JU-C Weekly Note

December 2, 2016

Dear Families,

It’s December already! As JU-C hums along, it’s hard to believe that only three months ago half of the students in our class were completely new to Junior Unit. Our group gets along well and enjoys spending time with each other.

This week we continued book groups, which will end at winter break. All of the JU-A and JU-C students seem to be enjoying both the book and the experience of reading it with a new teacher in a mixed A/C group.

We continued our research on a topic of choice about China. Students continued to use books and began to use the internet to find answers to questions they were having difficulty finding in a book, as well as finding more questions as they get deeper into their subject. Before winter break, we’ll let students know what possible ways they have to present their research to the class after break, so they can begin to think about how best to tap into their own interests and talents.

David also worked with the group on songwriting -- we are composing a song about JU-C! This class has a remarkable facility with rhythm, and came together quickly in creating a beat and some additional percussion for the song. Next time we’ll divide into groups to work on various aspects of the song, but the song is coming together quickly (and the students hope to perform it at Encuentro sometime).

This morning we were enthralled by a presentation by C. Alexander London, a prolific author as well as husband of Tim Jones of JU-A. Alexander was an entertaining and thought-provoking speaker who had all of us completely engaged in his story of how he became a writer. Ask your child about it! (We ran out of time for answering the many questions students had: students can visit his website at http://www.calexanderlondon.com/ and ask him a question there -- he does answer every query!)

Finally, a few words from Jess about community service:

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.

Next week’s coming attractions include a JU viewing of “Screenagers” on Tuesday, a chorus rehearsal on Tuesday afternoon to prepare for the next week’s holiday concert, and the Hour of Code on Thursday with Matt. Laura will be attending the People of Color Conference in Atlanta from Wednesday evening until Saturday afternoon. (And a note about the following week: JU-C and A will be visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Thursday, December 15 to look at Chinese art and artifacts.)

Enjoy the weekend!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org dstills@tpschool.org

Weekly Note: JUC

It is hard to believe that November is more than half-way over!

JUC began working in "Book Groups" with JUA, this week. - After hearing passages from four different books, the children completed a form that asked them to consider each book (with guided questions), and decide whether or not the book was a good fit. Julia, David, Tim, and Laura are excited about teaching the four mixed JUA/JUC classes. Ask your children about their book groups!

We've finally narrowed down our China-research topics! This process has taken a while, since the children are still becoming familiar with the kinds of things one might choose learn about ancient (and modern day, in some cases) China. Today, we posted the list of topics, along with the children who are responsible for each topic, on the board. The students began their "discovery" process by looking through several books, and informing classmates whenever they found information that might be helpful. This "broad search" technique allows the entire class to take in large amounts of information in short amounts of time. As we move forward, we will use the internet as well, however we want to make sure that each child is also a resource for his/her peers. The discussions they have spark interest and enthusiasm, and each child has a textual anchor to build on.

Yesterday, we enjoyed the beautiful fall weather by spending most of our time outside at the Schuylkill Center. We finished up our work with The Energy Cycle, and with Orienteering, and won't be returning to The Center again until spring. In the meantime, our science curriculum will continue, as we begin studying the life cycle of "fast plants" and silkworms. In addition, we'll continue our partnership and collaboration with the HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy, and we'll continue our Identity work by focusing on human anatomy, and sex education.

The new Junior Unit library is a hit! It's fun to watch as the children become excited about choosing their next book from the shelves. -Special thanks to Laura, for putting in so much time to set up the library, and for helping so many children find their perfect fit! Please remind your children to return their borrowed books before Thanksgiving break, as we'll be doing inventory, and cataloguing all of the books throughout the holiday.

We'll be making nut-free brownies on Monday, so if your children haven't already brought in a spatula and mixing bowl, please have them bring these materials on the morning of the 21st. Please also write your child's name on the bowl, or on a piece of tape (attached to the bowl) in permanent marker. The bowl and spatula will be rinsed off, and then returned to your child by the end of Tuesday.

Enjoy the weekend, and stay warm!

--David and Laura

--

        David Stills
        Junior Unit C Teacher



            www.tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

November 11, 2016

Dear Families,

It was a week of strong emotions here in JU-C. The students have been following the election closely all fall, with much discussion during our (usually) weekly current events conversations. So it was no surprise that the results of the election caused strong responses. We have discussed some things at school (including how the electoral college and the popular vote can have different results), and we also encouraged the students to have conversations at home with you. We will continue to discuss current events regularly; your children have remarkable insights and thoughts.

