Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

As this will be our final Weekly Note of the 2015-2016 school year, we want to begin by emphasizing JUST. HOW. MUCH. we have enjoyed working with your children and partnering with all of you this year. At the risk of sounding effusive, this year has been absolutely, positively fantastic.

The end of a school year is always bittersweet, and this one could use a bit more sugar. We will miss Jordan more than a simple line in the Weekly Note can convey, and we are wishing her the best on her new adventures in San Francisco. We are already planning times to Skype with her in on the Smartboard next year!

This week we started working on our end-of-the year projects. In Writing we are "fixing and fancying" our fiction stories to prepare for our "Publishing Party" coming up on Thursday, 6/9. This is a students-only event, but don't worry - we will be sending home all of their writing pieces and other work next week.

In Reading, each child came up with a S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) summer reading goal and some steps they will take in order to meet that goal. We will attach these goals to the summer work packets we will be sending home on Tuesday, 6/7. The summer work packets will include individualized "good-fit" summer reading lists and targeted math packets. Please be on the lookout for these packets and read the cover letters carefully.

We took our penultimate (quiz your child to see if he or she remembers what "penultimate" means!) visit to the The Schuylkill Center, where we learned how ornithologists identify birds by their sounds and silhouettes. Ask your child if he or she can sing the calls of a jay, chickadee, or another bird they learned about. Our final trip to The Schuylkill Center will be Wednesday, 6/8. Make sure your child prepares appropriately with sunblock and a full water bottle.

Shhh! The first and second graders have been separately working on secret projects to honor each other. We will present these projects to each other next week.

Move-Up Day will be on Monday, 6/6. During this time, the second graders will go up to a third grade classroom for some activities and lunch, and the first graders will stay in Primary B to host a class of kindergartners for activities and lunch. This is a great way for students to get acquainted with their-soon-to-be teachers, classrooms, and classmates.

The last day of school is Friday, 6/10. It's graduation day, and the Primary Unit Chorus sings for the graduates. (Attendence is by ticket only.) We ask that kids dress up a bit for the ceremony. The building will close at 11:30 AM, and there is no ASEP.

Thanks again for your yearlong support and for sharing your children with us. We will miss our second graders and are excited to see how they grow as third graders. And we can't wait for our first graders to continue to blossom as learners and leaders next year in Primary B. We wish you all a safe, FUN summer. It's been a blast.

With love and gratitude, Jordan and Becca

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

Thank you for trekking out to The Schuylkill Center yesterday! We hope you enjoyed your time in our country classroom and that your child was able to give you an idea of how we spend our Wednesdays. Primary B will take two final trips to The Schuylkill Center on Wednesday, 6/1, and Wednesday, 6/8.

Have you heard we had chicks in our classroom?! Your children (and their teachers) had so much fun observing and playing with our fluffy fowl friends. Although it was difficult to say goodbye, we assured your children that the chicks would have lots of space to run and play back on the farm...

Next Friday, June 3, the Spanish team will be holding their annual Mercado activity with Primary B from 10:45 - 11:25. Tiziana and Cecilia are looking for a few parents to help out with the event. Follow the link below for more information and to sign up to volunteer: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_YdxCuIQ8YoSHo1bXk4M1hyVkE

Our last day of school (gasp!) is Friday, 6/10. Student will be dismissed to the Yard at 11:30. There is no ASEP.

Remember, there is no school for students on Friday, 5/27, and Monday, 5/30. We hope you enjoy the holiday weekend!

Stay cool and wear sunblock,

Becca and Jordan

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

On Monday we welcomed (potentially) 12new members to Primary B: 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 we have installed a "chick cam" to ensure that we don't miss any action over the weekend. You can visit the live webstream by clicking here:http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tps-bird-study?utm_campaign=ustre.am&utm_source=ustre.am%2FKpbQ&utm_medium=social&utm_content=20160520061411

The "chick cam" 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. 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 PM we will gather in the Amphitheater for a special bird presentation by an educator from The Schuylkill Center Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic. The festivities will end at 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 home with you directly 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!

