Room 3- Rachel
Rachel's Update 1-21-21
Wintertime can feel a bit tiresome at times. The sun remains hidden for days on end and the rain can feel like a physical manifestation of all the obstacles in our lives. This is the long stretch when we feel like motivation dwindles and our excitement is muted. When will Spring Break come??! I understand this sentiment. I also understand the hidden, subtle beauty of this time of year. Barren branches, decaying leaves, the puff of white as we exhale. Sparkly patterns that form on our window panes. Wind chimes adding to the music of the trees rustling and dancing. The warmth of a fire or the radiant heat of a hot cup in your hand. Cozy snuggles with those you love. The beauty of this time can be found. It is the joy of comfort and the slowing down, which uncovers the starkness of a landscape changed by time. Every year I try to remember that this is the time when I get to rest for the blast of life right around the corner. Spring!
On another note, distance learning has different stressors than in-person school. Our students may be fraying at the edges a bit. Last week we talked about what stress and anxiety feels like. As a class we brainstormed words for these feelings: hurt, scared, bored, upset, unhappy, excluded, want, nervous, sad, mad, and worry. Having words to describe feelings help encourage communication. I talked about using "I feel..." statements and how expressing feelings can help release the building tension of those emotions as well as help to avoid doing or saying things that you might regret later. We also talked about self care. How do we take care of ourselves when we are feeling those hard feelings? Students came up with the following ideas: exercise, take a deep breath, meditate, play games, get help, go on a walk, take a break, drawing, eat if hungry, read books, play with toys, make a fort, write down feelings, get needs met, spend time with a pet, and rest. Good advice, right?
Eye on Curriculum
This week our class will edit rough drafts and work on the final draft for our invertebrate research projects. This project lasts over two weeks and is a combination of many different skills. Students may need help managing their time and working on their projects a bit each day. This will help avoid the feeling of overwhelm that occurs when students feel behind.
Xtra math is going strong. This is a daily math fact practice intended to help students memorize their math facts. This skill is necessary for advancing through the operations. Please help your student remember to practice their math facts for 5 minutes each day. If Xtra math is not working out for your child, consider flash cards or another online method that works on memorization and speed of recall. Reach out to us if you need some ideas.
Love, love, love! Our classroom Valentine’s Day celebrations are some of my favorite days of the year. I love seeing children open valentines and experience being part of our sweet little community. This year, kids need that more than ever!
We are hosting an optional Valentine exchange. Here’s how it will work:
Make or buy 29 valentines (this number includes students, Rachel and Jacob). Have your child write their own name on each card. DO NOT address the valentines.
Drop them off on the Ridgeline front steps on Friday, February 5 or Monday, February 8.
We will distribute them into a bag for each child and let them “quarantine” for a few days.
Pick up a bag of valentines on Friday, February 12.
Valentines can include stickers, pencils, tattoos, etc., but no candy please.
Weekly Art Update
This week (1/19-22), we continued practicing our portrait drawing skills by finishing up self-portraits, and also drawing Martin Luther King, Jr. Next week (1/25-28), we'll start on a landscape unit. We'll look at the painting “Landscape With Rainbow” by Robert Duncanson. This hopeful painting was chosen by Jill Biden for display during the inauguration and (I learned) this artist was one of the best-known and most acclaimed African American painters of the Civil War era.
Have a wonderful week!
Rachel and Jacob
Rachel's Update 1-4-2021
Welcome back! We are ready to make a fresh start in 2021 and I’m excited to share a few updates and changes with you.
Exploring the Oceans
Over the next few weeks, we will be diving down into the ocean biome. We’ll learn about the layers of the ocean and the diversity of creatures found there. Then, students will use their research skills to write about a favorite invertebrate. This is always one of my favorite subjects to teach and I’m excited to share it with the kids.
We’ve started a new math program to simplify math fact practice. Xtra Math is a free program that helps your child practice just a few math facts at a time until they’re mastered. I will be introducing the program to children this week, and they’ll be able to link to it directly from Seesaw. Our expectation is that students practice their math facts every school day. With Xtra Math, this should take about 10 minutes or less.
