Friday, May 14th, 2021

Principal's Corner

Hello all,

As we are coming to the end of the year, I would love to share a few reflections. I have heard some concerns throughout these past 15 months about “learning loss," and I would contend that there is no such thing. It may have looked a bit different, but my observations are that learning has continued, and in some ways accelerated. There is such valuable learning that happens outside of schools and books. By taking the time to support genuine exploration of wonders, deep contemplation, conversations, and discovery, students (as well as adults) experience authentic and meaningful learning. There has been more time for life learning, family learning and self-learning. I hope you embrace the learning that has occurred and let go of some of the “musts” and “have tos”.

I also believe that this will prepare us for whatever is next. Whether you are staying with BFPP, moving on to another school, or returning to your neighborhood school, I sincerely hope you go forward knowing yourself and learner a bit better and jumping in with both feet- you are ready!

Further, I have every faith that whatever that next step is that the teachers and school staff will be ready to meet you and your learner right where you are. They will be building community and learning with the knowledge and capacity to honor all of the different paths that will bring us together. Each of us will adjust and transition, but we’ll do it together with whatever we bring, from where ever it came from, and with the readiness to face it.

As I said at the beginning of the year, WE GOT THIS BFPP!

Jumping in with both feet too, k

Mark Your Calendars

See below for more info:

  • Fridays 12:30-2:30: Kindergarten Outdoor Play
  • Wednesday, May 19 at 1:30: BFPP Talent Show!

More info coming soon:

  • Celebration of Learning: Wednesday, June 9 at 1:30

Kindergarten ( and 1st Grade!) Outdoor Play

*First Graders are welcome to join the kindergarteners on Fridays for outdoor playtime!*

Every Friday 12:30-2:30pm

Where: Larrabee Elementary

How: With masks and distancing

Why: To build community & create friendships

Play Date Menu

May 14th Charades

May 21st BINGO!

May 28th Simon Says

June 4th Yoga

June 11th Obstacle Course

Families need to fill out this Health Attestation Form just once for these drop-in classes. You do not need to register for this class, just swing on by!

*An adult must stay with their child during each class.

*If it’s a rainy day we will put our raincoats and boots on and make the best of it!

BFPP Talent Show!

Wednesday, May 19th at 1:30pm

Talent show acts are being polished and the big day is around the corner! Join us next Wednesday at 1:30 to witness the creativity, talents, and enthusiasm of your fellow BFPP students! Please watch your email for the Zoom link.

If you'd like to be in the talent show, please follow this Flip Grid link:

Once you are there, you can view two ‘sample audition’ videos. Then, record and submit your own ‘audition video’. This video should be between 30 seconds to a minute long and should just give us an idea of your act. Please say your name, your grade (or age), and what you are going to share. These aren’t tryouts, we won’t be having a competition, we just want to see what you are planning on doing to help with the line ups.

Email the Talent Show Team (Teachers Annie, Karen, Jackie, and Carol) with your questions.

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Supporting Your Struggling Reader 2-Day Series

3rd-5th Grade Struggling Readers: Fridays May 28th and June 4th 10:00-11:00am

In this Learning Together Workshop, we will spend 2 sessions together working to build our knowledge and skills around how to help support our readers who struggle. We will build an understanding of how the brain works and how reading and language is processed. We will create the agenda for the second day around the needs you have. I am excited to work with you to support your reader. Please come prepared to be present with cameras on and a willingness to share in large or small groups.

Please RSVP to: to receive the Zoom link.

Spontaneity and Creativity: A Zoom Workshop for Grownups

Thursday, May 20th from 3:30-4:30pm

This hour-long workshop, facilitated by BFPP teacher and learning plan partner Carol Makela de Rosales, will delve into the practice of tapping into creativity through spontaneity. We'll begin by exploring a variety of thought on creativity based on psychology, neuroscience and wu-wei, the ancient Chinese practice of effortless action. Then we'll jump into a few rounds of drama-based improv games to get us out of the judgmental 'rational' mind and into a freer state of creativity through spontaneity. Looking forward to a fun-filled hour of "trying not to try"!

