Getting Ready for Open House

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 6:30 PM via ZOOM

Hello parents,

I'd like to formally invite you to attend Open House. This year, once again, we'll meet using Zoom. The below link will give you access to the meeting room.


I hope this first newsletter helps you to learn and get excited about the year ahead. I, for one, am very excited. I'm looking forward to meeting you at Open House. Come equipped with any questions you may have. It will be my pleasure to answer them.


Click HERE to enter the ZOOM Room.

Mindset

I know that parents across the globe are increasingly concerned about the impact that remote, hybrid, concurrent, and socially distanced, in-person learning has had on our children. I don't deny that the last year and a half has been extraordinarily difficult but I'm not comfortable looking at my students as deficient. This is my eighth year teaching fourth grade and I've taught nine years of fifth. Quite honestly, your children look great. They come to school with smiles in their eyes, they socialize with their peers appropriately, they're attending to challenging tasks with perseverance, they're actively building a learning community that involves collaboration, communication, risk-taking, and creativity. Sure, there are some skills that we'll need to revisit but your kiddos have shown up ready to work hard. Their hard work will pay big dividends. So, let's promise our students that we'll focus on all that they are doing well, which is a lot, and we'll encourage them to work hard, every day! So, no deficit thinking. Our students are exactly where they're supposed to be and they're ready for great achievement!

Bridges Math

I am in LOVE with our new math program. I was an English major in college and I adore teaching reading and writing but my real passion is teaching mathematics. I am so grateful to have access to a curriculum that will inspire our students to think deeply, develop number sense, communicate effectively using explicit language, collaborate and argue with peers around mathematical concepts, and to be PLAYFUL with math. I am including a few links below so that you can learn more about this curriculum and our first unit. I'll elaborate more on our experiences with the new curriculum at Open House.


Intro to Bridges for Families: LINK


Welcome to Bridges: LINK


Bridges Unit 1 Overview: LINK

STMath

I am thrilled to announce that Memorial School students will have access to STMath through a generous grant from the Mind Research Institute. We are lucky to be one of the 407 schools across our state who can take advantage of this amazing program designed specifically to increase students' achievement in mathematics. STMath and its partners are committed to ensuring that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world's most challenging problems. In my opinion, one of the greatest gifts of this program is that it encourages playfulness and creativity which are too often lost when it comes to mathematics instruction. Bottom line: STMath is FUN. Students love to solve the puzzles the program presents, and as a result, their capacity to solve challenging math problems increases with each session. I'll chat more about STMath at Open House!

English Language Arts

During our ELA block, students will have choice and voice. They will receive differentiated, explicit instruction that will propel their reading and writing to the next level. I will use a Daily Cafe format where students can opt to:



  • Read to Self
  • Work on Writing
  • Read to Someone
  • Work on Developing Language Skills
  • Work on Lexia


While the students are busy completing meaningful assignments and practicing their skills, I will be busy working with individual students and small groups. There will definitely be some whole class mini-lessons, but for the most part, students' time will be largely focused on actually reading, writing, and communicating. I will use Wonders as a primary resource in addition to Story Works, actual chapter books, non-fiction books, picture books, and poetry.



We have been hard at work, establishing routines, and working to build a community where everyone feels valued and comfortable enough to take risks. My end goal is to create a relaxed vibe during our ELA block despite the fact that students and teachers will be working hard to promote growth and achievement. I hope that this block will feel joyful. In the end, I hope that your students grow to enjoy reading more than ever and that each time they pick up a book, it is a meaningful experience.

#classroombookaday

Has your student told you about #classroombookaday? Every day, we take time to read one picture book. When the kids are inspired to chat about it, we do. Mostly, we read just for the joy of it. I'll share our list from time to time. I'm also very open to suggestions. Feel free to send along any family favorites!

Science and Social Studies

The students will have me for science. I will make sure that science is engaging, hands-on, and generally FUN. I will use Mystery Science as our main resource and will design mini-units to address the few standards not well covered by Mystery Science. Right now, the students are studying plants. By the end, they will be able to construct an argument that plants have internal and external structures that support their survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. We've already observed some pretty cool phenomena and we've taken a dive into system thinking. I'd love it if you could elicit some plant chat in your homes.


Our students will have Miss Chiarelli for social studies. We taught together last year at Clough. She is an enthusiastic and capable teacher who I know will make social studies relevant and engaging for your child. Our students will learn about North America (Canada, Mexico, and the United States) and its peoples from a geographic perspective, expanding map reading, mapmaking, and geographic reasoning skills. They'll explore guiding questions such as “How have the geographic features of North America shaped its history?” and “What contributions have the various groups that have settled in North America made to the culture of each region?” Their studies will help them to appreciate the culture and geography around them and across our beautiful continent.

Communication

I know this is going to sound a little funny but I hope to communicate less with the families of my students this year. For the past year and a half, constant communication has been necessary but if you're anything like me, the non-stop communication became a bit like white noise after a while.


Instead, I will send out a monthly newsletter keeping you up to date on the important goings-on in our classroom and will share ideas for expanding the learning at home. I'm excellent at answering emails and will get back to you in 24 hours or less in response to any questions or concerns you may have.


I'm also happy to meet with you at any point during the school year to discuss your student's progress. I'll look forward to meeting with you in November but we can certainly meet before then, too.

Thank you!

Thank you in advance for the time you'll set aside to attend Open House. I really do appreciate how little time parents of young children have in the evening hours. I'm grateful that so many will set aside some of their precious minutes to spend with me. I know all students achieve more and are generally more successful when their greatest teachers (their families) collaborate and communicate with their in-school teachers. I look forward to spending some quality time with you on Wednesday evening.