A New Year

Dear Parents,

Happy New Year!  I hope the break was rewarding for your family, and that it has not been too brutal to get back into the swing of things.  I have to admit the students were pretty mellow on the first day back.  You must have worn them out.  It was quite a change from the last day before the break!

I personally love this time of year.  New beginnings.  Hope for better things yet to come.  New resolutions.  This first week back has been no exception, since I’ve been reenergized by the learning that is happening all around me.  Our students transitioned back really well and got right back to deep work.  Since it’s not likely that they’ve shared much with you about their learning this week, I thought I’d share what I’ve observed.

In kindergarten, students are learning to write “how to” books, and they are using transitions such as “first,” “then,” “next,” and “last” consistently in their writing.  The first graders are learning about nonfiction and have been analyzing their own informative writing, looking at the kindergarten checklists to see how they can grow their current writing into more complex writing.  Second graders have been discussing what they’ve been reading in their nonfiction texts, and I heard deep partner discussions that began with, “I’m wondering…” and “I’m thinking…”  In third grade, I listened to some polished poetry reading, where students were reading with expression, making eye contact with the audience, and using hand gestures.  In math, I heard students say, “I’m loving this.  This is amazing” when solving multiplication equations with unknown numbers (basically algebra).  Fourth graders had their nonfiction texts marked up with jotted sticky notes all throughout the texts identifying various text structures.  They were also making hypotheses about how fall a ball might bounce from a building after several trials of bouncing balls from different heights.  Fifth graders were digging into complex texts about the individuals who were influential during the Revolutionary War period.  I could really go on and on about all of the great learning that your children get to experience.  Be sure to ask them about it at home.

At next week’s assembly, we will be hearing a guest speaker from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society introduce the Pennies for Patients program.  Our school will have a special focus on Pennies for Patients January 14-28.  You will be able to find more information in the Friday Folders.

Next week (January 11-15), we recognize our wonderful crossing guards during Adult Crossing Guard week.  Please join me in thanking Scott Navis, Kathleen Rose, Mark Awe, Glenn Koeser, and Pat Koeser for their hard work in often uncomfortable conditions keeping our students safe.

I hope by now you’ve had a chance to peruse the information on our website regarding the upcoming referendum on February 16.  Don’t forget the open house opportunities on January 18 and February 1.  Kevin and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have outside of these opportunities.

Have a great weekend!

Ann Steenwyk