Primary D Weekly Notes

Dear Primary D Parents,

Thank you for your partnership this year. We have enjoyed every day with your children! They have grown so much in the past nine months: developing independence, reading and writing new genres, and navigating friendships. All the while, they continued to develop their own unique personalities.  It makes us realize just how much they, and we, have accomplished this year.

We had an exuberant day at The Schuylkill Center on Wednesday. It was green frogs galore out there. We caught lots of tadpoles and polliwogs in nets, and frogs called to us the entire time we were there. We will head to The Schuylkill Center one last time on our final Wednesday of the school year next week.

Next week we will celebrate our year in many ways. We’ll share poems with each other, celebrate several more summer birthdays, clean out our drawers and cubbies, sing for the 8th grade graduation ceremony, write letters and poems to teachers throughout the building, and more. 

As we head into the last few days of school, please make note of these important reminders:

Monday, June 5, is Move-Up Day.  For the period before lunch and lunchtime, our first graders will welcome some of the kindergartners to our classroom.  We know they will enjoy showing the future first graders around our room and telling them all about life in the Primary Unit. Our current second graders will spend that time with the third grade teachers. Specific groups for next year’s first graders and third graders have not been determined yet, so everyone will visit all the classes. Move-Up Day is a fun way to ease the transition into a new grade for next year and to help familiarize the students with next year’s classmates, spaces, and teachers.

Graduation is Friday, June 9.  The Primary Unit will sing “Live Like There’s No Tomorrow” for the ceremony. They sounded fantastic at rehearsal this week. The school building closes at 11:30 a.m., and all children are expected to be picked up from the yard by that time, as the school building closes, as well.  There is no lunch or ASEP.

We started sending home your children’s school work this week. During our last week of school we’ll be sending home more completed work, a summer reading list, and a practice math packet.  Please keep an eye out for them.  The reading list and math packet are chosen specifically for your child. We will tell the children that they do not have to complete the entire packet. Doing a few pages a week would be a great strategy.  Please note that we cannot replace individualized summer packets over the summer; if they are misplaced, you will be able to access general recommendations on the Student Page of the school website.

What a treat it has been to be part of this wonderful year together in Primary D! Best wishes for a wonderful summer.

Niké and Ben

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Families,

We can’t believe that it’s the end of the year and things are beginning to (theoretically) wind down. The level of excitement about these last few weeks of school is palpable in Primary D! A highlight of our week was definitely El Mercado! We owe a big thank you to the Spanish department for organizing such a great event and to our parent volunteers for their support.

We enjoyed a visit this week from 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!

At The Schuylkill Center on Wednesday the weather was so lovely that we took a long hike to Wind Dance Pond to see if we could spot any amphibians. We didn’t have any luck but we were able to see two protective geese and three adorable goslings. We had lunch in a new setting that the kids loved and are hoping to visit again soon. 

Things to know:

We will begin sending your child’s work and projects from this year home, little by little. Please be on the lookout. 

We have two more visits to The Schyulkill Center this school year, so please make sure your child is dressed appropriately and equipped with water a bottle. 

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

The last day of school is on Friday, June 9, and dismissal is at 11:30 a.m.

Topics For Discussion:

  • How was Wind Dance Pond different from the other ponds we studied this spring?
  • Describe your favorite math activities this week.
  • What did you enjoy most about Yolanda Wisher’s visit?
  • Which phrases did you practice using at El Mercado? Which foods did you eat?

Enjoy the long weekend,

Niké and Ben

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Parents,

It was great to see many of you out at The Schuylkill Center this week. Thanks for braving the hot and humid conditions. We hope you learned lots of fascinating facts about amphibians from your child.

We listened to an array of frog calls this week in the classroom. None of the frogs made a “ribbit” call. We practiced describing the calls in fresh ways. Students came up with some of these descriptions to describe the calls of the Pickerel Frog and the American Toad: a fire alarm, a pig snorting endlessly, an electric mixer, and someone bubbling in the water.

Giovana and Tiziana are having a celebration called “El Mercado” next week. Please be in touch with them if you’re be interested in coming in to be part of that celebration. This event will happen at the time of the students' regular Spanish class. The Lightning group will have the celebration at 10:05 on May 23, and the Hurricane group will have theirs at 11:25 on May 25.

Topics for discussion:

  • What was the dance performance at Encuentro?
  • What did you think the frog calls you heard sounded like?
  • What poem did you work on this week?
  • What new song did you learn this week? (Hint: It’s about frogs!)

Have a wonderful weekend.

Ben and Niké

P.S. Here are a few Frog and Toad poems from your children this week:

Ode to Wetlands Pond

Oh Wetlands Pond
You look like a mini forest
You sound like moving water
You smell like mud

Oh wetlands pond
you could swallow a table

 

Ode to sitting still like a frog

Niké called Quiet Time
She said, “let’s all sit
like frogs.” Some kids
were so calm
some were not

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Families,

We ended our exciting week with an all-school ensemble recital! We are fortunate to have so many talented musicians in our community.

On Thursday afternoon we attended Stories of Change: 3A Fights for Fairness, one of the third grade plays. It was a spectacular show and a wonderful opportunity to learn about the history of our country. Primary D used the following words and phrases to describe the performance: a learning experience, strong, exquisite, awesome, super, surprising, interesting, and EPIC!

Our field trip to the Academy of Natural Sciences to see the exhibit, Frogs: A Chorus of Colors, was truly amazing. We had the opportunity to see a wide variety of frogs from at least three different continents. The exhibit ends this Sunday and is well worth a repeat visit if you have the time. Visit http://www.ansp.org/ for more information.

This week our science investigations in the classroom focused on toads, specifically how they are similar to and different from frogs. In their science notebooks, the children identified and labeled the toad’s body parts and compared the two using a Venn Diagram. 

Topics for Discussion:

  • What was your favorite part of the third-grade play? 
  • Share an interesting historical fact you learned from seeing the play.
  • Which frog from the exhibit was most interesting to you and why?
  • Describe the differences between frogs and toads.

Next Wednesday (5/17) from 11:00-1:45 p.m. is our Learning Celebration at The Schuylkill Center. Please look out for an email with more detailed information about the day.

Happy Mother’s Day and have a wonderful weekend!

Niké and Ben

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Parents,

We worked on some mindfulness this week in Primary D. Several of you had shared a children’s mindfulness program with us called “Sitting Still Like a Frog.” We love the frog connection to our curriculum, of course, and we also wanted to help students practice settling their bodies and minds during our Quiet Time. We tried out the first lesson in the program this week. Students had different reflections about the experience. One student said, “I felt really relaxed and joyful.” Another student said, “It felt boring because they just talked about breathing.” We’ll continue this practice once or twice a week this spring and hope more students get to that relaxed, joyful place during the activities!

Students learned more about the frog life cycle this week. At The Schuylkill Center students also made observations about one of the ponds in their science notebooks. After sitting quietly and describing how the pond looked, smelled, and sounded, students practiced combining their descriptions to make poetic descriptions of the pond. Here are some of the descriptions of the pond they came up with:

an old swimming pool

a Coca Cola slushie

coffee grinds

a pool of chocolate milk

a map with a big smear on it

a clogged toilet that smells like nature

During Writing Workshop, students worked on descriptive poems about the pond and also on other frog and toad poems. Some of the poems from this week are below.

Froggie Day Blues

I’m a little 

tadpole almost 

a frog

 

Wetlands Pond

You are

so

muddy

and

smell

like

nature.

It

looks like you

have…coffee grounds in you

Oh, wetlands pond I would not

like to swim in you!

 

Frogs

Frogs, what a beautiful

sight. Smooth fat body,

bumpy legs, eyes of 

glory, an evil face. I wonder 

if I’m dreaming.

 

Frog

At my grandparents

house we 

heard noises

outside

we all 

went outside

at first

we couldn’t

see anything

but then

I saw something

jump away

a frog I 

screamed waving

my arms 

Frog frog frog frog frog!

 

Topics for discussion:

  • What poems did you work on this week?
  • How did you creatively describe the Wetlands Pond?
  • What frog and toad facts did you learn this week?
  • What was your favorite math activity from this week?
  • Which of your classmates performed in the music recital?
  • What did you do in your Family Circle?

Things to know:

The final Primary Unit Learning Celebration is at The Schuylkill Center, Wednesday, May 17, from 11:00 a.m to 1:30 p.m.

Throughout the spring, Primary Unit teachers will be in the yard on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 8:00 to 8:15 a.m., so if you would like to say hi or need to check in with us about anything, you’re welcome to do so at this time.

Next Wednesday, May 10, we are going on a field trip to the Academy of Natural Sciences to see the frog exhibit. We will not be heading out to The Schuylkill Center that day.

See you soon.