I think most kids will really enjoy practicing with Xtra Math. If, after giving it a try, you’d like to discuss a different way for your child to memorize math facts, please let me know and we can work out an alternative activity.
New PE Teacher
Our new PE teacher, Jeannelle Mahle, will join us Wednesday for PE. We will be meeting up to get to know Jeannelle and learn more about what PE will look like moving forward. Please remind your child to come to PE in Jacob's Zoom at 12:40 on Wednesday for our first PE with Jeannelle!
Reminder - Come to Scholastics!
Our afternoon Scholastics groups are not to be missed! Students practice navigating nonfiction, learn comprehension strategies and learn to write in response to texts. Every child is in one of the following groups:
Green group - 1:10 Tuesdays in Jacob's Zoom
Blue group- 1:10 Wednesdays in Jacob's Zoom
Orange group - 1:10 Thursdays in Jacob's Zoom
Reminder - Friday Conferences
On Fridays Jacob and I make time available to meet with every child for a few minutes to review their week, what activities they are completing, and answer any questions they may have. This is a valuable time for goal setting and connection. Please help your child join either Jacob or my zoom after 1:10 pm on Friday to have a conference. We look forward to seeing you!
Orange Level Math Group
We are starting an Orange math group that will meet at 1:10 - 1:30 on Wednesdays. We will work on foundational math skills together as a group. Please make sure your child joins at this time. This group will progress together so it is important to be there. If your child can't make this time please let me know and I will try to find an alternative.
The Orange math group will start next week on the 13th. See you then!
As always, let me know if you have any questions. Happy 2021!
Rachel and Jacob
Rachel's Update 12-18-2020
Hello Room 3 families. We made it! Thank you all for sticking with it during this first segment of the school year. Although not by choice you stepped up and really did all you could to support your child in distance learning. I see you and am so grateful to have you on my team. Go us! The core of the Montessori curriculum is the foundational concept of interconnection. We are all connected. From this broad lens I can see a healthy symbiotic relationship between home and classroom that is necessary now more than ever. Another core element of the Montessori classroom is the Peace curriculum, closely tied in with interconnection. Our children are watching us closely. They learn how to act, how to respond and (hopefully) emotionally regulate when "the squeeze" happens. That is, when aspects of our life are out of our control. They can learn how to self reflect and how to forgive. How do you respond? You are your child's teacher. Sometimes they are yours! Life is funny that way.
Something I have been pondering as of late is how we can bridge the gap between people who are hurting right now. I know many people are in a state of conflict because of differing beliefs. I don't have the answer. What I do know is that we as humans all want the same thing. We all want to feel safe and secure, loved, and not alone. When those fundamental needs are or are perceived to be unmet we feel threatened. You know what that feels like. It is scary. My New Year's hope is that our similarities outshine our differences and we can all catch our breath. What are your New Year's thoughts? How would you like to start this next year off?
Have a wonderful break!
School resumes on Tuesday, January 5. Emily, Cheri and I are collaborating on curriculum for January and we’re excited to start fresh with you in the new year.
Always Use White Boards
I invite children to bring their white board (or a notebook and marker) to every lesson and every meeting, always! Can you tell that I am passionate about this?? White boards make interactive learning possible. I can test for understanding, take polls, and maintain engagement and accountability when kids have a white board at hand. Is your child's white board missing, or are you out of markers? Read on...
Consumables Available in January
We are scheduling the next supply pick up for Thursday, January 14th. Lower elementary classes aren’t sending home additional materials, so you won't be required to pick anything up. However, after three months of distance learning, you may be running low on whiteboard markers, pencils, notebooks, or other consumables, or you may need a replacement white board. These will be available for pick up at the Ridgeline office. Stay tuned for more details!
Heads Up for Screenshots
In the new year, we are going to be asking kids to take screen shots to capture some of their work. Every device has its own commands for this (for example, my MacBook uses command - shift - 4, but a Lenovo Chromebook uses control - shift - window switcher). You can do a search for your device’s commands. Kids will need to know how to take a screenshot and how to put it into Seesaw. We’re excited to introduce some new tools!
