Thursday, April 28, 2016

Circle Letter 4/28/16

April 28, 2016
Dear Families,
         Welcome back families!  Hoping it was a great spring vacation. We have hit the ground running this week.  Wow – I don’t recall such a fast paced week –not ever!  We have had Kathleen and Richard, special guests from Boston’s Museum of Science, with us all week capturing us on film as we grappled with new vocabulary terms, data collection and analysis and biomedical engineering concepts. Thursday was the big culminating hands-on design project day – I sure hope you have heard all about it by now.  Knee braces were imagined, planned, created, designed, and then tested… to discover where and why the design needed to be improved upon. All in one afternoon… imagine that! This weeklong experience has been wonderful – and I think many of our students have great potential at a thriving and creative engineer career.  Truly.
         It has also been wonderful having the Native American dioramas trickle in a few at a time.  We really love how individual and creative each project is.  Also of great intrigue are what materials students used and how the things were made. When each student shares, the village scene comes to life as information pours out, whether it is on the tribe or the ingenuity and clever construction.  Well-done students!  (Thank you parents for the home support on this project) We look forward to seeing the remaining dioramas next week.
         We also visited Native American cave dwellings in art this week and got to try some cave paintings too.  Get the scoop from you kiddo!!

         Lastly, please sign the permission slip to Bowl-o-Rama, sponsored by Ms Torr.  This is a fun (and free…!) grade 3 excursion that is intended to build upon a life long love of this inclusive sport!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Circle Letter 4/8/16

April 8, 2016
Dear Families,
         Wow, kudos to our student test takers again this week… especially Thursday…, which was one long arduous session of both reading and story writing: prewriting, drafting, typing and editing.  Our students have shown great focus, grit, and perseverance.  
         Round three is next week.  (Yup, one more week… Monday and Tuesday) These two tests are shorter and focus on writing skills, word work and punctuation. The sugarless gum continues to be a perfect perk!  (Something to look forward to during testing.)  And so another A-l-e-r-t request from the class… more packages of sugarless gum and mints during test taking time for next week. Thanks!        
         Our Native American Studies are really underway at this point.  This week students have been selecting a region and tribe to research in class. Our research will include books, web sites, videos, documentaries, legends and maybe a guest speaker.  Each student will also be making a diorama depicting tribal life of his or her tribe and region. More information on this school/ home project will come next week.  However, each student will need a shoebox (no bigger boxes please) to work on this project… so be on the look out at home or in the garage!  We are also in need of toilet paper and paper towel cardboard rolls… We will use them for a few Native American crafts!           Lastly, if you are looking for something fun to do with the family tonight (and support our schools) plan on attending the wonderful Kittery Live Talent Show.   The event is held at Shapleigh School with Mitchell School performers beginning at 4 pm!  Good luck to our Adie, who is performing!

                                    Have a great weekend… J

Friday, April 1, 2016

Circle Letter 4/1/16

April 1, 2016
Dear Families,
         Hello and Happy April Fools Day! J
         It has been a different sort of week due to the computed –based State testing that is going on.  It has a way of disrupting the daily schedule and rhythm of things.  A big Round of Applause needs to go out to all of our test takers this week.  Students are taking it seriously and trying their best, pushing themselves to stay focused and answer the questions fully.
                  On the flip side, we have had some special perks throughout the
week …! One of them is that sugar free mint gum or mint suckers which is allowed during testing time to help with concentration.  Please donate (another) package to support our test takers!!    This was a popular option during testing and our supplies are dwindling.  Another perk has been watching the movie version of Because of Winn Dixie a little bit at a time.  We are doing a compare/contrast with the book and the movie.  It is interesting to observe how some things stay true to the storyline but not all the plot.  Overall, I’d say we give the movie version a “thumbs-up!” Lastly, visiting Traip’s climbing wall was a great mid week perk.  I hope by now you have heard about the experience from your kiddo.  Test taking resumes next week.  Please do your part with encouragement and praise. J

            Lastly, our annual Kittery Live Talent Show is underway.  Performers are getting ready and so is the PTA.  Each year the third grade is asked to donate items for a grade 3 raffle basket. If you could please contribute an item or two to fit the theme of “outdoor activities” it would be greatly appreciated.  Our PTA counts on us for support!  Thanks!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Circle Letter 3/24/16

