Urban Prairie Waldorf School
Miss Avellone's Class
Weekly Update - November 7, 2019

Dear 2023,

This block we are studying Language Arts. Usually during a block like this we carry heavily story content that we use to inform our work. This block is not like that. This block is straight up Language Arts. Think grammar, vocabulary, indirect and direct quotations, verb conjugation, proper letter writing, and more. Super exciting, right? Well, it’s actually been nice so far (says the teacher). This week we reviewed the parts of speech. We learned about possessive, personal, and reflexive pronouns. They were also introduced to the idea that each sentence is made up of a subject and predicate.

Though we learned the basics of writing business letters last year, we didn’t spend much time with it. Something I’m finding interesting in that the formal tone and “high” writing business letter writing requires is a terrific contrast to the more casual trend of independent compositions these days in the fifth grade. Our first practice was a letter either to George Washington Carver or from him on topics based on the book we were all reading (a nice book review project). These are clearly pretend. Our next letters are real thank you letters to the field trip locations from this year. We’ll continue to write real business and personal letters this block.

After 10 minutes of math practice, each lesson starts with a 10-minute warm up consisting of group movement exercises. These are the kind of exercises a theatrical troupe might do to create cohesion and creative, movement-oriented thinking before diving into the play they are working on. Each lesson ends with a 5-10 minute Greek myth. This week they heard about the birth of Athena, the conflict between Athena and Arachne, and an introduction to Ares.

And my goodness! The newspapers they made are all fabulous! I loved this as a block-end project to our geography work. As I was hanging them up the other morning, I laughed so hard I was crying. Y’all have some clever kids.

ASSIGNMENTS

  • Binders: **IMPORTANT** There is no morning lesson book assignments during this block. The students have a binder in which the majority of their block work will be kept. This includes ‘reading to learn’ articles with questions, grammar worksheets, and letter drafts. While they get time in morning lesson and homeroom to work through these assignments, not all students are able to finish. Work will accumulate over the course of the block. If they do not catch up with that week’s work over the weekend, they will be drowning in work by the end of the block. Please check in with them to make sure their binders are up to date over the weekends.
  • Letters: Finish their draft thank you letter over the weekend.
  • New Reading Book: For November and December they are doing private reading of approximately 2 teacher-approved books (more for faster readers, depending on the length of the book). They are managing their time for this assignment, but should be reading most days a week. The first book should be complete by Thanksgiving break.

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Parent-Teacher Conferences are coming in mid-Nov. Sign up here for conferences with me and subject teachers.
    • Start thinking about their highs and lows in Gr 5 so far. What are your simmering or burning questions about middle school? What aspects of their education do we want to look at now before they enter the middle school years? What questions do you have for me at this time? Please feel free to email thoughts/questions to me ahead of time.
  • Festival of Thanks: Please see the email from Sophie and the Admin Update for the shared meal contributions.