Maple Room News

1.12-1.16

Lines of Communication

We wanted to open this week's newsletter with a brief reminder regarding communication. We would appreciate it if you could always include both teachers on all communication, particularly when sending student related email or when responding to newsletters. This makes our lives so much easier, as we typically don't have a lot of time throughout the day to connect.


Thank you so much for your support, and please let us know if there are any things you'd like us to change regarding our communication with you. We're looking forward to seeing you and your children this coming week!


Sincerely,

The Teachers of the Maple Room

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Social Action

Wintery weather is beautiful. As a child, falling snow is both pleasant to watch and explore. Bitter cold temperatures alone, regardless of how unpleasant, often do not deter children - swaddled in scarves, down and layers of wool - from making the best of the outdoors. They love the space, the freedom it allows and the play it naturally supports. That said, our children are not happy when cold temperatures prevent them from spending their recess outdoors.


Recently the children of the Maple Room decided to write to our school leaders, in protest of a decision that prevented them from enjoying both fresh air and open space. Through pictures and words, children worked hard to fight for something they felt they truly deserved: outdoor recess, regardless of the conditions. They flooded the desks of our leaders with letters and drawings.


Following this display, Todd and Michelle came to speak to the children. During the conversation, the children and adults expressed their points-of-view. The children now have a greater understanding of why adults may make certain decisions, and the adults are more aware of how their decision can directly impact our students.

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Spreading Mindfulness at Compass

This week, students were selected to teach others at compass about our study of mindfulness. Though only three students were selected to teach this week, the entire Maple community has helped with this project. We often will "re-teach" each other about what mindfulness truly means. Students remind us constantly about the importance of playing and learning mindfully, respecting everyone during mindfulness, and remembering to stay calm.

Reading Workshop

We have continued to immerse ourselves in print this week. Students are noticing familiar letters and words all around them. At the beginning of the week, we spent our private reading time reading words that we know by heart: "Words of the Day", names of students/classes, days of the week, number words, etc.


We have continued to use some of the strategies that we learned in the beginning of the year, such as looking closely at the pictures. Now, we know that we can combine looking at the pictures and carefully reading the words we know to figure out all of the words on a page.


We have learned several new strategies that are helping us grow our reading brains!


Readers search for information when we get stuck on a tricky part in a book. We look at the whole page, the pictures and other words to help us figure out what is happening. We can think about the following to help us figure out tricky words:


· What goes with the pattern?

· What makes sense?

· What’s the first sound?


Our "Words of the Day" for this week: went, are, this, look, for

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Math Workshop

Recently we started a new math unit entitled 'bunk beds and apple boxes'. Through this unit, which starts with a playful story involving a sleepover, students are introduced to two primary math skills: compensation and equivalence. In short, this translate to 'we can make the same number using a variety of combinations'. This week the children made, explored and discussed varying arrangements of eight. The students were challenged to find all of the ways to make this number. They worked alongside other students to brainstorm new strategies and what to do if they'd recorded the same combination more than once. As a class we made a chart highlighting all of the ways we were able to compose the number 8. Some of our combinations were: 8 and 0, 7 and 1, 6 and 2, and 5 and 3. Can you spot the pattern that emerged?


During this unit, students were also introduced to a new math tool: the rekenrek. Please visit the link below to learn more about this simple, yet powerful tool.


http://www.therekenrek.com/2013/

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Art Show - Celebrating our Studio Work

Our fall semester of Studio in a School was concluded with an Art Show Celebration. In the past few weeks, students created beautiful wooden sculptures. Maples spent a lot of time exploring with the various wooden pieces that were used to create their final products. After assembling their structures with wood glue, students then explored the idea of adding color and texture to their wooden designs. Pieces of colored tissue paper were applied to various parts of their structure to really make their work come to life.


On Wednesday morning, the Maples were partnered with the Pine class for an art celebration. Kindergarteners were paired with First Graders so that they could observe and analyze the art that had been created by Compass students. Students were asked to choose one sculpture that they were attracted to. They were then prompted to sketch the sculptures from the angle that they were viewing them.


The "art talk" was rich and full of design language, such as: layering, building, 3-D, patterns, etc.


All wooden sculptures are now able to go home with Maples. These structures are very fragile and it might be best for grown ups to take them before/after school.


Please check out the student collages that have been showcased in the hallways for friends and family to see.

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Read Aloud

We have been connecting our read aloud texts to our study of "family" from our integrated unit. This week, we read The Relatives Came and Tango Makes Three. Students were making personal connections to different types of families that they are familiar with or families that they may be a part of. We discussed that no two families are the same: families have different members and are of different sizes. Some beautiful comments from these discussions:


"I feel lucky that I have a big family...some families only have one person or two."


"I know that my parents were really happy when they had me because they wanted to make a bigger family."


"A mommy has a part to do and a daddy has another one...or two daddy's can do the parts too."

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Exploration

This week students made spaceships of varying size, purpose and esthetic. The shuttle pictured above was composed, loaded with varying animals and shot into space this past week.


Ground Control to Major Tom?