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Dear families,

This week was full of excitement and anticipation! While we were able to get through some important work, we also left time for a few special holiday activities.

In Centering and Morning Extensions this week, we turned our focus to people other than ourselves. This started with creating a plan for our Secret Santa gift exchange and considering what kind of gifts would be special for our chosen classmates. In Humanities, we wrapped up our discussion of the Americas, and the kids got to show off what they remembered about the languages and cultures on these two continents. We also took part in a very special activity for Conflict Resolution where students wrote one thing that they admired about each of their classmates. When students opened their envelopes at the end of the day on Friday, you could see the surprise and delight spread over their faces as they read the qualities that their friends admired most in them. This was a very special moment for our class as a community!

In Math, we've been continuing our work with numbers within 10,000, and we've turned our focus primarily to interpreting and solving two-step word problems. The blue group is wrapping up its study of long division and is getting ready to graduate to the next workbook! Both groups took an assessment this week that covered all the material we've worked on so far this year. This will help me gauge what each student has mastered and what material needs revisiting when we return from the break. If you have a time time over the break, it would be great practice for you to quiz your child on their multiplication math facts, or to invent fast mental math problems for them to solve (i.e. take the number 100, cut it in half, cut it in half again, subtract twenty-two, add five). This is often how we warm up our brains at the start of a day, and they are getting very quick with their mental calculations.

In ELA, we are working on reading and writing non-fiction texts. Their reading has been focused this week on forming their own opinions and asking questions as they read information texts. In their writing, they've been working chapter-by-chapter through their information books. Some students have decided to change their angle on their topic, and others have chosen to change their topics entirely after doing some research. I've told them that this is totally okay--and a normal part of the writing process! We'll be returning to these information books with gusto when we get back from the break.

Lastly, you may have noticed that your child came home yesterday with a broken ornament. This was partially my fault! We ran low on salt as we made these ornaments, and I had to cut corners in the recipe and hope for the best. I'm afraid that the change in proportions made the ornaments more brittle and likely to break... The kids really enjoyed making them, though, and they were extremely easy! If you'd like to repeat the craft at home, here's a link to the recipe.

Thank you all for the gifts and thoughtful cards. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and a relaxing break--see you in 2018!


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