JU-B Friday Note

Dear Parents,

We hit the ground running this week upon our return from winter break. In Theme, we started learning about the difference between a belief and a religion as students were introduced to the major philosophies of ancient China, many of which are still an integral part of modern-day China.

Complementing our Theme study,  we began reading about the Monkey King, a mischievous spirit popular in the Chinese culture.  The book we’re reading is based on Journey to the West, a 16th century fictionalized version of a Chinese monk’s trek to India to learn about Buddhism.  This will also serve as an introduction to our study of the Silk Routes this coming spring.

Excitement is high in JU-B as we get ready for our class pet.  Students have been invested as they researched the materials we need for the proper care of a hamster.  They made calculations about how much money we need to raise to buy food, bedding, and toys for our pet. The message below provides you with information about our pretzel fundraiser. 

Junior Unit B will begin fundraising to buy the products we need to care for a classroom hamster; we will be selling pretzels from Center City Soft Pretzel Company.

Center City Soft Pretzel Company is an all-natural soft pretzel company. The facility is nut-free, dairy-free, and kosher certified. The pretzels are only made from three ingredients: flour, yeast, and water. 

Every other Monday, we will sell pretzels to raise enough money to buy the products we need to care for our hamster. We have already researched what we need for our future furry friend, so all we need are the supplies. The first sale will be on Monday, January 9, for 3rd-8th grade.  The pretzels will be $1.00 each, and mustard will be .25 cents. Look out for posters around the school that will contain the dates we are selling pretzels. 

Looking ahead, the Junior Unit will be celebrating the Chinese New Year with a choral performance and open house on Thursday, February 2.  We hope to see you there. 

Best,

Dan and Chantal

JU-B Weekly Note

Dear Families, 

It has been a busy week! The students in JU-B have had a wonderful end to 2016. They've shared many laughs and bonding moments as the break approached. 

It was nice to see many of you at the Winter Concert. The JU students did a wonderful job and really got us into the holiday spirit. Congratulations to Shannon and the students on an amazing concert. 

We are approaching the end of our writing unit. Students have drafted their five-paragraph essays. They've been working hard to improve their writing and organization skills. This week we had the students bring home their essays in order to have their caregivers provide feedback and help with revisions. The final draft is due January 3, 2017.

There will be some minor assignments that are due right after Winter Break. We have been mindful of not giving students an overwhelming amount of work and are aiming to keep them on track with the progress they've made. We will resume Word Study on January 23. More information to come.

Today, students will bring home personal items from their cubbies so that cubbies can be cleaned over break.  

Students have been researching their future class pet and have realized that the hamster is not only a physical responsibility but also a financial one. As a class, we are taking donations of bedding, food, toys, etc. We will also plan a fundraiser after the break. Once we have supplies, we can begin to shop for our new pet! 

Have a wonderful break and a Happy New Year! 

Chantal and Dan 

JU-B Weekly Note

Dear Families,

It has been a chilly and rainy week. It is definitely starting to feel like December! Students have been enjoying the chance to get outside when they can. The students in JU-B are getting along well and are enjoying each other. After watching Screenagers on Tuesday, we have decided to spend more face-to-face time during these social breaks. During snack and lunch, students were able to unbox ten new games!   

Continuing with Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, students have started an informational essay about their characters. Students chose one of four different prompts and have written the first two paragraphs of their five paragraph essay. Ask your child what a thesis statement is and how to write one. These essays will come home next week for editing and publishing.

Students have been taking the information from their characters to work on a Web of Destiny project. In partners, the students have been writing how their character connects to the other characters in the story. They will be tying these characters together with red string. In Chinese culture, red string symbolizes destiny and connections. 

Students have been learning more about Chinese culture and were immersed in the culture on Thursday. Dan led the class through Chinatown; we peered into shop windows and visited a supermarket. The students noticed symbols presented in Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and began to ask deep questions that we will answer in the upcoming months. 

This week we were approved for a hamster in the classroom. Yay! Students have been working hard to research their new pet and get ready for its arrival. We are hoping this pet will not only serve as a companion but also as a learning experience for the students in JU-B.  

