Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Primary C Families,

With only a few days left in our year, we’re still going strong in Primary C. Next week, we’ll have our science project sharing, a visit from I’m a Frog songwriter (and Chester Children’s Chorus director) John Alston, and graduation.

Along with the great activities still to come, we also are taking time for the important work of end-of-year reflection. It’s an opportunity to think about and affirm our learning process and how we’ve grown in knowing ourselves as learners. We’re savoring the satisfaction of having worked hard at learning individually and collectively. We’re affirming our strong community and the significance of every child in the group.

Good endings are as important as good beginnings. We hope that the children will feel a sense of pride in their accomplishments this year.

With summer break around the corner, we encourage you to include some reading and math practice in your planning. Top education experts have a few tips for families to help their children avoid the summer brain drain and make warm weather reading easy and a lot of fun!*

  • Explore your local library. 
  • Encourage your child to read at least four to six books over the summer break. Research shows that reading just six books during the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing. 
  • Read daily. 
  • Read to your child.
  • Check out the book list recommendations we’ll send home next week. Students will be bringing home a summer reading list with “good fit” book suggestions. Along with the reading list will be a summer math packet that will give your child important practice in math skills and keep them sharp for next year! Look for opportunities to find math in everyday activities, and have fun with numbers, using measuring, shapes, patterns, time telling, and money! Please note that customized assignments are available only in the packet sent home with your child next week; more general lists and math activities will be available online on the Student Page of the school website.

Follow these recommendations above, and your child will be in good shape to begin next school year.

Speaking of next year, students will participate in Move-Up Day next Monday. Current 2nd graders will visit a 3rd grade classroom to meet the teachers, learn a little more about life in 3rd grade, and have lunch in a new space. Our current 1st graders will act as hosts for visiting kindergartners, sharing all of their expertise about Primary Unit with some of their potential future classmates.

Here are a few other housekeeping items about next week:

Please have your child bring in a large paper grocery bag or reusable bag by next Tuesday. Next week we will be sending home lots of work from the year, and we find that often there isn’t room for everything in children’s backpacks.

Weather permitting, we will go to The Schuylkill Center on Wednesday, as usual. Please make sure to send a full water bottle with your child.

Primary Unit students will be part of the graduation ceremony for only a few moments, singing a song to the graduates. Students need not dress up in special clothing for this performance, although they may if they’d like to.

Remember that all students will be dismissed in the yard next Friday at 11:30, immediately after graduation. There will be no ASEP or clubs. Buses will still be running.

So, we’re bringin’ it in hot, not ready to give it up. Thank you for sharing your wonderful children with us.

Jennifer and Jane

*from the Florida Education Association

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Primary C Families,

We started to close out our school year this week (although we teachers are somewhat in denial that we’re so close to the end of the year because we don’t want to give up this great gang) by listing our favorite memories from the year. They included seeing Frog and Toad at the Arden Theater, our trip to the Kimmel Center to hear the orchestra, our read-alouds, our various studies, and making new friends. This year has been chock full of great experiences, and it’s important that children have the opportunity to experience closure to their year of learning. The activities of closure can provide children with a sense of accomplishment, a sense of belonging to and significance within our group, and an opportunity to reflect on their own learning process--all well worth spending time on.

We enjoyed another visit this week with Yolanda Wisher, poet laureate of the City of Philadelphia. She read excerpts from her first book (written when she was in elementary school) and read a poem from a book she published as an adult: Monk Eats an Afro. She told us how poems she wrote when she was little made her feel calm and safe and helped her figure out some things that were happening in her world. She ended her time with us by singing one of her original composition songs. What a treat!

Our science projects are coming along well. This week at The Schuylkill Center we focused on acoustics. Scientists have learned that temperature affects when and how often a frog or toad will call. We took air and water temperature readings at a few spots, then tried to guess which frog or toad could be calling based on the temperature, season, and sounds we heard. We heard some “gunks" and a few deep “ooohooms." A reminder that we have two more visits to The Schuylkill Center, so please dress your child appropriately and send along a water bottle. Thanks.