Next week we will being book groups with JU-A. Each teacher has selected a book to lead with a small (11-14) group of students. This week, students heard a passage from each book and indicated their preference. Teachers use that information as well as what we know about reading levels to place students in a group. We’ll meet twice a week until winter break.

Our day at the Schuylkill Center yesterday was beautiful. Students continued to study either orienteering (using a compass) or the energy cycle. We have one more week at the Schuylkill Center and then we’ll be staying at school on Thursdays until April (when we return from spring break).

This morning we heard the group Auricolae, which we look forward to every year. We sat in Family Circle groups; ask your child what they enjoyed about it.

On Monday, November 21st, students in 3rd grade and Junior Unit will be making nut-free brownies for our annual Thanksgiving feast (which is on Tuesday). Students need to bring in a bowl (plastic or metal) and a spatula or spoon to stir and scrape the bowl. Please write your name on each, either with permanent marker or using a piece of tape attached to it. The bowl and spatula need to be at school by the 21st, and will be rinsed off before returning home that afternoon or the next day. The brownies are delicious and the kids love making them -- thank you for your help with this!

We hope you all have a wonderful weekend with your family.

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

October 28, 2016

Dear Families,

Our day at the Schuylkill Center yesterday was the only non-beautiful day of the week. We had our lesson and then came back for lunch and recess rather than staying there, a decision that was validated by the rain that started as we boarded the bus back to school. Be sure to find out from your child what she or he did yesterday at the Schuylkill Center.

On several occasions this week, students looked at passages from the Tao te Ching, an ancient Chinese (from the 4th century BCE) text that influenced Buddhism in China. Many artists and scholars in China have been inspired by it. The text is relatively straightforward in vocabulary, but contains many contradictions within. The students have done a good job of grappling with the contradictory ideas and trying to think about what they might mean. An example of one passage: We join spokes together in a wheel,

but it is the center hole

that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,

but it is the emptiness inside

that holds whatever we want.

(The passage concludes with this: Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the usefulness of what is not.)

Students enjoyed a writing prompt about paddling a kayak across the ocean to a new land. We also started a longer lesson on how to punctuate dialogue, as many of the students are using dialogue in their writing.

Today we had Family Circles; in many of them, we discussed school behavior with suggestions about how to improve it. Ask your child what they did in Family Circles today.

Finally, we started our Wednesday morning by dancing. We started by watching a video compilation of dance scenes in movies

(https://youtu.be/kVJu9AMJJr4) and then learned how to do the Time Warp. Our dancing this week will continue with our usual Friday afternoon cubby cleaning and dance party.

It’s hard to believe we are almost at the end of October already! Remember, there is no Halloween celebration at TPS this year, and students should not come to school in costume. Next week is a short week due to conferences -- we look forward to meeting with you! Enjoy the weekend!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

October 21, 2016

Dear Families,

Today your child is bringing home what we call a Friday Folder. Students have looked through “graded” work and selected a few things that they want to be shared at conferences; the rest may go home (and stay home). The folder returns to school on Monday. You may notice some work that has the letters “TA” on it -- this means the work required some additional attention, and at a workshop time the student re-did it. Writing stays in the child’s writer’s notebook here at school. If you have any questions about the work that has been done, please contact us.

Yesterday was the last day of the first “rotation” at the Schuylkill Center. Next week we switch groups, so that the students who have been learning about orienteering will learn about the energy cycle and vice-versa. Ask your child about the highlights from the first rotation.

We had a conversation this week about reading -- that reading, like any other skill, takes practice. We expect every student to read 30-40 minutes per day at home on any day when there’s no SSR time at school. (We have SSR on Wednesdays and Thursdays every week.) We know there are days when the schedule does not allow for this, but we have encouraged the students to try their best to read every day, because the skill of reading requires consistent practice.

Some pictures are posted of the 4th grade math class measuring their arm spans. They measured to the nearest half inch, then arranged their data in a line plot and found the range, median, and mode of the data. Data analysis is one topic we’ll revisit throughout the year. Fourth-graders also had an assessment today on the first unit of study, which has focused on multi-digit addition and subtraction, an understanding of place value, and units of measurement. Next week we start a new unit on multiplication (including multi-digit multiplication).

