Rivendell Middle Kids

Monday, January 27th

The Middle Kids will be working hard this week on writing their recitation of an African country.  At this point in the year we determined that these kids are ready to make more of their own choices when doing a writing like this.  Allowing them more choice helps to give them more investment in the project.  We are excited to see what the kids come up with.  They may still need some help from you to weed through all of the information they might find on their country, and to determine importance.

The kids have been working hard at school to complete their first narrative books.  At this point, most of them have completed the writing and revisions and are working on final details such as illustrations and book covers.  Once the books are complete they will have a chance to share their stories with the class before bringing them home. We call this Author’s Chair.  The kids are always so proud to share their finished books.

Next week we will start sending home information regarding this year’s science fair.  In middle kids we do a “science share” recitation, with the science fair being optional.  The information you get next week will explain this in more detail.  

The kids are hoping for a snow day tomorrow, but we don’t think that is very likely, so be sure to help your child be ready for a snowy recess.  Please bring snow boots and an extra pair of shoes or slippers for inside.  We will go outside if its not too cold.

There will be a volunteer appreciation party here at school on Thursday evening.  You are all welcome to come!  Check the Rivendell newsletter from yesterday for specifics about this event. 


Tuesday News

We are now officially half way through the school year, so today is a good day to give you an update on our academics.

In Reading Workshop the students are practicing using comprehension strategies as they read their individual books.  We have worked on making connections, predicting what may happen next, asking good questions to help us understand the story, analyzing character traits and writing a brief summary at the end of our book.  Of course, we continue to work on decoding skills, reading fluently and reading a little bit more each day. We are practicing discussing what we read, which means listening to what one person says and adding comments that build on this.  This is a skill that can be challenging for these kids. The Middle Kids are trying hard to think more deeply about what they read as they improve their reading skills.

In Writers’ Workshop, we are writing a story (narrative) using the skills that have been introduced.  Each child came up with an idea for a story, developed an outline including main character, setting, problem and solution and is now towards the end of writing that story.  This project is one that takes several months to complete.  The kids learn how to write a “meatier” story that develops and grows over a period of time.  They have worked on introducing the main character and setting with a good description, exploding the moment as they slow down the story and add lots of detail about certain events and creating a good, satisfactory opening and ending.  Most kids are in the process of revising, which is when they read the story and add extra details and plot clarification, or take out unnecessary material.  We will then “publish” these stories by typing them and adding illustrations to make books.

In Math, many kids have already completed one or two math books this year.  Kids who have not yet done so are working hard to reach this goal.  Math books will come home again this week for homework for some kids.  Pat loves to see the kids come to her office to take their end of book math test.

In topic work we are continuing our study of Africa.  We have created a class map of Africa and many of the kids are learning the names of lots of African countries.  This week we are focusing on the desert regions of Africa as we explore two of the major deserts: the Sahara and Namib.  In the upcoming weeks the kids will have a recitation on an African country.

We are also working hard on thinking for ourselves and taking initiative.  We can see this when kids try to solve math problems by rereading directions and thinking hard, instead of asking for help immediately.  We can see this at lunchtime when someone spills a drink and a kid jumps up to clean up the mess without being asked.  Not only are we are teaching academics, but we are working on developing lifelong skills that will help these kids be successful as they grow up.

News for Monday, Jan. 13th

Over the last several weeks we have run into some confusion about homework  in middle kids, so we wanted to quickly review our expectations.  The homework menu lists the objectives for each night of the week.  We ask for a parent’s signature each night for two reasons.  First, we want the kids to show their parents what they are working on.  Second, we want parents to check the students’ work to make sure it is complete and satisfactory.  We don’t want parents to sign the homework menu unless they have actually seen and checked the homework.  In other words, the signature should come after the work.  We have had several students returning homework folders with parents’ signatures and very little work done.

We understand that it is occasionally necessary to make adjustments to the workload on busy nights.  If you need to make changes to the homework menu because of your evening schedule, just write us a note on the menu to explain.  However, if your student doesn’t complete his/her work on a given night, please don’t sign it off as “done.” We are helping the kids work on responsibility.  We really appreciate your support with this.

