Sojourner Classroom Newsletter !

! Newsletter
April 2016
The Sojourner school mission is to recognize and develop all
intelligences of students from varied backgrounds to their
fullest intellectual, social and emotional potential.
Testing Dates
Why Everyone Needs to Know!
Dear Sojourner Families,
In an effort to provide information about
what is happening in Sojourner classrooms in the
most timely manner, we have switched (back) to a
separate newsletter from classroom teachers.
We hope you enjoy learning about what is
going on at Sojourner, and invite you to read about
the activities, events, and important learning at all
The Transitional and Intermediate classrooms will
begin testing next month. We have created a
schedule where students will only take a portion of
a test each day, and are not testing every single
day. We also do not want students to test more
than one hour each day, which means spreading
the tests out over several weeks.
dates to remember.
During this time, access to the Transitional/
Intermediate Quad will be limited. Volunteers in
these two classrooms will not be needed on days
we are scheduled to test, unless one of the teachers
contacts you directly. Primary classroom volunteers
may not be able to access the copy machine area on
these days, and should not attempt to enter this
area of the school if the “Testing” signs are posted.
With warm regards,
Transitional Testing Dates
May 9-June 3
levels and in every classroom.
You will still receive a school newsletter with
information from the office and school district
announcements/information, as well as important
The Sojourner Teaching Staff
We Love Our Volunteers!
Please stop by the Primary Quad this week for a
treat! Sojourner students created some special art
pieces for you to take home, and Sojourner staff
has some treats for you to enjoy!
Intermediate Testing Dates
May 9-May 25
These dates are subject to change, and the window
may need to be extended depending on student
absences. If you need to know the testing schedule
for a particular day, please contact the teachers in
Transitional or Intermediate.
Yours respectfully, Mrs. Barnes, Mrs. Finn, Mrs. Peck, and Mrs. Wear
Wow, I cannot believe I
am currently typing in the
APRIL newsletter. Where
has this school year gone?
This month we are
getting into a jump rope unit.
We will be working hard on
regular jumping, as well as
learning how to turn long
ropes for various games
(including “Double Dutch” at
the intermediate level). Do
not be surprised if your kids
start asking you to get them
a jump rope as the unit
We are also moving
into a time when the weather
gets better and the sun starts
shining more; as this happens,
please remember to have
your students wear the
appropriate shoes and
clothes, as Sojourner
students exercise every day!
Have a great month
Chad McGowan
Happy spring Sojourner
We’ve been busy
learning, playing and creating
here in the Flow Center.
There have been some
fun science experiments that
all ages have been enjoying,
like Name that Scent Test,
Lego Robotics and listening to
your heart with stethoscopes.
These experiments are a great
challenge for students, testing
their senses and patience.
We’ve had many fun art
projects as well. We just
finished the last touches
painting a funky old chair the
Cordova family donated to the
Flow Center. A colorful addition
to our classroom. You’re
awesome Cordova family!
We want to thank all of
the families for the consistent
stream of donations this year.
The kids love to create and
always get big smiles on their
faces when they see new and
interesting materials to work
with. Thanks Di Pietrantanio
Family for the new sewing
machine! It has been such a
blessing for the kids. They are
getting better and better at
sewing little pillows and bags.
Mrs. Morse gets a big shout
out as well for her classroom
gifts of new games and
science much fun!
Last but definitely not least a
big thank you to Carol Fyfield
for her consistent volunteering
in the Flow Center. The kids
love her and love to learn from
Enjoy the sunshine and
stop and smell the lilacs!
A Word From Mr. W.
I was at the gym this
morning working out when
the weather report on one of
the billion TV’s they have
there came on. This week we
are going to hit the 70
degree mark for the first
time in 160 days! It has felt
like forever since we had
some really good weather, so
I am excited to see this thing
they call a sun. (I had
thought it was a myth or
urban legend, but there
actually is one!).
With the weather improving
and spring upon us, this is a
great time for our kids to
reacquaint themselves with
the outdoors and play.
Exercise, fresh air and sun
are so important to our kid’s
physical and mental well
being. Movement is a
deterrent to a lot of physical
and mental issues including
obesity, depression and
anxiety. Our kids need to
move away from the TV and
into the real world. (I am
not saying no TV or video
games, I value my life at
school. Just everything in
moderation). Make sure
your kids are moving at least
30 minutes a day at home.
Movement can include
playing with friends, riding
bikes or scooters, taking
walks or playing tag. Reintroduce your kiddos to the
sun, get them outside as the
weather improves and
remember that big bright
thing in the sky is the sun,
enjoy it!
Reading-Powerful words from amazing minds!
Intermediate students are learning to infer the theme of a story. To do this, readers must use the text evidence
(words, actions, pictures and ideas) from a story to determine the big life lesson or underlying message the author wants
us to learn. Using the story Freedom Summer, by Deborah Wiles, we learned to consider our emotional responses to a story,
because we are most likely reacting to the theme. Students wrote responses that merged their thinking with evidence from
the text. Here are some excerpts from student responses to Freedom Summer.
• “It was so upsetting that so many people, maybe even my ancestors, were so horrible that they would racially segregate
people just because of how they looked.”