We hope to see you soon,

Becca and Jordan

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

This week in Science we headed to John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum for some serious bird watching and learning. We moved at a pace of about five steps per minute because there was so much to see! We spotted egrets, great blue herons, yellow warblers, red-winged blackbirds, catbirds, and many, many more species. The children completed a scavenger hunt that required them to use all they have learned about birds thus far. We also practiced using binoculars effectively.

In Reading Workshop we continued our "Get to Know the Characters" study by learning how to determine and explain character motives as well as the life lesson the character learns. These are important higher-level thinking skills that can inspire great conversations with your child about his or her books.

On Thursday we went to see Third Grade's play based on their Theme study, Building a More Fair America. Primary B was a captive audience as they watched friends and former classmates act out and teach about shameful American injustices such as slavery, women's disenfranchisement, and segregation. Be sure to ask your child what some of his or her take-aways were.

Remember, our final Learning Celebration will be held at The Schuylkill Center on Wednesday, May 25th, from 11:30-1:45. We will have a bring-your-own picnic lunch, some free exploration time, and a bird presentation. We will be in touch about specific times and locations next week.

We hope everyone has a great weekend!

Becca and Jordan

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

Happy May! It's hard to believe we are nearing the homestretch. If your child has a summer birthday and he or she would like to do an in-class celebration, please email us.

Mark your calendars! Our final Learning Celebration will be held on Wednesday, May 25, at The Schuylkill Center. More details to come.

On Tuesday we hosted half of Katie and Rachel's kindergarten class for some "get to know Primary Unit" time. We shared about the differences between kindergarten and Primary Unit, answered questions about our classroom, and did a read aloud of one of our class favorites, Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude. Ask your child to tell you what part of our classroom he or she shared about.

In Math the first graders completed a measurement and comparison activity during which they measured and compared their "wingspans" to those of different bird species. We stretched pieces of yarn from left fingertip to right fingertip and then measured the yarn to determine the length of our wingspans. Ask your child what his or her wingspan was and which bird he or she was most similar to. The second graders have been practicing addition and subtraction with 2-digit (and sometimes 3-digit!) numbers. Recently students have been presented with real-life mathematical situations involving two friends with pocketfuls of coins. Do they have enough money to purchase a particular item? If not, how much more do they need? Who has more and how much more? Try practicing this with your child next time you get some change at the cash register.

This week's science lessons focused on the defining characteristic that makes a bird a bird: FEATHERS! We met with a Schuylkill Center educator named Leigh to examine real feathers and learn neat facts (ask your child how feathers are similar to Velcro!). We continued the feather study in our classroom with an activity about the five main purposes of feathers: flight, insulation, display, camouflage, and waterproofing. We gave groups of students a model of each type of feather, and the children used the characteristics of each one to determine its purpose. See if your child can name the five purposes of feathers and explain how feathers serve those purposes.

Over the past few weeks we have been working on an activity called The Emotional Thermometer. During this exercise, children learn to identify their feelings in certain situations and come up with appropriate ways to react to those feelings. This has inspired several important conversations in our class that we encourage you to continue at home.

Have a nice weekend,

Becca and Jordan

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

Another great week in the books! We continued to learn about birds, focusing in particularly on nests and eggs. Our trip to Bartram's Gardens proved to be a great spot for birdwatching. We heard tons of calls, saw a robin's nest with three blue eggs, and even built our own nests! In the classroom, we also learned important facts about nests and eggs and about the varying styles of nests that birds can build. See if your child can show you a few types they learned along with the corresponding hand motions.

Students began studying how characters develop in stories during Reading Workshop. We have started by taking note of authors' descriptions of basic information like name, age, species, etc. along with characters' physical features. Picking up on these details help our students to visualize and relate to the characters involved in the story, and in some cases, better understand the problem. During writing, we tied our ability to pick up on these details in reading to making sure we 'tuck' character descriptions into our writing.

