Dates to note in March
New Afternoon Schedule
2:35-3:35 Structured Homework and Snack: We will continue to have a silent structured homework time and provide help as needed. Students have access to computers during this time and we are excited to have even more computers for students to use which will give more students the opportunity to use a computer for homework time.
3:40-3:50 Team Meeting: All students will attend the team meeting which promotes team building and collegiality. During this time, the 4-7 team will go over important news, reminders, and announcements and talk about and hear the answer to the daily challenge. This gives students the opportunity to ask questions and gain insight about the days events. It also is a time for students and staff to discuss future planning and learn about ideas students may have.
3:50-5:45 Physical and Social Activities: This time will be used for gym, outdoor play, room choice activities, games, family dinner, birthday bashes and other special events and activities. Activities will promote physical activity and social interaction.
4:30-5:00 Student Volunteering: Students have the opportunity during this time to volunteer in the younger classrooms to gain hands on experience in helping out and being a role model for younger students.
**NEW”” 4:45-5:45 Independent Homework: Students may use this time period to finish any homework they may not have completed during the structured homework time. Additionally, students who miss homework time due to an after school activity can use this time to make up the time missed. This period of time is optional and independent. Students will have access to computers during this time.
The team has been assessing the homework time and found many issues with it. We feel this change will minimize distraction, offer stability, keep the schedule predictable, and create a greater team-oriented community in the classroom. This change will help foster community and create safer conditions for the the teaching team. Prior to this change, we would offer homework to the children that needed extra time, allowing them to work during outdoor, gym and activity time. One teacher would stay in with a few students while the other one or two teachers would be outdoors or out of the classroom with 20+ students. In the event that an unexpected issue occurred such as an injury, behavior situation, or finding a child that has not returned from an after-school activity, this became very challenging.
Our new schedule will provide greater support and structure to help deal with these unexpected issues and create a safe and more predictable environment for students and teachers. The old schedule created a great amount of unpredictability for teachers as we would not know how many children would need to use additional time to complete their work. Additionally, it created unpredictability for the students because there were days when allowing them to continue to work on homework could not be accommodated due to those unexpected situations. We found with the old schedule, some students were using homework as a way to not go outside, not participate in activities or meetings, and work more leisurely during the hour structured time.
Our new schedule will provide the same amount of homework time just in a more structured way. We feel as though this new schedule will create greater team community in the classroom since all students will be taking part in team meetings and activity time.; it will also give students time for physical activity and social interactions, which are an important part of the after-school experience. During this time it will be up to your child to take advantage of this independent homework time which will help them with their decision making and time management skills. We will assess this new schedule for the next couple of months before making any additional changes and ask for your flexibility and understanding of this new schedule.
Team Building in 4-7:
Five Minute Marshmallow Challenge
Team building is an important part of the 4-7 curriculum and is practiced in the many activities we provide at extended day. Family dinners, birthday bashes, meetings, sports, outdoor/gym play, games, and shout outs are just some of the areas that students act as a team member. Each week, we provide a very specific and structured team building activity that we call “The Five Minute Marshmallow Challenge.” Students work as a team and have five minutes to complete a task as a team. During this challenge we see students take on the many different roles that make a good team such as leaders, listeners, those who encourage, and the brainstormers, etc. In the past couple of months, here are just some of the challenges your child participated in to practice team building.
-Silent Line Up: Students were challenged to line up in birth date order from January to December without talking. We observed students using resources around the room to help them complete this challenge due to the inability to communicate verbally. Students silently brainstormed using written communication, writing down their birthdays and then lining up accordingly.
Students were challenged to walk from one end of the gym to the other with their feet attached to the foot of the person to their left and to their right (like a three legged race). They brainstormed strategies such as calling out LEFT... RIGHT... LEFT... RIGHT but quickly realized that one person moving their left leg brings the right leg of the person next to them with them. They decided to “shuffle” but found that it was time consuming and difficult to keep the group of at the same pace. Although they did not successfully complete this challenge, they effectively communicated different strategies and put different strategies into action.
During this challenge one student drew a drawing on the whiteboard while all the other students sat with their backs to the drawing. The student that drew the picture had to give the other students directions on how to draw the picture that he drew on the board with one step directions. Students drawing could not ask clarifying questions. If at least two students matched the students drawing, they would successfully complete the challenge. This challenge allowed students to explore effective communication skills and listening skills. When the direction is to draw a line, students wondered if that meant vertical or horizontal? Students realized that it is important to give clear directions as students’ interpretations are different. They did successfully complete this challenge.
Students had to count as a group. Each person in the group had to yell out a number in consecutive order on a random basis. If two or more students yelled out a number at the same time, they had to start back at one. The catch to this challenge was they had to do it with their eyes closed. Although this challenge was untimed, they had to reach the number that corresponded with the number of students playing. Students quickly learned that this challenge was difficult since they could not communicate. They brainstormed and came up with the idea of pointing to one another in order to indicate who should say the next number. This was another successful challenge once brainstorming occurred.
Early Release Days
Early release days are ahead in April and May. We have many exciting and fun events planned for these days. Please be on the lookout for sign up and permission slips for the following dates.
Tuesday, April 7th
Wednesday April 15th
Tuesday, April 28th
Wednesday, April 6th
Thank you for all of your support! We feel fortunate to work with your children!
We hope everyone had a Fabulous February! We look forward to welcoming spring after all the snow we’ve had! Please remember to continue bringing in all the snow gear; we may still have snow throughout the month of March.
This past month we focused on achieving many of the children’s goals. They had the opportunity to learn how to sew and created some wonderful projects. The class wore their chef hats and cooked up some Korean specialties and some delicious chocolate chip cookies.
We also changed room locations and being in the cafeteria has been an easy transition. We enjoy all the extra room and all the natural light! Our class celebrated a birthday bash on February 13th and got to enjoy pizza!
This month we will continue to focus on accomplishing more of the children’s goals; including making sugar cookies, learning about the history of Lego’s, how money is made, creating paper airplanes and learning about ocean animals. We will be having a Flag Football game on March 26th and having two birthday bashes. We will be incorporating anti-bullying lessons throughout the month and practice strategies we can use to solve conflict.
We will continue to spend 30 minutes on homework each day while in the cafeteria. On Fridays we will devote this time to reading and participate in DEAR (Drop Everything And Read). While we do provide reading materials it seems that students are more engaged in reading when they bring their preferred book. Please encourage your child to bring a book to school each day. Thanks for your support and cooperation.
A couple of reminders this month…
* Please sign your child out EVERYDAY!
* School Variety Show is on March 20th at 2:00pm and we will be bringing the children!
March 10th & 18th Birthday Bash
2 liter plastic bottles
Child sized football
Lego Building Sets
We appreciate all donations!
Welcome to March! We hope all of you had a great snow filled February! We can’t believe it’s already March 2015 these past few months have just flown by! In February, we enjoyed reading Flat Stanley and working on our Flat Stanley Project. We learned how to address and envelope, and lots of geography facts. It was fun to see all the pictures your children took with their Flats’.