Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

Since this is the final Weekly Note of the year, we wanted to start out by saying thank you for your collaboration, your trust, and most importantly your children! 

We have begun the wrapping-up process for our school year.  We wrote culminating frog and toad poems, put finishing touches on our projects, and worked and played hard all week long.  

After a bit of a delayed start due to a bus mix-up, we made it to The Schuylkill Center where we visited one last pond, Polliwog Pond.  Students had the opportunity to scoop for tadpoles off the side of the dock and in the shallows of the pond.  While we did not catch a lot, we were able to see tadpoles, frogs, froglets, and a dragonfly nymph up close that had been caught by previous classes.  We also learned a new game, Smaug’s Jewels.  

Next week is a time for us to come together, work together, and prepare for the summer.  We will be sending students home with a summer work packet on Monday, along with their year’s work throughout the week.  We will go to The Schuylkill Center one last time on Wednesday.  On Friday, students do not need to bring anything with them, and we will dismiss at 11:30 a.m. from the yard.

Questions to ask you child…

What type of poem did you write about a frog/toad?

How did your practice run for your project presentation go?

A look ahead…

  • 6/5 - We are sending home summer practice packets!
  • 6/6 - We will be tie-dying shirts. Please don’t tell students but encourage them to wear appropriate clothes for a messy project!
  • 6/9 - Graduation and Last Day of School - Half Day/No Lunches/No ASEP -

Have a wonderful summer!!!!

Marisa and Becca

Primary B Weekly Note

Public Service Announcement: Fidget toys and spinners are not allowed in Primary B.  They are a toy, and we have a firm “No Toy” policy in the Primary Unit.  If students bring them, they MUST remain in backpacks during the school day. 

Dear Primary B Families,

We are fully engrossed in our frog and toad study.  On Tuesday we did a frog and toad “Read to Someone.”  During this time students were given a question, a book, one or two partners, and a mission: Find the answer to the question!  Primary B herpetologists were also invited to think up any “burning questions” that have not yet been answered in our study.

On Wednesday we visited Spring House Pond and the creek.  We didn’t find many frogs, but students observed some large tadpoles!  After a long-ish hike to Founder’s Grove, we did a question-answering activity.  Using the hundred-plus questions Primary B asked a few months ago, students were put into small groups and tasked with talking about the answers and writing them down.  Students knew the answers to nearly all of the questions they had asked!  

We also created projects that represented our learning from the study.  This time around students have chosen to represent their learning through posters, dioramas, short books, three-dimensional models, and a play.  We will practice presenting our projects to each other, and then present to another class before the end of the school year.  

In our spare time we continued reading Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great for our character study, and Double Fudge for our afternoon read-aloud, both by Judy Blume, and worked on our poetry.

Questions to ask you child…

  • What are you making for a project?  What is it teaching?
  • What are some of Sheila Tubman's character traits?
  • What questions did you help to answer this week?

A look ahead…

5/26 - No School - Professional Development 

5/29 - No School - Memorial Day 

6/9 - Graduation - Half Day (11:30 a.m. dismissal) - Last Day of School

-- Marisa and Becca

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

It was lovely to see many of you at our Schuylkill Center Learning Celebration. Thanks for braving the heat!

On Monday we learned about a new style of poetry: odes! Muses included brownies, basketball, Minecraft, and glitter. Be sure to ask your child what he or she wrote an ode to.

Also in writing, we combined what we learned during our informational texts unit with our frog study to create All About Frogs books. Although we typically expect students to follow directions the first time we give them, we felt it was a good sign that we had to give several reminders to children to stop writing so that we could line up for recess!

To conclude our frog study, we began brainstorming potential individual or group projects. More information will come on that as we start working on them.

This week we introduced a new Friendship Tool called "The Friendly Reminder." This tool is for children to use when they notice one of their classmates is not following our rules or has inadvertently done something that bothered them. To use this tool, children must follow these four steps: 

1. Both students take a deep breath. 

2. Child 1 tells child 2, "I have a friendly reminder for you. Could you please _____ (gives advice about what they should do) because  _____ (explains how their action was harmful)."

3. Child 2 says, "Thanks, I'll work on that."

4. Both children agree to move on.

Feel free to try it at home!

Ask your child...

  • What did you write an ode to?
  • What book did we start reading in Read Aloud?
  • What facts did you include in your informational text about frogs?
  • What are you hoping to create for your frog project?

Reminders:

If your child has a summer birthday and he or she would like to do an in-class birthday celebration, please email us to schedule a time.

