September 16, 2016

Dear JU-D families,

Hopefully you all have been enjoying this wonderful early fall weather. Students seemed to feel the change of seasons as they brought energy and passion to their work in JU-D. This mindset was crucial as the first full week was full of learning experiences, routine development, and community building.

This week JU-D community members got a taste of the excitement of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, a celebration of the changing seasons and the miracle of the moon. This process began by a conversation around hopes and dreams. Students set goals for themselves for the year. On Thursday, a mixed group of JU-D and JU-B members launched moon lanterns as a way of sending these hopes and dreams skyward towards the moon. Additionally, we utilized these hopes and dreams to begin to formulate a JU-D social contract. Children created and debated a series of rules and regulations for JU-D practice. They paired large lists of rules down until they were left with three simple rules which will be finalized next week.

Another new routine that launched this week is our Word Study unit. Jill Garland joined us to launch our Word Study program, a partnership between JU classrooms and Learning Resources. Word Study is differentiated to meet students’ individual needs for support and challenge to help them become more skilled and confident readers and writers. Students will study root words, spelling patterns, and prefixes and suffixes that make up the English language while building vocabulary. Ask your child to tell you how a tortoise shell is connected to the beginnings of written language.

Friday folders are back and better than ever-- or at least they will be. This is a new system for both 4th grade and 5th grade families. Students will be asked to review the week’s work and apply it to their progress towards their individual hopes and dreams. Furthermore, students will be responsible for sharing this information with their family. Parent input and discussion is an important part of this process. Because this is a new system, there may be some unintended glitches in the practice as students and teachers adjust to new routines. Let us know if you have any questions about the process moving forward.

Lastly, community service agreements are due this coming Monday. You can find lists of jobs as well as a Google form for selecting your desired choice all on the main TPS homepage at This is a new experience for fourth graders and is required for two of the three terms of the school year. You may decide to opt out this term and that will mean you must complete two consecutive service terms.

We are looking forward to seeing you in person at back to school night!


Noelle and Nick

-- Nick Dekker Junior Unit Teacher