Mr. Sutterlin's Week in Review

The page is used as a quasi-weekly update of key events in our classroom community.
June 3, 2011
We're having technical difficulties getting the site posted online, but I'm still writing updates for you to catch up with where we've been.  This week was full, and I mean FULL, of district tests.  We finished the reading and writing tests, phonics test, and most of the math test.  It is my least favorite part of teaching, but one of my most informative.  However, at third grade, the whole genre of testing is still quite new so, as with most things, I approach tests as merely another opportunity to learn; for me to learn what the kids need and for them to be exposed to the content yet again, in another format.  The problem will be when teachers are evaluated for their effectiveness solely by how children perform on tests...that doesn't have much to do with learning.

We also fit in Factor Challenge this week.  Next week will be our last shot at getting everyone through their fives (so maybe I won't eat crickets after all).  However, we've come a long way in knowing these math facts and that was the purpose.  Below are the latest improvement scores:

Group/Improvement 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Average Improvement
Bananas 2 11 3 14 -19 13 -6 -5 21 -20 1
Apples 5 -24 28 4 -13 -15 9 1 11 -8 0
Oranges 10 -4 5 3 -12 22 -19 -3 13 -25 -1
Kiwis 19 25 -16 6 7 6 -8 0 -11 5 3
Canteloupes 6 -22 20 -11 3 10 5 -14 -3 -7 -1
Grapes -15 -2 -8 -8 25 -32 16 8 -6 -9 -3

I have appreciated the understanding support for the changes that are happening in our room as this year ends.  From what I'm seeing with kids, our class is making the best of our last few weeks together.  Be sure to come to the Open House next Wednesday, June 8 at 2:15 so you can share in our learning and celebrate the end of our year together!

May 27, 2011
The week came in humid as July, but is leaving feeling more like March.  Our classroom has run the range of climate too since it's usually about ten degrees hotter than the outside weather and every bit as humid.  Spring fever has set in on the fourth grade and while we've seen glimpses of that restlessness on the third-grade team, it is not nearly as strong.  I like that.  This group is easily reminded that we still have plenty of work to complete before the year is out, but we'll balance it with lots of fun!

We are working hard on our informational text books.  I really love project learning because kids get so personally involved and work independently.  These are the events that allow me to teach each child where s/he is in their learning process and we both grow through that interaction.  Reading logs continue to be due, but we will have no more strategy sheets this year as this project will take us through the next couple of weeks.

In math, we're really stretching our multiplication skills.  Last week we learned the partial-products method as you may have seen in an email.  This week, the "new" (but really very old) method of Lattice multiplication was all the rage.  It is a fun, old Egyptian method for multiplying large numbers, but using the basic facts from Factor Challenge. 

Group/Improvement 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Average Improvement
Bananas 2 11 3 14 -19 13 -6 -5 21 4
Apples 5 -24 28 4 -13 -15 9 1 11 1
Oranges 10 -4 5 3 -12 22 -19 -3 13 2
Kiwis 19 25 -16 6 7 6 -8 0 -11 3
Canteloupes 6 -22 20 -11 3 10 5 -14 -3 -1
Grapes -15 -2 -8 -8 25 -32 16 8 -12 -3

We ended this week building birdhouses for some area nature centers.  Mrs. Jackie Blanc provided the materials and we learned how to safely hammer and assemble them as a team during our Town Hall.  

May 20, 2011
We are synthesizing some great, authentic teaching and learning with a book authoring project that started this week!  During the week we've watched the movie Shiloh to compare it to the book that we just finished reading.  I have been amazed at the depth to which our team has been thinking about these two mediums and the story behind them.  So far we have written a compare/contrast essay, created a timeline, and begun writing a sequencing piece...all relatively new skills for these kids to create, however when interest is high, so is motivation!

In math we've entered into multiplying again, this time we're working on multi-digit numbers with some new math methods, hence the email earlier this week to help parents who may have learned it the same way I did as a kid.  "New math" is always growing and changing (thank goodness) and I really like how some of these new methods focus so much on place value, which takes most kids a while to firmly grasp.  Factor challenge continues to be a tight race for which fruity group has improved.  It seems that now we're getting into higher facts, there is less improvement on one end which balances out the competition.  It's been a neat process to watch and we only have a couple more weeks until one group wins!  (Of course we're all winning because we're memorizing so many more facts now!)  Here is the tally:


Group/Improvement 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Average Improvement
Bananas 2 11 3 14 -19 13 -6 -5 2
Apples 5 -24 28 4 -13 -15 9 1 -1
Oranges 10 -4 5 3 -12 22 -19 -3 0
Kiwis 19 25 -16 6 7 6 -8 0 5
Canteloupes 6 -22 20 -11 3 10 5 -14 0
Grapes -15 -2 -8 -8 25 -32 16 8 -2

Finally, if you didn't get the email, I must let everyone know that I will be leaving the classroom next year to take on a one-year assignment as "transformational coach" here in the district.  While this throws a wrench in the model Mrs. Brown and I have been working hard to promote and perfect of looping, team-teaching, and multi-age learning, it also provides a wealth of learning opportunities for me to share our successes over the past two years with other teachers.  I am a firm believer in embedded professional development in teaching and what we've been doing is just that...learning together to improve our instruction for children.  This has been a terribly hard decision emotionally as I am really enjoying this class and looked forward to having them for fourth grade.  That said, Mr. Cooper has worked with us so that my entire class can loop up into Mrs. Brown's class to continue that relationship and the learning patterns we've established as a team. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns and know that Mrs. Brown and I will continue to work very closely in this transition and beyond, for your children!

May 13, 2011
Monday of this week started with a fraction test.  I don't care if you're in third-grade or thirty-something, to quote our math curriculum director,"...fractions are brutal!" and we will continue to work with them (for years).  However, I was very satisfied with the team's improvement on pre- and post-unit assessments for fractions.  As a class, we were at 72% before our learning and we ended up at 83% afterwards for understanding simple fractions (reading them, drawing them, writing them, etc.)  However, for adding fractions with like denominators we improved from 34% pretest to 88% pretest!  That's great stuff!

We've begun learning about informational text features and patterns in reading.  Starting next week, we will be writing our own informational books based on a novel we've just finished reading, Shiloh by Phyllis Reynods Naylor.  This experience in creating non-fiction about fiction will be a synthesis of our learning to identify problems/solutions, cause/effect, sequencing, titles, headings, tables of contents, etc.  The kids were highly engaged in this book, so we'll also be watching the movie to compare/contrast and create some of our work.

