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Dukes and Duchesses Newsletter East: February 2011

Hi All,

I just wanted to start our Newsletter off by thanking all of you for making my transition into the Dukes and Duchesses’ classroom so smooth.  It has been quite a pleasure getting to know your children and I truly enjoy the time we spend together.

I hope you all got a chance to read the classroom’s “I Have a Dream…” bulletin board; it won’t be long before a new one goes up.   That was one of the first projects I did with the kids, and hearing all of their varied ideas about how to change the world was a great way to get to know them.

As I am sure you have heard or seen, we have radish heads and carrot tops planted in some soil.  The leaves were pretty yellow when we started and the kids seemed to enjoy watching the leaves become dark green, which we learned was the result of photosynthesis at work.  We also have some Paper Whites (Narcissus) starting to shoot their roots and can already almost smell their fragrant scent in the air.  All of these things growing in our class have us all very excited for our garden, which we will begin planning soon.  Miss Kathy has already talked to us about composting and we can’t wait to get our hands into the soil!

We have also started a new tradition of reading chapter books during our afternoon snack time.  Our first book is The BFG (the Big Friendly Giant, for those of you who missed out on that one) by Roald Dahl and the children seem absolutely ENTHRALLED by the tale.   The author uses a lot of silly, made-up words that always make the class laugh.  In the beginning of the story it was a bit scary, but we talked about how it was just a story that came from the author’s imagination and that there is nothing to be frightened of.  That seemed to do the trick and it has even inspired some of our students to begin writing their own book!!

Our class will soon have a new addition as well.   We have started discussing the possibility of getting a class pet.  No decisions have been made yet as to what kind of pet we are going to get.  First we must make sure we make an INFORMED DECISION so we have been spending our time gathering all the information we can about different pets so that when the time comes, we will know just what we need to give our new friend the very best home possible.   Whatever animal we choose, I will take care of it on the weekends at first, but eventually I would like to see the pet go home with a student over the weekend.  However, before I mention this to the students, I would like to hear your feedback on the matter.

We have also improved our PBS bean system in our classroom.  Instead of beans, the class works toward daily stickers.  As I am sure you noticed from your child’s chart I send home each Friday, there are lots of ways for the children to earn a sticker, and the system seems to be working well.  Each week we have a class goal of about 800 stickers total.  If we reach our goal, the class gets a reward as a whole.  Already they have won a cupcake party, and we are now working towards a pizza party, where each kid will be able to make their own personal pizza, dough and all!!  Since adding the group goal aspect to our PBS system, I have noticed that the kids are much more helpful and kind to one another, which is quite lovely to observe.  This is part of the reason why I have begun leaving a note on the easel for the kids to read first thing in the morning.  Please take a moment to read it with them, as it not only allows you to be a part of our learning environment, but it also helps remind the children of their goals.  It also gives them the opportunity to BE A LEARNER by discussing with you the Question of the Day.

Every week that goes by, we fall a little more gracefully into our routine – I hope by next newsletter I will have a more structured plan for each week to share with you, but for this month, know that Valentine’s will be made, a pet will be chosen and fun will be had by all!

See ya in the classroom!

Miss Remy

P.S. Don’t forget snow-gear on those sunny, snowy days so we can all go out and enjoy it!!  Also, the Academy will be closed on February the 21st for a teacher work