Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's December!!

Here we are packing up the care packages for the troops on November 26th!

Thanks to all the kids in F3 for working so hard to get some really nice packages together for the troops last Wednesday. I am sure that they will be appreciated. All in all, F3 put about 27 care packages together for a platoon of soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan.

It's December already! Whew! We have three weeks to go before winter break, and there's so much to cover. We'll be starting a unit on the explorers who came to the New World that became the United States.

Also, students will be concluding their research reports on micros by beginning to work on their poster section of the Public Service Announcement they will be creating.

Today is World AIDS day, and students will be listening to a story about a teenager born with HIV who is now in high school.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Short but Fun Week Ahead in F3

These are pictures from PFC Chris Todd, a member of the Army unit in Afghanistan that will be receiving our care packages.
We'll be having a great week ahead in F3 concentrating on three main things: One, we'll be packing up care packages on Wednesday afternoon for an Army unit in Mizan, Afghanistan. There are fifty soldiers in the platoon we'll be sending out packages to-- so that means that each F3 student will be responsible for sending two packages.

Next, we'll be starting a new unit in math on fractions. This should be a welcome change for some in F3 who struggled a bit with division. As I mentioned to many parents during conferences, kids are ALWAYS welcome to come to F3 on Thursday mornings to get extra help in math.

Also this week, students will continue their work on the Micros project! Students are studying everything from omega 3s to hand washing to organic foods! They are learning so much! I am particularly looking forward to their Public Service Announcements they will start writing after Thanksgiving Break. Speaking of Thanksgiving, I'll be in Boston with my Aunt Lorraine, my Mom and Dad. I hope everyone enjoys their time with family this coming weekend.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

SO SORRY FOR THE LONG DELAY! Veteran's Day Project and Conferences coming up!

Hello! I'm so sorry for the long delay! The rest of October went swimmingly well in F3, and we've started November off and running with a great start! As all of you are aware, kids became some fantastic political junkies and followed the closing days of the election with a close eye. We made great big VOTE signs and paraded around Beacon Hill with them on November 4th and encouraged all resident of Beacon Hill to get out and VOTE.

As you can imagine, the kids were pretty excited by the results of this historic election! We will continue our studies of current events throughout the year, especially leading up to inauguration day on January 20, 2009.

What else have we been up to in F3? In science kids have been doing experiments using petri dishes full of agar to grow bacteria, yeast and mold. Starting today, students will chose topics of study to complete the unit in Micros and Me. One student may study asthma, one may study a certain kind of diet, etcetera. At the end of their study, students will do a public service announcement.

Parent Conferences are coming up. Please ensure that you are on time for your conference as each one only lasts for 20 minutes. If you need to change your time, please give me a call.

That's all for now! Sorry again for the delay. Enjoy the pictures of Election Day!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Multi-Ethnic Dinner night, Ms. V Gets an Award, and Choice and Consenquences Assembly

Phew! Lots going on this week. Let's start by talking about Multi-Ethnic Dinner night. This will be on Thursday night-- on the 23rd. It's a fantastic time to mingle with other parents, catch a first glimpse of the classroom, and-- sign up for a parent conference in November. Personally, I'm looking forward to all the fantastic food that will grace F Pod that evening. :)

On Tuesday, I will be receiving an award from the American Legion for the work that the fifth grade class did last year in regards to their pen pal, Cpl. Paul Craddick, who was serving at Camp Ramadi in Iraq last year during the surge in troop levels there. The award will be presented in Ballard at the VFW on Tuesday at noon. I wish I could take the kids!

We had a marvelous time at the Momix dance performance at the UW's Meany Hall on Friday the 17th. the kids were amazed with the Multi-media performance, and I thoroughly enjoyed taking them.

Lastly, by now all students have taken pictures in their community regarding health issues. We'll be printing out those pictures this week and the students will get to discuss the issues they found with their colleagues. Also this week, our unit two math test will be on Tuesday. Congrats to the Math Breakfast Club who came early on Thursday morning and worked on their math skills.

That's all for now! Don't forget to sign your Choice and Consequences permission slip form so that your child can go to this worthwhile assembly :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Taking Pictures in the Community and Finishing off the week in Style!

