Halloween party


Lauren’s class is having a Halloween party! It will be on October 31st. You can wear a costume but you can’t have a mask, a lot of blood, or any inappropriate things. There will be a costume contest, games, and goo making. Food will be provided but you should still pack a lunch (or get school lunch) and a morning snack. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


Update provided by Luna and Lily


Three things that parents should know:


  1. The campout is coming soon so be sure that you are ready.(The campout is on October 3rd 2012.) Picture day is also on October 3rd 2012.

  2. The second thing that you should know is that we are going to be walking to the library every Tuesday so please remind your kids to bring their library books.

  3. The third thing that you should know is that we are going to be learning Thriller during P.E. So practice at home.

We went around the room and gathered quotes from are peers.


  1. Rachel said “ my favorite thing this week was the first day of music”.

2. Velo said “ that he likes having recess and then eating lunch.”

3. Chris said “my favorite part of this week was p.e.”


Three thing things we did this week were …


1. We went to the library and had a tour, don’t forget to go to the library outside of school

2. We watched Lego’s doing Thriller.

3. We had a meeting about the campout.


Luna and Lily

The beginning is the most important part of the work. -Plato



Welcome back to the beginning. 

Regardless of whether you are a teacher or a parent, it always seems as though those of us surrounded by small children are constantly immersed in new beginnings.  There are beginnings of new friendships and first dance lessons.  There are beginnings of summer vacations and new sprouts in well loved gardens and as September rolls around, there is of course the multitude of beginnings that are caused by the start of a new school year.

For all of us new beginnings stir up a variety of emotions and although we can be sure that these moments will trigger bursts of feelings, we can also be sure that no two individuals will have the exact same reaction to a new space or friend.  For myself, I feel lucky knowing that this year’s new beginning is full of excitement, hope and promise. The 3-4-5 team is lucky enough to have two teachers joining us who bring a wealth of knowledge and understanding around what it means to involve students in their classroom community.  It also doesn’t hurt that my classroom roster is full of students that I can’t wait to meet. 

As the first days of school continue to draw closer I would encourage you to sit down and honor all of the feelings that you and your child are having about the new school year.  Apprehension is a beautiful emotion; it means that you care.  The conflicting emotions that come from leaving a past advisor are what make Trillium special; they mean that you have found a way to connect and feel loved.  Not all new beginnings are forged in excitement and confidence and yet all new beginnings are exciting. 

“The beginning is the most important part of the work,” and this year, the work is going to be fantastic.

As always, be well.


Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly- Arnold Edinborough


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When was the last time you explored the moving parts hidden inside of your VCR, or marveled at the spools of copper wire tucked neatly into the compartments of your hair dryer? I would like to send a big “thank you!” to everyone who was able to donate their old electronics to our current science unit. For the past two weeks our classroom has been transformed into a place where students are eager to look beyond surface features and explore exactly what makes the electronics in our world tick. Our focus during this unit is NOT on leaving with a perfect understanding of how stereo decks work or why baby monitors are able to transmit sounds. The deconstruction process in our classroom is a way for us to become familiar with the way scientists move through the scientific process.

Beginning with observations and questions we are learning that knowing where to start in the experiment is incredibly important. After our observations and questions have been recorded we have been using diagrams as a way to make predictions and form hypotheses about what we might discover inside of each item. Knowing that buttons need to be able to bounce back into place after being pushed allows us to hypothesize that our VCR must have a few springs inside of it. Knowing that our Rumba has wheels that need to move as it navigates its way around our house makes us believe that there must be a motor hidden somewhere inside as well. In the next few weeks our class will begin to sort the items we have discovered inside of our electronics with the hopes of gathering enough materials to begin building some creations of our own. If you have any electronics with motors inside of them that you are willing to donate, our class will welcome them with open arms.

Thank you again for making all of this possible!


“The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop”-Mark Twain


Classroom Update

Dear Families,

Over the past few months our class has spent time developing non-fiction research skills, experimenting with the fundamentals of electricity and most recently, delving into persuasive writing techniques. Hopefully you will find that this letter increases your understanding of what has been going on in class and adds to the conversations that you have with your students around the dinner table.



Social Studies

Did you know that Kansas used to be underwater or that the polar bears living in Alaska are no longer having twins due to the melting of the polar ice caps?

After beginning our year by exploring maps and our surrounding neighborhood we quickly turned our attention to the United States during our social studies theme time. Instead of spending our time

memorizing where each of the states is on the map, we have instead been uncovering interesting facts about each state using non-fiction texts. Our goal in this unit is to become comfortable asking questions, and finding answers. Since the start of our unit we have all been researching the same state at the same time. However, in the coming weeks your child will have the opportunity to pick a state that he or she would like to study with a partner and later share with the class. The goal of this research will be to uncover as many interesting facts as possible, in hopes of persuading the class that their state should be everyone’s vacation destination of choice. You can help prepare for this independent study project by gathering non-fiction books at home and helping your child navigate and explore the index, table of contents and the glossary in each book.


Electricity!Zap! What exactly is inside of that battery and how in the world do light switches work? These are the questions that our class has been grappling with over the past few months and with each lesson, a little more of the mystery has been uncovered. We began our unit by brainstorming what we already knew about electricity. We knew, of course, that we needed it to light our streets and homes and that our computers and televisions would be worthless without it however, when it came to what electricity actually was we had a harder time coming up with ideas. Therefore, we decided to begin our science unit by using batteries to create our own demonstrations of electricity in hopes that a great deal of hands on learning could help us understand the concept more fully.

