Rivendell Middle Kids

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 (Happy Tax Day!)

First, we would like to thank all of you who were able to take time out of your busy schedules to meet with us for a conference.  We know that trying to fit this in can be challenging, but we find it so valuable at this point in the year.  It is nice for us to have this time to brag about your childrens’ amazing progress this year, as well as set some goals for the remaining weeks and the summer.  This has truly been a year full of growth in all areas, and we have felt so fortunate to work with these incredible kids!

We wanted to let you know that we are planning a field trip for the middle kids to the Denver Museum of nature and Science on Tuesday, May 6th.  We figured this was the best place to further enhance our studies of dinosaurs as well as insects (which is our next unit.)   While we are there we will also be seeing an IMAX 3-D movie called Mysteries of the Unseen World.  It is a movie about the microscopic world all around us.  We will be sending home more information about this field trip, including a permission slip, in the next few weeks.  We will be needing some parents to come along and help us with groups of children during our visit to the museum.   We will only have a limited number of seats on our bus, so we will have to keep that in mind if we have more interested parents than we have seats.  There will be a place on the permission slip where you can volunteer to come.

We sent home information about the recitation for this week last Thursday.  It sounds like many students got a good start on theirs over the weekend.  We talked extensively about our expectations for this recitation today in class.  We gave the kids specific instructions to follow while they decide on their dinosaurs characteristics and adaptations.  We want anything they add to have a specific purpose, and not include unnatural, mythical, or magical components.  The kids know that they should be writing a rough draft for you to check, and then recopy a final draft on the paper we included in the folder today, written in their very best handwriting.  They should also prepare a detailed, colored picture of the dinosaur which also includes habitat in the background.

**REMINDER – Make sure you have added our mandatory Sky Ranch meeting for 3rd graders and their parents to your calendar on Thursday, April 24th at 7:30am.  

Have a great remainder of the week!


News for Monday, April 7th, 2014

Spring fever has certainly hit the Middle Kids!  They are full of energy and excited for the sunny days and warmer weather.  We are guiding the students to use all that energy on working hard and meeting goals before the year’s end.  We only have seven weeks left and so much more to learn!

In Reading Workshop, we are working on reading for knowledge and getting the most out of nonfiction books.  They are practicing reading the text closely to learn new facts and putting this information into their own words.  This week we will work on categorizing information to help organize our thoughts and using connections and questions to get more from the book.

In topic work, we have studied how fossils are created over time, and this week we will take a look at the different eras of the Mesozoic Period.   We have also started a little project for our next unit on insects.  Last week the Middle Kids were very excited to get a shipment of caterpillars.  Each student has a caterpillar which he/she has named and will be observing over the next few weeks.  Come into our classrooms to meet Cupcake, Lollipop, Lightning, Steve and many others.

This Friday and Monday there will be no school or daycare.  We will be busy with parent/teacher conferences on those days.  We look forward to chatting with you about the progress of your child.


News for Monday, March 31st

Happy final Monday in March.  March might be “going out like a lamb”, but it  certainly is a windy lamb! And so we welcome April.

This week we just have a few, quick notes and reminders.

Spring parent/teacher conferences are coming up on Friday, April 11th and Monday, April 14th.  If you have not had a chance to come in and sign up for a time, please do so.  We really appreciate this time to sit and talk about the year’s accomplishments, as well as plans for next year.  If you cannot find a time that works for you, please let us know.

We have an author coming to visit on Wednesday, April 9th.  We sent a bookmark home today with some information about her.  She will have copies of her books available that day.  Kids should bring money to school if they wish to buy a signed copy – the prices are listed on the bookmark.

The Sky Ranch  information packet we sent home last week with 3rd graders had a couple of mistakes with dates.  We want to make sure you have the right dates.  The mandatory meeting for parents and 3rd grade students will be on Thursday, April 24th at 7:00 am.  If you have a 3rd grader planning to attend Sky Ranch, it is very important that you try to attend.  Third graders will go up to Sky Ranch on Monday, May 12th, and return on Tuesday, May 13th.

Monday News

Welcome back!  We hope you were all able to have a little fun over Spring Break and are now ready for our last couple of months of school.  It’s hard to believe that we’re in the home stretch.  These last few months of school are packed!

In Reading Workshop we are starting a study of nonfiction books. We will be looking at the differences between nonfiction and fiction and learning how to get  the most out of reading these kinds of books. In Writers’ Workshop the students will continue to share their narratives while they start a new narrative. We will be learning how to use dialogue effectively, how to write compound sentences using great conjunctions, and how to vary the beginnings of sentences.