Please email Carol to RSVP and receive the Zoom link no later than Monday, May 17th, as a minimum number of participants is preferable for the most fun and creative experience.

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The Magic of Storytelling

by Sammy Cousens

No matter the age, we all have stories we carry with us. Developing stories is another authentic way for kids to make meaning of themselves and the world around them. Storytelling opportunities arise when kids are using their imagination, when they share their ideas, when they ask questions, or reflect on their experiences. As adults, we can help empower them by writing down their words as they authentically process, divulge/share and discover their self-identity through written and oral language.

Storytelling Ideas

  • Keep a composition notebook handy to quickly jot down any quotes from your child
  • On the spine of the book write their name and year
  • Introduce the notebook with your child and explain that this is a place they can share their stories, leave it somewhere they are able to access it too
  • Write the date and child's name on everything
  • In their notebook, stick in little notes, scribbles or pictures your child has made
  • With your child, revisit previous stories you have already written down, that they have told you
  • Invite your child to draw a story before/during/or after to match the written words
  • Invite your child to retell the story you wrote as you point to their words
  • Start with, “Tell me your story…” and then, “tell me more”…and just keep writing as they share
  • Write down their exact words with no corrections or suggestions from you
  • Teach your child how to record their voice on a cell phone or tape recorder- empowering them to orally tell their story whenever they choose
  • Provide diverse kinds of stories, storytelling formats and genres (incorporate puppets, write about how to make something like playdough)

Story Telling Benefits

  • Family Traditions: Telling oral stories from your childhood to your own children is a magical tradition
  • Kids will build their visual narrative and begin story telling without books/family support
  • Continuing the cycle of family culture, telling oral stories, rhymes, songs
  • Sharing memories from your own childhood
  • Kids are constantly building their visual story as they share their narratives


Until Next Time,

Sammy Cousens

Cultivating the Intrinsic Desire to Read

by Carrie Vining

Lately, I’ve been doing workshops for families who have a struggling reader. The question inevitably comes up: How to I motivate my child to read? Part of me hears the voice of Julie Bogart who wrote The Brave Learner say, “You can’t coerce caring.” That might be the part of me who is worn down from a preteen and a teen at home who swing between a love/dislike relationship with everything. The other part of me knows that there are lots of ways for families to instill a love of reading AND that it is very important to start fostering this young.

Motivating someone to want to do something is a tricky venture. There is a window that is open during the early years that closes up later on. Take advantage of it while it’s there to create a positive feeling towards reading in your child. Reading is an incredibly complicated process and our brains are not hardwired to do it naturally. So creating a positive feeling towards literacy while your child is young is important.

Here are just a few ways help create a good relationship between your child and reading:

  1. Have a set routine for read-to-self time.
  2. Create a cozy place for reading like a fort or special place.
  3. Buddy Read with your child, taking turns. Or have your child read to a pet or stuffy.
  4. Read with Grandparents or other family over zoom.
  5. Expand reading to include more than just books, write silly signs or notes for your child to read around the house. Turn it into a game or treasure hunt.
  6. Check out fun magazines from the library or ask for subscriptions for their birthday.
  7. Read jokes to them and have them read the punchlines.
  8. Read poetry.
  9. Have your child write their own books to read to others or have them narrate a book to you (as you scribe) and then they can illustrate it. Or use a tape recorder or voice to text feature.
  10. Read recipes, then cook or bake them.
  11. Read plays and act out the parts.
  12. Let your child choose their own books at the library (when open).

Here are a few articles that will also help:

How to Motivate Your Child to Read

15 Effective Ways to Motivate Your Child to Read

Genius Ways to Make Kids Love Reading

Tips for Encouraging Kids to Read

World Language Supports

by Piper Mertle

Many a parent wonders "If I don't speak French (or other language), how do I teach it to my child?!"

Here's one suggestion: As is the case with many things about homeschooling, go with what your interests (your child's and yours) are!