Niké and Ben

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Families,

This is a time of year when it’s exciting to pause and recognize how much the children have grown as readers, writers, mathematicians, scientists, and creative thinkers. Each day is filled with new learning and fine-tuning skills. The kids are energetic and feeling excited that spring is here!

The children have been reading and writing lots of poetry this week! They have tried out the following new strategies to create their poems: choosing language carefully and adding ending lines. If your family is enjoying poetry at home, we invite your child to bring in some to share with the class.

It was a wet and warm day at The Schuylkill Center--perfect for observing amphibians. In the morning we hiked with Carrie and Damien, who introduced us to the wetlands and the stream. The kids enjoyed getting wet and exploring these new areas. The kids used kick nets for the first time and were excited to get a closer look at a variety of insects. We also spotted lots of tadpoles and frogs. We spent the rest of the day at Founder’s Grove eating lunch and playing.

In first grade math we continued work on penguin story problems. We also learned about two species of penguin this week and did some measuring and graphing to compare our heights with the heights of the penguins. In second grade math we are wrapping up a unit on measurement. We will be moving on to a unit exploring place value. 

Topics for discussion:

  • Share the nonfiction facts about frogs you learned in The Prince of the Pond.
  • Describe this week’s Schuylkill Center adventure.
  • Which of the poetry writing strategies did you try?
  • What did you enjoy about this week’s Encuentro?
  • Describe your favorite math activity this week.

Things to know:

The final Primary Unit Learning Celebration at The Schuylkill Center, Wednesday, May 17 at 11:00 a.m.

Throughout the spring, Primary Unit teachers will be in the yard on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 8:00 to 8:15 a.m., so if you would like to say hi or need to check in with us about anything, you’re welcomed to do so at this time.

On Wednesday, May 10 we are going on a field trip to the Academy of Natural Sciences to see the frog exhibit. We will not be heading out to The Schuylkill Center.

Enjoy the weekend!

Niké and Ben

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Parents,

We went on a salamander hunt at The Schuylkill Center this week. Many students found Red-backed Salamanders, and a few students found Lead-backed Salamanders. Damien, one of The Center's educators, taught us that these salamanders do not have lungs, and they breathe through their skin. We also discussed frog respiratory systems this week and learned that tadpoles breathe through gills and adult frogs breathe through their lungs and skin.

In our Poetry Unit, we practiced using our five senses to make fresh observations for our poetry. We practiced this by describing some purple tulips in our room. Here were some of their observations of these flowers:

Tulips look like

a microphone
a twisty roller coaster
a folded up soft taco
an origami cat
unicorn hair
an overflowing pillow
a velvet dancing feather

Tulips smell like

a rusty car
an attic
fresh cabbage
a burnt radish
dust

Tulips feel like

a bat
crab meat
human skin
a page of a book

We also practiced ode poems this week. We wrote odes as a whole class, and each student also began their own ode poem. You can practice ode poem writing this weekend by describing everyday objects in creative ways and speaking directly to the objects. We discussed the power of “small” poems and how poets can pack a lot of emotion and information into concise poems. Here are a few small poems your children finished up this week.

Gina
Gina is our cat
She is lazy
She is 8 or 9 or 10
She was a kitten
when we got her!

Ballet
As soft
as a swan
as beautiful as a cherry blossom
as soft as a feather falling

Topics for discussion:

  • What is your ode poem about?
  • What happened in the Prince of the Pond this week?
  • What amphibians did you see at The Schuylkill Center this week?
  • What poem ideas do you have for next week?

Things to know:

  • Move-Up Night for rising 3rd graders will be on Thursday, April 27, at 5:00-6:00 p.m.
  • Mark your calendars for the final Primary Learning Celebration at The Schuylkill Center, Wednesday, May 17.
  • Throughout the spring, Primary Unit teachers will be in the yard on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 8:00 to 8:15 a.m., so if you would like to say hi or need to check in with us about anything, you’re welcomed to do so at this time.

See you soon,

Ben and Niké

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Families,

It was another busy week in Primary D. Our classroom is full of engaged learners as we delve more deeply into our studies of poetry, measurement, penguin story problems, and amphibians! 

April is National Poetry Month, and our poetry study is in full swing! We have been reading aloud many different kinds of poems, some written by children and others by published poets. We will be examining the structure of poetry, learning how poets use line breaks and white space, among other crafting techniques. We will also begin experimenting with rhythm, pattern, and repeating lines. The children brainstormed a list of topics that they plan to use to create poems. Several children have even brought in favorite poems to share with the class!

