Sept 20, 2012
I am so glad that classes have begun! I am still getting used to such a large class. So far they are quiet and we haven’t had to move around in class a lot. It is almost time that we could divide the class in two,...if we had the teaching resources. However, I think the kids may like it big. It certainly makes it so that we can have good P.E. games. ...and better discussions, ..and more options for friends. ... I know there are pros and cons for having big and small groups..... Thoughts? Ideas?
Classes have just begun so there is not much to discuss, yet. I will be sending regular email updates, which will now be linked to the program website. I will also be posting ‘homework’ and extra student extension ideas there as well.
NEXT WEEK: On Tuesday, I will be giving them a math pre-assessment, as will be handing them a writing assessment. We will be talking and working through the pre-writing brainstorming as a class, then they can finish the writing at home. HOWEVER! For this to be a quality benchmark that you and your child can use to see growth over the year, I do not want you to help them with this writing (much) at home.
· Writers Workshop: I would like the students to journal or write about a topic we/you are studying everyday. If you feel they can bring their classroom journal back and forth to class every Tuesday and Thursday, then I would prefer them to do so, however of that would be difficult, then perhaps they have an additional journal at home. I will begin focusing on non-fiction writing fairly soon, after a little time with personal narrative and poetry. Non-fiction is a great way for this age level to express their opinion and to gather facts to support what they believe. I already know they are thoughtful kids with lots of strong interests and opinions.
· Common Sense Media: The curriculum from this organization is a great way to spark conversations in the classroom while helping them learn about digital citizenship. http://www.commonsensemedia.org/ . I find their beliefs and topic focuses allow for a broad variety of reflective discussions
1. We believe in media sanity, not censorship.
2. We believe that media has truly become "the other parent" in our kids' lives, powerfully affecting their mental, physical, and social development.
3. We believe in teaching our kids to be savvy, respectful and responsible media interpreters, creators, and communicators. We can’t cover their eyes but we can teach them to see.
4. We believe parents should have a choice and a voice about the media our kids consume and create. Every family is different but all need information.
5. We believe that the price for free and open media is a bit of extra homework for families. Parents need to know about the media their kids use and need to teach responsible, ethical behavior as well as manage overall media use.
6. We believe that through informed decision making, we can improve the media landscape one decision at a time.
7. We believe appropriate regulations about right time, right place, and right manner exist. They need to be upheld by our elected and appointed leaders.
8. We believe in age-appropriate media and that the media industry needs to act responsibly as it creates and markets content for each audience.
9. We believe ratings systems should be independent and transparent for all media.
10. We believe in diversity of programming and media ownership
· World History: Right now, the students are discussing together what they know about Historical Time periods. I want them to know that History is a story told from a specific perspective, gathering conclusions and ideas from facts of the past. ... and that there is always more than one perspective. We will be discussing time periods through specific themes that affect how a country becomes what it is ..and how it affected the future; wars, religion, political leaders, resources, culture, geography. Next week we will begin to explore the Silk Road, the time period that ended around 1300. Then we will rush forward. ...and more options, activities & resources will come.
CORE THURSDAY: This week we are still getting to know each other. I give group activities, and individual reflection activities that we then use again as the end of the year. I will share more as we have more classes.
CLAY CLASS: We have a generous parent donation to start us in this class! Thank you, Ann.
I met with Tamera Smith at the high school to discuss what the class would include. She is planning a 9 week course that includes 6 specific project that will help the students learn specific techniques in clay and some elements of art as well. Pinch pot teacup, lidded box, tile, frog or turtle, ...I forget the others. She is suggesting a materials fee to help with the clay and glazes.
This class will become a large portion of our Thursdays for the first semester. It will begin @ 10:30 and end right before lunch. That means that our day would be circle check in / maybe shifting to Socratic dialogues later down the road, then clay, lunch, then PE or Photography. I think it worth while for this age group. Hand work and artistic exploration at the age is a nice way to express other sides of themselves. Even though these are specific projects, there is still room for personal creativity as well.
EVENTS, FIELD TRIPS COMING UP:
· Ropes Course: Friday Sept 28. $39.00
o I do not have an updated list of who has paid. We need to receive the money, and will be paying at the time we arrive. We need to determine who will be helping with driving as well.
