Rivendell Middle Kids

Daily Warm-up Writings

One of our goals for daily warm-up writings is helping the kids to understand that they can write without feeling like they might do it wrong.  They often feel inhibited by the idea of writing, and they get stuck, thinking too much!  We are trying to get them to stop thinking too much and just write down whatever comes to their mind.  With these warm-up writings there is no wrong answer.
We are pulling slips of paper out of a basket and creating silly story starters to work on this goal.  We have them write the silly starter and then continue the story with a few sentences of their own.  We have also been encouraging them share some of their ideas so that we can write a class story up on the board.  Our hope is that this will excite and motivate beginning writers who struggle to get their unique ideas on paper!  Here are a few pics of today’s warm-up writing time in Bryce’s class.

Last week of September!

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.


First Writing Project!

Hello Families!
Today the Middle Kids began the process of writing their first (for some first EVER!) true paragraph of the year.  One of our writing goals in Middle Kids is to teach kids to write a well organized paragraph, containing a topic sentence, supporting details, and a conclusion sentence. You might hear your child calling it a “hamburger paragraph.”  This is a big job, and one that we will continue throughout the year.   Of course we realize that many of our new kids are beginning writers, and just learning to form sentences.  Like every academic subject, we individualize our instruction and our expectations during this paragraph writing process.  Some of our students will end up with paragraphs that are 4 or 5 sentences long, while others are ready to write 8 to 10 sentence paragraphs.
The first step is prewriting – creating what we call a T-chart.  This is a graphic organizer which contains the parts of the paragraph in the correct order.  They used the information they collected at home while researching their ocean animals. From this T-chart they can formulate the actual sentences and form their final paragraph.
Above are a few shots of them in the process of creating their T-charts.

Fun Run Incentives

Hello Middle Kid Families,
Happy Friday!  Our weekends are truly well-earned.  We wanted to send a quick note to make sure that the Fun Run packets made it home.  Inside these packets are the pledge sheets that your child will need to help us raise some money for our literacy program here at Rivendell.  All money raised from this fundraiser will directly impact your student in his or her classroom.
We spent some time today getting the kids fired up about this annual event.  Aside from benefiting from the classroom additions we will purchase with the money raised, the kids will also earn some fun prizes for their effort.  They brainstormed ideas for awesome prizes today, and below is the list they came up with, along with the amount they will need to raise to earn them.  These amounts are totals for ALL middle kids (both classes together):
If they raise $1,000, they will earn a D.E.A.R. Day (Drop Everything And Read) along with bringing their favorite stuffed animals to school for a day!
If they raise $2,000 they will earn a movie and popcorn party!
If they raise $2,500 they will earn a homework free week, and rootbeer floats!
And, if they raise $3,000 they will earn ALL of the prizes listed above!
Obviously they are very excited about the idea of winning all of these fantastic prizes!  They will need your help to gather the needed pledges, and this weekend is the time to start (if you haven’t already.)  If you did not get a Fun Run pledge sheet, or if you need another, please pick one up in the front office.
Thanks for your support with this very important effort!
Bryce and Anna

A new year in Middle Kids!

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

First Project of the New Year

Dear Middle Kid families,
Here are some photos of the kids working on our first back to school project. This project is “All About Me” in the shape of an ocean creature to go along with our first Topic: Oceans. While it is a really fun project and the kids enjoy how laid back it feels, it is so much more than just drawing and coloring. With this project we are introducing and developing many skills. One of our focuses in Middle Kids is the element of design: how to plan out the information being presented and use it to fill a space in an appropriate and tasteful way. We are working on sketching with pencil first, shading, outlining letters so they *pop* off the page, turning stick figures into 3D people, and illustrating our writing. For many kids new to MK, this is one of the first times a project is going to last 4 or 5 work sessions. With that in mind, we are introducing some behavior and work ethic goals, too. We are learning to challenge ourselves to draw new things, do our best, not rush, add lots of detail, and generally take pride in our work. I am so proud of how everyone is rising to the challenge and going above and beyond what they thought they were capable of!
Bryce and Anna

Hurray, hurray, let’s hear it for May!!