We had a beautiful day for our visit to The Schuylkill Center this week. We played at Founder’s Grove in the morning, where we spotted our first toad. In the afternoon we hiked to Cattail Pond to meet with Damien, one of The Center’s amazing educators. He did a wonderful lesson that focused on the life cycle of a frog and the characteristics of amphibians. We were also introduced to a ton of new vocabulary. The ponds are springing to life, and we observed tadpoles, water fleas, water striders, and a frog.  

Topics for Discussion:

  • What was the activity at Encuentro?
  • Our new read aloud is The Prince of the Pond by Donna Jo Napoli.
  • Who are the characters?
  • What is Pin’s problem?
  • What did you learn about amphibians at The Schuylkill Center?
  • Which activity with Damien did you enjoy the most?
  • What are you looking forward to writing about during the poetry unit?

Things to Know:
The Student Council is having a pretzel sale on Monday April 17. Pretzels are $1 and mustard is not available. The pretzels are from Center City Soft Pretzel Company, which 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.

There is no school for students on Friday, April 21 as it is an in-service day for teachers.

Move-Up Night for rising 3rd graders will be on Thursday, April 27.

Mark your calendars for the final Primary Learning Celebration at The Schuylkill Center,
on Wednesday, May 17.

Throughout the spring Primary Unit teachers will be 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’re welcomed to do so at this time.

Have a great weekend.

Niké and Ben

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Families,

What festive spring weather to have for our first Wednesday back at The Schuylkill Center. We are studying frogs and toads this spring, and based on all the frogs we saw in the ponds at The Schuylkill Center, they’re enjoying this weather as much as we are. Your children know lots about frogs and toads already, and we asked them what questions they had this week as we began our study. Here are some of them:

How small can a frog get?
How many eggs can a frog lay?
Do frogs live all around the world?
What is the most poisonous kind of frog?
What is the biggest tree frog?

If you come across any frog and toad resources (amazing videos, etc.) or if any of you are avid herpetologists, be in touch. This study is often a favorite for students, since watching the frog life cycle up close each week is so tangible. Get ready to hear lots of frog and toad facts from your child at the dinner table in coming weeks!

We wanted to fill you in that we have begun using the "she" pronoun when referring to McLean in Primary D. McLean led the way in this class conversation this week and was excited to begin using the pronoun. We read aloud a story about a teddy bear that changed pronouns (Introducing Teddy), and we had a class conversation about the story and about how best to support McLean as we transition to using the pronoun "she." One student asked during our community meeting, "What happens if we forget to use 'she'?" McLean said, "Then I'll remind you, or another student that has made the transition to using 'she' will remind you.” We’re all proud of McLean for her bravery and poise in leading us through this transition. 

Topics for discussion:

  • How was your Family Circle gathering?
  • What did you learn about frogs and toads this week?
  • Which 3rd grade Primary D alumni did you host on Friday morning?
  • What did you learn from Isobel’s Friday presentation on gender?
  • What was your favorite thing you did at The Schuylkill Center this week?

Announcements

For those avid herpetologist families, volunteer for Toad Detour at The Schuylkill Center! As noted on The Center's website:

We are looking for volunteers for evening shifts from March through June. You can volunteer for one shift or several, and all ages are welcome. If you’re interested, it's a good idea to attend our Volunteer Orientation to get started. You'll learn fun facts about toads and toad biology and see how easy it is to volunteer. The toads are moving! Contact Claire Morgan at cmorgan@schuylkillcenter.org, 215-482-7300, ext. 120 to get involved.

Primary Unit Spring Learning Celebration - Wednesday, May 17, at 11:00 a.m. at The Schuylkill Center. More details will come as we get closer to the date.

It was great to connect with you many of you at conferences. We’ll see you again soon.

Ben and Niké

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Families,

We hope you enjoyed the Primary Unit's amazing performance this morning! We look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow or Friday for parent teacher conferences. 

We wish you a happy and healthy spring break, and we will see you back at school on Monday, April 3.

Warmly,

Niké and Ben

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Families,

It was fun to see many of you at our Open Houses. We’re proud of the hard work your children have done this winter. Thanks for your flexibility as we navigated the snow day and daylight savings for those early morning learning celebrations!

In Writing Workshop this week students began how-to books. Ask your child what topic they are teaching about. Here are a few samples from your children’s writing this week:

How to make a train. You need, well you can pick how many boxes you want. But one of the boxes has be bigger than the others. Then tape all of them together and tape the tiny boxes to the big box. Wala!

