We are doing tons of stuff!!!

Le français

We have been spending time on one of the more difficult aspects of French: feminine versus masculine and singular versus plural. They are very challenging. You’ll see in your child’s Thursday night French homework, the kinds of things we’ve been doing, and we just finished an exercise today that will come home tomorrow. We’ll spend all year on this.

We are in the midst of so many projects, I hesitate to begin anything new! The last two weeks, we’ve been reviewing all the vocabulary from the first three weeks of school (all 35 of them). That corrected quiz came home on Monday. Most students did really well on the vocab test, and are consistently and correctly spelling those words in their writing.

We’ll begin a new dictée (Dictée no. 4:  Le monstre) probably on Thursday this week, along with its corresponding vocab & iPod homework to support it.

Social studies/Art

We continue to study the many aspects of Early and Colonial America and the Revolutionary War. We’re actually in the middle of a top secret weaving project, so don’t even ask about that! That’s our colonial craft right now. 🙂

We’ve read more books about the colonies, seen more of “Liberty’s Kids,” checked out a cool Website about the Pilgrims and a virtual tour of Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts, learned how to talk like a Pilgrim (so don’t be surprised if your child says “Huzzah!” rather than “Congratulations,” and had many more discussions about early America. Students will continue to work in their small groups to cover their chosen topics. They will begin their posters this week. Presentations will be next week.

In addition, they have nearly completed a large geography packet with the compass rose, maps of the world and the U.S. and several activities.

In January, I plan to continue with Colonial American studies, and we’ll also begin discussing the three branches of government and government basics. If anyone from a different country or a different government system would like to come in and speak, please email me! I’ve got the whole Schoolhouse Rock collection as well. I know that’s where I learned the Preamble to the Constitution!


I’m still teaching PE to both my and Mme. Diedrich’s homerooms as one large group. We’ve learned several dances:  One to “I Like to Move It,” one to “Beat It,”, and one, the Electric Slide, to “The Electric Slide.” The great thing is that it gets everyone moving, we get to hear some fun music, and they have gotten used to following direction, counting to the beat, and learning dance steps.

This has all been very beneficial to our new project:  The Virginia Reel, a traditional colonial dance! Today we split up into pairs, then into groups, and learned the basic steps. We’ll be dancing to “Turkey in the Straw” to begin. We’ll review steps and try setting it to music later this week, or early next week. It’ll be impressive if I can get 52 kids dancing The Virginia Reel with some authenticity! Look out!


I promise to do a good update here tomorrow, but now I have to go to bed. I haven’t forgotten, I’m just tuckered out!


Well, I should see everyone at conferences tomorrow and the next day with all updates, so here’s a brief report.

Social studies

We are working away on the American colonial period. We just finished reading The Fighting Ground by Avi yesterday, and the kids learned a lot, as did I! It’s about a 14-yr-old boy in New Jersey in April of 1778. He thinks he wants to go to war and then gets to find out about the realities of war. He’s captured by a small group of Hessians, and it details his experiences over a two-day period. I asked the students to draw Hessians from the description in the book. Our Hessian pictures are marching around the top of the room. They’re also filling out paperwork about the original colonies, Roanoke, Plymouth (Plimouth), and Jamestown, and have compared the British and the Continental armies. We’re also reading about the war from different perspectives, learning about specific battles, and about twice a week, we’re watching ‘Liberty’s Kids’ on Netflix. Today, I split them into groups of three, and their groups got to pick a topic that we’ve studied and name themselves (hysterical), and they’ll be doing a poster and a presentation on their topic. We’ll begin additional research next week. The chosen subjects are:  Benjamin Franklin, The Boston Tea Party, General  Thomas Gage, Slavery, the British army, The Starving Time, the Hessians, Squanto, and Paul Revere. Ask your student which topic his/her group has chosen!

We’re going to be linking to art by beginning a weaving project as well. Thanks Cindy for cutting up the yarn!!!

Le français

We’re still working on tongue twisters, grammar, speaking, reading, vocabulary and writing. Next week, we’re going to begin some Reader’s Theatre. We’ll also begin a new dictée next week once I’ve had time to record the vocab and the dictation onto the computer so that kids can put them on their iPods. We’re working in a notebook that I’ll show you during conferences.


I’ve been teaching my homeroom and Mme. Diedrich’s homeroom some dances. This is getting them geared up to follow dance so that we can move into the Virginia Reel.


I’m sorry this update wasn’t in there. I lost this whole page, and only just now have been able to restore this page at all. So, here goes:


Halloween party

Our low-key Halloween party is on Monday. Surprise, surprise! Remember:  please send children to school in costumes that are not too scary, that can be easily gotten into and out of for bathroom purposes, that have no weapons, even toy ones, and masks can only be worn during the parade. If you want to see the parade, it begins from the kindergarten at 1:25. Parties are from 1:45 to 2:30. See y’all tomorrow!

iPod shuffles

Everyone has his/her iPod now. Yay, yay, yay! Yes, they should still be listening to the recordings twice every evening!!!