This week will be a VERY fun week here in F3. Kids will be finishing up on their camp brochures and taking on their community photography this week. Students will be sent home with a digital camera and they will be asked to take pictures of places in their community that remind them of community health issues. Students will only have one day after school to take pictures.

Also this week is our Momix field trip at the University of Washington. Students will need to bring a sack lunch to eat at school when they return on Friday after watching an amazing dance performance. Also on Friday, Ms. V will bring in some cupcakes to celebrate her birthday with the kids :) You are welcome to bring in cupcakes or any snack for the kids to share on their birthday this school year. :)

What else? Kids are truly becoming experts on the election. Students now know what the electoral college is and which states are the key battleground states for November's election.

Next Thursday will be our Multi Ethnic Dinner. I am hoping all of you can make it. This will be the first opportunity for you to choose a date for parent conferences. If you can't make it for that evening-- feel free to give me a call that next day.

Take care and have a GREAT week ahead.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Community Health, the Math Breakfast Club, and Politics this Week

Some examples of community health public service announcements
On Monday (Yes, tomorrow!), all of the community health interviews should be done and answers should be written up. It would be awesome if in addition to the interviews, students also brought in pictures of the people they interviewed.

At some point this week, students will get a digital camera to take home for a night. With this camera, students will get to take pictures of places around the school and their own community that make them think of important community health issues. Later on in the month, students will get the camera for another night-- at that point they will take pictures of things around their house that keep them healthy or remedies they take when they get sick. All of this work will culminate in a PSA (public service announcement) produced by each student on a health issue of their choosing.

In math, students are focusing on estimation, and various ways to add, subtract, and multiply two and three digit numbers. As you already know, your child should be coming home with math homework Monday through Thursday evenings. It is critical that they do their math homework independently as it is nearly identical work to what they already learned in class. If they need extra help with the homework, that is good information for me to know, and you can let me know by calling or sending me an e mail.

Help has arrived for students who may be struggling :) It is called the math breakfast club. I started this club last year in early January for students who were struggling with math. Due to the huge success of last year's club, I am starting earlier this year. I will send out invitations this week to students who I think will benefit from some extra help. The only catch is that you will need to bring your child to school on Thursday mornings at 8:20. It's called a breakfast club because last year students took turns bringing in breakfast treats for the other students. If your child does not receive an invitation and you think they may need some extra help with math, please contact me.

As the election is a mere 30 days away at this point, students will begin to learn about the process of electing someone to the highest office. Your child will become an expert on the electoral college, and be able to name their state and federal representatives. Do not be surprised if they stay up late on election night to watch the results come in :)

That's all for now! Cheers!
-Ms. V

Saturday, September 27, 2008

We Had a Phenomenal Time at Camp!!!!

Thanks to all the parents and kids that made Camp Seymour 2008 a HUGE success! More pictures will be arriving on this slide show this week as I get pictures back from all the parents who came.

We had so much fun!! The kids went boating, rock climbing, and took classes in marine science and orienteering. Due to huge parent support, kids had a fun and safe time in their cabins at night. The food was fantastic, and kids learned all about food waste and the importance of clearing their plates :).

This week students will be working on a writing activity about camp. They will be working together to produce a brochure that will give information to next years' campers about Camp Seymour.

Also this week, students will have a big homework assignment: they have to interview someone in the community who knows about environmental, physical, or emotional health problems in the community. Yes, this could be a parent! These interviews need to be done by Monday, October 6th.

Rest well this weekend! See you on Monday!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sorry for the delay... we're going to camp this week!!!

Hello again!! The school year has been a good one so far for the kids in F3.

We started to have centers for literacy time. During this time, the students are reflecting on our read aloud book, A Girl, In Parts, learning about grammar usage, reading about the presidential candidates, buddy reading a short fiction story together, or reading a book of their choosing on their own.

In science, we started a unit called Micros and Me. Maple School has had a partnership with the UW Department of Education Graduate program, and through this partnership, a unit that would have otherwise been just about cells is now also about health issues in our community. After we get back from Camp Seymour, kids will be interviewing members of their community about health issues that affect us on Beacon Hill. Parents, if you yourselves, or if you know of anyone who is a health care provider, please contact me.