Here is an article on how to take a screenshot on different devices:
See you in the new year!
Rachel and Jacob
Rachel's Update 12-10-2020
Can it be true? Are we entering into the last week before Winter break? It appears to be so! Time does the wacky sometimes. (You never know when old Buffy the Vampire Slayer references will come in handy!) :)
We have been knee deep in research projects over the past 2 weeks. I am so impressed with the effort and quality of writing that is coming out of this project. For third graders, this research helps prepare them for writing and typing up a paper for state testing later in the school year. Students stepped through the process of how to start by picking a topic, creating a planner to organize information, write meaningful topic sentences, and meaty, interesting detail sentences for each paragraph using their own words. We talked about how many things in life have steps to follow, like baking a cake. Writing, at least at this level, is the same. Providing a structure helps students form good writing habits.
This was a tough project for some kiddos who are reluctant writers or those who prefer to wing it. For those kids I say hurrah! You overcame a challenge. Good character is built upon challenge after challenge. Follow through is a skill that benefits everyone!
We learned about how adaptations help animals survive in even the harshest habitats. Oh, to be an animal that adapted in Hawaii! But no, we can't all live in Hawaii. Animals thriving in the polar regions are truly inspiring. Really cold water? No problem. Little to no plant life? Whatever. As some of you might know, I have developed a big love of the Beluga Whale. Did you know that they can smile and frown? I wonder what curious facts your child uncovered during their polar exploration. Ask them!
What I love about the audacity of polar life is that it refuses to give up joy. Playfulness. If they can do it, I don't see why we can't. Let's metaphorically "blubber up" and adapt with a smile. :).
Speaking of smiles:
Next week we will have a little fun! These are merely suggestions and are not required. Each day has a theme. On Tuesday Jacob and I will host a lego lunch. No legos? No problem. Come anyways or bring another building toy. Even dominoes or the geometric pattern blocks that you received in your classroom box will do. Enjoy eating lunch and building with friends!
Tuesday Lego Lunch will be held in Rachel's zoom.
Monday - Blanket day
Tuesday - Lunch day
Wednesday - Stuffy day
Thursday - hat day
Friday - PJ day
I appreciate you.
A special "thank you" goes out to Jacob. Without all of his steadfast help I would be lost! It takes a team to run a Montessori classroom.
Rachel's Update 12-4-2020
Whew... what a week! We are smack in the middle of polar animal research. Brrrr! The cold mornings we have experienced lately really put me in the mindset for polar exploration! This is a two-week project designed to take students through a structured research process. This allows students to apply their developing writing skills to a project that is meaningful and exciting to complete. Thank you for all the support you are providing your student at home!
This past week students chose an animal, created a planner with four topics, filled in their planner with interesting information, and some groups got started writing topic sentences for their paragraphs. Next week we will complete the writing and put together our research. Older students will complete a revision and editing process culminating with their research typed up in google docs.
Get ready for some practice presentations! We will be talking about speaking clearly, making eye contact, and using our voice to reflect punctuation. Yay!
Future - project finale
We will eventually turn our reports into poster board presentations with a drawing and a title. Poster board or cardboard from an old box works great. Stay tuned for more on this step later.
Winter Break - 12/21 - 01/04
School resumes on the 5th of January
-- Rachel and Jacob
Rachel's Update 11-30-2020
This past week had me thinking about forgiveness. Exploring what I am grateful for had the surprising effect of bubbling up past wrongs that apparently I was still holding on to. I thought I had let go of these slights long ago! Our egos are sensitive and very protective of their own fragility - and are experts at hiding this fragility from us. Haha! Sometimes I just have to laugh at myself. :) A big lesson and hurdle that I experienced over the last few years was that of forgiveness. I thought that if I forgave someone it would mean that the wrongdoing was ok. That I was saying, "What happened to me was ok." However, the truth behind forgiveness, at least my truth, is that it is an act of self-love. A kindness that we do for ourselves so that we can move on without the emotional baggage of anger, hurt, sadness, or other heavy feelings. We forgive, but not forget. This is a powerful clarification. It is not a weakness to forgive, but a personal strength. We move forward, informed by past experiences but not weighed down by them. I feel that gratitude and forgiveness work together to help us become better humans. Better friends. Better parents. Better partners. Better.