The 5th grade math class has been working on rounding, exponents and expanded notation, and will have an assessment on this material early next week.

The weather has felt like summer this week, but a change is in store this weekend that should remind us it’s fall. Hope you enjoy it!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

October 14, 2016

Dear Families,

It was a good week to be outside! On Thursday, we had a lovely day at the Schuylkill Center doing orienteering and learning about the energy cycle (with a focus this week on numbers of producers versus consumers). Although it rained heavily for a few minutes before we left, our time there was mostly dry and pleasant.

Today we had our rescheduled trip to Chinatown -- this time it was sunny. The students were excited to be looking around Chinatown, taking photos and eagerly talking with people they met. Next week we’ll look at the photos and their notes and talk about questions and topics they still want to know more about. Ask your child what stood out about today’s trip.

Today was also our first spelling test. Next week there will be new words, with a pretest on Monday, spelling homework due Wednesday, and a test Friday. (If your child works with Jill for Word Study, the plan looks different, but there is still focused Word Study work as well as homework.)

Yesterday we had a visiting author, Sean Fay Wolfe, talk with students about how he became a writer (in high school!). Our students enjoyed hearing about his books and how he came up with his ideas.

In math, fourth-grade students are finishing up a unit on place value, addition and subtraction of large numbers, and measurement. Fifth-grade students are continuing their work with decimals (and place value).

It feels like fall and it’s supposed to be a beautiful weekend -- enjoy!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

We are off to a fabulous start in the JU Olympics! After a rousing and thoughtful Opening Ceremony (thoughtful dances, rousing choral works, and persuasive essays about the value of each event), we kicked off the official start to our Olympic events with a relay race at Markward Park. Yesterday morning we played a within-city-state round of Jeopardy to determine which team would play against other city-states on Tuesday.

Yesterday afternoon, we had our boat competition at the pool at Friends Select. Each city-state constructed a boat from cardboard and duct tape. Every boat floated for at least 10 minutes. Some of them would have floated for hours; however, we decided we’d award points to all boats still afloat after 20 minutes. In addition, some boaters were able to complete laps back and forth in the pool for extra points. We congratulate all the teams for a new event done well!

Today, after our last Family Circle gathering, we had our JU’s Got Humor event. Each city-state had 30 minutes to come up with something funny. Teachers judged (but could not judge their own team). The results were announced at the Daily Recap, where points and flair are awarded.

Next week, we’ll continue our Olympics with a scavenger hunt, final rounds of Jeopardy, catapult contests, and Schuylkill Center events! It will be a great way to keep ourselves motivated all the way to graduation.

Finally, as summer seems to be approaching quickly, there’s an exhibit opening in Washington D.C. in June that might appeal to many JU students. “The Greeks — Agamemnon to Alexander the Great” opens June 1 at the National Geographic Museum. The exhibit includes more than 550 Greek artifacts. This is its only East Coast stop. It runs through October 10. In conjunction with that, National Geographic is producing a three-hour series, “The Greeks,” which will air nationally on PBS, starting June 21, 2016 at 9 p.m. (check local listings). In addition, the Metropolitan Museum in New York currently has an exhibition from the Pergamon Museum in Berlin with many Greek treasures; it runs through July 17. If you can check out some Greek stuff in your summer travels, know that our students are quite knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Greek culture.

This is the last Friday Note of the year, as next Friday is a half-day, with graduation in the morning. It has been a joy teaching JU-C this year. We will miss the current fifth graders and are glad the fourth graders will be returning to us again next year (along with new fourth graders). We hope you have a wonderful summer ahead!

Laura and David 

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

We continued to work on planning our Olympic Games. Students met in city-state groups to plan events, create a flag and cheer, and create awards (which we call flair) for the events. In addition, today students worked to build a boat out of cardboard and duct tape. A student will need to sit in the boat next Thursday afternoon at Friends Select’s pool. The students worked hard to plan and build the boat today. Remember, our Olympics Opening Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, June 1, at 10:35 am. Parents are invited; we hope to see you there!

Students had a special rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony on Tuesday afternoon. It was the first time teachers had seen or heard their work, and the first time each group saw what the other groups had worked on in music class. We are impressed and are looking forward to the final product next week!