For Factor Challenge this week, the improvement averages got closer so we have quite a competition going on for who is improving most!  It's been up and down and the good (or bad, depending on who's eating them) news is that there are only 6 kids not yet into their facts of five.  Once everyone is past their fives, I will be eating five crickets...ask what fruit group your child is working with.

Group/Improvement 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Average Improvement
Bananas 2 11 3 14 -19 13 -6 3
Apples 5 -24 28 4 -13 -15 9 -2
Oranges 10 -4 5 3 -12 22 -19 -1
Kiwis 19 25 -16 6 7 6 -8 3
Canteloupes 6 -22 20 -11 3 10 5 1
Grapes -15 -2 -8 -8 25 -32 16 -2

Put June 8th on your calendar for our End-of-Year Open house.  This is a Wednesday (also Field Day) from 2:30-3:15 where you can share in some of our learning this year and help us say goodbye to the fourth-grade side of our team.

May 5, 2011
Happy Cinco De Mayo folks!  I love this day, especially the cuisine!  This week has been really nice.  We recorded our song at Epiphany Studios, presented it to Jerry & Betty Mason who are the benefactors of Annie's Big Nature Lesson (Annie is their late daughter), and I was surprised by the entire team with a cake and a ton of letters from students past and present.  I will be out of the room tomorrow and graduating from MSU tomorrow night.  My wife, who helped plan today's surprise, has been the rock for our family while I've been a tomorrow is OUR day!  Thank you all who helped make this surprise possible.  I hope our kids realize that learning never stops!

This week we wrapped up our fraction unit and a study guide came home today for the weekend.  Practice writing, drawing, and reading fractions to prepare.  Also practice writing numbers and naming the place value from the thousandths to the thousands.  Let me know if you have questions!  Factor Challenge was today and here is the updated team improvement results.  Always working those multiplication facts is great homework.

Group/Improvement 1 2 3 4 5 6 Average Improvement
Bananas 2 11 3 14 -19 13 4
Apples 5 -24 28 4 -13 -15 -3
Oranges 10 -4 5 3 -12 22 4
Kiwis 19 25 -16 6 7 6 8
Canteloupes 6 -22 20 -11 3 10 1
Grapes -15 -2 -8 -8 25 -32 -7

Have an enjoyable weekend and thank you for raising wonderfully caring children!

April 29, 2011
This was a classic week of teaching.  Some plans didn't happen, better learning did.  So it goes.  Late last week, we got an invitation to test some new video conferencing tools with Midway Elementary.  It just so happens that our team and a class over there were both doing Annie's Big Nature Lesson last week, so today we got on the Internet and big screens and had a conversation with Mrs. Mangopolous' class, sharing and comparing notes of our experiences.  To prepare for this, we spent the week honing skills learned about writing essays and put together some great thank-you letters for a variety of people who helped make our trip possible from parents to bus drivers to Mr. Cooper.  Watch your mailbox, you may receive something!

Of course, the largest thank-you we created was a song that Mrs. Brown and I pieced together using exact quotes from the kids' journaling last week in the woods.  It took a little jigsawing, but we put together a song that they learned very quickly this week.  We ended the week with Mr. Pohl, of WKAR, coming to help us record a version that we can lay down into a slideshow and gift to the Masons' (Annie's parents).  These are experiences and exposures to technology that are so important to start early, so I'm really glad we had them willing to come into our class.  Next week, we will take a walking field trip to Epiphany Studios in Dimondale, a recording facility and see all of that technology, plus record our song one more time for posterity.  The kids are learning that making a quality product takes lots of tries and lots of teamwork, but they seem to be having fun owning the song!

In math, we're muddling through fractions.  Check out this blog post to read about something that made me especially proud of our kids this week during math.  Factor Challenge is improving, but I may not be eating bugs this year (unless you get those flashcards flipping faster)!  ;)  Here are the latest results:
Group/Improvement 1 2 3 4 5 Average Improvement
Bananas 2 11 3 14 -19 2
Apples 5 -24 28 4 -13 0
Oranges 10 -4 5 3 -12 0
Kiwis 19 25 -16 6 7 8
Canteloupes 6 -22 20 -11 3 -1
Grapes -15 -2 -8 -8 25 -2

Have a wonderful weekend!

April 22, 2011
If anyone reading this is warm and dry, you're nothing like we were this week...there's a chance you also haven't communed with nature completely as we did and it was wonderful!  Our week-long Annie's Big Nature Lesson at Lincoln Brick Park was a great learning experience for all kids, teachers, and parents who arrived on Monday in an April snow, sat in the rain for three days, and had one sunny, beautiful Thursday in the woods!  We could not have had a better time and the different weather made out natural week complete.  What a classroom the outdoors makes!

Each day students learned from Naturalist Jackie Blanc (Bailey's mom) and from Mrs. Brown and myself.  We had lessons on the historical and scientific changes of the land, learned about Native American living from Grandpa Wally, who brought lots of American Indian artifacts to share, created dreamcatchers, and walked miles of trails in search of new things (and a peace sign).  We spent a lot of time discussing the water cycle and the watershed we live in, the effects of pollution, the benefits of making plans and sharing our learning with others, and using compasses to find locations.  We revisited learning from earlier this year about the food chain, found animals, recreated their tracks, and recorded the temperature of energy changes as plaster cured.  We did lots of journaling in various habitats: a prairie, a ravine, a river, the hardwood forest, a pine grove, and a pond.  All in all, we had quite a full week with learning and experiences kids will remember for a lifetime I suppose.

We want to especially thank all of the parent volunteers who joined us to make this experience special for all of our kids and easier on the teachers to provide this opportunity.  A special shout-out goes to Mrs. Cumberworth who joined us EVERY DAY!  It won't end here though.  Soon we'll have the entire gallery posted to this site, but I'm working on a slideshow feature since we have SO MANY photos to upload.  Meanwhile, stop by the room and check out the pictures on the digital frame outside our get your kids talking about their week.  I'd love to hear ther reflections through you after they've had time to absorb it all!  

Have a great Easter Weekend!

April 15, 2011
The return from Spring Break was smooth for both sides of our team.  Our week's schedule was completely different than usual as we prepared heavily for next week at Lincoln Brick Park Nature Center in Grand Ledge for Annie's BIG Nature Lesson.  