Grace and Flexibility
This time of year brings celebration, but it can also add to the obligations that we feel in our families, professional and personal lives. Distance learning further complicates the mix. If you are feeling overwhelmed or concerned about school, please take a moment to give yourself a little grace… and then reach out to Jacob and me for some solutions.
Supporting the social and emotional well-being of all our students is a guiding principle for us this year. Flexibly partnering with families is also a priority. Every child and family situation brings a unique mix of personalities, resources and challenges. A tailored approach might mean that a student gets extra help from Jacob or me, freeing up a guardian to do work or help a younger sibling. Other students might do best by being selective about what Zoom meetings they attend, or prioritizing which works to do and which to let go.
I don’t expect distance learning to be one-size-fits-all. Grace and flexibility are my watchwords for distance learning. If you need a little of either one, let me know and we can reconfigure distance learning so that it’s a better fit.
Polar Regions and Animal Adaptations
Over the next two weeks we’ll be learning more about the biomes of the polar regions. As we learn about polar animals, we will see how each one has evolved to survive in these harsh environments. On Monday, we’ll think about which of these adaptations a favorite stuffed animal would need to make it in the polar regions. Later, we’ll learn about how people stay warm, fed, and housed in these extreme environments.
Guided Research Projects
Every child will begin a research project next week. We’ll break the project down into steps and provide guidance and instruction along the way. Here’s a quick preview:
Monday 11/30 - Intro to animals and adaptations. Students will start to choose an animal to study and begin to find resources.
Wednesday 12/2- Introduction to research and prewriting. We’ll show students how to collect information and take basic notes.
Friday - 12/4 First drafts. Using the planners they’ve created, students will begin composing sentences and, for older students, paragraphs about their animals.
During the following week, we will tackle the revision process and show students how to prepare and present a poster project. At this point, I’ll ask third graders (and younger students, if interested), to type up their drafts on Google Docs. These files are easily shared and edited. Instructions on creating Google Docs will come next week.
Thank you, everyone!
Rachel and Jacob
Rachel's Update 11-20-2020
Last week I started the conversation on gratitude. What we are grateful for. Often it is those simple things, like a cup of coffee hot in your hands or a few moments of solitude to dive into that great book you have been looking forward to. Whatever your cup of coffee is, our lives are made up of all of those little moments. Good and bad. I am grateful for my little moments.
What we say and how we say it has an impact on those around us. Being aware of our own power can help us to create special moments for others. Smile at someone today and see if they smile back. :). You have now added to their happiness. What a gift! As a teacher I am grateful for all of your children smiling at me each and every school day. I am grateful to be a teacher!
This week I encourage you to talk with your children about what you are grateful for. What are your family traditions? How do you bring your family together? In challenging times it can feel like gravity has increased, squeezing and narrowing our mind. Our thoughts become heavy and it can be easy to notice the hard things in life everywhere. We are quick to anger. By talking about gratitude our focus can shift towards lighter thoughts. Remembering all the good is important now.
This week in class is all about gratitude.
Heart Bomb Ridgeline - Every day brings a few more yarn hearts to the school fence. We hope you add some on!
NO SCHOOL - Thursday and Friday
Rachel's Update 11-13-20202
Hello Room 3 families. How are you doing? We are entering into week 9 of distance learning. Routines have been set, schedules made, work plans are being used, and lessons are well attended. Most importantly, learning is happening! I see all the work you put into helping your student show up to lessons and put in a day's work. Thank you for all you do.
Speaking of thanks, we are entering into a time of year when we traditionally slow down and take notice of all the things in our life we are grateful for. Friends, family, health. Chocolate. Time has taken on a new light. During this time of COVID we have more time with some people and much less time with others. Many of our social needs are not being met. We are all missing human connection. All of this extra time alone gives us the opportunity for self-reflection. For some it might be uncomfortable being alone to face ourselves. Nowhere to hide, right? For some, scary. Sometimes it is those challenging moments that we look back on with a smile because we know that they were the catalyst for change that we needed, albeit painful. My hope for us all is that our current challenges are of the growth variety. Let's notice what is good in our lives. I have a feeling we will find way more than we expect!