Have a great weekend,

Chantal and Dan 

JU-B Weekly Note

Dear Families,

We hope you had some time last week to relax and unwind. We only have two weeks left until Winter Break. These last couple of weeks are jam-packed with fun and exciting projects all about our China learning experience.

Before students went on break, we finished reading Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Students were able to connect all of the characters together in an ending that left them cheering! Ask your child about their character and the role they played in the story. Students worked on finishing their large story maps that tracked the plot and details through the story. These will be on display during conferences.

We are beginning to dive into our China Study! Earlier this week, students learned about the Qing Dynasty and added to questions that will lead our exploration. On Thursday, we walked over to the Philadelphia Art Museum, where we were able to see many pieces from the Qing Dynasty. Students were challenged to look closely at their surroundings, examine artifacts, and compose their own stories using background knowledge and observations.

Next Week, we will begin an Informational Writing Unit that will take us until Winter Break. Next Thursday, we will take our first trip to Chinatown.

TPS Service Announcement: In the interest of providing each of our students with the most meaningful service experience possible, we are making some mid-year changes to the TPS Service requirements. If your child completed a Fall service job, they do not need to complete another term of service. Students who did not complete a Fall job must sign up for only one of the remaining terms. Students who completed a Fall job and want to sign up for another term may do so, but students who have not yet completed their service requirement will be given priority. We also encourage families who already participate in service outside of school -- for neighborhood parks, with faith organizations, SEPTA Clean-Up Day, etc. -- to use that service toward completion of the TPS service requirement. There are also a number of events coming up that could be used to fulfill the service requirement, such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Fall Service ends December 9. Winter service starts on January 9.

--Chantal and Dan

JU-B Weekly Note

Dear Families,

We hope you had some time last week to relax and unwind. We only have two weeks left until winter break. These last couple of weeks are jam-packed with fun and exciting projects all about our China learning experience. 

Before Thanksgiving break, we finished reading Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Students were able to connect all of the characters together in an ending that left them cheering! Ask your child about his/her character and the role he/she played in the story. Students worked on finishing their large story maps that tracked the plot and details through the story. 

We are really beginning to dive into our China Study! Earlier this week, students learned about the Qing Dynasty and added to questions that will lead our exploration. On Thursday, we walked over to The Philadelphia Art Museum, where we were able to see many pieces from the Qing Dynasty. Students were challenged to look closely at their surroundings, examine artifacts, and compose their own stories using background knowledge and

Next week, we will begin an Informational writing unit that will take us until winter break. Next Thursday, we will take our first trip to Chinatown. 

TPS Service Announcement : In the interest of providing each of our students with the most meaningful service experience possible, we are making some mid-year changes to the TPS Service requirements. If your child completed a Fall service job, he/she does not need to complete another term of service. Students who did not complete a Fall job must sign up for only one of the remaining terms. Students who completed a Fall job and want to sign up for another term may do so, but students who have not yet completed their service requirement will be given priority. We also encourage families who already participate in service outside of school -- for neighborhood parks, with faith organizations, etc. -- to use that service toward completion of the TPS service requirement. Winter service starts on January 9.  

Have a good weekend,

Chantal and Dan

JU-B Weekly Note

Dear Families,

We had a great day for our last trip out to The Schuylkill Center this fall. Incorporating new information that they learned about photosynthesis, students played another round of the Energy Game that tested their understanding of the Trophic Pyramid and the energy cycle. Ask your child about the difference between producers and consumers.

After additional practice, students had a second go-around at presenting information that they learned about their Significant Cities. Each group created a Power Point, providing the class with an opportunity to practice their note-taking skills. Students were then able to use their notes on a quiz based on information from the presentations.

We’re close to the conclusion of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Students groaned when we stopped reading just as we got to an exciting part of the story, but it provided us with an opportunity to predict the ending and discuss how the author was literally tying up loose ends. The Rules mini-book group continued to meet and discuss their shared book. Next up will be El Deafo.

