Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Progress Report Update

At the end of this week, your child's first semester progress report will arrive in your homes.  It's always a great time to reflect on all that our students have accomplished . . . both as learners, friends, and classroom citizens.  You may notice that there are several markers in the Mathematics section of the report that are marked as "not introduced".  As you know, we have shifted our curriculum to Math In Focus (MIF), which has a different emphasis in content and sequence.  We will be revising the math section of our progress report for next year, giving us this year to implement MIF and identify our priority learning objectives in the curriculum.  Please refer to the narrative comments to gauge your child's progress in math this year.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Thursday, December 8, 2016

December 9, 2016 News

WOW!!!  What incredible scores on this week’s Word Masters challenge!  Your children seemed so proud of themselves.  They had an incredible time practicing the words with “Quizlet Live.”  What a motivating game to help study the words!  Be sure to ask your child how to play the game.  Our next “meet” will take place on February 21st.  Some of the vocabulary words from the first list may appear on the second and third meets, so children should continue to practice the words.  The second list of words came home on Wednesday.  Like with the first set of words, we will practice 2-3 each night to help break up the task of learning the new vocabulary words.  This process will begin after we return from winter break. 

Next Thursday, December 15th, is the annual Holiday Program in the Chapel.  The program for the whole Lower School community (Pre-4) will begin at 6:30pm.  Children should dress in semi-dressy attire and arrive to the classroom no earlier than 6:15pm.  ALSO, if you wouldn’t mind helping your child clean out his/her locker before or after the program, that would be wonderful!  Children can leave their winter gear (for Friday’s recess), but everything else non-essential should go home.   

Speaking of winter gearthe temperature sure has dropped outside this week!  I think we were all in shock on Tuesday as the blustery winds almost carried us away!  Now is a great time to make sure your child has all his/her winter gear available each day.  This includes: winter coat, snow pants, snow boots, hat, mittens or gloves, and anything else to keep your child warm.  We haven’t had much snow yet, but it’s only a matter of time, right? 

Our Holiday Party is next Friday, December 16th, from 9:00-10:00am.  Like Halloween, all third grade classrooms will be open for business and the children can visit each room.  This is a non-uniform day for everyone. 

Lost and Found items will be set out on tables in front of Gym C on Thursday and Friday of next week.   Please ask your children to check for their lost belongings before winter break.  

We have been busy bees working on a variety of writing projects.  The children were eager to take a couple of weeks and work on their own creative writing.  Most are writing fiction stories, and they have enjoyed the time to write freely.  After winter break, we will learn how to write a good paragraph.  This will lead us into informational writing. 

Tomorrow, we will take our last Word Study test until January.   

In math, we wrapped up our subtraction chapter, and the children have enjoyed being able to find the difference vertically.  After winter break, we will study bar modeling (this is a new concept that is introduced in the 2nd Grade curriculum of Math in Focus) before we learn about multiplication.  We will be using some of the 2nd Grade curriculum to teach bar modeling, as this would have been introduced then.  We will also be using some of the 2nd Grade curriculum with multiplication and division, as the 3rd Grade curriculum begins with the factors of 6-9. 

News flash: the children will have one last skating day after winter break on Tuesday, January 3rd.  After skating, the children will be in the Anderson Gym and will need tennis shoes.    

This will be the last blog entry until next year!  I hope you have a restful and meaningful holiday season ~ enjoy the time with family and friends.  Happy New Year!  School will resume on Tuesday, January 3rd.  
Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 2, 2016 News

I hope you had a restful and memorable Thanksgiving holiday!  The children enjoyed Grandparents and Special Friends Day with their guests last week.  They seemed proud to share Breck with these special guests.

I know it hasn’t felt like winter lately, but please help your child to dress appropriately for outdoor recess (winter boots, snow pants, mittens/gloves, hat). 

News flash: the children will begin skating in P.E. tomorrow!  Please help your child to bring a skating bag with: skates, skate guards, and helmet.  They will also need snow pants, coats, and mittens/gloves. 

This week, we wrapped up our personal narrative study in Writer’s Workshop.  Your child brought home his/her published book on Wednesday.  They are to share it with you and there is a comments section.  The children are now enjoying some time for creative/choice writing.  After winter break, we will study paragraphs.  We will use colors to help us distinguish the different parts of a paragraph.  Our knowledge of paragraphs will allow us to practice informational writing. 

We will have one more Word Study word sort before Winter Break.  The children will receive their new word sort tomorrow and the three choices and test are due next Friday, December 9th.

We completed our addition chapter in Math this week and now we are solving subtraction problems (with and without regrouping).  We will continue this work next week. 

Our first Word Masters “meet” is on Monday.  We have spent a lot of time practicing our vocabulary words and analogies.  Your child will be able to bring home the test next week.  If (s)he chooses, your child can bring it back to put in his/her portfolio. 