How to do a cartwheel. Put your right leg in front of your left leg and bend your right leg just a little bit and then put your arms up and do a pattern -- hand hand foot foot. Then land the same way you started.

How to make banana bread. First you need to have this stuff. You need 3 eggs and a bowl and flour and butter and a rectangular pan. Then you need to smear the butter in the pan…

In math class this week first graders began work on solving penguin story problems. First grade math students are learning to recognize language in story problems so they know whether to add or subtract when solving the problem. You can practice at home by making up some story problems and taking note of the language you use. 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.

Topics for discussion:

  • What did you learn about J.K. Rowling this week?
  • Did you start/participate in any of the Activity Time clubs this week? (Sports conversation club, acting club, Harry Potter club… just to name a few!)
  • What special guest joined you during lunch and recess this week?
  • How did the Friday chorus rehearsal go?

Calendar items

On Monday, March 20, the representative from Reach Out and Read will be coming to collect the money we raised. If you still have outstanding donations, please be sure to send them in Monday.

The Primary Unit Chorus will be performing on Wednesday, 3/22, at 9:00 a.m. in the Garage. We will not be inviting families to visit our classrooms before or after the concert. Our Open Houses took the place of those usual visiting times.

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

We’re looking forward to seeing you at conferences next Thursday and Friday. Wash those hands and get some rest. We want to have a healthy last week together before break!

Ben and Niké

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Families,

Primary D students are excited to welcome you to our Open Houses next week. They will start Monday morning and run through Wednesday morning, 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 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!

On Wednesday morning Peter Tang’s Chinese Ensemble performed for grades K through 6. We heard beautiful music and learned about several traditional Chinese instruments. Please click on the link to learn more: http://easternmelody.com/index.php

In writing workshop the children finished their books about their neighborhood. They added a table of contents, an introduction, and a cover to complete the project.  They are proud of their work, and we are impressed by the continued growth in and enthusiasm around writing in Primary D.  

Woven in with our writing and project work this week was time for independent reading and some great read-alouds. We’ve noticed that kids have been excited to cozy up with a good book independently or with a partner. It’s affirming to see the magnitude of reading progress happening.

Topics for discussion:

  • What have you enjoyed about your neighborhood project?
  • What have you been reading independently this week?
  • How did Activity Time go this week?
  • Which projects are you looking forward to sharing next week?
  • Who were the performers at Encuentro?

Things to Know:

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. Our Open Houses are taking the place of those usual visiting times.

On Monday, March 20, the representative from Reach Out and Read will be coming to collect the money we raised. If you still have outstanding donations, please be sure to send them in by then.

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

If you haven’t yet signed up for the spring parent/teacher conferences on March 23 and 24, please check the Doodle poll and choose one of the remaining times.

Warmly,

Niké and Ben 

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Families,

This morning students met in Family Circles. Each Family Circle is planning a final project or presentation for the spring. Ask your child about what their Family Circle is working on. This afternoon a handful of third graders visited our classroom to share the nonfiction books they have been working on. We hope this was an inspiring visit for our students as we work on our own non-fiction chapter books.

In our Theme study this week we interviewed three more Fitler Square neighbors. We interviewed Jezabel, the owner of Jezabel’s Cafe, and we interviewed two neighbors, Fred and Marnie, who live across the street from our school. We heard some of their personal stories, and we learned why they moved to Fitler Square and what they like most about the neighborhood. Students also continued to work in teams creating models of their ideal neighborhood. This week students made houses, apartment buildings, skyscrapers, stores, and more out of cardboard, and many students made people and animals out of Model Magic. 

In Writing Workshop this week we worked on using comparisons to write descriptions in a fresh way. Here are some examples: 

  • Justice is like a Royal Bedroom.
  • The park is like a jungle of trees. 
  • In my neighborhood there is a school. It looks like a castle. 
  • All the restaurants are as full as a circus.

In math class first graders worked on counting by 1s, 5s, 10s, and other numbers on a number line backwards and forwards. Second graders began work on solving and creating their own story problems in a unit called “Presents and Parcels.”

Announcements

Junior Unit is having a pretzel sale on Monday, March 6. Please feel free to send in $1 or $1.25 (includes mustard) with your child on Monday if they are interested in supporting the Junior Unit in its hamster maintenance.

Our read-a-thon has officially ended, but we will continue accepting contributions. Checks should be made payable to Reach Out and Read. 