There is no school for students on Friday, 5/26, and Monday, 5/29.

We hope you all have a restful weekend,

Becca and Marisa

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

This week we were visited by Sally McCabe, a volunteer "toad crosser" with Toad Detour at The Schuylkill Center. What's a "toad crosser," you ask? Each spring, much of The Schuylkill Center's toad population migrates to the Roxborough Reservoir to breed, and they must cross roads on this journey. Toad Detour blocks and diverts traffic on certain evenings, saving hundreds of toads from being hit by cars. (Check out http://www.schuylkillcenter.org/programs/public_events.html for more information or to sign up!). 

On Wednesday we took a trip to the Academy of Natural Sciences to see the exhibit Frogs: A Chorus of Colors. We saw and learned about several species of exotic frogs. We even got to see Mexican Dumpy Frogs get fed live crickets! We certainly felt like we could have spent more time at the exhibit, so it's a great option if you are looking for an activity this weekend. The exhibit closes on Sunday, 5/14. 

In math, the first graders worked on a measuring and graphing project we called "Leap Like a Frog." Children worked with partners to take a "frog leap," mark and measure where they landed, and graph their results. Then, we measured ourselves. The next step of the project will be to compare our heights to the distance we were able to leap. After that, we will learn about how far certain species of frogs are able to leap in relation to their body lengths, and see how that "measures up" (pun intended) to humans' leaping abilities.

The second graders began exploring the number one thousand. They are using and extending their understanding of place value to add and subtract ones, groups of ten, and groups of one hundred with numbers up to one thousand. By solidifying their grasp of place value, students will be prepared to fully understand the standard "carrying" and "borrowing" algorithms rather than simply memorizing a set of steps.

Ask your child...

  • What did you learn about toads and toad crossing from our expert Sally?
  • What frog species did you learn about at the Academy of Natural Sciences?
  • How did our read aloud book, Jimmy: The Pickpocket of the Palace, end?
  • How does Sheila Tubman respond to problems in Otherwise Known As Sheila the Great?

Reminders:

If your child has a summer birthday and he or she would like to do an in-class birthday celebration, please email us to schedule a time.

The Schuylkill Center Learning Celebration will be Wednesday, 5/17, from 11:00-1:45. Check your inbox for a separate email about the event.

There is no school for students on Friday, 5/26, and Monday, 5/29.

Have a lovely weekend,

Becca and Marisa

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

Did you know we are in the final six weeks of school? This is a great time to reflect with your child about how the school year has gone and discuss his or her hopes for the end of the year.

In science this week we learned about frogs' major internal organs. At The Schuylkill Center we focused our lesson on frog habitats and drew realistic, detailed depictions of Springhouse Pond. We then wrote our ideas about how the different things we observed at the pond meet frogs' needs.

Our Reading Workshop unit has been all about getting to know and learning from characters. For the past couple of weeks, we have been noticing how characters change from the beginning to the end of a story and then figuring out how those changes can teach us important lessons about life. This is a great way to encourage higher-level thinking when reading and discussing books with your children at home.

This week our young poets wrote "The Important Thing About Me" poems. In this style of poetry, children decide what they feel is the most important thing about themselves and list it along with other ways to describe themselves. (Check out The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown for specific examples.)

In math the second graders recently wrapped up a unit on measuring small and large objects in inches, feet, and yards using rulers, yardsticks, and comparative measurements. The first graders are just starting a similar unit during which they will learn to measure objects (and each other!) in inches using rulers and measuring tapes.

On Thursday, Sara, our school nurse, came to Primary B to give a lesson on first aid and self-care. Her focus was on what types of injuries and ailments truly require band-aids, ice packs, or visits to the nurse. The children also got to role-play how to respond when someone has a broken bone or a sprain. 

Ask your child...

  • What are some important parts of a frog's internal anatomy?
  • How does a frog's habitat meet its needs?
  • What life lessons can we learn from the story Beatrice Doesn't Want To?
  • What did you include in your "The Important Thing About Me" poem? Did you write any "Important" poems about other things?
  • What are band-aids or ice packs used for?  What are some important steps to follow if you think someone has a broken bone or a sprain?

Reminders:

If your child has a summer birthday and he or she would like to do an in-class birthday celebration, please email us to schedule a time.

We are taking a trip to the Academy of Natural Sciences to see the exhibit Frogs: A Chorus of Colors on Wednesday, 5/10.