Students had ERB testing this week and weathered it well, though they were happy when the tests were over yesterday.

Eleanor Davis-Diver (6th grade) needs magnets for a science experiment that she is doing at home. Any kinds of magnet will do, from refrigerator magnets to neodymium. Please bring in any magnets that you're willing to contribute; donation boxes will be available in units next week.

We finished reading The Odyssey this week (spoiler: Odysseus makes it back home). Students seemed to truly enjoy both The Trojan War and The Odyssey.

Finally, as summer seems to be approaching quickly, there’s an exhibit opening in Washington D.C. in June that might appeal to many JU students. “The Greeks — Agamemnon to Alexander the Great” opens June 1 at the National Geographic Museum. The exhibit includes more than 550 Greek artifacts. This is its only East Coast stop. It runs through October 10. In conjunction with that, National Geographic is producing a three-hour series, “The Greeks,” which will air nationally on PBS, starting June 21, 2016 at 9 p.m. (check local listings). Our students are most enthusiastic about all things Greek!

Enjoy a fabulous long, summery weekend!

Laura and David 

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

We continued to work on planning our Olympic Games. Students met in city-state groups to plan events, create a flag and cheer, and create awards (which we call flair) for the events. Please remember to mark your calendars: our Olympics Opening Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, June 1, at 10:35 am. Parents are invited; we hope to see you there!

The weather yesterday at Awbury Arboretum was beautiful, and we continued to work on service projects with students from Wissahickon Charter School. In clearing out invasive plants from the pond, many students from both schools were soaked by the end of our time working! (Don’t worry — the mud and pond odor do wash out.) It was wonderful to see the kids working together and enjoying their purpose. This was our last work with WCS for this year, but we hope to continue to partner with them in various ways in the future.

ERBs are next week, from Monday, May 23 to Wednesday, May 25. Please do not schedule doctor’s appointments or other activities that will take them out of school during these school days. Students will still go to specials and Spanish, but we arrange for most other times of the day to be tests, and it’s very tricky to arrange times for make-up sessions.

This week we had the pleasure of both a 3rd-5th grade recital on Tuesday AND an ensemble recital this morning. It’s wonderful to hear our students making beautiful music!

Although the weekend promises to be more of the same cloudy, rainy weather that has plagued us this month (can you tell we are eager for warmer weather?), we hope that your family is able to enjoy some time together this weekend as we sprint to the end of the school year.

—Laura and David lmatheny@tpschool.org dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

A highlight from this week was our progress in planning for the JU Olympics! This week JU-C students spent time reading about the ancient Greek city-states and learning about their various cultures, regional rivalries, and political institutions. These lessons served as preparation for the upcoming Junior Unit Olympics, where our students will compete in city-state groups for the last two weeks of the school year. After much anticipation, on Tuesday the students found out which city-state they will be representing in the JU Olympics. Throughout the week they met in their city-state groups to plan and draft rules for their special event, design their city-state flag, and create awards for the games. Ask your child about which city-state group she/he is in and what is interesting about it. And please remember to mark your calendars: our Olympics Opening Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, June 1, at 10:35 am. Parents are invited; we hope to see you there!

The weather yesterday at Awbury Arboretum was beautiful, and we continued to work on service projects with students from Wissahickon Charter School. Next week we’ll share what we did with each other and celebrate our partnership.

The 4th graders heard about the results from the Kentucky Derby. Nyquist, the favorite, won, and at race time the odds were 2-1. With 25 students in the class and each student “betting” $10, Laura (the house) made $250 up front. Paying out students who bet on Nyquist cost her $99. As the students calculated, she ended up with $151, far more than any student. The house always wins, even in imaginary betting.

ERBs will take place from Monday, May 23 to Wednesday, May 25. Please do not schedule doctor’s appointments or other extra-curricular activities that will take them out of school during these school days. It’s very tricky to arrange times for make-up sessions.

For 5th grade parents, some information from Tiziana about the upcoming 5th grade fiesta:

On Friday, May 20th, Tiziana's 5th grade class will have a celebration (during class time). The students have had a great school year, learning a lot of Spanish through every single class. Just now they are studying about "La comida" = food, so it is the perfect moment to celebrate with a "Fiesta" party.

