After we studied about Oceans, we launched a new Topic Unit on Ancient Mesopotamia. We have focused on these four sub-topics:
- Geography, timeline, and how the Mesopotamians came to be a civilization
- The Mesopotamian “firsts” and inventions (the wheel, the chariot, math, writing, time telling, astronomy, canals, etc)
- Hammurabi’s Code of Laws that governed their daily lives and served as the first set of written laws (Be sure to ask your student about the phrase “he shall be put to death”)
- Cuneiform Writing
The kids learned that cuneiform is a series of symbols that represent syllables. It was the first written language. Scribes used reeds from the marshes of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers as their stylus or pen. Scribes pressed their stylus into damp clay to form their letters. They let the clay dry in the sun if they wanted to keep it and washed it clean to erase. Mesopotamian scribes studied for 12 years to master the art of writing in Cuneiform. Middle Kids, however, had about 45 minutes to scribe their name into a small piece of clay! They learned through this process that lots of mistakes are made when trying new things and it’s important to be flexible, have a good attitude and keep trying! With Bryce and I’s assistance, they were able to create some pretty cool Cuneiform tablets…
Here we are in the last week of September! There is a lot going on in the world of Middle Kids! Here is an update on a few key components of our workweek.
Reading – In reading this week we are talking about making connections to the books and stories that we read. It is something that all good readers do, and beginning readers have to learn to build this skill into their conscience! Right now we are working on making text-to-self connections – recognizing when something in the story reminds them of a happening or feeling from their own life. Today we started to make the differentiation between “surface connections” ( the character in the story has a dog, and I have a dog) and “deep connections” (the character in the story is sad because she lost her pet, and I was very sad last year when my hamster died). Deep connections almost always have to do with feelings or conflicts the characters are working through. We have Middle Kids write some of the connections they are making down in their reading binders. Talking about connections is something you can practice at home while reading with your children. Some of our students are also spending part of their reading time focusing on phonemic awareness, word attack skills and fluency.
Math – Middle Kids have some form of math every day. They are working hard to make their way through their purple math books, learning and practicing new concepts. They also meet with Pat twice a week to work on math – playing math games, learning songs, and doing hands-on practical math applications.
Topic work and writing – These two subjects have been connected over the last few weeks as the kids work hard to write paragraphs about the ocean animals they have researched. We hope to finish their second “formal” paragraph this week, and then wrap up the project next week with a full-page drawing of their animal. We will also be moving on to a new topic unit next week – Mesopotamia and Sumeria!
The Fun Run is tomorrow! Please feel free to come and cheer on the kids as they run. It looks like tomorrow they will be running to try to keep warm! The Middle Kids will run from 10:20-10:50. We have given them all Harry Potter themed T-shirts, so please make sure they wear them tomorrow. We encouraged them to wear a long sleeved T-shirt underneath if they are worried about being warm. Jackets and coats are hard to run in, and we need to make sure their running bibs are visible and easily accessible so that we can mark them to keep track of their laps. We will send home a note telling you how many laps they ran so that you can collect their pledge money. Please return the pledge money ASAP next week so that we can figure our total and determine the incentive prize the kids earned!
As usual, let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Please sign up for a fall conference. The sheets are posted outside our classroom doors.
Welcome to the Middle Kids blog! This is where we will post important information families of Middle Kids will need to make this year a success! We will post newsletters here as well as occasional photos and important announcements. Each week when we send a Middle Kids newsletter we will send you a short email with a link to this address so you can quickly get to the good stuff. In order to save on paper use, we will not send home paper copies of our newsletters.
Our new, and old, Middle Kids are off to a fantastic start this year! At this point we have a full weekly schedule and have gradually added in most of our academic work sessions. We have a couple that we have waited a bit longer on – handwriting and vocabulary books. Our plan is to start working in these books very soon once the kids feel more comfortable with their new workload and added responsibilities. Like we mentioned at Back to School Night, not all Middle Kids will be in both Spelling and Vocabulary books. We will determine the appropriate challenge and workload individually.
