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 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

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.  
Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October 5, 2016 News

Thank you in advance for attending conferences.  I love this time of year because the children are setting their own goals and working toward being more responsible and accountable.  They took goal setting seriously and are excited to share them with you. 

In math, we are learning many different addition and subtraction mental math strategies.  Many of these strategies are introduced in the first and second grade curriculum, so in a sense, we are doing a little bit of “catch up”; however, the conversations are rich and meaningful.  We will continue to practice these strategies next week.   

Yesterday, your child brought home the first Word Masters list.  As I mentioned at Back-to-School Night, all Breck third graders participate in three “meets” that deal with vocabulary words and analogies.  We will look at how to use a dictionary to look up the new words and will talk about different strategies to practice the definitions of the words.  The work on the words is primarily done at home.  At school we will work on the concept of analogies and practice solving analogies in many ways.  Each night, the children will have two or three words to learn (you will see this in the planner next week).  This helps break down the large task of learning all 25 words at once.  As the test gets closer I will send home practice Word Masters tests so that you can see the format and strategize with your child.  Please keep the vocabulary list hand and practice the words with your child so (s)he is prepared for the first “meet” on Monday, December 5th.  The following two meets will be cumulative, so keep this first list in a safe place so your child can practice these words.  We will practice the analogy part here at school. 

Next Tuesday, October 11th is our next Community Meeting for the kick-off of our new C.A.R.E. theme, Participation.  Your child is encouraged to wear his/her new C.A.R.E. t-shirt with non-uniform pants (jeans, etc.).  The shirts will come home today with your child.

Upcoming date to remember: Picture retakes are on Monday, October 17th.  Please be sure to send in the old package with your child.  Hopefully, your child’s picture envelope will arrive soon! 

On the horizon: our second field trip is Wednesday, October 19th to Gibbs Farm.  This is another all-day trip, complete with sack lunches.  Again, it is a non-uniform day for the children and the majority of our time is spent outside.  Children should dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes.