Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars and if you have eyes, you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. – Osho
Ana and Mary’s Newsletter – September 4th, 2015
As we are ending our third week back to school we are amazed at how well all of our students have settled into the new school year. New and old friends are working and playing and learning together. Once again we are blessed with a delightful learning community.
As writers our students have continued to work hard co-narrating the story of Elmer. Around each bend of the jungle path a new challenge awaits the young explorer – and our “owl” and “prairie dog” – authors are literally jumping in to help Elmer with ideas of how to outsmart hungry and fierce lions, tigers, and gorillas….We are holding our breath as Elmer is getting closer and closer to the baby dragon whom he is planning to rescue.
During reading time our focus has been on ways to make reading successful and enjoyable. We have practiced choosing good reading spots, keeping our eyes in the book, staying in the same spot, and being very, very quiet while getting totally immersed in a good, “just-right” book. But what is a “just-right” book? Using shoes as a metaphor we determined that books should interest us and should have the right difficulty level. If a book has words we can’t read (yet) or can’t understand (yet) or is too long, it is like a shoe that is still too big. If a book does not connect to an interest we have, it can be like wearing a soccer shoe when we might not even like to play soccer. As adult supporters of young readers we can have an eye on the size of the font (young eyes need bigger fonts), the number of words on a page, and the complexity of the words (short words like “cat” and “dog” being just right for beginning readers while developing readers can tackle words with more syllables and/or more difficult vowel/consonant combinations.)
Last but not least many thanks again for the most wonderful letters describing your daughters and sons so lovingly. These letters have warmed our hearts!
Nuts and Bolts:
Homework: If your child has math homework it will come home in your child’s Friday Folder. Math homework should be returned to school by the following Thursday. We typically begin sending home reading book bags by mid-September. Take these first weeks of school to establish time to read aloud to your child at home. Reading aloud and having a conversation will help build vocabulary and comprehension. If you don’t feel comfortable reading aloud check out books on CD from the public library and snuggle up and listen together.
Mary and Ana’s newsletter will be available through a variety of sources: through the school’s website, through email, in a paper version outside the classroom, and coming home in a Friday folder. If you would like to receive the newsletter by email, please email Ana (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will include you in the email list.
Water Bottles: Please have your child bring a water bottle to school labeled with his/her name that s/he can keep in her cubby. Colorado is extremely dry and it is important for the children to stay hydrated. Trips to the drinking fountain do not give our children enough water to stay hydrated, so a water bottle is a must.
Friday Folder: Please have your child choose a special 2 pocket folder which will become his/her Friday Folder. We will send home our weekly newsletter, homework, and any other communication coming from the school in this special folder every Friday.
Snacks: We would like to encourage families to choose a healthy snack for your child. We are really trying to move away from sugary treats and emphasizing the importance of HEALTHY snacks for a HEALTHY body. Sometimes students choose to bring snacks to celebrate their birthdays. These snacks as well should be healthy, such as carrot sticks or fruit. We have students with allergies (dairy, nuts) who still may enjoy a vegetable or fruit treat.
Toys: A few adorable stuffed animals have snuck into our classroom….and we are asking students to keep their special friends (and all other toys) at home. All too often we have had students in tears about a toy missing or broken. Additionally, we want to encourage students to explore the materials we provide at school.
Support the school: Please check out the school’s website (jeffcoopen.org). There is a lot of information about our program including a variety of opportunities to support the school in many ways: from helping with the garden to fundraising.
Attendance Line (it is important that you call in your child’s absence!): 303-982-7053