In this "Fiesta" I will provide these snacks:

Tostones snack style (green plantains snacks package)

Guacamole (package)

Nachos (plain flavor) / or similar kind.

Salsa (package)

Tomates pequeños (fresh cherry tomatoes)

Zanahorias pequeñas (fresh carrots )

Sandía & piña (Watermelon & pineapple fresh fruit) or grapes

Important note:

Sara - our nurse will double check the labels. It won't be any dairy ingredients or any tree nuts food.

¡Gracias!

-Tiziana Acerbo

We hope that all of you have a lovely and relaxing weekend!

—Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Today we finished reading Bernard Evslin’s The Trojan War. In today’s reading, Hector was killed by Achilles, Achilles was killed by Apollo, and Ulysses had a brilliant idea about making a horse out of wood. The war was over. Next week we’ll start reading Geraldine McCaughrean’s retelling of The Odyssey as a read-aloud, and students will begin reading Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons.

During Agora Time with JU-D, students began debating on topics they’ve been researching in groups. The topics were ones chosen by Time magazine with articles about the subjects; this was a way of making sure everyone could read and understand the articles used. Students are debating using a standard debate format. We’re excited to hear the points they’ll make!

Although the weather yesterday was grey and chilly, it did not dampen our enthusiasm for service work at Awbury Arboretum with Wissahickon Charter School. The four activities were pulling invasive plants, protecting native plants, removing trash, and coming up with a plan to educate the community. Ask your child which project she or he is working on there.

In math, the 4th graders placed their pretend bets on Derby horses today using this morning’s odds. This week we learned about the many factors that influence the probability of a horse winning the Derby (parents, trainer, jockey, previous races, track condition, post position). Students had some time to look at the background of each horse. For today’s placing of bets, there were a variety of strategies used — going with the favorite (Nyquist, 3-1 odds), going with a long-shot (Trojan Nation, 50-1), or some combination of both. With 25 students in the class and each student “betting” $10, Laura (the house) makes $250 up front. Once the race is run (approximately 6:30 p.m. tomorrow), she’ll calculate how much students won and subtract that from the $250. The house always wins, an important lesson to know about gambling.

Next week we’ll learn about the city-states who will be represented in our Junior Unit Olympics, and on Tuesday the students will find out which city-state they’ll be part of for the events. The Opening Ceremony for our Olympics is on Wednesday, June 1, at 10:35 a.m. Parents are invited.

ERBs will take place from Monday, May 23 to Wednesday, May 25. Please do not schedule doctor’s appointments or other extra-curricular activities that will take them out of school during these school days. It’s very tricky to arrange times for make-up sessions.

Happy Mother’s Day to the moms out there, and for everyone else, enjoy the return of the bright orb we call the Sun!

Laura and David

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

We started our day today with a grades 4-8 Encuentro. Our featured speakers were Cecilia from Spanish and Michael Fiebach, a TPS alum (’99) who runs a digital media company that represents musicians on social media. Frances and the students asked them questions about use of social media, and our guests did a great job discussing the pros and cons of social media. A representative from the National Wildlife Federation then presented a bronze award to TPS.

Yesterday we hosted students from Wissahickon Charter School-Awbury to brainstorm ways of solving problems with the pond at Awbury Arboretum. By the time the Wissahickon students left, we had preliminary plans about how best to defeat invasives, remove trash and pollution, and educate people about the pond and wetlands area. We will be working on these plans over the next few weeks at Awbury.

David continued working with students on the class song we’ve written together. Ask your child to sing part of it!

On Wednesday, we had the pleasure of attending a performance of the Jasper String Quartet. They played several pieces from different eras, and our students did a nice job of listening and responding appropriately.

In math, fifth graders are building 3D structures as part of the geometry unit. Fourth graders started learning about probability this week, and next week will learn about betting odds and the Kentucky Derby.

We’re almost finished reading about the Trojan War. We have been doing this for a read-aloud. Some of the passages this week were rather vivid in their description of battle, but at the same time there were interesting strategies put forth by both humans and gods. After we finish, we’ll read a version of The Odyssey.

Stay dry this weekend!

Laura and David

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Our week was only four days, but we crammed a lot into that time!

