Monday, September 26, 2016

Math Fact Practice

Hi Families,

Today, new on your child's weekly homework sheet, is the addition of fact practice. Your child is expected to practice at least 3 times a week for 5-10 minutes and record which method they used to practice. Here are the few examples we talked about today (and soon we will be adding to this list):

  • Big Brainz
  • Multiplication War (all you need is a deck of cards and a partner)
  • Cribbage 
  • Skip count on a calculator (7+7+7+7...)
  • Flash Cards

Friday, September 9, 2016

Outside Building

Hi Everyone,

This afternoon, after out first visit to the garden (picking and eating cherry tomatoes), we traveled to the woods. We used the woods as a way to learn about each other. The only requirement: build something that connects to you in some way!

After just 15 minutes, we saw some really cool creations and not to mention, it was a blast to watch them be imaginative in this space. After building, we traveled to each student's space to hear a quick blurb about what they built and how it connected to them.

It was such a fun, creative afternoon!

Growth Mindset

Hi Families,

Yesterday we spent time learning about what a growth mindset is. This was a new concept for many students. The idea behind a growth mindset is that no one is born smart. Instead, we have the ability to try hard in order for our brains to grow and get stronger.

We read the book The Most Magnificent Thing and it talks about a girls who has a wonderful idea. She is going to make the most magnificent thing.  She knows just what to do to make it and she has all the materials. She makes things all the time, so she thinks easy-peasy! But making it isn't easy and she tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, she gets really, really mad. So mad that she quits. Her dog though (her assistant) convinces her to go for a walk and she comes back to her project with new enthusiasm and gets it just right!

After reading, we talked about the girl's struggles and how she overcame them and how that connects with a growth mindset. We also connected this to the classroom and how even when things get hard, I expect effort and a positive attitude! We modified the phrase "practice makes perfect" to "practice makes progress."

My hope is that each child works to challenge themselves this year and believe in themselves in ALL subject areas!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Classroom Economy

Dear Families:

Our class will implement a classroom economy system this school year. It’s an excellent tool for teaching financial responsibility along with many other things, and I think your child will enjoy it! Thank you for helping them with their homework last night. I loved hearing about how you keep your jobs. They really took away that it takes responsibility, hard work, and kindness to be successful at your job.

I want to let you know how it works and some of you may already know. Using classroom “currency,” students earn money for jobs and pay rent for their desks or buy them (don't worry- no matter what, your child will have a desk!). They can earn bonus cash by helping others, earning table points, bringing in homework, being punctual and more. On the other hand, students who don’t meet classroom expectations may receive a fine. That could happen, for example, if they don’t complete assignments, don’t listen when other students are speaking, have a messy desk, or are talking in the hall. They could also be fined if they don’t have homework without a note or are missing their name on a paper. The classroom economy helps children to learn valuable life skills such as organization, the value of saving, and responsibility. Rather than being told about the importance of these skills, they actually experience them. In addition, the system fits in well with the other parts of our curriculum.

We’ll also have a little fun with it! After paying rent, students can save money to spend at weekly auctions where they get to bid on items. These items will be tickets such as, work in the hallway, have lunch with Mrs. Fier, use Mrs. Fier's chair, sit next to a friend for the day, and much more.  The children will certainly enjoy themselves, and I know you will appreciate the skills and knowledge they learn along the way. Our system is based on the “My Classroom Economy” program developed as a volunteer project by employees of Vanguard.

Don’t be surprised if your child comes home one day with questions about paying rent, or regrets about overbidding for an auction item. You might find it a great opportunity to have a thoughtful discussion about financial responsibility. I’m really excited to begin and I think the kids are too.

Today, they learned about the program we will use and filled out their very first job application.

If you have any questions about the classroom economy, please feel free to contact me.


Mrs. Fier

Tonight's Homework Explained

Hi Everyone,

An explanation of tonight's homework: notebook decorations

By Monday, I am asking that students bring in flat decorations for their writer's notebooks.  We will be decorating in class on Monday afternoon.  These decorations need to include things that represent who your child is and what they like! Examples of things to bring in include:

  • stickers, 
  • photographs, 
  • images printed out, 
  • special scrapbook paper (for the background, but I will also have choices available), 
  • drawings,
  • washi tape,
  • postcards
Students will be required to have their name, so some may want to bring letter stickers if those are available at home too.  Please do not make any special trips out shopping... use what you have available.

Here are two examples of writer's notebooks that I have created in the past to give you a clearer idea of what we will be doing :)