JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

We spent a lot of time this week preparing for the Silk Routes simulation, which starts on Monday morning.  We will play the first game on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning, and then play a second game at The Schuylkill Center on Thursday.  The students are excited about their roles and their cities.  Ask your child about what they’re looking forward to about it!

This morning we had sharing between Family Circles about our all-school “Survival” theme.  Then we all headed to the park to have outside activities that we refer to as Rainbow Day; students particularly enjoyed games with water.  Then the 4th through 8th grades had Field Day activities in Red and White teams (the TPS colors), which included White vs. Red 8th grade and faculty doing a tug-of-war and dizzy bat.  We ate lunch and had recess at the park with music, with the Primary Unit returning to show off their dance skills (and after eating, many JU students joined them).  It was a beautiful and entertaining day outside.

Yesterday we had a Chinese feast, which was delicious!

All of our silkworms except for one have made cocoons.  We’re hoping the first one who spun a cocoon will hatch by Friday!

Monday is Move-Up Day, during which time students visit their next unit (3rd to 4th, 5th to 6th).  Fourth-graders help visiting third graders feel at home.  They eat lunch together and then return to their regular unit for recess.  

Remember that next Friday is graduation (and the end of the school year).  Dismissal is at 11:30 a.m., and there is bus service. It is always amazing how quickly time flies!  We have loved spending our days with your children this year, and it has been a pleasure working with you.  We hope you have an amazing summer no matter what the plans are.  

Sincerely,

Laura and David

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Our Thursday didn’t go quite as planned; with heavy rains and even storms in the forecast, we decided to stay at school rather than venture to Valley Green, where there would have been no shelter in case of a storm.  (It also would have been hard for students to take notes and make observations in heavy rain.)  We did have water from the Wissahickon Creek to test and compare to the water sample from the Schuylkill River last week.  This week wrapped up our look at various ways that humans affect the environment, and we ended with this video, which was a big hit with 4th and 5th graders: https://youtu.be/pN2WI5KqJDY

(Note: we stopped the video around 4:48 so that students could think about what they could do, rather than having Prince Ea tell them to do a particular thing.)

We also met in Silk Route city groups to create a symbol for the city and to make a visual representation of the city that will be used both at school and at The Schuylkill Center (where we play the game again after having done so at school).  Next week students will learn how the game is played, with game play occurring for about an hour each on June 5, 6, and 7 (and then for a longer time at The Schuylkill Center on June 8).

One of our silkworms has spun a cocoon, and another one is starting to spin one this morning.  Students are amazed at how beautiful the cocoons are.  Ask your child what has been most interesting so far about the silkworms.

This week your children took standardized tests (the ERBs), and after some initial nervousness, felt fine.  By the third (and final) day of testing, they were no longer apprehensive at all.  (They were still excited about having mints in class, which we had to stop once the testing was over…) You will receive the scores this summer.  

Only two weeks of school are left, which seems amazing!  The year has gone quickly; your children are soon to be 5th or 6th graders.  Enjoy a lovely and long weekend.

Sincerely,

Laura and David

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Although the calendar reads May, it feels like July right now!  Our walk along the Schuylkill River yesterday for science (focus on water quality) was hotter than we would have anticipated when we planned it, but we survived and were happy to have lunch inside for a change.  Next Thursday we’re going to Valley Green to test water quality there.

This week we began meeting in our Silk Routes groups.  Students learned about their location and what the main “resource” there would be.  Ask your child about their city.  Students are also developing their character (the merchant they’ll play in the game).  The game will be played with rounds on Monday, June 5, through Wednesday, June 7, and then we’ll play again at The Schuylkill Center on June 8.

Our silkworms are huge and probably ready to spin cocoons soon!  JU-C can’t believe how big they’ve gotten in a relatively short time -- a few of them today are close to 4 inches long!  

Monday is the start of the ERBs, the standardized test we take in grades 4-7.  We have talked with all students about how to take the test and also what they can do in between test sections.  Students MAY have mints.  There were many specific questions about what counts as a mint, but we told them if their family said it was a mint, they could bring it, and if their family said it wasn’t, they couldn’t.  We also encourage healthy snacks versus quick sugar; they may have water and snacks in between, but not during, the test session.  There is a break between test sessions.  Good sleep is also recommended.  Students may read a book, draw, or solve puzzles in between tests if they finish early.  Please let us know if you have any questions about this.

