The Major News

November 2019 - Issue #3

Dates to Remember

November 22nd

Turkey Bingo

November 28th & 29th

Thanksgiving Holiday-No school

December 3rd &4th

Benchmark Assessment

Principal's Corner

Dear Parents and Caring Adults,

As principal, it is so exciting to walk into each classroom and see a high level of learning that includes student support and focused engagement at our school. Family engagement makes the difference is a school’s success. Without the wonderful support from our parents we cannot do the job of educating students at the level we have been able to accomplish at our amazing school. I know Ursa Major parents know that we are focused on Mastery Based leaning. Meaning that our focus is not on giving grades as mush as it is on making sure all students learn, and Master the standards that will allow them to move on to the next grade level successfully. I would like to thank our families for the support our parents give to your students and their education, along with the volunteer hours so many of you put in each week. It does make a difference, and I want to thank you for all you do for our school.

On another important topic, it is taking winter a long time to get here this year, but it will arrive. We have seen above normal weather, but it is dipping into below 32 degrees at night. It is important for families to be prepared. Parents, please take time to review the Winter Gear Required Clothing list for K-3 and 4-6 located in this newsletter. Make sure your child has all the required gear, and is ready to wear them to school and we will make sure students wear their winter gear home. The principal will make multiple announcements to students and will send out a “Robo” call to all parents as soon as the daily temp stays below 32 degrees for a few days, or we have a snow that sticks. Parents will also receive an email reminder of the required winter gear all students must wear throughout the winter.

Benchmark testing will begin in early December, and it is very important for students to be present for these assessments. Please make sure your student attends school during their benchmark assessment days, December 3rd & 4th.

Our wonderful PTA is having their annual Turkey Bingo Night on November 22, 2019. We hope to see every Ursa Major Family at this exciting event. Most families win their turkey and several sides for the Thanksgiving Diner. We know you have other soldiers over to your house during these special days and this is the PTA’s way to help out. Please come join us for this exciting event!


Benjamin Hardwick
Ursa Major Elementary


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Music Notes

Greetings from the music room!

What a great start to the second quarter with many wonderful sounds coming out of the music room. In grades 2-5 we have been exploring form, continuing with rhythm, and have been discussing melodic movement. Students have been composing music by integrating our language arts skills of vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency within our musical concepts creating rhythm, beat, and form. Music is and can be such a powerful tool to help our students with their reading and fluency skills. Kinder and 1st grades have continued with steady beat and have started learning about melody as well as high and low sounds. With the holidays fast approaching we look forward to the music to come and hope to share some of our wonderful sounds with you. We are beginning some holiday music as well to explore our musical concepts for the season.

The Choir will be singing Saturday Nov 16@ 4:30 at Bass Pro on Mt. View Drive for the opening of Santa’s Workshop! Please come support our singers.

We will have our Winter Concert December 12th @ 6:30 pm, in the MPR here at Ursa Major for the Choir and Marimba Band, everyone is invited to attend.

The Choir will have its winter tour on Friday, December 13, and we will need approx. 16 parent drivers if you are able to help us out. Please send me an email.

Just a reminder that choir starts at 8:00 am on Wednesday mornings, please try and be on time but not too early. Have students arrive no earlier than 7:55 am, before that there is no student supervision. Many students walk and with the cold dark months upon us buddy groups are always a good idea, reflective clothing, and good winter gear is important as well.

Thank you for all that you do to support music here at Ursa Major and in your child’s education. As always feel free to contact me here at school or shoot me an email with any musical questions!

Mr. Drake

Greetings from P.E.

This past month we played a couple new fitness games. One game Mr. Fullmer brought to us is called "Fullmer Ball".

We also had several rope climbing and rope swinging lessons also.

We have several seasonal games. Last month we played "pumpkin snatchers" just prior to and after Oct 31st.

Ropes Club will meet through Nov 20th

Basketball Club will continue to meet until Nov 21st

Volleyball Club will meet until Dec 9th

Badminton Club will begin on Wednesday Nov 27th until Dec. 18th

Coach Bydlon and Coach Fullmer

Nurse Notes

Children come into contact with germs every day. Proper handwashing can help stop the spread of many illnesses – from the common cold to more serious illnesses like hepatitis A. Handwashing is easy, inexpensive, effective, and can help prevent sick days and trips to the doctor!