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Parent/Teacher conferences will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 9, from noon to 8 p.m., and on Thursday, Nov. 10, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. M. Maloney will be letting everyone know how to sign up for conferences. Parents with multiple conferences will begin signing up on Monday, Oct. 24, and the system will be available to everyone on Wednesday.

If you are unable to attend conferences, please let me know, and we’ll find a different time. I’d like to meet with every parent in my homeroom. Mme. Diedrich and I are meeting with our homeroom families only. If we feel we both need to meet with you, we will communicate that to you. Rest assured that she and I will be passing to one another updates about your children in our respective disciplines.

And make sure to visit the book fair while you’re at school!

Social studies

We are working away at our read-aloud book, The Fighting Ground. It’s very exciting, and full of historic information. We are also continuing our study of the 13 original American colonies, the events leading up to the Revolutionary War and the war itself. The portraits of the Hessians will be up around the tops of our classroom walls this coming week…if not sooner.

We will also continue to work on geography as we progress.

Le français

We finished our 3rd dictée and its accompanying vocabulary. We are still working away on tongue twisters. Everyone has to memorize at least two. Here is a list:

Les virelangues:

Les chaussettes de l’archiduchesse, sont-elles sèches? Archi-sèches!

      Un chasseur sachant chasser sans son chien est un sage chasseur.

      Je suis ce que je suis et si je suis ce que je suis, qu’est-ce que je suis?

     Pauvre petit pêcheur, prend patience pour pouvoir prendre plusieurs petits poissons.

     Une bien grosse grasse mère avec de biens beaux gros gras bras blancs.

     Natacha chassa son chat Pacha. Cela facha Sacha qui chassa Natacha.

We have just completed reading our 3rd Mercy Watson book and will continue to do French read-alouds. We may take a break from dictations in another week or so to work on some French Reader’s Theatre.


iPod shuffles

I’ve sent home a responsibility form (physically and attached to my first newsletter) for parents to sign and return in order for their child to get one of the school’s iPod shuffles. If your child left last year’s headphones, they will be returned. If your child does not have headphones, and you are unable to provide them, let me know, and I’ll sort something out. If you haven’t yet turned in the form, your child does not yet have his/her shuffle like the rest of the class.

On the shuffles, the kids will find the most recent dictation story (dictée – pronounced deek’ tay) read aloud by me, and also I have correctly pronounced and spelled all the words out. Listening to this every evening really seems to help kids do well on the dictée quiz and the vocabulary quiz. If your child has her iPod, she is meant to  listen to her iPod content two times in a row every evening. It should take about 5 minutes, total.

The shuffles should come back to school every day please! This is a responsibility that I ask the kids to take. It’s also rewarded and helps me keep track of who is listening. They should especially come back on Fridays for recharging.

Social studies

Thus far, we’ve identified major landmarks on a map of the world. We’ve also begun some history. This year we will study US & world geography and early American history: the colonies, trade routes, the Revolutionary War, the Constitution. In PE, I’m going to teach the kids how to do the Virginia Reel. (If any parents are interested in helping, please contact me! We’ll begin in November.) I’ve begun reading a book called The Birchbark House about a Native American girl. I’ve also begun The Fighting Ground by Avi, so I’ll let the kids pick which one we want to finish first.

Le français

I will keep doing dictations (dictées) with your kids and relevant vocabulary. We will go through about a dictée every week and a half to two weeks. Normally, all the dictée work stays at school. They have plenty of time to practice the words here, so just the listening to the iPods at home for those 5 minutes is all I ask.

In Mme. Diedrich’s class, they worked on a project called “The Important Thing” which is posted in the hallway. To complement that activity, we also did it in French, and those are also in the hallway. Here are two examples:

We’ve read the first of six Mercy Watson books in French, and the kids love them. French read alouds are really important to improve their pronunciation. We’re also working away on grammar and syntax.


We’re going to concentrate on Social Studies for a few weeks, then we’ll switch to science. I’d like to do a unit on bats, leading up to Halloween! Bats are fascinating creatures. Any experts out there, please come forward!


We’ll be doing all kinds of art projects throughout the fall. Once we have some fall leaves, we’ll press them and do several projects with them. This year, we’ll use colored pencils, pastels, watercolor, crayons, etc. We do guided drawings and self-portraits. We’ll do all kinds of things. Again, any parent or relative or even friend that would like to come in and share their art or do a project with the kids, please contact me!


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