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March 23rd, 2020 – Unchartered Waters

Hello Families!

It is so nice to be able to communicate with you again!  I have missed your children SO MUCH during the past 2-3 weeks.  Like everyone, my head is still spinning regarding this unprecedented situation.

As you’ve gathered from the LPS communications, the next two weeks are considered “review” weeks.  The review packets can be accessed via your child’s Chromebook.  There is a lot of information included, which can seem overwhelming.  My suggestion would be to “divide and conquer.”  Review a couple of pages a day to stay sharp.  Don’t feel like you’re under pressure to complete everything.  As you know, nothing needs to be turned in, and nothing will be graded from those activities.

A good suggestion might be to have your child tell you what they remember about each concept.  The true measure of mastery is if you can explain and teach it to someone else.  Perhaps that would be the easiest way for your child to recall what he/she knows, and allow you to fill in the gaps.  I would be shocked it there weren’t gaps, to be honest.  It is so hard for kids to recall concepts from months and months ago, so don’t be alarmed if you see some confused faces.  That is normal and to be expected.

I know it’s also hard for parents to suddenly become teachers!  Never, ever fear that you aren’t helping, or that you’re doing anything to stunt their growth.  The hardest thing about teaching is conveying what we know as adults into the minds of children.  How can I say the most, while saying the least?  How can I flip that switch?  What is the one thing I can say that is going to elicit the greatest response on earth, “I get it!”  That will be OUR greatest challenge during this time.  Please know I am here to help, and will do all I can to assist.

Beginning April 6th, your child will have a daily reading and math lesson, produced by LPS.  I’m assuming these will be recorded lessons, and we will post them to their Google Classroom.  I’ll know more about that later.

Also beginning April 6th, we will be allowed to post enrichment assignments to their Google Classroom.  I am still trying to figure out what this will look like.  My goal will always be to provide assignments and lessons that can be done independently (or with moderate assistance) by your child.  My goal will be to create a daily routine they can come to expect.

In the mean time, there are a couple of things the kids can do for enrichment.  I strongly encourage reading 20-30 minutes every day.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe “Epic!” (a digital book site) can be accessed from home without a paid subscription.  However, the kids can access “Sora” through the Portal.  Just follow these steps…

1) Portal

2) Sora

3) Enter student number and password

4) Explore!

My enrichment assignments will likely include some digital books posted in their Google Classroom and/or through Sora.  If they can become familiar with how to navigate through the site, that would be awesome!

Each child also had a new Writer’s Notebook in their Chromebook bag.  I would strongly encourage daily journal writing, too.  A fun exercise might be to write about each day for 5-10 minutes.  It would be really interesting for them to go back and read their thoughts once we are passed all this quarantine.

If you’ve read this far…good job!  I feel like I haven’t been able to speak for two weeks and can finally get all this out!  🙂  I will continue to send weekly emails like this one, but I’m also exploring how to post video messages.  I think it would be reassuring for the kids to see me, and it would make me feel good getting to give them a message every week.  I’ll keep you posted on those video messages!

Thanks so much for all you are doing at this time.  I think the most important thing we can do for the kids is to offer reassurance and safety.  Spend time with them.  Read stories.  Play games.  Prioritize activities that will make them feel safe and secure.  Stressing over a school lesson is NOT ALLOWED!  🙂

Please assure your child that I am doing well, and that we will all get through this together!

Eric Wachter

March 2nd, 2020 – MAP Reading, Fossil Dig and Dr. Seuss Week

Hello Families!

This week, the kids will “march” on with week 3 of Unit 5 in reading.  We’ll practice answering and asking questions, discuss point of view and work on context clues to understand the vocabulary in our expository text stories this week.  We will have a spelling list this week, as well as the last Literacy Homework assignment.

Arnold will also celebrate Dr. Seuss this week by reading a different book each day, and with the following fun themes each day.

Monday-Hat Day (Cat in the Hat)

Tuesday-Bring a small item to share that can fit in your pocket (Wocket in Your Pocket)

Wednesday-Dress wacky with crazy, mismatched and backwards colors (Wacky Wednesday)

Thursday-Wear crazy socks (Fox in Socks)

Friday-Wear Red or Blue (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish)

The kids will also take their final MAP Reading Test on Monday and Tuesday.  This will serve as our last formative check of skills before the state reading tests at the end of March and early April.

In math class, the kids will continue to practice perimeter and area. We’ll also continue to practice our math facts and review old concepts in our daily review.  In my math class, I anticipate homework on Monday and Wednesday evenings, as well as a possible assignment Thursday.

To end the week on Friday afternoon, the kids will excavate a fossil out of a plaster of Paris mold.  It’s always a fun activity, and wraps up their study of fossils by getting messy!  I would encourage casual dress Friday afternoon, just in case the plaster gets on the kids’ clothes.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Eric Wachter