We'll be leaving for camp on Wednesday morning. Please make sure your child beings a sack lunch for Wednesday. All other meals will be provided. If you'd like to send a message to your child while they are at camp, please visit the Camp Seymour website. They will be happy to print out any messages you send.

Your child will be quite sleepy on Friday afternoon. If you are able to PLEASE pick your child up on Friday at 2pm. They will have stories for you all weekend long. :)

That's all for now! Cheers!

Ms. V

Monday, September 1, 2008

Welcome to Fifth Grade in F3!

Hello! I am Marcia Ventura, and I will be your child’s fifth grade teacher this year. I have taught in the Seattle School District for nine years, and this is my second year at Maple, and I love it here deeply. In the 2006/2007 school year I took a very invigorating travel leave from Seattle Public Schools in order to take a three-month bike trip throughout the deep south of the US. I have enjoyed using what I learned during my time on the road with my students-- especially during social studies.

Fifth grade is a very exciting year for students. At this moment they are one year from starting middle school, and as such, it is critical that throughout the year, students become academically and socially ready for that transition. Instruction, especially in the areas of reading, writing, and math, will be rigorous to ensure that readiness.

Homework will be given Monday through Thursday. Students should be spending about 45 minutes to an hour per night on homework. I expect homework to be done completely independently. If your child is asking for help often with the homework, please let me know. All homework given in class will be directly related to what was tauight during that school day.

What will students learn this year? In science, they will work with microscopes, learn about erosion and ground water, and even become engineers. In social studies, your child will learn about early US history and the principles this country was founded on. We will also be studying the evolution of the civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s and the affects that it continues to have in the world today. For the next two months we will be following the presidential campaigns very closely.

Coming up very soon will be FIFTH GRADE CAMP!!!! Woohoo! Most of the students are already signed up and paid for. If you are not, you'll be receiving a phone call from me very soon :). Fifth grade camp is very exciting and will be taking place at Camp Seymour in Gig Harbor from September24-26. More information about camp can be found in the links on the right side of the screen.

As you know, Maple is an open-concept school, and because of that, students will not only have me as their teacher, but they will also learn from Ms. Felber and Mr. Gonzales, the two other fifth grade teachers. The three of us have worked hard in preparation for the start of the school year and will continue to work closely together throughout the year.

Monday, June 16, 2008

We made it! Great job F3!

Good job F3 students! You made it to the end of the year. Students worked so hard this year in math, science and social studies to learn so much! I am very proud of them.

We just completed a science research project that culminated in another public service announcement! These PSAs should hopefully be available on the website at some point tin the next few weeks. Students' PSAs ranged in topic from asthma to Chinese herbal medicine. Students completed their research on the Internet using the bookmarking tool "delicious". They also made posters having to do with their PSAs.

The class is also quite proud of our student teacher, Mr. Jesse McClelland, who showed incredible commitment and determination to be the best teacher he can be. Mr. McClelland will be moving up to Bellingham for at least a year before hopefully returning to Seattle to teach here in Seattle Public Schools. I am very proud of his progress.

Tonight's F3's night out at the ballgame. Our class can bring nothing but good luck to the struggling Seattle Mariners. Tomorrow at 10:30 is graduation. We will have a reception at 11:30, and then all parents are welcome and encouraged to take their children home for an early afternoon. Hats off to the grads!!

I'll miss you F3. Take care, work hard in middle school, have a lot of fun this summer, keep in touch by e mail. and come back and visit Maple often.


Ms. V.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Finishing off May in Style in F3

Welcome Back Paul! Hope everyone enjoys the pictures above.

F3 is keeping quite busy at Maple these days. Following the three day weekend, students will work hard to get more and more donors for our May 30 blood drive. If you haven't already signed up, there are PLENTY of more spaces available for you to do so. Talk to your kids-- they will talk your ears off about all the compelling reasons there are to donate. Not the least of which: give blood, get a cookie.