To start the weekend on a good note, here’s a video we watched earlier this week.  Have a great weekend!

https://youtu.be/DlTRwnjFygU

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

 

 

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

It's hard to believe it’s mid-May!  It feels like just yesterday that we were starting the year together.  This week we continued learning about the Silk Routes; next week we will start meeting in “city groups,” which will work together to decide what happens in a particular city.  The simulation itself will occur the last week of school, both at school and at our last day at The Schuylkill Center (June 8).  Ask your child what she/he has learned about the Silk Routes (most likely about a particular location).

We watched a DVD of a Monkey King movie (in Cantonese, with subtitles).  The students enjoyed seeing the story they knew come to life, and they appreciated the stylistic touches that made this movie different from a Disney version.  We also watched a BBC commercial for the Beijing Olympics that featured Monkey (https://youtu.be/Yr5ZWYRaAyw).  (In case you’re wondering, it’s the composer and animator for the group Gorillaz.)

We saw the 3B play on Wednesday afternoon.  While there was some disappointment that we weren’t going to see both plays, it would have made a long Wednesday to see both in one day (because Thursday is our Schuylkill Center day).  The current JU remembers the songs well from their own plays!

On Thursday we finished looking specifically at deforestation in part by reading The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.  At The Schuylkill Center, students played a game that reflected either a sustainable system or a non-sustainable one, and then wrote a sequel to The Lorax in which the Once-Ler has figured out how not to destroy an ecosystem.  Next week we’ll be testing water near the school and will not be going to The Schuylkill Center.

The fourth graders finished their Derby/probability work in math. Laura was able to calculate Always Dreaming’s odds within our class, and because almost every student bet on that horse, the odds were actually 1-2 (a $2 bet means you get that back plus $1 if the horse wins).  Because of that, the house still beat everyone. Lesson: Gambling is designed to make the most money for the people running it, not people who gamble.

Finally, today we heard a wonderful recital in the gym.  The middle schoolers who performed impressed (and inspired) our students. TPS leaves such an incredible musical legacy on our students, even if they don’t go on to musical careers.  

Stay dry this weekend, and know that warmer weather returns next week!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

Junior Unit C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This week we finished reading Monkey King, started making detailed observations about silkworms, and continued learning about cities along the Silk Routes in preparation for our simulation in June.  It has been busy!

Yesterday we learned about the many effects of deforestation - ask your child about those.  We then headed to The Schuylkill Center where we spent some time in the Pine Plantation imagining a world without trees (and a world in which we no longer needed to harvest any trees).  The students loved having lunch and recess in the Pine Plantation again.

Fourth graders learned this week about betting odds and the Kentucky Derby.  They have placed their imaginary bets and are eager to find out what happens tomorrow evening (post time at 6:34 p.m.)  Laura will calculate the winners and there will be a small prize (usually pencils or erasers).  What always happens, however, is that the house wins the most money, an important lesson to learn.

Finally, the ERB (a standardized test from the Educational Records Bureau) is being given to 4th and 5th graders from Monday, May 22, to Wednesday, May 24.  We ask that you not schedule appointments during those days.  More information about the testing days will be forthcoming, but we wanted to give you a heads-up not to plan other events then.

Hope your weekend is enjoyable (even if wet)!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

It finally feels like spring!  (And if you ask the students, they’d say it feels like summer already.) This week we started looking at our silkworms, which started hatching from their eggs on Friday.  We observed them, asked questions, watched a video, answered some of our questions, and continued observing.  They’re about 5 mm now (tops), but will grow to be about 7 cm long!  Ask your child what they look like and what they eat.

Yesterday we stayed a little later at school before heading to The Schuylkill Center.  We used a website (http://world.time.com/timelapse/) to first look at growth in Chester County, PA (a local area that has shown huge growth in the last ten years or so).  Then students explored the website on their own.  We discussed habitat loss that occurs due to development and how it affects animals such as bluebirds.  We then headed to The Schuylkill Center and went on a long hike, and while some students were tired and thirsty by the end of it, most of them enjoyed seeing birds and frogs/tadpoles along the way.

This morning we heard Brian Jordan’s group, City Love, perform at Encuentro.  They had the whole gym moving, singing, clapping, and rapping.  Ask your child what she/he enjoyed most!

Fifth graders focused again on particular concepts in math in preparation for a math retest this week.  Fourth graders began work on probability, doing some simple games (pulling tiles out of a bag, flipping a coin, rolling dice) to collect data to support their ideas.  Next week we’ll talk about how we assign numbers to probability, betting odds, and then looking at the Kentucky Derby (which is next Saturday).  What students discover is that the system is designed to make money for the house and not for individuals placing bets (the house always wins).  It’s a useful lesson for students to learn early!

