Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Primary A Families,

The much anticipated Move-Up Day is Monday. Second graders will be the guests of third graders in 3A and 3B for lunch and an orientation in both rooms. Maybe this weekend you could remind your child to think of questions s/he wants to ask. At the same time, first graders will get to be mentors as they host kindergarten students in our room.

A few more notes about next week...

  • Be on the lookout for a summer work packet coming home in your child’s backpack.

  • Early next week, please send in a paper grocery bag or a reusable bag in which we can send work home.

  • We will go to the Schuylkill Center on Wednesday.

  • Friday is Graduation Day. Primary Unit attends and performs a song for the graduates. There is early (11:30am) dismissal next Friday. There will no ASEP or after-school clubs next Friday.

Next week, we’ll continue reflecting on our year together in Primary A. We have loved getting to know your children and watching them grow academically and socially. It has been our privilege to be with them and to partner with you. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Sincerely,

Bernadette and Jane

Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Primary A Families,

It was wonderful to see you at our final Learning Celebration at the Schuylkill Center on Wednesday. Primary A students were prepared to be your guides as they helped you see how they utilize their country classroom. We are always amazed by how the students take the lead during these celebrations. The bird presentation was an added bonus to our day. How about that Russell Crow? We hope you all enjoyed the day as much as we did. If you were unable to attend, be sure to ask your child about her/his day at the Schuylkill Center.

A few notes about next week:

We will go to the Schuylkill Center the next two Wednesdays, June 1 & 8, not to the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.

Primary students will be celebrating the end of the school year in their Spanish classes with a special activity on Thursday, June 2 and Friday, June 3, and you are invited to participate. Link to details here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_YdxCuIQ8YoSHo1bXk4M1hyVkE

Have a great extended weekend!

In partnership,

Jane and Bernadette

Primary A Friday Note

5/20/16

Dear Primary A Families,

On Monday we welcomed (potentially) twelve new members to Primary A: fertilized chicken eggs! The children have been gentle, patient caretakers and have each had a chance to turn an egg. We expect the chicks to hatch on Monday, 5/23, and there are "chick cams" set up to ensure that we don't miss any action over the weekend. There were only three webcams available, so Primary A does not have one, but we have access to the ones in the other Primary classrooms (YAY)! You can visit the live web stream by clicking here:

TPS Bird Study 1 - From Primary B http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tps-bird-study?utm_campaign=ustre.am&utm_source=ustre.am%2FKpbQ&utm_medium=social&utm_content=20160520061411

TPS Bird Study 2 - From Primary D http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tps-bird-study-2

TPS Bird Study 3 - From Primary C http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tps-robolab

The "chick cams" will run until we return the chicks to 4-H on Thursday, 5/26.

Our final Learning Celebration at The Schuylkill Center is coming up on Wednesday, 5/25, from 11:00 AM to 1:45 PM. Please read the following information carefully for details about the day:

Please plan to meet us at The Schuylkill Center at 11:00 AM. Unfortunately, we do not have room on the buses for parents. Driving directions are available online: http://www.schuylkillcenter.org/aboutus/directions.html. We encourage you to carpool to and from The Schuylkill Center.

You may park in the main Schuylkill Center parking lot. From there, a teacher will direct you to Pine Plantation to meet your child. Please bring a trashless picnic lunch, and we’ll eat together. After lunch, you and your child are welcome to explore The Schuylkill Center. We will provide you with a trail map and a list of suggested activities. There will also be teachers along the trails to help you find your way to our favorite places.

At 1:05 we will gather in the Amphitheater for a special bird presentation given by an educator from The Schuylkill Center Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic. The presentation will end around 1:45 PM, at which time the children and teachers will get ready to board the buses for our return to school. Please let your child’s teacher know if you plan to take your child directly home with you from The Schuylkill Center.

It’s important that we know in advance if you are unable to attend next week’s event so we can plan accordingly and partner your child with a teacher. If you are running late getting to the Center that day, please email your child’s teacher so we can let your child know. Finally, if we need to cancel due to inclement weather next Wednesday, we will send an email to all Primary Unit families by 8:00 AM that morning. We’re looking forward to a great celebration!

Have a great weekend!

In partnership, Jane and Bernadette

Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This week we had a visit from Kelly Davis, TPS parent and director of Lutheran Settlement House which runs Jane Addams Place, the shelter to which we donated soft pretzel sales money. She thanked our group for donating sale proceeds and told us the money would be used to support summer camp programming for children who live at Jane Addams Place.

We had so much fun nest-building at The Schuylkill Center this week, and we have a new appreciation for the work that goes into making a shelter. Be sure to ask your child about the nest s/he built, and take a look at our photos.