Have a good, long weekend.

All best,

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Primary C Families,

It was so nice to be together with you and your children at The Schuylkill Center this week. We hope you enjoyed hiking to the ponds and stream and learning about the animals from the Schuylkill Center Wildlife Clinic. Aren’t we fortunate to have a great outdoor classroom? We have a few more visits to The Schuylkill Center this year; keep up those tick checks, please.

We started science project work this week. Students are researching their self-selected topics independently, using the index of the many amphibian books in our classroom. They also tried to add what they are learning about amphibians into one of the several poetry forms we have studied.

This week ask me…

...about the dance performance we saw at Encuentro this morning and about Tourette Syndrome. How did the dancer say it affected him?

...how we can check our answers when subtracting. (second grade math)

...to notice when our family uses fractions. Also, ask me what fractions are and when ¼ can be larger than ½. (Jane’s math group)

...what my science project topic is.

...about my amphibian poem.

...to sing the "I’m a Frog" song to you.

...about this week’s Words with Wings read-aloud.

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.

Enjoy EATS. Bid early and often!

All the best,

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Hello Primary C Families,

We would be delighted to meet you out at The Schyulkill Center next Wednesday, May 17, from 11:00-1:45 p.m. for our final Learning Celebration. We’ll play, have lunch, take a tour, and learn about amphibians. Please let us know by Tuesday if you are unable to make it. We recommend carpooling to The Center as parking is fairly limited. We will meet you near the parking lot and Environmental Center and direct you to our gathering spot.

On Wednesday, we took a terrific trip to the Academy of Natural Sciences and visited the Frog and Toad Exhibit and the Live Animal Show. Kids were enamored with the variety of toads and frogs on display. We saw polliwogs with hind legs, considered the girth and diet of the African Bullfrog, pondered what makes Poison Dart Frogs poisonous, and just enjoyed one another’s company. 

Before going, we spent time thinking about how we could best represent ourselves, families, and school while  we were in our city classroom. Students took on the challenge of presenting their best selves, worked hard to do so, and, when we returned to school, reflected on how it went. We are so proud of the work our classroom community continues to engage in as we near the end of this school year. What a great class!

This week we were lucky to get a visit from first grade parent Rebecca Selvin (aka Nature Girl). She “strayed” from the trail and found herself in Primary C, where she taught us about camping gear, bear safety, where to hang your food, and how to read a topographic map, among other things. Students asked a variety of questions about surviving in the wild and learned how camping, backpacking, and hiking can be a meditative and relaxing pastime. If you have a passion or interest that you would be excited to share with us, please get in touch. Our greatest teachers and lessons come from within our community.  Plus, we make a great audience.

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.

This week ask me…

  • What was a highlight from the third-grade play?
  • Help me practice my math facts. Let’s play a game called “Follow Me.” Ex: Start at 5, add 3, cut it in half, add 6…  Keep it going within 1-10 (first grade) and 1-20 (second grade).
  • What did I like about the Ensemble Recital at Encuentro?

Have a great weekend,

Jane and Jennifer

Primary C Weekly Note

Hello Primary C Families,

Did you know that many frogs can jump at least 30 times their body length, and some smaller species of tree frogs can jump 50 times their length? This is the human equivalent of jumping the length of a football field without a running start. Holy toad, Salamander! This week, we did some leaping (and hopping, crawling, running, and walking) like different kinds of amphibians, which gave us an appreciation for their characteristic movements and how they move.

We hope you can join us at The Schuylkill Center on Wednesday, May 17, from 11:00-1:30 (rain date May 31) to explore the ponds. You are almost assured of seeing some cool amphibians.

We continued immersing ourselves in poetry this week, reading lots of poems, trying our hands at writing limericks and odes, and using repeated patterns to create effects in poems. We also revised some of our poetry, searching for precisely the right words to match what we are trying to say.