The Junior Unit will be making brownies for the feast on Tuesday, November 22. We still need students to bring in a few more mixing bowls and spatulas/wooden spoons for the baking process, which will take place on Monday, November 21. Please make sure that the bowls and utensils are clearly labeled. Thank you for your help in this process. Students do not need to bring lunch on Tuesday.

Since next week is a short one, we will not be writing a note. We wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

Best,

Dan and Chantal

JU-B Weekly Note

Dear JU-B Parents,

On Wednesday after the election, our students were able to share their feelings and concerns and to ask questions. We didn't have all the answers, but our class proved to be incredibly resilient and was able to get back to the business of learningWe spent part of our day learning about the role that the electoral college plays in our elections. We will continue to listen carefully to our children and give them opportunities to further process their feelings.

We had a lovely autumn day at The Schuylkill Center. It was a wonderful respite from the craziness of this year’s elections. As we continued to practice our active listening, students were dropped off at individual “Quiet Spots.” Ask your child what elements of the energy cycle he or she was able to discover while remaining silent for 30 minutes. Expectedly, the silence didn’t last beyond those 30 minutes -– when the students got back together, they excitedly began to compare notes about what they had heard and found.

We continued reading Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. The plot weaves stories from the past with the conflict that the protagonist faces in the present, providing the students with many opportunities to unravel the mystery of Fruitless Mountain. We also began our mini book groups. The students were asked to select their top choices among six books. Over the course of the year, each small group will be meeting during the SSR period to discuss their shared book with a teacher. The first book is Rules by Cynthia Lord.

Thanksgiving is arriving soon, and as is the tradition, the Junior Unit will be making brownies in advance of the feast, which will be held on Tuesday, November 22. We need students to bring in a mixing bowl and a spatula/wooden spoon for the baking process, which will take place on Monday, November 21. We would be most appreciative If you could start sending these items in next week. Please make sure that the bowls and utensils are clearly labeled with your name. Thank you for your help in this process.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Dan and Chantal

JU-B Weekly Note

Dear Families,

It is hard to believe students have completed eight weeks of school! As we've approached this landmark, we spent some time re-evaluating our classroom systems. Students decided on changing the way they ask for help and ask to go to the bathroom. We now have a special "May I go to the bathroom?" signal. Ask your student to show you what it is. We asked students to self-evaluate how they think their first weeks have gone. These will be available to discuss at conferences next week.

Reminder about Halloween: We have reminded our students that there will be no Halloween celebration on Monday, and that no one should come to school in costume.  

At The Schuylkill Center, students began learning about the energy cycle and the food chain. Students had to take on the role of either a producer, herbivore, carnivore, or decomposer. Within these groups, students had to collect resources in order to survive. Students quickly learned what is sustainable and what is not. We will continue to explore this in the upcoming weeks. 

In theme, students have continued researching their cities. Students are completing their posters and prepping for their presentations. Connecting our reading with theme, we began reading Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. The book is centered around Chinese folktales and culture. Students are tracking one character throughout the story and how they connect to others. We have also been identifying symbolism within the text. 

In math, fifth graders have been working on multiplying negative numbers. Fourth graders are working on equations and solidifying their basic facts. This week we aimed to master the 6 times table. Students should have all of the numbers we have worked on already. As we move into harder numbers, students should make flashcards at home. This will help them have a strong foundation for division. 

Next week the students only have three days of school, Monday-Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are reserved for parent conferences. Please arrive on time for your conference, which will last 20 minutes. If you have any questions you would like us to address at the conference, please reach out to your child's advisor in advance. We look forward to meeting with you. 

Chantal and Dan 

JU-B Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This week we've wrapped up almost all of our projects. The students are still working on their Significant City Project. They are using what they have learned about geography to research a city in China. Once the project is complete, students will present about their city. This is the beginning of developing a deeper understanding of China long ago. 

At The Schuylkill Center, students worked on mastering their orienteering skills. In a course, they used various bearings to spell out words from the letters O, R, I, E, N, T. Ask your child to show you how to use a compass and its different parts. 