March 24, 2016
Dear Families,
         Welcome to Spring!  Hope you enjoyed the spring snow with your family on Monday.  Great snowmen building weatherJ
         As you know by now Maine’s public schools are required by law to take a computer – based assessment developed by Measured Progress.  Mr. Foster’s letter, sent out earlier this week, explained the process in detail.  I want to explain how this affects our class. This week in computer lab we went on –line to see the format, practice logging on, and take a practice math test.  We will continue this practice into next week for the reading and writing sections.  For the next two weeks we will take a session test most days.  On Monday our class starts the day with a math session test – 8:45 – 9:45.  Each day of the week we test at different times of the day.  Our overall schedule will be two days of math sessions, followed by four days of reading sessions (of various lengths and time) and lastly 2 days of writing sessions. As Mr. Foster stated please make every effort to be in school these days to avoid having to extend testing with make up days. One of the small perks is that sugar free mint gum is allowed during testing time to help with concentration.  Please donate a package or two to support our test takers!!    Although the testing can be long and arduous at times, I will try to make it a positive experience for all.  Encouragement and praise from you will also helpJ

            Just some house keeping news: Our Spring Conferences begin next week. Please give some thought as to what you would like to focus and reflect on… we only have 20 minutes and it can go quickly!  Thanks!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Circle Letter 03/11/16

March 11, 2016
Dear Families,
         Let’s give it up for our Funk to Junk music and dance performers!!  Woo-hoo! J  News from Art Week 2016!  Sure hope you enjoyed the Junk to Funk Performance last night.  Thank you to so many for coming!  It was a great - standing room only - turn out.  I hope that you have heard a lot about the experience over the course of the week.  Boy, it has been wonderful.  Jeff, our Junk to Funk drumming and dance teacher is super hip and cool… while being totally calm and respectful.  All students really respond well to his teaching style.    He has been patient and encouraging, informative and interesting as we learn new rhythms, body and dance moves.  And believe us… it is harder than it looks! Be sure to get the scoop from your kiddo this afternoon about how the school performance went.  We think the Mitchell community will love it!
                  We also had a special treat on Thursday afternoon with a live performance from the spectacular Shapleigh Jazz Band.  They were fantastic!  Lots of different instruments, beats, melodies and rhythms.  It is such fun for the teachers to see former Mitchell School students playing for us.  Who knows… maybe in a few years your child will be playing for us too.   Joining band in fifth grade is a great experience and one that can continue through high school years and beyond.
         And of course, none of this could be possible without our wonderful PTA who funds The Annual Mitchell School Arts Fair Week.  A big shout out to them and all they do to support our kiddos!

            Just some house keeping news: Our Spring Conferences are quickly approaching.  Thank you for signing up on-line.        Enjoy the weekend~

Friday, March 4, 2016

Circle Letter 03/04/16

March 4, 2016
Dear Families,
         What a great “Leap Year” week we have had together, perhaps highlighted by our Read Across America (drop everything and read…) Dr. Seuss recognition.  On rainy Wednesday morning we got to take over the hallway and windowsills and read lots of the morning away.  Perfect start to a school day!
         And more good stuff is in store for next week!  Mitchell School’s 26th annual Arts Fair, funded by our awesome PTA, is next week.  This year our third graders will have the opportunity to try “rhythm and rap” with Trash Can Lid Production. The kids will work with an artist-in residence all week for about 45 minutes each day.  Students will have the opportunity to perform for you on Thursday Night, March 10th and again for the school on Friday afternoon. It sounds wonderful and promises to be a great enriching experience for all our students. Stay tuned!
         We continue to develop our information books during writing workshop time.  This week kids worked on crafting survey or interview questions related to their topic as well as learned new computer skills on Google Draw. Get the scoop from your kiddo… or better yet have them show you what they know.  It’s great and useful!
         Lastly, we have started Roald Dahl book groups.  Find out what book your child is reading… and with who.  Thanks to Thomas’ mom and Ollie’s mom for volunteering to lead a book group.  The emphasis will be practicing “Smart Book Talk.” Also we started a new read aloud… an absolute favorite of Ms. Lantz’s.  Find out more from your child…! J                     Enjoy the weekend..!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Circle Letter 02/25/16

