Saturday, April 25, 2015

Super Disco Breakin'

Where did that week just go? April Break was here and then, poof! Away it went. I hope you enjoyed the free time and that you were able to get away from this disgusting weather. What gives, Mother Nature? Haven't we paid enough?!

Couple quick notes pop to mind as we head into the last 30 or so school days of the year (but, hey, who's counting?)...

Next Year
Mrs. Knox has communicated with families of this year's fifth graders about placement next year. Please take the time to give feedback if you would like to. I am very excited to have Ms. Primo moving up to the 5/6 team and know that everyone who becomes a member of her classroom community will have an excellent sixth grade year. Gagner Gang members have gotten to know her by way of our Study Buddy program this year and I think you will find that she and I are a lot alike. Feedback about next year should go directly to Mrs. Knox, as was indicated in her letter.

For families of our transitioning sixth graders, there was hope that the Crew letters would arrive to you before the break and I know students were really looking forward to knowing about their placement next year at Mount Abe. We have received word from MTA that the Crew placement process is in a bit of a holding pattern as budget determinations are made. I'm not sure if you have heard from them directly about this, so I figured I would pass along what I know. The folks at MTA were just as excited to share this news as the sixth graders were to receive it and it will be in your hands as soon as possible.

Fish News
I'd like to give a big shout out of thanks to Kristin Blanchette for answering my harried email the Friday before break and picking up--and donating--a new filter and aerator for Sycorax and Caliban's tank. Thank you for saving the day, Kristin! It was a big relief to come in Saturday morning and find the new set-up waiting for us. Phew! 

Sadly, on Thursday when I came in to work for the day, I discovered that Caliban had sloughed his mortal coil and made a break for the big aquarium in the sky. The transition from his old home to the classroom tank had been hard on Caliban and we were on a pretty serious health watch for him. He got jostled around quite a bit on the ride over and I had a sense that his time with us would be brief. If you have a chance to let your kiddo know before Monday that Sycorax will be soldiering on by herself, I would be much obliged.

Spring Civil Rights Unit
As was the case last year, our final Humanities unit of the year is a self-directed choice extravaganza. I spent the weeks leading up to and a bunch of time during break pulling together a slew of super engaging and creative activities for students to delve deeper into the art, music, culture, politics, and all kinds of other aspects of this period in American history. The work will by and large be done online to facilitate the addition of some of these final products to the students' digital portfolios. Each student has access to the activity description and requirements as well as to a folder that is shared with me to house their work. As I keep tabs on progress, I will be able to do most everything digitally and I'm pretty stoked about that. Our Civil War unit, which fifth graders will have in the spring of their sixth grade year (and current sixth graders did last year) is very much the same, only more low-tech. The freedom that comes with the kids being able to choose their own adventure as part of this final unit is a testament to the work we have done to build their independent, creative, curious spirits all year long.

We Need Buttons
If you have any extra clothing buttons at home and you can part with them, we are going to do a project that could put them to good use later next week (May 7th to be exact). If you can send in any extras for the class to use or even just a handful for your own student, it would be fantastic. They can be any color, shape, style, etc., etc., just as long as they have at least one way of getting thread through them.

Fine Arts Festival
Also the week after this coming week, we will be heading up to Mount Abe for the Fine Arts Festival. On May 6th, we will leave MCS in the late morning, take in a show and the gallery, and return back by 1-ish. Our timing is right smack in the middle of lunch hour and we will not be at MCS for hot lunch service. Please pack your student a bag lunch or snacks on Wednesday the 6th so that s/he has something to eat either on the bus or when we get back to school. Students who need to can order a sack lunch from the cafeteria on Wednesday morning before we leave.

Upcoming Dates
  • 4/30 - All School Meeting to welcome Ethiopian teachers at 2:30pm
  • 5/6 - MTA visit for 6th graders at 9am
  • 5/6 - Fine Arts Festival in the late morning/early afternoon
  • 5/7 - MTA parent info night at 7pm
  • 5/8 - No school for students
  • 5/25 - Memorial Day
  • 6/4 - Makerfaire at 1pm in the Gym
  • 6/8-9 - Trip to Camp Common Ground (chaperones still needed!!)
  • 6/16 - Last Day of School!

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