We have really enjoyed seeing the variety of items students have brought in for our share topic of "Something I Made." Our new sharing rotation starts Monday with a "Grab Bag" topic. Please remember school policies – no toys or food.

Ask your child about the Star Wars themed dress up days for May 4th and 5th to see if he/she is interested in participating.

Have a great weekend,

Jordan and Becca

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

To accompany our bird study, we are incorporating "Bird of the Week" activities into our Morning Meeting. First featured was the House Sparrow! Ask your child if they can tell you a fun fact about this bird, such as how to differentiate between males and females, what their call sounds like, or an unexpected type of movement you might observe when they feel threatened.

On Tuesday, we discussed the concept of adaptations and how birds' beaks are suited to catch and eat certain types of food. Students tried to "catch" different types of food using toothpicks, spoons, tweezers, droppers, and other tools resembling various beaks/bills. On Wednesday, we studied the movements of birds at John Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. We spotted egrets, osprey, red-winged blackbirds, mallard ducks, bald eagles (!!) and more. See if your child can describe some of the movements they saw and why the birds might have been moving in that way.

In Writing Workshop, we met in small groups of 3-5 students to discuss strategically selected skills based on how each child's writing has progressed thus far. Some of our young fiction authors discussed:

  • Strategies for when they "get stuck"
  • Using similes to enhance descriptions
  • Strategies to ensure their story makes sense
  • Considering abandoning "Once upon a time..." for an action-filled start

Lastly, a few reminders:

  • The sun has been shining hard this week. Feel free to send your child with a hat and sunscreen for recess and/or Wednesdays at our country classroom.
  • The Move-up Meeting for parents of next year's 3rd graders is on April 28 at 5pm. Please attend if your schedule allows. It is an opportunity to meet the teachers and learn about the 3rd grade program.

We hope everyone has a lovely long weekend. Don't forget to read each night! Jordan & Becca

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

We've had another productive week in the classroom! During Writing Workshop, we continued to plan out our fiction stories. Ask your child about their problem/solution organizer and what idea they placed in each of the three shapes (problem star, toolbox, and light bulb). Students then began crafting the start of their stories. We are very excited to see how they continue to develop!

In science, we did an in-class study of what makes a bird a bird and learned that it is feathers. We also sorted facts about birds to determine if they were true about all birds or just some birds. See if your child can tell you two or three things that are true about all birds and two or three things that are true about some birds. At The Schuylkill Center, we spent time in two different habitats thinking about how birds find food, water, cover, and space in each of these areas. We also made deductions about what types of birds might live in each of these habitats based on those observations.

Here are a few things to keep in mind for the upcoming weeks:

  • Next week, we will continue our bird study at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. It will be a great resource to see birds in action, and we plan to visit a few more times during the spring. Send your child to school as thought it were a Schuylkill Center day with long pants, comfortable walking shoes, and a trashless lunch.
  • There is no school for students on Friday, April 22 as it is a professional development day for faculty and staff.
  • Parents of 2nd graders: Move-up night for rising third graders is on April 28 from 5-6pm. We hope that you will attend to hear about what is in store for your child next year and to ask any questions you may have.

Have a great weekend,

Jordan & Becca

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

It was a great first week back to school! We kicked off new units in all subject areas and the kids were excited to jump right in. In reading workshop, we began discussing fluency. Students are working on noticing how their voices sound when they are reading and practicing strategies to assist with smoothness and rate.

Our new fiction writing unit was received with tons of enthusiasm and our classroom is buzzing with ideas for characters, problems, settings, and more. The first step in creating a fiction story is to imagine who the main character is and what trouble they might encounter. Ask your child to tell you about the character they created in class this week.

With spring season here, we returned to The Schuylkill Center to begin our study of birds. Students were happy to begin reacclimating to learning and play in our country classroom. We shared thoughts on what we think we know about birds, questions we hope to answer in the coming weeks, and recorded some observations while birdwatching. As a reminder, please be sure that you send your child to school with a "trashless" lunch and wearing sneakers and long pants each Wednesday. Plan to do a tick check in the afternoon/evening after his/her return from The Schuylkill Center.

