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Monday Note - January 7

Last week was a good chance for us to start working on remembering things we need to do, at school.  This week, we are back in the thick of it.  We will be doing our full compliment of curriculum (something we have not done since before Thanksgiving, as there was much to do, to prep for the dinner/program, and the Christmas presentation a few weeks later, and making Christmas gifts...) I'm sure there will be some weeping and gnashing of teeth, but we will get through that, and back into our routine, I'm sure. 

(by the way, if you student didn't tell you, your Christmas gift is actually intended to be a Christmas Card Holder - you can hang it on the wall, and clip your Christmas cards into the clothes pins.  I hope you enjoy them.  I went to visit one of my former students from about 20 years ago, over Christmas and was so THRILLED to see that her mom still hangs hers up every year!!)

There are a few new things, you should be aware of:

PIXIE POINTS

I am finding that I have enough kids with very short attention spans, that my current 'reward system' is not 'instantaneous' enough for many of our students. So, against my usual preferred methods, we are going to start using a token system.  This will integrate with our Howdy slips, and my clip-board that tells me who is missing work, and hopefully provide them with reason to WANT to stay caught up.  And also reason to be certain they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.  My goal is to create students that are self starters, and self-motivated to accomplish what needs to be done, but we are just not there, yet.  Perhaps this system will help some of them work toward getting there a bit faster.  If you would like more details on the system we will be using, I'd be happy to fill you in, just stop me, in the morning or the afternoon and I'll explain it. 
The main thing you need to know is that 'morning work' will be ending in the morning, and work that is not done at that point will go into a purple folder, just before lunch every day.  Students will have some time in the afternoons to work on those items, but we will not allow it to push our afternoon curriculum aside any longer.  Whatever is not done by the end of Pickles time, will be taken home, to finish up at home.  Students will have to pay me three Pixie Points to take a purple folder home, they will have the opportunity to earn at least two of those points back, the next morning, if they remember to return the folder with completed work in it, the very next day.  Only one point if its the second day, and none if it's later than that. (provisions will be made, when students are sick, and have extra back work because of that!)  There are, of course, several ways to earn Pixie points, and various ways that they can be lost.  It will take all of us a few weeks to kind of get in the hang of things, but hopefully, it will help!

READING LOGS

Another item that will be different is that we may be losing IXL, later this month, so using just that, as 'homework' is not going to be an option for too much longer. So I was dreaming up other ways that I could encourage the students to at least spend SOME of their evening engaging their brain.  We are starting a 'Reading Log' system.  I would like to encourage students to read for approximately their reading level, times 5 minutes, each evening - So the red group would need to read for at least 15 minutes.  Yellow, at least 20, and blue, at least 30 minutes.  We will also be keeping track of completed books (That should be at or just above or below your student's comfort level - no sixth graders getting 'credit' for reading Gerald and Piggy books!)  A note from you, indicating the book's title and number of pages, and signed by you (or whatever adult your student reads to), would help your student to add a 'link' on our Classroom 'Reading-log-a-pillar'. 

PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES

I know that the 'official' time, indicated on the conference calendar, for our next round of parent-teacher conferences is not until early April, I am sort of feeling it might be good to sit with some of you, sooner than that.  I can let you know if I feel we need to talk, and please, if I don't reach out to you, do *not* be afraid to reach out to me.  Other than Tuesday, when my daughter has an appointment, and the occasional Friday that I'm going out of town, I usually try to stay at the school in the afternoons till at least 5:00 or so, so after school works well, but I can be pretty flexible, too, if that is not a good time for you.  Just call me, and let me know when a good time for you is, and we'll make it work.

Happy Monday!!