Harriet Tubman

We have spent this week tackling some serious issues by covering the incredible life of Harriet Tubman. Born a slave, she escaped her masters to the free states in the north only to return 19 times. She spent the later part of her life fighting for suffrage. She was an absolute powerhouse figure in American history and he life should be celebrated more often.

We discussed the slave trade, what a life of slavery really meant, and the massive divide in our country about slave ownership. These are all difficult topics that should also be unpacked at home.

Crazy Horse Art

Today we tried our hand at some crazy horse portraits. The illustration style in our book is a very rudimentary yet stylized cave-painting style where all features on the face are reduced to their most basic level. Take a look at Alexa’s! I think they turned out great.

Ticket to Ride: First Journey

We play a lot of board games in the class during free choice time. One of my favorites is Ticket to Ride: First Journey. Normally the children’s version of a game is a really skeletal version of the adult game, but not here! It has the same mechanics and concepts, but the towns all have icons to represent them on the map.

Fun fact: My home town of Helena is on both versions of Ticket to Ride.

Rules: Everyone gets 4 colored cards to start and 2 tickets. Every turn you can build or get 2 more cards. When you complete a ticket by building a path between the icons, you yell ‘ticket!’ and flip it over. First to 6 wins.

Skills taught: Abstract spatial reasoning, geography, being a kind competitor

Cost: $30 on Amazon.

Time/Players: 30 minutes/2-4 players (more is better)

Modifications for younger students: If the games go on too long, you can play first to 5 or even 4. Some kids need help figuring out the paths they are building but most are more than capable.

Can it be played if pieces go missing: It ships with extra trains, and the colored cards can be lost without much of an issue.

Is this a game only kids would like: I think adults would prefer the adult version, but this is a perfectly acceptable stand in for family game night.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School

Today we started our first longer read aloud with ‘Sideways Stories from Wayside School’, from author Louis Sachar. It’s a series of interconnected chapters about a ridiculous school that was accidentally built sideways. It’s one of my favorite read aloud books. Ask your children about the Mrs. Gorf chapter where she turns the students into apples by wiggling her ears.

Corpse Flower

Today we talked about the ‘corpse flower’, a large flowering plant native to Sumatra in Indonesia. It only blooms once every 7-10 years and is supposed to smell like rotten fish, smelly socks, stinky cheese and poop.

Update for 8/28

Thank you.

A big thank you to our room parent Neha and everyone that made our August birthdays possible. Thank you to everyone for helping our children adjust back to a regular school schedule, and thank you for all of the kind words I’ve received since my first day at Ross.

On that note, we decided our classroom name and decided on The Helpful Hummingbirds! The second place suggestion was The Crazy Cookies. The vote was a lot closer than you would think.

This week.

We are continuing to assess our students to see what kind of gains were made over the summer. We are beginning our unit on American Heroes, with the first being Crazy Horse. We will spend the week exploring his life and what made him an American hero.

We are beginning our dive into all of our curriculum after our first week of setting expectations and practicing routines. Our exploration into our Eureka Math, Handwriting Without Tears and Guided Reading has already begun and more will be rolled out as the weeks go on.

Back to School Night is on Wednesday night at 6:00pm. We use this time to give the parents a quick rundown of the school year and answer any questions you may have. If you have any questions that you would like answered in greater detail, feel free to reach out to me via email or phone (406-459-1280) as we generally run out of time in our Q&A.

We have a cluster! It’s a photo sharing app that Ms. Konig used last year for families to view (and add!) any photos that are taken during the school year. Click here to visit and feel free to add any photos that you may have taken on field trips or class visits.

How you can help.

Attendance is absolutely necessary for all of our students at Ross. Our curriculum is so dense that I would prefer them not to miss a single day.

With handwriting, our main goal is to develop healthy handwriting habits. If your student is in 1st grade, they should be able to write primarily in lowercase, but this is a great goal for all of my students. If you watch your child writing, make sure they have a good grip and are beginning their letters at the top. Bad handwriting habits are difficult to shake, so a gentle reminder can go a long way.

Upcoming Events

8/30 Back to School Night in the classroom at 6:00pm
9/1 Free Dress Day
9/4 Holiday, no school

Please, please feel free to reach out via phone or email before Back to School Night with any questions you would like answered.