The Jungle Beat

September 26, 2015

Our mission is to create a culture of intellectual curiosity where all students have ownership over their learning and are inspired to think, innovate, and create.

Welcome to FreshGRADE!

Parents - By Monday you should have all received an invitation to the FreshGrade Portfolio Assessment system. I sent an announcement last week as well as an invite. As information is entered into your child's portfolio you will receive a notification. I will begin this week loading pieces of documentation. Documentation will be in the form of notes and occasionally a picture or a video. This portfolio will grow over time. When looking at the information keep this concept in mind. While the portfolio may look a little empty at first, before you know it will grow into an impressive sizable collection of documentation of your child's learning. HOW EXCITING!!!

I will continue to send The Jungle Beat online newsletter. The newsletter will be the venue to share and define our learning activities. It will serve as a way to communicate needed information and post pictures.

Please let me know if the invitation did not work. Email addresses were pulled form a data base and we are working to make sure they are correct. In some instances the email was pulled for the dad and not the mom or vice versa. We can add email addresses if you would like it to go to both parents or even a grandparent.

We appreciate your patience as we have been working to get the system up and running. I ask for your continued patience as I begin uploading pieces of documentation of your child's work. It may be slow at first but please know we are working, learning, and growing.

News and Notes

Thank you so much for responding to the "signup genius" to provide the supplies for our STEM project on house structures. I am not sure the pictures can properly show the level of engagement and excitement that filled the room as the children built their structures.

We began the activity by forming groups. Once groups were formed they decided together what items they wanted to use to build their houses. Prior to this activity we had read books on building houses. Several decide to use one of these books as a reference as they were building their structures. As I moved from group to group providing support I engaged in discussions about vertices and shapes.

After houses were finished we then explored blowing them down. We first used a straw. Determining the wind from the straw was not enough we moved to a larger wind source. We used a hair dryer as the "big bad wolf." We huffed, we puffed but we COULD NOT blow the structors over. The discussion then became about why we were not able to blow the houses over.

This is a great project that is easily extended in the home. I encouraged the children to do this with you. Don't worry-you can do it! This activity works with all ability levels and only gets better the more your child grows in their math and science skills.


As a continuation of our exploration of color, we are creating a "color collage wall." This will be an ongoing activity throughout the entire year. Children have been bringing in items such as a marker, toy car, and piece of foam to glue on canvases that we painted during center time. We have been holding the items up to the canvases and discussing which color palette they more closely match. Adding real items of their choosing adds an authentic 3D sensory dimension. I will send updates on our wall progression as it evolves throughout the year. Our next step will be for everyone to add a color word of their choosing. We will start with them picking their favorite color, writing it in that color and adding it to the canvas. I am excited about this authentic learning as we go beyond just the basic recall of color words.


Many young children will not try to write or draw for fear of not getting it "right." Research strongly supports the development of reading and writing skills being interdependent. To move a child past this block is often key to them progressing in building a solid foundation in these skills. As a way to provide support for the children with this, I recently read the book ISH by Peter Reynolds. The book ISH is about a child that learns that thinking "ish-ly" is far more wonderful than getting it "right."

As we made waffles on Friday, the concept of -ISH took on a new life. The objective was to work on the concept that 4 small squares make a large square and that by placing the triangle on top of the square you can make the shape of a house. As you can see in the picture I couldn't get the waffle pieces to be an "exact" shape. One child spoke up and said it is "house-ish." It was contagious. The discussion continued that the shapes were square-ISH and triangle-ISH.

WOW-I could not have asked for a better example of learning. The children independently demonstrated the applying of a previously learned concept to another situation. They took the concept of the ISH book we used for writing and applied it to our math activity. I am so thankful for the "-ISH moments" I have with your children!

Rhyming Skills

Rhyming is often a difficult skill for 5 & 6 year olds. The first step is supporting them to hear that words rhyme. For example: bear and hair. They often focus on the final consonant sound and state that hip and top rhyme because they both end in "p". The highest level is supporting their ability to produce rhymes. On Friday I sent home rhyming bags. Help your child select an item to place in the bag. Then help them generate a word that rhymes with the object in the bag. We will work this week on guessing what is in the bag based on the rhyming clue as well as other clues.
Parents-thank you for your continued support. You are essential to the success of our school. Please consider taking the next step in our growth as a school by joining the PTSA. The above link will take you to a form you can print off and send to school with your child. Membership is $10.

In addition to your support in our PTSA, our class is in need of a room parent. If you are interested in helping with this please contact me. We are happy to have a mom, a dad or an active grandparent to fill this roll.

Scholastic Book Order

I wanted to remind you all that we have an account with Scholastic Book Club. Flyers for ordering will go home on Monday. In addition to the traditional flyer order form, there is an online ordering option. Don't forget that the ending date is September 30th for this first order. Every order helps us build our classroom library. The link below can take you directly to the site.