This week we built tool kits of our journals, pencils, pens, and colored pencils, then practiced building our stamina towards a daily one-hour observation of different habitats.  We learned many strategies for how to journal our observations and how to use our time wisely.  We also discussed a lot of how to respect nature and each other while we get to be in an outdoor classroom.

From the classroom side, nearly everyone got their final draft of an essay written and many are working on their second essay independently!  That was a huge accomplishment.  In math, we continued to understand fractions and start adding like fractions this week.  This goes a little beyond the third-grade requirement, but we are trying to push envelopes when we can and when it seems like they can handle it.

We're moving along with Facrot Challenge.  Now the goals we're setting for each team and getting more specific as we find what facts need improvement.  It would be a great help (to get us out to recess sooner) if  everyone made it a nightly practice to hit their math facts for 10 minutes.
Group Improvement 1 Improvement 2 Improvement 3 Improvement 4 Average Improvement
Bananas 2 11 3 14 9
Apples 5 -24 28 4 3
Oranges 10 -4 5 3 1
Kiwis 19 25 -16 6 5
Canteloupes 6 -22 20 -11 -4
Grapes -15 -2 -8 -8 -6

Check the email for details about our field trip next week and have a great weekend!

March 31, 2011
We made it to Spring Break!  This week was short and sweet.  We spent the week reading a book called "Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story"  This is a moving, true tale of a Japanese diplomat who wrote visas for hundreds of people escaping Germany prior to World War 2.  There was lots of new vocabulary and concepts to learn, but so many ideas that our team already had.  We also had four of our book clubs present novels they have been reading, some it summary, some in skits.  Great questions and answers followed and engagement was high!

In math we began a unit on fractions...always a slow start across the board as the concept of ONE whole being split into equal parts is so abtract for kids.  We'll get there!  In writing our sloppy copies of essays were due and everyone made their deadline.  We will revised and edit these when we return from break.

For the past two months our team had a goal to keep the closets clean and organized.  They did a great job and won a pizza party on Thursday.  Our other goal is "engagement".  As a team we thought of ways to focus on being engaged in our learning and we're having visitors come check on us periodically.
 We'll let you know how that goal is going.  For now, here is the update on Factor Challenge:
Group Improvement 1 Improvement 2 Improvement 3 Average Improvement
Bananas 2 11 3 5
Apples 5 -24 28 3
Oranges 10 -4 5 4
Kiwis 19 25 -16 9
Canteloupes 6 -22 20 1
Grapes -15 -2 -8 -8

Have a great Spring Break!

March 25, 2011
Soup was on and it was delightful today as the team learned about the food groups, kitchen hygiene and tools, food safety, manners, daily servings...what more could we have squeezed in?  Thanks to Melissa Whiteman and a slew of parent volunteers from both sides of the team, we had a great kitchen staff to supplement our HEA grant-funded "Cooking Is Cool" afternoon, blending academics with real life skills and community service.  Next week we hope to hear about how the soup we made fed families at the Ronald McDonald House here in Lansing.

Back in the classroom, we wrapped up another math unit in multiplication.  It will come around again, but even as we start a new unit on fractions next week, we will be hitting those facts hard and getting them memorized!  Below are the results from this week's Factor Challenge, our five-minute fact test where groups of kids help one another prepare.  We learned how what was a lead one week can quickly turn into a lag the next, simply because those facts get harder as we go higher.  If we help each other out, we'll master them yet, and yes, Mr. S. will eat crickets if everyone gets through their 5's with 90% or better.
Group Improvement 1 Improvement 2 Average Improvement
Bananas 2 11 6
Apples 5 -24 -10
Oranges 10 -4 3
Kiwis 19 25 22
Canteloupes 6 -22 -8
Grapes -15 -2 -9

We will not have a reading strategy sheet next week, but we will be talking about all of the strategies we use for comprehension.  When we put them all together it is "synthesizing" to make new meaning.  In writing, the sloppy copy of our first essay is due on Thursday, March 31st.  Some kids are well on there way, others are there, some will be there by the 31st with some gentle reminders from home and school.  

We've had some leftover change from our turtle collection, plus a few kids are faithful donators to our next cause.  This week, they decided what that cause would be.  The list of possible charities was impressive and lots centered around homelessness, but I think with the recent events in Japan, most kids felt drawn to help children affected by the tsunami in Japan.  We will look into what organizations might best use our small amount to make a big difference in the world.  Your kids' compassion starts that difference right here in Dimondale!

Have a great weekend!

March 18, 2011
This was the best Friday we've had in a few weeks!  Perhaps it was the weather being brighter, nicer, or maybe it was the third-graders' success at being the example on our team and earning more 4th Friday minutes.  It was definitely enhanced because we had great, palpable learning throughout the day!  Encourage your little teammates to keep it going next week!

There is real improvement in writing essays and I'm still thoroughly impressed with how our class has picked up this skill so much quicker than my previous fourth-grade groups.  We will be stepping up the expectation for more independent essay writing as the year moves on and into next year and that's exciting!  In reading had to write summaries this week in the form of a letter.  After two weeks of very structured summaries, this was a leap, but I saw lots of long letters written to me and can't wait to read them all for content this weekend.  Look for the feedback Monday evening.

In math we are really working out mulitplication and it's hard work getting those facts memorized while still learning what they mean.  Drive on!  Here are our first results of how each group is doing on their improvement goal from the first fact test to the second:

Group Improvement
Bananas 2
Apples 18
Oranges 22
Kiwis 19
Canteloupes 6
Grapes -15
Ask your child which group they are in and how they are working to help their whole group improve.  Due to the way they are grouped and the different facts they are on as they progress, what looks like great improvement this week may reverse completely next week!  This allows for regular celebration across the teams and more goal-setting with team responsiblity.  Today we started a strategy with flashcards of "I say, We say, You say." that you can practice at home to get these memorized.  I did reveal to the class today that if we ALL can achieve 90% or better on all facts through the 5's, then I will eat five actual crickets (thank you very much, Mrs. Cumberworth!) and the kids can video it.  Join the effort as this incentive will be hard to top!

In Social Studies, we will be wrapping up Michigan Statehood and the Civil war over the next couple of weeks.  In Science we took our States of Matter test today and will check them next week.  Next in science will be a unit on Energy and Magnets!  We are revisiting health discussing food and nutrition in preparation for our Cooking Is Cool experience and peace project next week.