Bartram's Garden and the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum are two other locations that we will visit during our bird study. We are tentatively planning to visit on April 27th and May 11th, respectively, and are open to having a couple parents join us. If you are available and interested in accompanying PrB, please send us an email and we'll be able to provide more details as we approach those dates.

Lastly, we rounded out the week with an all-school trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. With their Family Circle, students both toured the museum and completed mystery activities back at school. Ask your child what their Family Circle's code name was, and to which piece of art it was related.

We hope you have a great weekend, and we're looking forward to another fun and learning-filled week come Monday!

Best,

Jordan and Becca

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

It was lovely to see so many of you at our Learning Celebration this afternoon. The children worked incredibly hard over these past months brainstorming, collaborating, creating, and preparing, and we hope you were impressed by and proud of the work they presented today. We know we were!

Our trip to Schuylkill Banks on Tuesday was a powerful experience. We braved the drizzle and headed to the Walnut St. Bridge, where we were greeted by our guides (and given tables and chairs for an al fresco lunch!). Then, armed with buckets and rubber gloves, the children set to work picking up wrappers, cigarettes butts, and even a dead eel (what your children told you is true!). We all learned first hand about the importance of service work and taking care of our city. Many of us also realized that service work can be fun.

In fact, our first trip was so much fun that we were inspired to go on another one! We will visit the PSPCA (located at 350 E. Erie Ave.) on Wednesday, March 23. We will depart from TPS after lunch at 12:30 and return around 3:00. Please reach out if you would like to join us as a chaperone.

We are looking forward to seeing you again at family-teacher conferences next week. There is so school for children on Thursday, 3/24, and Friday, 3/25. Childcare will be provided for TPS-enrolled children in the Lombard Street building from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM. A receptionist will direct you to the room where supervision will be available.

There will not be a Weekly Note next week, so we would like to wish you all a fun and safe spring break. School resumes on Monday, April 4, and we will be returning to the Schuylkill Center on Wednesday, April 6.

Have a great weekend,

Becca and Jordan

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

It's feeling like spring! We took advantage of the sunshine to picnic and play at Markward Park on Wednesday and Friday. Many children shared that our picnics were their "rose" of the week.

Attention families of first graders: Today we are sending home speech and language screening permission slips. If you would like your child to be screened by a speech therapist, please fill out the slip and return it in your child's backpack next week.

We began preparing for our Friday, March 18th Learning Celebration. The Celebration will begin with a Primary Unit chorus and music concert in the Garage. We expect to be back in our classroom to share our work with you around 1:45, and families are welcome to stay through 3:00 dismissal. As an early spring treat, we will be serving Rita's water ice!

During Writing Workshop, we started revising our persuasive letters. On Tuesday we taught a lesson on peer-editing. The children then read their letters to a partner and received and offered feedback. We also used editing checklists to fix up our work.

We spent several parts of the week putting the finishing touches on our Theme projects and planning how we will present our work during the Learning Celebration. We will devote lots of time next week to rehearsing our presentations so we are ready to share them with you!

Sara, our school nurse, visited our classroom on Thursday to share tips on how to stay healthy and safe. See if your child is able to tell you the five steps of proper hand washing and some of the other strategies we learned about maintaining good health.

On Friday the children completed written self-reflections about how the school year is going so far. We are looking forward to sharing these with you at our family-teacher conferences on March 24 and 25. Remember, we also want to hear from YOU about how the year is going. Please be prepared to share at least one thought, question, or story. On a logistical note, if you need child care (for a TPS-enrolled student) during your conference time on the 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 closed our week by revealing that we will be doing a service project with Schuylkill Banks on Wednesday, March 15. We planted clues around the classroom and the children used their detective skills to piece together the clues' meaning. The trip will include taking a short walk to the Walnut Street Bridge, listening to a presentation from the Schuylkill Banks Outreach Coordinator, and cleaning up an area of the trail. We can't wait to put all that we have learned about service work into action!

Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend,

Becca and Jordan

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

'Tis the season of colds, stomach bugs, and the flu! We are sending well wishes to all of our Primary B students who were not feeling their best this week, and we are grateful to families for adhering to our health and safety policies.

We devoted a large portion of the week to our theme study. Students worked with their model service organization groups to develop "action plans." The anti-smoking group, who have named themselves Stopping Smoking by Performing, started writing an anti-smoking skit geared towards teenagers. They also sketched designs for t-shirts and stickers with anti-smoking messages. The anti-pollution group, Happy Air, Healthy Earth, began creating three-dimensional signs with anti-pollution facts on them. They also came up with strategic locations where they would place the signs. Trash to Art, the anti-littering group, planned the logistics for litter pick-up events and trash-sculpture building contests. They then visited TPS staff members' offices to collect trash that could be used to build a litter-sculpture (don't worry, they were wearing rubber gloves!).

On Wednesday we welcomed Jack Ar.'s dad, Brad, into our classroom to discuss his work with Spark the Wave, an organization that trains teenagers to create service projects in their communities. Check out their website for more information and possible service opportunities: http://www.sparkthewave.org/.

We closed our week by having a representative from Reach Out and Read return to TPS so we could present her with a check for the money earned by the entire Primary Unit. Our total so far amounted to $3,305.10! We are beyond proud of all of the Primary Unit students for the grueling hours of reading they put in to this service project.

We are sad to share that our class parakeet, Lemon, passed on Thursday after school hours. She lived a long, healthy life, and it was simply her time to go. The children were upset, but prepared. Please feel free to share this information with your child if he or she was not at school today.

On a final, happy note, the Primary Unit chorus concert and learning celebration will be on Friday, March 18. The concert will begin in the Garage at 1:15pm. We will head back to our classroom immediately following the concert for the learning celebration. We can't wait to share our work with you, and we look forward to seeing many of you there.

We hope everyone gets lots of rest and drinks plenty of fluids this weekend!

Becca and Jordan

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

We enjoyed having a full fun-filled week together! We were lucky enough to have two theme-related guest speakers this week. Brian Jordan spoke about his service work at a community garden called Hope Bridge. After learning about what Brian does with this group, the students had many suggestions on images to incorporate as they consider their logo design. Michelle Wilkes, Jordana's mom, also came in and spoke about her work with Nationalities Service Center. Our class learned a lot about the obstacles that refugees face when adjusting to life in the United States and how this group assists with that process. Big thanks to both Michelle and Brian for coming in to share with us!

In math, our 1st graders are exploring number lines. We have learned how to use these tools to skip count and to solve addition and subtraction problems. Be sure to ask your child about how we created a life-size number line across our classroom! The 2nd graders began working with different units of measurement this week. It was interesting to see students' strategies for estimating the lengths of a variety of items in inches, feet, and yards. Check in with your child about the inchworm ruler they created or how we created a "giant's foot".

Our week ended with two particularly fun events. On Thursday, we celebrated the 100th day of school! Our goal was, of course, to find many different ways to make the number 100, but we also hoped to create opportunities for service through these activities. Ask your child about the four projects they participated in. If they need a reminder, use these keywords: cards, pennies, knots, and bills. On Friday, our class saw the 8th graders' performance of The Taming of the Shrew. We were so impressed! See if your child can summarize the play, recap a favorite part, or describe a favorite character.