This week students will also start working on their next public service announcements. This time the PSAs will be focused on the Micros and Me science unit kids have been working on with assistance from Ph.D. candidates and grad students at the University of Washington. All of the kids will have a choice of what to do their PSA on. I am looking forward to hearing some great slogans.

Thanks to all the parents who took time to make FABULOUS food for our potluck for Paul this last Friday. It was a very emotional, fun and fantastic homecoming. The kids and I are VERY excited that he is home safe and sound.

Make sure you put the following upcoming events on your calendar: May 30th Blood Drive, June 13th fifth grade picnic, June 16th baseball game at Safeco Field, and June 17th graduation. Good times ahead!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Paul is visiting on Friday!!!!

That's right. Our friend Paul Craddick who has been serving in Iraq is now back safe and sound in Seattle and will be visiting us on Friday at 12:30. To celebrate, the kids have decided to have a potluck. Please bring in a main dish, side dish, dessert or drinks for Friday at 12:30. And please join us parents and families-- it will be a great opportunity for you to meet Paul!!

What else is going on in F3? We are sponsoring a blood drive on May 30 here at Maple on the stage. As you have most likely already heard from your child, donors must be over 16, so we are counting on you to come to Maple and donate! It is a simple process, hurts a bit, but leaves you with the incredible feeling that you have just saved a life. We're hoping to get 25 committed donors by the 28th. So far we have 10.

In class, kids are very busy in science learning how to use microscopes and learning about cellular biology. As a group we are being studied by graduate students at the University of Washington. Over the last two years, they have redeveloped the Microworlds unit to Micros and Me, and the kids are learning about micro-organisms and how they help and hurt us in everyday life. The kids seem to not even notice anymore they are being videotaped. :) Only the students who have filled out the consent forms are on camera.

In social studies, students are continuing to learn all about Colonial Boston. In fact, they will be experiencing the Boston Tea Party first hand! More on all of the social studies later-- there will be a special note from Mr. McClelland.


Monday, May 5, 2008

A Terrible Loss for Maple

As many of you have heard from your children by now, Maple suffered a terrible loss on Thursday. A fourth grade student, Zakariya, died suddenly on Thursday night in the hospital. The exact cause of death is not known as of yet. The students spent the morning today mourning for Zakariya and talking about their feelings about death and dying. We had a good discussion which we will continue on Wednesday. Students have expressed a desire to remember Zakariya by bringing in some traditions from home such as candle burning, releasing balloons into the sky, and bringing in fruit. We had a moment of silence today in class. If you have any questions or concerns about the Zakariya, or about the class mourning his loss, please don't hesitate to call.

We have two field trips to the Cedar River Watershed this week. One on Tuesday and the other on Thursday. Students will spend one day working in the Learning Center and the other day walking in the Watershed. This should be a fantastic experience for the kids. The Cedar River Watershed is the source of Seattle's drinking water and only fifth graders, their parents, and their teachers, are able to enter the Watershed.

Also this week, students have received their tickets for the baseball game-- Mariners v. Marlins-- on June 16. About half of the students and F3 families are going. Turns out that it's pretty easy to still get tickets in that section, so if you still want to go, please let me know this week, and send money in-- the cost is $7 a seat. This will be the night before graduation-- so no worries-- there won't be any homework :)

All the very best to all of you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sorry-- Long Time, no Postings-- Lots to catch up on!

Welcome Home, Paul!

I apologize for not writing earlier, Time to catch up!

Since the last time I wrote, kids have been working very hard on the WASL. They are coming to school focused and ready to do their very best on the tests. Some are surprised that the science tests are taking them less time to complete then they thought. They are doing a great job at going back and looking over their work. Good job fifth graders!!!

What else is new in F3? Well, in the afternoons, students have been learning all about what life was like in Colonial Boston. Students have taken on new names in the afternoons, been assigned jobs of their own, and family members to work with. Please ask your child about what they have learned about Colonial Boston over dinner each night-- you'll learn that they are learning more and more everyday. Students will be learning about the years 1765 all the way to the American Revolution in social studies.