On Thursday, December 16th, we will celebrate the holiday season with the annual Holiday Program.  The program for the whole Lower School community (Pre-4) will begin at 6:30pm.  Children should dress in semi-dressy attire and arrive to the classroom no earlier than 6:15pm.   

Upcoming partyon Friday, December 17th, we will have our Holiday Party from 9:00-10:00am.  Like Halloween, all third grade classrooms will be open for business and the children can visit each room.  This is a non-uniform day for everyone. 

Winter Break will begin at the end of the day on December 17th and school resumes on Tuesday, January 3rd.
Thursday, November 17, 2016

November 18, 2016 News

Tomorrow, the children get to wear their pajamas as one of the incentives from the “Breck Scares Hunger” event.  Children may wear slippers, but keep in mind that we will still have our regular schedule so they will need tennis shoes for PE and recess.  We are also participating in the “Hour of Code” tomorrow morning.  Third graders will be working with the “Flappy Bird” application.  Pictures can be found on the "Photos" page of the blog.

Don’t forget that our first Word Masters “challenge meet” is Monday, December 5th.  We continue to practice with analogies at school.  You can help your child by continuing to study the 25 vocabulary words and their meanings. 

We are still in the midst of publishing in Writer’s Workshop.  Hopefully, the finished products will be done next week.  After that, we will dive in paragraph writing!

There will be no word study until after the Thanksgiving holiday.

We have spent this week adding with and without regrouping in math.  Your children have been so excited to finally add the numbers vertically!  They are very proficient at adding these numbers into the thousands.  Today, a few worked with sums in the ten thousands and they were amazed at themselves!  Be sure to ask your child how we used the place value chart to help solidify our place value skills.  We will wrap up this unit before we leave for the Thanksgiving holiday.  When school resumes, we will be focusing on subtraction with numbers in the thousands. 

We met with our preschool buddies this week and created “thankful turkeys.”  They will be on display inside our classroom so be sure to check them out if you are here at school.

Next week, we will celebrate our grandparents and special guests.  Wednesday’s activities are sure to be fun for students and their grandparents or special guests.  I look forward to meeting your family members and friends!  Since next week is a short one, there will be no newsletter.  I hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving and safe travels. 


Lastly, the temperatures outside this weekend are forecasted to drastically drop.  We had a good run, didn’t we?  We will talk about appropriate clothing for outdoor recess, such as a warmer coat (not just a sweatshirt or sweater), hat, scarf, and gloves/mittens (when appropriate).  As the snow begins to fall (it may be here before we know it!), snow pants and boots are necessary.  I encourage the children (and/or families) to check the weather before they come to school.  Thanks for your support!
Monday, November 14, 2016

Winter Wear Collection

 Winter Wear Wanted!

The Lower School is collecting new and gently used Winter Wear for families experiencing homelessness.  There is a need for:

  • coats
  • jackets
  • boots
  • snow pants
You can bring donations to our classroom or deliver to the "Service Shelf" located near Gym C.

The Collection runs from November 29 through December 14.  Thank you!
Friday, November 11, 2016

November 11, 2016 News

We celebrated three important historical dates in class this week.  We discussed the electoral college process to help us better understand the election.  The 41st anniversary of the disappearance of the Edmund Fitzgerald was on Thursday, November 10th.  We read the story, The Edmund Fitzgerald: Song of the Bell by Kathy-Jo Wargin and watched actual news footage from 1975.  You can listen to the song by Gordon Lightfoot here.  Today, we will celebrate Veterans Day by learning about the history of the holiday from the History Channel.  We did some reading comprehension activities to go along with this special day. 

Curriculum highlights: In Writer’s Workshop, we are learning about different kinds of leads that writers use.  We are trying our hand at writing different leads and we will begin publishing next week.  Feeder Watch also begins next week!  Our birding station is in the Loon Lodge (in the Lower School Library).  We are looking forward to recording the birds we will see at our feeders.  In Math, we went over the chapter assessment.  This was particularly challenging as the questions were more application-based of the concepts and skills the children have learned.  This is a different way of being assessed than the children are used to and we had a great conversation about how we can really think about math, rather than just compute problems.  

Repeat from last week: Grandparents and Special Friends Day is just around the corner on Wednesday, November 23rd.  If a grandparent is unable to come, your child can invite a special adult friend (aunt, uncle, neighbor, godparent, etc.)  This is a regular uniform day for Lower School students, and there will be no Extended Day, with dismissal at noon.  Your child and guest do have the opportunity to ride the bus home.  All registration is done online this year.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. 

