmas this week since the last week begins next Sunday, after our break has already begun.

The third light of Advent is the light of beasts, light of love that shines in the greatest and the least.

The fourth light of Advent is the light of you and I, light of thought, of love, to give and understand.

Jasmine Kindergarteners prepare holiday gifts for their families.

Jasmine Kindergarten News from Ms. Diana:

This past week we have prepared gifts and created an endless number of puppet shows with our new puppet theatre. Many students at the school have had colds or the unpleasant stomach virus and Ms. Kim and I would like to ask you to make sure children get enough sleep and that they wash their hands well. Thank you all for your donations and your support always!

Magnolia Kindergarten News from Ms. Heidi:

It’s an exciting week, and during times like these, children can fall apart more easily in the excitement they experience around them. Keeping a consistent and thoughtful rhythm for your family will help provide your child with the tools to integrate the holiday season without melting down. Keeping meals nutritious and calm, keeping bedtimes consistent, and getting your child to school by 8:40 will let them know that their world is still dependable, even during times of celebration and excitement. It is much harder for children than for adults to find equilibrium again once they have had elevated emotions. We can be their foundation and learn to notice when they might need support with managing the frenzy that often accompanies big, magical occasions.

Grade 1 News from Ms. Contento:

This week during the main lesson we focused on writing addition and subtraction problems. Children used their counting stones to add and subtract. As they practiced writing equations on their chalkboards, I went around to each child individually to make sure they were understanding how to add and subtract. I loved the fact that I heard many students say that they love math! That is music to a teacher's ears. Please continue over winter break to create opportunities for your child to add and subtract with small manipulatives such as acorns, beans, or shells. I would not use more than twenty. Ask them to write the equation down as they work on the problem. I think they would love to show off their new found skills! This coming week we will continue practicing adding and subtracting with stones and writing equations. Students are also writing equations into their main lesson books. In this way, they learn to write 11-20. We will also practice writing up to fifty. 

In the Circle, we are continuing the vowel poem. This will end up being a very long poem by the time I include all the vowels. My students are so proud that they can say most of the poem on their own as I point to the words. Skip counting is continuing for the 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s. I have many students showing me how they can skip count individually.  Students are learning how to skip count by 3’s this week. 

Our kindness jar is almost full. I will give them a kindness party as soon as they fill it up. I have promised a party with face painting and games that involve kindness in some way. I think they would love a pizza party. My treat!

Grade 2 News from Ms. Mullen:

This week in main lesson I shared the story of Harriet Tubman. The children seemed so engrossed in her story, and we talked a lot about how she worked as a spy for the Union army after devoting so much to the underground railroad. We also had a great discussion about treating all people with kindness and love and how so many different groups of people we have discussed during this block were treated poorly by their larger community and how we can work against that kind of behavior in our own classroom. 

We focused on the digraphs -th, -ch, and -sh and also looked at some other digraphs and blends as well. We came up with word lists that contained these sounds, practiced reading words with different digraphs and blends sounds as well (examples are: -ph, -tw, -fl). They also completed their letters to santa, and a worksheet that looked at how the silent e can change one word into a new word. Children who finished all of the work wrote their own sentences containing as many of our big three digraph sounds listed above as they could. Those who felt up to it shared them with the class. 

Our kindness jar is almost full. If we can fill it within the first few days of this week, I would love to add a larger celebration to our final gift exchange on Friday. I was thinking each child could bring in a small treat/snack for about 3 children and I could bring in hot cocoa makings and we could put it together and let it percolate in the crock pot while we exchange gifts. Encourage them to keep the kindness up as I think it would be so fun to end the year celebrating their good deeds!

Grade 3 / 4 News from Ms. Brown:

Within all of this uproar and holiday cheer is learning!  The students will hear the last part of the story of Joseph this week, and we will review the parts of speech.  We will focus on prepositions and conjunctions, and the proper usage of a comma.  I will also introduce verb tenses, which we will continue in a couple of months during our Norse Mythology block.  When the students return from Winter Break we will begin the fractions block, and I'm excited to start as this is such a departure from the activities and work we have been doing over the past couple of weeks.

Grade 5 / 6 News from Ms. Nelson:

POETRY - This week we prepared for more technical work in meter and rhyme by exploring rhyming couplets and iambic pentameter (five sets of iambic meter patterns), which were particularly utilized by William Shakespeare.  We then explored the sonnet in all its glory, as well as its many forms.  The two main types we explored were the Petrarchan, or Italian Sonnet, as well as the Shakespearean Sonnet.  "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus, which is engraved on the Statue of Liberty, was the example I chose for the Petrarchan Sonnet pattern.  "My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun" demonstrated the Shakespearean pattern.  Students then chose whether they felt inspired to write a sonnet on their own, with a partner, or in a group guided by me. ("Team Sonnet!")   We began our work on this in earnest on Friday.  Since this is such a challenge, the sonnet rough drafts are not due until Wednesday.  Our final project will be to write an ode to a Greek god or goddess in preparation for our Pentathlon.  In addition to this, I brought more poetry to be discussed by the class.  Among these were more of the T. S. Elliott Cat Poems that they love so much as well as "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes, "Invictus" by William Earnest Henley, and "Remembrance" by Christina Rossetti.

Grade 7 / 8 News from Mr. Pauzolis:

This week, we have all been eating, sleeping, and breathing 'A Christmas Carol'! We have been practicing like MAD, sneaking time here and there as other teachers and opportunities allow it! Let no one say we have not all tried our very best to work around numerous obstacles, interruptions, and unanticipated issues, but largely we are keeping our spirits up, up, up, and I am so excited to see the kids finally leaning into their roles! The students are at the point where they mostly know their lines by heart, and are now working on bringing passion and emotion to their characters! PLEASE, parents, take time to run lines with your child and encourage them to project their voice and express depth of emotion in all that they do! This is not television- it's theater! We must act for the person in the very back of the room, and subtlety is lost in a crowd. I want big, bold, and DRAMATIC! While you are practicing with your child, talk to them about what their character is thinking and feeling, and what motivates them to act the way they do. Every role has a story they bring to the stage, and NONE is more important than any other. Your student has the opportunity to captivate an audience, so encourage them to not miss it!

This week also brought us an absolutely lovely Hanukkah assembly, led by Shane's Mom, Amy. I am so grateful to Amy for volunteering to share her stories and traditions with so many children and faculty. Her presentation was beautiful, reverent, and very meaningful, and the entire school is grateful to her for that. Our week of action and activity ended with a field trip to Le Petit Theatre to see 'A Christmas Carol'! The rain cleared up just long enough to give us a crisp, cold morning jaunt through the historic French Quarter to this charming little theater, where the kids really enjoyed seeing 'their play' put on in a different way. Seeing other actors interpreting the roles, and how the director and theater arranged the very exciting set and effects was fascinating, and the cast was kind enough afterwards to offer their thoughts in a question-and-answer session after the performance. I was excited to see some of our kids lobbing questions at the cast without hesitation, which i know can be intimidating in a hall full of strangers! Tremendous thanks to the chaperones who made this possible, including Ena (Zoya's Mom), Stacie (Ela's Mom), Maria (Maya's Mom), Amy (Shane's Mom), and JT (Juan Pablo's Dad). I only wish we hadn't had to hurry back to school so quickly, but I can't think of a better way to spend a few hours than taking in a live theater production. It was a real spectacle, with sometimes-frightening effects and some very nuanced performances. 

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