Rather than having a one-day Learning Celebration 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 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. 

Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held on Thursday, March 23rd, and Friday, March 24th. We’re looking forward to meeting with you. Sign-up links were emailed to families earlier this week.

Have a good weekend.

Ben and Niké

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Families,

This morning at Encuentro we had an exciting presentation from Science Explorers, Wednesday was the 100th day of school, and we had the pleasure of attending the 8th grade production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. What a week! 

In our Theme study the children broke into teams and started to map their neighborhood. Over the next few weeks they will continue to work together to add houses, shops, parks, restaurants, and other places of interest to complete their ideal neighborhood. Next week we plan to visit some of our other neighbors...stay tuned!

In writing workshop the children continue to share their expertise about their neighborhood. Children are approaching their writing in different ways. Some are interested in the historical aspects while others are interested in sharing what visitors can do if they’re in the neighborhood. 

Our read-a-thon officially ended on February 21st. Thank you and congratulations to your child on reading for a great cause. We hope he/she feels good about helping other children gain access to books. Please continue sending in your donations; we will continue accepting contributions for the next few weeks. Checks should be made payable to Reach Out and Read.

Topics for Discussion:

  • What did you enjoy about Science Explorers?
  • Who was your favorite character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
  • Describe the 100th day activities that you did in each Primary classroom.
  • How well did your team work together to map your neighborhood?
  • What are some places of interest your team plans to include in your neighborhood?
  • What are you enjoying writing about?

Things to know:

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 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. 

Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held on Thursday, March 23rd and Friday, March 24th. Please look for the online sign-up tool in this week’s Progressive EDge.

Have a good weekend.

Warmly,

Niké and Ben

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Parents,

Congrats to our brave Talent Show performers. Tuesday was a Valentine’s Day to remember!

We met our Fitler Square neighbor, Bhavisha Patel, this week. She is a painter like Ed Bronstein, and she welcomed us into her home art studio and answered our questions about being an artist and about being a Fitler Square resident. Among others, your children had these questions:

  • How long have you lived in Fitler Square?
  • What do you like most about your neighborhood?
  • Where do you like to paint?
  • Do you like to paint real or imaginary things?
  • How much paint does it take to do a painting?
  • What is your favorite color?

Also as part of our Theme study, students worked in small groups to debate what essential services they would need for their own made-up neighborhoods. Next week they will be working on 3-dimensional models of these neighborhoods.

In Writing Workshop students began nonfiction pieces about their own neighborhoods. Every student started their book with a section called “Things You Can Do.” Here are several samples:

  • Here are some things to do in my neighborhood. Go to the park, go to Jezabel's, go to Honey’s, go to the library, go to the river, go to Igloo.
  • I like to scooter in my neighborhood. I also like to play with my baby neighbor. I like to take walks with my family when it snows. I like to play on my street with my sister. I also like to play outside with my friends.
  • I love to go to the playground. I have two playgrounds in my neighborhood. If you walk down to the Schuylkill River you see the Please Touch Museum. I also live close to the prison.

In math class, students in 1st grade practiced counting on a number line. Students solved addition and subtraction facts on a number line by hopping up or down the line, and students also practiced figuring out where numbers would go on a life-sized number line. Second graders worked on using strategies to add multi-digit numbers. Ask your 2nd grader to show you!

Things to know:

February 17 & 20: No School

February 21:  Reach Out and Read will be coming to an end, so please be sure to get your money and forms in before the due date.

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 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 hope you enjoy the long weekend, and we’ll see you on Tuesday.

Ben and Niké

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Families,

This week we had our first writing celebration for our nonfiction unit. The children were so excited to share their work with one another. The books are being showcased on a special shelf designated to Primary D all-star authors! 

In theme we have connected with some of our school neighbors who have graciously agreed to share their talents with us. We will be visiting the art studios of two neighbors, Ed Bronstein and Bhavisha Patel, who have been connected with the school for many years. We will have the opportunity to learn more about them and view their artwork. The children are excited and curious and have lots of questions to ask. 

Also in theme, we continue to map out our home neighborhoods on the classroom map. If you have not yet turned in the questionnaire, please do so as soon as you can. Additionally, if you are a neighbor or know a neighbor who’d be willing to pay us a visit, please reach out!

We hope that your child is still excited about the Primary Unit read-a-thon. For those children who are participating, we encourage them to continue getting sponsors and adding books to their reading log. Our read-a-thon officially ends on February 21st, so there is still plenty of time to get some good reading done! Please let us know if you have any questions about the process.