Next Friday, November 18th, we will celebrate the “Hour of Code” with all of Lower School.  Third graders will have the chance to work with the Flappy Bird coding activity on laptops.  Your child will use his/her headphones/ear buds.  If your child does not have these, please send them in by next Friday.  On top of this fun activity, next Friday is also Pajama Day (another incentive from the “Breck Scares Hunger” event).  
Friday, November 4, 2016

November 4, 2016 News

The children had fun at the parade and party on Monday.  They were able to play Bingo, play other games, and enjoy ice cream sundaes.  Thank you to Rachel Dana, Erica Dovenberg, Brandi Garnett, and Jakk Netland for helping to make it a fun morning!  There are some pictures on the Photo page of our blog.

In Writer’s Workshop, we chose our personal narrative small moment story that we want to publish.  Next week, we will learn about different types of leads and try our hand at writing a few.  Then, we will edit and revise and begin publishing!  The children are very excited to type their stories on the computers. 

Your children have thoroughly enjoyed learning how to identify birds.  They have been busy learning about different birds we see at our feeders.  We also spent some time discussing why the leaves change color in the fall.

In Math, we spent some time looking at how we can recognize if our answers are reasonable or not.  We also reviewed all the concepts and skills we have learned with this unit and working on the chapter assessment today.  Our next unit is addition problems up to 10,000.  Your children are excited to write the problems vertically! 

We have Community Meeting is next Thursday, November 10th.  Our next C.A.R.E. theme is Responsibility.  It is a non-uniform day and your students should wear their C.A.R.E. shirts.

Grandparents and Special Friends Day is just around the corner on Wednesday, November 23rd.  If a grandparent is not able to come, your child can invite a special adult friend (aunt, uncle, neighbor, godparent, etc.)  This is a regular uniform day for Lower School students, and there will be no Extended Day, with dismissal at noon.  Your child and guest do have the opportunity to ride the bus home.  All registration is done online this year.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.  
Monday, October 31, 2016

Note from Chaplain Zosel

A note from Chaplain Zosel, a.k.a Mrs. Z

Students are invited to bring in photographs of beloved people in their lives who have died during the past year.  We have an "ofrenda" on a large table in the hall outside the chapel.  Students may bring labeled photos to school, then deliver to me or place them directly on the table.  They will be displayed through November 23rd, and returned to students by November 30th.

Our theme for Grandparents Day is "Salve! May You Be Well!"  Students are encouraged to call or email their Grandparents Day guests and ask them "What does being well mean to you?"  If students would like a response to be included in the Grandparents Day Chapel they can send the response to nan.zosel@breckschool.org by November 16th.

Thank you for all of the generous contributions to "Breck Scares Hunger!" We are still weighing and tallying, but we are hoping to meet our goal of 14,000 pounds!
Friday, October 28, 2016

October 28, 2016 News

Thank you to Anthony Braun and Sandy Stone for accompanying us to Fort Snelling today.  We learned so much at the fort.  Be sure to ask your child what (s)he learned.  You may want to prompt them about our different stations: Dred and Harriet Scott, the hospital, the blacksmith, the first school, the Indian agent office, and Colonel Snelling’s house to name a few. 

Next week, we will brush up on our birding skills as we practice for FeederWatch.  Our station will be right outside the Loon Lodge (located in the Lower School Library).  A couple weeks ago, we prepared by visiting the All About Birds website and learned how we can identify birds using four categories: size and shape, color patterns, behavior, and habitat.  The children have been busy learning Minnesota birds.  They are having fun with a bird identification activity book where they have colored the bird and researching different facts.  We will take some time to practice recognizing common MN birds that we may see at our feeders.  We will look at identification cards and interact with different bird pictures on the SmartBoard. 

We continue to discuss our Word Master words.  I am impressed with how well they have a handle on the definitions.  They are really practicing!  Soon, we will do a “Demonstration Analogy” page from the Word Masters company.  You may see these practice pages come home, too.

We have been practicing rounding numbers to the nearest ten and hundred in math this week.  Your children are doing well with these skills.  We have also talked about how we can determine if our answer to a problem is reasonable or not.  We will continue these conversations next week and review before our chapter assessment. 

Halloween is on Monday!  Your child should come dressed in his/her costume and the parade and sing-a-long (in the Anderson Gym) will begin at 8:40am.  We will have our third grade party after the sing-a-long, from approximately 9:30-10:30am.  If your child would like to bring in a change of clothes, that is totally fine! 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

October 21, 2016 News

Thank you to Brandi Garnett and Charlie Grossman for accompanying us on our field trip to Gibbs Farm.  The children learned so much about the Dakota people and the pioneers.  Did you know that a buffalo bladder was used as a drinking vessel?  Did you know that the Dakota women owned the tipi and they were responsible for setting it up and taking it down?  Did you know that the youngest child was in charge of emptying out the chamber pots each morning?  These are just a few facts we learned.  Be sure to ask your child what (s)he learned at Gibbs!  Pictures from this wonderful trip are on the Photos page of our blog. 