The Schuylkill Center Learning Celebration will be Wednesday, 5/17, from 11:00-1:45. We will be in touch with more details about the event soon.

Enjoy the weekend!

Becca and Marisa

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

Our frog study is in full swing! On Tuesday we had a lesson called “Why Your Teacher Is Not a Frog!” Through a rather silly lesson about Becca’s mammalian traits, students were able to identify facts about frogs that are true for all amphibians.  We discussed that frogs start life as eggs, hatch as tadpoles, and metamorphose to frogs.  Humans, like Becca, are born as humans and stay that way their whole lives.  Students demonstrated their understanding by creating a Venn diagram depicting the similarities and differences between Becca the Frog and Becca the Teacher.

At The Schuylkill Center this week we ventured to a new place, the stream!  We met a new environmental educator named Carrie.  Our intent was to find some small creek dwellers who are generally eaten by frogs.  Though we did not find any macroinvertebrates, the creek was a wonderful opportunity for our kids to get wet, dirty, and have fun!  In the future, we recommend students wear rain boots or shoes that are okay to get wet on Schuylkill Center days as we continue our study of frogs and toads.  

On Thursday afternoon we had our first frog expert come in and share.  Our community’s own Dr. Stacey Trooskin (also known as Miles’ mom) shared new scientific research on using frog slime to help develop a new flu vaccine.  Students asked questions about the type of frog, how the scientists get the slime, and how scientists figured out that frog slime might combat the flu!

Questions to ask you child…

  • Why is your teacher not a frog? 
  • What does it mean to be a vertebrate? 
  • What are some differences between amphibians and mammals?

A look ahead…

  • 5/10 Primary Unit Trip to the Academy of Natural Sciences
  • 5/17 Primary Unit Learning Celebration at The Schuylkill Center (rain date 5/31)
  • Wednesday & Friday Mornings: Look for Primary Unit teachers in the yard from 8:00 to 8:15 a.m.; we are out and available to check in, say good morning, or just chat with you and your kiddos.  We hope to see you there.

We hope you have a wonderful weekend,

Marisa and Becca

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

This week we have been busy poets, herpetologists, readers, writers, and kids.

Our poetry study has grown from studying poems to taking a stab at writing our own. Students were introduced to the idea that poets use special “poet’s eyes” to examine an object and think about it with their hearts and their minds.  After discussing how a pencil sharpener sounds like bees, the ceiling is the classroom’s sky, and a pair of scissors is like an alligator, students were invited to choose an object that “spoke” to him or her and examine it with their poet’s eye. Students then began crafting poetic noticings and were eager to share their observations.

Wearing our herpetologist hats, primary students learned about a frog’s external anatomy.  Students learned a fact about each major part of a frog’s body and face, and then we constructed a large paper frog.  Students then challenged their brains to remember all the parts of a frog in writing.  

At The Schuylkill Center we had a lesson with Damien, an educator from The Center, about frog respiration.  We learned that tadpoles use gills to get oxygen, frogs use their noses and their skin, and some other amphibians, like salamanders, only breathe through their skin.  Lucky us, we then were invited to search for salamanders, and our class found two!  The salamanders reminded us of worms with legs; they were so tiny!

At The Center we also visited the ponds and took time to observe frogs and tadpoles.  We were able to identify much of the frogs’ external anatomy in real life.  Students successfully named and saw eyes, nostrils, and tympanic membranes on many, many frogs!

Questions to ask you child…

  • What object did you write about?  What did it remind you of?
  • What did you call a salamander with a red back?  A black back?
  • How can you figure out the author’s lesson in a fiction story?

A look ahead…

4/27 Move-Up Night for Incoming 3rd Grade Families (5:00-6:00 p.m)

5/17 Primary Unit Learning Celebration - at The Schuylkill Center

Wednesday & Friday Mornings - Look for Primary Unit teachers in the yard from 8:00-8:15 a.m. We are out and available to check in, say good morning, or just chat with you and your kiddos.  We hope to see you there.

We hope you have a lovely, long weekend!

Marisa and Becca

 

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

We are going full swing in Primary B, working hard in all areas of study!

This week students learned about several ways authors show and tell the reader about characters.  Students had fun thinking of familiar characters and their character traits.  As the week progressed students were able to test their skills by using text clues to determine the types of personality traits that the characters Frog and Toad show.  They were then introduced to two brand new characters, Zelda and Ivy, and used textual clues and inferences to identify their character traits.