Finally, we are now getting to the sweating stage of having volunteers for any time during our week of Annie's Big Nature Lesson at Lincoln Brick Park from April 18 -22.  Please let me know ASAP if you are able to help over there for any or all of the week.

March 11, 2011
You heard probably too much from me this week, between conferences and new blog posts.  It was a great week of meeting with parents and I can honestly say that every conference had more bright spots than dark.  Thanks for being part of this team with me!

We are busily attacking multiplication problems and my personal goal is to have everyone solid through their 5's (plus the 10's) before we start fourth grade...if we do it, I will eat a bug and post the video on this site.  Keep up regular practice through flash cards or the bingo game we sent home.  Essay writing is coming along great and I'm seeing kids put real thought into their personal essays.  Stop by any time to review your child's progress in writing.

We are still thinking really hard about summarizing.  Next week's task is to write a summary as a letter to the teacher.  Important parts of a letter are the date, greeting, body, closing, and signature.  Important parts of the summary are the characters, main events, and significant details from what we've read.

Please contact me if you can volunteer for our nature week (April 18-22) or our cooking day (March 25).  Have a great weekend!

March 4, 2011
This week was more talkative than we've come to expect.  Our fourth-grade partners were responsible for a good chunk of this and we were able to be their example a few times.  Unfortunately, we did our own share of talking too.  It happens every year, just when you think it's gelling and the team knows how to act to learn our best, there are hiccups of energy and forgetfulness.

We took a geometry test this week.  Most of the group did fine, even remembering how to count decimals!  Next week we'll start a new unit on multiplication, so this Thursday we started our fact quizzes....with a twist.  Instead of straight success, we discussed our responsibility to others on our team and the importance of getting better, not just being good at something.  For this, we have split into groups and are averaging our fact quiz scores.  Each student moves at their own pace through the five-minute fact quizzes.  We will set improvement goals and strategies for helping each other practice to improve.  Look for these scored tests and goals to come home so you know which facts to work on at home.  There will be a totally disgusting award for the team showing the most improvement through helping one another.  I have a feeling they will love the award, but the goal is to get those facts memorized!

In reading, we began summarizing.  This is an easy strategy to do each night after your child reads.  For fiction, just ask them to tell the important characters, the main events, and put them in an easy order of "Beginning, Middle, End".  See if you can push them to be specific and meaningful, without using too many words.  For non-fiction, have them count across their fingers the things they learned in the correct order from the book. In writing, we are planning our essays using sandwich paper.  Mrs. Brown and I are really seeing the benefit of the looping and team teaching in this as kids are helping one another and doing better than what we experienced in past years.

Parent conferences are next week and I look forward to a 99% attendance record...unless I can improve on it!  Have a great weekend!

February 25, 2011
I cannot believe this month is almost gone.  Apparently that's what happens when you have a winter break, plus three snow days.  Hopefully you're enjoying the cold in a fun way.  Today our team sure did!  We spent most of this short week cramming in mid-year assessments in writing and math.  Those went okay, so the celebration was for me to join the class on the sledding hill at last recess and boy what fun it was!  My knees may never be the same, but my heart was full and we made the most of a snowy Friday as a team.

Our two writing assessments this week were writing about "problem solving" from our own experiences, then editing a piece of writing from a student for its strengths and weaknesses.  Both were a challenge and something we need to practice more often.  I'm the largest fan of high expectations, but I do temper them with the reality that this age group has only been reading and writing independently for a couple years prior.  On whole, they do pretty well!  Our math assessment was for about half of the skills we've learned this year and it showed that a lot was retained so far.  I would like to work more on reading bar graphs, subtraction, and solving money problems (hint, hint, for extra home practice too).  Read prices tags, count change, subtract with "borrowing" or regrouping, point out and discuss graphs that you come across in the paper or magazines...these are all useful discussions to have informally with your kids.

We ended this week discussing a Hannah Montana song of all things.  "Make Some Noise" is about being proud of yourself, standing up for what is good, and realizing how much each of us have to offer if we just put ourselves out there without shame.  We shared stories of how this relates to our own lives and how important it is.

Have a great weekend!

February 17, 2011
The week was shorter than usual and fast, so will be this newsletter...and early!  This week we really got into creating "big ideas" that can be our essay thesis statements.  The goal is to create a list of sentences that can be a big idea we could write about for weeks or come up with 1,000 reasons or details to support.  We're at an early stage of collecting, not quite writing, though that is what the kids want to rush towards.  At home you can help by watching the world and thinking about "big ideas" for kids like those I mentioned last week, below, or even newer ones, like: "Summer is the best season.  Everyone would like my dad/mom/sister.  My teacher cares about me."  

This matches well with our current reading focus of inferring big ideas and themes.  We will be doing a repeat of a strategy sheet on this concept next week to reinforce how important it is for us to create the meaning that the author DIDN'T say, by using our background knowledge and the words the author did say.

In math, we played with a lot of shapes this week, reviewed some decimals, and worked with lines more.  We will have a test next week on March 28th on these skills and will create a study guide for that next week.

Have a wonderful, long weekend!

February 11, 2011

Wow, what a Friday!  We watched a remake of "We Are The World" and ended the week talking about how we can donate silly band bracelets to kids in Haiti.  This was a pleasant conclusion to a very talkative week on our team!  It's funny how you can tell when kids just need to move, talk, and be kids.  This week it seemed like they all got that need in groups, repeatedly.  :)

We continued working on geometry this week with lines, angles and plenty of the line dance.  They'll know these words before I'm done and we'll keep working on the meaning behind them over the next year, but it's a great start.  In writing, we finally started essays.  While some want to charge into filling pages with words, we're really focusing on finding big ideas or themes that are connected in life.  Kids are listing these big ideas, such as "Friends are important.  Dogs are the best pet.  People tend to think about themselves."  We are thinking deeply about our reading and our lives to figure out what are the big ideas that we can write about in the next few weeks.  In reading, we're still inferring (BK + TC = I).  This week was an important strategy sheet about how we make connections as we read, then we think about what this means...what that author doesn't tell us directly, so we make meaning ourselves.  We are going to stay on this idea for another couple of weeks as it is SO important to improving comprehension and realizing that reading is thinking and we create meaning, so we own our work more.

In science we worked with the volume of water when it is solid and liquid and found out what air is.  It is mind-blowing that ice has more volume (takes up more space) than the same amount of water that isn't frozen.  It was amazing to see a candle use up the oxygen in a jar and water took its place.  Ask your kids about these experiments.  
For those who don't get enough of my rambling weekly emails and newsletters, I have finally gotten the SutterBlog to work entirely and receive comments, so if you like blogs or just want to get inside the head of a teacher, check it out and join the discussions on kids, parenting, education, whatever!

