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In the Classroom

Morning Lesson.

What a week this has been. Our cities have largely come to fruition and it has been an exciting process to watch. It was mostly a hands off time for me, as the students worked independently with a just little bit of help or advice every once in a while. I will be displaying the completed cityscapes throughout the school next week and will let you know when they will be up for viewing. Here are a few pictures taken on Wednesday and Thursday.

During the latter half of the week, I began to go into some background history to prepare them for a block that will take them into the beginning of the European Renaissance. We reviewed and learned new things about the Germanic tribes that lived in Europe in the 6thcentury, and important events all the way up to the beginning of the Merovingian dynasty. We also heard the biography of Pope Gregory, an individual who set the Church of Rome on its path to power and influence.

Why are we studying this during our Perspective drawing block? All of this is necessary to understand the context of the Middle Ages. Why are we studying the Middle Ages? An understanding of the Middle Ages is necessary to understanding the context of the Renaissance, which is our pièce de résistanceof this grade. That is not to say that the Middle Ages in and of themselves do not have value. There are a number of important and meaningful biographies, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine and Joan of Arc, that we will be studying during these weeks.  We will also be discussing how we are still feeling the effects in our modern world of such events as the signing of the Magna Carta, the Crusades, and even the Battle of Hastings. Lots and lots of fertile ground for some great discussions.

During this block we will be learning how to take concise and useful notes during our review sessions. There will also be a focus on learning how to ask questions. It may seem a bit basic, but the art of asking deep and meaningful questions (as opposed to cherry picking surface ones) is a skill that is learned over time. So we will be doing quite a bit of that as we make our way towards the final exam for this block in the middle of October. Be prepared for a few take-home questions that may be discussed around the dinner table or in the car to/from school as well.

Language Arts.

This week we will be wrapping up The Boy Who Harnessed the Windand will begin with the Midwife’s Apprentice. Please be sure that your child has this book on hand on Tuesday, September 25.

Our study of grammar this week took a peek at the use of commas. We looked at more complicated sentences as we puzzled and reasoned over the punctuation. If you’re stumped, go ahead and ask your 7thgrader, they can help you out…

The building tilted dangerously during renovation appeared to straighten and settle and then suddenly collapsed completely.

The dancer moved rapidly across the stage turned and leapt and then dropped gracefully to their knees.



We had our first math unit test on Friday. Your child has their results and will most likely be coming to you for a signature once their mistakes have been corrected and checked for accuracy. Feel free to check them yourselves and don’t feel bad if you need a calculator to do so.

All children are welcome to retake any test for a higher grade as long as they inform me within one school day of receiving their test back. A modified version of the test will be offered one week from the original test. A number of children have opted to take the test and can prepare themselves over the next week by focusing on problems they had difficulty with.

Any student who received a mark below 80% on the first Arithmetic Unit Test will be required to hand in their math homework when it is due for the entirety of the math block or until they receive a grade higher than 80% on a re-take. This will allow me to check for accuracy and completion and give me a better picture of what supports I should be offering them.

Our next unit is measurement, which will take us all the way into November.


In Other News

Festival of Courage

Our new year has begun! We have inaugurated the new building and learning is happening, but we wouldn’t really be complete without a big party with you all there. We invite you to be a part of the first community-wide celebration of the year on our new campus, Festival of Courage on Sept 29, 3:00-6:00 pm.


Friday Work Day – Sept 28, 1:00-3:00 pm

We welcome all volunteers to come work alongside students. We still have a to do list for our new campus that includes unpacking, beautification, and practical work. Your help makes a huge difference, and it’s a blast to hang with the students.

Sign-up here for Volunteer Work Day.


Festival of Courage – Saturday, Sept 29, 3:00-6:00 pm

  • Pageant: The event opens with all the grade school students performing our brand new pageant. (Student arrival time: 2:50). DON’T BE LATE OR YOU’LL MISS THE DRAGON!
  • Feats of Strength: Obstacle course, hang time challenge, games, and more!
  • Live old time music band and dancing: We will a professional dance caller to teach us fun and simple barn dances.
  • Pie Cook-Off – Make, taste, judge, maybe win!

Sign-up here to help out at the Festival. Your half hour of work enables the faculty to enjoy the festival as well.



  • flatware, plates, and filled water bottles for your family
  • lawn chairs
  • sunscreen or sun hat
  • $1 bills for pie cook-off tasting/voting spoons
  • pie for the cook-off
  • potluck dish
  • dancin’ shoes


Bring a dish (6-8 servings) in the below category. Multiple children? Just pick one category and bring more servings. Don’t forget to label your serving dish with your name. Reminder: no nuts of any kind (careful of hidden nuts, like in pesto) and no eggs in pure form (including deviled eggs).

  • Early Childhood/ Gr 1 – Appetizers
  • Gr 2 and Gr 3 – Salads
  • Gr 4 and Gr 5 – Main dishes
  • Gr 6 and Gr 7 – Sides

Please note that it is important at any community festival to ensure the safety of the children. Please preview with students regarding boundaries. Our campus is actually quite large and students should not be wandering outside of the play lot area. While the building is open for bathrooms and for you to peek into rooms, it is not open for kid play or exploration.


Feel free to wear red, the color of the season! Check out the flyer and invite your friends. See you all there!


On the Calendar

Tuesday, September 25, 8:30-10:00. Open House.

UPWS will be hosting its first Open House at our new location! This is a great time to invite friends and neighbors to see what we are doing in our school! You can direct them to the website to sign up. If they can’t make Tuesday’s Open House, there are a number of other ones scheduled throughout the fall. Our greatest marketing tool is word of mouth and you are our greatest spokespeople!


Monday, October 1, 7pm. High School Entrance Testing Information Night

Charlie Howard (Test Prep Chicago) will explain the various standardized tests students may need to take in their 8th grade year depending on the high schools to which they are applying.


Recommended Reading

What Kids Need to Learn to Succeed in 2050, Yuval Noah Harari.