Reading in the evenings is still part of our homework expectations, even though we are not keeping track of reading hours on a chart.  Since a child’s reading success is directly associated with the amount of time spent reading, it is essential that kids read outside of school.  As their children get older and become better readers, many parents begin to feel that it is no longer necessary to read to them.  On the contrary, studies show that reading to our children (at any age!) helps to solidify their love of reading.  At this age, a mixture of reading on their own and being read to is ideal.  In the classroom the kids are also working on reading more pages when reading independently so more practice all around will definitely help them.

News for Tuesday, January 7th

Happy New Year everyone and welcome back to school.  We hope you had a pleasant and restful break with your family and are ready to start back at school and work.  Middle Kids start the year with three new students: Wolfgang and Liam in Suzanne’s class and Katarina in Bryce’s class.  We know the kids will do a great job of welcoming these new students and showing them how we do things in Middle Kids.

We jump right back into our regular schedule with spelling, mad minutes and reading for homework.  We figured the kids got to enjoy two whole weeks without homework, so they are probably eager to get going again 😉  We begin a brand new unit about Africa.  Middle Kids will start by investigating the geographical differences within the continent and the many countries that make up Africa.  In the next few weeks we will take a look at how these differences influence the climate, wildlife and lifestyles of the various regions.

 The temperature was high enough for us to go outside today.  Please be sure to send your child with snowboots tomorrow.  It is also a great idea to bring an extra pair of shoes for inside.  We do have P.E. tomorrow and Thursday, so slippers may not be the best choice the next couple of days.

We are excited to be back and to continue working with this great group of kids.  2014 is going to be a great year.


News on a chilly Monday!

Our musical performance is finally here! On Wednesday the middle kids will perform “Geology Rocks” for the school and on Friday13th at noon we will put on a great show for you, the parents. The kids have worked so hard learning lines, songs and dance moves. It should be a great show. On both Wednesday and Friday the kids will need to wear a black shirt and black pants. If it is easier, you can send these to school in a bag and your child can change into the clothes before the performance. We hope to see you all on Friday.

This week we have a recitation. Each student has chosen a Native American tribe to study. Your child may need some help researching this tribe. If you look online, we recommend that you add “for kids” to the end of your search tag as this will ensure you get kid friendly material. Wikipedia can be quite overwhelming for the kids.

For the last five years Rivendell families have contributed to Project Self-Sufficiency’s Holiday Drive. By donating $10 or $20 you can brighten the season by allowing children to have presents that their parents are not able to buy for them. If you would like to contribute to this worthy cause, please bring in cash or a check by Wednesday of this week.

This Friday, Rivendell will be hosting a book fair fundraiser at Barnes & Noble on South College! Shop anytime from December 12th-14th and mention Rivendell to the cashier and Rivendell will get a percentage of all purchases. Rivendell kids will be singing a few songs on the stage in the children’s department at 6:30pm. Kids who want to participate should wear their purple Rivendell t-shirt.

We have been watching the weather forecast closely and are hoping that it does, indeed, warm up this week. These kids need some time outside to run around and play.  Please help your child come to school prepared to play outside: coats, hats/hoods and gloves or mittens are essential this week. Maybe tomorrow will finally be warm enough for some outside playtime!


Hello from Middle Kids!

We hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving break by spending some time relaxing and having fun with your family. Now we are back at school for a quick three weeks before winter break.  So, of course, we will be super busy as we learn as much as possible before then.

The Middle Kids’ musical is almost here.  This week we will be having some extra practice time so the kids will be ready for the show on Friday, December 13th at noon.  We hope you will be able to come and see your amazing kids perform.  Please check that your child knows all his/her lines.  If you need another copy of the lines, let us know.

In Writers’ Workshop we are working on our first narrative of the year.  The students have worked on prewriting by creating a beginning, middle and end outline of their story. They have completed a good beginning where they introduced and described the main character and setting. Now they are building on skills introduced in the memoir writing as they write the problem and action part of the story.  This story writing time is a favorite for so many of the middle kids.

We have been hearing a lot about freezing temperatures and a possible snowstorm.  Please help to make sure the kids come prepared with the proper outdoor gear.  If the temperature is too low we will have recess indoors.


Monday News

These Middle Kids are a delight to teach!  We find that these are the years when the kids find their confidence and voice.  They love to ask question, share their thoughts and opinions and discuss everything. We have had some great discussions recently on the concept of change and we are sure this will continue as we focus on our new unit about Native Americans.