February 25, 2016
Dear Families,
         Welcome back everyone! Great to see the kids after our February break.  It was an easy transition back as we have been able to continue much of the work right where we left off.  We have been building vehicles and exploring with weight and force to see how it effects movement in our Forces and Motion unit. This week we have been exploring the concept of stored energy found in rubber bands twisted around the rear axle.  The results are interesting and each engineering team has had good success.  Be sure to get more details from your vehicle designer… a.k.a.- your kiddo!
         Unit 6 math has us reviewing three digit subtraction rules with trade first.  It also has students immersed in multiplication fact practice through a variety of skill based games and activities.  Students are making progress.  It would be very helpful if you committed to working with your child over the next few weeks to master the lingering basic facts 0 -10.  Thank you in advance for your support with this.
         Student information books are coming along nicely during writing workshop.  This week we have focused on writing several “chapters” as well as do some research on the Internet. Next week we will continue with this as well as begin some final draft pages with “text features” that support the text.  Stay tuned!

         We got to have our second book buddy share with our first graders on Wednesday.  On Thursday we had dental hygienist students give a healthy tooth talk presentation.  And Friday afternoon we get to see the Harlem Rockets Basketball players “wow” us with their skills.    A good week …  I’d say J!                                                                    Warm Regards,

Friday, February 5, 2016

Circle Letter 02/5/16

February 5, 2016
Dear Families,
       How did it get to be time to talk about Valentine’s Day already?   Time goes by quickly…! We would love to have a Valentine’s Day Card Exchange and Party on Thursday February 11th.   Decorative cards and small sweet treats are welcomed and encouraged.  Please find the enclosed list of class names to help when making the cards. (on the backside of the assignment sheet…) In addition, we will also have a batch of homemade cupcakes (thanks to Ollie’s mom!) but perhaps a big bowl of orange slices and red plates would make for a great party.  Please contact me directly if interested.  And as always, thank you!
       We have had a busy week planning and preparing for our Spirit Week… thanks to Ginnifer and Lizzie’s persuasive writing! Yup… they talked Mr. Foster into it. We also will be starting weekly Reading Buddies with a first grade class, thanks to Lilly’s persuasive writing! Well-done girls!!  Be sure to get the scoop from your kiddo… And we have now officially moved on to our new unit of writing “Information Writing” Stay tuned… 
       Our read aloud book has us laughing aloud.  The BFG (ask your child what that stands for J) has a very funny vocabulary and a rather peculiar way with words. 
       Lastly, please note there is no school on Friday 2/13.  This will be our last family letter until after our February break.  I wish you a great week off from school, red folders and homework.  But please consider playing a few multiplication fact math games along the way.  Every bit helps.   Enjoy time with your family…!                                       

                                    Warm Regards,

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Circle Letter 01/28/16

January 28, 2016
Dear Families,
      Another full and busy week together.  And a great focus on the
5-2-1-0 healthy lifestyle program this week.  The week started with “jovial” life sized vegetables and fruits (Jack and Delia!!)  greeting us off the bus on Monday morning! And great job to our kitchen staff for focusing on healthy food choices each day. 
       The biography posters have been a great home and school project.  We all have enjoyed watch the progress over the course of the week and hearing kids share interesting bits of information about their famous person… names like Leonardo DiVinci, Genghis Khan, Ferdinand Magellan, Elvis Presley, Hope Solo, Albert Einstein… and of course Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr just to name a few.  It is interesting when connections can be made from one person to another, like the Wright Brothers and Amelia Earhart. Next week we will build our “hall of fame” in the hallway after short presentations from each researcher.
       We have been having a persuasive writing share this week because all of our writers’ have finished their writing.  Big round of applause to all of our writers!  And lucky you, families… the final drafts are coming home today for you to hear (and perhaps be persuaded…J)  Please make time to listen and respond on the family share paper over the weekend.  Afterwards could you help remind your kiddo to bring back the writing so we can put it into the portfolio.  Thank you for your help with this.
       On Thursday we had a presentation and short puppet show about Safe and Non Safe Touch.  Check in with your child and have them tell you the gist of  it. An important message was reviewed…

Lastly, just a reminder that next Wednesday is an early release.  Thanks for all the home support each day.                          Warm regards~

