Elementary Update: February 2012

A look back and a look ahead from January, so named for the two-faced God Janus…

Your children are hard at work at several big writing projects. We are all waist high in crafting up to 8 different kinds of Poems; acrostic, limerick, personal, rhyming couplet, cinquain, diamante, free verse and haiku. We have all shared a fact or two about dolphins and porpoises.  Elders are learning how to construct a multi-paragraph comparison and contrast paper on the difference between porpoises and dolphins and construct and write a multi-paragraph history research paper on the Sumerians.

Younger children are hard at work writing booklets about the parts of a flag and the parts of a horse. The former moves us along our geography studies in concert with our maps of the countries of the world. The latter finishes up our study of vertebrates which moves us closer to the studies of all the different kinds of life on earth: biodiversity.

All the children continue becoming proficient in their math facts and the levels they are working on. We are introducing the concept of fractions to the first year student and decimals to some elders.

Favorite work across the board has been dynamic addition and subtraction, multiplication, division with snake games, bead bars, stamp game, and racks and tubes. Checkerboard has resurfaced to clarify multiplication operations as well.

We hope you will consider attending our 5th Annual Poetry Café to be held here at school on Tuesday, February 14th at 6pm in the evening. Your children have a variety of poems to read and perform for you. Some children have written all 8 forms we have introduced and other have found their niche and written several of their favorite form! In consideration of the children we ask that no younger siblings attend. We know you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

We continue to enjoy poetry, creation stories, Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling and we are using these short stories as an example of IDEATION in story crafting. The elders are particularly paying close attention to the 6 Traits of Good Writing with “Ideas” being our first focus. The other five traits we’ll study are: Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency and Conventions. Their first experience with this rubric will be coming home shortly. Parents of younger children: I’m sending this home so you can see where we will be going with the development of their written expression. It is nice to see the children embrace these exercises and give them their all. First year students are learning how to craft sentences – so their story may not be as involved as the rubric suggests.

And now, here is my last shameless plug for poetry. Your children have been enthralled with a book and CD I recently received with several poets reciting their own poems. At a quiet moment in the day I invited a few children to look at the poems with me while the poets (including. Robert Frost, Roald Dahl, and Ogden Nash, to name a few) performed. Their eyes were as big as saucers as they recognized some poems and could barely contain their excitement. Bottom line: go out and grab your dusty sonnets off your book shelf, run do not walk to the library and gather up armfuls of poetry and snuggle up and enjoy!

Thanks for all you do!

ElementaryCarolyn McKinney