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.


News for April 18th!

As usual for this time of year, there is A LOT going on!  We have several important dates and times for upcoming events.  Most of these have been mentioned in the whole-school newsletter, but we know that different people get their news in different ways.  Please take note of all of the following, and let us know if you have any questions.

Mandatory Sky Ranch informational meeting! – Tomorrow morning, Thursday, April 19th at 7:30 am.  That’s right – in the morning!  This is a really important meeting, especially for our third graders and their parents since it is going to be their first time going to Sky Ranch.  We will present a lot of information, and we will have time for questions as well.  Please plan to be here!

Bikes for Earth Day on Friday – We realize that the weather outlook for Friday is questionable.  We are going to play it by ear.  We ask that you decide on Friday morning whether or not it looks like an outdoor bicycle activity will be a possibility.  If the weather is nasty, and it looks like it is supposed to stay that way for most of the day, then don’t bring bikes.  If there is a possibility that it could be clear or dry enough later in the day – bring bikes.  Thanks for your best judgement and cooperation with this.  We don’t want to call it off because of the possibility of bad weather  because it will most likely be a very enjoyable and educational opportunity for the kids.

Field Trip – next Monday, April 23rd.  We will be leaving school on a chartered bus and heading to the Butterfly Pavilion in Denver for the day.  The bus will leave by 9:00 – please plan to be on time that day so we have time to talk with the kids and use the bathroom before we leave. Kids need to pack a completely disposable lunch – we don’t want to have to keep track of lunch boxes, water bottles, sandwich containers, etc.  We will gather these lunches in a large container as the kids come in the morning, and we will transport them to the Pavilion.  Please label the lunch bag with your child’s name. Also, all kids should wear their purple Rivendell T-shirts that day.  We plan to leave the Butterfly Pavilion by 1:30.

Promotion Day – Monday, May 7th – This is a day when students who will be moving up to the next grade level in the fall can experience what life will feel like for them next year! Our 3rd graders who will be moving up to Older Kids will spend the morning with either Suzanne or Sarah, and then return to their normal classrooms for the afternoon.  We will be sending home more information about this day soon.  We would like you to put it on your calendars and try to avoid scheduling appointments on this much -anticipated morning.

Sky Ranch Trip for 3rd Graders! – May 14th – Plan to have your 3rd grader here at school by 8:00 with all gear in hand.  Kids will be loaded into cars and that will be leaving by 8:30.  Loading up cars can be a stressful time for staff, parents and kids, so please plan ahead, wake up early, and be on time!  When the kids come back on Tuesday afternoon they will be exhausted, dirty, exhilarated, and full of ideas to share.  They should be back at school by about 2:30.  Please plan to be here to get them.  It is very deflating for a kid who has just been away from home overnight at camp to have to go join a classroom or go to after school daycare.

Author’s Share – Tuesday, May 22nd, from 8:00 – 9:00 am – This will be a morning for parents to come in to school for an open house when students can show them their portfolios of the year.  This has traditionally been something that Younger Kids classes have done, but we would like to extend this celebrational to the  rest of the grade levels.  We will have coffee, juice, and some breakfast treats available that morning.  Feel free to come anytime between the hours of 8:00 and 9:00.  We know your schedules are busy, so this can take as little as 10 minutes, or longer if you wish.  This event gives teachers a chance to witness and be a part of the experience of reflecting on a year’s worth of hard work and fun!

We know – it’s a lot!! Let us know if you have any questions.  We will see 3rd graders and their parents in the morning at 7:30 sharp!


Happy April!!

It is April and the scent of spring is strong!  When you stand outside it seems you can literally hear the plants sprouting, budding and “getting busy” all around us.  Spring is a busy time here at Rivendell as well!  These last 7 weeks (that’s right – only 7 left!) tend to fly by.  Be sure to keep checking your newsletters and marking your calendars with important dates.

