News from R4- January 14, 2020

Happy New Year! We’re off to an amazing start of 2020 here in 4th grade! In a class meeting yesterday we talked about how we feel like each day is so packed full of amazingness that the time is flying by! At the same time, most days by lunch, we are puzzled at how it’s only midday, because we have gotten so much accomplished!

Last week our CAIS visiting team was here to pour over our self study document and check in with students, teachers, board members and parents. On Thursday, before they left the read out the findings of the report and I felt so overcome with pride at being part of this school community. They recognized the heart and soul of GWS, and had glowing things to say about what we are doing here, from the quality of the academic program to the quality of relationships the witnessed in the community! It was a truly affirming process. Of course the report comes not only with commendations, but with recommendations but none of their reccomendations were unexpected, and all were things that are in process on on a to-do list for us anyhow, from some work to be completed on our “new” campus (how long do you think we’ll call it new?) to curriculum and program updates. All in all the experience was wonderfully affirming, and we all have much to be proud of!

Progress reports and assessment:

Our window for winter assessment is closed, and I’ve had a chance to work one on one with each 4th grader to listen to them read. We’ve checked in on spelling patterns, and done a battery of Bridges math assessments. Over the next few weeks I’ll be completing the mid year progress report for your child. This will be available mid February. It’s no accompanied by a face to face meeting, but please reach out if you’d like to schedule a time to talk about the report.

Literature Circles (which I can’t help but call book clubs!)

We’ve launched our small group literature circles in 4th grade this week. Groups of 3-4 students met before break to choose from a short list of novels the book that they’ll dive into over the next 2 months. Their first assignment is to choose a main character to get to know over the course of the book and make some initial obervations about the character based on the reading. From here out they rotate through jobs that help them analyze the book, discuss their work and the reading, as well as take turns facilitating their small group. We’ll aim for 2 reading assignments (accompanied by 2 written assignments) each week. We will give between 30 and 40 minutes to read, but some days students may need to finish their reading and assignment for homework, to be prepared for discussion the next day. I’m excited for the students get to know their characters and these compelling books over the next 2 months.

First Friday- on the 2nd Thursday!

Bravo 4th graders! Last week the 4th graders announced their serivce learning project and invited the GWS community to their Beach Clean up in February. They’ve really designed this project themselves, and led the charge in almost everyway. Brianna and I have provided support and scaffolding (and deadlines!) but this is truly theirs! We hope you can join us on Feburary 1st to “sweep the beaches” clean from Mitchell’s Cove to Main Beach!

A reading resource:

Your kiddos have a voracious appetite for new books (which I appreciate and identify with!) I try to infuse the classroom with a reasonable and steady supply of new reading material, and I realize that I can’t just buy ALL the books! It turns out the library not only checks out physical books, but they also have great digital download/ rental programs through a few different partner apps. Click here to access their page. This is a great way to access reading material for trips, or when your child needs fresh material and it’s not time for another Bookshop SC trip! It’s also a great way to utilize and suppport our public libraries!

Dates, dates, dates!

Field Trip tomorrow, 1/15 from 10:30 – 12:30 ish to SC Natural History Museum! Thank you divers!

No school Friday 1/17 – Teacher in- service, child care available

No school Monday 1/20 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Coloma information night 2/6 from 5:30-6:30 – details to follow! Kurt will join us to support us and answer questions!

No School Friday 2/14 and Monday 2/17

Rachel out Tuesday 2/18- Friday 2/21 – Julee Brinton Subs!

Thanks for all you do for the students, our classroom, and the school!