As we continued our frog project we were excited to begin collecting items for our frog and toad museum. A few students have already taken the opportunity to bring in artifacts to share with the class. After having a mini fact plaque filled out, museum artifacts are displayed in the classroom for as short or long a time as the students (or their families) choose.  Please feel free to check in with us if you or your child have any questions about bringing something in for the frog and toad museum.  

At The Schuylkill Center this week it was clear that spring has sprung. We saw a variety of wildlife including a snake, a opossum and, of course, many frogs.  At Springhouse Pond one student believes she counted eighteen different frogs!  While getting to watch the frogs and see the pond, we asked students to write down as many questions as they could think of about frogs and toads.  In our study, the students' questions will help drive what we learn.  So far, students seem most interested in the different types of frogs and what they look like.

Questions to ask you child…

  • What questions do you have about frogs and toads?
  • What items did look at with your poet's eye?
  • 2nd: How big around is your head?
  • 1st: Demonstrate how to use a number line to add and subtract.

A look ahead…

Wednesday & Friday Mornings: Look for Primary Unit teachers in the yard. From 8:00 to 8:15 we are out and available to check in, say good morning, or just chat with you and your kiddos.  We hope to see you there.

4/21 No School: Professional Development

5/17 Primary Unit Learning Celebration at The Schuylkill Center

Have a good weekend,

Marisa and Becca

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

Primary B students joyfully returned to school after spring break, ready to socialize and embrace learning.  After sharing about our adventures, we got to work. We initiated several new units of study across multiple content areas this week, and we have a few more to roll out soon.  This spring Primary B students will be studying frogs and toads, poetry, measurement and number lines, and the characters in their books.

Our return to The Schuylkill Center was graced with wonderful weather.  We played a lot at the familiar Founder’s Grove.  As a class we gathered to discuss the art of observation, noting what senses we use and what the best environment for observations looks and sounds like.  We then hiked to a new space, Cattail Pond.  We were able to observe several frogs in the pond and many tadpoles.  We recorded our “Observations and Wonderings” about frogs and toads in our new science notebooks.  

Our frog and toad study is based in science, but we expect our study to be a cross-curricular project. Students will read books, both fiction and nonfiction, write poems and scientific observations, interview visitors to our classroom and go on trips to explore frogs and toads.  If you know anything, anything at all, about frogs and toads that you could share with Primary B, please reach out to us We are looking for “experts”!

In writing this spring we will focus on poetry. Our class definition of poetry is “Poetry is a gathering of words.”  As we shared what we think we know about poetry, students noted that “Poetry always rhymes, “Poetry sometimes rhymes,” “Poetry doesn’t have to rhyme,” “Poetry can be funny, silly, sad, or serious,” and “Shakespeare wrote some poems.”   We listened to mentor texts, shared poems with a partner, and will begin writing our own poems soon.  

Questions to ask you child…

  • What is the new read-aloud book about? 
  • What do you hope to learn about frogs and toads?
  • What did you observe at the ponds?
  • What poem did you read with your partner?
  • What happened Thursday afternoon? (Hint: in the Garage)

A look ahead...

4/21 No School - Professional Development

5/17 Primary Unit Learning Celebration at The Schuylkill Center

We hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Marisa and Becca

 

 

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

Thank you shuffling and re-shuffling your schedules to make it to our open houses, chorus concert, and conferences. We truly appreciate everyone's efforts to make it to these events.

This week we wrapped up our theme study with a game of "Neighborhood Jeopardy!" Be sure to ask your child about the questions that were asked and answered during the game.

Lots of our United City work is posted on our private Seesaw site. Simply follow this link (https://app.seesaw.me/s/051-593-060) and find your child's name and neighborhood to create an account. After you create an account, you will be able to download the parent app for your smart phone. We are hoping to use Seesaw for future projects, and we will keep you updated when we post new student work.

We are looking forward to seeing you at conferences. Have a FANTASTIC spring break!

Becca and Marisa

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

Thank you for braving the weather and visiting United City! (And thank you for your patience and flexibility around all the rescheduling due to the snow day.) It was a proud moment for teachers and students (and hopefully families!) to see our months of learning, researching, meeting, planning, creating, and problem-solving come to fruition in such a student-centered manner. 

On Thursday we introduced a digital portfolio app called Seesaw (http://web.seesaw.me/). Students used the app to take photo, audio, and video documentation of their United City avatars, homes, and neighborhood features. We (the teachers) will be editing and uploading our classes' work and sharing a link to our private and secure Seesaw site soon.