We have a couple of exciting things coming up that we wanted to make sure you are aware of. The Middle Kids and teachers are hosting a Rivendell restaurant night on Thursday next week at Old Chicago on Harmony. Old Chicago will donate a percentage of the night’s earnings to Rivendell, so we would like to see as many of our families there as possible! Come join us, take a welcomed break from mid-week cooking, and enjoy the company of other Rivendell families! We will have several other Rivendell restaurant nights over the course of the school year, but this one is special because the Middle Kids are the hosts! Mark your calendars! The kids should try to wear their Rivendell T-shirts that evening.
The other upcoming date is our annual Fun Run. It is coming up on Friday, September 28th. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the publishing of the first Harry Potter book, our these this year is Wizards, Witches and Wands! Information packets are coming home tonight, and pledge sheets are included. We are talking it up at school, and your continued support at home will be so appreciated! All funds raised from our Fun Run this year will be used to support our literacy program. The kids will directly benefit from anything we purchase right here in our classrooms! We will be coming up with classroom incentive prizes to get the kids even more excited about this event. They have been practicing running laps in PE to get their bodies ready and to help determine how many laps they will most likely run.
Welcome to a new year (yeah we know we are a few weeks in!) and let us know if you have any questions or thoughts.
Bryce and Anna
Welcome to May – we have officially entered the home stretch! We have a lot going on right now so we will try to make sure we keep communicating important dates and times. We will try to keep our work schedules here at school as normal as possible to alleviate the stress that can come from too much change – for kids as well as teachers! This will be the last week of homework for Middle Kids. We are working on our insect writings here at school, and we will rely on some help at home with research again this week. We will continue to learn about insects both in the classroom and in Science class until the end of the school year.
Promotion Day was today – 3rd graders who will be moving up to Older Kids next year spent the morning in either Sarah or Suzanne’s class. Our second graders were great hosts to our first grade visitors – next year’s Middle Kids! It was a fun morning, and hopefully it helped to lesson some of the stress and worry about moving to a new level next year.
Here are some other important notes as we make our way through these last few weeks:
MAP testing – Middle Kids will be doing MAP testing starting on Thursday and Friday this week, and finishing up Thursday and Friday of next week. Parents can help their kids by making sure they get a good night’s rest each night and a good breakfast in their bellies before school each day. MAP tests consist of only 3 – one hour tests (math, reading, and language usage.) Please do your best to have kids at school on time, and please try not to schedule appointments during these days since make-up tests can be hard to schedule.
Middle Kids Ben and Jerry’s evening – We invite all Middle Kids and their families to join us in Old Town Square this Wednesday evening between 6:30 and 7:30 for and end-of-year celebration! We will all wear our purple Rivendell T-shirts and meet near Ben and Jerry’s around 6:30. We encourage families to indulge in some yummy ice cream and mingle with other Middle Kids families. We’ll be sure to wrap up by 7:30 so kids can get home at a reasonable time!
Sky Ranch – Next Monday 3rd graders will head up the mountain to enjoy an over-nighter at Sky Ranch! All paperwork was due today – please communicate with the front office if you have not turned in your forms and payment. We will expect all campers at school on Monday morning by 8:00 so they can be divided into cars for the ride up. Cars will leave school by 8:30.
** During Sky Ranch 2nd graders will have school as usual. They will get their chance starting next year!
Spring Program – Monday, May 21st. Plan on being at the University Center for Arts (the old Ft. Collins High School on Remington) by 5:45. Please don’t plan to arrive much earlier than that. Too much extra time before the show invites chaos and anxiety. Please try to clean the kids up and feed them something before you come. It is not meant to be formal, and those stage lights can be killer so plan clothing accordingly.
Portfolio celebration! – Tuesday morning, May 22nd from 8:00am – 9:00 am. Parents of our Middle Kids are invited to an open house when the kids will be able to share their amazing portfolio of work from our successful year! We will also have coffee, juice and some breakfast treats to enjoy. Come any time between 8:00 and 9:00 – you do NOT need to plan on the whole hour, 15-20 minutes will be enough.