In math, we are learning lots of mental addition and subtraction strategies.  These include the “over-adding” and “over-subtracting” strategies, as well as the more traditional “add the tens and then add the ones” (or conversely, “subtract the tens and then subtract the ones”).  You will see these come home next week.  We will also brush up our rounding skills next week (rounding to the nearest ten and nearest hundred).  The children have commented that solving problems with the mental math strategies are “hard, but fun.”  I’ll take that as a win!

We continue to write small moments.  Soon, we will choose one “seed story” and go through the steps to publishing, which include editing and revising.  The children will be able to publish their own stories on the computers! 

To gear up for Feederwatch, we discussed a variety of ways to identify birds by watching the Inside Birding videos produced by the Cornel Lab of Ornithology.  Your children were diligent to watch these videos, taking copious notes.  (The videos can be found on our class blog if the children want to watch them again.)  Next week, we will look at the specific birds that we will see at our feeders and begin to hone in our birding skills!  

Next Thursday, October 27th we will travel to Fort Snelling all morning as a continuation of our study of the history of Minnesota.  This is a non-uniform day for the children (dress in layers and wear comfortable walking shoes).  We will return to school for lunch and our regularly scheduled afternoon classes. 

Be sure to read the entry below about “Breck Scares Hunger,” a community service opportunity! 
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Breck Scares Hunger!

Breck Scares Hunger: a community service opportunity for your family!

We wanted to make sure that EVERYONE knows they are invited to participate in "Breck Scares Hunger".  We are working together throughout all divisions to collect 14,000 pounds of food to help stock local food shelves.  

Incentives for Lower School are:
4 tons - extra recess
6 tons - The bounce house will show up at a recess
7 tons - Mr. Kim will camp out in the Headmaster's Garden, and wear pajamas all day.  Top participants will join him for breakfast, and everyone gets a pajama day!

Please bring donations to US or MS/LS entrances to be weighed on October 31November 1, or November 2, before school, from 7:45-8:30am. Donations can also be brought to school on Sunday, October 30, from 1-4 PM at the LS/MS entrance.

We can do this! Go team!
Thursday, October 13, 2016

October 14, 2016 News

Thank you for attending conferences.  The children were thrilled to “run the show” and excited to share their stars and wishes with you.

We have been busy discussing our Word Masters words each day.  The kids are absolutely fascinated when they find one in their reading!  Continue to help your child practice the words, even the ones they already know.  We will discuss analogies over the next few weeks.  We have learned that an analogy is “the relationship between two pairs of words.”  We are learning that by looking at the first set of words, you can then figure out the missing word.  There are many different kinds of analogies.  We will talk about the various ways to make analogies: synonyms, antonyms, homophones, and part/whole are just a few.  I have already shown the class the Quizlet website for practicing their Word Masters words.  There is a link on the class blog under the Language Arts websites.  One caveat is that someone else created this list so the definitions are limited in the fact that they do not include all the definitions for each word.  We talked about that as a class and decided that this would be just one way to practice the words, not the only way to practice. 

Math Night for Parents is next Tuesday, October 18th.  Cassy Turner, our faculty trainer for Math in Focus, will be here for her presentation at 6:30pm in the Chapel.  If you are unable to attend, her presentation will be videotaped and posted on the parent page of Breck’s website. 

Reminder: picture retakes are on Monday.  Please send in the old package with your child if (s)he wishes to take retakes. 

Another Reminder: next Wednesday is our field trip to Gibbs Farm.  It’s a non-uniform day with comfortable, weather-appropriate attire and walking shoes.  This day is also Stand Up Against Bullying Day and everyone is encouraged to wear orange. 

There will be no school next Thursday and Friday for Faculty Workshop.  The long weekend is a great opportunity to visit that special place for the Minnesota Amazing Race project.  In case you need help, here is a link to a website that might give ideas of where to go to explore this wonderful state in which we live:

In early November, we will begin our Citizen Science project called Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of the birds that visit feeders in backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America.  Our class will count the birds we see at the feeding station outside the library windows from November through April and post our bird count data on the Project FeederWatch website.  The data we collect will help scientists track the movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance.  It is important work, which supports the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s study of birds.  We are providing the data these ornithologists need for their study, so they don’t have to come to Breck School twice a week all winter to collect it themselves.  We do that work for them and that is why it is called Citizen Science; ordinary citizens are helping scientists.  To be successful at this, we will be learning how to identify bird species and increasing the number of birds we can ID by sight.  For more information about either the Project FeederWatch or the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, visit http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/index.html.

Lastly, Halloween is around the corner!  We will celebrate on Monday, October 31 with the parade beginning at 8:40am and our party immediately following.  In third grade, we party all together, so your children will have the freedom to visit all three classrooms as they choose.  Reminder that costumes should be school appropriate (no weapons, scary objects, or face paint).  Children may bring in a change of clothes if they want.