With thoughtfulness and a heart-felt greeting, each student welcomed one of their classmates to the school year. After meeting together multiple times over the week and sharing their Worry Brains and Hopeful Hearts, students narrowed down what they heard to a wish for their partners. They then wrote touching notes and painted a rock emblazoned with these words of wisdom. How wonderful it was for the children to share and receive such kind gestures of genuine appreciation.
What a joy to meet and see all of your wonderful children this past week! I hope the first few days have been positive for each of them as we all reacquaint ourselves with the rhythm of school.
We have started to build community in our newly formed homerooms, welcoming fifth graders as well as students new to Horizons. This is important work that may feel familiar to 6th graders. It has been inspiring to see our sixth graders already rising to take on a greater leadership position in this process. We are all settling into our new surroundings and making new connections with old friends and new ones.
One of our first activities was acknowledging that we all have worries or hesitations around transitions. We drew mind maps about why we worry and discussed consequences of worrying (and obsessive worrying). Of course, we could not leave it there and we as well as strategies to step out of worry and write them down and discuss them. This evolved into a piece titled the Worry Brain. As important as this was, we felt that we also needed a space to express our hopes and intentions for the year -- Hopeful Hearts. Please stop by the classroom and view the gallery above the cubbies.
On Friday we had our first council together. The prompt was to share reflection from the worry brain and hopeful heart and let the class know something about yourself that might help them (and me) understand them better and what them know how they can support you with this. What was shared was truly touching, open, courageous.
This post contains a few timely pieces of information as we head into our first full week together. Thank you in advance for reading on and letting me know if you have any questions or need additional information.
Outdoor Ed Paperwork due Friday
Thank you in advance for reading through this paperwork carefully and returning it no later than Friday 8/26. There are many forms to complete. If you would like to be considered for one of our 10 parent volunteer positions, please submit the volunteer page by Thursday August 25th. We hope to make a decision on our 10 parent volunteers at our team meeting that afternoon.
You may have heard from your child about the math activity they started this week using ratios and proportions. Watch for these posters to grace the halls in the next few days.
Planners and Homework
There is homework due Friday related to our study of ratios. We spent time today setting up our planners and understanding that we can use it to organize our weeks as well as use it as a reference. Your child should have "Ratio Homework Due" written in on Friday. Please see the calendar on the language arts tab for upcoming homework.
We set up our writer's workshop this week beginning with each child sharing the photos they brought in. The main focus earlier in the week was on effective storytelling and careful listening. Each child has a partner and together they will work together to create a booklet titled "Inside/Outside"-- all stories have an outside and inside. Following this sharing, we participated in a series of mini-lessons and activities about the art of writing captions. So far we've explored using prepositional phrases and participial phrases to begin captions. More to come...
Art and Computer Classes begin this week AND Math, Spanish, Social Studies and Science classes will begin on Monday 8/29
This will allow us an opportunity to make sure math placements are most appropriate as we observe students working on their Calvin projects as well as math screeners this week. Let me know if you would like to look at this assessment. Until then we will be working most frequently in our homeroom groups, however this week we will also begin computer and art classes. Maria, our new Spanish teacher, stopped by today to meet the children.
Bi-weekly updates to the 5/6 webpage coming...
In the next two weeks, we will begin to update our 5/6 webpage. We sit together as a team every other week and write the updates together in an effort to provide our 5/6 families with a more detailed understanding of the "how and why" of all things 5/6. Until then, look for emails like this from your child's homeroom teacher.
Again, thank you for all that you have done to help create a smooth start to the school year - from helping last Saturday to sending in extra supplies. As always, please don't hesitate to email if you have a need for clarification. It's a joy to be learning with your children!
I hope this letter finds you happy and relaxed at the end of a wonderful summer with your children. I know I’m looking forward to a few more long summer evenings and late risings. Please take the time to read through this letter with your child especially the last page detailing important reminders and upcoming events.
Our new school year begins on Wednesday, August 17, and is a half day of school beginning at 1 pm. We will start our activities in our homeroom then move into group activities later in the afternoon.