If you like movies, here are a couple that are wonderful and give a feel for places where French is spoken. The two I've selected are set on location and are NOT animated. There are some great animated films in French, but these two are very authentic and the stories are wonderful.

I absolutely recommend The Red Balloon. It is a classic 1956 film in black and white. It has almost no dialogue, and at only 34 minutes long, it can be understood and enjoyed by all.

Additionally, I love Binta and the Great Idea. In French, with English subtitles, it is an award-winning short film (31 minutes) filmed on location in Senegal, (West Africa). It is a delightful movie, with a sweet yet powerful story and message for kids (and adults!).

Favorite Picture Books and Beginning Readers

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Kindergarten Registration

Registration for kindergarten has begun in Bellingham Public Schools. All children who will be 5 before Sept. 1, 2021 can be registered for kindergarten. Families can register their kindergartner online on our kindergarten webpage.

Check out our BFPP Kindergarten Virtual Tour!

Children's Art Walk

Get out on the town and enjoy one more week of Allied Arts Children's Art Walk!

BFPP & BVL student artwork will remain on exhibit at Social Fabric, 301 W. Holly Street - that's in Bay Street Village. Renee Sherrer, owner of the shop, used her designer's eye to create the exhibit of 49 students' works of art. Thanks to all who contributed!

**After the show, art will be returned to BFPP in its original protective enclosure. Families may pick-up art show submissions beginning on Wednesday May 26th at BFPP during normal materials pick-up hours on Wednesdays: 9-10am and 4:30-5:30 pm**

Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer, a Review

by Crystal Holtzheimer

Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer is a resource-management and worker-placement style game where you get to play as a bee trying to manage the survival of their hive. Each player selects a type of queen bee that is based on actual strains of honeybee and their biological and behavioral traits. Worker bees are assigned to different tasks to gather resources, or use resources to perform important jobs crucial to the long-term success and survival of the hive. Along the way, players earn victory points for a variety of things, with the goal of the game being to be the player with the most victory points at the end of winter.

The game is designed for players ages 14 and up, though depending on how experienced a child is with different types of games, younger children can play as well (our 8 year old loves it). The base game can be played by 2 to 4 players, and also has a deck of cards to use for playing in solo mode. The art is beautiful, and cards and tokens are of very high quality. This is a wonderful way to bring to life homeschooling lessons about pollinators, interactions between bees and their environment, and the perils of colony collapse. For a more in-depth review of all the game features and their biological accuracy, check out this review from the journal Science.

While the game itself is a little pricey, I have reason to believe BFPP may be ordering a couple of copies for checkout, so touch base with your learning plan partner for more information. It is a wonderful game, and so much fun to play. We hope it brings your family as much joy as it has brought ours.

Virtual YA Author Event: Tahereh Mafi in conversation with Marie Lu

Wednesday, June 2nd from 2:00-3:00pm

Bellingham Public Library and Village Books are pleased to co-present bestselling YA authors Tahereh Mafi and Marie Lu in an online event, Wednesday, June 2, 2 - 3 p.m.

Tahereh Mafi's new book An Emotion of Great Delight is a searing look into the world of a single Muslim family in the wake of 9/11. It’s about a child of immigrants forging a blurry identity, falling in love, and finding hope—in the midst of a modern war.

Marie Lu is the New York Times bestselling author of the Legend trilogy and The Young Elites trilogy.

For more details and to register for the event click here.

Friends of the Family Resource Center: Spring Fundraiser

Neighbors, Friends, All of You Caring Hearts: It's time for the Spring Helping Hands Drive!

Our main goal is to cover new shoes and clothing for 500+ Bellingham Public Schools students who have returned to in-person learning with outgrown shoes/clothes. Can you help? Any donation makes a difference.

You can donate at

or mail a check directly to Friends of the Family Resource Center, P.O. Box 24, Bellingham, WA 98227.

Questions? Email us at Thank you for lifting up local families during their time of need.

Newsletter Contributions Welcome

Please email Heidi Zollner with your news items.