While our past several Weekly Notes have focused on theme, we have, in fact, been continuing with reading, writing, and math instruction! In math, first graders have been learning how to compare quantities by using subtraction or "missing addend" addition (e.g. 4 + __ = 9) to find the difference. Later in the week, a handful of first graders began exploring and creating "equivalent equations" (e.g. 2 + 7 = 10 - 1). The second graders have been writing multi-digit story problems and creating visual representations to accompany them. Next week they hope to solve each other's problems.

We are looking forward to seeing you at our upcoming conferences. Remember, these meetings are meant to be two-way conversations! We welcome families to come prepared with specific thoughts, questions, or stories to share with us. Also, if you would like to take home your child's "house" and/or "neighborhood establishment" from our theme study, we will have it ready for you at our conference. Otherwise, the project will be "demolished" and repurposed. 

Upcoming events:

  • The Primary Unit Chorus Concert will be in the Garage on Wednesday, March 22, from 9:00 - 9:30 a.m.
  • There is no school for students on Thursday, March 23, or Friday, March 24, due to family-teacher conferences.

This weekend ask your child:

  • What photos, recordings, or videos did you post on our Seesaw site?
  • How did Fudge-a-Mania end?
  • What would you like your family to share with your teachers at conferences?

See you next week,

Becca and Marisa

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

We have been quite busy readying ourselves and our classroom for Open Houses next week. We're looking forward to seeing many of you from 7:55 - 8:15 a.m. on Monday, 3/13; Tuesday, 3/14; or Wednesday, 3/15. If family members are not able to visit on the same day, they are welcome to visit separately on different days. If you are unable to visit us on one of the scheduled days, please email us to set up an alternative time. And remember, the Primary Unit chorus concert will be a separate event in the Garage on Friday, 3/17, at 9:00 a.m.

In Writing Workshop we have been editing and rewriting informational texts about our real-life neighborhoods. Many Primary B authors have included bold words, labels, captions, researched facts, and other important features of nonfiction that we learned about during this unit.

In Reading Workshop we have been working on strategies to improve our fluency. Readers have learned to notice when they are reading dialogue by paying attention to quotation marks, to identify which character is speaking by reading the "dialogue tag," and to make their voice match how they think that character's voice might sound.

We got a special surprise on Wednesday afternoon when Mayor Kenney, who had been visiting the middle school, just so happened to be exiting the building during our recess time! A few lucky kids got to say hi and shake his hand.

In response to parent requests for more informal face-to-face time with their child's teachers, the Primary Unit teachers will be in the Lombard school yard on Wednesdays and Fridays from approximately 8:00 - 8:15 a.m. We also hope this will incentivize families to arrive on time! 

We hope to see you next week at our Open Houses and/or the following week at family-teacher conferences. Here is the link if you still need to schedule a conference time: http://doodle.com/poll/iburc6utsdgm742y.

Some conversation starters for the weekend...

  • How did you fix up your informational text this week?
  • What's a "dialogue tag"? How does it help you as a reader?
  • What did Fudge eat WAY too many of in Fudge-a-Mania?
  • What is the history of your United City neighborhood?
  • What special event did your "neighborhood council" plan for United City?

See you soon!

Becca and Marisa

 

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

It's hard to believe it's already March! Our theme study is in full swing, and we wanted to use our Weekly Note to share breaking news from United City.

The citizens of United City are starting to realize that the town they built from their imaginations is not the utopian society of their dreams. This week, each "United Citian" was tasked with selecting a job for themselves at one of the establishments that they or a fellow resident had created. It was during this time that we encountered our first dilemma: there are several United Citians under the age of eighteen, but NO SCHOOLS (and also no hotels, banks, or dentists)! The citizens were given the opportunity to create proposals and petitions to either change an existing establishment or build a new one. While the "co-mayors" (i.e., Marisa and Becca) approved some of the proposals, they needed to hear from the people in order to make fair decisions about some others. Specifically, two “neighborhood councils” both wanted to build K-8 schools across town from each other.

On Thursday we held a "town hall" meeting during which citizens pitched their proposals, debated pros and cons, compromised, and eventually voted to combine the proposed schools into one school, but build it in Art Lane, a centrally located neighborhood. Talk about democracy at work!

Reminders:

If you have yet to sign up for a spring conference, please follow this link to do so: http://doodle.com/poll/iburc6utsdgm742yEmail us directly if you need to schedule a time other than those that are offered.