This week we will explore how Native American tribes used the land and how their location influenced the way they lived.  We will take a brief look at some of the tribes in different parts of the country.  In the upcoming weeks the kids will choose a tribe to study for a recitation project.  Our focus at school will be the Native Americans of the plains.

In reading workshop we are learning about character traits.  We are looking at the difference between personality traits and emotions and trying to choose some character traits that describe ourselves.  The students will be studying character traits of a main character in their reading workshop book and searching for evidence in the book to support the traits.



Your Weekly Middle Kids News Update!

The middle kids wrapped up the space unit with their amazing recitations on the life they discovered on a new planet.  They seemed to really enjoy writing these creative reports.  It was fun to listen to the various ways they chose to fill us in on their “big news!”

We had a great trip to the Discovery Museum last week.  The kids, as well as the chaperones, enjoyed this time away from school.  The dome theater was a cool experience!  We are so lucky to have a facility such as this in our community!  If your family has not had the chance to check it out, you should definitely make time to do so.

We are moving on this week to a study of Native Americans.  We have actually chosen to combine this unit and the next, which is mountains and plains.  We have so few weeks until winter break that we felt it was a good way to cover more information, and make connections between the two units.  We will be focusing most of our time talking about the lifestyle of the Plains Indian tribes.  We felt this would seem more relevant since we are all living on the edge of the Great Plains.  Focusing on a few tribes will gives us the opportunity to study them in more depth.

There is a small change  with respect to homework for kids in the vocabulary book.  We have decided to have them focus only on the meanings of the words in their lesson and not the spelling of the words this week.  Their test on Friday will only be on the meanings of the words in the unit, so that is what they should spend their time studying this week.


Monday News

October at Rivendell must be one of our busiest months and we certainly ended it in style!  Our Halloween parties were a lot of fun; we had good snacks, great costumes and an awesome bone scavenger hunt.  Thank you to our party moms for making this such a success.  We really appreciate all that you did.

This first week of November brings us to the end of our Space unit.  We will learn a little about Space exploration over the years and create a timeline to highlight some of the most interesting events.  This unit also gives us a great opportunity to talk about our concept of change.  The kids have been fascinated by the many ways that our knowledge and understanding of the Solar System and Space is constantly evolving.  This is such a fun unit to teach as we, the teachers, learn something new every time we teach it.

We will complete this unit with a Space recitation.  We are asking the kids to use their creativity to imagine that a new planet with alien life has been discovered!  Please look at the recitation sheet in the homework folder for more details.  This recitation is due on Friday.

On Thursday, we will be visiting the Museum of Science and Discovery.  We will be leaving school at 9:40am and returning around 12:30pm.  We will be eating our lunch at the museum, so please send your child to school with a disposable lunch.  Don’t bring a lunch tickets that day. If your child needs a booster seat to travel in a car, please label the seat and put it under your child’s hook.  Also, let us know so we can help our drivers get ready. It should be a fun field trip.

Monday, October 28th


A big thank you to all of our amazing volunteers who helped organize and run Fun Fest on Friday evening!  The event was a huge success, and we all had a wonderful time.  

October sure has been a busy month here at school. Our last big October fling is the Halloween costume parade and party this Thursday.  Once again, our incredible volunteer parents have spent a lot of time planning and preparing so that the party will be ghoulishly fun for the kids.  Parents are welcome to come to school to watch the parade and visit during the party if they wish to.  The parade will begin at about 2:15.  If the weather is nice enough we will parade through the classrooms and then outside around the track.  If the weather is not cooperative the parade will remain indoors.  Please send kids to school with their costumes in a bag, not on their bodies.  We will provide time for them to change at 2:00.

Thanks to those of you who have signed and returned the permission slips and money for our upcoming field trip.  If you haven’t, please try to do so this week.  We may end up with more drivers than we need.  If that is the case we may have to be selective since we have limited space in the museum theater.  We will let you know once we have all of the notes returned.

Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with us during conference days.  Collaboration between teachers and parents is essential to providing a well-rounded education for the kids. Please let us know if you have further questions or concerns.  We are really enjoying teaching your kids.