Finally, a few more notes... We’d like to congratulate all the students who performed in the recital this week. We are so proud of these brave and hardworking musicians. 

We will continue to be in the yard before school on Wednesdays and Fridays and look forward to having face time with many of you. 

Keep up the good work on preparing kids for our trips to The Schuylkill Center by dressing your children in long sleeves and pants and packing full water bottles and trashless lunches. 

This upcoming Wednesday 5/10, however, will will not visit The Schuylkill Center. Instead, we will head to the Academy of Natural Sciences for a special frog and toad exhibit. 

This week, ask me...

  • to go on a 3-D shape hunt around our house. All I have to do is search for things that are shaped like cubes, spheres, cylinders, and rectangular prisms (boxes), and tell you what I found. (Jane’s math group)
  • what I know about 1,000. (Jennifer’s math group)
  • how my Family Circle meeting went today.
  • what I found out from my research of frogs and toads.

Have a great weekend.

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Primary C Families:

This week, poets worked hard writing odes. Cats, stuffed animals, cacti, pencils, and mommies were among the honorees of these most dramatic  poems. The highlight of our week was a visit with poet Yolanda Wisher. Currently the third Poet Laureate of the City of Philadelphia, Yolanda Wisher is a multidisciplinary poet and educator. Using paint chips from the hardware store, she led students through a group writing exercise.  She left us with tips for what to write about, including “Choosing your words carefully. That’s so important in poetry.” She also said, “When I’m stuck for something to write about, I put on some music and dance crazy around my house. Shake off the lethargy; it lets you feel free. Or, just pick up a poem you love. Reread a favorite poem. I read poems of poets I really like and admire.” She reminded us that all poems need titles, and they can be the most important part of your poem.

This week at The Schuylkill Center we learned about macroinvertebrates and searched for some in the stream and under rocks. Our shoes and socks may have gotten soaked, but we learned how to screen the stream to collect various specimens. Students found out that some adult amphibians travel to the stream to eat, returning to their habitat after. We also considered where the lifecycle of an amphibian begins and ends. 

A reminder to your child that the DreamBox password is pr17, not pr as in her/his other apps.

This week ask me:

  • about the poem “Primary C Colors,” which we created with Yolanda Wisher.
  • to try to describe some two-dimensional shapes to you as you draw them. (Jane’s math group)
  • to try to figure out how tall you would be (in feet) if you stacked yourself up by 2, 3, 4… (Jennifer’s math group)
  • what or who was your ode about.
  • to explain what a verb, adjective, and adverb are.
  • about the percussive rhythms performed by Al Bustan at Encuentro.

Dates to remember:

The Primary Unit looks forward to our third and final learning celebration, which will take place at The Schuylkill Center on May 17 (rain date May 31). 

We are going to the Academy of Natural Sciences on Wednesday, May 10.

Have a great weekend.

Jennifer and Jane

 

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Primary C Families:

This morning we learned that changing the way you read a poem can change the meaning of the poem. Poet and parent (to Itzy) Martin Wiley joined our class to practice reading poetry with different emotions by emphasizing specific words on each line. Martin demonstrated this with an excerpt from Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham, a familiar text that kids had fun manipulating. Students began to make the connection that they can control the emotion in their poetry by deciding where a line break may be. Later, he guided students in writing a collective poem that challenged our poets to push themselves while having a limited amount of time to add a line of poetry. 

This week, Damien, our educator at The Schuylkill Center, led a discussion about the respiratory systems of amphibians. Our students searched for red-backed salamanders under rocks and logs, then examined them carefully before releasing them. We then headed to the pond to look for tadpoles and newts. We rounded out the day with play time in the Pine Plantation, then back to school where we documented our findings of the day in science journals.