We will be holding student-led "Open House" style learning celebrations on Monday, 3/13; Tuesday, 3/14; and Wednesday, 3/15; from 7:55 - 8:15 a.m. Simply show up to Primary B with your child on one of those days, and he or she will take it from there. 

Junior Unit B will be holding another soft pretzel sale on Monday, 3/6. If your child would like a pretzel, please send him or her to school with $1.00 for just a pretzel or $1.25 for a pretzel with mustard. 

This weekend ask your child...

  • What sections did you complete for your informational text about your neighborhood?
  • When you are reading, how can you tell when and how a character is talking? What else have you learned about reading fluently?
  • First grade mathematicians: What have you learned about telling time?
  • Second grade mathematicians: What is a "parcel"?

Have a rockin' weekend,

Becca and Marisa

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

Primary B worked hard and played hard this week.  We finished constructing United City, saw a wonderfully silly Shakespeare play, celebrated several birthdays, learned about sharing non-fiction books, and watched the 8th grade vs. faculty basketball game.

In RWW students learned that even grownups use Post-it notes, highlighting, underlining, and note-taking to remember what they read.  Students were then given the opportunity to read some nonfiction and pick out an important or interesting fact to share with a friend.  As they are writing nonfiction texts themselves, this research skill is an important one that they have already started to apply.

We wrapped up construction of United City.  Students made signs and posters to represent the establishments within their neighborhoods.  The final outcome of our city, with houses, skyscrapers, signs and a colorful City Hall, creates quite the impact.  We look forward to choosing jobs and starting the work of running a city together next week. 

On Wednesday we celebrated the 100th Day of School (though due to the snow day it was actually the 99th)!  This was a wonderful opportunity for the entire Primary Unit to come together and enjoy four 100-themed activities. Students made sandwiches to donate to a homeless shelter, wrote cards to local police officers, participated in exercises, and stacked cups to raise pennies.  

We hope you have a wonderful weekend, and we look forward to meeting with you in March for conferences.  

This week, ask your child…

  • What job do you hope to have in United City?
  • What fact did you share from your nonfiction reading?
  • What is our new read aloud book?  How do you feel about getting to read it?
  • What was your favorite part of A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
  • What did you enjoy from the 100th Day of School activities?

A Look Ahead:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 3/13-15: 7:55-8:15 a.m., Open Houses*

Friday 3/17: 9:00 a.m., Primary Unit Chorus Performance 

Thursday 3/23 & Friday 3/24: Parent Conferences -- Doodle poll sign ups will be emailed shortly.

*In an effort to be mindful of families' busy schedules, the Primary Unit is changing the date and format of our March learning celebration. Rather than having a one-day event, we will be holding "open houses" in our classrooms on Monday, 3/13; Tuesday, 3/14; and Wednesday, 3/15; from 7:55 - 8:15 a.m. You do not need to sign up for a particular date or even let us know when you're coming -- just show up with your child, and he or she will take care of the rest! If you are unable to stop by during these dates and times, reach out to us and we will find a time that works.

Marisa and Becca

 

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

It has been a short week, but one full of special events and challenging lessons.  Our whirlwind included celebrating Valentine’s Day, watching and participating in the TPS Talent Show, beginning to think about the desirable establishments within a neighborhood, and researching our own Philadelphia neighborhoods.  

In theme students were shown pictures of notable Philadelphia establishments (Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park, the Barnes Museum, Walnut Street Shopping District) and talked about the names of these places.  With a lesson under their belts about how establishments get their names, students took on the job of naming the notable places within their "United City" neighborhoods.  Students are recognizing the challenges and importance of collaborating and thinking ahead as we plan out our city.  We have one skyscraper named after former city inhabitants and another named in Mandarin, a university named Rakkuss University ("love" in Finnish), and a city dump with an eye to reusing known as Recycling Construction Dump. 

Students were given the opportunity to think about what establishments were most important to their neighborhoods, and each child got to create his/her own store, restaurant, hospital, or train station.  While our citizens have an ample supply of candy stores and two hospitals, we don’t have a single dentist in United City!  In future weeks we will address this shortage and help the students to balance their City.  

We hope you enjoy your long weekend. See you on Tuesday.

Marisa and Becca 

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

This week in Theme students learned about the different types of houses found in and around Philadelphia.  We looked at pictures and discussed how certain neighborhoods in Philadelphia are known for certain types of houses.  We then applied those ideas to our United City.  