We are beginning a new unit on dinosaurs. We will be thinking like paleontologists as we learn about the different prehistoric periods when dinosaurs existed. Using evidence, we will try to learn as much as possible about certain dinosaurs. Our knowledge of dinosaurs is changing, so we will take a look at new theories about dinosaurs.

The next few weeks are very busy. Please add these upcoming events to your calendar:

  • March 27th Egg Drop

  • April 5th Spring Soiree

  • April 11th and 14th Parent/teacher conferences – please sign up soon

  • April 26th Spring clean up day

  • April 24th Sky Ranch meeting for parents of 3rd-5th graders

  • April 28th Iowa Tests start for 3rd graders

Have a fabulous week!

Monday, March 10, 2014

STOP!  Don’t put those winter clothes away just yet!  Winter is paying us another visit tomorrow.  Fortunately it looks like it is just staying for a day or two and then we are back to these beautiful spring-like temperatures again.

The Science Fair is up in all its glory in the Rivendell Commons!  Be sure to schedule yourself some time to wander through and check out all of the cool projects the kids did this year. It is always amazing to see that year after year kids come up with new and interesting ideas!  The kids (and the teachers) learn a lot from this experience.

Middle kids have a lighter homework load this week.  They will not have a Mad Minute test to study for, so they will just have spelling or vocabulary and reading on the homework menu.  In readers workshop this week we will be talking about the fact that characters change from the beginning of a book to the end.  This would be a great concept to talk about at home as well while you read with the kids at night.

Here are a few upcoming, important dates we want you to be aware of:

        * There is no school or daycare this Friday, March 14th.

        * There is no school all next week for Spring Break

        * Our annual egg drop will be on Thursday, March 27th at 2:00 (weather permitting)

        * Parent/Teacher conferences will be Friday, April 11th and Monday, April 14th

We hope you have a fantastic week – the last school week of winter!

BY THE WAY – The homework menu has a mistake!  There is school on Thursday even though it says there isn’t on our homework menu! 

Monday News

2014-02-26 04.11.48 2014-02-26 04.44.01 2014-02-26 04.53.27 2014-02-26 05.41.25On Friday the Middle Kids presented their Science Share projects and what an amazing job they did.  They came up with some interesting and creative questions such as:

“Can a guinea pig learn to do a maze?”

“Which liquid expands the most when frozen?”

“Does a magnet affect a TV’s picture?”

“Which cleaner cleans desks the best?”

“Do dogs have more bacteria than humans in their mouths?”

“Can I make a battery from a lemon?”

“Does tapping the top of a shaken soda can stop it from exploding?”

“Which liquid will a flower absorb the quickest”

The audience had lots of questions for the presenters, and possible ideas for next year’s Science Share. If your child is planning on entering the Science Fair, please make sure he or she has a science board ready for next Monday.  They should bring the display in the morning and we will show them where to put it.

We have completed our opinion writing on the best pet ever and these are displayed for your viewing pleasure.  Please come and check out your child’s amazing writing.  This week, in the spirit of the Science Fair, we will we be creating a fun writing about the worst, most disastrous science fair projects.  It should be fun.  

Our annual fundraiser, the silent auction, is coming up on April 5th. This year it has been given a new look and new name, Spring Soiree. We hope you can come to check out this fun event.  It is a great way to mix with other Rivendell families and support our school. This year the money raised will go towards some new safety measures. Tickets go on sale today. Each class is making a special item that you can bid upon on the night. You’ll hear more about it soon.



Monday, February 24th

Well, the last week of February is upon us!  Has there been a little hint of spring in the air lately?  Thoughts of science and the Science Fair are often associated with the coming of spring.  Spring might officially be a few weeks off, but we are talking science around Rivendell!  The Middle Kids will have their Science Share recitation this Friday.  It has been fun to look at the progress being made on the write-up sheets over the last couple of weeks.  We have a lot of exciting projects to hear about!  We are encouraging kids to bring something to show on Friday while they talk about their experiments.  It is always much more engaging to the audience if they have something to look at.  The visual might be the actual experiment (if that is possible), or it might be a poster of photos taken while performing the experiment, or an appropriate prop related to the project.   They should also have a copy of the Science Share write-up, with all the steps of the scientific process filled in.  The write-up can be handwritten or typed.

Displaying their Science Share project in the Science Fair next week is optional for Middle Kids.  It’s not too late to prepare a Science Fair display board if your student is interested in doing so.  Check in with Bryce or Suzanne if you have questions about what is expected.

Starting this week Middle kids are able to take part in Italian and Chinese enrichment classes.  Chinese will be offered on Tuesdays at 12;00, and Italian will offered Thursdays at 12:00.  These classes are completely optional.  There is a more extensive description of the classes and the teachers in yesterday’s Rivendell e-news if you are interested.  

