Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Our Care Packages Arrived in Afghanistan!

Here is the thank you letter from SSG Nelson:

Dear Ms. Ventura and Class,

Thank you so much for sending the care packages. We just received them last night which would have been your daytime. There seemed to be something for everybody in the packages. We really appreciate your support. I read some of the letters and pictures from your students. They were great!

My name is Staff Sergeant Mike Nelson. I am the Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of nursing here at the 2nd Forward Surgical Team. As our Any Soldier page says, we are a specialized surgical team. Helping Soldiers and other service members including our Afghan counterparts when they are critically wounded and in need. I may have published on our page that we have a 97+% survival rate if they show up and are still alive. We are not at a regular hospital as we are far forward attached to a Special Forces team.

We had some rain last night that turned into snow so all of the mountain peaks are white. We share the small camp, which is probably smaller than your school grounds with approximately 70 personnel including the Afghans. I consolidated all of the candy into one large box and put it in the chow hall for everyone to enjoy.

Our unit is from Fort Carson in Colorado Springs Colorado. We are supposed to be back there in early March. I have a wife and 5 children, 4 boys and 1 girl. My oldest is 22 and my youngest is 10. My oldest is in college then 2 in high school, 1 in middle school and the youngest in elementary school. It is tough on them because over my ten years in the Army I have missed 4 christmas' and lots of birthdays.

With the fighting season over and the drawdown now in high gear it is pretty boring. We went out to the range to keep our shooting skills sharp. We did have a scare the other day that our camp may be attacked and the enemy chickened out. We are always ready in case something happens. Most of our patients thus far have been Afghan Soldiers and Police.

If you remember in the news a couple of months ago about a school bus that the Taliban hit with a bomb, we helped those patients. It was a little nerve racking when kids started showing up for surgery. We helped save some of their lives.

Afghanistan is a strange and mysterious place. There are a lot of people just like us. They want to live their lives, go to work, go to school and live peacefully. Then there are the people who side with the Taliban. They want to treat women like property instead of people and are simply ruthless when it comes to violence. Hopefully we can stabilize this nation enough that when we leave it won't fall back into the hands of these barbaric people.

If you would like to follow our unit our facebook page is:!/2ndForwardSurgicalTeam . I have attached a couple of pictures. The first is of the whole team. We have had a couple of doctors and nurses come and go since but pretty much the same basic team. The second picture is of my section, from left to right is Me (SSG Nelson), SPC Ben Clarke, SPC Lauren Connelly and our Chief Nurse Major Rachel Stratman. The Facebook page has a lot more pictures including some from back at Fort Carson.

I think I have kept this email G-rated enough to share with your class, feel free. Again, thanks for all of the support that you and your class give us. We chose to be here b ut do it for you and the love of our country. If you are still allowed to say the pledge of allegience, do so proudly because you know there are people out there that defend what it stands for... Freedom.


SSG Mike Nelson
2nd Forward Surgical Team

Camp Peppers, Afghanistan

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Gettysburg Address!

yesterday, the class recited the Gettysburg Address  aloud in the office in honor of the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's great speach.  We got lots of compliments!  We will post an audio version soon, but for right now, here is a great version:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

F3 Fall Update and.... the 2014 Global Reading Challenge!!!

The day has come!  The Seattle Public Library has released the titles for the 2014 Global Reading Challenge!  Fifteen students in F3 have signed up and are excited to get their hands on the books.

What else is happening in F3? We're nearing the end of a beloved science unit, Models and Designs.  Starting next week students will learn about Earth, Moon, Sun and the stars. Students have had a great time being engineers and coming up with excellent designs and running exciting experiments.

KOF3 Radio has started off very well.  This year KOF3 will be almost entirely student run as we have students that will be in charge of uploading all of the episodes to our class website.  So far we have had episodes on the themes of Camp Seymour and "F3 goes Exploring".  The next theme will be "Scared".