We have a kind, thoughtful and cheerful group of rising sixth graders eager to welcome and learn about our new fifth and sixth grade classmates. I love teaching this grade level, because your children are inquisitive, passionate, capable and truly engaged in critical and abstract thinking while still having one foot in the wonder and possibility of childhood.
Our teaching team has been working hard this summer to help your students have powerful, playful and relevant experiences. We are excited to work together across a variety of curricular areas, helping students know themselves as learners, understand the world around them, and forge strong relationships with peers and adults. Even though I am your child’s homeroom teacher, they will get to know Lynn, Lauren, and Rachel as the year unfolds. Also, Kateri Saeks, a mother of two Horizons graduates and longtime paraprofessional, will support me in the classroom in the mornings.
I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself, since there are many families that I don’t know yet. This will be my twenty first year teaching at Horizons, where I’ve taught ⅘ and 6/7/8 grades. Over the past 26 years, I have have taught all grades from K-12 in private and public schools and almost exclusively in multi-age settings. Decades ago, I studied architecture at Princeton University before moving to Boulder to run and to complete a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Colorado-Denver. This summer I spent a few weeks gazing at the Pacific Ocean in southern California and volunteering at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southern Utah with my daughters. To further my professional interests, I read up on creating cultures of thinking in preparation for a course Lynn, Rachel, and I will be taking through the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
In the classroom, I try to encourage students’ natural curiosities, talents and interests while helping them explore new territories and become more competent communicators in all areas — as critical thinkers; compassionate leaders and group participants; developers of self awareness, courage, and resilience; and expressive artists. I work hard to embed engaging projects and explorations with strong skill sets. My intention is to create a kind and calm classroom in an environment with clear expectations and tools for high personal achievement.
Our first few weeks of school will focus upon easing into the school year and building a safe learning community, setting routines, rituals and expectations. Over the month, we will be settling into a more regular schedule and delving deeper into more academic content. Our fifth and sixth grade teams has a website and we post updates every two weeks. You can find programmatic information on the ⅚ team website as well. We’ll be sending information in the weeks to come regarding our daily schedule and content studies, volunteer opportunities, ways to support learning at home, as well as homework routines.
Fifth and sixth graders can bring snacks to class daily. Protein and a healthy, plentiful lunch (for rapidly growing bodies) really helps their days unfold smoothly! We’ll enjoy plenty of exercise and a few more hot days of summer, so please remember to send a labeled water bottle to school.
This grade level can feel academically and socially challenging for children, but they adapt well and quickly, and we do our best to support them. I value communication with families and students, so please don’t hesitate to contact me, or any other teacher, if you have any questions or concerns. The best way to communicate with me is via email, so that we can set up a time to meet, if necessary. The fifth and sixth grade team strongly requests that you attend the Back to School Night to learn about our philosophy, curriculum, as well as details about our outdoor education trip. It also provides us with a chance to meet one another and answer questions.
Finally, I kindly request that you fill out the attached questionnaire (if you have not done so already) and get it to me before the beginning of school.
Thanks for your support!
Important Reminders and Dates
All School Work day – 1-4 pm, please come if you are able. I have a list of tasks that I need help with . If I have not met you or your child, this afternoon provides an opportunity for us to get to know one another. Also, if one of you has carpentry skills, I could use your help and advice on a project I’m considering. Please contact me and let me know.
First Day of School – 1-3:30 pm. Please bring a water bottle that you can leave at school.
First full day of school doors open at 8:20 am. Bring the following:
In addition, the 5/6 team is looking for a couple of items to be used in class during the first two weeks of school:
Sunflowers for a special beginning of the year ceremony the kids participate in on Friday 8/26. Might you have an abundance growing in your yard or field? If so, please contact me. We're looking for 80 flowers in total and this message is going out to all 5/6 Homerooms. However, if you are only able to get 20 for the homeroom, let me know.
Back to School Night, 6:30 pm
No School – Labor Day
Outdoor Ed – 5 & 6 graders to 100 Elk, Buena Vista. Details and comprehensive packet will be distributed on Friday 8/19/16 - Please ask your child for the packet as there are a number of forms to complete.