Have a great weekend!

February 4, 2011
Some weeks are better than others, some are worse, but this one we can't really call a week with Mrs. Brown out for all of it and all of us out for two days...let's just move it along and start fresh Monday...uh-oh...I will be out at a district professional development!  The kids are hanging in and very resilient.  We decided that our inferring strategy sheet from this week will be due next Friday, along with a new one we'll start.  Should you have time to work on it with your child this weekend, it might help them manage their time next week.

We will continue our work with geometry in math.  Vocabulary is the name of the game and the kids are getting good at the "line dance" which includes many of the features of geometric shapes that we are learning.  We will finally begin essay writing next week and after substantial pre-work on essays in our science writing, I'm expecting great things.  In reading we'll continue with the inferring strategy because it's just so hard to get our head is so subtle.

As many folks may have heard already, we don't have a Valentine's Party per se in Room 120.  The biggest point of this is that EVERY day should be for showing the kind of care, concern, and love that too many people save for one day out of the year.  That's the world I want our kids to build for us.   However, we do share cards because it's just such a traditional piece of Americana and public schooling.  The focus of Valentine's Day at Dimondale Elementary is "celebrating sharing with others", so if kids have something special in their life to share with the team, we will make a little extra time to celebrate that sharing during our team time.

Wednesday is our count day and it is a full day of school.  Please help your child be here on time and all day!  Have a nice weekend!
January 28, 2011
Today we enjoyed an inspiring talk with Felicia's mom who joined our Town Hall to teach us about volunteerism in Michigan.  Kids have such great, creative ideas on how to help others.  Here's to hoping their hope was nurtured and inspired a little today!

Over the week we had great results on our math test on decimals and place value.  I was a little worried going into it, but they got more than I expected!  I would love parent input on how our Study Guide process is playing out at home, the night before tests.  I wasn't sure how third-graders would do with this, but they are really good at making using them fairly easy or could we use coaching?  We started our first geometry unit today.

Our final fiction stories are due now on February 1.  Ask your child what they've been writing about and if the final draft is on schedule.  A few have asked to take them home this weekend to continue working on them!  In reading, we had a really challenging strategy sheet this week on inferring new vocabulary, by using clues from the text and our own background knowledge that might include visualizing and making connections to figure out what words mean. 

On Tuesday we had a vision screening for all students.  Results should be back to me soon, so I'll let you know if anything comes up.  On Thursday and Friday, our class participated in the MSU study on hand-motions during math instruction.  The kids were a little baffled at doing the same thing repeatedly, but I explained that's how most of their parents and I learned, drill and kill, drill and kill.  :)  It was relatively painless and hopefully very informative for the researchers from MSU.

Have a great weekend!

January 21, 2011
Friday is beautiful for so many reasons...40-some of them were in our rooms today.  The week was good, but Friday was just wonderful with lots of cooperation and good learning!  I had one of those sleepless Thursday nights where the to-do lists keep playing like movie credits, so it was especially wonderful to have so many listening ears and smiling hard-workers to make me feel successful today!

It was a short week, but packed full.  We are finishing up a unit on decimals and place value in math.  Next week will be our test and a study guide will come home the night before with the big skills.  I'll also be sending a homework sheet that was overlooked yesterday by our sub.  (Yes, I was not in the room again, but I was in the building subbing for Mr. Cooper.  This is a task I will never live down with our team as they insisted on referring to me as "The King" in response to a recent social studies lesson where our metaphor for the American Revolution was Mr. Cooper as the king and our team as colonists...I tried to tax them desserts at lunch, but they wouldn't pay!)  Next week, I am in the room all week long!

Next week we're also beginning a geometry unit in math.  We will continue to work on reading and writing large numbers and decimals as this seems to be a challenge across the board.  In reading, we'll begin a study of the inferring comprehension strategy for a few weeks.  We will also have some parent reading buddies begin working with groups and individuals which is always fun and a big help for all readers.  In writing, we're on the home stretch and everyone is revising and publishing a realistic fiction story that is due on January 31st.  In science, we're deep into states of matter and properties of matter.  We're especially proud of the science writing that is coming along as kids compare and contrast science ideas.  Next, we'll work on descriptive science writing.

Our Woldumar week is in April...let us know if you'd like to chaperone.  Have a great weekend and stay warm!

January 14, 2011
Where in the world is Mr. S.? This was another week where the kids and I didn't see nearly as much of each other as I would have liked.  On Tuesday I had to be at a planning session for Annie's Big Nature Lesson that we'll be doing in April (18-22, if you're available to chaperone and learn with us).  On Wednesday, I was at a Michigan Department of Education training on positive behavior systems which was very educational and offered lots of information for us to work on at Dimondale Elementary.  Luckily we have a great sub who knows our room and our team AND I've got her booked throughout this year for almost all absences that I know about.

We continued working with place value this week, going from large (5-7 digit) numbers down to decimals in the tenths and hundredths.  You can help this work by helping kids read their homework carefully...a lot of the class overlooked instructions about large numbers this week.  We've been playing a regrouping game called Decimal Exchange and kids are getting pretty good at can help this understanding by talking about decimals in terms of money (.12 is 12 cents, one tenth and two hundredths or 12/100 as a fraction).  Drawing place-value charts is also helpful for these kids, but the big idea is reading and writing these numbers correctly.

In reading we are still working on questioning, which most of the team is really getting.  That's what kids are all so marvelously all about!  In writing we bumped our due date for fiction sloppy copies to next Tuesday, January 18th.  This was due to my absences this week and unavailability to conference with everyone on their progress.  Fiction may be the hardest writing unit to wrangle for this age group because their imaginations are so great, while their organization is still developing.  The stories will be entertaining to say the least!

Have a great, three-day weekend.  Teachers will be in professional development and staff meetings all day Monday, but we'll be ready to tackle a new week with well-rested, smiling faces (your kids')!

January 7, 2011
Happy new year!  It was a great week back in the saddle.   The good news was that we all came back safe and sound.  The bad news was that this week was 4th Friday, but we had sufficient marbles in the jars that we only got to have 10 minutes of that free time together.  We'll work on that for next time.  We had more really good news though...