This week we will continue to look at Native American topics local to our area.
There are a number of families reaching out for ideas on how they can connect with other families in our classroom. If you have any ideas or thoughts on this topic please reach out to Hannah, our classroom parent. Her email is: email@example.com
Have a wonderful week!
Rachel and Jacob
Rachel's Update 11-5-2020
Hello Room 3 families! We are entering into week 8 of distance learning. Every year I am surprised by how fast the first few months of school fly by! Thank you to all the families who joined Jacob and me for family conferences. It was really great to see you all and hear about your experience with distance learning. I am always available if you need to meet before the next conference time!
Next week we will explore local Native American Kalapuya history and how they prepared for Winter.
For those of you who missed the art supply pick-up you can call the school and schedule a time to pick up your child's art package.
Thank you for all of your support in getting your child to their EasyCBM testing times. We are finishing up now and will be done this coming week.
Many of you asked for clarification on the work plan. How do I know if my kiddo has done enough work? What do I do if they are so far behind that it feels impossible to catch up? Good questions! A good rule of thumb is to get math and language done each day. Make sure that your child is spending time reading each day as well. Reading is a key skill developed in lower elementary. There are "Montessori" math works that I would like them to practice at least twice a week. These are stamp game, checkerboard, or string division. If your child had a lesson on abstract (paper) math that may be their Montessori math at the moment. Writer's workshop on Wednesday is another important work that should be completed on Wednesday. Outside of that, if your child gets absorbed in a special project or a specific work, spending lots of focused time on it, that is great! We love when children find something that they are passionate about learning. It is ok for them to not get three works done in that case. Also, any appropriate subject can be chosen for research and counts as Cultural. Research can be writing and poster-making, creating a model, drawing a diagram, or any other creative choice. Have fun with it!
If your child is feeling stressed because they have allowed their activities to pile up in seesaw, my best advice is to reset and work from the top, which is the most current assigned activities. If they find that they are stuck because they did not learn a skill that is required for the current activities please go to Jacob's help zoom and he will help your child get caught up. Another option is to request a catch-up lesson with me.
Thank you so much for all you do for your kids and their learning experience. Every day I see so many examples of love and caring. You guys inspire me to be better.
Rachel and Jacob
Rachel's Update 10-22-2020
Hello once again Room 3 families and welcome to a short week of school! This week we are holding conferences on Thursday and Friday. If you haven't yet scheduled a conference and would like to it's not too late!
Pumpkins. Need I say more? If your child has a pumpkin, bring it along to our Monday morning meeting. If not don't worry! Jacob will be working with students who do not have their own pumpkin available.
What to bring to Monday morning meeting (if you have it):
2. string for measuring
3. measuring tool capable of measuring in inches
4. scale if available
5. white board and dry erase marker
EasyCBM testing is moving right along. Some students have finished already and others have yet to start. That is ok. Keep an eye out for a testing time sign-up from Jacob soon.
It is so important for students to attend their level lesson each day. This is the "synchronous" time of instruction where we actually teach students the skills they will need to complete the seesaw activities. Without this lesson students may not be able to complete their assignments and fall behind. If your child misses a lesson and needs assistance they can join Jacob's help zoom or reach out to me for help. Life happens and we know that lessons will be missed at times. It only becomes a problem when the lessons are frequently missed. Thank you for your support in getting your child to their orange, blue, or green lessons. I truly appreciate you.
Video permissions - In order for teachers to effectively use zoom, they may need to view the students on the screen to ensure student engagement. This means that if teachers record the lesson for absent students or student review, the participating students will be included in the video. A video permissions form was sent out for all families to sign. If you have not yet signed it and are comfortable with video permissions please sign so that we can move forward with recording lessons.
Have a wonderful Fall weekend. It is such a beautiful time of year!