On Wednesday, Mitchell Orenstein came to talk with us about Syrian refugees, a topic we’ve discussed a bit before. His presentation was fascinating and sobering — the numbers of refugees in different areas are staggering. Students had many comments and questions. Thank you for talking with us, Mitchell!

We’ve been doing some grammar review the last few weeks. This week we tackled commas. Some students barely use them, and some overuse them. After the comma lesson, we looked at a funny blog post (from “Hyperbole and a Half”) about the “Alot,” a cute creature who is referred to whenever someone writes “alot of _.” (It does seem to help students remember that “alot” is not a word!)

During our Community Meeting time on Tuesday, students met in affinity groups. We’ll meet again in these groups next week. Ask your child what that meeting was like.

Our Wednesday Agora Time with JU-D turned to the details of debate — opening arguments, clarifying questions, rebuttal. Laura and Nick provided an example of a debate about whether cars should be banned or not, and then students began to plan their opening arguments for the topic they chose several weeks ago.

This was our final week of etymology with Ashley. Next week she’ll be starting a Greek Club at lunch on Fridays, where students who are particularly interested throughout JU can gather and delve into more of the Greek language and culture.

We ended our week with a trip to the Schuylkill Center. What a beautiful day outside! Putting together everything students have learned so far about buoyancy, students created small boats using only a few objects (cardboard, aluminum foil, duct tape) to see which one could hold the most weight. They made excellent observations about what worked and didn’t. They were told that the final challenge (which will be part of our Olympics) will be to create a boat that a person can actually sit in, using only cardboard and tape, and they brainstormed ideas for that.

A practical reminder: Students seem to be running out of pencils. Although the end of the school year is fast approaching, there’s still plenty to do. Please ask your child if she or he has enough pencils and provide more if needed. Thanks!

Fifth grade parents, please see the calendar posting on the right about the Move-up Meeting for parents of children moving into our 6th grade next year.

Hope you have a great weekend!

—Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

What a busy week!

We had a beautiful day at the Schuylkill Center yesterday! JU-C worked with JU-A on more experiments about buoyancy based on Archimedes. We worked at the Wetlands Pond in groups to consider more closely the connection between density and sinking/floating, the connection between how much water rises when an object is placed in it and the volume of the object, and how shape affects sinking and floating. Then all of the Junior Unit enjoyed lunch and recess together.

We continued reading about the Trojan War. The version we’re reading is as much about people’s personalities as it is about fighting. Why do certain characters behave the way they do? How do they interact with each other? Why do things go the way they go, according to the Greeks?

We continued our etymology lessons with Ashley Opalka. We had another meeting with Matt Murray about technology and being aware of your online presence. Our Agora Time focused on thinking about how to debate topics chosen by students from a list.

Last week, there was a conversation about what the term “at risk” means (which came up because of something in Maniac Magee), and students wanted to continue discussing what often happens to kids who are at risk in a major way. Today David showed a short clip from a longer documentary (which originally aired on the Fusion network) about what happens in many juvenile detention centers. Students were shocked and saddened by what can happen to someone in a juvenile detention center. While it was difficult to listen to how young people can be put into solitary confinement for months, and how they can be told to take psychotropic medications without a doctor’s frequent oversight, it certainly made a point about what can happen to some people in our society (and how our students are lucky to not be in those situations).

TPS City Country Camp registration is open. Regular registration ends on May 1st. Junior Unit teachers Nick Dekker, Hilary Hamilton, Jenson Cheng, and David Stills are offering camp programming this summer. TPS camps are enrichment programs, allowing children to delve deeply into topics of interest under caring supervision and with the guidance of passionate, talented leadership. Take a look at the TPS City Country Camps Website for a complete list of camp offerings: http://www.tpschool.org/camps.

Enjoy what looks to be spectacular weather this weekend!

Laura and David

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Welcome back to TPS! Although it only occasionally felt like spring this week, we’re under way with new things.

Thank you for conferences — your children did an amazing job preparing and leading them.

This week we finished Maniac Magee, which was a terrific book, and are beginning a children’s version of the Trojan War (this one is by Bernard Evslin), after which we’ll read a version of The Odyssey. These books will be read-alouds, so that difficult vocabulary and concepts can be addressed as we go.

