A Peek at Our Week

December 11, 2015


During our mindful mornings this year we have explored how the brain works and how paying attention to our breathing can help shape our brain and responses to emotional stimulus. We practice and learn ways to stay connected to our bodies and minds and recognize early signs of stress, anger or anxiety. And, we learned to understand how to use simple breathing techniques to calm down our nervous system, relax the stress response in the brain and respond with calm and awareness. We practice our breathing every morning, deepening that connections between deep breathing and mindful behavior. Now that we understand more about how the brain and mind works it is time to connect with the heart. The second piece that we are ready to bring into our practice and is key to mindfulness is heartfulness.

Heartfulness is the practice of intentionally nurturing positive mind states such as kindness, generosity and compassion in relationship to ourselves and others. To begin experiencing heartfulness, we began with sending kind thoughts to someone we see everyday who makes us happy when we see them. We imagined that person with a big smile on his or her face, being strong and healthy and surrounded by peace and calm. We then filled our hearts with kindness, so full that it was about to burst! Taking all that kindness we sent our thoughts of kindness out together..."May you be healthy and strong. May you be happy. May you be peaceful." Then, silently to ourselves we let any other kind wishes flow from our heart to theirs. Afterwards, we noticed that all those kind thoughts made us feel really good!

We also practiced sending those same kind thoughts to ourselves. That felt REALLY good! So did the self-hug! This is a tool we can use anytime when we want to feel good or when we are not feeling so great. Here are some other ways heartfulness can be cultivated:
  • Send friendly wishes to someone.
  • I am grateful for _______.
  • Notice the experience of generosity ā€“ what does it feel like to help someone?
  • Reinforce how good we feel inside when being kind, generous, or compassionate to others. Examples: heart feels warm, tingly feeling, floating.
  • Weave language that builds understanding and kindness into each day, for example, ā€œIā€™m noticing the expression on Hope's face. She looks sad. What can we do to help her feel better?ā€


Adding up more than three numbers has been the focus our math games this week. These games help us with our math fact practice as well as learn and strengthen different strategies that can be used to help solve these kinds of problems. We love sharing our strategies and learning from one another. It is great to see the many ways a problem can be approached and solved. Sometimes there is a double. Sometimes there are two numbers that make a ten and then it is easy to add the third number on. Some like to add the two bigger numbers first and then add the smaller. Others notice a math fact they already know quickly and then add on the third number. Some are learning the practice of counting on...holding a number in their heads, like 12, and adding 7 fingers while counting on..13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19!


Writing Workshop
We are such incredible and prolific writers...there is just never enough time to share all the stories that have been written lately! We have stories about Bengal tigers, epic summer trips, Minecraft, what we want for Christmas, our classroom stuffies and so much more!

I can't wait for you to hear their latest pieces at Portfolio Share! We have been working really hard to add details to extend our stories and help them make sense while giving the reader a FULL picture of what is happening in our stories. And, elaborating and adding descriptions have also brought even more life to our sentences.

Reading Workshop
"Flip the Sound" is a wonderful strategy for all readers trying to figure out how to sound out a word. It is especially handy when some of us may not know what phonic rules to apply. We are familiar with most the sounds a vowel can make - the short (baby) and long (grown-up). So, when we sound out a word like "cake" we might try "c-a-k" if we are not familiar with the magic of e. We will notice that it does not sound like a word! This is a great time to try flipping the sound to the other sound "a" makes (the long sound). Now, we can hear it as cake! It is a great strategy for all reading levels from those reading words like"cake" to "creative."

Word Work
In handwriting, Magic C taught us d. "Make a c, up like a helicopter, keep going, back down, bump."

Phonics groups are working on...
  • Word families with soft c (clarence) _ace, _ice and "u" with magic e.
  • _ing family. Did you know that _ng are very zealous baby sitters? They think baby i is one of the most adorable babies and they LOVE to pick it up, squeeze it (it's just SO cute!!). This makes the little baby i super excited and say "eeee" making the "ing" sound we are all familiar with.


No one likes getting an boo-boo, big or small. As Earth Heroes it is important to be able to help prevent situations that might cause someone to get hurt. We have our safety eyes on the lookout! It is also good to know how to help ourselves and others when hurt. Telling an adult is step #1! Then see what advice you can give or how you can help. Staying calm and giving comfort really helps out!

We had a few apples that had a very tough day! It's a good thing we all knew how to apply the appropriate first aid. Poor little guys! Luckily, they were in very caring and capable hands. Ask you child how to take care of a splinter, cut, bruise or scrap. Or, what to do for a nose bleed.


We played with color this week as we created beautiful snowflakes. We made 4 snowflakes and backgrounds. One used complimentary colors and another used colors in the same family. The other two were our choices that appealed to our artistic eyes. If you have not had a chance to see them, they will still be up during Portfolio Share on Friday!

Friday Workshops

  • January 8th - Laurel, Olivia
  • January 15th - Addy, Sam
  • January 22nd - Olivia, Oliver
  • January 29th - Gillian, Kaitlyn

Important Dates

  • December 16th - Board Meeting
  • December 18th - Portfolio Share - 9:15
  • December 21st-January 1st - Winter Break - No School

  • January 6th - Parent meeting

  • January 18th - MLK Jr. Day - No School

  • January 20th - Board Meeting

  • January 23rd - Alternative School Fair

There are couple of big, fun field trips planned for this Spring! If you would like to join us, sign up on the clipboard in the office.

Also, if you would like to sign up to bring an ingredient for a food project next week, please click on the link below. It is a new online sign-up we are trying out!

Sign up for ingredients here!!!