As of December 18 our team had collected $86 towards our goal of $150 for adopting two sea turtles.  I had planned to ask the team if they wanted to wait and keep collecting, but on Monday we were all surprised with very generous donation that allowed us to adopt both turtles.  It turns out that Philip asked his family for money to adopt a turtle instead of gifts over the holidays.  Many family members chipped in to grant his request and our team was floored by his selflessness and his familie's generosity!  The kids now have an overage in their collection and another few dollars even rolled in this week to our counting jar.  Today our turtles and adoption certificates arrived and the kids were so excited again, then they turned the conversation to what our next charity should be!  Cultivating compassion and service is why I started teaching.  It is wonderful to watch this grow.

On the academic side, we are finishing up pen pal letters to send to South Africa next week.  We're also writing fiction stories and sloppy copies will be due next Friday.  In reading, we're working on the questioning strategy that gives us a purpose to keep reading on or reread.  Find out the difference in literal and inferential questions from your child.  In math, we began a unit on place value and large numbers.  You can help by reading and writing number to the millions with your child, focusing on where the comma goes.  Next week we'll go the opposite way with decimals.

Have a great, snowy weekend!

December 18, 2010
We made it through the first part of the year!  I say "part" because it's not exactly half, a little less, but the winter break always seems like a milestone for those of us living this schedule together.  That deserves celebration.

In math we finished the first multiplication unit.  It was a breeze for some, uphill for others, but everyone did  a solid job on the test this week!  Keep practicing flash cards and multiplication baseball to automate those facts.

In writing, everyone who was present this week hit their deadline for creating a plan of a realistic fiction story.  Most kids created story mountains and some even did BME plans.  Have your child explain where there story is going and maybe help them work out some "realistic" scenes they could write into the story in January.

In reading, we worked on letters as a genre.  We drafted letters to future pen pals in South Africa.  In January we will begin our parent volunteer reading program, so expect a note about that if you signed up earlier and sign up with me if you'd like to join.

I am always so touched at the mass of gifts kids bring this week before the break.  Thank you for helping choose such thoughtful tokens of appreciation.  Thanks also to those who attended our Winter Open House.  What a wonderful experience it is for me to see so many kids excited to share their learning with parents.   That makes my job worthwhile.

I'm looking to update this blog so that it is an actual, interactive blog.  Over the break, I will be working on that, but could sure use some technical advice.  If you know anything about WordPress web directories, shoot me an email (  See you in January!

December 10, 2010
We still have few rocks in our jar and another week has passed with ZERO behavior blue notes...granted there are a handful of missing assignments...but let's focus on the positive.  When each person controls his behavior, the learning is stronger for the team.  Friday would not have been our best example of this, but with the snow comes excitement and energy.  I love that about childhood!

I am seeing fiction writing like never before.  Though trivial tasks, like planning a story, are getting in our way, the imaginations are brimming and it is fun to see the learning as kiddos reign in their tales and conform them to writing conventions that will make them easy to read and enjoyable.  We can't wait to share some of these with you next week at the Open House!

A number of kids can celebrate that they have greatly improved in fluency and even reading levels as I tested a handful this week who I felt were making those leaps.  This is great news for them!  

In math, we are trudging through multiplication facts and will have a test next week.  Lots of kids, I'm finding, have a good handle on multiplication.  I should point out that the math curriculum in third grade seems to ebb and flow.  There are units that present more challenge than others and units that feel like a cake walk to many.  I attempt to adjust these without shorting anyone who needs more fundamental support, but rest assured that all of our math units are only 2-3 weeks in length.  We have also started a math workshop format once each week where there are a variety of extension activities at various levels.

In social studies we're learning both to use an informational text book with all its features AND about early Michigan people (Native Americans, French Explorers, British Settlers, etc.).  In health we have been discussing personal safety around dangerous objects, the Internet, and strangers.  This will include some visits from Mrs. Coon after the holidays to talk about good touches/bad touches.  I have begun re-introducing the kids to Study Island, our online MEAP practice tool that has lots of fundamental games and quizzes.  This can be accessed from home as well and I will soon send home details for using it with your kids.

We hope you can join us next week for our Winter Open House on Friday the 17th at 2:15pm.  We have received confirmation from Dr. Scott (Holt Superintendent) and Mr. Manikas (Executive Curriculum Director) that they plan on attending and sharing in our learning, to meet parents, and enjoy some time in the classrooms.  

Have a great weekend and enjoy the snow!

December 3, 2010
This week we had ZERO blue notes for behavior!  We also have no rocks in the jar and are plus 4 minutes, which means we also learned a lot because we were respectful, responsible, and caring.  Celebrate this!

We began writing realistic fiction stories Wednesday.  Help your child notice how we live our lives, what are problems that could happen -- but haven't, what are solutions that we wish we had made -- but didn't.  Realistic fiction is about creating believable characters like ourselves, then making up short stories about those people doing things we would be interested in reading about.

In reading we are working hard on making predictions during December.  Help your child stop reading and tell you what they think will happen next, but what more important is WHY they think something will happen.  Ask for clues from the text that make them predict outcomes in the story.  This can be done with chapter books and short picture books at all levels.

Math brought us into multiplication and we had our first workshop day today where we did various independent and partner activities to explore different groups.  This is going smoothly for most, so make sure Santa finds those flash cards for the stocking this year.

Have a great weekend!

November 23, 2010
Sea turtles.  That about sums up our two-day week as we continued researching these amazing creatures and putting together projects synthesizing our learning.  We wrote poetry and made project plans most of Monday, including mosaics, collages, drawings, and captions of our favorite facts.  Tuesday we spent most of the morning turning these plans into reality and now we have a gallery along the upper elementary hallway-turned-ocean.  Stop by and see the great science and art learning we shared.

We ended the short week with our 4th Friday, again not on a Friday, but we were due.  The kids voted to watch Toy Story 3, while Mrs. Brown and I served popcorn and juice.  Special thanks goes to Sarah's mom for providing a tub full of delicious home-made sugar cookies!

Have a great Thanksgiving break, hopefully with people you love.  Rest up and be ready for a long, hard haul into multiplication and writing realistic fiction!

November 19, 2010
Thanks again to all the parents who helped me continue a great attendance record for conferences!  I wish my own attendance was as good apologies for being in numerous training sessions for our district and school improvement team during conference week, then this week I was out assisting my in-laws with medical visits.  I really hate being gone (not only because it's more work than being here) because it seems to me that each day with this team shows a success for someone.  The bright side is that I have found a solid substitute teacher who is now scheduled for any absences I expect for the entire year.  Ms. Robinson has proven great teaching skills and can continue lessons any time I'm away, which is a big deal for me to keep us moving!

