Welcome to the New School Year!
August 26, 2013
Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year! As much as I will miss the leisurely days of camping, hiking, staying up late, sleeping in until whenever, reading outside for hours on end, and watching the sun set just like you and your family will, it’s good to be back in the routine and structure of the school year. For returning families, I’m looking forward to continuing the work that we began last year. For new families, I’m looking forward to getting to work with you and get to know you! My classroom is an area where students are encouraged to challenge themselves to strengthen their skills, where students are expected to be respectful to their school, their classroom, their peers, and especially themselves, and where every member of the family is a member of the classroom community.
First and foremost, school starts at 7:55 AM! Please ensure that your child is here by 7:55! There are not enough exclamation marks I could use to emphasize this point. Tardiness is a HUGE distraction and while you may think, “Ohh what’s the big deal with two minutes?”, it’s a huge deal! With that being said, attendance is also crucial for your child’s academic and social success. Please do your absolute best to make sure that your child is here everyday. As you plan family vacations and trips, please work around the school calendar. After all, your child is here four days a week which leaves plenty of time for long weekend outings.
This school year, please look forward to relying on my teacher’s page on the district website for weekly updates about what we’ve been doing in class, what we will be doing the next week, how you can become more involved at home in continuing the learning and discovery that will take place in the classroom, videos, and photos. One of my biggest goals this year is to keep you more “in the know” about what we’re covering in class and the website is a great way to do so. The school’s website is www.corbett.k12.or.us. Once there, select “Teacher Pages Quick Links” in the upper right hand corner of the page and select “Barnard.” Get ready to be inundated with information! If this letter is any indication of my long-winded writing skills, you’re going to love my teacher page.
One of the highlights of this school year is bound to be our year-long study of the Earth Sciences of the Columbia River Gorge. We have an exciting overnight field study planned for Wednesday September 11th in Central Oregon where we will be observing, studying, and analyzing the John Day Fossil Beds, Painted Hills, and Smith Rocks, just to name a few. There will be an informational meeting about this field study this Thursday, August 29th at 4PM in Mrs. Dawkins’ classroom. We will also be discussing this awesome field study on our Back to School Night on Wednesday, September 4th in the gymnasium at 6:45 PM. We encourage you to come with all your questions about transportation, sleeping arrangements, style of shoes (NO CROCS), type of toilet paper used, water supply, what songs Mr. B will sing on the bus to embarrass the students, and the miles per gallon that our district buses get.
For your reading enjoyment, here’s how it all works in Mr. B’s classroom:
- READING: Students are encouraged to read, read, and read. After they’re done reading, they’re encouraged to read more! We will be working in small guided reading groups with a focus on non-fiction texts. There will be plenty of time for students to read independently and write about what they’re reading. The goal is simple: to be immersed in literature!
- WRITING: We’re going to follow the Writer’s Workshop format closely and learn through guidance, collaboration, peer and teacher assistance, and publication how to grow as writers in a variety of genres. This year, we will focus on narrative, informational, and persuasive writing. We will focus a lot on the grammar and mechanics of writing in addition to studying weekly spelling words that focus on a specific spelling pattern that your child will need to practice in order to strengthen.
- SNACK: Mmmmmmm snack. So good! It’s at 9:40 everyday.
- GORGE STUDIES: As previously mentioned, this year we will be studying the Earth Sciences of the Gorge. We will learn about the tectonic plates, learn and strengthen map-reading skills, the rock cycle, rock formation, and the Missoula Floods, just to name a few topics. Our geography studies will cover the state of Oregon, the United States and the seven continents.
- VOCAB: Vocabulary words this year will continue to be selected from our read-alouds. We will use our read-aloud book and Merriam-Webster’s online student dictionary www.wordcentral.com to learn the definitions of these words and will incorporate them into our daily oral and written language. Our first read-aloud book this year will be Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I highly suggest you read it yourself. It’s amazing and there’s absolutely nothing embarrassing about reading children’s literature. (In fact, I prefer it over adult literature).
- LUNCH: Mmmmmmm lunch. So good! It’s at 1 PM everyday.
- MUSIC AND BAND: Look for important information from the versatile and talented music staff of Mrs. Swanson, Ms. Grimes, and Mr. Killgore regarding music and band this year. Their letters will go home this week.
- CLASSROOM LIBRARY: Our classroom library is immense and I take great pride in not only how many books are available to read, but the wide range of books that are available to choose from. This year we added subscriptions to Stone Soup, Sports Illustrated for Kids, and National Geographic for Kids. Students can sign out up to three books at a time to read in class and/or at home. A personal disclaimer though: I have spent over thousands of dollars of my own money in making this classroom library as wide and immense as it is. Your child is responsible for reimbursing me for any books that they have damaged or lost.
- PHYSICAL EDUCATION: This year we will have a combined P.E. class with Mrs. Dawkins’ class. We are going to start off the year with a soccer unit and enjoy the outdoors before the 17 months of rain set in. Other units will be Volleyball and Floor Hockey, just to name a few.
- ART: Art this year is completely different! We will be studying 11 different artists throughout the year as an intermediate team with each teacher leading a study on two artists. For example, we will be starting with an in-depth study of Santos Chavez at the beginning of September. A couple of weeks later, my whole class will go to another classroom and learn about another artist from another teacher while I have another teacher’s homeroom class. It may be Pablo Picasso, Faith Ringgold, or M.C. Escher. We will complete two whole rotations and every class will end with a study on Rube Goldberg at the end of the year.
- CRAZY COOL CARDINALS: I am a huge fan of positive reinforcement as one of my personal beliefs is that students need to know how much they are rocking! You may see a certificate called “Crazy Cool Cardinal” in your child’s backpack recognizing them for all their hard work. Please feel free to post those on the kitchen fridge and recognize your child for rocking!
Lastly, this paragraph is a special dedication to all those families of third graders. Third grade is very different than second grade. Your child will be required to work harder, work longer, and be even more responsible for their requirements and belongings. It’s ok to feel a little overwhelmed at the beginning of the year with all the new requirements and the format of the intermediate grades at Corbett Grade School. I understand that it’s a big change, and I want to make it as stress-free and successful as possible. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions. Email is always the best way to get in touch with me, but feel free to call between 3:45-4:15 if you need to.
You as family members play a pivotal role in the academic and social success of your child’s school year. In advance, I thank you immensely for your support and help at home and I look forward to working with your family throughout this school year!
Daniel F. Barnard “Mr. B”