Additional notes:

  • Remember to do tick checks!
  • Tomorrow, 5/14/16: International Migratory Bird Day Event at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, 7am-2pm
  • Wednesday, 5/25/16: Primary Learning Celebration at The Schuylkill Center, 11am-1:45pm

This week, ask me…

...what bird I am becoming an expert about. What have I learned about it so far, what else do I want to know, and why did I choose that particular bird?

...why birds need nests. How are birds’ needs for shelter similar to mine?

...how I’m adding color to my bird drawing in art and what bird song I’m composing in music.

...about my wingspan activity. What birds’ wingspans did I compare my wingspan to? Help me practice addition/subtraction facts to 10. Help me tell time to the hour and half hour. (gr.1)

…to notice metric measurement notations on things around our home and neighborhood. (gr.2)

...what inferring is and how it can help me to understand what I’m reading.

...how our brainstorm ideas for our “Memory Books” might help my writing.

...to be on the lookout for the vowel-consonant-e pattern in words in books I’m reading at home. (JW’s Fundations group)

...about the two new prefixes “de=down, away from and pro=for, forward.” What about my trick word practice? (BM’s Fundations group)

...what I learned about fairness from watching the third grade play.

...about the kindergarten visits.

Have a great weekend!

In partnership,

Jane and Bernadette

Primary A Friday Note

Dear Families,

This week, we had a visit from Kelly Davis, TPS parent and director of Lutheran Settlement House which runs Jane Addams Place, the shelter to which we donated soft pretzel sales money. She thanked our group for donating sale proceeds and told us the money would be used to support summer camp programming for children who live at Jane Addams Place.

We had so much fun nest-building at The Schuylkill Center this week, and we have a new appreciation for the work that goes into making a shelter. Be sure to ask your child about the nest s/he built, and take a look at our photos.

Additional notes:

Remember to do tick checks!

Tomorrow, 5/14/16: International Migratory Bird Day Event at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, 7am-2pm

Monday, 5/23/16: Field trip to the Academy of Natural Sciences

Wednesday, 5/24/16: Primary Learning Celebration at The Schuylkill Center, 11am-1:45pm

This week, ask me…

...what bird I am becoming and expert about. What have I learned about it so far, what else do I want to know, and why did I choose that particular bird?

...why birds need nests. How are birds’ needs for shelter similar to mine?

...how I’m adding color to my bird drawing in art and what bird song I’m composing in music.

...my wingspan activity. What birds’ wingspans did I compare my wingspan to? Help me practice addition/subtraction facts to 10. Help me tell time to the hour and half hour. (gr.1)

…to notice metric measurement notations on things around our home and neighborhood. (gr.2)

...what inferring is and how it can help me to understand what I’m reading.

...how our brainstorm ideas for our “Memory Books” might help my writing.

...to be on the lookout for the vowel-consonant-e pattern in words in books I’m reading at home. (JW’s Fundations group)

...about the two new prefixes “de=down, away from and pro=for, forward.” What about my trick word practice? (BM’s Fundations group)

...what I learned about fairness from watching the third grade play.

...what about the kindergarten visit.

Have a great weekend!

In partnership,

Jane and Bernadette

Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This week was one packed with many opportunities for Primary A students to continue to be careful listeners, thoughtful thinkers, and active learners. We had our first of a few kindergarten visits. We shared some things they can look forward to in the Primary Unit and tried to paint a clear picture of our classroom, the Lombard Street building, and our school day. We sang some of our favorite songs in between the sharing. It was delightful to watch the Primary A students take the lead and help the kindergartners feel welcomed.

We ventured out to the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge in Tinicum as we continue to explore and uncover information about birds. Students utilized their prior knowledge about how a bird’s habitat meets its needs as we walked along a trail. Students were also on the lookout for any bird sightings and other things on our Bird Scavenger Hunt. They were looking for things such as places where birds could hide, things that birds could eat, places where they could get water, nests, materials to make nests, holes in trees for birds to hide, and birds making noises. As we worked really hard to walk quietly, we were amazed by all the bird sightings and sounds. We spotted a blue heron, an egret, and lots of swallows. We stopped along the way to use our binoculars to get closer looks of these spectacular birds. Please take a moment to ask your child about the trip.

Save the Date: Learning Celebration at the Schuylkill Center on May 25.

This week, ask me…

...about my week in school (recess, Activity Time, Morning Meetings, and Specials classes). How about that amazing kindergarten and Primary recital? Also, ask me about the special guest teacher.

...about our morning work: “Memory Book” writing.

...to be on the lookout for the vowel-consonant-e pattern in words in books I’m reading at home. (JW’s Fundations group)

...about my work with open and closed syllables. What’s the difference between the two? Also, ask about my a and an chart. (BM’s Fundations group)

...what I am reading independently. What strategies am I using when I am reading? What do we use a venn diagram for? Also, ask me about our read aloud: The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White.

…if I wrote journal entries, fiction, or both this week. Did I use any strategies to make my writing more colorful? Also, ask me about our class poem.