This week ask me:

  • What is the important thing about you? Also, ask me what I think the important thing is about Primary C.
  • How do salamanders breathe? How do adult frogs breathe?
  • How did our read-aloud, The Prince of the Pond, end?
  • What do I know about congruent shapes and symmetry? (Jane’s math group)
  • What is the best tool for measuring the side of our school building and why? (Jennifer’s math group)

Dates to remember:

  • Next Thursday, April 27, is Move-Up Night for parents of current 2nd graders. Get a preview of third grade at 5:00 p.m.
  • The Primary Unit looks forward to our third and final learning celebration, which will take place at The Schuylkill Center on May 17 (rain date May 24). 
  • Primary teachers will be out in the yard on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 8:00-8:15, so if you would like to say hi or need to check in with us about anything, you are welcome to do so at those times.

Have a great weekend.

All best,

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Primary C Families,

Did you know that frogs spend more than a year in a pond at The Schuylkill Center before venturing onto land? And that toads spend only about a month? Those are just two of the many facts we learned this week from Schuylkill Center educator Damien. We were so excited to catch and look closely at salamanders and polliwogs near and in Cattail Pond. Did you hear that we brought a polliwog back to school?

Big topics and big feelings anchored our poetry studies this week. We brainstormed ideas for the topics of our poems by thinking about special people and places, big feelings, and things we love. When we wrote Small Moments we turned these moments into stories, but now as poets, we are turning these moments into poems. In upcoming week, we will generate ideas for writing many poems, experimenting with powerful language, the use of line breaks, and comparison to convey feeling.

This week, ask me…

...what else I learned about amphibians and what the frogs we heard at The Schuylkill Center sounded like.

...what questions I have about amphibians. Please encourage me to write them down and bring them to school next week.

...about my first tour of (the online math program) DreamBox. Parents: We will send a note soon with instructions for accessing DreamBox from home and mobile devices.

...the subtraction strategies we can use to solve story problems. How do I decide which one to use? (Jane’s math group)

...what I listed as important topics that I could write poems about. Also, ask me how I can use comparison to turn ordinary language into poetic language.

...what our group did at Encuentro on Friday morning.

Dates to remember:

Parents of current 2nd graders: Get a preview of third grade at Move Up Night, Thursday, April 27, at 5:00 p.m.

Student Council is having a pretzel sale on Monday, April 17. Pretzels are $1 each and proceeds help support the middle school spring fling and a worthy community cause yet to be determined.

Have a great weekend.

Best,

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Primary C Families,

We were so happy to have the gang back together this week as we dove into some new units of study. In Science, we visited several ponds at The Schuylkill Center and made observations about amphibians in our fresh science notebooks. Some students’ observed that when frogs breathe, their necks move; there were tadpoles in the water; many dead leaves sunk to the bottom of the pond; there are lots of places for toads and salamanders to hide; and the water was still.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be meeting with some educators from The Schuylkill Center to help us with our many wonderings. The Primary Unit looks forward to our third and final Learning Celebration which will take place at the center on May 17 (rain date May 24). Stay tuned for more details. Finally,  The Center offers great opportunities for your family to learn about toads and frogs. Please check out their website to find out how you can volunteer for the Toad Detour: http://www.schuylkillcenter.org/

In writing, we began our poetry unit by taking a closer look at ordinary objects in new ways. Students considered how to describe the object by color, smell, shape, touch, whether it reminded them of something else, and if it gave them a certain feeling. On Thursday we observed mini-daffodil plants and some of our poets wrote the following: “two-headed lion looking for prey,” “fancy light of a chandelier,” “velvet trumpet wearing feathers,” “the king, the queen, and her guards.”.We’ll be exploring many types of poetry over the next few months. There are so many opportunities ripe for making poetry. Try to look at ordinary objects through “poets glasses” with your child over the weekend and beyond. Have fun!

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to listen to the Jasper String Quartet. They played a piece that was all about a Valencia orange. The children (and adults) were transfixed as we listened to bright notes and plucking sounds that walked us through the experience of eating a delicious, juicy orange. Many students compared the music to poetry and were so excited to connect music with writing. 

