Rivendell Middle Kids

Monday Newsletter

Welcome back from the long weekend.  We hope you had some time to enjoy the Fall weather, rain and shine, and are ready for another full week.  It was great meeting with so many of you on Friday.  It is always enjoyable to share the progress of your children and set goals for the year.  If you have any other questions or concerns, please come talk to us or send an email.  We will see the rest of you this week.  Remember, there is no school or daycare or Friday.

Friday evening is our annual fundraiser and Fall carnival, Fun Fest.  This is a great time to meet other Rivendell families, see former Rivendell students and just have fun.  We are still in need of helpers to run games. There are one hour shifts available from 5:30pm until 8:30pm.  If you are able to help, please sign up as soon as possible.      

This week our space exploration takes us into the heart of nebulae where we will discover how stars are created and the various stages of a star’s life.  We will learn about our star and write from the perspective of the sun.  We will also pay a visit to the Starlab where former Rivendell teacher, Dee Wanger, will teach us more about the constellations and the phases of the moon.  We also shared our amazing recitation projects today.  The kids did such an amazing job.  Take a look at some of the photos below this newsletter.

On November 7th we are taking a field trip to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.  We will tour the museum at 10am and see the movie “Cosmic Journey” before lunch.   We will be needing parent drivers to transport the kids to and from the museum so if you are available on this morning, please let us know.  We are especially interested in parents who drive larger cars like SUV’s and minivans because it cuts down on the number of vehicles traveling  back and forth. Tomorrow we will send home a permission slip in the homework folder.  We are also asking for $8.00 to cover the cost of this trip.  This will be a wonderful way to end our space unit.

 Space recitation 010 Space recitation 009 Space recitation 008 Space recitation 007 Space recitation 006

News for the short week of October 14th!

Remember that we don’t have school on Thursday or Friday this week.  The kids will have less of a homework load since it is a short week.  They will not be studying Mad Minutes or spelling words this week.  They should focus their homework energy mainly on completing their space projects so that they are ready to be presented next Monday the 21st.  Some kids, depending on their math level, have been given booklets in which they will work on memorizing their multiplication facts.  Some have already started this, and others are starting this week.  If there is a little green booklet in your homework folder, this is where you will write you multiplication facts and study them.  At the end of each week we will test the kids on the number they are currently trying to memorize.  If we feel they are ready to move up, then we will move them to the next number the following week.  Some kids are already trying to memorize these facts for their Mad Minute tests, so this will provide extra practice.

We will continue our study of the planet Earth this week.  We are currently working on writing paragraphs about the Earth’s movement in space and the reasons Earth is the only planet in the solar system which supports life.  The kids started this writing by completing a T-chart to organize their thoughts.  We will keep working on this process all year so that they can start feeling more and more independent with their expository writing skills.

Many of the kids have been bringing home their scripts for the upcoming Middle Kids’ musical performance.  Please provide support as needed so that they can memorize their lines.  These scripts should be kept safely tucked into their homework folders so that they don’t lose track of them.

**Upcoming field trip – the Middle Kids will be taking a field trip to the Ft. Collins Museum of Discovery and Science on November 7th.  We will be sending home more information about this trip, and a permission slip soon.  We will be needing parents to help us drive students on this field trip.  Please think about whether you will be able to help us on the 7th of November, and there will be a space on the permission slip where you can volunteer to drive.  Thanks!


News for Monday, October 7th

Last week was another busy week for Middle Kids.  We concluded our unit on the fascinating ancient civilizations of the Maya, Aztec and Inca by comparing the Aztecs and Incas.  The students used their critical thinking skills to find similarities and differences  and were interested in the many ways these civilizations were alike. This week we move onto our study of space.  We will begin with a focus on Earth, learning about night and day, the seasons and what makes our planet the only one that is habitable in the Solar System.

Our recitation this week is centered around space.  Each student has chosen a word associated with space and will have two weeks to complete a project to share with the class on Monday 28th.  We have given the students three choices of projects for this recitation in order to make it more individualized and to allow and encourage the kids to be more creative.  We are hoping the kids will enjoy this new challenge.  Detailed information about the recitation is included in the homework folder. Please talk with your child and help him/her choose a project that will be fun and at an appropriate level.  Since this recitation is more complex, we have given the kids two weeks plus an extra weekend. We are exciting to see how this recitation goes.

