The Pursuit Press

June 2015, Final Edition

Farewell to our Fourth Graders

I have certainly enjoyed working with this talented group! Their eagerness to want to branch out beyond the ordinary is contagious, and I pray that this desire will never wane.

Much to my dismay, the fourth graders missed several Pursuit classes the latter part of the school year due to half-days, field trips and other special events. With this being said, we worked hard to make the most of our time together. We completed our examination of communication systems with a study of the telegraph and the telephone. Our learning experiences included several interesting videos, Internet research, and a unique simulation. We also uncovered systems behind culture and tradition while reading the award-winning novel, A Single Shard. Parents, ask your child about our Socratic Seminars. I was so impressed with the maturity shown as we used this approach to discuss the novel.

Finally, I must mention our participation in the WordMasters Challenge, a national vocabulary and critical thinking competition. ALL ten students completed the competition receiving national recognition! Eight Students received "Honorable Mention" for finishing among the top 10% of all competitors at our grade level and two students received "High Honors" for finishing among the top 2%. Special recognition also goes to Juliana DeMarco for achieving the high score for our class!

Congratulations to the following students on your AWESOME accomplishments:


Adeline Brown

Nick Dudgeon

Logan Kaiser

Nick Marciniak

Rocco Secreto

Sammy Stevens

Sara Welhalf

Sean Willocks


Juliana DeMarco

Emma O'Day

Parents, it is my hope that through our participation in this competition your students added many new words to their working vocabularies and made strides in their ability to think critically and analytically.

I will miss this awesome group of students. Please keep me informed of their progress as I know great adventures are in the future for them all!

Third Grade

We had a small group of third graders in Pursuit this year, but don't let the size fool you! They worked very hard and each one demonstrated leadership and learning application!

The third graders completed the theme of "relationships" with an in-depth investigation of endangered species. With a few weeks off for our field trip to MODS and Green Market preparations, we spent the entire fourth quarter working on this study. Research skills were developed as the students worked dilligently to complete their research logs. We then worked on expository writing skills using the research logs to begin writing an endangered species book. Although time did not allow for a final publication of this book, we did share the writing orally. Creativity was not forgotten in this study as the students wrote endangered species poetry, created a photo collage, and made a 'potanimal'.

We are looking forward to having some new friends join our group next school year and are excited about the possibilities a larger group will bring! I hope that everyone has a great summer and I'll be looking forward to meeting again in September!

Second Grade

The second grade group has had a very successful first year in Pursuit. I looked forward to seeing them each week as their enthusiasm and excitement for our class was always over-the-top!

We completed our year long theme of DISCOVERIES with an extensive investigation of the California Gold Rush. Students participated in activities designed to improve critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, research skills, note-taking, and affective thinking. Parents, take a peek at your child's thinking log and ask them about the may topics we covered. I think you will be amazed at their knowledge. We ended our discovery with a much-anticipated Miner's Day. Students feasted on miner grub (biscuits and beef jerky), mined for gold during a simulation on Joshua's Corner, and were thrilled to exchange their gold for some 'golden' treasures in our classroom. Many thanks to Mrs. Marciniak and Mrs. Perez for their assistance with this fun-filled event!

I look forward to new experiences in learning with this fantastic group of kiddos next school year! God's blessings on your summer.

Pursuit Green Market

The Pursuit Green Market was wildly successful this school year! Thank you, Parents, for your awesome contributions. This event would not be possible without your support! The funds raised will be used to enhance the Pursuit program during the upcoming school year. It was also the desire of the students to use a portion of the proceeds to purchase a tree to beautify our St. Paul campus. After much thought and consideration, we have come up with another idea and changed our mind. When I saw how well the herbs and plants sold during the Green Market, I began to think how great it would be if the students could grow their own herbs and, in turn, sell them at next year's market. I discussed this idea with the students and am pleased to share that it was well received! Therefore, we will be using a portion of the proceeds from this year's Green Market to begin a Pursuit garden with the hopes of selling the fruits of our labor at next year's market! Stay tuned...

Recommendations for Summer


Matilda by Roald Dahl - Matilda is an unusual girl stuck in a horrible situation. Beyond her gifted mind, she has some rather mysterious powers! The movie is equally delightful, but I would recommend reading the book first!

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L 'Engle - A classic novel featuring a gifted female protagonist on a journey across time and space. Meg's young brother is profoundly gifted, and the two struggle to find their identities.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster - This fantasy novel was published more than fifty years ago and features clever wordplay that would be enjoyed by both parent and child. This would be a great book to read together!

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart - The first in a series that I would recommend for older students.

It begins with an ad in the paper: "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" Four special children make it through a series of strange tests and become part of a secret mission.

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by e. l. Konigsburg - A great novel featuring a gifted girl. Claudia runs away from home, but doesn't want to give up comforts. She convinces her younger brother to fund the trip and the two end up exploring the New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Palindromania by Jon Agee - Continue the exploration we began in class into the world of palindromes!