...what the May calendar is all about and about how to measure using a ruler. What is my wingspan in inches? Help me practice addition/subtraction facts to 10. Help me tell time to the hour and half hour. (gr.1)

…to notice metric measurement notations on things around our home and neighborhood. (gr.2)

Have a great weekend!

In partnership,

Jane and Bernadette

Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This was a week filled with exciting learning. Our knowledge about birds continues to grow as we read more, discuss more, and apply our knowledge to some explorations/observations. We started the week thinking about the structures of birds, specifically their beaks. We wrote about and illustrated the different shapes of beaks and how birds use them to fulfill their needs. We also carefully examined pictures of birds and their beaks in small groups. The students then sorted the bird pictures according to the attributes the beaks shared. It was interesting to watch and listen to their reasoning for why one beak went in a group with another beak. We also looked at feathers under a microscope and noticed the shape and color of each of them.

On Wednesday we turned our attention to the places where birds live, their habitats. At the Schuylkill Center we discussed what birds need to survive. Students decided they need space, fresh air, water, food, and protection. We observed two different habitats: a meadow and a pond. Students sketched each habitat using labels to identify the things in each habitat birds use for survival. As we continue to be bird detectives, please continue to ask your child to share what they are uncovering about birds.

Whole group read-aloud times are some of our favorite moments in Primary A. It is so lovely to have our read-alouds connect to our bird theme. The students are loving Trumpet of the Swan, and this week we read another book that helped to stretch our knowledge about birds, The Peregrine’s Journey: A Story of Migration. Please take a moment to ask your child about what they are learning from these amazing books.

A reminder about birthdays: If your child has a summer birthday or has not yet had a birthday celebration at school this year, please email us as soon as possible to schedule a time to celebrate. The school year is quickly winding down, and we want to make sure each child has a chance to feel recognized by our classroom community!

This week, ask me…

...about my week in school (recess, Activity Time, Morning Meetings, Morning Work, and Specials classes).

…about my exploration of feathers. Also, ask me what I sketched in my science journal this week and how my group sorted the beak pictures and why.

...to notice the endings -s, -ed, and -ing on words in books I’m reading at home. What do those endings do to the words? (JW’s Fundations group)

...about the the story, Adjectives are Handy. What are adverbs? Can I give examples of adverbs of when (time), where (place), how often, and how an action is done? (BM’s Fundations group)

...what I am reading independently. What strategies am I using when I am reading? Why is it important for me to read good fit books?

…about my journal entries this week. Did I use any strategies to make my writing more interesting?

...my word problem work. Would you help me practice telling time to the hour and half hour? Also, ask me how I practiced my double facts and what strategies I can use to add numbers to 20. (gr.1)

…to identify and count coins. (gr.2)

Enjoy the weekend!

In partnership,

Jane and Bernadette

Primary A Friday Note

Dear Families,

This week, students organized their questions about birds into categories. There was great discussion in the group as they made connections among structures: flying (wings), beaks (how they eat) and feet (talons), and between habitats and laying eggs (because birds have to have a good place to hatch their young).

We enjoyed our Birds of Prey lesson at Bartram’s Garden. What a great place to bird watch. We closed our eyes and listened to bird sounds, then pointed toward the birds, observed the lines of holes that woodpeckers made in trees, and saw several birds flying. We also created a food web that showed what eats what and the relationship among them. And, children had an opportunity to dissect owl pellets (sterilized pieces of undigested food that an owl has regurgitated).

Things to know:

For parents of 2nd grade students, we encourage you to attend the 3rd Grade "Move-Up Meeting" next Thursday, April 28 at 5 p.m. in the 3rd grade classrooms (on the 2nd floor). This is a great opportunity for you to meet each of the teachers and learn more about the 3rd grade program.  

This week, ask me…

...about my week in school (recess, Activity Time, Morning Meetings, Morning Work, and Specials classes).

...about our trip to Bartram’s Garden. What was my favorite part of the trip? What categories did we make from our wonderings about birds? Ask your child what s/he found inside his/her owl pellet!

... about the “I Have Who Has” games we played. (JW’s Fundations group)

…about the three sounds of Y. What is an open syllable? How is it different from a closed syllable? (BM’s Fundations group)

...what I am reading independently. What strategies am I using when I am reading? What is main idea and details? Also, ask me about our read aloud: The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White.

…about how I added details to my realistic fiction story. What is a Quick Write, and what were they all about this week?

... about what our guest teacher (Beckett’s grandmother) taught us in math. How will knowing my doubles help me with easy addition facts? (gr.1)

….to count coins we have around the house. (gr.2)

Have a great weekend!

