Thank you all for participating in Teacher Appreciation Week! It has been so nice seeing staff smile as they smell flowers, show off cards to each other, compare trinkets, and excitedly eat treats. I also treasure all the kind words and smiles from the students! In the classroom we have been showing further gratitude by making cards for Principal Michelle and other staff members. It has connected nicely to our preliminary work on peacemaker biographies!
Last week, we began talking about character strengths while reading a biography on Temple Grandin. This week, we talked about some of the trickier definitions on our character strength sheet and practiced listing strengths and evidence.
Next week, we will choose who to write our biographies on and begin taking notes. The peacemaker project will carry us through to the rest of the school year!
Last week, we also discussed how to continue staying healthy in school. This included, keeping our hands clean (and pretending to wash our hands with a 20 second timer on), learning about germs, practicing sneezing/coughing into our elbows, and the expectation of keeping 3 feet of space from each other. We also talked about respecting people's decisions to wear/not wear a mask, how to respectfully ask people to change their behavior, and why someone may switch between wearing and not wearing a mask.
The weather forecast is looking wet! Here's your friendly reminder to pack a spare pair of clothes and send your child with rain gear (which can be stored in the hallway with backpacks).
Until next time!
Emmanuel's Update 4-22-22
We can see the finish line for the end of the year and so much is coming up!
April 23rd: 10am-1pm is the student craft fair
April 26th (or 27th depending on when the class currently testing wraps up): 3rd grade state testing begins (and should take about 5 days)
May 2nd: School sing-along assembly
If you would like to practice at home here is a playlist with the songs and lyrics Lyrics playlist
I couldn't find a lyric video for Ghost Chickens, but here is the song and I've attached a document with the lyrics Ghost Chickens in the Sky
Last week, we learned about tectonic plates and their influence on the Earth. This week we celebrated Earth Day by writing nature themed acrostic poetry.
Next week, we'll learn more about geology and will begin preparing for our peacemaker biography unit which will carry us through the rest of the school year!
It has been such a joy watching our class develop such a community mindset and learn how to work with others! This round of photos includes: two different student generated ways to divide up research projects, a few students discussing modern continents and Pangea while looking for the continents on a globe, and a weaving project that's available to the whole class. (Also included is a photo with a group of students giggling about chevron coming from the French word for goat and how they could creatively include them in their quadrilateral booklet).
Until next time!
Since last time:
We started class jobs which will rotate once a week.
We learned about the parts of a seed and began watching seeds germinate through glass containers. We also used opinion writing to help us think about our decisions around wearing/not wearing a mask outside at school. This week we watched a science demonstration about density, in which we learned about the layers of the Earth.
Students have asked to know what I used so they can repeat the experiment at home. I used fake maple syrup (aka corn syrup), water, and olive oil. Then I used a wide variety of things to drop in the mixture. But as this video shows, there's a wide range of liquids which can be used to do the experiment!
Learning about the layers of the Earth will nicely set us up for the next few weeks where we will learn about tectonic plates, volcanoes, and the rock cycle.
State Testing for 3rd grade:
State Testing for the 3rd graders in Room 5 begins April 25th. We will test in the library in the mornings. We expect to test until the 29th (if students aren't done, they will have opportunities to finish the test later).
These tests have no time limit and kids can take breaks as needed. I reassure the kids that the results of the tests don’t determine grades, advancement to fourth grade or class placement. Results are available around the beginning of the next school year and will be shared with families at that time.
Masking Optional Outside:
Starting on Monday, April 4, students were able to make the choice to go without a mask when outside. This is a change that brings up a variety of feelings amongst our students. We’ve discussed this change and we encouraged children to have a family conversation and decide what’s the best masking choice for them. As a class, we know that every family’s decision is based on different factors. We’ve talked about/practiced how we can respect others’ decisions and also how to speak up for our own needs.
Until next time!
Emmanuel's Update 2-18-22
We have continued to celebrate Black History Month by reading stories which amplify Black voices and Black historical figures. This has included a read-aloud and discussion on Ruby Bridges and Latinx children who fought against segregation. We also heard an informational rap about Black History. Our class has also started to learn how to spell our names in American Sign Language. This has sparked an interest in many of the children and their interest has led to Josie and I teaching other words in ASL as well. In our Writer's Workshop, students have become more comfortable sharing their writing with an audience and are learning how to share in a clear, audible voice. Our Writer's Workshop topics have focused on organization and writing with emotion.