Next Tuesday, February 14, is Valentine’s Day! Sending your child in with cards to give with their classmates is optional. If you do plan to send in cards, please be sure to include one for each child. There are 25 children in the class. As a reminder, Valentine’s Day (like most celebrations at TPS) is a food- and candy-free event. If your child wishes to bring in non-food items like pencils, erasers, or stickers, etc. that is certainly fine. As with the cards, please make sure that there are enough for all children.

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. 

Finally, we are sending home a folder of the kids’ writing projects from last semester. Please check backpacks and take a look at all the wonderful books your child created.

Have a great weekend.

Niké and Ben

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Families,

Way to go with some festive hair, hats, and pajamas today! We had lots of fun, and resting during Quiet Time was an anticipated and joyful part of our day, with all of us lounging around the classroom in pajamas!

Oliver’s mom, Fran, visited us this week to show us historical maps of Fitler Square. We saw maps dating back to the early 19th century, and students were particularly interested to see maps of the bakery that used to be on the site of TPS and also the names of families who lived in Fitler Square in the past. We are hoping to conduct some interviews of Fitler Square neighbors in the coming weeks to learn more about the area. If you know of any brave Fitler Square neighbors who might be willing to host half of our class at a time during the school day, please let us know about them! 

Students are finishing up, revising, and getting ready to publish their first informational books. Students completed revising checklists this week and will share next week after rewriting and “fancying up” their books. Here are a few samples from your children’s Informational books:

How to do Yoga

What do you need?

You need a yoga mat and some light clothes. You don’t need shoes.

Yoga poses

There are lots of poses. Dog and cat and cobra and tree and plank and bridge.

What is yoga?

It is what you see around you. And yoga makes you stronger. Yoga comes from India.

 

And here is one about tornadoes and the EF (Enhanced Fujita) scale for measuring tornadoes.

EF-0s

An EF0 is the weakest tornado. They can reach to speeds of 85 mph. You should not worry about these twisters. 

EF-2s

EF-2s are pretty rough. 111-136 mph. Storm chasers chase these tornadoes and worse. They can crush small houses

Only go storm chasing if you’re very interested, brave, and have the right stuff.

 

Dates & Reminders:

Neighborhood Questionnaire
We are sending home a questionnaire in your child’s backpack today. Please fill this out with your child and return it next week. We hope you’ll have fun discussing and perhaps learning some new things about your neighborhood. We’re going to incorporate student’s knowledge of their neighborhoods into nonfiction writing in coming weeks.

The Talent Show
Friendly, inclusive auditions for the Talent Show will be next Monday during lunch. We’ve had conversations with students in Primary D who are interested in the Talent Show in order to answer any questions, but please be in touch if we can be of assistance or assuage any fears as your child prepares for the show.  The sign-up sheet has been collected by the Student Council.

The March Learning Celebration
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, March 13; Tuesday, March 14; and Wednesday, March 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, March 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.

Reach Out and Read
We hope your child is extra motivated to read at home by our Reach Out and Read fundraising readathon. We’ll stay in touch over the course of February until we wrap up our readathon.

See you soon.

Ben and Niké

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Families,

We started the week by thinking about how to continue the work of being a community that supports growth, learning, and having fun. Here are some of the thoughts the children shared:

  • “Be nice to everyone around you.”
  • “You should let everyone play. It’s more fun, and it’s not fair to leave people out.”
  • “Be an upstander. If someone is being mean to someone, don’t be a “down-stander.” Try and help the person and don’t just walk away.”
  • “When the chime rings, be quiet.”

In theme, the children participated in a small group activity where they were tasked with choosing what amenities they would want to have in their neighborhood. They were able to choose ten items from the list that was generated from our neighborhood walks. It was an interesting exercise for the children to engage in, and the diversity of what each group thought would be important to have a neighborhood was surprising and sparked energetic debates. 

In Writing Workshop we continue to work on creating nonfiction books, focusing on including all they know about their subjects. The children have been exchanging questions with a writing partner to help add details and tailor their work to include what a reader might want to know. Our reading lessons have aligned with the writing unit, and we have been examining the text features of various nonfiction books. 

This morning we were treated to a performance by master storyteller, Charlotte Blake Alston. To find out more, please visit charlotteblakealston.com

Dates & Reminders:

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, March 13; Tuesday, March 14; and Wednesday, March 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, March 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.