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Learning about Native Tribes now AND before 1492

Go to Delicious and find a tribe that you would like to learn more about.  Is the tribe still in the same place now as it is shown on the map above?  What does the tribe do now according to its website?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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 14 years, and this is my seventh year at Maple, and I love it here deeply!

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.

What will students learn this year? In science, they will work with microscopes, learn about erosion and ground water, and use engineering skills throughout the year. In social studies, your child will learn about early US history and the principles this country was founded on.

This year we will be working closely with the LIFE center at the University of Washington this year. Doctoral students will be working with us to learn all about human impact on water in our world. We will be doing investigations inside and outside the classroom using traditional scientific tools as well as the Zydeco app deveolped by the University of Michigan.

Homework will be given Monday through Thursday. Students should be spending about 30 minutes on homework, and thirty minutes reading a book of their choice.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 taught during that school day.

Coming up very soon will be fourth and fifth grade camp!!   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 :). Camp is very exciting and will be taking place at Camp Seymour in Gig Harbor from September 25-27. More information about camp can be found in the links on the right side of the screen.

Please visit the blog often!  Also, the kids will get started on podcasts soon.  They will be heir reading stories over "the air" and you will be able to listen to their weekly KOF3 radio shows.


Ms. Ventura

Monday, June 10, 2013

Learning about NASA

Today we are going to learn about NASA!  Representatives from the Johnson Space Center are coming to Maple on Tueday afternoon, so we are going to take this morning to get ourselves acquainted with this government agency.

Check it out!

Friday, April 26, 2013

F-3 Goes to City Hall!

On April 25th, 2013, we visited City Hall!  We had a great time.  First we visited Judge Bonner's courtroom in the Municipal Courthouse. Judge Bonner introduced us to the city prosecutor, three defense lawyers, the court bailiff, the court recorder and the probation officer. We met so many people involved in the Municipal justice system!  Thanks so much to Principal Hunter's son, Louis Hunter, for taking us around.

Next we got to meet Mayor McGinn at the Mayor's office.We asked about any bills that he has vetoed, as well as questions about issues such as teen drinking and driving.  Thanks to Allison at the Mayor's office for taking us around.

We also visited the Legislative Branch. Dan took us to Council Chambers where we learned all about the plans for the GIANT park that will be above the new tunnel downtown.

We saved the best for last: we went to the Marshal's office in the basement of the Municipal Court. That was fun.

It was a fantastic trip!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How Does a Bill Become a Law?

How does a bill become a law?  Today we are going to learn all of the steps!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Learning about the US Constitution

For the next few days in F3, we'll be focused on the Constitution.  To start, let's look at the PREAMBLE:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Next, let's take a look at how the constitution was written:

Congress for kids

Monday, February 25, 2013

Micros in F3!

After completing our unit, "Microworlds", we are now going to start learning about how microorganisms and micro-particles affect our lives.  Students have been able to see plant and animal cells using our class microscopes and will now learn about health issues related to organisms that are too small to see without the use of a microscope.

This week, students will be responsible for documenting a health issue in their home or community.  Using this form, they can use a camera or draw a picture and write about this health issue.  We will be talking about various health issues at school.  Later on in the month they will be using these pictures as well as research on that chosen topic to present to the class. There are so many topics to choose from!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On the Cusp of Independance

Students in F3 have been busy since November getting into character as colonists in 18th century Boston.  They have struggled with taxes from Great Britain without representation in Parliament, they have had soldiers live in their homes. The Boston Massacre was on March 5, 1770 and many of the students wrote about witnessing this event.  All events, including the Boston Tea Party, has been a lesson in making tough choices and learning about multiple perspectives in history.

Now it's time to move on to the beginning of the American Revolution.  The Committee of Correspondence has gotten the attention of the other colonies and now we will be fighting for our independence.  This week we will be learning about the revolution through websites linked to this blog, videos and read alouds.

Lexington and Concord
The Battle of Bunker Hill
The Declaration of Independence
George Washington Crossing the Delaware
Famous Voices of the American Revolution