In partnership,

Bernadette and Jane

Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Families,

How to begin? This week in Primary A we  practiced writing great beginnings to our realistic fiction stories--introductions that "yank" readers into our stories. Just as they did in their small moment personal narrative stories, writers are practicing using action, dialogue, and setting to grab their readers and make them want to read on. And what about our characters? Who are they? We have given them names, and this week we practiced showing who these folks in our stories are. And, of course, please show a lot of interest when your child tells you about the jams these characters find themselves in. Maybe you and your child could notice any great beginnings, characters, and challenges in books you are reading at home this weekend.

Please note: In addition to the Schuylkill Center, we have some other “outdoor classroom” trips planned during our bird study. The dates are listed below. We would love to have parent chaperones join us for these trips. Please let us know if you are interested!

  • Wednesday, April 20: Bartram’s Garden
  • Wednesday, April 27: John Heinz Wildlife Refuge in Tinicum
  • Wednesday, June 1: John Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum (tentative)

Also please save the date for our Wednesday, May 25 Primary Learning Celebration at The Schuylkill Center, 11:00am to 1:45pm. We hope you can join us, Please note, transportation to the Schuylkill Center is not provided for parents.

This week, ask me…

...about my week in school (recess, Activity Time, Morning Meetings, and Specials classes).

...to show you how fast some birds can flap their wings. What are some facts I learned about all birds/some birds? What makes a bird a bird? What did I notice about different birds’ beaks from the pictures I observed? What did we do at the Schuylkill Center?

...how the suffixes s, ed, and ing change words. (JW’s Fundations group)

…about consonant-vowel-silent e exceptions (rule breakers). What are adjectives, and how can they make my writing more colorful? Can I give some examples of adjectives? How can I show ownership/possession when writing? (BM’s Fundations group)

...what I am reading independently. Why do good readers ask questions before, during, and after reading? What is the difference between a need-to-know question and a want-to-know question? Also, ask me about our read aloud: The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White.

…about realistic fiction: What are some ways that my small moments writing can help with my realistic fiction writing? What are my realistic fiction stories about?

... about number chart puzzles. What happens on the number chart when you go left, right, up, or down? What do the words increase and decrease mean when I am referring to the number chart? (gr.1)

….to calculate the value of a mixed collection of coins to $2.00. (gr.2)

Have a great weekend.

In partnership,

Bernadette and Jane

Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Families,

It was great to be back after spring break. We hit the ground running, launching a new writing unit of study and returning to the Schuylkill Center. We hope you heard a lot about our day there--the ramp up of the fort economy in Pine Plantation with the exchange of pine needle and branch currency; practicing “stop and point,” when we want a pal to see something on a quiet bird walk; and remembering to thank our bus drivers for getting us there and back safely. Take a look at “ask me…” for ideas of more things you can ask your child about.

This week, ask me…

...what I did at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

...what I wrote and sketched in my science journal. What do I know about birds? What do I want to know about birds? What makes a bird a bird?

...to be on the lookout for vowel teams such as ai, ay, ee, ea, ey, oi and oy in books I read at home. (JW’s Fundations group)

…about when to use a or an. When the letter s sounds like z. What are synonyms, and can I give some examples? (BM’s Fundations group)

...what I am reading independently. What are some fix-up strategies I can use when I am stuck on a word or my comprehension breaks down? Also, ask me about our read-alouds: Apt 3 by Ezra Jack Keats, My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco, and The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White.

…what realistic fiction is and about my ideas for realistic fiction stories. What were my first few stories about?

...what I think the April calendar is all about. What is a three, four, five, and six sided shape? How does the number grid help me think about number patterns? (gr.1)

…what I know about the number 1,000. How much, how many, how far, how heavy, how long, how tall is 1,000? A good way for me to learn about larger numbers is to do a lot of estimating. Maybe together we could estimate some things around our home and neighborhood, e.g., the number of building blocks in a structure, the straws in a box, or people in a crowd. (gr.2)

In partnership,

Bernadette and Jane

Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This week was an exciting one in Primary A. The enthusiastic tone of the week had everything to do with the students preparing to share their learning with you and the Primary Unit’s recital today. It was wonderful to see you all, and we want to thank you for participating in our service learning activities, that will help support people experiencing homelessness. Your children were so proud to show and explain all the things they are learning about this year in school.

We look forward to continuing to discuss your child’s strengths, growth, and some challenges that will continue to stretch them as thinkers and heighten their natural curiosities at our Parent-Teacher Conferences next Thursday and Friday.

We will not be writing a Friday Note next week, so we want to take this opportunity to wish you all a fun and safe spring break! We look forward to seeing you all back at school on April 4th.

This week, ask me…

...about Morning Meeting greetings, discussions, activities, and games. Also, ask me what I want to be known for.

....to be on the lookout for vowel teams such as -oa, -oe, and -ow in books I read at home. (JW’s Fundations group)

…about contractions and the chart I formed. My trick word practice and what words I have to pay close attention to when I am writing.(BM’s Fundations group)

...what I am I reading independently. What strategies am I using when I read? Also, ask me about our read aloud, The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson.