We have also included a “moon log” in homework folders.  This will remain in folders for the whole month.  We are asking the kids to draw  pictures of the moon throughout the month of October. Look at the moon every night or as often as possible, draw a picture in the box and date it.  We will be discussing the phases of the moon at the end of the month.

The Middle Kids have started to work on their musical, Geology Rocks.  Tina will be sending home lines soon.  Please help your child practice these.  They have plenty of time as the musical will be on December 13rh

Parent/teacher conference are coming up on October 17th and 25th.  Sign up sheets are next to the classroom door.  We look forward to discussing your child’s progress and goals for the year.We also have a day off on October 18th.  Fun Fest is on October 25th.  This is our annual carnival and fundraiser.  Please consider volunteering some time to help out with one of the activities.  More information is on the big Halloween bulletin board by the front doors.

Have a great week.


News for Monday, September 30th

Happy Last-Day-Of-September!  This week we will be wrapping up our unit on the Maya, Aztecs, and Incas.  We will be moving on to a study of outer space for the next month or so.  In reading this week we will begin talking about making connections.  Making connections to the material we read is something that all good readers do.  It is another way for us to think critically and build a deeper understanding of the books we choose to read.  

Our recitation this week is called Reader’s Theater.  We are asking students to be part of a group dramatic reading.  We have assigned each child a part in a script.  They have a copy of the whole script.  Their job this week is to practice reading their assigned lines.  They do not need to worry about memorizing the lines – that is not what Reader’s Theater is about.  It is about reading dramatically – as though they are performing a skit. They will be holding their script and reading from it during the “performance.” We want them to practice reading fluently and confidently so that the sentences sound like natural speech.  

While practicing this week, it is important that they have a parent working with them.  The parent should read all of the other lines in the script out loud so that the student knows when to say his / her lines.  They don’t need to worry about costumes or props for Reader’s Theater – it’s all about the expression in their voice.

Reader’s Theater is an exciting way to help children improve reading fluency.  It also promotes better reading comprehension and confidence, and…it’s fun!

Monday, September 23rd

As we write this note, the blustery wind blows leaves off the trees, puddles remain on the pavement after a rainy night and grey clouds cover the sky.  It seems as if Fall has indeed started, right on cue. As Autumn settles in we can take a moment to reflect on how far the middle kids have come already.  They are doing a great job with homework, coming to school well-prepared for the day and becoming more and more independent.

In Reading Workshop all the kids have chosen their first book of the year.  They have worked hard to pick a “just right book” and many are now working on making a good prediction for this book.  This week we will be focusing on word attack strategies: what to do when you do not know how to read a word.  Even as adults we sometimes encounter new and challenging words so this is a skill we revisit throughout the year. We will also begin a short reading assessment of each child.  We will be looking at fluency, word recognition accuracy and comprehension.  We can discuss these results during the upcoming teacher/parent conferences.

In Writers’ Workshop we are revising and editing our short memoir writing in preparation of publishing and sharing.  We have been focusing this memoir writing on a time we got in trouble, so you parents may find these little stories quite entertaining! In topic work, we will learn about the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs and compare and contrast this civilization with the Incas.

Enjoy this first week of fall!

Here are a few shots of the Middle Kids enjoying their first day on the new pirate ship!  It was worth the wait![nggallery id=14]


Monday, September 16th

We hope you all stayed warm, dry and safe this weekend. It has been shocking to see how much damage has been caused all around us while Fort Collins remained relatively untouched. Our playground is wet, the grass is soggy, but we are ready to teach and learn here at Rivendell.

This week we begin spelling. Today the kids write their list of words and begin working in the workbook. Each time we do spelling we will be looking at the spelling patterns or rules which should help when studying the words at home. On Friday we will have the spelling test, so the kids have all week to practice the words. Some students like to practice by studying the words and then spelling them orally.  Some students like to write down the words multiple times and some like to reinforce their studying by playing spelling games on the computer or ipad. Usually a combination works well. This week we are asking that kids write each word three times on the paper provided.

In math both classes are working hard in purple and peach books. We are finding that some kids are a little “rusty” after the long summer break, so we are doing some review and working our way back to a good pace. In Middle Kids some of the concepts we focus on are math story problems using the correct operation, math vocabulary, making sure our answers make sense, memorization of math facts and looking at math concepts in many different ways.  Students who are in the Chameleon math book or above  will begin working on memorization of multiplication facts in the next couple of weeks.