• “I think the theme is friendship because John Henry and Joe went into the store together, ignoring the rule, which was
dangerous and shows friendship is a strong force.”
• “When they filled the pool with tar it made me really mad and sad.”
• “I hate it when people judge others. It makes me emotional. I have mixed feelings of anger, sad, and disgust.”
• “I was also thinking that the story was teaching us that friends should stick up for each other and stand by their side
and be there for them.”
• “I infer the theme is segregation and friendship. John Henry wants to go to the pool, but once he gets there they are
filling it up with tar.”
Look for your child’s response. It was sent home in their take home folder.
Fourth grade students are beginning a new math unit this month. You can read the overview here and take a look
at the different addition and subtraction strategies students will be using here. Students will learn to add and subtract “the
way we learned in school,” but are expected to understand and use several other strategies as well.
If your child needs some extra practice adding and subtracting multi-digit numbers, please check out the math
section of the Intermediate page on the school website. The games and tools have been specifically chosen to support what
we are learning at school.
If you have found that the math homework is not a good fit for your child (too easy, too hard, found something better),
please contact Mrs. Barnes and let her know you no longer wish to receive the fourth grade math homework packets. It
costs money to run them, and we don’t want to fill your recycling bin with things you don’t want.
Fifth graders are working on multiplying and dividing whole numbers and decimals this month. Currently, they are
learning strategies for multiplying larger numbers, including the standard algorithm very similar to “the way we learned.”
They should be able to connect the more visual partial product strategy to this algorithm method, which has led to many
“aha!” moments in class. (Overview of Unit) To read more about how arrays can help students have a better understanding
of multiplication and division thinking, take a look at the following article: Arrays, Multiplication, and Division
Writing/Integrated Studies
In Integrated Studies, we are moving ahead in history into the exploration of the Pacific Northwest by sea. Students
are meeting many explorers and keeping logbooks of all the findings. Most common quest: to find that Northwest Passage!
As we log our findings, we’re fine tuning our note-taking skills and working together to edit work for spelling, punctuation,
and capitalization. Logbooks will be shared at Conferences in May (along with many other examples of student work).
We had a glorious weather day on Friday for our Fort Vancouver field trip. Students saw first hand the base of the
Hudson Bay Company and home of Dr. John McLoughlin. This will be an important reference for students as we move
forward in learning about our state’s history. Thanks to our fabulous chaperones for joining us on this trip!
The primary students have started
a new integrated unit of study about
birds. The students will gain an
understanding of what makes birds
unique members of the animal kingdom.
They will receive an introduction to the
types of bird adaptations, including
beaks, feathers and feet. Students will
practice using observations of body
shapes, relative size and feather coloring
markings to identify birds. They will gain
understanding of how birds’ adaptations
help them to survive and thrive in a
variety of habitats as well as learn
about how birds build nests and use
songs to communicate. The “big
questions” that we will be researching
1. How do birds “work?”
2. How are birds important to our
3. How are birds important in each
type of habitat/culture?
We had planned on taking a couple of
field trips connected to our integrated
studies unit, but unfortunately all
facilities have been booked for spring.
We will continue to search for
experiences that will enhance our unit
of study. We have taken a virtual field
trip to East Cascades Audubon Society
in Sisters, Oregon and have been
watching a live stream of Petra the
Golden Eagle lay on her nest. We had an
exciting lunch break the other day when
we saw her baby eaglet peek its head
out of the nest. Go to http:// to watch at
home. I was just reading comments on a
blog and it seems that 2 eggs have
hatched! Go check it out.
Primary students are currently writing
personal narratives and preparing to sit
in the Author’s Chair to share their
stories with their classmates. Each
student chose one thing they did over
Spring Break to write about using
transition words and “juicy details”. We
can’t wait to learn about everyone’s
spring break fun! !
Our next focus will be to dive deeper
into the world of nonfiction. First, we
will spend a great deal of time reading
and discussing nonfiction books identifying the features that authors
use and how they help us as readers.
Then, we will transfer all that we learn
into our writing - creating non-fiction
books to add to our classroom (& home)
Dear Parents,
It's that time of the year again, when past
due books need to come back to the
library. Please check with your child
should you receive a note and ask them to
please return their books. Also, LOST
book fines should be paid to the office.
Remember, all non returned books or fines
roll into the next school year.
Any questions should be directed to me at I'll be glad to help
in any way I can.
Thank you, Shelly Gross
It is hard to believe that it is already April. Spring is an exciting time of year. We are looking forward to what is in store for
Projects Project walk was on Friday April 8th. It is always exciting to see all the products and get a sneak peek into
what their presentations will be all about. They were incredible, as always, and we all learned a lot from each other.
Presentations are starting today! We can’t wait to learn from your child. Congratulations to you, the parents, for making it
through projects! We know it is a lot of work, but hopefully you see as good work. Time spent together to learn about
something that your child is interested in, what could be better?!
Reading We just finished creating book dioramas based on a book of their choice. Hopefully they brought them home in
one piece this past Friday and you were able to see and hear about it. They focused on characters, setting, and
summarizing the book. They were incredible and the students were happy to get creative.