This week we took our Unit 3 math test on measurement, area/perimeter, and a few other key skills.  We checked the test together, then completed the "open response" in small groups.  That is coming home today for you to review skills that you can practice unique to your child's learning.  Please let me know if you would like further ideas or instruction on that.

In writing, we finished up our narratives last week and learned the parts of a letter this week.  Our reading strategy sheet was to write a letter about a reading strategy that was used.  I can't wait to see them this weekend and they will come home Monday.  Today we learned how to write Haiku and Senryu which will become part of a research project we started this week on loggerhead turtles.  If you have a chance to help your child collect some Internet research this weekend, please do and send it in as we'll be synthesizing all we've learned so far to create a turtle product before the holiday break.

I usually don't send a newsletter or blue notes home next week when it is only two days, nor will there be any math homework.  We all need a little break, but we'll be working hard those two days while we're here.  I did, however, send additional reading logs home to keep track of the budding reading lifestyles over Thanksgiving week.  Please make sure to get 20 minutes per day (at least), then return the signed reading logs on Friday, December 3.

Today we had Kylie's mom visit and share a story about their son, Cameron.  Cameron passed away last January after living bravely with a rare degenerative brain disease until he was ten.  The kids had many connections to grandparents and pets deaths, but this is still a young age to fully comprehend the concepts totality.  This may be a talking point you want to continue at home, reminding them that the focus of our Town Hall was the amazing things people can do right here in Dimondale, and Cameron was truly is his family!

It sounds like winter may arrive this weekend, so stay warm and enjoy your family!

November 5, 2010
Our model week didn't duplicate itself this week, though I kept hoping each day.   Next week is a fresh start to work some marbles out of the jar and focus on learning together.  It's also conference week, which always amazes me....when I was a kid, if we knew our parents and teachers were sitting down to chat, that is definitely the week we would put on all the charm and live up to their expectations! :)  

The week was fast, no less, and we explored area and perimeter in math.  Use those terms and have your kids randomly tell the difference.  In writing we are wrapping up our personal narratives.  Everyone must publish their final copy by next Friday, so ask your child how his/hers is coming along.  In reading, we had a really challenging strategy sheet on text features that help us determine the important ideas (headings, titles, introductions).  Ask your child if s/he remembers what THIEVES stands for and how they used it.  You'll see the sheet Monday night to see what they should have answered.

Conferences are next week...I can't wait to see you ALL there!

October 29, 2010
I am proud to say that we had a model week in Rooms 120 and 117!  Behavior was impeccable and when we have such a day, you can sense the learning happening stronger...this week we had five such days.  Remind and congratulate your child for his/her part of making our team quite remarkable and successful this week, then encourage this to "be the example".

We took a district math test this week, covering the first two units of study.  Again, I was blown away at the kids' performances on this work, especially following last week's MEAP math test and our Unit 2 math test (you'd think that's all I'm doing with them, eh?).  I can share these district tests at conferences, but will not be sending these home.  

This week we studied the reading/thinking strategy of inferring.  I was impressed with the work I saw happening and the good evidence kids were providing about their reading and thinking.   There is lots of good reading going on during school and it the reading logs are accurate, lots of minutes at home.  This is the single-best homework you can provide, so keep it up.

As a side reminder, anytime a piece of work comes home with a check or check-minus, encourage your child to "fix and return" the work.  The learning is more important to me than the score, and I want these kids to start taking responsibility for their learning by making sure whatever they missed the first time, they pick up on a second run.  If you are confused on the instructions or background for any work on which they get a check or check-minus, please send in a note and we can chat about it on the phone or I can spend recess time helping the kids repair mistakes.

I haven't had many people take me up on my solicitation for feedback last week, so I'm assuming it will come at conferences.  I am here for you and your kids, so let me know how things are from your end.

Have a fun and safe Halloween Weekend!

October 22, 2010
Kids always amaze me.  The past two days were full of energy, talking, and choices kids made that I was sometimes shocked to see.  Then I heard it was a full moon and other classrooms were experiencing the same thing.  Whew!  However, as the week came to a close and we met for Town Hall to reflect on our week, I was amazed to see how the sometimes animal behavior turned into harmonious angel voices.  Music not only makes you smarter, it brings people together, calms, and levels us...even the teacher.  One child brilliantly suggested, "When we're getting out of control, maybe we should stop and sing."  I think so too!

We finished the MEAP math test this week, then took a stab at creating our own study guides for our math test to wrap up Unit 2 on addition and subtraction.  I was really impressed at how the kids took to this VERY new concept of studying to practice, not just because it's on a homework sheet.  I'd love your feedback on how that was received at home!

Today our "sloppy copies" were due for the first piece of writing, a personal narrative.  Many kids are already into additional pieces while only a few flew in just by the deadline.  Even less missed it, but amazingly  made up lots of time once they had recess to do it during.  We look forward to sharing these stories with you soon.  

Our River Day was a huge success last Monday, thanks to a bunch of generous parent volunteers!  The kids really enjoyed learning outside of the classroom and I have to say, that is the best way.  Next week, we're back to a routine now that MEAP is done then we'll coast into parent conferences to touch base in person.  If at anytime you have feedback for me on your child's needs/wants/progress, or my teaching/organizing, PLEASE let me know.  I like to have regular pulse checks of what and how I'm doing and how it is received.

Have a great weekend!

October 15, 2010
Your kids can now say they have experienced MEAP!  It was hard, but the team persevered and their brilliance shines, regardless of how the test comes back.  The downside of this torturous week is that our routine becomes so broken that behavior flies out the window and these little folks (in general) have a hard time remembering what our "normal" is like.  As it keeps going down, we have one more day of MEAP testing next Tuesday for math, so keep the good breakfasts and early bedtimes a habit!

This week we learned new ways to add and subtract and how to explain our thinking.  This is challenging for kids and parents.  Be the student and allow your child to teach you the methods we went over.  Remember, learning is about trying new things and messing up, not just being great at the same way we've always done the same things.  We created bar charts and even began working in Microsoft Excel a little bit.  Soon we'll see if our handmade graphs are similar to the ones a computer can make!

