Yes, you read that right. NO report cards here at The Cloverleaf School! (Gasp!) But what parents DO get, however, is a little something called the Weekly Parent Notes. Instead of a letter-grade report, they get a weekly detailed summary of what their child has been learning or working toward. Every week, we teachers write up a paragraph per student for each subject we teach, plus an additional paragraph detailing each student’s personal behavior goals. We love staying in touch with our families on an ongoing basis. Parents have given us such a flood of positive feedback over our weekly parent notes, we felt we had to share! Here is an example.
Weekly Parent Notes — “Johnny” — March 4-8, 2013
From Ms. Jen-
Language Arts: In Phonics, we finished up the last of the ending blends, which filled up the rest of our “blender” (a visual detailing all of the beginning and ending consonant blend sounds). Students had fun playing Strawberry Smash!, a review game to practice all the blends. They didn’t even mind when they lost their cards to a “Strawberry Smash” card, because they got to pretend to smash it.
Next week we’ll do a brief review of the blends, then head on to the “bank of borrowers” to learn about the soft /c/, soft /g/, /y/, and /x/ sounds, which borrow from other letters to make their sounds. In reading, we began practicing the “using vocabulary” comprehension strategy. We made a word-web to explore the meaning of some of our vocab words in our shared novel, Because of Winn Dixie.
In writing, we continued distinguishing between fact and opinion in preparation for our upcoming persuasive piece. Students cut and pasted statements about dinosaurs into fact or opinion categories. In literacy stations, students practiced handwriting on words with blends; practiced basic typing skills using the “home row;” read books on their independent level to our therapy dog, Ari; sorted prefixes, suffixes, and their meanings (re-, un-, -s/es, -ed); and worked hard at finishing up our mid-year W.A.D.E. assessment.
In math, we wrapped up our unit on area and perimeter. Students used wikki-stix to measure the perimeter of found objects, then measured the wikki-stix with a ruler. Next, we tiled shapes using paper square inches, and counted the side lengths to find perimeter by letting our “inchworm” crawl around the outside edges. Last, we found perimeter by adding the side lengths of found objects around the room and of scaled drawings. Next week, we’ll take a look at liquid measurement in American units (cup, teaspoon, gallon, etc.) and metric units (L, mL). We’ll follow that up with a look at weight measurement as we build our own scale.
Johnny worked hard at his personal goal this week: to show others he’s listening, using the 4 strategies we’ve practiced in social skills (look with our eyes, turn our bodies toward the speaker, nod our heads, and say “ok” or other related comment, once the speaker finishes). He made great progress and will move on to a complex goal next week: Say “ok” when teachers give directions, then follow the direction right away. I know he’s ready to take on this two-part challenge!
From Ms. Jessie –
In Social Studies this week we focused on Native Americans. We spent more time learning about the different tribes, such as the Cherokee, Plains, Apache, Cheyenne, etc. We compared traditions and customs of various tribes and had a more in-depth look at their culture. We read a book about Native American art and focused a lot of our attention on the Cherokees in the book. We also learned about the Native American Medicine Wheel and the “animal medicine” that some Native Americans believed strongly in (each animal has its own special medicine/power that can benefit all of us).
We had an extensive project these past couple of days making tipis. Johnny worked on the “buffalo skin” of the tipi, creating beautiful designs! As a whole class, we then made a big model tipi (over 3 feet tall)! Johnny helped decorate the tipi, painting patterns around it. We will collect some twigs together on Monday and finish assembling it. We will also research the various regions each tribe inhabited in the United States and pick one tribe to do extensive research on as we wrap up the quarter these next three weeks.
We are always looking for more ways to keep families informed of what we’re working on and how their young students are progressing, and we’ve found these weekly updates to be valuable. They are also amazing time capsules! It’s incredible to look back over the year and see how far our students have come!