First, thanks SO much to all of our parents who joined us for a fantastic night at the Rio on Friday!  It was a lot of fun, and most importantly we raised a good amount of money to help improve the flow and safety of our parking lot!  It is always a great time at these events, and it feels good to “let our hair down” and get to know other members of our Rivendell family in a casual setting.  We will let you know soon how much money was raised.

We are in the middle of a unit on dinosaurs.  We are focusing on the prehistoric timeline, and learning about the animals that lived during each of the three periods of the Mesozoic Era (the Age of Dinosaurs).  We have talked about the Triassic Period and the Jurassic Period, and this week we will move on to the Cretaceous Period (between 150 and 65 million years ago).  This week the kids will prepare a recitation on a chosen dinosaur.  This will require some research at home, and most likely some guidance from parents – thanks in advance!  We are sending home a research guide, and after they answer the questions they will write a paragraph about their dinosaur.  They will also be drawing their dinosaur on the paper provided.  We have taken spelling off the homework menu this week to give kids more time to focus on these recitations.

Parents of 3rd graders – Coming home in the homework folders today is your Sky Ranch information packet.  This packet contains all the important forms you need to fill out in order for your child to attend our overnight trip to Sky Ranch.  We will be going up on Monday, May 14th and returning to school by 2:00 on Tuesday, May 15th.  We send these packets home early so that you have time to schedule doctor check-ups and figure out any supplies your child may need.  There is a health and medication form that MUST be signed by your child’s doctor.  Please look through this packet and let us know if you have any questions.  There will also be a mandatory informational meeting on Thursday, April 19th at 7:30 here in the Commons.  Please plan to attend.

Important dates and times to add to your calendar:

Friday, April 13th – No School, teacher inservice day

Thursday, April 19th – Sky Ranch information meeting, 7:30 in the Commons

Monday, April 23rd – Middle Kids field trip to the Butterfly Pavilion (more info to come


Monday, May 7th – Sky Ranch forms and fees due – give to Elisa in the front office


First Day of Spring!

Welcome back from Spring Break, everyone! We hope you all had fun as a family this past week eating, traveling, resting, playing and reading together. Quality time together is so important for kids at all stages of life! So whether you stayed local, took a road trip, or got on a plane, I hope you all feel restored and thankful for your family. Bryce and I had a great Spring Break with our families.

Here is Bryce parasailing in Mexico!


Hiking in Grand Canary Island!

Back to reality…

This week brings with it the first day of spring and we are all looking forward to not needing so many layers at Recess! Next week, on Friday, March 30th is one of Rivendell’s favorite traditions: The Egg Drop & Crazy Hat/Hair day! Specific info, rules and regulations on the design/engineering contest went home on a blue sheet of paper before Spring Break. Let your teacher know if you need a replacement. All Middle Kids participate in the Egg Drop contest and it is SO MUCH FUN! Parents are allowed to come watch if they’d like to do so.

In Reader’s Workshop, we are easing back into things by reading our ongoing novels. In Math, kids are finishing books left and right! In Writing we are working on correct formatting of dialogue in stories and are in the planning stage for a new story. Our current Topic Unit is Dinosaurs. So far we have completed a chart detailing the general classification of dinosaurs (reptile hipped and bird hipped) and learned some very-hard-to-pronounce scientific names! Soon we will be expecting the kids to do research on a particular dinosaur for a recitation. (More info coming on that soon.) The kids had a great first day back!

Spring Event and Auction, you don’t want to miss this!

Remember to purchase your tickets for the Rivendell Spring Event, Havana Nights! You can purchase tickets here. This year Manabi, a local salsa band, will be playing at The Rio: Agave room. Rivendell will host Kid’s Night In for only $15.00 from 6:00 to 10:30 PM, so come out and enjoy a night of games, bidding on student projects and community experiences, good food, mojitos, and dancing!

Sign up for Kids Night In at the front office. Thank you!