Rachel's Update 10-16-2020
Welcome Room 3 families! Next step - leaves. They are everywhere right now! Red ones. Green ones. Orange ones. Soft ones. Crunchy ones. Leaves are pretty great. Next week we will look closely at our very own biome, the temperate forest, and explore different types of leaves. Your job this weekend is to help your child notice and collect a variety of leaves so that they have some hands-on materials for next week.
During the week of October 26, we'll do some pumpkin math. We will weigh, measure, estimate, graph, and count up our pumpkins. Please plan on having an uncarved "math pumpkin" available at this time. Small "pie" pumpkins are fine for this activity... but giants can be fun too!
Jacob and I want to know how distance learning is working for you! If you have any questions or concerns (or just want to check in and say hello) please sign up for a 20 minute conference spot on Thursday, October 29 or Friday, October 30.
If you have a particular concern or question, please send me a quick email. I’d love to start working on problem solving strategies ASAP and then use our conference time to see what progress we’ve made.
Easy CBM testing is in full swing. Keep and eye out for a seesaw invitation to come test in Jacob's help zoom.
Easy CBM take 2!
This next week we will be starting part 2 of Easy CBM testing.
In order to do this testing through distance, we need some assistance from your end to get your child logged on to our testing site. We are a team!
I have compiled some step-by-step directions on how things will look on your end. Please do not preview the materials with your child or coach them during the assessment.
For Computer Based Assessments:
1. Join the testing Zoom link. Please have video on.
2. Ridgeline staff will guide your child through expectations and instructions.
3. Open your internet browser (Chrome, Safari, etc.). It will cover up your Zoom view, but that’s okay, as long as the teacher/assistant can still see your child.
4. Go to this website: 4j-or.easycbm.com
5. Your screen should look like this:
6. Click on the Students “Click Here” link.
7. Type in the teacher’s username. It is rachel.quinn
8. Once you click “Go!” then you should be taken to a screen that asks you to select the group. Click on “All Students”.
9. Scroll through the names until you come to your child’s name, and click on it.
10. ***Confirm it is on your child’s test, and not another student’s!
11. It will prompt you to enter a password, which is a six-digit number from your child’s birthdate. MMDDYY, with no slashes.
12. Once entered, you will see “Select the Test”.
13. Scroll through the array of tests offered and select the one your teacher/assistant has indicated.
14. If your child is doing the math, your assistance in reading the math problems aloud to your child may be needed. No reading assistance is allowed on the reading assessments.
15. Your teacher/assistant is required to observe your child taking the assessment. There will likely be one group at a time on Zoom, testing at the same time.
These groups will happen in Jacob's zoom. Students will be notified in advance of their day and time to be tested. If this time does not work for you please let us know.
Thank you for helping to make this happen.
Rachel's Update 10-8-2020
Hello to Room 3 families! Welcome to week 4 of school. I have to say that I am impressed with how quickly we are all finding a rhythm. This week we talked a lot about creating good work plan habits. Remembering to update work plans after each work is the easiest way to ensure that it happens. This is where each student gets to tell us what they have completed. Also, it is a tool for students to know what they could work on next. Each day our goal is to complete language, math, and cultural work. We are well on our way to meeting this goal. Good job guys!
Easy formula: Do ELA (language), Math, and Cultural each day. Yay!
Biome Exploration Next Week
Let’s get ready to travel the world as we explore all the beautiful biomes - deserts, rainforests, polar regions, grasslands, mountains, wetlands, and even the ocean. We’ll learn what a biome is and identify its living and nonliving parts. In Wednesday’s writing lessons, students will choose a biome to research and write about. On Friday will be "dress like a biome day!" Students who want to participate can shop their closets to create an outfit for exploring the desert, diving into the ocean, or braving the polar winds. I can’t wait to see what we all come up with!
Live Lessons… The Instruction Manual for Remote Learning
Our seesaw activities are designed to be follow ups to our daily live lessons, not stand alone works. Being with students live lets me introduce new concepts, clarify expectations and answer questions. If your child misses a lesson, they may struggle to complete the Seesaw activity on their own. Pending permissions (more on that later), we will have recorded lessons available. Until then, encourage good attendance! If your child misses a lesson and needs some help, please have them visit Jacob's help zoom to get back on track.
