Hello Muggles, Your witches and wizards are off to a WICKED good start. We've spent a good deal of time getting to know one another and learning classroom routines. Even though your children are being taught by a bunch of witches, we've been sure to sprinkle in a fair amount of fun too.
The students were sorted into one of Hogwarts four houses on the very first day. They also enjoyed preliminary flying lessons. Don't worry, it was a both hands on the broom kind of experience with no dangerous moves. We'll save advanced flying lessons for the spring when they'll need to be able to dodge a bludger, throw a quaffle, and catch a snitch from atop their brooms. Quidditch games will definitely be a highlight of the year. Anyway, they've had their witch/wizard photos taken and a fierce interest in chess has been sparked. As you can see, our classroom really is a magical place.
Aside from our Hogwarts business, we've been getting to know one another. We watched the Flipgrid videos that each child made which helped the children to learn that they have more in common with one another than they even anticipated. Thanks for supporting your child with video production at home if support was necessary.
We've been working to establish a classroom culture that will truly foster learning for all children. In math, the children are learning that everyone gets his or her voice in the room every day. They're learning that it is just as important to listen to one another as it is to listen to me. They are learning that every child can achieve a HIGH level of achievement in math. Most importantly, they have learned that math is FUN!
We've been reading the Lemonade Crime, the second book in the lemonade series. We're also reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets! The students have had some initial reading assessments and they've selected books they love for their book boxes. Daily independent reading time, where students get to choose what they will read, will be an important part of each day.
The students have already been writing quite a bit. After every chapter of Harry Potter, they write a letter to Harry capturing the most important happening of the chapter. These "Dear Harry," journals become a treasured fourth grade keepsake.
Speaking of letter writing, through the magical world of TWITTER, I made contact with Jennifer Eubanks, a fourth grade teacher in Katy, Texas. Jennifer has been out of school for the past two weeks. Her life is kind of in shambles because her home was flooded and her family has no flood insurance. Nonetheless, she will head back to school tomorrow to begin the difficult job of helping her students to heal and continue to learn after this disaster. Your SWEET, SWEET students made the most beautiful little cards for her students! Each of her fourth graders will receive a beautiful card and letter from your children on Tuesday. If you read their notes of support, I assure you would weep just as I did. (Although, if you haven't heard by now, I cry easily and often in the classroom. Children's literature is a killer and I am easily moved by the joyful moments and touching things that children do and say!) I've asked Jennifer to let me know if she needs anything for her classroom or students. Once she can get situated and assess the need, she'll let me know. I'll keep you posted.
One of the most exciting things to happen since the start of school is getting to know your terrific kids. I truly want this to be a magical year of learning for them and me. So, this brings me to the Clough MAKERSPACE. Are you familiar with Makerspaces? If not, it is worth Googling. Your child will have the opportunity to go into the Makerspace and learn to make something of his or her own choosing. I know this will be an amazing learning opportunity for students and teachers alike. It wouldn't be possible without Mrs. Gallagher's support, the help of our custodians (they've already built us the ultimate LEGO wall), and the amazing team of teachers at Clough dedicated to making this little project of ours a reality. The fourth grade team will be partnering with the specialists and any other Clough staff member willing to help kids MAKE their dreams come true. Do you have a special talent? Do you know woodworking? Electrical? Can you you knit, sew, crochet? Make jewelry? Can you code? Understand how things work...like a bicycle or computer? We'll be looking for experts for our students to consult with. This might involve coming in to school, a FaceTime, or perhaps just answering a student email? I know as a working mom, I wish I could be more active at my kids' schools. This might be just the way to get a little involved. What can you make? You are a valuable resource!
We'll talk more about making and MAGIC on Thursday night. I'm excited to meet you at Open House. Fourth grade open house begins at 6:30 on Thursday night, September 14.
Thanks for all you have done to get your witch or wizard off to such a magical start!