Friday, February 3 is Crazy Hat, Hair, & Pajama Day. Students and teachers can wear crazy hairdos, weird hats, and comfy pjs. (No slippers, please.)

Monday, February 6: Soft pretzel sale in Primary Unit. Stay tuned for more details.

By now you should have received the information about Reach Out and Read and the sponsor sheet. If you have not, and your child would like to participate, please send us a quick email so that we can send another form home.

Topics for Discussion:

  • What was it like working in a group to decide what things were most important to have in your neighborhood?
  • What is your new nonfiction book about?
  • What personal goal did you work on this week?
  • Describe some of the features of a nonfiction text.
  • Which stories from this morning’s Encuentro did you find most interesting? 

Have a great weekend.

Niké and Ben

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Parents,

We began a new read aloud chapter book this week called Gooseberry Park. The main characters are a squirrel, a bat, a Labrador, a hermit crab, and a retired professor human. The squirrel is about to have babies in the story, and our class is abuzz with anticipation!

In Writing Workshop this week students practiced asking clarifying questions about each other’s informational writing. Students also practiced illustrating their writing with pictures that include labels and arrows. Your children know lots about an array of topics.

Here are a few informational book samples from this week.

Drums

Step 1. Get a drum. Step 2. Get drum sticks. Step 3. Put your foot on the bass. Step 4. Put your other foot on the high hat. Step 5. Put both hands on the drum sticks. Step 6. Put hand on the snare and the floor tom. 

I like drums because they are in a lot of things. I like rock and jazz.

How to Make Slime

What you need: Glue, Tide, food coloring, a bowl and a spoon.

What are the steps? Take the bowl and put the glue and the tide in the bowl and mix them together and then mix it with your hands. 

Food coloring: Put the food coloring in and mix it together and

Ta dahhhh!

For our theme study we took a second neighborhood walk this week to better get to know our neighborhood. Students took note of what we saw as we walked east on Lombard a few blocks and then back on the South Street commercial corridor. There was lots to see, and students took notes on clipboards of what they observed as we walked. Students observed the following among many other landmarks: the river, coffee shops, lamp posts, traffic lights, restaurants, and construction sites. We will continue our discussions and observations of our neighborhood in coming weeks.

As part of our Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, the Primary Unit participates in a month-long read-a-thon that benefits Reach Out and Read and the children of Philadelphia. Reach Out and Read is an organization that provides doctor’s offices throughout the city with books for their youngest patients, many of whom have limited access to age-appropriate reading materials. Kirsten Rogers, a spokeswoman for the organization, visited the Primary Unit today to introduce the fundraiser. Be on the lookout in your child’s backpack for details about how to participate.

Some topics for discussion:

  • What math activity did you play this week?
  • What did you notice on your walk around the neighborhood?
  • Which character is your favorite in the book Gooseberry Park?
  • What were you working on during Activity Time this week?

See you soon.

Ben and Niké

Primary D Weekly Note

Dear Primary D Families,

This week seemed to fly by! 

In Writing Workshop we launched our informational writing unit. The children were excited to choose an area of expertise, such as football, skiing, gymnastics, snakes, dinosaurs, etc., to write about.  In this first booklet we are concentrating on using a teaching voice, as opposed to the storytelling voice we used in our small moments writing. We are making sure to write an interesting fact on each page, and then go back to write details about each fact. As we continue to write nonfiction, we will add new skills to our writing.  

To continue our discussions around theme, we took a neighborhood walk. This was a wonderful way to get us thinking about what makes up a city neighborhood. As we walked, our task was to observe and take notes of what we noticed.  The children had lots of questions and connections to the things they saw.  When we returned to school, we took some time to share our observations. As we continue with our neighborhood study, we will begin to think about how the things in a community are important to our daily lives.

As part of our Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, the Primary Unit participates in a month-long read-a-thon that benefits Reach Out and Read and the children of Philadelphia. Reach Out and Read is an organization that provides doctors' offices throughout the city with books for their youngest patients, many of whom have limited access to age-appropriate reading materials. We will begin the project next week. Please be on the lookout for details about this initiative when we return from the long weekend.

Some topics for discussion:

  • What’s your topic for your informational writing piece?
  • What did you notice on your walk around the neighborhood?
  • How is your home neighborhood similar to (or different from) the school neighborhood?
  • What was your favorite math activity?
  • Which read aloud did you enjoy the most?
  • What are you reading independently this week?

Have a wonderful weekend. We’ll see you on Tuesday, January 17.

Best,

Niké and Ben