2nd Grade Math We are starting a new unit. Here is a PDF overview of the unit we will be starting.
3rd Grade Math Our current unit focuses on how to tell time and calculate elapsed time, measure mass and volume to
solve problems, and model and compare fractions in different ways. Please see the Unit 4 overview to learn more about this
unit of study. As a part of Number Corner, we are brushing up on our multiplication combinations, and soon will add division.
If your child is not yet comfortable solving single-digit multiplication problems from memory, now is a good time to make that
a part of their daily routine. Counting by different single digit numbers (for example, by 4s: 4, 8, 12, 16, etc.) is a good way
to further understand that multiplication is repeated addition. Making the connection that multiplication and division are
inverse operations is critical as well. For example, 3 x _ = 12 is related to 12 ÷ 3 = __. Please support your child by setting
aside time for regular practice of these combinations.
Field Trip On May 17th our class will take a field trip to see the Oregon Children’s Theatre production of Roald Dahl’s
novel, James and the Giant Peach. We are reading the book aloud during lunch, and the class is thoroughly enjoying it. We
hope that you will be able to join us as a chaperone. We will send home information soon about how to volunteer as a
chaperone, and we will randomly select names if more than 10 parents are interested. Please make sure that your
volunteer clearance is up to date, as we can only take those who have completed the background check in the past 3
Integrated Studies We are wrapping up a unit of study on magnets. See the photos below from our in-class OMSI
“field trip” when we returned from Spring Break. This has been an engaging study of the concepts of force and motion as
we learn how magnets attract and repel based on polarity.
Please see our Transitional classroom website every Sunday evening or Monday morning to see what is in store
At this time of year in the Orff classroom, the students
and I are reaping the benefits of our work together. I
am seeing and hearing competence everywhere…and
it’s wonderful! You will hear and see for yourself at
the upcoming Spring Celebration. Here is a preview of
our performances:
The Primary class will be singing four songs: ” Bling
Blang,” “Take You Ridin’ in the Car,” “Coqui,” and
“Alphabet Soup.”
The Transitional class will be performing two pieces,
“Shepherd’s Hey” and “Old Man Mosie.” “Shepherd’s
Hey” is an old Morris dance from England. You will
hear recorders, celli, bells,and xylophones. Of course,
there will also be dancing. “Old Man Mosie” is a folk
song in a jazzy setting. You will hear singing,
xylophones, snare drum, and cymbals. The students
will be performing their own choreography. We will
also sing lovely a Spanish song called “Mira Que
The Intermediate class is also performing two pieces
and a song. We will perform the folk song,
“Shenandoah” on soprano, alto and tenor recorders
plus cello. Our other piece is “Hambone,” a much
loved traditional African American song. In this jazz
setting of the song, we'll sing and also perform on
xylophones, tambourines, body percussion, and
cymbal. You will hear some wonderful improvisation.
The dance choreography is by the students. Finally, we
will sing a nine part canon by W.A. Mozart.
See you at the Spring Celebration!
Friday, April 29th at 5:30.
Rex Putnam High School
PLEASE invite your family and friends to this wonderful
Sojourner concert. You will be amazed at how much the
students have improved. I am so proud of them!
The Primary children will surprise you with lovely songs
with various rhythms. Each group of Transitional students will
play a classical song, an American folk song, and either the
fiddle tune “Boil Dem’ Cabbages” or the fun song “We Will
Rock You.” The Intermediate students will perform either
“Pink Panther” or “Star Wars.” Each group will play a
classical piece from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, plus a Bach
Minuet or a fast American fiddle tune. The students have
been working on intonation and different bow techniques,
and they are sounding great! You will not want to miss this
upcoming concert!!!
IMPORTANT: Please keep your child’s left-hand
fingernails short! Their long nails are wearing out and ruining
our violin strings. I do not have time in class to trim
everyone’s fingernails, so please cut them every weekend.
Thank you.
HELP: We are missing over 3 dozen music folders!
Maybe you could search every corner of your house and
hopefully find some extras. Most of them are plain green or
purple. I would really appreciate it if you could return them to
the violin room as soon as possible.
LOAN PROGRAM: Do not let the violins get too hot or
cold. Never leave them in the car for too long. Extreme
temperatures can wreak havoc on wooden instruments. Cold
temperatures can cause cracks to form. The hot weather can
ruin varnish, strings, bow hair, and can even melt the glue
that holds the violin together.
Remind your child to be very careful with the instruments on
the bus and at home.
Please remember to return the violins and music folders
early or on time. They are due by 8 AM every Wednesday.
No one will take violins home on April 27th, because we
need all of them for the celebration concert. The last day to
take home a violin is May 25th, 2016. We will not send
instruments home in June.
VOLUNTEERS: I desperately need parents to help
volunteer during my violin classes. We also need help
loading instruments into the U-Haul van on Friday, April 29,
after school at 2:45 PM. We will also need some different
parents to help load-up at Putnam after the celebration
concert, and then unload at Sojourner school. Email or call if
you would like to help, it is easy and fun.
Have a wonderful April, and I hope to see you at
Jan Manselle (503)869-0505