Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Classroom Notes

Greetings!

I am happy to report that we had an excellent first week. The kids did an outstanding job making the transition from summer to the beginning of school. Everyone arrived with a smile on their face and an abundant supply of energy. And we got a lot done!

This week we began developing the idea of working together as a team. The kids decided to call themselves Team 20. They also decided on turquoise and purple as our official team colors. Most of the first day was spent getting organized, putting away supplies, establishing notebooks and folders. The kids assigned themselves seats using the systems and standards I wanted them to use. As a matter of fact, we’ve spent a good deal of time this week talking about systems, as well as other words and concepts that will be important to our work all year long. On Thursday, we began to talk about being a team, using the homework sheet that I sent home on Wednesday. I am very happy to report that every sheet was returned completed the next morning.  Outstanding!

Besides the business of setting up a classroom, several projects got underway. We’ve started taking photographs with our digital camera to document the life of our classroom. Each week two kids will have a turn as team photographers. Their photos, along with mine, will be included in daily tweets and on our blog. If you are not already, please be sure to follow us on Twitter for daily photos. Our username is @LewisRoom20. If you are not a Twitter user, you can follow us by bookmarking and checking this address: twitter.com/LewisRoom20.

Another early project of the school year has focused on decorating our classroom. Our Hallway Name Card project has been a vehicle for teaching the same process that kids will use for their writing...that writing goes from “private” to “public.” Private work is for the “self” and includes creating a plan, conferencing on that plan, then creating a rough draft, conferencing on that rough draft, and making some revisions/edits. We say that public is for “others” and that audience helps to determine the standards of quality and acceptance. The kids' work is going up on the wall near our door and looks good. They are applying that same process to making other classroom d├ęcor, including a welcome sign, lunch tub sign, number line, and more. 

On Friday, we launched a multi-week project to bring a Little Free Library to the main entrance of our school. We began by watching this PBS video about Little Free Libraries. Then we brainstormed the many steps necessary to bring this project to life, including decorate the library, organize and run a book drive, communicate the library system with all of Lewis’s classrooms and the community, decide where to put the library and where to store the books, and maintain the library on a weekly basis.

I am glad that so many families have signed up for classroom messages with Remind. Remind allows me to share messages with families. You can choose to receive messages by text or email. I plan to use Remind for three purposes. Each week I will send a message to share that our new Classroom Notes are up on our blog. I will also send a message to share field trip or event related reminders. A third purpose will be to share library book reminders. If you haven’t yet done so, please consider signing up using these directions

An important letter about a life threatening peanut and tree nut allergy in room 20 went home on Thursday. If you missed it, please be sure to read this letter now. In short, foods containing peanuts or tree nuts are not allowed in room 20. This means that kids may not have a snack containing peanuts or tree nuts as ingredients. Even trace amounts of these products can cause a severe allergic reaction. Thank you for your help in keeping all kids safe.

We will be making team t-shirts soon. Please return the bottom half of the flyer with t-shirt money by this coming Tuesday. Thank you for all of the school supplies and for signing and returning the papers in the info packet from the office. Thank you for sending a full water bottle each day…that helps the kids so much! Homework at this point of the school year is for kids to read at least 30 minutes each night. 

Please join us for the Back-to-School Night on Tuesday, September 19th. I would love to meet everybody and give your kid a chance to show you around the room. Have your calendar handy when you come so you can mark down your time for parent-teacher conferences, which are scheduled for November 8th and 9th.

Thanks!
Mark

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