We hope you have a marvelous weekend!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

It was a beautiful day at The Schuylkill Center!  Please ask your child about the birds we discussed today and why bluebirds are a threatened species.  Additionally, make sure your child dresses appropriately on Thursdays for being outside in the woods; some students seem to be uncomfortable sitting on the ground or walking in grasses or leaves.  We go every week unless there are storms or unless it will be too cold for our students to be able to do their work.

The rest of our week was a short but typical week.  We read more about the Monkey King, we had word study, math, Spanish, Mandarin, and specials.  We watched a video of a giraffe giving birth and talked this morning about Lyme disease.  Ask your child what stands out to them about the week.

Tomorrow the teachers are meeting. We hope that you have a wonderful weekend! See you on Monday.

Sincerely,

Laura and David

 

 

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

What a beautiful week!  We have enjoyed being outside every day, especially yesterday at The Schuylkill Center! It’s wonderful to be out in spring!

Our environmental science focus this spring is on the ways humans affect the environment.  Students did an online survey to determine their ecological footprint.  While there were challenges in taking the quiz (there’s no option for “rowhome,” for instance, so we went with duplex), students found that they generally underestimated how many earths it would take if everyone on the planet had their lifestyle.  We also talked about actions that they themselves can take to reduce their footprint -- turning off lights when not in use, for instance.

http://www.earthday.org/take-action/footprint-calculator/

At The Schuylkill Center we went on a hike to see some examples of restoration and then had lunch and recess.  The students commented on how excited they were to see what was different there and to explore familiar places.

We have shuffled some of our Word Study groups based on where students are currently in their learning.  Ask your child what group they’re in now and one interesting thing they learned this week.

At community meeting this week, we talked about what made a good friendship versus a negative one (and how the same person might behave differently with different people).  We then had students brainstorm ideas for a JU magazine about tweens to encourage ally-ship and support for kids this age.  Students are going to select the magazine feature they’re most interested in doing, and for two weeks we’ll work on creating a magazine.

Matt Murray worked with our students on their last digital passport lesson for the year.  We hope that some of the ideas about privacy and online citizenship stick with our students as they navigate an increasingly digital age.  

We hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

 

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

We had a lovely visit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art today.  We looked at Chinese tomb figures, a beautiful Persian rug, a French tapestry, and a painting by Degas.  We discussed the ways in which ideas and art traveled between cultures.  Our guide was impressed with their focus and interest.  Many students commented that they were interested in seeing other things at the museum that we won’t cover in Junior Unit (armor, for instance). We encourage you to bring your child there sometime (or to arrange a visit for your child and a friend).

This week we started reading The Monkey King.  Students are enjoying this beloved tale from China about a powerful and mischievous monkey.  Ask your child what she or he most enjoyed from the book this week.

At Community Meeting on Tuesday, we discussed crushes and relationships, starting with a story for each group to prompt discussion.  The boys’ group read a chapter from Benjamin Alire Saenz’s young adult book Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and the girls’ group read the short story “Secret Samantha” by Tim Federle from Flying Lessons and Other Stories.  Both groups then looked at the spectrum of attraction (from heterosexual or straight to lesbian/gay, with bisexual filling the entire space in between).  Be sure to ask your child about the story that was read and what was interesting to them about the meeting.

We began our spring science topic on Thursday, and although we didn’t go to The Schuylkill Center, we did talk about the environment and the idea of a sustainable space.  Ask your child about the fish pond simulation or "The Story of Stuff" video.

Despite the chill today, we’re definitely feeling that it’s spring.  Enjoy the gorgeous weather this weekend!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

We’re thrilled that many of you could join us for at least one of the performances of “The Same Sky” at HMS School.  Our students connected wonderfully with their HMS partners, and there were many touching moments during rehearsals and the performances.  We hope you have talked with your child about the experience.  Special thanks to all of you for helping with costumes, lines and songs, and transportation home last night.

The students are excited and nervous about leading their conference tomorrow and Friday (and some after break).  We look forward to seeing the students in action!