Next week, students will be starting our Microworlds unit. As part of our service learning project, we will be having a Blood Drive here at the school on May 30th. We are hoping that you can be convinced by your child to come and donate blood on that day here at Maple! More details to come.

The best news of all is saved here for last: Paul is now stateside! He's back in the states, right now at Camp Lejune in North Carolina. He'll be back in Seattle in a couple of weeks and we will have a welcome back celebration for him here in F3. The kids are really looking forward to seeing him, especially after getting their very own letters from him in the mail last week!

Update! We were in the American Legion Newsletter!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Welcome Back from Spring Break!

Bring your slippers for the WASL!!
Hope everyone had a fantastic break. I enjoyed a relaxing week right here on Beacon Hill, and I'm jazzed to see all my kids this week.

Coming up this week we will be working hard to prepare the classroom and ourselves for the WASL.Testing will take place Tuesday through Friday for two weeks beginning next week on April 15. The schedule for the testing can be found on the class calendar.

Please make sure that you come to school rested and ready for taking the WASL. It will involve a lot of patience and endurance. That means that I want you to make sure that after school you are playing outside and getting lots of exercise, at night you are having a good hearty dinner, and in the morning you are eating breakfast. There will be snacks and a break everyday, but you need to make sure that you are taking care of your body the rest of the day so that you do not get overwhelmed.

Thanks to all the kids who raised money for the walk a thon. Our class raised over $200 for next year's fifth graders to go to camp! Good job!!

Starting this week in the afternoons, Mr. McClelland will be beginning a unit on Colonial America. This unit will last for several weeks and involve all subject areas.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Welcome, Mr. McClelland! Lots to do Before Spring Break!

I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome Mr. Jesse McClelland to F3 at Maple. Mr. McClelland is currently working on a Master's degree and Elementary Education teching certificate at Seattle University. He is a graduate of Western Washington University. He will be working as an intern in F3 until the end of the school year. He has been coming to F3 every Thursday since the beginning of 2008, and the kids are now thrilled to be seeing him everyday.

You may have noticed that children brought home a test to work on Monday night. This is because I was deeply unsatisfied with the results of the same test last week. We will grade the tests today and I am hoping for better scores.

Our field trip to Olympia was a HUGE success, and I am so thankful to the parents of Zane, Carmen, Sara, Kevin, Danny and Osanna. And a big thanks too to Karen Craddick. We had a fantastic tour of the Capitol and Temple of Justice.

In this week before spring break, we will work on a writing and communication project in FLASH and work on WASL type problems in reading and math in order to gear up for the test which will begin on April 15.

Have a FANTASTIC spring break with your families, and look forward to having a GREAT week before the break!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

F3 Goes to Olympia

After studying the three branches of government and learning about who our representatives are from Beacon Hill, we are now going to head down to Olympia to see the State Capitol for ourselves. The kids and are really looking forward to this opportunity. Thanks to all the parents who are coming along as chaperones. Karen Craddick will also be joining us!

Students will learn about puberty this week in our Family Life and Sexual Health unit. FLASH will be finished by the time kids go to spring break in a couple of weeks. If you click on the link, you can find the lesson plans that I use for the curriculum. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, let me know.

Also this week, students will be taking their unit 9 math test on Thursday. Students as always are welcome to take home their student math journal to study from. Unit 9 includes area, perimeter, and coordinate grids.

Have a great week ahead, and remember that this is a four-day week for kids. Hope Friday is a fun day for everyone. Cheers!

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Fantastic Week Ends on a FANTASTIC Note

Hello! We had such a wonderful week last week with all of our irregular days and field trips. On Friday we had a field trip that really fed my soul and I think touched many fifth graders in F pod: We went to hear the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall. Ah, what a treat! We had fantastic seats too-- good stuff!

Coming up this week we have our third week of our Family Life and Sexual Health which will cover decision making and issues of abuse. If there are any parents with any concerns or comments-- please do not ever hesitate to call or e mail me. The issues this past week were on self esteem and friendship. Ask your child to talk about their "self esteem bank account". It is in the form of a box they have designed and placed on their desk. I have encouraged them to write themselves compliments to put into their own box, as well as fill up each other's boxes.