· Kayaking at Elkhorn Slough: Oct 11, $38.00
o We need a complete list of people and money. If we have over 24 participants, then I will need to tell Kim as soon as possible. Please sign up if your child (and you) are going.
· NOVEMBER? Any ideas? It is a short month, but I am thinking of a harvest Photography event on a Friday. ...Or we could skip a month. (We will be having an All homeschool event...)
· Berkeley Rep Play, the White Snake Dec. 6, 2011 $12.00
o Again, please sign up if you are coming, and if you have paid. We need carpools. Those that drive will get gas support from the families they are driving. I have purchased 50 tickets. I would like everyone to come who would like....
parent-led courses : Mary (is planning a sea foraging field trip; everyone is excited), Esther (Is planning a first Aid certification course; everyone love the idea), MaryZ. has two thoughts, either Yoga, which has some space limitations here, or Art based around our History theme: she and I are still ruminating about which one or when to sork these in)
Camping (Something new? Pinnacles again?, more days?) THIS TOPIC STILL NEEDS TO BE DISCUSSED, BUT START YOUR THINKING. IT WOULD BE GOOD TO TIE IN AN ACTIVITY AROUND THIS...LIKE CLIMBING? COOKING?
Field trips for the year (Art Emphasis? Tech
Museum?, Local Colleges?) THE KIDS HAVE 13 IDEAS, THE PARENTS HAVE EVEN MORE, WITH VERY LITTLE OVERLAP. WE WILL HAVE TO DISCUSS AND VOTE SOON!
(Homeless Garden, Senior Center, Holiday Adopt a family?) THIS TOPIC DID NOT GET DISCUSSED.
Taxonomy A HANDOUT WAS GIVEN AND A BRIEF INTRODUCTION. IT WOULD BE NICE TO TALK ABOUT THIS AGAIN AT A LATER DATE.
CLASS NORMS (In process) (These were created by the students)
1. Respect others
2. Pay Attention
a. Keep yourself interested
3. Treat others how THEY want to be treated.
4. Support the group
IMPORTANT DATES/ Reminders:
· Paperwork due, TOMORROW
Please when, you turn in your paperwork, the more detail the better it is for me, and your student. Please turn in a minimum of 2 work samples per subject area each attendance period. (unless you are working on a block format) Please help choose your work samples so that they can help us to see growth and progress. I will use your work samples as a portfolio Also don’t forget to fill out and sign the attendance sheet.
· NO CLASS NEXT THURSDAY, SEPT 27
· ROPES COURSE NEXT FRIDAY, SEPT 28.
o Car pools will start from the school parking lot. WE WILL LEAVE BY 8:10 SHARP!!
Otherwise, meet at the Conference Center by 8:30. A map is on the website. Please have your child wear comfortable clothing that is suitable to work in group activities and to work in a harness; no tight pants, or short shorts.
NO ONE CAN PARTICIPATE
WITHOUT A SIGNED PARENT RELEASE FORM AND CLOSED TO SHOES.
REMEMBER! Be sure students bring a lunch & shoes they can play in each school day!
Other activities options:
Capture the Flag is offered through the SLV Homeschool program, generally twice a month. There is no limit to the participants and is a wonderful way to play and get to know everyone.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING SCHOOL OR DISTRICT AUTOMATED CALLS -- PLEASE READ!
· When a School and/or District Office sends an automated call to your home and/or cell phone, it is sometimes missed and your reaction is to do a call-back. Currently, these calls would go back to the school site or district office (where the call was generated from) and the staff answering the phone would direct you to listen to your phone message or check your email. Usually the staff is inundated with many phone calls due to these missed calls. For all future school and/or district automated calls using our SchoolMessenger System, there will be a new phone number that you will see on your caller ID. This phone number will be 877-499-1139. Because you may not recognize this phone number as connected to SLVUSD, the District wanted to alert you of this change. Utilizing this new “call back” feature with SchoolMessenger will enable anyone that receives an automated call, the ability to do a call-back and listen to the messenger again.