Reading continues to move along.  The strategy sheets we use each week are a challenge and somewhat foreign still, but please review these with your child to further "make sense" of what we mean by "reading IS thinking".  Talk about your thinking as a reader and help them talk about theirs too.

Today we read a book and discussed autism.  We realized that so many characteristics of autism are also things we can notice in ourselves and our friends.  While there are differences in everyone, we have a lot in common and by being caring with one another and trying to consider someone else's perspective, we can make our days and world better.  That's how Bearcats Care!

Monday is our day at the river, so thanks in advance to the parents who are coming out in force to wade, observe, fish, and sketch with us!  Have a great weekend!

October 8, 2010
After what seemed like three weeks of the "first week" of school, this week finally felt like we entered into a comfortable routine...and it feels great!

We began a new math unit on addition and subtraction which has seemed brand new on some days and old news on other days, so we'll continue lots of practice with those facts.  Flash cards never hurt for timed practice at home.

Nightly reading is a lifestyle and the biggest help to ensuring our entire team grows at least (if not more) one year in their reading ability.  I assess kids daily to make sure I'm pushing more appropriate material their way, but the work comes down to them to read it and do great thinking.  Check in on your child's strategy sheets to see how they can improve their written work during the week.  Those come home graded on Mondays.

We learned a bit about Michigan's Geography and Climate this week and some key words you could ask your child about are: glaciers, temperature, precipitation, and basins.  What is Michigan's glacier ridge?

Our Town Hall this week included a special guest, Mr. Burcham (Tyler's dad) who came to talk to us about his work in making the world a better place as a firefighter.  If you have a personal story about yourself or a hero of yours who makes the world better, let me know so we can have you join our circle!

Have a great weekend!

October 1, 2010
We've been together for a month already! I missed the team on Monday and Tuesday while attending a training for our weeklong visit to Woldumar Nature Center next April 18-22.  It promises to be a fun and non-traditional week of learning in a very large classroom outdoors!  If you have ever wanted to teach, or would like to chaperone for any or all of that week, please contact me and we will include you in some planning meetings!

The kids were good for their substitutes and we celebrated our first 4th Friday (minus 18 minutes) on Wednesday, only because we needed to save that day for Grandparents.  Grandparents Day was a success and we had at least one, sometimes as many as three family members for each student!  I hope it was as special for them as it was for me to witness.

In math, we took our first math test and the class knocked my socks off with how quickly and accurately they attacked this first experience.  The test included addition, subtraction, counting money and time, and making bar charts.  These are instructional tools for me, which is why I minimize the stress factor for kids by working through their mistakes.  The content reflects homework that has been coming home and the kids reflect on what they did well and what they need to practice.    On each test, I am looking at specific content, while there are multiple items to complete.  Most is done independently, while some is done together or with assistance in some cases.  For detail on what my strange markings mean, check out my grading system.

We are working hard on small moment stories in our writing.  You can help by pushing for more detail in your child's discussion about everyday things.  Zoom in on those small moments they experience and describe them back and forth with one another!

September 24, 2010
We've had a great week with such nice behavior on our team!  This week, I witnessed seven boys on Mrs. Brown's side of the team include one of our boys in some football plays during recess that really showed me the good character this teaming thing is building in our kids.  When I say "teaming", I don't just mean that we're learning together at school, but the child-rearing that our parent team contributes.  Thank you for raising such caring children and sharing them with us!

This week we realized that our schedule could be a little better, so for the first time ever we have switched things up a bit (right when they were getting used to it!).  Bear with us if your child seems a little agitated as they often do in the first week or two of school because routine changes can be hard, but the changes are good and our team is resilient!  

Today we had an assembly called "Bubbylonians" which is about good touches and bad touches, presented in a non-alarming theater style for third-graders.  Please ask your children their impression of the play and continue the conversation at home to ensure the message of safe touching.

Next week is Grandparents Day at Dimondale!  Registration begins at 1:15 in the library for our class, then grandparents will be guided to the classroom for some activities to share time with our grandparents or other special guest who may be available to visit.  

Also next week, I will be out of the classroom on Monday and Tuesday for a training so that our class can experience Annie's BIG Nature Lesson this coming Spring.  This is a week-long learning experience at Woldumar Nature Center and we'll need volunteers.  More on that later this year, but know that any time we have a sub (especially the first time), kids sometimes come home in various moods.  

September 17, 2010

Week two is under out belt and the class is coming out of their first-week shyness.  I'm really beginning to see personalities and I love the diversity!  It's such a joy when kids start to be themselves.  Today also marks the end of the "stink days" when schedules are crazy and change is by the minute.  We have finished most of our initial literacy tests and will begin our actual team literacy workshop next week with Mrs. Brown's class.  We will also begin our team science and health curriculum next week which hopefully means the start of a routine that we can all learn.

Blue notes began this week and we had the lowest number I've ever written (5) which is a great start.  Most kids are getting their math homework in each day which speaks so well of them...and you parents!  Thank you!  If your child received a blue note, please discuss it, sign and return it on Monday.  If they didn't get a copy of the missing work, have them ask me Monday morning.  Our first reading logs went home today, which are due next Friday with 20 minutes of daily reading (100 minutes each week) and a parent signature each week.  

Next Thursday night is our Curriculum Night.  I enjoy having near or perfect attendance each year on this night which is an actual meeting for the parents team (that's you!), rather than an open house forum.  At this meeting, I will have a packet of information and answer a number of questions about procedures, expectations, and opportunities for our team over the next two years...remember we're looping together!  Please join either session on Thursday, September 23 at 7pm OR 7:45pm.  This will give you time to tour siblings rooms, or drop in and meet our team teacher, Mrs. Brown in Room 117.  

Have a great weekend!

September 10, 2010

Welcome to the SutterBlog for our Best Year Ever!  I have been so impressed this week as this class is already beating some records and showing teamwork.  They should be cheered on since we have an additional gift of teaming with Mrs. Brown's class for a total of 43 kids! We are thrilled and excited at what we've seen so far.

While the week has been full of procedures, practicing, reminding and "getting in the groove", we've grooved a little together with some Bob Marley and James Taylor tunes as we've talked about a theme of Respect, Responsibility, Safety and to be Caring!  Please note the BBT or Home Folder that should come home each night.  Your child can explain how this works until you come to the Curriculum Night on September 23 at either 7pm or 7:45pm.  This is not an Open House style and will be a brief, but critically informative meeting to understand how we can work as a team this year for your child's benefit.  I look forward to seeing you there!

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