A reminder that we’ll be starting back at the Schuylkill Center on April 6, and we also have a field trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art on April 7.  Have a wonderful and relaxing break!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Yesterday was our dress rehearsal at HMS, which was also a performance for other HMS students.  It was terrific, especially considering it was the first full run-through!  JU-C students are wonderfully connected with their partners.  The remaining performances with HMS are on Monday, March 20, at 10:30 a.m.(a performance for the rest of the JU, though parents are also welcome if that time works better) and Tuesday, March 21, at 6 p.m.  As we did last year, we will provide an after-school time and place for students to stay on Tuesday before taking a bus to HMS for the play.  A permission slip was sent home about this, and also to make sure we know how every student is getting home after the play (as a bus is NOT provided back to TPS afterwards).  The play is about an hour in length.

Students are preparing for conferences.  As with fall conferences, they are 20-30 minutes.  The students are quite excited to show you what they’ve been doing and how it reflects their hard work (and things they still want to work hard on).

We watched a video this week about China and the Dalai Lama.  We provided a little background information first, and then watched this John Oliver video from 5:16 on (before that, there’s some inappropriate language). (You are certainly welcome to watch all of it, but the students only saw from 5:16 to the end.)

Next week is a short week.  (It will fly by even faster because of the HMS performances!)  We look forward to seeing you at conferences, and we hope you have a fabulous spring break!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

It was a busy week in JU-C.  Our rehearsals for our collaboration with HMS continued, with rehearsals Monday and today here at TPS and yesterday at HMS.  The performances with HMS are on Monday, March 20 at 10:30 (a performance for the rest of the JU, though parents are also welcome if that time works better) and Tuesday, March 21 at 6 p.m.  As we did last year, we will provide an after school time and place for students to stay that day before taking a bus to HMS for the play.  Students will need a way home after the evening performance, whether with a family member or a friend’s family.  A permission slip for this will be sent home soon.

On Tuesday, the Peter Tang Ensemble (of Chinese music) played and also worked with our students, who learned the names of the instruments and how they are played.  Students particularly enjoyed being able to try to play some of them.

Yesterday we visited the 7th grade Seeds of Change presentations, which our class thoroughly enjoyed.  And this morning we heard music from the Junior String Ensemble and the Sandra Dean String Ensemble.  Congratulations to all of our performers!

We are also starting to prepare for the student-led conferences.  Please sign up if you have not done so (or let us know if those times are not going to work for you).  Remember, your child will need to also be at the conference, so don’t choose a time when she or he is not able to come.

In recognition of International Women’s Day on Wednesday, we talked about some of the issues affecting women here and worldwide.  And then we watched the trailer for “Hidden Figures,” which is hopeful (and brought tears to my eyes even though I’ve already seen the movie, which is wonderful).  Have a good weekend!

https://youtu.be/RK8xHq6dfAo

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

The weather was unusual again this week -- we’ve had 70+ degree recess, as well as recess in the 40s.  We do require students to bring their coats to recess if it’s in the 40s or colder; if they decide to take them off once they’re running around, it’s okay, but they should have a coat or jacket with them.

During community meeting this week we looked at how the media can affect how we see ourselves.  We talked about gender roles and then how expectations about gender can affect marketing.  The girls were particularly outraged about this video:
https://youtu.be/3JDmb_f3E2c?list=PLxAALON-JyRPLPHRy4H3FlD29ETIgGODW (Please note that there are two places in the video with some questionable language. We skipped a bit of it, but feel free to watch it yourself and have a conversation with your child about what stood out to them.) 

Many students seem to be out of pencils.  We had a conversation with students about a good time/way to ask family members for pencils (not at the last minute, and, “Would you please get some pencils for me the next time you’re at a store?  Thank you.”)  A reminder that if your child prefers mechanical pencils, they’ll also need lead for those pencils.

Extra activities this week included a nutrition lesson from nursing students working with Sara, a 3rd and Junior Unit recital, and a meeting of family circles this morning.  Ask your child about any and all of these.

JU-B will be holding their bi-weekly pretzel sale this coming Monday.  The pretzels will be $1.00 each, and mustard will be 25 cents.

A reminder that the final performances with HMS are on Monday, March 20, at 10:30 a.m. (a performance for the rest of the JU) and Tuesday, March 21, at 6:00 p.m. As we did last year, we will provide an after-school time and place for students to stay that day before taking a bus to HMS for the play.  Students will need a way home after the evening performance, whether with a family member or a friend’s family.  A permission slip for this will be sent home soon.

If you haven’t signed up for spring parent conferences, the links are up.  Remember that these conferences will be student-led, so your child will need to be present.