Have a wonderful week.


Monday News

We hope you had relaxing weekend and were able to enjoy this springlike, but rather windy, weather! We have a great week planned with lots of fun activities. First of all a big thank you to our wonderful party planners.  Our Valentine’s party was a huge success.  The kids loved helping their book partners read cards and the treat and games were enjoyed by all.  We have discovered that the Middle Kids love building with toothpicks and gummies and most of them really like “shooting” Q-tip arrows!

This month in Writers’ Workshop, we are practicing different kinds of writing.  Last week we worked on writing a descriptive passage using as many of our senses as possible.  This week we are moving on to writing an opinion.  Today the students became food critics as they wrote an opinion about different kinds of chips.  As we work on this writing we will pay attention to the writing process and work on editing and revision.

In Reading Workshop, we will be practicing making inferences.  Good readers sometimes need to draw from their background knowledge to make a guess at what an author means.  They use clues from the text or picture to draw conclusions.  We have been doing this with predicting and asking questions as we read, but this week we will delve deeper into this comprehension strategy.

We are beginning a new science unit on solids, liquids, gases and acids and bases.  Polly will be doing some fun, hands-on experiments with the kids over the next few weeks.  After that we will  be moving on to our study of dinosaurs.

Part of homework this week is filling in the first 4 sections of the science share sheet.  The kids should have already chosen a project, and now it’s time to get down to business!  By Friday we need them to have the question, hypothesis, materials, and procedure filled in.  They don’t necessarily need to do the actual experiment this week, although it might be a good idea to give it a try!  When filling out this form, we expect the kids to use their best writing.  The materials and procedure may be written as lists.  Some kids are doing the Science fair and want to type and print out the information rather than hand writing it.  That is perfectly acceptable, but please print out or email us the first four sections by Friday so we can make sure the kids are on track. Happy experimenting!!


News of the week 2-10-14

We had a wonderful time last Thursday and Friday at the CCIRA (Colorado Council of the International Reading Association) conference in Denver.  We listened to a variety of speakers, focusing on subjects centered around reading and writing.  Our goal during these conferences is always to return with a few tidbits that we can use in our classrooms – and we certainly have some!  We always return feeling so very fortunate to be teachers at Rivendell, where we get to focus our teaching time on the children!  Thanks so much to Lori, Michele, and Sarah for taking over our duties while we were away.  You did an amazing job, and the kids had many positive things to say.

This week we will be focusing on visualization in reading, descriptive writing in writers workshop, and diversity with respect to Africa during topic work.  All kids will be studying spelling words for part of their homework.  We are asking that all middle kids have decided on an experiment for their science share by this Friday.  We have included the Science Share write-up sheet in the homework folder, and by Friday we would like the question section filled in.  They don’t need to do the experiment this week, unless they have chosen a project that needs more time.  We just want to make sure that the kids are not waiting until the last minute to make a decision!

The Volunteer Appreciation party has been rescheduled for this Thursday evening from 7:00 – 9:00.  Everyone is welcome.  If you are able to make it – come and be appreciated!  


Monday, February 3rd

Over the next couple of weeks the Middle Kids will be finishing up our unit on Africa. The students did a great job on their African country recitation and taught us all some interesting facts about their country.  We learned about animals, climate, homes and foods of the different countries and even a little about the hardships faced by the people in parts of Africa. Polly came in and showed our classes a slideshow of her trip to Kenya with Operation Smile, an organization that provides services to children born with a cleft palate. She shared stories about the people and the differences between the culture here and there.  It was eye-opening for our students.

Our next unit is a science one.  We will be focusing on solids, liquids and gases and acids and bases. We are also fast approaching our annual Science Fair at the beginning of March.  Middle Kids do not have to participate in the Science Fair but we do a “science share” project.  This is a science project of their choosing with a write up and presentation as a recitation. We will provide the sheets for the write-up and the presentation will be Friday, February 28th. It would be a good idea to start thinking about a science project soon.  Some experiments may take a few weeks to bring to completion.  Some kids choose to take this “science share” project and create a display to enter in the Science Fair, but this is optional.  We have also included a more detailed explanation of the Science Share in today’s homework folders.

We will be gone on Thursday and Friday this week.  We will in Denver at the Colorado Council International Reading Association conference.  This is a wonderful event where we learn about new research in reading and writing and different ways to improve our  teaching.  Lori will be subbing for Bryce, and Michele will sub for Suzanne on Thursday and Sarah will sub on Friday. While we are gone, the kids will be making their Valentine’s boxes. Please bring in a shoebox by Wednesday of this week. If you have extras bring those too!  A cereal box can be used as a substitute. Thank you for your help with this and sorry for the short notice.