Primary Unit teachers will be out in the yard on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 8:00-8:15, so if you would like to say hi or need to check in with us about anything, you are welcome to do so at those times.

This week, ask me…

  • How to play penguin bingo (first grade math).
  • What unit of measurement we used in math this week (second grade).
  • How to read poetry like a poet.
  • What I’m wondering about amphibians.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Primary C Families,

What a show! We were so proud of our little performers at this morning’s spring concert. It’s no easy feat to memorize music, words, and movement, be able to identify feeling nervous and/or excited, and then perform to a roomful of family and friends. The Primary kids were poised, energized, focused, and so happy to see your warm smiles.

Our week was short, but very full. Ilana, Noa F’s mom, came to talk about a documentary that she currently is working on. She showed us a preview of her film about Glen Echo Amusement Park in 1960 and thoughtfully led our students in a discussion of segregation, picket lines, and the power of people of all ages working together for change.

This week we offered a “teaser” about our next unit of study: amphibians! Students came up with a healthy list of what they already know. We look forward to launching this study the week we return from spring break. During break, you might think as a family about what you know and want to know about amphibians. We’ll be heading back to the Schuylkill Center on Wednesday, April 5, when we return from spring break. Be sure to pack a trashless lunch and water bottle, as well as making sure your child wears long sleeves, pants, and even hats if possible.

Have a wonderful spring break!

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Primary C Families,

We have been bursting with pride when showing off our neighborhood study during Open House times this week. We’re glad that so many of you could come in this week to view and read about our carefully constructed neighborhoods, and to read our information articles about our own neighborhoods. It made us feel great to show off our hard work!

One focus of our writing this week was on writing self-reflections about ways we have grown in our work this year and our preferences about ways we work best. We have examined the aspects of our reading, writing, math, and theme work that we are proud of. We will share our self reflections with you in conferences next week as a way for your children to offer their perspectives on their own learning and work.

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. 

This week, ask me...

…what I want you to ask my teachers about me at your conference.
...the topic of the information article I wrote this week.
….what the terms “face,” “edge,” and “vertex” mean in the context of three-dimensional geographic shapes. What are some ways to make math story problems interesting, challenging, and fun? (gr. 2)
...what was challenging about our “I Have, You Need” game. (gr.1)
...what words I added to my Word Collector and what that’s all about.

Things to Know:

  • The sponsor from Reach Out and Read will be coming to collect the money we raised on Monday, March 20. If you still have money, please be sure to send it in by then.
  • The Primary Unit Chorus Concert date is Wednesday, March 22, at 9:00 a.m. We will not invite families to visit our classrooms before or after the concert. Our Open Houses took the place of those visiting times.
  • Primary Unit teachers will be out in the yard on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 8:00-8:15 a.m., so if you would like to say hi or need to check in with us about anything, you are welcome to do so at those times.

Have a great weekend,

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Primary C students are excited to welcome you to our Open Houses next week. They will start Monday morning and run through Wednesday morning from 7:55 - 8:15 a.m. each day. This format replaces the Learning Celebration structure last fall and is a way for us to offer more times for families to come and see all the amazing projects the children have been working on. The students have been sincerely invested in completing their neighborhood projects and nonfiction writing pieces. They are looking forward to sharing their learning and all their exceptional work with you! 

The Primary Unit Chorus will still be performing on Friday, 3/17, at 9:00 a.m., but we are not inviting families to visit our classrooms before or after the concert. Our Open Houses are taking the place of those visiting times.

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. If you would like to say hi or need to check in with us about anything, we will look forward to chatting with you.

This week, ask me…
...about the instruments that Peter Tang’s ensemble played in their concert on Tuesday.
...to notice analog and digital clocks in our home and neighborhood. (Jane’s math group)
...to describe the faces, edges, and vertices of an object. (Jennifer’s math group)

Other things to know:

The sponsor from Reach Out and Read will be coming to collect the money we raised on Monday, March 20. If you still have money, please be sure to send it in by then.