We had our first etymology lesson with 8th grade language arts teacher Ashley Opalka this week. Students learned about different words and their Greek origins. We had another meeting with tech teacher Matt Murray about technology and being aware of our online presence. Although we did not go to the Schuylkill Center this week (because of forecasted storms), we built upon our Archimedes readings to learn more about his thinking on buoyancy. Students experimented with different materials of different shapes in different liquids.

We started our April hero paragraphs (on a voting rights hero, any country, any time). The final draft will be due on April 29, but we’ll let students know about intermediate due dates.

Our week ended spectacularly today with a theme-related trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In grades 1-8 in family circles, we did some mystery-related activities at school and had a wonderful mystery-related visit at the Museum. (In Laura’s group, the educator had groups write a plot and title for a mystery set in a fancy parlor room, for example.) Thanks to Emily Marston and the rest of the All-school Theme Committee, as well as to the educators at Philadelphia Museum of Art, for creating such an amazing adventure!

TPS City Country Camp registration is open. Regular registration ends on May 1. Junior Unit teachers Nick Dekker, Hilary Hamilton, Jenson Cheng, and David Stills are offering camp programming this summer. TPS camps are enrichment programs, allowing children to delve deeply into topics of interest under caring supervision and with the guidance of passionate, talented leadership. Take a look at the TPS City Country Camps Website for a complete list of camp offerings: http://www.tpschool.org/camps.

We hope you have an excellent weekend!

—Laura and David

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

What a week! We finished our HMS musical journey with our final performance on Wednesday evening. Our HMS partners were really active and vocal during this performance, which was a treat, and we also had the pleasure of meeting the families of our partners. Thanks to Lynn for overseeing costumes, handling questions, and purchasing flowers for Andrea and Mary. It was a wonderful experience at HMS, and we hope to return once or twice in the spring to stay connected to our new friends.

Here is a link to Channel 6’s brief coverage of the performance:

http://6abc.com/society/a-special-performance-of-an-original-musical/1249387/

Our tech integrator, Matt Murray, has visited our class twice now to talk about being aware of what you do on computers (or smartphones). After break, students will finish creating a slide showing a plus and a minus of a particular application of social media.

We continued with things we’ve already worked on — reading Maniac Magee, reading and discussing Archimedes, reading and taking notes on Everyday Life in Ancient Greece. Fourth graders are beginning a math unit on place value, while fifth graders are starting a unit on geometry.

We have an exciting Archimedes event about buoyancy coming up in the spring -- if you have access to a pool during the school day, we’d love to hear from you.

While we were at school Wednesday afternoon before heading to HMS, we started watching (and finished yesterday) The Lightning Thief. The students were quite vocal in comparing the movie to the book, which we read earlier this winter. Ask your child how she/he liked the movie, especially in comparison with the book.

Your child should be bringing home today the final Community Service signup sheet for the year. Please return it to us by Tuesday, March 22.

Apparently winter is not finished yet, as they’re calling for 2-4 inches of snow on Sunday. Be careful out there and stay warm — it’s probably the last gasp of winter.

Laura and David

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

HMS News: Yesterday’s performance was terrific — everyone agreed that things were improved since last week’s dress rehearsal. We also agreed that there were ways in which it can be even better for Wednesday evening. The students are excited about how it went and are looking forward to our final performance. A reminder: For the evening performance on March 16, we will provide students with a place to hang out after school and a snack (pending discussion with Sara, snack will probably be something like pretzels or crackers, though of course a student may bring something else to eat instead). We will then take a bus to HMS (leaving around 5 p.m.) to arrive by 5:30 p.m.

This week we started two new books — Everyday Life in Ancient Greece and Archimedes and the Door of Science. For Everyday Life, students are using one of four types of responses to a nonfiction text after reading each section. With Archimedes, we are reading some chapters of the book aloud as an introduction to who Archimedes was. We will delve more deeply into some of his discoveries later in the spring. Students seem to be enjoying both of these books.

We continued to read Maniac Magee, and we continued to learn about fractions (and decimals, for 4th graders) in our math classes. This morning we attended a great Middle School recital, and yesterday we visited the 7th grade “Seeds of Change” exhibits. We have also been preparing for the upcoming student-led conferences!

And speaking of conferences, a word about child care: Conference child care: If you need child care (for a TPS-enrolled sibling) during your conference time on March 24 or 25, it will be available in the Lombard Street building from 7:30am to 5:30pm. A receptionist will direct you to the room where supervision will be available. Children may not wait in the office. Thanks!

