Hello Earth Room families! With the holidays and breaks keeping everyone busy, we thought we’d combine our November/December Blogs for convenience.
If your kiddo is going to be absent in the upcoming weeks, please fill out a pre-arranged absence form from the front office and turn it in. We know that family visits and other outside of school activities are frequent during this time of year, but please be mindful that tardiness and frequent absences can greatly impact your child’s routine at school, negatively impacting how they receive information and interact with other students.
Virtue of the Month
As a community, Upper El decided to study a different virtue each month. Our December virtue is Empathy. We will introduce this virtue and discuss what it means. We will also ask our students to be mindful of when they see someone practicing this virtue so we can begin to grow and spread this virtue in practice.
Free Choice Fridays
November brought on the introduction of two new practices in the Earth Room. As a way to motivate our students to remain focused on work during work periods and social time during social settings, we are incorporating Free Choice and Friendship Fridays into our curriculum. Free Choice and Friendship Fridays are available to all students who have completed their required follow ups for the week before Friday Recess. During our 45 minute Friday Afternoon Work Period, students who are have earned Friendship Friday are encouraged to socialize with classmates in the classroom over educational board games, artwork, or by working on anything that they choose. Students who are not eligible or who would prefer to work in a quiet space, work in front of the office to complete their works that are past due.
We have found that this positive incentive really helps keep the students on track throughout the week during as family engagements and after school and weekend events increase toward the end of the year. The response we have had in the classroom to this slight shift in motivation has been amazing. Friday Afternoon Work Period is now spent learning about virtues and watching Kid President videos or bonding with new classmates.
The Second new practice is the “What Goes Well in Earth Room?” board. Students are encouraged to write happy moments of their day they wish to share with the class. At the end of the day, we read our board aloud as a class. Some examples of items students can put on the board are, “Someone helped me with my math follow up”, or “My Mom made me a special breakfast today,” or even “I’m excited to go to soccer practice tonight!” This practice has been proven to lead to further positive behavior and helps our students remember all of the good that happens throughout the day. The students have really taken a liking to ending the day with this and we are happy to report that ever single student in class has participated!
In Math, we have been focusing on fractions with our 4th years, decimals and a little Algebra with our 5th years, and ratios and proportions with our 6th years. In Geometry, we have been working on introducing lines and angles to 4th years, area and perimeter with 5th years and volume with our 6th years. The kiddos have really been enjoying their work on Khan Academy as well. In addition to our Math Lessons, each student is encouraged to complete 15 minutes of Khan Academy in our classroom each week. We are sure some of you have already heard, but the students are obsessed with Khan and love working on it so much that we have had to actually limit the time they are using the program in class so we have computers available for all children to work with this great resource.
If your student wishes, they may work on Khan at home as well. Please note, Khan Academy has many different tutorials ranging from Social Studies to Computer Programming. Every student has they own individual Khan account tied to their Compass Montessori gmail. In order to log in to Khan, please use the steps below:
Open an Internet Browser and go to www.gmail.com
Your student’s email is: email@example.com (ex: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)
Their password is their student ID number +the first 2 letters of their last name.
THEN open another tab and go to www.khanacademy.com
In the upper right hand corner, click “Log In”
Then, click “Continue with Google”
These steps will get your student in to their Khan account that is linked to Earth Room. We recommend that if your child is wanting to use Khan for any of the wonderful subjects other than Math, we recommend doing this outside of classroom hours so we can focus our Khan use to Math in the classroom.
Our Language Work has been centered on the POL process, with our 4th years learning how to make outlines and organize presentations while our 5th and 6th years are learning about thesis statements, introductions and conclusions. Everyone has been working extremely hard on their POL’s in class. As a reminder, all POL work should be completed in class. If your student is falling behind deadlines and we become worried about project completion, we will send an email home. If you do not hear from us, please know that your student is on track.
For Grammar works to support the further development of sentence creation and vocabulary development in order to practice with our POL reports have been our focus. 5th and 6th years have been working on Subject/ Predicate sentence analysis. 4th years are working on Synonyms, Antonyms, and vocabulary works.
In other areas, all years have been learning about Native Americans for Native American Heritage Month. The students really enjoyed learning more detail about how the Native Americans lived and next month we will learn how these societies were impacted upon the arrival of the European settlers.
In Science, we have been learning about the characteristic of vertebrates as well as parts of a plant. The students really enjoyed learning what characterizes an organism as a vertebrate and how different vertebrates can be! Next month, we will continue our Botany curriculum as well as learn more about the differences of vertebrates and organism classification.
We will be sending out an email containing the POL schedule for our students. POL presentations will be in the Earth Room from 8am-11am on December 19 & 20.
Please note that report cards will be sent home the last day of school before break, December 21st. Please mark your calendars as this day is an early release day and there will be no After Care as our staff will be in Professional Development courses through the afternoon.
Earth Room Community
We wanted to take a moment to thank you all. We feel that we lucked out with the best kiddos and families this year! The Earth Room community feels strong and we have you all to thank for that! We are so grateful for all of you and appreciate you being present and supportive of our students during the most stressful time of year. Your support and positive energy can really make a huge impact on the success and happiness of your student during this time of year.
Upper El Happenings at Compass
We want to make you all aware of a new club available to Upper El students at the Wheat Ridge campus. Several Golden high schoolers, with the help of Michelle Clark (co-teacher in the Fire Room), have started a GSA (Gay/Straight Alliance or Gender and Sexuality Alliance). The idea to start this organization came from a history of students feeling like they couldn't truly be themselves at school, especially as they grow and explore their identities. Students have also advocated for an identified and purposeful safe space and safe individuals to go when feeling vulnerable.
We want our students to have a supported space in which to share their experiences and learn from one another. Our group will provide this and will help to ensure that our community is an accepting, equitable, and nurturing place for all people.
Although we will have a special focus in supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, our group is about learning through others' experiences, practicing being open-minded, and becoming caring individuals.
We have emphasized to the students that this is also a space for allies as well. We will build relationships, share concerns, and host structured and informed discussions on any experiences that the children would like to share in a safe and informed manner.
Participation in this group is completely voluntary. If you have any questions or need any additional information, feel free to contact Michelle Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org), Megan Witucki (email@example.com), or Cameron Gehlen (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Spread the Love Day
Upper elementary parents - both campuses will be participating in the annual Spread the Love event on Thursday, February 14th. We are looking for chaperones to drive children to organizations across the Denver area to participate in volunteer projects. In the past, we have volunteered at food banks, animal shelters, nursing homes, and even with the Wheat Ridge police department! You can volunteer morning only (8:00-noon), afternoon only (11:00-2:30), or for a full day (8:00-2:30 pm). Sign up through the Google survey below and contact Amy Fleig at Afleig@compassk12.org with questions!