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

It was a short but busy week!  On Wednesday afternoon, JU-C students saw the 8th grade’s production of Julius Caesar, and this morning we saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Be sure to ask your child about highlights from these plays!

Students began presenting their China research and Tao Te Ching projects to each other yesterday.  After seeing and discussing one, students had a better understanding of what makes a presentation successful, and they are busy adding to and revising what they want to present.  We will continue presentations over the coming weeks, with the plan to be finished with them by spring break.

This week’s community meeting focused on gender and whether someone’s assigned sex matches their internal sense of what gender they are.  We watched a video that students about Jazz Jennings, a transgender teen. 

This afternoon we are looking forward to the faculty vs 8th grade basketball game, but in the meantime we are excited about going outside for lunch and recess on such a beautiful day!  We hope you get a chance to enjoy the weather tomorrow (before it shifts back to more typical February weather for a few days)!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This week was short and also full of excitement, with Valentine’s Day and the Talent Show on Tuesday.  All of our performers did a great job!  (It takes a lot of courage to stand up in front of the school and perform.)

Wednesday morning we watched a video about three individuals who sought asylum in the US for persecution of LGBT people in other countries.  We had a conversation about what the word asylum means (and what it used to mean) and then discussed what it would be like to live in a place where you’re persecuted for who you are.  The video link is here: https://youtu.be/p500h-1ihCc .

At our community meeting this week, we discussed the endocrine system and hormones.  We talked about some emotional changes that occur during adolescence, as well as brain changes, and we watched a short video about healthy ways teens can “de-stress.”  Please feel free to check with your child weekly about what was discussed and if they have further questions.

The students continue to work well with their HMS partners.  We have been impressed with their enthusiasm and focus during our Thursdays at HMS.  A reminder that the final performances are on Monday, March 20, at 10:30 a.m. (a performance for the rest of the JU) and Tuesday, March 21 at 6 p.m.  As we did last year, we will provide an after school time and place for students to stay that day before taking a bus to HMS for the play.

The weather this weekend is supposed to be spring-like -- hope you get to do something outside to enjoy it!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Today has been a busy day, with a morning Encuentro featuring 6th graders talking about conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a yo-yo master doing amazing tricks.  We had our usual Friday activities (word study, specials, math, Spanish, workshop).  This week we also read another chapter of Life in Ancient China and learned another note-taking strategy.

During community meeting this week we discussed other changes (besides egg and sperm production and related processes) that occur during puberty.  What was surprising to students was how many of the changes affect both males and females, including changes with hair, hygiene, acne, and mood swings. We also discussed that while mood swings are common, extreme anxiety or depression (feelings of worthlessness or that the world would be better without you) are beyond that, and that if a student feels that way to reach out to an adult.  You can ask your child if she or he has any questions about what was covered and if there’s anything in particular they’re worried about. 

Although the snow day did not produce much snow (and caused us to miss our weekly work with HMS students), it sounded as if students enjoyed a surprise day off.  Most teachers here were happy to have a snow day that did not involve much shoveling of snow. :-)

A reminder that next week students have off on Friday for a teacher in-service day, and we are all off on Monday, February 20, for President’s Day.

Have a good weekend!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

It was lovely to see many of you at our Chinese New Year Open House on Thursday morning!  We were glad to share music with you, as well as a glimpse of the work students have been doing.  As we noted, most of their work is not yet finished -- students are working on projects they plan to present to each other.  They were proud of their work so far!

We left the Open House and headed to HMS School for our weekly rehearsal.  David and I were impressed with their partner work -- all of them seem more comfortable with their partners (especially the fifth graders, most of whom are working with the same partner from last year).  They are doing an excellent job engaging with their partners while singing and moving.

On Tuesday, Junior Unit joined the 6th grade for a speaker (who worked more extensively with the 6th grade during the day).  Dr. Omekongo Dibinga is a professor at American University, and he presented to students about being an upstander and not a bystander.  The students loved his way of presenting and engaging with the large group.

Our other activities continued as usual -- math, Word Study, reading “Life in Ancient China,” and a little bit of our continued read-aloud, “Science Fair” by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  We’ve also continued our community meetings -- this week was a short meeting in which we answered more questions, and next week’s lesson will focus on other changes that occur during puberty.  Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns!