Also this week, students will be taking a break from learning about the Spanish explorers to learn about the three branches of government. As with our Astronomy unit, students will be relying heavily on the use of the Internet as a way to learn about the roles of each branch. We are going to Olympia on March 19, and learning about the three branches will be especially helpful. I am a bit bummed that the legislature will not be in session, but the trip will be quite worthwhile.

A Paul update for you: Last week he was enjoying a five day break in Qatar for some rest and relaxation. We are all looking forward to his return which seems like will be happening at the end of April. We'll be sending out our last letters to him this week. The next time you are in the office, make sure you look at the south wall next to the door; you will find one of the flags that Paul sent from Ramadi enclosed in a case. F3 will do the same with our flag once Paul has returned.

Looking forward to another WONDERFUL week with my AMAZING kids. Cheers.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Welcome to March in F3

Have FUN reading this weekend!!
Boy do we have an exciting week ahead. Starting when the kids walk in the door on Monday, our Global Reading teams will have their very first match-up. As we learned this week, we have some competition from E2. I'm really hoping that kids are spending their time cuddled up with their expert book reading and rereading for details. Good luck F3! It'll be a great morning and we'll have fun afterwards regardless of the outcome.

On Tuesday we have a field trip to the Children's Museum to check out the theater version of "One Hundred Dresses". And on Friday we get to go to the Seattle Symphony in the morning.

Wednesday we have a two-hour early dismissal so that teachers can collaborate on what we have been doing in class. This leaves Thursday as the only "regular" day in the schedule!

Please take an opportunity to look at and sign your child's unit seven math test. I will send it home with the kids on Monday attached to their homework for the night. This week the kids will move on to a new math unit, unit nine. Yes, we will be skipping unit 8 until after the kids take the WASL in April. I am deciding to do this because unit eight has more review of fractions-- the kids have now had two units of fractions. And unit nine's content is on coordinate grids, area and volume. These areas will be tested on the WASL and no other units have touched on these areas in math. If you have any questions or concerns, call or e-mail me.

I hope that your children have been coming home talking about what we've been talking about in class. Students have been thoroughly engaged in our discussions in FLASH and in current events. Some students who have been quiet before in discussions are speaking up, which is a very important skill.

As this is the last week before the end of the trimester, we'll be having a reading assessment on Monday. Students just turned in a letter to Judy Blume in response to our last read aloud, Are you there God, It's me, Margaret.

Let's have a GREAT week ahead, and make sure that your child comes to school ready for the Global Reading Challenge on Monday morning! Cheers!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Busy, busy weeks ahead!

Welcome back students! These next five weeks are going to be very exciting and challenging and new for us. For starters, we are going to get ready for the WASL coming up just after spring break. We'll be doing that by familiarizing ourselves with the kinds of questions that will appear-- especially on the science WASL.

On Wednesday night, I look forward to seeing parents and teachers for the math and science assessment night here at Maple. It starts at 6:30 and will go for about an hour. Ms. Litvack, Ms. Koeller, and I have prepared a presentation about the math curriculum that we are using here at school, and about the science WASL the kids will be taking in April.

Also this week we'll be starting on our Family Life and Sexual Health unit. We'll be starting this week by talking about the importance of the unit, Family, and Self Esteem. On Friday, students will have a test on addition and subtraction of positive and negative numbers. We'll have a pre-test on Thursday and homework throughout the week on the subject.

Next week we have TWO field trips and our first Global Reading Challenge. Wow. Come on Monday the 3rd at 9am to see the kids perform and hopefully win the school-wide challenge. On Tuesday the 4th we have a field trip to the Children's Theater to watch "One Hundred Dresses", and on Friday the 7th: we'll be going to Benaroya Hall for a concert performed by the Seattle Symphony.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Have a GREAT Mid-Winter Break!!

Hey boys and girls!! I hope that you have a super fun and safe week off. I've had fun already-- I got to go snow-shoeing yesterday up at Snoqualmie Pass. It rocked!!! Also, I took advantage of the SUNNY weather we had this past weekend to get out in the garden.

