Friday, September 26, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like autumn

Thanks for coming to Open House this past week! It was great to see everyone who stopped by. I know I didn't get a chance to talk to everyone, so please don't be shy about scheduling a stop-in to chat about your learner. You can do that by email or note (on paper or in your student's planner) or we can talk by email any time about specific questions you have. I also want to thank everyone who expressed their enthusiasm and gratitude. A teacher's work is never done, but so many of you made me feel like I am headed in the right direction. Thank YOU for that and for your great students!

In curriculum programming news, Ms. Pierpont have decided that we are going to put Social Sciences on hold until our Ecology unit has run its natural (wah, wah... pardon the pun) course. This means that we will focus our Humanities time exclusively on Science until about the middle of October. There will be three, hour-long chunks on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays for us to work through the actual Ecology program; on Wednesdays and Fridays, we will do quick check-ins with our Eco Towers, strictly for maintenance and daily data collection. Once the ecosystems are totally self-sustaining and our required data is collected, we will move into Social Sciences where our program will resume with the immigration unit we began a couple of weeks ago. As we collaborated, Ms. Pierpont and I decided that it wouldn't be prudent to spread ourselves thinly over two such engaging topics and the better approach would be to take one through its full course and then pick up the other.

We will still be working in the makerspace for our weekly Genius Hour time. The September Makerspace Challenge was a great success. Click here to view photos of the work we did. Our October Makerspace Challenge is called "HOLD EVERYTHING!" and the students will be working on a container. What it holds--or could hold--will be up to them. For this challenge, we will be opening up the take-apart section of the makerspace as well as the recyclables. The makers will have an added step to their design processes in that they will have to follow their pencil sketch with a technology-based design component. This will help them become loosely familiar with some key apps and web software. Lastly, they will be assigned to teams, so that their designs will entail a degree of compromise and co-construction. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens!

This week will be pretty straightforward. On Monday, our class will be visited by Dr. Kristin Gehsmann from Saint Michel's College. Professor Gehsmann was my advisor during my Master's program and is now working with me as I earn my Reading/English Language Arts Specialist endorsement. I am really excited to have her in our classroom!

Professor Gehsmann is coming in right as we start our narrative writing unit. This is a great way to combine reading and writing instruction because we have been talking about summarizing and sequencing during Readers' Workshop and now, during Writers' Workshop, we will be applying those skills to a story of our own. On Monday, we are going to talk about hooks, the tools writers use to draw the reader in and keep them interested. I am looking forward to this unit as well as to growing myself as a reading and writing teacher. With this group--all avid readers and writers--it should be extra special and wicked fun.

Music Lesson Schedule

Miss Carina has proposed the following music lesson schedule for the year. Please make sure your student is developing a regular practice routine at home and has her/his instrument in school on the following days:

THURSDAY
Viola
Trombone
Percussion
Trumpet

FRIDAY
Violin
Guitar
Trumpet (different group, let me know if you need specifics)
Clarinet
Alto Saxes
Flute

Upcoming Events:

  • MCS is excited to have SPIRIT DAY the first Friday of every month. Spirit day will take place, Friday October 3rd. The school wide theme for this day is: HAT DAY!
  • Friday the 3rd is also Walk Around the Pond! Please make sure your student has turned in a permission slip and try to join us if you can.
  • Ms. Pierpont and I will be volunteering in the ticket booth of the Champlain Mini Makerfaire on October 4th from 9am-12:30pm at the Shelburne Museum. Please come visit and check out the makerspace experience on a local but large scale!

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