Older Kids’ News
It certainly does not feel like the dog days of summer with days in the upper 90’s and humid, still nights, but as labor day officially ends the summer we must concede that Fall has begun as we enter our third week of school. After a harrowing summer of violence and fires we look forward to the new beginning that Fall affords us with our curious, bright older kids.
The beginning of the year means introducing our kids to our reader’s and writer’s workshop, non-fiction reading, novel study, math at the older kid’s level and topic work ( science and social studies) that is integrated into the rest of the curriculum. We try not to move too quickly, so that our students have time to absorb our ways of doing things and the more challenging expectations of older kids.
Our reading program consists of novel study, non fiction reading of current events and science related articles and a reader’s workshop model. During novel study the whole class reads a book together and discuss the big ideas of life. An eminent English scholar, Kelly Gallagher notes when a whole class reads together, with a teacher as a guide, students engage in “imaginative rehearsals” i.e., students practice through reading issues and questions they will have in their own lives. In our workshop model kids read 40 self-selected books across genres. Teachers conduct mini- lessons and conference with students on how to apply these mini lessons to individual student’s reading. After every other book students are required to do an end of book response. Both response and genre lists are posted in the classroom and on our web site. This year we have added some new responses called one-pagers. The purpose of these responses is to check for comprehension. Last week our students read in small groups an article about octopuses. They were instructed to highlight ways in which octopuses are intelligent then teachers gave a mini lesson on the expository pre-writing skill of t-charts. Students created a t-chart for their octopus reading which they then used to write an expository paragraph on octopuses. Give your kids a big pat on back because as you can see they work hard in school. Their published or finished work is kept in the back of classroom in a bin entitled published work where you can see it whenever you want. These pieces will eventually be bound and sent home.
Our students engaged in metaphorical thinking last week, finding metaphors in their reading and creating ones of their own. Metaphorical thinking deepens our understanding of what we experience, read and see in a way literal thinking can not. Metaphors help readers make more complex connections when they read. Thinking metaphorically enhances the thinking process by encouraging students to seek out associations and connections that they would not ordinarily make. Please encourage your child to create metaphors daily.
At Rivendell we believe in learning by doing, experiential learning, if you will. We are committed to hands-on projects in our topic work, and we are redoubling our efforts to get our kids out into the world to experience first hand what they are learning at school. Older kids teachers would like to have at least two field trips a month, but we need your help. This month we will go the Pompeii exhibit at the Colorado Museum of Nature and Science and Centennial Western Frontier Days in Greeley. Renting a bus is very expensive, so we will be asking parents to help by driving to some of these trips. Please contact your teachers if you would be willing to help with driving this year for field trips.
The Older Kids will be going on a field trip to Centennial Village in Greeley on Thursday, September 20th. Centennial Village is an outdoor living history museum. Kids are able to become a part of history and participate in hands-on simulations that transports them back in time. We will be leaving school by 10:45 and returning by 3:00. The cost will be $3 per child. Everyone will need to bring a lunch to school that day. Parent drivers are needed to transport kids to and from Centennial Village. If you are available to drive, please let us know as soon as possible. You are welcome to stay and participate if you would like. Permission slips will be going home this week.
Back to school night is Thursday from 7:30 to 8:00. Please come and find out what is going on in your child’s classroom.
Have a great week,
Jane, Ashley, Inta and Michele
Homework Sept 4th-7th
- Key Math at least 20 mins. Show your parents what you are doing.
- Find 5 new facts about Athens or Sparta. Make a list .
- No other homework. Back to school night. Please come!