Dana's Weekly Update 3-1-13

posted Mar 1, 2013, 11:32 AM by Cynthia Friedman
Dear Families, 

Science Demonstration: This week we had Dan (a firefighter and hazardous materials technician with a background as a high school chemistry teacher) come to the classroom to do another demonstration for us on the magic of science. He built on the topics we discussed earlier in the year, discussing matter and the chemical make-up of substances we use every day. It was fun and interesting to see the way different household chemicals can combine to make completely different compounds with completely different behaviors. We saw gummy bears spontaneously ignite when combined with an oxidizer, gathered and exploded hydrogen gas, and watched sodium burn in water! Chemistry is truly amazing!  

Peaceful Communication Workshop: Darrin and Many Hands from Peace Village joined both upper elementary classrooms on Thursday for a workshop that focused on peaceful communication and problem solving. These are such important skills, ones the kids will need their whole lives, no matter where they live or what they decide to do. Darrin talked about how powerful we each are and how wide our sphere of influence is, and the kids brainstormed and discussed about how to use that power to “do good.” We had fun with the activities and had a meaningful discussion about things that we can do in the classroom and in their lives to promote peace. 
Idiom Books: The kids had fun this week creating a book of idioms that we will be sharing with the lower elementary classes. We began by defining idioms and generating a huge list of ones we use every day, like “it’s raining cats and dogs”, “a thorn in my side”, “chip off the old block” and many more. The kids then illustrated the literal meaning of these sayings and then listed the metaphorical meaning and used it correctly in a sentence. We also had some students choose the more challenging option of using many idioms in a single story, using the context of the story to define the sayings. I had a great time seeing all the creative pictures!!! 

End of the Year Trip: We are in the process of discussing ideas for our end-of-the-year trip! We are gathering information on and discussing four different idea: three are two night camping scenarios (the coast, the Gorge, Oregon Caves) and one is a possible overnight at the Portland Zoo. We will continue to gather info and make a preliminary decision in the next week to present to parents and staff. We are excited to begin making reservations and start fundraising!  

Spelling Tests: Students will now be bringing home their spelling tests, beginning this week, to keep you informed about the words they are working on and how they are doing. As a reminder, students all take the pretest on Monday of all 25 words. The first ten words either follow a specific spelling rule (“I before e, except after c”), come from words that have been spelled incorrectly in many student’s weekly work, or are chosen from the 100 most commonly misspelled words list. The next 15 words are related to our units of study (science, math, geography, history, writing…) or are from our vocabulary books. Students choose a minimum of ten words to practice for the week. They must choose 10 that they did not get correct on the pretest. If they did not miss ten words on the pretest, they supplement their list with words from the championship level national spelling bee list. This process provides challenging words to all students, regardless of their grade level or spelling ability. We then practice the words three ways throughout the week, again with students having some options to choose from. If you find your student is still not spelling their words correctly on the test, please encourage them to bring home their chosen words on Monday to practice throughout the week. The goal is to improve their spelling in their written work by becoming a more fluent speller. 

Thanks, everyone, for the support you provide! Enjoy the weekend!

Dana and Jenny