I know some of you are hanging out at home and some are on Oregon the coast and some are elsewhere with family in Washington. Hope that you're having a great time doing whatever you're doing.

Don't forget to work on the packets I gave you, and read those Global Reading books. I strongly encourage folks to re-read books too. There should be an expert of each of the books on each team. We'll only have one week before the first school challenge when you get back.

That's all for now F3. I'll write again before I see you on Monday the 25th.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

We'll Be Making the MOST of the Week Before Break

We'll be starting to work on the 50 state (and DC) challenge this week.
Another break? Already? Really? Yes, we will not be together next week, the 18th through the 22nd. I hope everyone has a ton of fun with their families and friends.... But I will also be offering students some extra credit work to do during the break.

Since we will be in the middle of a math unit, I'll provide some extra homework for kids who want to get exponentially ahead :). Also, I'll be providing some reading assignments to take home to start getting ready for the upcoming WASL. I encourage students to work about 30 to 60 minutes a day on this extra work. Of course Global Readers will have a whole week to read and reread the ten books they will be quizzed on starting just a week after we get back from break.

What's up for this week ahead? In science we'll be continuing to change one variable at a time to try to make our go-carts run a little farther, and learn how to write up an experiment including the materials, procedure, prediction, results and conclusion. We'll be continuing our study of the past (explorers) and present (counting delegates) in social studies.

Also in social studies, we were just invited by a class in New Iberia, Louisiana to join them in the 50 state challenge. Funny enough, I actually biked through New Iberia on my bicycle trip last year, so I'm excited to join this challenge. The first challenge we have is to find classes to write to in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

On Thursday the 14th, we'll have a Valentine's Party in F Pod at 2 pm. On Monday the kids will organize who will bring what for the party. Last week we made some Valentine cards for a good friend of the class :). I encourage students to make Valentines for each other and not leave anyone out.

It's time again to write to Paul, and that will be your homework on Monday night. Since we sent him a package last time, we'll just be writing letters this time. He sent us pictures and a letter last week which you can check out just below this posting. Thanks Paul!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Upcoming Field Trips, a New Math Unit, and a letter from Paul

Thanks Paul for sending us pictures!!

This week we have our first of many upcoming field trips. I wish that I could take all of the kids, but unfortunately the field trip is only for our Global Readers. The author of Half and Half will be speaking at the Downtown Seattle Public Library at 10:30 am on Tuesday. Ms. Lloyd and I will be taking all of the fourth and fifth grade Global Readers and we will be back in time for lunch.
We have a ton of field trips coming up in March (well, I think four is a ton, anyway). The kids and I are really looking forward to all of them. Thanks to all the parents for signing all of the many field trip permission slips that have been coming your way.

The kids are going to be reviewing a lot of data this week as part of science and math. We will be doing a class research project in to how we have done in the six unit tests that we've had in math so far this school year. Have we improved as a class since the beginning of the year? How has the range in test scores changed over time?

Students have started to study the exploration age in the 1400's in social studies. Concurrent with studying the 1400's, students in F3 are also following politics. We'll be counting up all the delegates for both the on February 6th after the big Super Tuesday (February 5).

Parents, please look in your child's backpack on Monday for a letter from me regarding FLASH.

Have a great week ahead. Cheers!

PS: Check out the latest letter from Paul!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Unit 6 Math Test, More Fun with Go-Carts and a New Addition to F3

Good job Julia! She won honorable mention in the Neighborhood Appreciation Day Student Art Project. Congrats!!

Hello everyone. Hope you are enjoying your three-day weekend. This last week, students in F3 opened up a very cool package from Paul: a folded American flag that had been flown at Paul's base in Iraq. So great. Thanks Karen for bringing that by! Through a true democratic process in F3, students decided that we would unfold the flag, hang it in the classroom, and then have Paul fold it back up when he gets back. Hope he won't mind :)

Students are working hard on getting familiar with fractions in anticipation of the unit six math test on Wednesday. Kids need to know how to add and subtract fractions with different denominators, put fractions in order from least to greatest, deal with improper fractions and mixed numbers, and know how to turn fractions into percentages.