Permission to Record Lessons
Our lessons are highly interactive, and I often have students in view on my screen in order to see raised hands and check for understanding. This means that the lessons I record include students in the video. In order to share these recorded lessons with students who need them, we need your consent. Please fill out this form ASAP so that our recorded lessons can be made available.
Remember, lesson videos will only be made available to families within our classroom.
Easy CBM Update
Next week we will be starting our first round of EasyCBM with some one minute reading tests. Students can drop in to Jacob's zoom at 1:50 - 2:30 for testing. EasyCBM may also be given during conference times or in regular help zoom hours. Tests should only take a couple of minutes. We ask that your child be in a quiet space where they can give good, undivided attention. This is an assessment, which means the student will need to do the task without your help or coaching. Our students have all done this before and it should feel familiar to them.
Email Rachel or Jacob if you have any questions. Your kids can jump into Jacob's wonderful help desk zoom for immediate assistance with assignments or understanding expectations.
Thank you families. Have a great weekend!
Rachel and Jacob
Rachel's Update 10-1-2020
Hello to Room 3 families! We are now entering into week 3 of our distance learning time! Can you believe it? Every year it never ceases to amaze me how time can be so relative! Well, we made it through many of the stops and starts of the beginning of school. Students are joining in my meetings and lessons and taking advantage of Jacob's help desk. Yay! Good job to all the families who are such a big part of our success. Your support and assistance make this possible. I am aware of the challenges, frustrations, and inconveniences distance learning creates. My heart goes out to all who are struggling at this time. During the first week of school we asked students the question, "What do you do when things get hard?" The answers we received looked something like this:
1. Take big belly breaths.
2. Try, try, and try again. If I get frustrated, walk away and distract myself. Come back and try it again later.
3. Stop. Breathe. Count to 10.
4. I yell and shout until I am not upset anymore. Then I try again.
5. Go be by myself for a bit.
Does this sound about right? Our kids are learning how to deal with a lot of uncomfortable feelings right now. So are we as parents! Developing strategies for managing life when it is hard is so important for our children's mental strength. The best thing we can do is model positive strategies and forgive ourselves and others when we can't. Nobody is perfect after all! Thank goodness. :)
For week 3 we are continuing with our astronomy thread, bringing it closer to home with planetary motion, the seasons, and shadows. We are shifting into fall at the moment. This makes it the perfect time to talk about why our planet Earth has seasons. What do the seasons mean to you? Your family? What kind of special traditions do you have surrounding the changing seasons? What sensory elements of fall do you love? For me fall is crunchy leaves, hot chocolate, pumpkins, and snugly fireplaces. The air smells different in the fall. Talk to your kids about your fall memories!
We are now in full swing with writing, grammar, and math. Each week your child will receive instruction in these different curricular areas. Jacob and I love seeing all the amazing work your kids are doing in Seesaw!
Our goal is that a work in each area (math, language, cultural) is completed each day. This is what we call a balanced work plan. Last week we talked in our family email about the different types of work that may be assigned. Some work is done in one sitting. Others are meant to take multiple days. Some students have expressed confusion about how they can do math each day when they don't get a lesson each day. Every student has been assigned a tabbed math activity. Each time a student practices their math they should be doing a few equations. It may take them 4 practices to finish the entire assignment. Each time they practice the math they get to mark it on their work plan. There are also additional math activities they can do so they are not doing the same activity each and every day. After a student practices or completes a work they should be marking it on their work plan. This lets us know that they did the work.
Easy formula: Do ELA (language), Math, and Cultural each day.
Email Rachel or Jacob if you have any questions. Your kids can jump into Jacob's wonderful help desk zoom for immediate assistance with assignments or understanding expectations.
Small Group Instruction
Keep a lookout in Seesaw for lesson invitations. Some invitations will be for on-going groups that will meet each week. Others will be a one-time supplemental lesson or meet-up. These lessons will be during our second work period, which is from 1:30 - 2:40.
Thank you families. Have a great weekend!
Rachel and Jacob