Sojourner Classroom ! 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 Physical Education ! 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 progresses!!! 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 everyone. ! Chad McGowan ! Flow Happy spring Sojourner families! 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 toys..so 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 her. 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! Intermediate 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. Math 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! ! Primary 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 are: 1. How do birds “work?” 2. How are birds important to our earth? 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:// www.goldeneaglecam.com/ 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) libraries. ! Library 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll be glad to help in any way I can. ! Thank you, Shelly Gross Transitional 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 us. ! 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 years. ! 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 ! Orff 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 Bella.” ! 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 ! Violin 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 Celebration! ! Jan Manselle (503)869-0505 !!