November 2017 – The Learning Zone’ – Week 11

Hi Families,

We hit the 50 day mark and the children know that we are half way until our long awaited 100th day of school. We will have a secret agent mystery to solve on this day and they are already getting excited for this event.

If you are curious, you need to stop by the ‘Learning Zone” to see the completed Shorya Mahanot inspired paintings. The children are beside themselves and are proud beyond words of their hard work. Their patience paid off and their gleaming eyes are heartwarming! See below for more pictures.

Remember ‘Grand-Friends Day’ is coming up soon and it will be a fun day. Please let me know how many people will be attending in your family.

Growth Mindset, Mindfulness, & Social Emotional Learning:

This month our Growth Mindset focus is Flexibility-‘I will try new things’This is what we are practicing in the ‘learning zone’ and the children are learning to stretch beyond their comfort zone.

The children are understanding that challenges help grow their brain and that making mistakes aid in their learning.  The more we practice; the better we get.

Our mindfulness practice has been teaching the children about calming their bodies and taking charge of their emotions. I have been sharing examples that they can relate to so that their is relevance in their application.

Here are a few:

  • mindful thoughts: emotions are like a balloon; when you are happy it fills up and when you are sad or angry you deflate. In a day, we can have many emotions; up and down like a roller coaster. Mindfulness can help you when you are feeling deflated.
  • mindful seeing: pretending to have sharp eyes like an animal who has excellent vision; like a hawk or a lion so that we can see things that we normally don’t see (a stop and smell the roses analogy).
  • mindful hearts: examples on the playground of doing things that make you feel good. Comparing and contrasting how being kind to friends makes you feel better than being unkind to friends.

We continue to work on ways in which to recognize and calm our emotions in times of anger, sadness, and disappointment. The children are learning to stop and breath before reacting and are learning to envision their best selves when faced with conflict. These self regulation skills take time to acquire. While learning to manage these emotions, the dynamics of play & friendships can get sticky. Gateway staff and faculty are are staying close to the children and are helping them navigate through difficult interactions . Please let me know if you hear of anything at home that may be troubling your child, so that I may keep an ‘extra’ close eye.


We begin unit 3 and are delving in to number models (number sentences), parts and totals (number bonds), number stories, matching pairs, ways to count, skip counting, & frames and arrows. We will be adding to our math strategy board and encouraging the children to use the math tools as needed.

Printing, Sentence School, & Writing Workshop:

Well the time has come to bump up the printing practice….the sign in sheet will now include the children’s last name. We will see how this challenge is received?

Sentence School is going well and the kids know to begin a sentence with a capital, leave spacing between words, and to end with punctuation. They are understanding that sentences include a subject and a verb and know that this means a person place or thing and an action word.

Our Writing Workshop Small Moments Unit is concluding with our ‘Resilience’ stories and we will be having a celebration/publishing party at the end of this week. I will email families to come check out our designated self authored bookshelf in our classroom library.

Reading Workshop & Word Study:

Below are the Chunk Spelling families that have been practiced thus far, and which are going to be practiced this month:


at, et, ot, & ug


ip, ig, in, op, & am


ap, un, ed, & og

Please practice these chunks with your child.


Cookie has a few more homes to visit before going home again with classmates. She has traveled and painted the town,. The stories and pictures are hilarious and delightful and I appreciate all of the effort going into this literacy building activity. Thank you families.

Word of the Week:

This weeks word of the week is: ‘ balderdash’   (a bunch of senseless talk  & nonsense)

(words so far have been: Shenanigans, rapscallion, hornswoggle, bamboozle, lollygag,  bumfuzzle, jargogle, doppleganger, & gobbledygook)


There are 4 grams of sugar in 1 teaspoon. Children should have no more than 12 grams of added sugar in a day. The kids did the math and added up the grams of sugar on some typical foods that we all eat in a day (do you notice the 4 little penguin erasers? Every four penguins represent a teaspoon). You will never guess how many grams we added up….104 grams. Come in and check out our science table to see just how much sugar this is. There is hidden sugar in most everything prepackaged and the children are beginning to check labels. Don’t be surprised if they start counting how many grams of sugar they are eating in a day.

There are low sugar choices on the foods that children are accustomed such as yogurt, power bars, and juice. Have fun with this curriculum and in making this a family study.

Geography/Environmental Project Based Learning:

We have begun viewing Europe’s beautiful landscapes and the children thoroughly enjoyed it. Look at their ‘s faces…they say it all.

We have begun talking about trash and in particularly, plastic. We have decided as a class to stop using plastic straws when going out to eat and are beginning to discuss ways in we can help the environment.

More to come on the Project Based Learning front…

Author of the Month:

Our new Author of the Month, Gerald Mc Dermott has been a hit. The children are enjoying haring about the folktale stories of how the sun & the moon got in to the sky, and how come the jack rabbit runs quickly. Gerald Mc Dermott traveled the world to gather these tales and is a nice way to scaffold upon our continent study.

Artist of the Month:

Our Shorya Mahanot inspired paintings are done and I don’t need to say a word…..these artists and their masterpieces speak for themselves! Thank you Perry for capturing these photos.

Explore Time & Design Lab:

Our ‘human skull’ model has a design leader…..thank you PERRY; you’re the best! The kids are obviously thrilled….

*REQUEST: We are running out of big materials such as foam & cardboard packing inserts. If you happen to buy something that has this sort of packaging please don’t throw it away; rather send it our way. 🙂 Thank you!

Also, we are in need of toilet paper and paper towel rolls.

“Play Is the Highest Form of Research”- Albert Einstein

Reminders & Updates:

Important Dates:

November 17th – 1/2 Day with a noon dismissal

November 21st – Grand-friends Day

November 22-24 – Thanksgiving Break

December 22 – January 7 – Winter Break

Monday, March 16 & March 19 – Spring Conferences

April 2 – April 6 – Spring Break

Have a great week

Very Warmest,