Rachel's Update 4-20-2020

posted Apr 20, 2020, 11:58 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Congratulations, everyone!


            Thanks to all of our lovely families we are up and running!  Our Seesaw community is starting to bloom with activities, pictures of amazing student creations, and supportive comments from our classroom community.  It is so nice to have a singular place to come together and celebrate learning, sharing, and expression!  Our little online classroom will be our home for the rest of the school year.  Let’s join together to make it a warm, supportive, fun, and exciting place for our kids to explore!


            We have all been hit with challenges by the seemingly instant shift in our world, our country, our state, and even our own city.  Sometimes the news is filled with so much negativity that it can be hard to see the good around us.  I see the good, the love that you share with your kids.  How we handle change is probably the biggest lesson our kids are learning right now.  You are their most important teacher.  Good job guys!  I hope that you are all taking care of yourselves as well.  If there is any way that Jacob or I can help please reach out.


            Thank you for sending your kids to our zoom class meeting every morning at 9:30 am.  Keep sending them in their robes, with their bowl of cereal or still cozy in their blankets - we love seeing every face!  Jacob and I are deeply grateful to all of you for helping them maintain their connections to school and to each other.


New Features

            Next week, we are introducing three new learning platforms: Raz-Kids, Prodigy, and Xtra Math.  They are online learning programs with some gamelike features to appeal to kids.  Underneath the bells and whistles, each one offers strong educational content and gives parents and teachers a way to track progress.  My intent is for kids to use these programs to continue practicing reading and math skills, at their own pace, as we also work through activities on Seesaw. 


If your child has a favorite program or enjoys working through another activity at home (like a workbook or a creative project), please feel free to substitute activities and generally make distance learning work for your family.  If you are experiencing power struggles, dips in motivation or tech glitches, please reach out to me and Jacob and we’ll respond ASAP.  


Virtual Work Plans

Another new feature this week is a Seesaw-based work plan.  Kids can keep track of their progress throughout the week by highlighting work on their plan.  Each day they can save their plan as a draft before turning it in on Friday.  I’ve attached a sample work plan to this email that you can print out or refer back to as needed.

Our intent is to help students document their activities throughout the day.  We do not expect every item to be completed.  Please choose what works for your family as you find a healthy work flow.  We are here for you if you need any help!




Getting Started with Online Resources


Prodigy Math

            Prodigy is a fun (and yes, somewhat addictive) math game that automatically adjusts to your child, providing more practice where needed and letting kids advance at their own speed.  It’s completely free, but it also offers a paid version (where the child can get more stars and bonus items).  The educational content of the free version is the same as the premium version, so please don’t feel you need to upgrade. You can also set up a free parent account and use it to view your child’s progress.


Raz-Kids for Reading

            Raz-Kids is a reading program that offers online books and articles for kids at every level.  It’s free and a great way to give kids access to new content as they run out of books at home.  I’ve guesstimated student reading levels and will be adjusting them up or down over the next week as kids complete assessments in the program. 



            Readworks is a program that students are familiar with.  We have been using this reading program in the classroom for much of the school year.  Readworks has a vast library of reading materials for students to choose from.


Xtra Math

            Xtra Math is a tool for practicing math facts.  Memorizing math facts becomes more and more important as your child progresses in math.  Our upper elementary classrooms require students to have their math facts memorized, so if your child is in 3rd grade this tool can be very useful in helping your child prepare for 4th grade math.


Getting Started with XtraMath

            You should have received an email that explains how to create your student’s XtraMath account. If you’re having difficulty signing up or logging in, please contact Rachel or Jacob and we’ll be able to guide you through the process.


One Click Access 

We are making it easier for you and your child to manage Zoom meetings and logins to our extra online resources.  This means less emails!  In Seesaw, click the Inbox tab at the right.  Then look under messages.  We’ve posted a message that includes our Zoom meeting link.  This is a recurring meeting link so the same link can be used for all our 9:30 class meetings.  We also posted a message with links to our new online learning platforms/resources: Xtra Math, Readworks, Raz-Kids, and Prodigy.


Music next Thursday

Next Thursday, April 23rd, music teacher Amelia will host the first Ridgeline music Zoom meeting.  Students will be making egg shakers and rain sticks. We’ll also sing some fun songs together.  Here is a list of supplies if you want to build your egg shaker and rain sticks along with Amelia:


Empty plastic Easter eggs or small glass or plastic jars (with lids)

Dried rice

Dried beans

Masking tape or duct tape

Paper (printer paper or construction paper is fine)


Tube from inside of wrapping paper roll, or a paper towel roll

Wooden dowels or plastic straws, cut into piece that are as long as the diameter of the roll


As always, there are tons of extra music listening activities and worksheets at ameliamau.com. Music will be up and running on Seesaw within the next two weeks. Please email Amelia at amelia.mau@rigeline.org if you have any questions.

Cynthia Friedman,
Apr 20, 2020, 11:58 AM