Writing Strategies, a trip to ECHO and A Log’s Life

Hi Families,

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the mild-ish temps we are being treated to at this stage of November! However, as we stepped out the door on Friday for our work, little flakes (more like pellets, actually) started falling. It was sort of magical – lots of squeals and shrieks and  “WOWS” were heard round the globe at that moment. The excitement faded when we realized that – it was COLD! Really COLD! We were outside for less than our usual amount of time and many of our friends were COLD! I have some borrow mittens and boots to share but not enough to go around for all. PLEASE remember to send your child with warm clothes – snow pants, boots, gloves, and hats on Friday!

This week, we added the letters “g” and “o” to our repertoire – and we could make a word instantly! As we filter through the letters and sounds of the alphabet, we are adding to our knowledge base to use as we write during Writer’s Workshop. These last few weeks we have focused on stretching out the words to write all the sounds we hear in our labels and sentences. We have also learned the importance of adding lots of careful and enriching details to our drawings for the reader to get the most out of our message. Finally, we have learned about what to do when you get stuck on a word or on drawing an especially tricky part of your story. We learned that when we get stuck – we can get UN-stuck! The way we can do that is when we feel stuck, we STOP, we THINK and then we TRY AGAIN. As always, our central self-talk during writing is “it doesn’t have to be perfect but it has to be our best job.” Seems like these lessons can carry over to all facets of life, right?!

We are beginning a unit on “Self and Family” these days. This week, we talked a lot about what makes us special and wrote about those ideas. It was so dear to hear the children explaining what they like/appreciate about one another so they could gather details for their writing. We are working on a puppet project with Barbara Paulson of No Strings Attached Puppet Theater on November 21 to make puppets of ourselves. We need lots of hands on deck to work hot glue guns so the creations can come to life – so let me know if you can come!

On Tuesday, our trip to ECHO was a great success – despite many of our friends being out that day due to illness. We missed having them with us but we sure did have a super time. It was so much fun to see how much fun the children had exploring the museum – from shipwrecks to kinetic sand to salt water tank exploration – the day was a sweet success. We practically had the whole place to ourselves and we especially LOVED the new pretend play area that opened this fall. See all the delighted faces in the pictures below. Thanks so much to our chaperones and to all of you for the support of our adventures! We are cooking another up for December – we will let you know what develops…

On Friday morning, Ms. Fraser came in to share her “Fish Bag” spotlight. It was interesting to learn about her family, her favorite foods and her hobbies. She read us one of her favorite books, Are You Ready to go Outside? by Mo Willems. And as an amazing extra treat, she brought her cello in and played us two songs. It was pretty darn cool! Thanks, Ms. Fraser, your commitment to learning really made an impression on us.

Finally, we had our 4 Winds session for our Forest Friday this week. Lisa, Koran, Chris and Val taught us all about the life of a log in the woods. It was so amazing to learn about all of the life teeming just below the surface of what we assume to be rotting logs. We watched how Professor Chris from Germany (very convincing!) placed a log in a time warp machine and made it go from just fallen to soil and new life. We dissected rotting logs using science tools and collected a great variety of creatures to observe when we returned to the classroom.

At the end of our time outside this week since it was structured by the 4 Winds curriculum, the children had time to explore and have some free time. This is a really important part of our time in the woods and most Fridays we do have time to play and to explore as you have seen and heard. I just wanted to share a tidbit of a book that Ms. Myriah and I have been reading called Dirty Teaching: A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Outdoors that speaks to the relevance and import of this play time because it is a perfect opportunity to practice some important skills and habits – especially creativity. The author explains the following growing that happens as children are invited to learn outdoors (p. 15-16):

  1. Positive risk-taking and management
  2. Divergent as well as convergent thinking and ideas generation
  3. Being able to transfer and apply skills and concepts in new and different ways
  4. Finding practical solutions for everyday problems
  5. Channelling our feelings and emotions to enable creative activity
  6. A growth-mindset and “go-for-it” attitude
  7. Spontaneity and improvisation
  8. Being able to contemplate

Hope you can get outside this weekend! We are headed to Boston today so I can run outside for 13.1 miles on the streets of Cambridge, MA with my brother and sister – can’t wait!

Happy Weekend!




Upcoming Dates to Remember:

11/16 – November Book Orders Due – Online or via Paper Order Form

11/15 – VSO “Drumshticks” performance at school – 1:15-2:00

11/17 – Harvest Luncheon – Roast turkey with all the trimmings

Family members are welcome to come.  The price for an adult meal is $5.00 and children are $2.50. Reservations should be no later than Monday, November 14.  Lunch will be served at the regular times.

11/21 – Kindergarten Puppet Making Workshop with Barbara Paulson – All Day – We were awarded a grant from 5 Town Friends of the Arts and the Tari Shattuck Foundation to fund this AMAZING project and we are SO THANKFUL. We will need parent volunteers to help make our puppets so put it in the calendar!

11/23 – Thanksgiving Break begins

12/1 – Our class shopping time at the Book Fair – 8:15-8:45 – Benefits Project READ

12/14 – Author Visit by Jason Chin sponsored by Pat Young Memorial Fund part of Project READ – starts at 8:05 at MARS




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