Friday, January 22, 2016

Circle Letter 01/22/16

January 22, 2016
Dear Families,
      What a great and super fast week together with the kids!  Our days have been filled up with many varied and rich activities.  Our persuasive writing unit is on a fast track at this point.  Thank you to the much needed (and appreciated!) parent help for typing student drafts.  Many will be close to finishing with just a bit of fine-tuning at this point.  Our next writing unit is Information Writing.  Students will share their knowledge and expertise on a self-selected topic.  Stay tuned!
       In Math, Unit 5 has us exploring fractionswe have been using color-coded fractional parts to help understand basic concepts and extend and push our thinking.  This will continue next week.
       Our biography unit has picked up momentum as well.  Kids are finishing their in class biography books and will be doing some on-line research and picture searching of their famous person as well. You’ll get a first hand glimpse of the biography posters each student is working on next week.
       Also yesterday we finished our read aloud book, Hoot.  Ask your kiddo what they thought of it.  In the end… good prevailed over bad and we learned that just one person, even a kid, can make a difference in this world.  A good message for all of us to remember.
       Book Orders are coming home today.  If you are interested in ordering, one check made out to Scholastic is preferred.  If you could hand orders in by Monday or Tuesday that would be great.
Lastly, a big shout out to our School Board presenters at Tuesday night’s meeting.  They did a super fabulous public speaking job.  Woohoo…!
       Thanks for all the home support each day. 

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Circle Letter 01/15/16

January 15, 2016
Dear Families,
      Our mornings have been dedicated to drafting our persuasive writings… and the students are making great progress as they develop each reason to support their thesis or opinion.  Many are working on their conclusion at this point and will revise next week.  Great job writer’s.
       In math this week we have finished unit 4 which started out with a geometry focus and moved to measurement, perimeter and area.  We have taken a two-day assessment that has also included a cumulative test on concepts taught thus far in the year.
       And we have officially begun our biography study with our non- fiction narrative genre study.  At this point most students have selected a person (or two!) to read about.  Please consider stopping by Rice Public Library this weekend and check out the kids’ biography section.  It’s a good one!  Our focus will move beyond dates and basic facts as we read.  Rather we will try to understand the person’s character traits and what helped him/her prevail; also teasing out obstacles and difficulties that the person faced perhaps due to the time period that person grew up in; and lastly who was influential in this person’s life to help him/her succeed.
        Our cursive practice continues, slow but steady.  You might consider writing a sentence in cursive for your kiddo to practice reading in the Family Letter! It is great watching the kids practice each new letter for they are very focused, attentive and determined to master it.

       Our read aloud book, Hoot is a highlight after lunch.  Each chapter is a rollercoaster of excitement as the various sub plots come colliding together for a big bang of a conclusion.  We are on the edge of our seats.                            Have a great MLK three-day weekend…

Friday, January 8, 2016

Circle Letter 01/08/16

January 8, 2016
Dear Families,
       Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday time and enjoyed the long break from school. Thank you for all of the wonderful holiday cards, sweet sentiments, and the lovely gifts! I felt very spoiled by you. J Also, we love our new classroom supplies!  New pencils, erasers, art items, dry erase markers, Sharpies, glue sticks, soft tissues, hand soap and great books just to name a few! W-o-w! We are in good shape as we head into winter! Also, thanks to our awesome volunteers who helped at the Winter Celebration and for the contributions of various items for our holiday event.  We had great food and treats for our afternoon party!  Truly without you and your help we couldn’t make these types of things happen for the kids.   Thanks Parents!

              It was great to see all the kids after our time away! We have had a good week together getting right back into the swing of things.  We have officially started our cursive practice with a few letters under our belt. Kids seem to love learning it and have good focus and attention to detail.  In writing we are now in the drafting stage of persuasive writing.  Students have chosen a topic that is important to him/her and will develop it and argue their case.  Stay tuned… ! Lots of work this week with perimeter and area in math. We continue with our read aloud Hoot, which is getting interesting as the plot thickens.  And we continue to explore and investigate weather topics.  Thursday we did an interesting exploration with humidity.  Find out more from your kiddo! Lots of new things to start off the New Year… including our new classmate!  How exciting for us.  We happily welcome Malcolm to our class.!