We've been having a fantastic time with go-carts. The kids went from making free-wheeling go-carts to ones that are self-propelled. No one has quite figured that one at yet... looking forward to the week ahead.

With all the excitement in politics lately, students will start keeping track of the delegate count for both the republican and democratic nominees for president as part of social studies. This Tuesday and especially next Tuesday are pretty big days for the nominees.

We had a great conversation about being safe while on-line this past Friday. We will have more discussions about on-line safety as the year goes on. Among the kids' concerns is cyber-bullying. We talked at length about what it is, and we'll be talking more about what to do if it every happens to them in the weeks ahead. Remember that there are lots of really great reasons why your should protect yourself on line.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Celebrate MLK Day Tomorrow, January 21! See you at Maple on Tuesday

Thanks for the flag, Paul!!!
I hope to see some students tomorrow out and about in Seattle to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King. In the morning at Franklin High School, workshops will be followed by a rally and then a march at the 26th annual Let Freedom Ring celebration.

At the Seattle Center, performances will be happening all day at the Center Stage. At 2pm, the speech that we read at the assembly, "Our God is Marching On", will be read aloud for everyone at the Seattle Center. Other performances will be happening at the Center House all day long from 10-5pm.

Coming up this week, on Tuesday Karen Craddick will be coming in to bring us a package from Paul! How exciting! She'll be coming in at 10:30. I hope that kids will be willing to read aloud some of their letters to Paul. As you can see, Paul sent us a letter just a few days ago. I think it's pretty amazing that his gift to us was carried around in his vehicle for a couple of missions in Iraq. That's pretty amazing.

Also this week, students will be starting on the third part of our science unit, Models and Designs: making go-carts. Don't get too excited: we won't be driving these cars, just making them go across F-Pod. It should be a ton of fun.

Remember that there is no school next Monday, January 28th; it is the day between semesters.


Monday, January 14, 2008

MLK Assembly coming up on Friday!!

Dr. King leading marchers from Selma to Montgomery
Greetings everyone! Hope everyone has had a good 2008 so far. F3 has been busy in the classroom working on a number of projects. In science, students made physical models in their black box activity. For math students are moving on from decimals and percentages to making various kinds of graphs and doing data analysis. I was very happy with the results of last week's unit math test. If you would like your child to get extra help in math, you are welcome to bring them at 8:15 on Thursday mornings for our math breakfast club.

To celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy, students read and reread Dr. King's Our God is Marching On speech, delivered on March 25, 1965 in Montgomery on the capitol steps-- just after King led thousands of marchers from Selma to Montgomery for the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

F3 students will be reading from the last part of that speech for the assembly here at Maple at 2pm on Friday. I hope that you can make it as our kids educate the school about the meaning behind that speech and the significance of that year and of Bloody Sunday.

We are not quite ready yet to send out our package to Paul. Kids are almost done with their letters, but we need to send treats as well. Please bring in treats by the end of this week so that we can send out the package on Friday.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Hope you had a GREAT break!! Looking forward to seeing you!

Read any GREAT books lately??

Hey everyone!! Hope you had a GREAT and safe winter break and enjoyed lots of time with your friends and family. Thanks again to the kids who kept in touch during the break. It's always good to hear from you guys.

Coming up this week: On Wednesday we will get a visit from Wes Fisk, who is a violinist with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. This will be in preparation for a field trip to the Benaroya Hall later this school year. We will have a unit 12 math test on Wednesday as well.

If you haven't already checked out the amazing letters to each of you from Paul, you really should. They're pretty great, and I bet you're excited to write him back. We'll be doing that this week for sure.

Hope you like the new look to the blog. In addition to a nice little makeover, a few links have been added for your on-line pleasure. First off is Study Island. Anyone with internet access at home should check out Study Island a few times a week and try some problems. They are directly correlated to the WASL-- so they'll be excellent practice for when we take the test in April. Just like with the Everyday Math games, I can check out how you've been doing with Study Island.

Lastly, thanks to Danny, Jonathan and Sarah's Moms for coming in on Gingerbread house making day. And thanks also for all fantastic gifts y'all gave me for the holidays. You are such a fantastic class.