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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

We Are Crew

Summer Learning

Some of you have asked for ideas of things to do over the summer to continue the learning and my top request for summer learning would be to read, to visit lots of great places and spend lots of time enjoying nature. If you still have time for more learning, then here are a few more ideas for summer learning that are in line with our school philosophy:


Graphic by Melissa Taylor of Imagination Soup
Need Some Good Book Suggestions? Check out these lists:
Some of Our Favorite Authors:  
Mo Willems
Jan Thomas
Jim LaMarche - 2 must reads by him are The Raft and Pond
Josh Funk
Cale Atkinson
Ryan T. Higgins
Peter Reynolds
Oliver Jeffers
Salina Yoon


For fun math practice I would recommend Bedtime Math. The idea behind this site is that just like you might read a bedtime story to your child each night, you can also do a math problem together at bedtime each night. There is a short story about a new topic each night and then three problems at various levels (Wee Ones, Little Kids, Big Kids) that go along with it. Story topics from the past have included geckos, constellations, firefighters, clothing made out of reused items, ice cubes, trampolines and much more. Click on the picture below to visit the site.


Expedition - Science and Social Studies

The Wonderopolis website posts a "wonder" a day with a huge variety of topics and then gives the answer to the question. Answers usually include text to read along with either photographs or a short video clip to help explain the topic more in-depth. Past wonders include:
Why are pandas rare?
Who was Annie Oakley?
Does hand sanitizer really work?
Why are people different colors?
How do you get allergies?
How many bees can a flower pollinate?
Why do we need trees?
Do fish sleep with their eyes open?

To visit Wonderopolis, click on the picture below.


The Kid Should See This website has a huge selection of fascinating videos on a wide variety of topics - similar to Wonderopolis but with different topics. These are perfect for curious kids to watch when it is just too hot to play outside.


National Geographic Kids has tons of videos, articles, photos, facts and links that are all very fascinating.


Writing and Spelling
One-Sentence Journals
One idea to help your child practice writing skills over the summer or any time is to have them start a one-sentence journal. It is a trend that is popular for adults right now. The idea is that one-sentence journals are a great way to keep track of happy memories or to remind yourself of those things you are grateful for but in a short and sweet way. You are more likely to write if you only feel like you need to write one sentence. (Google "one-sentence journals" for more about this idea for adults.) This idea would also work very well for kids. Have them pick out a notebook and writing utensil that they really like and ask them to write just one sentence a day. The sentences can be similar to these:

Today I found a blue feather.
I helped my mom bake cookies.
My dad read a chapter of Clementine to me tonight.
I fell off my bike and scraped my knee.
I saw a ladybug in the backyard today.
I learned that hummingbirds can fly forwards, backwards, sideways and upside down today.

The sentences can be on any topic. Doing just one sentence a day can help a child practice handwriting, spelling, spatial layout on a page or line, using punctuation and capital letters correctly and much more. Some children might want to draw a picture or tape an item into the journal as an illustration. Some children might want to write more than one sentence. Anything goes as long as the child enjoys it and writes (at least) one sentence a day.

This could also be a great family idea. You could have a family journal and take turns writing sentences in it. Then you would have a great family memory book. The sooner you start, the more memories your child will collect and the more their writing will improve.

Below are a few ideas that you can do at home to help your child work on spelling.

First, I wanted to share this article about spelling again:
Why is My Kid Allowed to Make Spelling Mistakes

Commercial Board Games
Have a family game night and play a board game with word play like Scrabble, Scrabble Jr., Boggle, Boggle Jr, Upwords, Bananagrams, Zingo, Word Yahtzee, and many more.

Other Word Play Games
You can also do word searches, crossword puzzles, hangman (or our version called, Melting Snowman which I will teach the crew this week) or other games that just need a paper and pencil. You can buy books of this type of puzzle or you can go online and print some off. Also, many of these games have online versions that are fun to try, too.

You can also just write a long word on a piece of paper and see how many shorter words you can make using just the letters in that word.

Games to Play in the Car
You can have a spelling bee in the car and give each person a word to spell that is at their level.

You can say a word like "hat" and say what would that word be if I changed the "h" to a "c", to an "f" and so on. Experiment with changing beginning sounds, ending sounds and middle sounds.

Play a game based on word families. Name a word family like the "ate" family. Go around the car and have each person say another word in that family: late, skate, fate, date, gate, and so on.

Online Games
Search for word games on your computer, iPad or smart phone for your child to play. There are many, many variations out there.

Be Creative
Make up your own games. Anything that makes kids think and talk about words and how they are spelled will help.

The Resources for Students Page (on Our Crew Blog)
On this page you will find links to i-Ready along with many other math and reading websites that we use at school. Your child will know how to use these sites once you get them to that page. i-Ready will be available to use for math and reading lessons until June 30th. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Thank You!

We have amazing families at Renaissance. I need to thank each and every one of you for stepping up and jumping in and volunteering to do so many thankless tasks this year. I have been so lucky this year to have all of your support and help that was given so cheerfully. It has made a huge impact on me and on our whole crew of students. The following list is far from complete but shows you just how much you have all done for our crew this year.
Thank you for:
  • Chaperoning Voyages – which includes so many things from being responsible for kids, carrying gear, being role models, helping kids with gear, helping with meals, giving up some sleep to tend to sick kids and/or homesick kids, bonding with the kids and providing emotional support to kids, teachers and other chaperones
  • Helping with the gear check at home
  • Helping load and unload gear
  • Chaperoning other field work experiences
  • Running classroom parties
  • Sending in supplies to help make the parties a success
  • Doing clerical work (Thursday folders, etc) for me and filing books in the book room
  • Coming in to help with students in class during Exploration Stations and Math
  • Being an audience for students during Writer’s Workshop and Reader's Workshop
  • Belaying for the climbing wall
  • Attending all of the various trainings and meetings
  • Keeping up with all of the many communications sent home (This is no small task when you are in my crew!)  :)
  • Organizing and planning school-wide activities like Life is Art, Teacher Appreciation Month, Challenge Day and more
  • Reading with your child and sending them to school each day well prepared and ready to learn
I am sure that this list is not complete but I do want you to know that I am aware of how hard you all work and how much time you put in to make our crew and our school better. It has such a positive impact on all of the students and all of us as a crew. Thank you.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Reading for Fun

The video below is a moving comic by Dav Pilkey about what it is like to learn to read and/or to be a struggling reader. It is short and so worth your time. If you get this post by email, you will need to click through to the blog to view the video.