First, each neighborhood had to unanimously agree if they were known for a certain type of home or contained different kinds of homes.  Citizens were then given guidelines to plan their own homes.  They needed to meet the neighborhood standards and have a door and at least one window.  After submitting their plans to the “housing authority,” citizens were allowed to begin construction of their homes using poster board, paint, and colored pencils.  United City contains condominium complexes, apartments in high rise buildings, twin homes, row-homes, and fully detached homes.   

As we have read non-fiction books, our students have heard over and over that we read non-fiction to learn things.  In that vein, we discussed strategies to help focus our brains on our topics.  Students have learned to ask a question prior to reading and search for the answer as they read.  They also learned to reiterate facts as they read them to help keep them in their heads and to more fully understand the ideas from the book. 

A reminder about Valentine’s Day: On Tuesday, 2/14, if your child would like to bring in cards, please make sure he or she brings in enough for each child (we have 25 students), and that the cards do not include any sort of toy or candy. We are also encouraging children to bring in the same type of card for everyone. As your children can tell you, there's no such thing as cards "for boys" or "for girls." 

This week, ask your child…

  • What type of house do we live in?  
  • What type of house do you live in in United City?  
  • What is a fact that you can reiterate in your own words?

A Look Ahead:

  • Tuesday, 2/14: Valentine’s Day and Talent Show
  • Friday, 2/17: No School/Special ASEP
  • Monday, 2/20: No School
  • Tuesday, 2/21: Reach Out and Read fundraiser ends
  • In an effort to be mindful of families' busy schedules, the Primary Unit is changing the date and format of our March learning celebration. Rather than having a one-day event, we will be holding "open houses" in our classrooms on Monday, 3/13, Tuesday, 3/14, and Wednesday, 3/15, 7:55-8:15 a.m. You do not need to sign up for a particular date or even let us know when you're coming - just show up with your child, and he or she will take care of the rest! If you are unable to stop by during these dates and times, reach out to us and we will find a time that works.
  • Friday 3/17: 9:00 a.m., Primary Unit Chorus Performance (Garage)

Enjoy the weekend,

Marisa and Becca

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

Primary B has transformed!  For our  theme study, we are now a city made up of six neighborhoods.  Students have been assigned a neighborhood to live in and have created their own avatars that live in our city, which the children have named United City.  As our study continues, students will choose jobs and neighborhood amenities.  Our cross-curricular project will allow students to use their imagination, along with art skills, mathematics, reading, and writing.  Perhaps the most important part of our new project will be for students to work together to problem-solve community issues.    

In writing this week our neighborhood study is happening through a different lens.  Students are hard at work on nonfiction chapter books about their own Philadelphia neighborhoods.  As students think about what is important to include in their books, and what amenities are important to their neighborhoods, their books grow in length and depth.  We hope to see knowledge of their real neighborhoods help them to be good citizens in United City, too.

Looking ahead, Valentine’s Day is coming up, and we plan to celebrate in Primary B.  On Tuesday, 2/14, if your child would like to bring in cards, please make sure he or she brings in enough for each child (we have 25 students), and that the cards do not include any sort of toy or candy. We are also encouraging children to bring in the same type of card for everyone. As your children can tell you, there's no such thing as cards "for boys" or "for girls." 

Also, starting this Monday, Junior Unit B is hosting an ongoing fundraiser selling pretzels from Center City Soft Pretzel Company.  Center City Soft Pretzel Company is an all-natural soft pretzel company. The facility is nut-free, dairy-free, and kosher certified. The pretzels are only made from three ingredients: flour, yeast, and water.  Every other Monday, they will sell pretzels to raise enough money to buy the products they need to care for a class hamster. The pretzels will be $1.00 each, and mustard will be .25 cents.  If you are interested in your child getting a pretzel, please send the exact change for what they want.  We will collect money on Monday morning. 

We look forward to seeing you next week,

Marisa and Becca

This week, ask your child…

  • What is the name of your neighborhood in United City?
  • What is your avatars name in United City?
  • What chapters have you written in your nonfiction writing?
  • What was your favorite part of Crazy Hat, Hair, and Pajama Day?

A Look Ahead:

  • Monday 2/6: Pretzel Sale
  • Tuesday 2/14: Valentine’s Day
  • Friday 2/17: No School/Special ASEP

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

We must begin our note with a reminder about morning arrival. Our day begins at 8:20 a.m. We have been losing valuable instruction time due to chronic lateness. While we fully understand the challenges of hustling young children out the door in the early hours, we cannot stress enough the importance of getting to school on time. Please plan your morning commutes to school accordingly. 