Last but not least, please be sure to sign up for conferences. Many families have already selected a time slot to meet with us, but we also encourage you to meet with at least one of your child's specialist teachers (or more if your schedule allows!) Our students see these teachers twice per week, so it is helpful to gain insight around their progress outside of the PrB setting. It's also fun to hear about all the going-ons in the specials classes! Please find their Doodle Polls below:

Music
Shannon  http://doodle.com/poll/c64wcatvnqb6s65t

Chris http://doodle.com/poll/by944vma4sk7d34i

Art
Catherine http://doodle.com/poll/7r42s3ppzyv7a77i
Rick http://doodle.com/poll/kqwpvbwingb5wzcz

Physical Education

Mike  http://doodle.com/poll/vunfqpi36m5xmcs5
Akemi http://doodle.com/poll/kkrn48za9izud59f

Spanish - Tiziana and Cecilia will be on the 8th grade Spanish trip, but email them directly (tacerbo@tpschool.org, cgenzlinger@tpschool.org) if you're interested in scheduling a time to meet with them.

Have a great weekend!

Jordan & Becca

 

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

We've had a very exciting week here in Primary B! Today we hosted Encuentro for the K - 3rd grade group. The students worked very hard the last few weeks preparing jokes, skits, and trivia questions to present during our assembly time. Ask your child what part he/she had and about classmates' parts as well. There was a lot of laughter and fun had by all! For a little peek into the presentation, take a click through the photo gallery.

Our theme studies involved a lot of collaboration this week. The children were tasked with taking their many ideas of how they wanted to help their community and narrowing them down to one mission statement within their smaller groups. These groups, determined to work on the issues of smoking, pollution, and littering, came up with the following mission statements:

  • We will stop teenagers from smoking by performing anti-smoking skits and handing out anti-smoking prizes.
  • We will teach people about air pollution by putting up 3D signs that have facts.
  • We will clean up litter areas by having litter pick-up events, sculpture making contests, and parades.

Matt Murray, our Technology Integrator, also came in to teach us about a new app on the iPads called "Tayasui Tangram." Students had the chance to explore the app, knowing that they will soon utilize it to design a logo for their model service organization. Lastly, we had our first parent guest speaker come in. Gayle Chesley, Jack A.'s mom, shared about her service work with Camp Cranium, an organization dedicated to creating a fun and safe community experience for children with brain injuries. Our students clearly saw how so much of the information presented tied directly to the activities we've been working on in class!

Please note: Here is a link to the Doodle Polls to sign up for spring conferences. Please sign up for a slot to meet with us and then scroll to the bottom of the email to find links for Specialist teachers' conference sign-ups. Just as we enjoy meeting with you, they would also like to chat about your child's progress and discuss what is happening in their classrooms. Spring conferences are as much an opportunity for you to hear from us as they are for us to hear from you. 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.

Please note the announcement below for the Strategic Planning Steering Committee.

Have a great weekend,

Jordan and Becca

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

We've had a short, but busy week! In Writing, many students have wrapped up their first persuasive letter and are itching to start another. We've heard of topics like asking their parents for a cell phone, a pet, or their own room... so be prepared! We are using an Oreo cookie inspired graphic organizer to help students organize their thoughts before they begin writing. Ask your child about what the letters in Oreo stand for -- this is a writing tool, not a snack!

Please be reminded that our Reach Out and Read fundraising project has come to an end. If your child recruited sponsors for the reading they did, please send in those donations by the end of next week. Thanks for your support in this project. We are looking forward to hearing how many books we were able to purchase for this service organization.

Speaking of service organizations -- in our Theme study this week, we introduced several service organizations by telling the stories of how they came to fruition. Students heard about how someone saw a problem, did some research to learn more, and subsequently did something to affect change. Students then worked collaboratively to create a storyboard about an issue in Philadelphia they've seen, learned about, and hope to impact in the near future.

Today we celebrated Valentine's Day. Students made heart-shaped pouches to carry the collection of cards they received from their classmates. It was a short and sweet (but still fun and festive) celebration! Many students in our class also participated in the TPS Talent Show. They did a wonderful job; check out the photo gallery for some snapshots of the fun!

We are wishing you all a lovely long weekend. There is no school tomorrow, February 12, or Monday, February 15, so we will see you on Tuesday!