Here are some techniques for proper handwashing:

  • Wash your hands in warm water
  • Use soap and lather for about 20 seconds, which is about the length of time for children to sing “Happy Birthday” twice
  • Make sure to wash in between fingers, under nails, and wrists
  • Rinse and dry with a clean towel

Parents can help their children stay healthy by doing the following:

  • Teach children good handwashing techniques
    • When you are first teaching young children how to wash their hands, remember the following:
      • Demonstrate how to wash your hands; young children learn best through watching and doing – not just hearing!
      • Explain the proper handwashing techniques one at a time as your child practices
      • Follow up handwashing lessons with story books about germs and handwashing, look at pictures of germs, and point out when role models wash their hands. Other interactive activities will reinforce handwashing
    • Remind children to wash their hands in these situations:
      • Before eating and cooking
      • After using the bathroom
      • After coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose
      • After cleaning around the house
      • After touching animals or pets
      • After coming home from school
      • After playing outside
      • Before and after visiting or taking care of sick friends or relatives
    • Wash your own hands with your children and model proper handwashing
      • Children do not always see what you do, so talk about it! Announce when and why you are going to wash your hands or talk about something you touched and how you washed your hands after you touched it
    • Carry hand sanitizer for times when there is no sink or soap available

Gail Rust LPN

Emelyn Hudson RN-School Nurse

Ursa Major Elementary School

Anchorage School District

office: (907)742-1601

fax: (907)742-1616

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Library News: Check it Out!

Fall greetings from the library.

It has been a busy month, starting out with the Book Fair. Thank you for all of your support! All of the money raised goes right back into purchasing new books for our library. I have been able to buy over two hundred new books out on the shelves from our Scholastic dollars.

Last month I taught the first of a series of lessons from Common Sense Media for the 3-6th grade students. I will be continuing those lessons once a month. Our first lesson focused on Media balance. We talked about the types of media including: news, videos, books social media and gaming. We focused on how these activities make us feel and what might be appropriate limits. Some questions you might want to discuss at home include:

1. Do digital devices keep us from getting enough sleep?

2. Do we do them while we eat?

3. Do we do activities together without devices?

4. Do we use them together?

5. Do our digital devices ever cause fights? What about?

6. When we use them, how are they fun? What do we learn?

7. Are there screen free zones or time limits?

Parents may access more information at:!

This month we will be focusing on Mysteries in the library. This week we read a chapter from a mystery book and talked about the elements of a good mystery. We then learned how to make fingerprints and identify our patterns with magnifying glasses. We will continue with mysteries in science and history as the month continues.

Happy Reading,

Michelle Williams, Librarian

Ursa Major Elementary

454 Dyea Ave,

Anchorage, Alaska 99505


School Lunch Menus are now ONLINE!

Please click the link below to see your student's lunch menu.


The Counselors Corner

Thank you to the Veterans and their families this month. In the intermediate grades we are talking about values that are unique to each branch of the military and of those values, which one means the most to us. In the primary grades we are learning how to show kindness to new students and old friends. The holidays are filled with both happy and sad feelings. Please let me know how I can support your child through the weeks ahead. Be aware that if your family experienced the major earthquake last November there may be anxiety related to that day near the anniversary this Thanksgiving holiday. Be sure to set aside some time to listen to their story and brainstorm ways to assure them that they are loved and they are safe.

Heather Butcher

School Counselor

Ursa Minor/Ursa Major

#Helping the Whole Child be Successful

News from IGNITE

IGNITE students just completed two simultaneous units on the brain and mindsets and another about smoke jumpers. This was relevant to the fires our state has experienced in the last few months. Students will be moving on to learn about activism and how to find a cause they believe in and how to contribute to it. My hope is that we also learn about the new bag ban and the environmental reasons behind it. We may just make some reusable shopping bags as well.

Dr. Jillian Gates

IGNITE Teachers

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