This morning we were visited by the incredible storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston. Check out her website for more information (charlotteblakealston.com). 

In math the second graders are adding multi-digit numbers. The days of "carrying the 1" are over! Instead, students are learning the meaning of this algorithm by adding the digits in the ones place and regrouping their ones as a group of ten when necessary, and then adding all of the tens. 

The first graders are learning the strategy "doubles and neighbors" to help develop fact fluency. Since many children have memorized their "doubles" facts (e.g. 2+2 and 5+5), they are learning to recognize and quickly solve "neighbor" facts, as well (e.g. 2+3 and 5+6).

In an effort to be mindful of families' busy schedules, the Primary Unit is changing the date and format of our March learning celebration. Rather than having a one-day event, we will be holding "open houses" in our classrooms on Monday, 3/13; Tuesday, 3/14; and Wednesday, 3/15, from 7:55 - 8:15 a.m. You do not need to sign up for a particular date or even let us know when you're coming -- just show up with your child, and he or she will take care of the rest! If you are unable to stop by during these dates and times, reach out to us and we will find a time that works.

The Primary Unit Chorus will still be performing on Friday, 3/17, at 9:00 a.m., but we will not be inviting families to visit our classrooms before or after the concert. We realize this means we are asking you to join us at school twice in one week, but we are hopeful that the timing, flexibility, and informality of the open houses will make it easier for more families to attend one or both events.

Be sure to ask your child...

  • What was your favorite part of Charlotte Blake Alston's performance?
  • Were you able to find your picture during our theme mapping activity? What was challenging about it?
  • What sections have you started or do you plan to write for your informational text about your neighborhood?
  • What nonfiction book did you read aloud to practice your "teaching" reading voice?

Have a great weekend,

Becca and Marisa

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

This week we finished our read aloud, the Judy Blume classic, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and began the sequel, Super Fudge. The children have been absolutely loving the books; it's no wonder they have stood the test of time. Be sure to ask your child what the expression, "Eat it or wear it" means!

For our Theme work the children had the opportunity to share the information they gathered about their neighborhoods. We then used thumbtacks to plot ourselves on a large map of Philadelphia. Then, to give the children a more tangible sense of how maps represent relative size and space, we gave each child a sparsely detailed map of our classroom. Their task was to draw specific parts of our room in their accurate locations. This proved challenging for many of our students!

We announced that next week in Writing Workshop we will all begin writing informational chapter books about our neighborhoods. The children are excited about this, and we encouraged them to take some time this weekend to walk around their neighborhoods with an adult and ask lots of questions.

This afternoon we were visited by a representative from Reach Out and Read to help us kick off our (belated) MLK Jr. service project. Participation is optional. Please check your child's backpack for a packet that includes a letter from us, a sheet for your child to list his or her sponsors, and a sheet for your child to keep track of the books he or she has read.

This weekend your child should be able to ...

  • tell what happens to Dribble at the end of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.
  • (Becca's word work group) give examples of closed syllable exceptions.
  • (Marisa's word work group) give examples of digraphs.

Have a nice weekend,

Becca and Marisa

Primary B Weekly Note

Dear Primary B Families,

We had a short but jam-packed week! We continued our nonfiction studies in both reading and writing. In reading we learned that readers retell facts rather than a story. We also learned that readers are better able to remember the facts they read when they use an expressive reading voice. This is certainly a fun skill to demonstrate for your children at home! 

In writing we learned that writers do not "run away" from challenging words that are specific to the topic they are teaching about. For example, a student fearlessly and phonetically spelled the word "obstacle" in his piece about America Ninja Warrior.

Thank you for assisting your child with their Theme "homework." Please continue to help your child notice the places and resources that your family visits and uses both inside and outside of your neighborhood.

Next week we will be asking our students and families to participate in our Martin Luther King Jr. service project. For the past several years, Primary Unit has partnered with the organization Reach Out and Read (http://www.reachoutandread.org/). Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit that raises money to purchase children's books for pediatric care facilities around Philadelphia. Children raise money for the organization by asking adult family members and friends to "sponsor" their at-home reading. Check your email and your child's backpack next week for the tracking sheets and more information.

This weekend, ask your child:

  • Second grade: How can you "move" on an open number line?
  • First grade: What skills did you practice on our assessments?
  • What did you learn about your own neighborhood?
  • How can pictures help you teach your readers when you are writing an informational text?

Enjoy the "mini break," and we will see you on Tuesday, 1/17.

Becca and Marisa