Friday, March 27, 2015

Out like a lamb? More like on the lam!

Spring. Where are you?

This week took its sweet time getting to cruising altitude, but by Thursday afternoon, we had finally made it into the groove. Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks. What can I say?

Let's start with the good stuff... Well actually, it's all good stuff! On Wednesday after school, I went to an educator workshop at the Flynn Theatre and sat at the foot of director Devin Brain to learn techniques for making Shakespeare accessible to students. As The Acting Company was giving a presentation of "The Scottish Play" that evening, our work focused on it and I have a ton of great new resources. After I mentioned it on Facebook, my Jeopardy! friend Colin O'Grady, who teaches Shakespeare in Northern Virginia (near where I used to live, in fact), offered to share a lesson concerning "The Scottish Play" that has all of the excitement of the Titus Andronicus tour de force he mentioned in one of his contestant interviews. The gang is excited to tackle that and Colin is excited to see where we take it. We have also decided to take a page from the Reduced Shakespeare Company's playbook and workshop some scenes from various plays that will let us flex our acting muscles while having a great deal of fun with the language. Already, we have a pair of students working out a stop-motion animation of Romeo and Juliet with LEGOs. Can't wait for that and everything else that we get after with this juicy unit that we are creating as a classroom community.

I'm thinking that it might be time for us to start some seeds in our grow station (which spent the winter in the MASP room) and have thought about resurrecting it and starting my own garden's sprouts in here. I'm inviting the kids to do the same, so if you have seeds to start that you want to send in, please do. I will try to get my hands on a bag or two of dirt (if you have one, we'll take it!) and have egg cartons to use as peat pots.

Next week, we start our SBAC testing. The schedule is as follows:

Monday 3/30 - 9-10:15am - 5th grade Math computer test
Tuesday 3/31 - 9-10:15am - 6th grade Math computer test & 5th grade Math classroom activity
Wednesday 4/1 - 9-10:15am - 5th grade Math performance task & 6th grade Math classroom activity
Thursday  4/2 - 9-10:15am - 6th grade Math performance task
Tuesday 4/7 - 12:30-2:30pm - English computer test (both grades, together)
Monday 4/13 - TBD - English classroom activity (both grades, separately)
Tuesday 4/14 - 12:30-2:30pm - English performance task, part 1 (both grades, separately)
Wednesday 4/15 - 12:30-2:30pm - English performance task, part 2 (both grades, separately)

We're going to be very glad when we get to the other side of this inaugural round of assessments! Please help your student out by filling their bellies with good food and encouraging healthy sleep and relaxation habits. We will keep the load light here at school as we chug along toward Spring Break.

We're still looking for chaperones for the end of the year trip. If you are interested, let me know! We'll have a better idea on the cost to you soon, but the gang has proposed that both classes hold a Fun Fest to help raise money to buy food, so it might be even more deferred than it was with the PTO's generous contribution. More on that as it develops...

Monkton’s FIRST EVER Expanded Learning Program (ELP)
Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 31st - April 30th

Expanded Learning in ANESU has finally come to Monkton! MCS students in grades K-6 may enroll in one workshop for this inaugural session as we pilot this awesome new opportunity for MCS learners--at no charge! Each enrollment will include after-school care from 3:00pm-3:30pm (including a snack) and an enrichment workshop from 3:30pm-4:30pm. Parents may then pick students up at school or seek/return to supervision through MASP (for a fee determined by MASP). The following enrichment workshops will be offered during our pilot: Homework Club, Tech Jammers, Itty Bitty Bloggers, and Taiko Drumming. 

Please visit for more details and to print the quick and easy enrollment forms. If you need a form sent home to you, please email Kate Gagner at or call the main office to request one. Students can return the forms any time by or before Tuesday the 31st. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU SEND A NOTE TO THE OFFICE ABOUT THESE PLANS! See you after school!

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