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This morning all of JU and MS watched a video by spoken word poet Royce Mann.  A video of him made the rounds last year; he performed at the People of Color Conference in December (that Laura attended).  This video is of his speech on MLK Day at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.  Students were impressed with his abilities, as well as his age (he’s 15).  We then had a good discussion about what “rise up” means, and strategies for being an upstander rather than a bystander.  Here’s the link to the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwxjXRZYJcY

Our intensive work on the musical with HMS has begun!  On Monday afternoon, Andrea (director and writer of the musical) and Mary (movement director for our work with HMS) were here to “audition” our students for certain roles.  We were impressed with the energy and enthusiasm the students brought to the rehearsal -- it was a difficult decision for Andrea and Mary to choose parts!  We know some students were disappointed, but an effort is being made to give all students who wanted a role some larger part to play in the production, even if it wasn’t the role they were hoping for.  We also noticed this week that students were much more comfortable with their partners, and while there are individual differences in that comfort level, overall they’re connecting well.

A heads-up about the work you’ll see during Thursday’s Chinese New Year celebration…  We have been working on two main projects for some time, the Tao Te Ching project and the China research project.  All students will likely have finished one of these completely; many students will still be finishing up one of them by Thursday.  Feel free to ask questions as students tell you about what they learned and how they’re presenting it.  The “final” presentations will be to each other in the next few weeks.

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday if you can make it.  Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

We began our work on the musical with students from HMS School this week.  The musical is called “The Same Sky,” and students started learning some songs and the plot on Thursday.  On Monday afternoons, Andrea (who wrote the musical and is directing it) and Mary (who figures out our movement with HMS students) will be with us to practice.  We’ll continue to go to HMS on Thursday mornings.  The daytime performance of the musical for TPS students will be on Monday, March 20. at 10:30 a.m.  The evening performance for families will be on Tuesday, March 21, at 6:00 p.m.  (There will also be a dress rehearsal for HMS students prior to the 20th, but that hasn’t been scheduled yet.)  Ask your child about working with his/her partner, as well as what the musical is about.

Our Junior Unit Lunar New Year Open House is at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 2.  There will be a musical performance in the Garage followed by a chance to see some classroom work.  We will need to leave at 10:30 a.m. to go to HMS, so that is when the Open House will end.  We look forward to seeing you then!

There is a pretzel sale on Monday.  Pretzels are $1.00, and mustard is 25 cents.  

Our past two Bodies Curriculum lessons have focused on male and female reproductive anatomy, including the journey of egg and sperm through one's own body and the way a baby develops from both cells. Understandably, this has raised questions for many students around how sperm and egg meet. Because we are not covering sexual intercourse in this curriculum, we have told students that these are great questions that they can discuss more with their families. Your child may be coming home this week eager to discuss these questions with you.  

We watched and discussed a video (from author John Green) this week about human history and how it doesn’t necessarily move in a straight line (as well as how what we think of as history is barely any time relative to how long humans have been on earth).  It’s an interesting thought.  Here’s a link:

https://youtu.be/qxfD1DhqBiA

Have a good weekend!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org

JU-C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

It was another short but busy week!

In addition to our usual activities, we began a few new activities this week.  The biggest one is our collaboration with HMS School for Cerebral Palsy, which began today.  Many of the fourth-graders, and some of the fifth-graders, had been nervous about partnering with students there.  However, the overall feeling of our reflection this afternoon was that it was a great day that put many students at ease about the project.  Today was just a getting-to-know-you day, with a dance game and then time in classrooms with students and teachers.  Ask your child how it went today.  Next Thursday we’ll begin working on the musical with Andrea Green, who writes and directs them.

We also began reading a nonfiction book called Life in Ancient China, which we use to teach note-taking strategies.  We use a variety of methods to take notes, each one matched well with a part of the book.  This will help students in their future note-taking.

In community meeting, we (boys and girls, in separate classrooms) studied the female reproductive system.  In addition to answering questions in the meetings, all classes have set up a way for ongoing questions and answers.  (Next week we move on to the male reproductive system.)  A question you might ask your child: You learned a lot this week about female biology -- was there anything new to you?  Was there anything you still want to know more about?

On Friday, January 27, our class will participate in a Poetry Day event presented by the 6th grade. The sixth graders will recite poems they have written. As a part of this special event they will serve hot chocolate, which will be offered to our class. The hot chocolate is peanut/tree nut free and is the approved brand by the school nurse. 

Finally, please join us for the Junior Unit 4th & 5th Grade Potluck (adults only) on Wednesday, January 18, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Garage.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Sincerely,

Laura and David

lmatheny@tpschool.org

dstills@tpschool.org