Spring has sprung, and it looks to be another mild weekend. Hope you enjoy it!

Laura and David

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

It was another busy week in JU-C.

HMS News: JU-C did an excellent job during the dress rehearsal! There are delays that are beyond their control, and our students did a pretty good job of continuing to connect with their partners during the delays. Many of those delays will be smoothed out by Thursday’s performance (that the rest of the JU is attending). A reminder: For the evening performance on March 16, we will provide students with a place to hang out after school and a snack (pending discussion with Sara, snack will probably be something like pretzels or crackers, though of course a student may bring something else to eat instead). We will then take a bus to HMS to arrive by 5:30 p.m. The permission slip sent home last Friday also asks you to indicate how your child will get home after the performance, which lasts about an hour. There is not a bus back to TPS, so please make sure you indicate how your child is leaving HMS around 7 p.m. Special thanks to parents, especially Lynn, for helping with costumes!

Our identity meetings so far have focused on biological sex and gender. We had two meetings in single-gender groups and one discussion in a mixed-gender group. Ask your child about what was discussed in the meetings so far.

The discussion topics this week were wide-ranging — in addition to discussing gender and stereotypes, we talked about what poverty looks like (after reading Matt de la Peña’s Newbery winner Last Stop on Market Street), as well as the definition of ignorance (and the difference between innocent ignorance and willful ignorance). We continued reading Maniac Magee and continued working in our Agora Time groups. Yesterday afternoon we also saw a funny and clever one-man mythology play. Ask your child about any of these things.

Our morning snow was probably the last gasp of winter. Flowers are popping out of the ground, trees are starting to bud, and we’re seeing many more animals out and about. Hard to believe that in a few weeks, it will be spring break!

Laura and David

P.S. Here is the link to a video we watched about poverty, based on a comment that someone in the picture book “didn’t look poor.” https://youtu.be/qjsrdcbbPBU

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

It is a busy time in JU-C! We’ll try to summarize the most pressing information first.

HMS: There are three HMS performances (though one is technically a dress rehearsal). The performances are on March 3 and March 10 at 10:30 a.m., and on March 16 at 6 p.m. You may attend any performance that is convenient for you. For the daytime performances, students will ride the bus to and from HMS as we usually do on Thursdays. They will need their costumes, which they can leave at school if they wish to avoid having to carry them back and forth for three weeks. If you are having difficulty with some aspect of your costume, please let Lynn know — it’s likely that someone in the JU-C community has what you’re looking for.

For the evening performance on March 16, today’s Friday Folder contains a permission slip. We will provide students with a place to hang out after school and a snack (pending discussion with Sara, our school nurse, snack will probably be something like pretzels or crackers, though of course a student may bring something else to eat instead). We will then take a bus to HMS to arrive by 5:30 p.m. The permission slip also asks you to indicate how your child will get home after the performance, which lasts about an hour. There is not a bus back to TPS, so please make sure you indicate how your child is leaving HMS around 7 p.m.

Conferences: A few families have not signed up for student-led conferences. Please let David or Laura know (depending on whom you met with for fall conferences) if there is an issue that needs to be worked out to sign up for a conference time. In addition, the art teachers have asked us to include information about signing up to meet with them if you wish. (Art may be included as an aspect students present in their conference, depending on what student challenges and growth areas are.) Here are the links for the art teachers:

Catherine: http://doodle.com/poll/7r42s3ppzyv7a77i

Rick: http://doodle.com/poll/kqwpvbwingb5wzcz

Kaitlyn: http://doodle.com/poll/7vua2c5ub3ihmzrf

Other classroom highlights: This morning JU-C led Encuentro for grades 1-3. We performed a song from the HMS musical, and a few students shared what the experience had been like. The speakers, the soloists, and the whole group performance were fabulous! On Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, we saw the 8th grade perform The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night.  Be sure to ask your child what they enjoyed or what stood out in the performances. We continue to read Maniac Magee, a wonderful “hero” story, as well as starting our preparations for student-led conferences. We also began our identity meetings this week, which we referred to in last week’s Friday Note. Everyone is working with fractions in different ways in math right now. As always, we are busy and enjoying the many things we’re learning!

Attached below is a communication from the Strategic Planning Steering Committee.

Laura and David