All the best,

Jordan and Becca

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

We had a productive full week at school! In Writing, we continued working on our persuasive letters. Students have selected a change that they would like to see in our school, such as (but not limited to) a later start time for the school day, a longer A.T. period, or including sweet treats during our birthday celebrations. During RWW, they worked on providing several reasons with specific details and facts to support their arguments. Some students also reached a finishing point where they could wrap up their letters by restating their topic and thanking their audience for taking the time to read and consider their stance.

A group of students also participated in TPS Talent Show "auditions" as we had mentioned last week. A friendly reminder: the show is this coming Thursday afternoon so students who have opted to perform should be practicing at home. Acts should not be longer than 1 minute. Although this is for TPS staff and students only, we will definitely take some photos to share!

We are looking forward to seeing how our students have progressed in our Reach Out and Read service project. If your child needs an additional packet to track their reading and sponsors, please let us know and we are happy to send another one home. This project will run until Valentine's Day.

Speaking of Valentine's Day: We will celebrate on Thursday, 2/11. If your child would like to bring in Valentines, please make sure he or she has cards for all students; there are 23 children in our class. In following school policies, cards may not include toys or candy.

Have a great weekend!

Jordan & Becca

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

We were glad to be back in business on Wednesday. In Writing we are learning how to support our persuasive arguments with relevant reasons, which led into a lesson about facts versus opinions. This differentiation can be tricky for first and second graders, and we encourage finding moments at home to discuss this concept. We are beginning to connect our Nonfiction Reading Unit to our persuasive writing work by learning how to research for specific facts. This skill will be useful when we teach the children to support their arguments with factual information.

During Theme, we moved away from thinking about our city's abundance of resources and instead asked the children to think about the not-so-great aspects of Philadelphia. "People litter!", "There's too much pollution!" and "A lot of people smoke!" were common refrains. The children grouped themselves based on which problem they felt the most concerned about. Then, they collaborated in these small groups to write responses to questions such as, "What causes this problem?" and "What other problems does it create?" Ask your child what "Philadelphia problem" he or she discussed.

These introductory Theme lessons are leading up to a study of Philadelphia service work. In the coming weeks, we are hoping to have families come into our classroom to do brief presentations or lead activities about service work they do in or around Philadelphia. If you, or someone you know, are interested, please email us!

As many of you may have heard, our beloved class parakeet, Lemon, appears to be "slowing down." Although her exact age is unknown, Lemon has been a part of TPS for many years, and she has outlived the average parakeet lifespan. We have spoken with a vet and, because of Lemon's age, have been advised to simply make sure she is comfortable and cared for during what may be her last days. We met as a whole class to discuss the situation honestly and realistically and to give the children a chance to share their thoughts and ask questions. This is proving to be a valuable experience for Primary B, both in terms of learning about life cycles and handling loss. Please continue discussing the situation at home as we know several children are feeling particularly sad.

Reminder! Primary B students who are participating in the TPS Talent Show will be "auditioning" on Thursday, February 4th. The purpose of the auditions is to give the kids a chance to practice performing, to check the length of the act, to determine what props/tech support are needed, and to make sure acts are safe and rehearsed. If your child is performing, please make sure he or she is prepared.

Have a restful weekend,

Becca and Jordan

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

We crammed a lot into another short week! In Writing Workshop we are learning how to write persuasive letters, specifically those that ask for something. (Our apologies to any families who start getting letters asking for pets, later bed times, ice cream for dinner, etc.) We focused our first lessons on how writers introduce themselves to the person to whom they are writing by explaining how they are connected to and knowledgeable about the thing they are going to ask for.

We built upon our theme study by having the children sort the different resources they came up with last week into three new categories: "Essentials," Conveniences," and "Luxuries." It was fascinating to hear the children debate how they should classify taxis, Target, dentists, libraries, homeless shelters, and many, many more things. As our theme study moves forward, we are hoping to invite Primary B family members to visit our class to share about any service or volunteer work they do in or around Philadelphia. Please reach out if you are interested in coming in.

