Back Room news, week beginning 2/22

by Sally Cumper and Sean Ward Our students have been working on book reports this week. The final drafts are due Monday and we have been doing them in class. We plan to share our reports on Monday with our classmates in order to get each other interested in new books. It should be a lot of fun and a chance to practice speaking in front of a group.

My math group has been working on finding the mean and mode with our probability data. The mean is the average and the mode is the data that is the most abundant.

Please do not forget to be working on your Jackdaws at home.

Back-Room News, Week of 2/8

By Sally Cumper

The Pioneer Pickles, are really excited about our new theme: Wagons Ho! Our students have been busy designing, building, and adding details to their own covered wagons that they made during Exploration. My math group has been solving word problems that require using multiplication to solve them and are based on the Oregon, Santa Fe, Mormon, and California Trails.

Writer’s workshop has been on the topic of alliteration this week. We have listened to books, poems, and jumping rope rhymes that show examples of it in writing. Students have participated in a brainstorming activity thinking of Oo words. Next week we will begin drafting our own poems demonstrating the use of alliteration. Our fifth graders, and anyone else who wants to accept the challenge, are doing current events and will be sharing their findings with the class next Friday.

Our Valentine's Day boxes are under construction and will be stored in the teacher resource room until our Valentine’s Day party (next Friday). Below is a picture drawn by our very own Pioneer Pickle: Oliver Jacobs.


Back Room News, Week of 10/19

by Sally Cumper

The conference week has arrived, and it has been wonderful discussing your children’s many accomplishments. Our students are busy researching their chosen scientist/inventor, reading about them, and choosing important and relative information to write about in their personal biographies. We are encouraging students to gather information from 2-3 sources (1-2 internet and 1-2 books). Within our back room, we have books pulled on different scientists and have allowed students to print out information from Wikipedia on their scientist/inventor of choice. In some cases, students will have to get information from 2 reliable internet sources due to a lack of written information within our school library.

Magnolia's Halloween tunnel is still under construction and wonderful things are happening thanks to Juni, Casey, Julie running the Halloween guild. We also have some amazing families who have been volunteering their time after school and on weekends to assure that this year's tunnel is AMAZING! Thank you to everyone involved for your level of commitment!

Back Room news, week of 9/21

by Sally Cumper Although school has only been in session for a month, it feels as if the Pickles have been working together for much longer. It has been fun and exciting watching the students learn and become comfortable with back room routines (academic schedule and expectations) , rituals (conscious discipline), and getting to know and socialize with each other as well as with the teachers. I am happy to say that we have a wonderfully talented group of students who are coming to us with skills that complement each other. We all have much to offer and learn from one another.

All of our haikus have been edited, completed, and are hanging on the bulletin board above the cubbies and materials areas. As a class we are going to learn about how to research. Students will be guided in lessons on how to conduct research, what questions to ask, as well as which sources (books, magazines, websites), and how to give credit (bibliography).

Every backroom student should be reading for 20-30 minutes every day outside of school time and record it in his/her homework log for credit. I check homework folders weekly.

Book wish for the elementary school:

  • Nonfiction books, particularly: Who was/is? series and What was/is? series.
  • Leven Thumps (series, we have the 1st book only)
  • Candy Shop Wars (series)
  • Janitors (series, we have the 1st book only)

During math our students have continued learning about fractions. Student art reflecting our area of study is displayed on the far end of our bulletin board. Some of the math from the 4th/5th group displays an understanding of converting a picture to a fraction then to a percent and lastly to a decimal.

News from the 'pickle patch'

Over the past week, our backroom “pickle patch” has been engaged in a variety of poetry, fractions, art, and music activities. On Wednesday, Ben Jacobs (also known as Oliver's dad) visited our room and spoke with the students about haiku poetry: its origin, style/format, and characteristics. Ben, who has has studied and speaks several different languages, enjoys writing and reading haiku. The students seemed to be impressed by the fact that there are so many ways to say and write different words. We learned that there are over 200 words to describe the season spring!

First drafts of students’ haiku are due September 9th; self-edits and second drafts are due on the 10th; peer-edits are due on the 14th; teacher-edits will be on the 15th-16th (or before for those working at a faster pace); and final products will be due on the 16th. Students who finish early will be writing a 2nd haiku as well as possibly trying their hands at writing more challenging haiku (which are composed of more lines).

Julie has been helping students create distinctive backgrounds for their individual haiku. Pioneer Pickles have also been doing math-art with her. There are several examples of our math-art hanging on the large bulletin board. So far our math-art has focused on skip counting (spirograph looking art) and tessellations (M.C. Escher type work). Many of the pickles spent time carefully skip counting in order to achieve beautiful, finished products!

Rita is back as a third math teacher for the backroom. We are excited to have her!

