Weekly Classroom Newsletter
______________________________________________________________________________ Woodson Branch Nature School, 4th/5th Grade Class Ms. Debbie
IMPORTANT NOTES 1st:Please respond to let me know that you received your child's Winter Assessment. (I have heard from two parents so far ...)Please respond to let me know of a day some time in the next month that may work for you to come and have lunch with us and tell the students about your job. *Preferably a Friday, but it does not have to be. So far, we have March 20th and March 31st taken.
__________________________________________________________________________________ This week in CENTERING > We focused on the idea of using "Centering" to repel and prevent negativity .... I won't lie; this was not an easy week, y'all. There was a lot of negativity coming off the children this week, more than I have heard from them all year. Of course it all starts with one negative comment, then add that to all the sickness, the weird weather and routine changes, and we have a wildfire of unfair, unkind, unfun everything happening that darkens a space. It felt like there was a black cloud looming over our class for most of the week, until we were finally able to turn it around on Thursday morning with our surprising "centering" activity where I had each of them light their own candle. (YES, 10 candles!) I quietly described the responsibility that we each have in contributing to the vibe of a space, to get into their candle, and work it out. Things shifted, the sun came out, they played their hearts out on The Knoll, and whoooo!!! They were back! Chirping and chattering brilliantly like they do ...........
In WRITING > We continued the writing unit Opinion Writing, learning about the difference between a weak opinion statement and a strong opinion statement. We worked out how to turn our strong opinions into interesting leads by describing the scene of a moment in which the writers opinion is implied. For example, students buzzing about the room, tackling dirt and disarray, actually humming and exuding pride provides an interesting way to convey that the writer is PRO students doing chores because they can prove there are positive benefits. Our class, as a group, appear to be very PRO getting a class pet .... by evidence of all their collective examples and discussions that have been erupting since I began this unit! <3
In READING > Forward we go into learning about active reading by the incorporation of specific topics that involve the greater world outside of the WBNS bubble. I am choosing articles with current events from kids magazines, biographies, excerpts from Time & Newsweek magazines, and more serious content children's books. This week we discussed Florence Nightingale and Ruby Bridges in depth. As I am leading them through these more mature topic discussions, I am teasing out of them their current thoughts by way of asking them how they feel, and asking them to match that feeling with a pro or con toward the concept. Of course I am allowing them plenty of room to change their mind as they learn more information. But the "matching" piece is paramount in helping them truly explore for themselves what they may or may not want to do about something. Fascinating work, y'all ! Again, your kids are confirming daily that they are incredibly good people. You must be so proud of them >>>
In MATH > This week, we spent time broadening our vision of division and deepening our ability to de-construct word problems by creating our own. As you can imagine, and as I have reported continually, they are so very creative, so the scenarios they describe in their word problems are just wonderful! Lots of fruit, eggs, and fish are involved. Each week I host a "secret contest" which is not revealed until the end of the week, when I actually announce the winner. This week my contest ended up being the best created division word problem. It was tough, but our winner was Annabelle. She described a scene where there were so many children and only so many pieces of watermelon, but not an equal amount for everybody. So she incorporated "mom" who was to inherit the left-overs which made for a great "remainder" question as well. I appreciated that extra consideration as we were deep into divisions that did not come out equal this week, the neatness, and believability. Well done, Annabelle!
Fun Friday > Students enjoyed their very first Parent Share! Dawn Meskil (Simone's mama, and one of our newest WBNS Board Members) came and had lunch with us in the cold and snowy weather, and shared with us what she does in her days. We learned that she works for the state of NC, traveling around, attending meetings, and talking on the phone supporting teachers and helping them locate the resources that they need to do their jobs well. She shared a cool cartoon referencing the quote “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Despite the cold we did have a great mini discussion about how unfair it would be to be judged on something that does not really match your natural abilities. We asked her what she wanted to be back when she was 9-11 years old and she reported she wanted to be an astronaut or a marine biologist! Be ready >> these are the questions they want answers to from YOU! Please do sign up to come visit with us >> they really like it!!! Also, we were graced with a really nice visit form Pascha Solomon, our other newest WBNS Board Member! Escaping the cold, we came inside and she shared with us about her days, her businesses Of Wand & Earth (to be coming soon in downtown Marshall), and ArtiSun Gallery (downtown Hot Springs) where are welcome to touch the rocks, her new/old Wizarding School, Theater at WBNS, being a mom to Lily & Sophia her twins, and her energy work. Wow ! What an incredible couple of women >> Thank you, Dawn & Pascha for sharing your worlds with us!!!
__________________________________________________________________________________ SPECIALS > In OE, This week in Outdoor Education:The Magical World of Moss >> Did you know that moss was the very first plant to make it onto land? Way back when Earth was just rocks and water, moss literally paved the way (with itself!) for other plants to make the big switch from aquatic life to terrestrial. Moss makes soil for seeds and spores to thrive in. It also keeps the soil moist and fertile. But most importantly, moss makes our world more soft and green all winter-long! In 4/5th Grade, students went on a moss hunt to gather one variety of moss. We then brought the moss into the classroom and filled out a "Moss Fact Sheet" , which will go home soon. The next day, students made their very own terrarium with various found materials.. Ask your child what their terrarium will need to survive. Fun Fact: Did you know that plants produce oxygen during the day and carbon dioxide at night? This is why terrariums work! In Agriculture, we got our "chicken chores" partners and began our regimen of performing the chores to keep care of our campus chickens. This is going to be great!!
In Science, We are using scientific research methods to study rocks and minerals. We are practicing using the index of our library books to methodically look for information we need and record facts about our minerals. Students are working so well in their groups! We are playing games that help us to explore aspects of earth science, such as the layers of the interior of the earth and the hardness and specific gravity of minerals. _________________________________________________________________________________
What's happening next week?
Using the same words as last week (which they were all assessed on the meanings -and ROCKED!) we will take next week to study the spelling of those words.
No school on Tuesday for Voting Day!
On Monday, students will be playing musical instruments in Art! If your child has a hand drum to bring in that day, please package carefully and send it in for your child to use!Also: If you have experience with recorder, please consider coming in to help teach that day! We have been gifted a set of recorders, but I am not experienced enough to teach this instrument thoroughly. I do know a little bit, and mostly we will be playing Hot Cross Buns & experimenting with the sound, but if you can add another element to class, please lmk! _________________________________________________________________________________ Things our class needs >> * Paper and Ink for our printer > https://www.staples.com/Brother-LC103-High-Yield-Black-Ink-Cartridge-2-Pack-LC1032PKS/product_69092
* pencils, ticonderoga
*the really good eraser top erasers. Not the cheap ones, because they just don't stay on * two more metal folding chairs without padding
* The kids got super into this huge old grapevine that they found up at The Knoll on Thursday... they dragged it all around until it finally broke and they started breaking off into groups and partners developing their ideas. Mada and Annabelle were super laser focused on making a swing in the apple tree with their piece and Trevor lead a group to make a swing in the dome climber. I saw Heidi and Simone playing a sort of tug-o-war thing with their share. I love that kind of stuff! I get all mushy over kids being creative with odd things, especially in nature!