To help us increase our ability to focus and be calm during the work period, our class has also been practicing sitting in still silence. We started with 5 seconds and have added one second each day. Today we made it to 24 seconds! Some students challenged themselves and continued to sit in stillness afterwards, one student even made it to 4 minutes! I plan to begin incorporating other meditation techniques into this practice so we can better regulate ourselves.
The Kindergarten and Lower Elementary classrooms at Ridgeline have been learning two songs with the Eugene Concert Choir. The students will receive vouchers to watch the performance and will be given the opportunity to come up on stage to perform the song (if the student is interested). I have also attached the flier with the voucher and more information to this email.
Due to the highly infectious nature of the Omicron variant, all Eugene Concert Choir members will wear KN95 or N95 masks for the Saturday afternoon Kids concert, to minimize exposure for everyone. All guests – including children 12 and younger – are required to wear a mask while inside the Hult Center, so while it does not need to be a 95 mask, any student coming on the stage to perform must wear a mask.
Here is the official protocol from the Hult Center:
The safety and well-being of our patrons has been, and always will be, a top priority of the Hult Center. The Center will require proof of vaccination for entry to all performances or proof of a negative COVID test, taken within 48 hours of performance. All patrons will need to provide this information as a condition of entry. Self-reported (home test) results will not be accepted. All results must be from a licensed test provider, laboratory, or health care provider. Mask wearing is also required when inside the venue and this includes all venue staff. Eating and drinking are permitted but masks must be worn between bites and sips.
I will be out of the classroom for Montessori training next week. Carmen will be in charge of Room 5 while I am gone and a substitute will be the classroom assistant. If you have any urgent questions or concerns, please call the office or email Carmen email@example.com
Until next time!
Emmanuel's Update 1-20-22
First, I would like to say thank you for all the birthday cards/gifts! It really brightened my day!
Room 5 has started this calendar year off with a reset of sorts. Every morning we are focusing on a different community procedure (all of which revolve around being safe, kind, responsible, and learners). We have been writing acknowledgements to each other related to these and reading them each morning. The class is responding very well to this and I have definitely seen an increase in responsible and respectful classroom behaviors! We will be repeating these discussions as needed throughout the rest of the school year. Here is a link to the presentation I gave on the first day back to school. I plan to share this presentation again with the students at a later date.
While our class has been writing all school year, this month marked the beginning of our official Writer's Workshop. We received special writing journals and have learned about the format of a Writer's Workshop, writing purposes, generating ideas, and editing for writing conventions. It has been a joy watching the students become so excited about writing and sharing their writing!
In our cultural studies, we have learned about the role the sun plays on climate and seasons, especially in relation to the chilly polar regions. We have also been learning about the desert region, but took a pitstop to learn about how life first began on Earth and how it has evolved since then.
Next up: We will learn about how scientists classify animals (with the wetland biome as our backdrop). In writing, we will learn about fluency and how to share our writing with others.
Until next time!
Emmanuel's Update 12-16-21
Last week, our students learned about the unique animals living in the rainforest and its complex layers. We got our second opportunity to check out books from the school library! In addition to having more access to books, the class has learned about some of the ways libraries are arranged and get practice leaving an environment better than they found it. The students have also been caring more for their classroom environment and each other. I've noticed students put things such as "clean tables" or "help a classmate" on their workplans, which I love to see! We also began having classroom wide "sight words" that are posted and students are expected to spell correctly every time.
This week has been unique! Indoor recess, delayed start, and Spirit Week! The students are excited for break and having fun dressing up, but we are making sure to continue our hard work and important learning! Many students expressed disappointment at having such little time to do their work on Tuesday, which really highlights how much their stamina for working has increased since the beginning of the school year. We are wrapping up our rainforest learning this week. We learned about plant adaptation today and tomorrow we will write our final piece on the rainforest.
Coming up, we will begin the new year by working on our writing skills and by renewing and reviewing our care for the school environment and our care for each other.