...if I journaled this week. If so, about what?

...my number line work. About the number line game I learned and played.

…about the games Measure and Compare and , which we played in math this week. (gr.2)

Have a wonderful weekend,

Jane and Bernadette

Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This week in Primary A we have been learning about the costs associated with owning or renting a home. The students worked in small groups to read about the different aspects of home ownership or being a renter of your shelter. The other groups focused on the different types of utility bills and taxes that are part of owning or renting. A group of students represented each one of these aspects of shelters and are working on skits to teach us about them. It is exciting to watch the students bring their creativity to such an information packed subject. Please take a few minutes to allow your child to share his or her learning with you. We encourage you to have a conversation with your child about the choice you have made (to rent or buy) and why. We hope that you will be willing to have your child share the response during an upcoming class discussion.

Please remember that we are collecting donations of items to help support people experiencing homelessness. During our Learning Celebration on March 18, we will assemble care kits to take to the two homeless shelters we learned about in Philadelphia. If you purchase/donate any of the items (see the list in last week’s Friday note), please send them to school before March 18. We look forward to sharing our learning with you all.

Reminders:

  • The Primary Chorus and Learning Celebration is on March 18 from 1:15-3:00.

  • Spring Conferences are on March 24 and 25.

  • Conference child care: If you need child care (for a TPS-enrolled student) 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.

  • We are sending home speech and language screening consent forms for all first graders. Screenings are optional and will happen during the month of April after we've returned from spring break. Please sign the form and send it back to school by Friday, March 25th.

This week, ask me…

...about this week's soft pretzel sales.

...to be on the lookout for vowel teams such as -ay, -ai, -ee, ea, and -ey in books I read at home. (JW’s Fundations group)

…about my vowel-consonant-e word charts. What is the main idea in a story? Why do I need details to support the main idea? What did I learn about Babe Ruth? (BM’s Fundations group)

...about my book club work. What am I reading independently? What strategies am I using when I read? Also, ask me about our read alouds: Cam Jansen (The Mystery of the Babe Ruth Baseball) by David A. Adler and The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

...if I journaled this week. If so, about what? Also, ask me about the final draft of my book review.

...what patterns I noticed in the March calendar. How did I use a number line to help with word problems? (gr.1)

…how tall I am in yards, feet, and inches. How tall would I be if I were twice as tall as I really am? (gr.2)

Have a great weekend!

Jane and Bernadette

Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This week in Primary A, we were all abuzz about our next step in helping people experiencing homelessness. As you all know, we will be selling pretzels for $1.00 on Fridays this month. To ensure we got the word out to our TPS community, we created posters to post around the school. A few of us also visited and made presentations to the other Primary Unit classes about the pretzel sales. The students explained that we are selling pretzels to benefit two shelters that we learned about in Philadelphia. The students are very excited to turn their learning into action.

Our Learning Celebration is on March 18, and along with sharing some of the work your child is proud of, we also want to continue our service learning through assembling care kits and making sandwiches to donate to shelters for people experiencing homelessness. We are donating to the SREHUP (Student-Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia) and Lutheran Settlement House. We will use some of the proceeds from pretzel sales to purchase the ingredients for sandwiches.

We are also collecting donations of the following items for care kits: men’s socks, lip balm, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, wet wipes, beef jerky, other packaged snacks, band aids, combs, soap, adult and children size hats and gloves. Other items the shelters request are sugar, tubs of ground coffee, small coffee filters, industrial-sized trash bags, cleaning supplies (dish and laundry soap, etc.), and aluminum foil. If you can donate any of the items, please send them to school before March 18. We look forward to sharing our service learning experience with you all!

Reminders:

  • Primary Chorus and Learning Celebration is on March 18 from 1:15-3:00
  • Spring Conferences are on March 24 and 25 

This week, ask me…

...to be on the lookout for vowel teams ee, ea, and ey in books I read at home. (JW’s Fundations group)

…about vowel-consonant-e words. Can I give some examples? How can I tell if a word has a vowel team or vowel-consonant-e? (BM’s Fundations group)

...about my book club work. What am I reading independently? What strategies am I using when I read? Also, ask me about our read alouds: The Lunch Thief and Shoebox Sam.

...my persuasive book reviews. Did I write a new review or add to one?

