22 Nov 2013
Our next fundraiser is the Holiday Store, which will take place December 9th – December 12th. Every sixth grade student will work a shift in the Holiday Store, helping younger students shop and also helping with wrapping presents. As ever, we are asking for donations, this time to help make the Holiday Store a profitable success. We are seeking donations of gift wrap, gift bags, bows, scotch tape, and any unused items you would like to re-gift.
Please send any donations to school by Wednesday, December 4th.
Next week is a vacation from school in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the extra time with your families. Students, if you find yourselves with some unexpected free time over the break, read your poetry anthologies, looking for examples of figurative language or work on spelling for the week after vacation. Your spelling packets were distributed today, but are also available here in the spelling section of the website. You can also spend some time in contemplation of all you are thankful for, and then craft a piece of writing—essay, poetry, personal narrative—or multimedia piece to share with the class and for extra credit points. Here are two poems for inspiration:
A List of Praises
Give praise with psalms that tell the trees to sing,
Give praise with Gospel choirs in storefront churches,
Mad with the joy of the Sabbath,
Give praise with the babble of infants, who wake with the sun,
Give praise with children chanting their skip-rope rhymes,
A poetry not in books, a vagrant mischievous poetry
living wild on the Streets through generations of children.
Give praise with the sound of the milk-train far away
With its mutter of wheels and long-drawn-out sweet whistle
As it speeds through the fields of sleep at three in the morning,
Give praise with the immense and peaceful sigh
Of the wind in the pinewoods,
At night give praise with starry silences.
Give praise with the skirling of seagulls
And the rattle and flap of sails
And gongs of buoys rocked by the sea-swell
Out in the shipping-lanes beyond the harbor.
Give praise with the humpback whales,
Huge in the ocean they sing to one another.
Give praise with the rasp and sizzle of crickets, katydids and cicadas,
Give praise with hum of bees,
Give praise with the little peepers who live near water.
When they fill the marsh with a shimmer of bell-like cries
We know that the winter is over.
Give praise with mockingbirds, day’s nightingales.
Hour by hour they sing in the crepe myrtle
And glossy tulip trees
On quiet side streets in southern towns.
Give praise with the rippling speech
Of the eider-duck and her ducklings
As they paddle their way downstream
In the red-gold morning
On Restiguche, their cold river,
Give praise with the whitethroat sparrow.
Far, far from the cities,
Far even from the towns,
With piercing innocence
He sings in the spruce-tree tops,
Always four notes
And four notes only.
Give praise with water,
With storms of rain and thunder
And the small rains that sparkle as they dry,
And the faint floating ocean roar
That fills the seaside villages,
And the clear brooks that travel down the mountains
And with this poem, a leaf on the vast flood,
And with the angels in that other country.
~ Anne Porter
Not because of victories
but for the common sunshine,
the largess of the spring.
Not for victory
but for the day’s work done
as well as I was able;
not for a seat upon the dais
but at the common table.
~ Charles Reznikoff
15 Nov 2013
We are all excited as we anticipate our upcoming upper grade field trip, where we will travel by bus to the Curran Theater in San Francisco to see a professional theater performance of Peter and the Starcatcher
on Wednesday, November 20. To prepare for the trip, we have been reading the novel on which the musical is based, and we have also discussed theater etiquette and attire. As a Fine Arts Charter school, and with our stage under construction, we want the students to be exposed to the workings of a professional theater experience so that when we resume our student performances, we have a greater wealth of understanding from which to draw. This is a reminder that on November 20, the students will have an extended day, returning from the theater to Old Adobe by about 5:45 p.m.
Since the beginning of the school year, students have been working to master weekly vocabulary, incorporating new words into their daily speech and listening and looking for these words in their reading, conversations, and media viewing. This group of students has become passionate about inserting the new vocabulary into their classroom responses. Likewise, the students are also quite skilled in hearing the words when used by other people in various settings. As a result, the WOW vocabulary container is quickly filling with vocabulary marbles.
Our next writing genre study is the essay. Students have just begun working on essay writing, first learning the tenets of the genre, and then learning specifics about organization, including the role of the thesis statement and supporting details. Currently, students are working to craft a class essay, and then they will write essays in groups, partnerships, and finally, individually.
In math, students have been extending their knowledge of fractions and how to calculate with fractions. Over the next two months, students will extend their knowledge to working with fractions, decimals, ratios, rates, and percents. The goal of these next few math units is for students to understand that fractions, decimals, ratios, and percents can be different ways of representing the same numerical relationship. For example, if there are two pieces of pie and a child eats one, this may be represented numerically as the fraction 1/2, the ratio of 1:2, the decimal .5, and the percentage 50%. Students will also have to convert from one form to another and calculate percentages and proportions. Becoming adept at calculations with fractions, decimals, percents, and ratios is the goal and is a critical mathematical foundational skill.
08 Nov 2013
On Wednesday, students presented their science fiction/fantasy game board book projects. All of the students from our class and from Ms. Henderson’s class tested out the games by playing them. A great time was had by all! The students created some absolutely amazing games, and you can see some of them here
. Special thanks to our photographer, Ryan. Because my digital camera was dropped and broke right before our photo shoot, the photographs were taken with Ryan’s phone, so the quality may not be as good as if the pictures had been taken with a digital camera. Additionally, we may have missed getting pictures of some of the outstanding games, so students, if you notice that you aren’t pictured, please either bring your game back so we can photograph you or send me a picture of you with your game.
Reading our poems of the day and commenting about them has become popular with some of the students. The new poem of the day is posted by 7:00 p.m. each evening, and there are poems posted for days students are not in school, too. It is wonderful to read students’ thinking about the poetry they are reading and to see them use evidence to support their ideas. Coincidentally, students’ next book project is all about poetry. Directions for this project were reviewed and distributed in class, but they are also available on this website.
This is just a reminder that there will be no school on Monday, November 11th, in honor of Veteran’s Day. Students, in case you want to know more than that you get a day off of school, this holiday dates back to the end of World War I and commemorates our nation’s thousands of combat veterans who fought in the service of our country. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War. Beginning the following year, November 11th was celebrated as Armistice Day, and November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. After World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.
Conferences begin on Tuesday, November 12th, and will continue through Friday, November 22nd. Students will be running a portion of the conference so must attend with their parents. Each family has a scheduled conference time, and a conference schedule was also sent home with students this week as a reminder. If for some reason your scheduled conference time no longer works, please contact me at your earliest convenience, so that we may reschedule your appointment.