Bags: Do you have spare bags (especially plastic ones)? Consider donating them to Room 5! As the rainy, muddy season continues, students need to change their clothes and put their wet/dirty clothes in bags. We have very few spare bags. Please help us out if you can!
Cultural inclusion: I would like to increase the cultural representation in the classroom library and in our classroom decorations. If your family is part of a culture that you would like represented or you have any book/art suggestions, please let me know!
Winter Break dates:
Dec 17, 2021: Last day of school before Winter Break!
Jan 4, 2022 (Tuesday) : Classes resume after Winter Break.
Emmanuel's Update 12-6-21
Last week, our students learned about the formation of the universe, the Sun, and the Earth. Lower Elementary was also cleared to combine recesses which created a great amount of excitement for our students, especially those with friendships outside of Room 5. This opportunity also provided Josie and Carmen with more opportunities to spend time with their shared students. Thank you families for supporting your children in wearing masks and keeping them home when they are ill! It is nerve wracking sending children to school during a pandemic, but all the hard work and care at home and at school have been paying off! What resilient children we have in Room 5 and what an amazing community at Ridgeline!
This week, our students returned back from the long weekend ready to resume their classroom routines and dig back into learning. While the class is still learning many classroom and community skills, they have made huge progress on their volume level and need fewer reminders to use soft voices during the work period. Our main focus currently is on active listening skills (eyes on the speaker/thing being presented, bodies alert, voices off, waiting your turn to speak).
This week we have also begun learning about the tropical rainforest. We started with an overview, learning about what it would be like to walk through the rainforest and some of the reasons the rainforest is important. Next week we will learn more specifics about the rainforest and the unique plants and animals that live there.
Joy of Sharing - Once again we will collect monetary donations for Ridgeline families who need a little extra over the winter break. These funds will be used to purchase grocery gift cards. If your family would benefit from receiving Joy of Sharing assistance this year please contact Cynthia. Starting next week we will invite those of you who have a little extra and the capacity to give, to donate to this grocery gift card fund. If you are super excited to give and want to do it now, click on the Joy of Sharing link.
Spirit Week - Join fellow students and staff in celebrating our Ridgeline spirit week December 13-17! Spirit Week Poster
PE Specialist! - Please congratulate Dan Trent as our “new” PE teacher! Dan has been acting as the substitute PE specialist this year and the students have been enjoying playing games and learning from him. We're so grateful that he is able to join our staff as the official PE teacher!
Winter Break dates:
Dec 17, 2021: Last day of school before Winter Break!
Jan 4, 2021(Tuesday): Classes resume after Winter Break.
Thank you for being part of our Room 5 community!
Emmanuel's Update 11-22-21
We have finished learning about the temperate forest and will be moving on to the rainforest biome next. The class enjoyed learning about the biome where they live. If you have an opportunity, go on a walk/hike with your child and take in the beauty of our biome! Our class has continued to work on creating a community where we can be respectful, responsible learners and I am constantly impressed by their ability to improve each week! We have been especially focused on our volume level. I have attached the volume scale we use in class in case any of you want to use the same language at home.
I am excited to let you know that a change is about to take place in our assistant position! We are beginning a gradual transition of Josie from assisting in Room 4 to Room 5, where she’ll replace Carmen.
Josie has been a wonderful, warm presence in Room 4, and she has made deep connections with her students. She came to Ridgeline from Far Horizons Montessori, and now, after months of working under the mentorship of a longtime Ridgeline teacher, she’s more than ready to take on her permanent role partnering with me. She has already spent several days as a sub here in Room 5, so she should be a familiar face.
Having helped us start the school year here in Room 5, Carmen will return to her long-held position as the assistant in Room 4 with Emily. The change will be gradual, starting with just an hour a day, a few times a week, beginning next week. We believe this slow timeline over the course of many weeks will help students build secure relationships with their new assistants and create a smooth, low-stress transition.
I hope you’ll join me in appreciating Carmen for her dedication to our students and in welcoming Josie as she moves toward joining us here in Room 5.
As local COVID transmission levels decline, Ridgeline is adjusting some of our protocols around recess. Starting next week, students will be able to mix with other classroom cohorts during outside recess. As always, students will be masked and physically distanced during recess. All other activities, including lunch and all inside activities, will still be limited to one classroom at a time.