...what the March calendar is about. How does an open number line help me look for patterns? How can I write a number in standard form and expanded form? (gr.1)

…to find more things around home to measure in inches, feet, and/or yards. (gr.2)

In Partnership,

Jane and Bernadette

Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This week in our Philadelphia shelter theme studies, we continued to discuss homelessness and its causes. To help us deepen our thoughts about this very complicated topic, we hosted a special guest, Stephanie Sena, who founded SREHUP. Stephanie started her presentation to us with a book titled Giant Steps to Change the World by Spike Lee. This book was a great opening to a thought provoking discussion about how we can all be a part of helping those who are invisible to others. Stephanie shared some experiences that compelled her to open a shelter for men in Philadelphia. She encouraged the students to refer to people who are homeless as “people experiencing homelessness.” She explained that homelessness is an experience and is not who people are: “They are scholars with hidden talents, family members, and, most importantly, they have names.” She helped to give us all more clarity about the causes of homelessness and how shelters help to meet needs. Please take time to ask your child what she/he learned from our special guest and what questions they still have about homelessness.

We celebrated the 100th Day of School on Thursday. The Primary Unit continued to focus on service to others. Each class hosted an activity for all the Primary students to be a part of. Primary A created blankets by making 100 knots around fleece material that we will donate to children who are experiencing homelessness. Other Primary classes will donate pennies collected for exercises completed by the students. Another class made 100 cards for children in the hospital. We also had a few students bring and share some collections of 100 items. Some fun examples of these items were 100 Q-tips, 100 baseball cards, 100 rubber bands, 100 numbers typed, 100 words written, 100 beans, 100 grains of rice, and 100 paper links. Clearly, creative thinkers!

Things to Know:

  • Our Primary Chorus and Learning Celebration is on March 18 from 1:15-3:00. The concert will begin in the garage at 1:15 and will feature two songs from the Primary Unit chorus, along with performances from each of the music classes. We expect it to last 20-30 minutes. Please join us immediately afterward in our classroom for the Learning Celebration.

  • At our Learning Celebration, we will assemble care kits for people who are experiencing homelessness. If you can donate any/all of the following items, please send them in before March 18: men’s socks, lip balm, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, wet wipes, beef jerky, band aids.

  • Doodle Poll links to sign up for spring conferences on March 24th and 25th were sent out via email. Spring conferences are as much an opportunity for us to hear from you as for you to hear from us. To encourage our conversations, we ask that you reflect on the year thus far, and come with thoughts, questions, or stories to share with us.

  • We also would like to bring specialists’ voices into the conference days. We urge you to schedule at least one meeting with a specialist teacher to discuss your child’s progress.

This week, ask me…

...to notice consonant blends in words I read at home. I might see them at the beginning or the end of words. Some examples are st, sh, shr, fl, sk, nk. Also, ask me to notice the “bossy r” (r-controlled vowels) such as ar (as in “car”), or, er, ir, and ur. (JW’s Fundations group)

…about word ladders. What’s a prefix? Can I tell you some words with prefixes we learned: mis, un, non, dis, and pre? (BM’s Fundations group)

...about my book club work. What am I reading independently? What strategies am I using when I read? Also, ask me about our read alouds: The Lady in the Box, Can Man, and I Am A Bear.

...my persuasive book or author review. What strategies did I learn to help me make my reviews more persuasive?

...when we call shapes “congruent.” What did I learn from the open number line? How do I make jumps on a number line for adding or subtracting? (gr.1)

…about measuring in inches, feet, and yards. Maybe I could measure some things in our home. (gr.2)

Have an enjoyable weekend!

Jane and Bernadette

Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Families,

One focus of our Philadelphia study this year is on how the need for shelter is met for people in our city. This week, we introduced the topic of homelessness. The intent of these discussions is to create a social awareness regarding homelessness, being careful not to frighten or worry students. We hope to help students understand that in extreme cases people are unable to pay for shelter and may become homeless and to acquire a sensitivity for people who are homeless and a desire to practice citizenship as it relates to assisting others in need. See the “Ask me…” below for suggestions of how to continue this conversation in your home.

As we discuss the access and availability of shelter resources, we want to engage in service learning projects that will allow the kids to experience how people in a community help each other. We think hearing about the meaningful work that TPS community members are involved in will inspire project ideas for us. If you do work that sounds applicable to our city study, and you'd be willing to be interviewed, let us know!

We have planned some service learning projects for the 100th day of school celebration next week; for example, do 100 jumping jacks, get 100 pennies to donate to an organization. If you have pennies you can donate, please send them in.

This week, ask me…

...about our special guest, Kelly Davis, executive director of Lutheran Settlement House, which provides services to vulnerable children, adults, and families living in inner city Philadelphia. What are some interesting things I learned? What more do I want to know about homelessness? What did I learn from the read-aloud Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting and Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan.

…to tell you the characters, setting, and main events in books I’m reading at home. (gr.1) (J’s word work group)

…about suffixes able, less, ment, ness, en, ish, and ful. Can I add these suffixes to basewords to make new words? What’s the difference between homophones and homographs? (B’s word work group)

...what I am reading independently and in book club. What questions can I ask when I am thinking about cause and effect?

...about delivering my persuasive letter.

...what a book review is. What book or author did I decide to write a persuasive piece about?