If you haven’t yet signed up for spring parent/teacher conferences, please check the Doodle poll and pick a time for us to meet with you.

In partnership,
Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Who decides how big a neighborhood should be? How do neighborhoods affect us? These were among the questions we discussed this week with Jonathan Tannen (brother of MS teacher Ethan), who studies neighborhoods and neighborhood boundaries. You might enjoy extending this conversation into the weekend by discussing with your “urban planner” the ways that neighborhoods affect us, what some fixed boundaries are in some neighborhoods, and why people of different races and different incomes tend to live in different neighborhoods.

You will see and hear more about our neighborhood study at our learning celebration Open Houses. Rather than having a one-day event, we will hold 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!

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. 

Ask me…

...what I know about time and telling time. (Jane’s math group)

...how to find the important information in a story problem and then figure out what you need to do to solve it. (Jennifer’s math group)

...how my box building is shaping up. What types of houses did we include on our backdrop?

...how my neighborhood article is shaping up. Also, ask me if there is any information I need from you that will help me add to my article.

...what I noticed in the third graders' information articles, which they read to us today.

...about the heroes we have been learning about during read-alouds: Jackie Robinson, the Tuskegee Airmen wind flyers, Duke Ellington, Marvelous Cornelius, and Mr. Rosenwald. 

...what my Family Circle did today.

Dates to note:

There is another soft pretzel sale on Monday, March 6. Please send in a dollar with your child if you’d like her/him to have a pretzel. 

Primary’s last Learning Celebration of the year will be on Wednesday, May 17, 11:00-1:45 p.m., at The Schuylkill Center. The Rain date is Wednesday, May 31.

Conferences are coming up at the end of the month. You should have received an email with sign-up information a few days ago.

Have a great weekend.

Best,

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Families, 

This was a short but mighty week! We wrapped up our week with an exciting Encuentro with the “Science Explorers,” who taught us about exothermic and endothermic reactions, as well as the names of tools that scientists use. On Wednesday we watched the 8th grade perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Primary C howled along with the audience at the antics of Nick Bottom and Peter Quince’s acting troupe.

In theme we continue to build and plan our neighborhoods. Today we headed outside to paint our housing model. In writing we began to apply what we’ve learned about our own neighborhoods in an information article. Wait until you read about what stands out to your kiddos in their neighborhoods! 

In first grade students worked on ordering two-digit numbers on an open number line. We practiced counting by 10s to and from 120 and sequencing numbers by decades (10, 20, 30). Second graders continued practicing a variety of addition/subtraction strategies for solving two-digit equations with an open number line. We found that there are many ways to solve the same equation, and that it’s possible to add numbers together in order to find a difference. For example: 76-42 can be solved by adding 8+10+10+6

A reminder that we will be hosting an “open house” style Learning Celebration on March 13-15 from 7:55-8:15 a.m. Be sure to pop in with your child on one of those days to see what we’ve been up to. The Primary Concert will take place on Friday, March 17, at 9:00 a.m. We will not be gathering with families before or after the concert. 

Also, we will continue collecting for the Reach Out and Read fundraiser for the next week or so. You can make checks out to Reach Out and Read.

This weekend ask…

  • Why is it important to be kind to others and to notice one another’s accomplishments?
  • Why do you need to leave out my, me, mine, and I in information writing about neighborhoods?
  • Who was your favorite character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
  • What new friends will you try to get to know in our class in the coming weeks?

Have a lovely weekend,

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

There was much to celebrate today in Primary C. Right after lunch and some play time in the South Street garden, students read their information articles to rapt audiences of Preschoolers. We all gave our time at the ECEC a thumbs up. Comments from the group included “I was a bit nervous,” “It felt good to finish my work,” “I felt really good about it,” “It felt nice to have people listening to you,” and “They were really impressed.” Afterward, we celebrated by relaxing and watching a Mr. Rogers Neighborhood episode about friendship.