Using copper wires, flashlight bulbs and D-Cell batteries we created simple circuits which allowed the electrons in the batteries to flow freely and light the light bulb in our circuit. After seeing that our copper wire could be used to allow the electrons to flow freely from one side of the battery to the other, we began to question what it was about the copper wire that allowed the electrons to zoom through and create electricity. Soon we began building our own conductivity testers in which we could determine which materials were conductors, allowing electrons to flow freely, and which weren’t. In the final weeks before break we used our knowledge of circuits and conductors to help send Morose code messages across the classroom using telegraph wires and a handy cheat sheet.

As our final weeks of our electricity unit come to a close we will be working to create a small scale neighborhood in which the lights in each house can be controlled by a light switch. If possible,




It would be wonderful to finish this unit off with new working materials and donations are greatly appreciated! Thank you! Our next topic of study will magnetism!


This Friday I will be sending home the post-tests for the first round of geometry, fractions, number sense and algebra. The best way for you to help your child prepare for the next round of each math cohort is to go through the different problems and to think through the concepts that were missed on the post-test. Each new round of cohorts builds off of the skills acquired in the previous round, and extra practice at home in a 1:1 setting is a great way to move deeply into any material that still proves to be confusing for your child. If you have any questions in regards to how you can help practice problems and review concepts at home, please e-mail me!


For the next few weeks we will be working on developing strong persuasive writing skills. The first few topics will be provided, but as we move forward each child will begin to select topics of their choosing. In class we are currently focusing on integrating transition words into our writing. Words such as: furthermore, also, first, second, in addition to and finally, are great ways to help organize thinking and give a clear structure to persuasive writing. When you child is finished writing, you can begin the editing process by having him/her read the work aloud. Often times kids catch the most mistakes simply by reading their writing aloud. If you take care of the spelling and the missing letters/words, I promise to tackle the tough stuff at school :).


We will be having spelling tests on Thursday afternoons for the remainder of the year in honor of the national spelling bee. I believe that students do best on tests when they are motivated to take them. It is for this reason that kids can request a spelling test at any time. If they want to spend Monday night studying so that they are fresh for Tuesday morning they simply need to ask for an early test date. As always, we are emphasizing that spelling is NOT as important as the content and ideas in a writing piece and that correct spelling comes last in the writing process. We will be having an OPTIONAL spelling bee at the end of February for students interested in participating.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. -Confucius


What did you want to be when you were growing up?

So often people ask this question and expect a quick response. When I took a minute to answer this question for myself I promptly answered that I grew up wanting to be a lawyer. A few minutes into writing this post, I realized that there was also a time when I wanted to be an author… and an illustrator…but only until I decided that what I really wanted to do was work in a fancy hotel and chauffeur famous people around in a limousine. As a child you are designed for “mind changing.” You are supposed to obsess over dinosaurs one week and spend all of your time racing your bike the next. You are supposed to pledge your undying devotion to Picasso and later forget where you placed your easel; and you are supposed to explore your options so that one day you might have the good fortune of falling into a job that you love.

Our weekly neighborhood walk has recently sparked classroom discussions about the job opportunities available to future Trillium graduates. The mini-marts, barber shops, newspaper stands, and college students we see on our weekly trek to the library have each gotten us thinking about life after Trillium. Our visit to Lilko, the Hawaiian restaurant owned by two Trillium parents, started the ball rolling, and after meeting two individuals who clearly love what they do, we too have been searching for jobs that make us pulse with joy.

In order to organize our thoughts we have been spending our Tuesday mornings creating a list of all of the jobs that make our neighborhood run. Train conductors, electricians, welders, architects, florists, chefs and engineers have all made our list, and our collection of professions has continued to grow as the weeks have passed.

If there are any parents who would be willing to come in to our classroom and talk to us about their job, the school they are currently attending, or the long list of jobs they had before they finally fell into one they loved, please contact me. If you are unable to come in but are able to write-up a short paragraph or two describing your job and why you love it, I would also appreciate that information.

Here’s hoping that your work week is something that you can’t wait to get back to :).

And as always, be well.

Education is all a matter of building bridges. – Ralph Ellison


How would you build if no one ever told you the "right" way?

Every Monday, rain or shine, our class journeys to our neighborhood library. Although the orderly rows of just right books are our final destination, it always seems as though the time we spend walking side by side is the truly valuable part of that hour. In not so orderly paris of twos and threes, we make our way down Killingsworth, taking in the sights and the sounds of our neighborhood. It is on this walk that connections are made, and it takes nothing more than a shared sidewalk and a common destination for a third grader and a fifth grader to strike up a conversation. Observations are shared we move along the streets but in a class full of students it always seems that more than a few need a constructive way to connect with the space around them. Over the next few months we will be working to recreate a small model of our neighborhood, focusing first on the bridge we cross on our walk each Monday and later on the diverse shops that make up Trillium’s home. Junk supplies are always welcome and appreciated.

This week I invite you to spend some time thinking about the buildings that are important in your neighborhood. If you could pick just one to re-create, what would it be?

Until next time, be well.