… about the open number line. If shapes are congruent, what does this mean? (gr.1)

…how I know if something is half of something. What does ½ mean? (gr.2)

Have a great weekend!

Bernadette and Jane

Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Happy early Valentine’s Day! The students distributed their Valentine’s Day cards today. Each student will be coming home with their decorated heart pouch, stuffed with all their cards and treats. Please take a moment to look through and read the cards with your child.

This week we continued to focus on growing as a community of learners. We took time to think about our Community Agreements and how they are an important part of our daily routines. Please ask your child about how they show their “best selves” to everyone each day of the week.

In reading, we learned about, analyzed, and determined Author’s Purpose. There are three reasons authors write: to persuade, to inform, and to entertain. This comprehension strategy falls under the comprehension section in our CAFE Menu. As we discussed Author’s Purpose, it was clear that the students brought their prior knowledge to the lesson, when we took a close look at the elements of persuasion. We worked in groups of three to read small passages to decide why the author wrote each one. You can support your child at home during reading by asking questions that help them determine the Author’s Purpose. These questions include...do you know anything about the author? Is the selection going to teach you something, make you laugh, or try to get you to do something? What clues can you find in the text to support what you think? These questions help to stretch students’ thinking about what they are reading and help them to make those needed connections.

Remember that students can access more reading materials on Raz-Kids, linked from TPS Student Central. If your child brings home a book bag, please be sure to check-in with them and listen to them read daily.

Something to know:

The Cupcake Party Contests

CONTEST #1: GET RID OF JUNKMAIL The classroom that can get the most families to sign up on our website to stop receiving junk mail, which we call delisting http://www.redpandatps.org/de-list.html, wins a delivery of special red-panda cupcakes. (Nurse approved, and specially matched with the health needs of the class). Families should go to www.redpandatps.org to delist, and then to the Cupcake Contest event pages to let us know which class they are supporting.

This week, ask me…

...about our special guest, who talked about American Homebuilders of Guinea. What are some interesting things I learned about shelters in Guinea?

…to continue to notice “glued sounds” such as -ang, -ing, -ong, -ung, -ank, -ink, -onk, and -unk in books I’m reading at home. (gr.1)

...about different types of words, compound words, homophones, and contractions. What did I learn about how to split one syllable words or multi-syllable words? What mental images did I visualize during the Hopscotch story? How did my prior knowledge help with my visual images? (gr. 2)

...the pattern(s) I am noticing on the February calendar. What does the word equivalent mean? How can I show equivalent numbers and or equivalent number models? (gr.1)

...what pattern(s) I am noticing on the February calendar. (gr.2)

...about my persuasive letter. How did the graphic organizer help me expand my reasons by adding details?

Our read-a-thon comes to an end on Sunday. We hope your child has enjoyed reading up a storm and making it possible for other children to have access to great books. Please begin collecting pledges from your family and friends and sending them into school with your child. Checks should be made payable to Reach Out and Read. We expect to continue collecting contributions over the next few weeks. Thank you for helping your child support this meaningful initiative.

In partnership,

Jane and Bernadette

Primary A Weekly Note

Hello, Families,

It’s a “heads up” and reminders Friday note.

On Thursday, February 11, we will celebrate Valentine’s Day in the morning. If your child would like to make/buy valentines for the class, we ask her/him to please bring 25 valentines so there’s one for each child. While your child can sign each one, please do not label them with individual names. It gets very complicated to pass them out if they have names on them. Please note that we are a “candy-free” school.

We hope that your child is excited about the read-a-thon in support of Reach Out and Read. For those children who are participating, we encourage them to continue getting sponsors and adding books to their reading log. Our read-a-thon continues through Valentine’s Day, so there is still plenty of time to join us in what we hope will be a rewarding and successful pursuit. Please let us know if you have any questions about the process.

Mark your calendars for our next Learning Celebration and Chorus Concert! We look forward to welcoming you back to Primary A on the afternoon of FRIDAY, MARCH 18. We will share more specific information about the time of these events as the date approaches.

Take a look at the packet of your child’s work, which we sent home in backpacks this week. We hope you enjoy looking through it.

This week, ask me…

...about the materials used to build City Hall. Also, ask me what I saw from the observation tower.

...to notice “glued sounds” such as -ang, -ing, -ong, -ung, -ink, -onk, and -unk in books I’m reading at home. (1st gr.)

...words with the “vowel teams” like -au,-aw, -ou,-oo,-ue,-ew. What is a compound word (with examples)? (2nd gr.)

…the new calendar pattern. What strategies can I use to add three numbers? What does it mean to have equivalent numbers and equations? (1st gr.)

...to show you the regrouping method for solving subtraction problems. (2nd gr.)

...what I think of the Cam Jansen book, which we’re reading aloud right now. What are the three text connections I can make when I am reading? Why is it important that I really read good fit books during independent reading?