Our neighborhood study progressed with decisions made about our “classroom neighborhood” name and what kind of houses we wanted to include in it. We looked at pictures of several Philadelphia house and apartment styles and shared what kind of residence we live in. Maybe as you travel around your neighborhood and the city this weekend, you could count how many different kinds of houses and apartment buildings you notice.

Save the dates:

  • March Learning Celebration “open houses”:  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.
  • Primary Unit Chorus concert: Friday, 3/17 at 9:00 a.m.
  • Primary’s last Learning Celebration of the year will be on Wednesday, May 17, 11:00-1:45, at The Schuylkill Center. The rain date is Wednesday, May 31.

Have a great, long weekend.

All best,

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Primary C students are continuing to create lively, voice-filled, engaging informational articles. Their self-chosen topics are of great personal interest and range from yoga to card games to Laguna Beach. Students worked their way through an editing checklist, which provided a guide to the week’s work. They chose one article to “fix up and fancy up,” i.e., make ready for publication at the end of next week. We’re working on finding a great audience to whom we can read our articles.

This week, our theme work had us working cooperatively on some decision making. As we continue to think critically about neighborhoods, we worked together to decide what five things we wanted in our imaginary classroom neighborhood. We divided the  classroom into five “neighborhoods,” each with a salient feature such as a river, recycling center, hospital, or university. The students are grouped and assigned to one of these prospective areas of the classroom, where they will be creating a neighborhood. 

If your child would like to make or buy valentines for the class, we ask that s/he please bring 24 valentines on Valentine’s Day so there is one for each person. Also, a reminder that we are a candy-free school. Candy may not be brought into school. It should also not be inserted in valentines handed out by students.

Tuesday is also the highly anticipated TPS Talent Show. We are looking forward to seeing all of the great performances!  As always, the talent show happens during the school day and is a faculty, staff, and student-only event. 

Please let us know if you have any questions about our annual read-a-thon project to benefit Reach Out and Read of Greater Philadelphia. For those children who are participating, we encourage them to continue getting sponsors and adding books to their reading log. The project continues through February 21.

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!

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. 

Ask me…

...to show you the brochure on conflict minerals, which the 6th grade presented about in Encuentro this morning. Also, ask me about the yo-yo demonstration we saw.

...how Pippi Longstocking ended.

...what type of house or building we live in.

In partnership,

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Thank you for working so hard with your child to complete our neighborhood study survey. It’s not too late to turn it in if you are still reviewing the questions with your kiddo. (Click here for the link to the neighborhood survey.)

This week we set about turning our students into urban planners. After looking closely at our own neighborhoods and thinking about landmarks that each of them has, groups of students began planning neighborhoods in our Primary C “city.” Over the next few weeks we will be thinking about what belongs in a neighborhood and how neighborhoods are interconnected. We look forward to seeing what their grand plans will include, along with possible problems that will arise. Speaking of which...do you know someone who runs or is involved in a neighborhood association who could answer, “Why do we have associations, and how do they work?” In addition, if you feel like a neighborhood expert, or know a little bit about city infrastructures, neighborhood histories, transportation, mapping, etc… we’d love to have you come and speak to our students. Citizens of the city are our best resources!

This week in reading workshop we practiced picking out details in nonfiction writing by “stopping and studying each page.”  Students then went on to talk about what they learned in a book that they read with a partner by picking out important facts and explaining them in their own language. We focused in on a shared text, When Marian Sang, to learn and be able to tell all about Marian Anderson.

Reminder: Junior Unit is having a soft pretzel sale on Monday, February 6th. Please send money in with your child if you’d like. Pretzels are $1 each; mustard is 25 cents.