In writing, students have been working hard on their Favorite Place Personal Narratives. Thank you for helping edit and revise your child's personal narrative. Writing partners and teachers provided feedback one last time before students began publishing their final drafts. Take a look through your child's writing to see how much progress they've made. Final drafts are due Tuesday. 

In math, fourth-grade students continued their exploration of mass, weight, volume, and elapsed time. We used a balance to investigate how much things weigh. Students had to find items around the room that matched a certain weight. This made students evaluate and rethink how much different items actually weigh. Some students even tried to use their hands as a balance. In fifth grade, students created their own math systems and started to think about the efficiency of our math system. After the systems were created, students then had to evaluated if the systems they created were as efficient as ours.

Next week, we will begin Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. This book will take us on a rich journey through Chinese culture and folktales. You will start seeing this book come home Monday. 

Please make sure to sign the Workshop Menu in the red Friday Folder.

Have a great weekend,

Chantal and Dan 

JU-B Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This week has been full of ending some projects and beginning new ones. We wrapped up The Great Gilly Hopkins with a creative project based on "saving face." The students became very familiar with the idiom as they worked to create an emoji that represented one of Gilly's numerous expressions.  

The students tried their skill in the activity Survival of the Fittest. Stranded on a life raft, four or five students needed to figure out what they needed to survive and to rank these items from most to least important. After 40 minutes of deliberation, students were able to narrow down their lists, and many would survive being stranded 1,000 miles from  land! 

Yesterday, we practiced our orienteering skills at The Schuylkill Center. Students needed to spell various words using bearings and a compass. During our extra hour at The Center, students enjoyed catching leaves, playing football, and building with giant logs. Ask your child about the day, and make sure you check out the pictures! 

Next week, we will continue working on our snapshot moments. They will be coming home next Tuesday so parents can help revise and add feedback before publishing. Fourth graders will have a math assessment on Friday,

Have a great weekend!

Chantal and Dan 

Ju-B Friday Note

Hi, Families,

It has been a beautiful start to the fall season. We have been lucky enough to get outside everyday for recess. Today was another beautiful day, and we spent our time at Shelly Ridge. Students were in their family circle groups and rotated between music, field games, and art. Check out the photos on SmugMug!

This week, we finished The Great Gilly Hopkins. When we began the book, many students were having a hard time connecting with the main character, Galadriel (Gilly). By the end of the book, students wanted to know if there was a sequel. You can ask your child what his/her favorite part of the book was and how he/she noticed the character has changed.

This week we started talking about our favorite places. Students are using a photo as a springboard into their personal narratives. We started to comb out details from the snapshot moment. Ask your child what he/she remember about the picture and why this is his/her favorite place. You can also ask what specific vivid details he/she remembers. This will help the students draft their stories next week.

Fourth grade math has a special request: Please send in cleaned out and empty bottles/ containers by Wednesday 10/12 . We need liters, gallons, pints, half pints, quarts, cups, ounces, etc. This will help us in our measuring and volume exploration. If you are unsure about a container, please email Chantal.

Important dates coming up:

No School tomorrow (Friday) October 5th No School Monday, October 10 Sign up for Parent-Teacher conferences November 3-4.

Have a wonderful long weekend.

Chantal and Dan

JU-B Weekly Note

Dear Families, 

It was wonderful to see many of you at Back-to-School Night this week. We’re excited to dig into the work that we previewed.  Additionally, we want to remind you to sign up for a conference time in our Doodle polls. (Check the weekly Progressive EDge email.) If you’re not sure who you should be signing up with, please get in touch.

Though a little wet, our class braved the weather and had a great time at The Schuylkill Center on Thursday. This week students learned about the magnetic pull of the Earth's poles and how to use a compass. Then, with partners, they played a game that required them to correctly find the indicated bearings to solve puzzles. 

Students were excited to find out who was in their Family Group as we met in Family Circles on Friday for the first time this year. During morning meeting, we discussed the importance of having the “most difficult" position in the Family Group.  No longer the youngest, JU students can be a big help to Family Group leaders as they support the MS leaders with the youngest members.