The safe place has been moved from the windowsill to under a table near the computers. Please remind your kids that the safe place is not a place to avoid class. The safe place is for children who are having a hard time in class, are feeling sad, or are having difficulties with another person.

We have a notebook in the safe place for children to write their problems or feelings in. After the child is done with the writing he or she can give the paper to a teacher to talk about it or leave it in there for the teacher to read and file away later.

Back Roomers vote on class name

This week in the Back Room (3-5) class has been busy and quite productive. We have been getting to know each other, building our school family, and having fun! So far we have:

  • Voted on our class name. We are now the Pioneer Pickles.
  • Played a connection/communication game that we call Cup Crane. (Ask your child how it’s played!)
  • Learned activities for Word Study, which will begin next week.
  • Worked on math sheets as a whole group, then split into smaller groups for lessons.
  • Learned our names and introductions in French.

We also learned how to play Chat Perché, a French version of tag and a favorite of the Back Room. A couple of reminders:

  • Don’t forget to check Parent Pockets (in the kitchen) regularly.
  • Back Room students read, preferably their DEAR book, for 20 minutes at home every evening.

Introducing... the Sunflowers!

In the K-1-2 class, students and staff worked hard to name ourselves. We brainstormed a long list of possible words then voted until we reduced the list to one word. Our class name is “Sunflower” for this school year.

The Sunflower class has 12 students. We have used the first week of school to get reminded of, refreshed on, or told anew the schedule and routines of each day. It is wonderful getting to know each other.

P.E. was lots of fun. Along with doing a few experiments for our music theme, we learned how to play Capture the Flag. Learning this game will help students join in when it is played at lunch time.

Learning about the safe place and our responsibility sheets were important times throughout the week and will continue to be throughout the year.

Back Room News

by Jatavious Alford

  • We are getting to know each other and are building our classroom family.
  • We named our class The Magical Narwhals.
  • We started math groups on day one and soon we'll have Mini Economy running.
  • We're writing personal memoirs about things that have actually happened to us.
  • There is a D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) time every day from 11:00-11:30. Don't forget to read for 20 minutes at home every night.
  • French class is under way.
  • Our class has created a Narwhal book of art on display in the library.
  • Relaxation is on Fridays before D.E.A.R. (10:45-11:00).
  • Classroom jobs have been picked and we will re-pick next week.

Les Calmars Terrestres en Action

(Or, "The Landsquids in Action")

Every year, our back-room French class adopts French first names; practices greetings; follows directions for various movements (stand, jump, turn, sit, etc.); learns to count to at least 20; learns the French alphabet; practices at least one song that highlights a vowel sound; and enjoys playing Chat Perché.

In addition, students do activities linked to the theme the school currently studies. Because of the Human Body theme this year, Les Calmars Terrestres (the Landsquidz) learned how to name in French a number of body parts, followed directions such as “touch your knees with your hands, learned a hand clapping game, and learned a traditional French song describing how to plant cabbage (sic!) with various body parts (finger, elbow, nose, etc.).

Because of the mapping activities during the India theme, they learned how to draw a map of France inside a hexagon and locate a few salient geographical features in and around France. For of the Paleontology theme, we read a French picture book featuring a little Cro-Magnon boy drawing on his cave’s wall, and we watched photos of the Lascaux Cave and of the Carnac Stones.

And for the Florida History theme, we talked about the Tallahassee Lafayette Land Grant and about a traditional business French people tend to be known for: the French pastry shop.

Finally, we try each year to have a more challenging activity for the benefit of the students in their third year of French. This year, it was spelling (in French!).

The Landsquidz are (more or less) ready Les Calmars Terrestres sont prêts
for an end-of-year French show. pour un spectacle de fin d’année.
It will take place: Il aura lieu:
Tuesday, May 20th at 9:00am Mardi 20 mai à 9h
in the back-room. dans la salle du fond.
See you there! Venez les voir!

Back-room students working on persuasive essays

by Sally Cumper The end of the year is quickly approaching but the Landsquidz are still traversing through the academic seas! Below are some of the highlights  we want to make mention of.

  • A back room parent donated some new math games as well as a new set of K’nex!
  • The same parent donates two new book collections: Origami Yoda and the J.R.R. Tolken set.
  • Our students held a May Day demonstration/Protest for French class
    • Chat perché plus souvent!
    • Des pizzas differentes!
    • L’école plus tard!
    • Plus de viande!
  • Persuasive speeches/papers are under construction (final due date, May 22nd)
  • Doing lots of reading and math assessments
  • Building K’nex cars and having races with them while we’ve been stuck inside…ALL WEEK!
  • Finally played capture the flag for P.E. outside last week! Thanks Bo for being our coach!