...what the parts of a Friendly Letter are? Who did I write a persuasive letter to? What was my letter about?

Best,

Bernadette and Jane

Primary A Note

Dear Families,

Albeit short, we had a productive and fun week (albeit short) in Primary A.

Would you help extend this week’s conversation about shelter in Philadelphia and beyond? You could include in your conversation ideas about building materials, architectural style,and cultural influences. If your child is interested in a specific kind of shelter, you might do some research about it together.

In support of our shelter and Philadelphia study, we will take a field trip on Wednesday morning to City Hall. And, a reminder, if you haven’t already, please do the “how your home functions” assignment with your child. Thanks.

Watch out! We may be creating a monster in Primary A. You and we know what good negotiators your children are. Now, they are growing into convincing persuasive writers. See “Ask me…” below for suggestions of things to ask your child about writing (and you may pick up some tips to help fend off...errr, extend...their good arguments!).

This week, ask me…

…how to figure out the numbers in a number grid puzzle piece (what happens when you go up, down, left, right, or diagonal) (gr. 1 math)

…to think about how I could figure out how to divide something among a group, e.g., how 3 people could share 4 apples. (gr. 2 math)

...how I’m using comparisons, small moment stories, and experts’ opinions to make my writing more persuasive.

...about the book I Wanna Iguana, which we read aloud this week.

...how making “text to self” references help me to connect to and think about what I’m reading. What text to self connections can I make in the books I’m reading at home?

...to notice in books I’m reading words that contain “qu.” (gr.1 Fundations)

… about the trick words that challenge me when I am spelling them. When do I use the trick words there, their, or they’re? (gr. 2 Fundations)

All the best,

Bernadette and Jane

Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Families,

This week, we met with a representative from the Reach Out and Read Organization, which helps educate families about the importance of reading aloud to children. The Primary Unit students learned about how they could help provide books to support the organization’s goal of giving books to families for early childhood interventions. This is our service learning project that connects to what we are learning about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s tireless work to change our world. The students have brought home a letter explaining how the read-a-thon works and forms that keep track of how many books they read along with the names of their sponsors. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about the project.

We continued our theme study of The City, focusing on the functions of shelter. We discussed how a shelter can be a place that provides protection, a place to keep belongings, and a home base for carrying out our daily activities. As the students viewed pictures of Jane’s home as an example to illustrate these functions, they began to think about their own homes. They then drew a picture of a favorite place in their home and identified its function(s) for them. It was wonderful to hear some of the stories behind their favorite places at home. In order to continue the discussions with you and other family members about shelter, the students have an assignment to complete. They are to take a look around their home and list examples of how it functions. We would like the students to return this assignment by Wednesday.

We look forward to hearing the students share their thoughts and growing knowledge throughout our study.

Field trip note:

In support of our Philadelphia and shelter study, we will go to City Hall on Wednesday, February 3 from 10am to12pm.

This week, ask me....

...about Morning Meetings this week.

...what I wrote about in my persuasion piece. How do you expand your opinion on something? What game did we play connected to persuasion?

...what character traits are. How do I decide which trait to give a character? What activity did we do to practice identifying character traits?

...what a suffix is. What does the suffix ed do to a word? What are the three sounds of ed? What are some interesting trick words we discussed?

… , in my reading, to be on the lookout for the words when, where, who, what, and why, and also when s makes a word plural. (gr.1 Fundations)

....what strategies I can use to add three addends. How can addition help me subtract when there is a missing number? What are the steps in doing a word problem? (gr.1)

…to figure out the differences in age among members of our family. (gr.2 math)

In partnership,

Jane and Bernadette

Primary A Weekly Note

Dear Primary A Families,

This week, we kicked off our theme study of The City through the lens of the cultural universal of shelter. Cultural universals, such as food, clothing, or shelter, are things that are common to children around the world. By using cultural universals, children can first connect their learning to their own lives and then learn more.

We will look at many parts of the cultural universal of shelter in Philadelphia and beyond and how it ties to important social studies topics, such as history, careers, geography, and economics. Our hope is to have students who are excited and motivated to learn about the world within their reach and far away.

We started our study by looking at examples of shelter in many parts of the world, brainstormed some reasons why people need shelter, then drew pictures of examples of shelters we knew of or imagined. You might discuss with your child why you live where you do and the functions that your home fulfills for you.

As families, we will ask you to contribute your knowledge in this area as well. Your first home assignment (coming next week) will be to list parts of your home that provide protection, parts that provide a base for daily activities, and places to keep belongings. Another way to help with our learning is to ask your child often about our shelter lessons, and share your own thoughts about the topics we discuss.

If you have any questions about this study or have expertise you’d like to share (or know someone who would), for example, about building construction or city systems like water, sewer or electricity, please drop us a note. Thank you in advance for your help in making this study successful.

In partnership,

Bernadette and Jane