This week ask me…

  • What is the feature in your classroom neighborhood? (river, recycling center, factory, museum, university, hospital)
  • What did you include in your neighborhood landmarks drawing?
  • What are you excited to read in your book bin next week?
  • What topics have you been writing about in information writing recently? What comparisons and examples are you using in articles? What are some other topics you might write about?
  • Did you sign up for the Talent Show? If so, what do you need for your "audition" on Monday?

Have a great weekend!

All best,

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

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 for two events 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.

Ask me…

...about our second neighborhood walk. What symbols did I make for landmarks? How did reading the street map go for me? ASK ME TO SHOW YOU THE NEIGHBORHOOD SURVEY WE CAN FILL OUT TOGETHER.

...what nonfiction books I read this week and how taking a sneak peek at the cover can jump start my learning.

...to tell you about a beginning and a conclusion I wrote in an information article.

...to practice counting by 1s and 2s from 100-120. (1st gr)

...which addition strategies I practiced on the open number line. (2nd gr)

...to be on the lookout in books I'm reading for words that have these patterns: -idge, -ough. (2nd gr)

...which of our classroom promises I practiced this week.

...about our new read aloud book, Pippi Longstocking.

...about master storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston, who met with us this morning.

Add’l reminders:

  • Our Reach Out and Read challenge continues through February 20.
  • January Helping Hands Initiative: There’s still time to donate children's books (gently used) and school supplies (new) for three Philadelphia public schools. This time the class that collects the most books will win hot chocolate for snack.
  • Friday, February 3 is Crazy Hat, Hair, & Pajama Day, when students and teachers can wear crazy hairdos, weird hats, and comfy pjs. (No slippers.)
  • On Monday, February 6, there will be a soft pretzel sale in Primary Unit. Stay tuned for more details.

Have a great weekend!

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Primary C focused on mapping during this week’s Theme studies. On Wednesday we built a model of our classroom out of unit blocks. Students then gave it a go on their own, using Unifix cubes. Finally, they sketched a map of our classroom with paper and pencil and used it to make a scavenger hunt to find hidden pennies. As students develop a sense of spatial awareness in our classroom “neighborhood,” we ask them to start noticing landmarks that are in their “home” neighborhoods. It’s been fascinating to see which of our classroom landmarks have been featured in all of their maps. 

This afternoon, our entire Primary Unit met with Kirstin Rogers from Reach Out and Read to launch our reading fundraiser. A note is going home in the children’s backpacks today explaining how our unit wide read-a-thon works. Feel free to contact us with any additional questions.

This weekend ask your child…

  • What personal narrative did you include in one of your informational articles this week?
  • How have you been magnanimous in school and at home?
  • In first grade word study... What are bonus letters? What is a buddy letter?
  • In second grade word study... What are homophones? What’s a suffix, and what can it do to a word?

In partnership,

Jennifer and Jane

Primary C Weekly Note

Dear Primary C Families,

Did you see a group of 24 children walking through the neighborhood on Wednesday with clipboards and pencils? It was Primary C! We enthusiastically trekked around noticing what types of things are in our school neighborhood. Children made tally marks every time they observed stores, food sources, animals, nature, transportation, places where people gather, mailboxes, ATMs, and fire hydrants. We learned that there are many types of houses and widths of sidewalks. Over the long weekend, we asked students to notice five things in their neighborhoods.

Stay tuned for more information coming to you soon about a service learning project called Reach Out and Read to raise money for families who don’t have access to books. In the past we have participated in Reach Out and Read as an element of our work around the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. The project will give us opportunity to raise funds for books and to keep track of the many books we read! Please know that there are several ways to participate. If your family decides to contribute to the project by keeping track of the pages of books read or whole books read instead of contributing financially, we will welcome your support. Keep an eye out for details coming your way soon!

This week ask me…

  • How do you use the Retell Rope in reading?
  • What is a twin sentence in information writing? How did I write one?
  • How can we be upstanders?
  • In first grade math, ask me about the story problems we made up this week.
  • In second grade math, what is the difference between a picture graph and a bar graph?

In partnership,

Jennifer and Jane