November 9th Newsletter

Mary and Ana’s Newsletter ~ November 9, 2018

em·pa·thy ; noun – the ability to share someoneelse’s feelingsor experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation                      Cambridge Dictionary

When we went on our fieldtrip to the Plains Conservation Center several weeks ago, we wanted students to get a sense of what Colorado might have looked like about 250 years ago – before European settlers arrived. Now we are inviting our students to investigate where their families originated from and how they came to live here in Colorado. We want students to learn about their family histories, interviewing grandparents and possibly great-grandparents about their respective childhoods, about family traditions and celebrations. On November 29th, students will have an opportunity to share – museum-style – what they have found out about their ancestors. We are looking forward to an event that will celebrate the diversity in our community. Learning about each other is an important step towards understanding each other. Please support your child over Thanksgiving break in connecting with elders in your family and creating their own “trunks”.

At the beginning of the week both Mary and Ana brought in “trunks” (decorated shoe boxes) filled with special items from their families. We were inspired by the Grandmother trunk on loan from the Colorado History Museum that had many articles from Native American families in it. At reading time, we then read Patricia Polacco’s The Keeping Quilt.  This story focuses on a special quilt that connects her family back several generations to the time when her ancestors emigrated from Russia. Our conversations lead us to recognize that heirlooms are not only reminders of time past but connect us with our hearts to our ancestors. On Thursday author and educator Ellin Oliver Keene honored us by joining our students in their thinking about this story.

The day before Thanksgiving break (Friday, November 16) the Open School will celebrate Community Service Day. Each advising group and their older advising buddies will choose a different project to give back to the community. We (Mary and Ana’s advising) will continue our tradition of collecting and delivering cans of food for the Action Center, go for a small hike around the lake, and conclude with a shared meal.  Please give as generously as you can and send cans or dry foods for our collection.

Community Service Day:

Friday, Nov. 18th, we will spend most of the day with our school “families” (advising groups from the pre- and walkabout). At 9 am we will all walk to the Action Center, carrying the donated food to this amazing center of support. This short walk will also be an opportunity to get to know our neighborhood.  A school bus will take us from there to Crown Hill where we will enjoy a walk around the lake and nature preserve. Around 11:45 we will return to school, read a story, and enjoy a feast together. Later in the day, we will spend time together to reflect on the blessings in our lives.

Students need to bring/have:

  1. Canned food to donate
  2. A fresh fruit side or veggie dish to share
  3. A fresh fruit side or veggie dish or drink to share ALLERGY ALERT: foods may not contain the following: peanuts, tree nuts, avocado, blueberries, raspberries
  4. A mess kit (labeled with name)
  5. Good walking shoes and layered clothing for the walk (rain or shine!)
  6. There will be no charge for the bus

Upcoming dates

  • Friday, November 16 – Community Service Day
  • Monday-Friday, November 19-23 – Thanksgiving Break
  • Thursday, November 29, 2pm – Mary and Ana’s Family History Museum
  • Wednesday, December 5 – Fieldtrip to the Denver Center for Performing Arts to see Corduroy
  • Thursday, December 6 – Talent Show (Guatemala Trip fundraiser)
  • Monday, December 24 – Tuesday, January 8 – Winter Break


We will not be sending a newsletter next week. Moons and Stars will not have math homework over break, so that every student will have time to rest, be with family, and learn about their families’ history.

Happy Thanksgiving!


With gratitude for all you do to support your children and the Open School,

Ana and Mary


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