Speaking of service work, we have exciting news. During Encuentro today, Student Council announced that Primary B collected the most food items out of any other TPS class for our all-school food drive! Thank you for all of your generous donations. We also hope your child is excited about our new Primary Unit service project, Reach Out and Read. As your child begins collecting money from sponsors, you may send it in to school with your child in a sealed envelope. Cash and checks are both acceptable, and checks should be made out to Reach Out and Read.

Finally, the TPS Talent Show will be held on Thursday, February 11th. If your child signed up, please make sure he or she is rehearsing at home as we will not be designating time in the school day for practicing. Acts must be limited to one minute long and should be something that a large crowd of people would be able to see from their seats (i.e things that require visibility of small details like magic tricks are not ideal). Remember, the Talent Show is a student- and faculty-only event. We will take and share lots of pictures, though!

Stay safe, and have fun this wintry weekend,

Becca and Jordan

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

We had a busy week in Primary B. In Writing Workshop we learned about the main components and format of most letters. We also discussed how writers determine the content and recipients of letters in different situations. We gave the children a variety of scenarios (e.g., "Your grandparents give you twenty dollars for your birthday," "The line at the movie theater was so long that you missed part of the movie," and "You have an idea for a new flavor of ice cream") and asked them to figure out to whom they should write and what their main points should be.

In math the first graders have been learning a variety of games to develop fluency with addition and subtraction facts within 20. The second graders have been exploring various strategies to add two-digit numbers (and sometimes three-digits when we need a challenge!). Ask your child to show you how to add 57 + 32 on an open number line using jumps, hops, and steps. Your child may also be able to show you how to break apart the numbers by imagining them in bundles of 10 and loose sticks of 1, or simply lining up the numbers vertically to add traditionally. Ask your child to explain some of his or her favorite games and strategies to you.

We continued our theme study with an activity about the vast resources offered in Philadelphia and other cities. We came up with different categories of resources, such as "Places people live," "Places to get or buy food," and "Places you can visit for fun," and we asked the children to come up with as many specific places as they could that fit into those categories. Each group came up with over 40 ideas about our city's resources! Be sure to ask your child about some of the places and things he or she came up with.

Finally, we'd like to put in another plug for the Primary Unit Potluck. The potluck will be held on Wednesday, January 20, from 6:30-8:30 in the Garage. This is a great way to connect with other Primary Unit families!

Remember, there is no school for students tomorrow, 1/15, or Monday, 1/18. We hope many of you are participating in the MLK Jr. Day of Service.

Enjoy the long weekend,

Becca and Jordan

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a fun, relaxing break. The children are certainly energized and ready to get back to learning. So are we!

On Monday we introduced an audio book program called Learning A-Z. We are working on setting up our account so that children can access the program from home. Stay tuned!

We kicked off our Theme study of The City on Wednesday. We asked our students to share different cities they have visited and brainstorm ideas about and draw pictures of things they think exist in most cities (skyscrapers, houses, restaurants, stores, etc.). We also looked at Google Maps to gain some perspective on the size of Philadelphia in relation to all of Pennsylvania, The United States, North America, and Earth. See if your child can explain how these different geographic areas are related to each other.

In Writing Workshop we launched our new Letter Writing unit. Our first lesson focused on the idea that people write letters with a purpose: to communicate specific things to a selected audience. Letter writing is a fantastic activity to do during the weekends (did someone say "thank you" notes!?).

On behalf of the Primary Unit Parent Class Reps, we would like to remind all of you that the Primary Unit Potluck will be held on Wednesday, January 20th, from 6:30-8:30 in the Garage. We hope many of you are able to attend.

Finally, a request from the Art Department: In Art classes, Primary students will be drawing the front facade of their houses and then making a clay "portrait" of their house. This ties in with the Primary Unit Theme study of The City. If you have not done so already, please take a photo of the front facade of your house or apartment building, and email it to your child's classroom teachers. Having reference photos will greatly assist the students with their drawings. Thank you in advance.

Have a great weekend, Becca and Jordan