Our recitations went very well today.  Some of the kids were a little nervous, but everyone stood up front and shared goals.  We worked on using a loud, clear voice, standing up straight and making some eye contact with the audience.  The audience practiced being polite listeners, asking good questions and adding relevant comments.  We will have another recitation in a few weeks.

Newsletter for September 9th

As we begin our fourth week of school, we fall into our regular weekly schedule.  The kids have settled into the routine, made new friends and are happy to work hard and learn every day.  This has been a wonderful start to the year.

On Tuesday we have Back-to School Night.  This is the best time to learn about the curriculum, our classroom expectations and have your questions answered. The Middle Kids’ presentation is 7:00-7:25. There is also a presentation by the Rivendell Board at 6:00 and 6:30.

We will be concluding our study of the Mayas this week with an expository writing about the mysterious decline of their civilization.  The kids will learn how to write a “hamburger paragraph” with a topic sentence, three supporting details and a concluding sentence.  We will work on organizing the paragraph with a T-chart and using this to help write the paragraph.  We will then begin to learn and compare the Aztecs and Incas.  Students who worked on this skill last year will work on creating better topic sentences and writing more than one paragraph.

In Reading Workshop we will work on making good predictions before reading.  A good prediction uses the title, images from the cover and background knowledge to make a logical “guess” as to what will happen in the story.  In Writers’ Workshop we will begin working on “Show not Tell”  in our memoirs. And, of course, we will be busy learning new concepts and working hard in books in our math work sessions.

This week for homework the kids will continue to work on Mad Minutes.  Remember, the goal of Mad Minutes is to complete the sheet quickly without using fingers.  We know that our students can figure out all the answers to the equations, but now we want them to work on memorization.  Also, this week we have our first recitation.  Recitations are a lot like Younger Kids’ Show and Tell, except now the students need to write out the speech.  A note about this week’s recitation is included in the homework folder along with a special piece of paper on which to write.  Parents will need to help a little with this homework.  We are asking that you check the finished product for complete sentences, capital letters and periods and correct spelling. This is a great opportunity for our students to practice neat handwriting and use all their grammar skills.  On Friday, the kids will share their speech with the class.  This helps build public speaking skills and confidence in a safe, friendly environment.

Middle Kids News 9-3-2013

Welcome back after a nice, long holiday weekend.  We hope you all enjoyed the extra time with your families, whether it was spent doing something fun or even just getting some chores done around the house!

Even though this will be a shorter week of school, we have a lot to get done.  The kids are all working hard in their math books already, some picking up right where they left off in the spring, and others spending a bit of time refreshing their memories.  In either case, middle kids really seem to enjoy math work sessions!  We have started talking a lot about reading.  Before we start our “official” reading program we like to spend some time thinking and talking about reading.  We have been discussing such questions as: Why do we read?  When and where do we read?  What do you see people who are good readers doing?  How do I select a book that is just right for me?  And, where is the best place in the classroom for me to sit while I read?  We have found that it is important to have these discussions in order to set the stage for a successful year of Reading Workshop.

We have started doing some writing exercises as well.  We had the kids write a “memoir” about something they did over the summer.  They tried to write as descriptively as possible using lots of  details and “exploding the moment”.  This week we will begin working on revising and making our writing better.  Writers Workshop this year will include many types of writing  including creative stories, memoirs, poetry, persuasive writing, and expository writing.  We have also decided to start each school day with a quick activity we are calling the “daily warm-up.”  Some days this will be writing or grammar related,  and  other days it will be a math activity to get our minds cranking and ready for the day.  Please try to have your student here on time (by 8:30) each day so that they can benefit from this valuable beginning-of-the-day activity.

We have started learning about the ancient civilizations of the Mayan people.  We will be doing a clay project this week related to Mayan gods. The kids are using their creativity to design a pendant that represents a particular Mayan god.  Soon, we will be moving on to the Aztecs.

In the homework folder this week we would like the kids to work on a Mad Minute, continue with their reading and complete some work for an art project for Michele.  She would like the kids to finish each sentence on the white worksheet sharing some ideas for an art poem about themselves.  


K-9 Unit visits the Middle Kids

Today the K-9 Unit from Larimer County Sheriff’s Department demonstrated how two of their dogs, Grendel and Arco , apprehend bad guys.  Thanks to Joe, Allie’s dad, for putting on the bite suit and pretending to be the criminal.  The kids had a lot of questions and learned how these dogs are trained, where they live and what they do off duty.

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