The children are certain to enjoy having free access to the playground and field, and will finally be able to connect with friends from other classes.
Just a reminder that the calendar has changed to include a no school day next Wednesday.
Emmanuel's Update 10-29-21
We have now reached the "normalization" period! Students who have been with us since the first day should now understand the classroom routines and feel like part of a community.
Our classroom community, our class has made and signed a community agreement which I have attached. Our school counselor has also been talking to us about Kelso's Choices for problem solving.
Since the last update we have begun learning about biomes. Some students have asked to revisit an activity we did to explore the depth of the ocean. While we won't scroll through the ocean again in class, here is the link if you or your child are interested: https://neal.fun/deep-sea/
Learning and writing about biomes will be our main focus for the next month.
We have also begun to roll out a project about weaving and the history of making textiles!
If you are interested in supporting this project, Room 5 is accepting donations of scrap yarn, tapestry needles, and a weaving comb. We are making individual textiles on cardboard looms and soon will begin working on a group project on a larger loom.
If you have woven items you'd like to share or are knowledgeable about the history or symbolism of weaving, let me know and I can try to incorporate it into our learning!
Wed. 11/3 Picture Retakes
Wed. 11/10 NO SCHOOL Conferences (sign up here)
Thurs. 11/11 NO SCHOOL Veterans Day
Fri. 11/12 NO SCHOOL Conferences (sign up here)
Let me know if you have questions!
Emmanuel's Update 9-30-21
We are about halfway through our "normalization" period and nearly done with our easyCBM assessments! The students have increased their ability to work independently and follow the classroom routines. We have done still-life drawings, learned about the color wheel, and decorated our names with Rena. We've learned about the Growth Mindset with Heather. We've continued to build our classroom community in Room 5.
I have attached our general weekly schedule.
In addition to what is shown on the schedule, we do 20 minutes of silent reading after lunch every day. Your children are welcome to bring their own books to read/look at.
At Ridgeline we spend recess outside unless it is raining hard. When rain is in the forecast, please remember to send your child with a raincoat and shoes that can get wet. It may also be a good idea to send them with a change of clothes (including a pair of socks and an extra mask).
Food from home:
To reduce the spread of germs, Carmen and I try to avoid touching lunch/snack items. Please help us with this by making sure the food is accessible to your child. For instance if there are fruit snacks that don't have an easy open tab, you can snip the side with scissors).
Until next time!
Emmanuel's Update 9-17-21
We’ve made it through our first full week of school! I have been so impressed by the students in Room 5. Despite having little to no experience with a full day of school, our class shows up every day ready to learn and they work hard all day. My ground rules for the class are that we are kind, safe, responsible, and learners. Each day I see so many examples of these!
In addition to adapting to a regular school day, Room 5 also has special rules and routines to get used to because of COVID. Again, I have been so impressed by how hard they try and how quickly they have been learning these routines. Excellent work, Room 5!
Here are some specifics about what we’ve been learning/doing:
Reviewing the Montessori works we know
Learning new works
Gaining independence during the uninterrupted work period
Learning about the fundamental needs of humans
Learning about the difference between living and non-living
Class discussions on kindness, safety, responsibility, and learning
Discussing our classroom ideals
Creating self-portraits showing our interests
Creating a classroom constitution/more detailed classroom rules
Regular Art and Social-Emotional lessons starting next week
Learning about the globe and maps
Learning about leaves
Learning about the creation of the universe
Assessment in the Lower Elementary
After the disruptions of the past year and a half, students are coming back with a unique set of strengths and challenges. We’re assessing these in several ways. This year we’re using Montessori-aligned skills inventories to track students’ academic progress, executive function, and their social and emotional fluency. We’ll also test students with a benchmark assessment, EasyCBM. These short tests happen three times a year and are normed against students from many school districts. They provide a snapshot of reading and math skills and let us track progress over time.
Art and PE
In addition to Social-Skill taught by our school counselor, Heather, we will have PE and Art twice a week. Our new art specialist is Rena Ekmanis. Students will have outside PE led by Carmen.
Please continue to encourage your child to be kind, safe, responsible, and learners. They have been doing an excellent job so far!
Until next time,