Congratulations to Lila Ash, the newly elected JU-B Student Council representative. She will be attending monthly Student Council meetings.  Also, congratulations to Alex Young, who will serve as an alternate should Lila be unable to attend.  

We’re headed into the homestretch with The Great Gilly Hopkins and will be diving deep into our study of China soon.  

Have a wonderful weekend!

Dan and Chantal

JU-B Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Fall is in the air, and we were the recipients of beautiful weather yesterday at The Schuylkill Center, where we began our study of orienteering. In conjunction with our All-School Theme of Surviving and Thriving, students learned about how a compass works and things to know if you’re stranded in the woods. Ask your student about where moss grows.

This week, our morning meetings focused on elections as we discussed what characteristics are important when we think about our elected officials. Coinciding with this discussion were the school's Student Council elections. Today at Encuentro, students heard from middle schoolers running for the executive council positions, and then we did our civic duty and voted. Our own class representative elections will take place next week. We have reminded students who are interested that they should have a speech ready on Monday, September 26, with the election to take place later in the week.

We continued reading The Great Gilly Hopkins. Students reviewed language that we used to discuss books, including conflict, protagonist, antagonist, and plot. They also practiced making text-to-text connections by comparing a relationship in our book with one in a book that they have previously read.

Back-to-School Night is on Wednesday, September 28. We look forward to meeting parents of our fourth graders and seeing our returning fifth-grade parents. If there are specific questions you already know you want discussed, or if there are individual concerns you have that would not be appropriate to bring up in a large group setting, please email us. Additionally, we will inform you which one of us will be your child’s advisor and what that means.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Dan and Chantal

JU-B Weekly Note

Dear Parents,

It’s been a busy week, capped off by our completion of our individual hopes and dream for our year in JU-B. Today students celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival by making their wishes and launching a Chinese lantern into the air to honor Chang’E, the Chinese goddess of the moon. The students were thrilled to see it sail across the Schuylkill River and chased after it until it was a small white blip in the distance.

In conjunction with our all-school theme of "Surviving and Thriving," students began reading the The Great Gilly Hopkins, about an 11-year-old girl who has been shuttled around the foster care system. We focused on learning some new techniques for summarizing a chapter, as well as providing evidence to support our opinions.

We had a beautiful day at The Schuylkill Center, getting reacquainted with the environs and visiting our favorite places.

At Encuentro this morning, we learned about how to sign up for Community Service. New for families of 4th graders: Your child will do two terms of community service (out of three possible terms). New for all families: Signup this year is online and can be accessed through the TPS Progressive Edge email newsletter or directly via the TPS blog. The signup also indicates that if your family regularly volunteers at an organization, it counts for community service. You must sign your child up by Monday.

Please see the calendar above for upcoming events specific to our classroom.

Enjoy the weekend.

Dan and Chantal
[email protected]
[email protected]

 

JU-B Weekly Note

Dear Junior Unit B Parents,

And we’re off!  Despite the hot weather,  everyone has been in good spirits as we came together to form the new JU -B.  it’s been a pleasure meeting the fourth graders, as well as well as seeing the changes in the returning fifth graders.  There were plenty of opportunities for students to get to know our new teaching team.

Our first three days were spent "recalibrating our brains" so that we can adjust from summer to fall.  This included learning and reviewing routines, such as attendance, morning meeting, lining up and counting off, and “take a break.”  We also played played “human bingo,”  shared about our summers, and started thinking about our hopes, dreams, and goals for the year.

Additionally, students flexed their math muscles by working on puzzles, independently and collaboratively. They also worked on a project involving their summer reading.  

Students found out today what this year's all-school theme is going to be  – ask your child about it!  Next week, we’ll begin reading The Great Gilly Hopkins, a book that relates to the all-school theme.  

Enjoy the weekend.  We look forward to our first full week.  Save the date – Wednesday, September 28 is Back-to-School Night (for all Junior Unit–specific dates, see the calendar above this date).  

Best, 

Dan and Chantal
[email protected]
[email protected]