Posted on November 12, 2017
I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday weekend. In case your child forgot to show you the hard copy of our field trip notice that went home last week, we will be hiking the Kamananui Trail in Moanalua Valley tomorrow. All four classes are going together, which should be fun. We are going without a tour guide and instead are expecting the students to dig deep with their observation skills. This will be the 4th watershed we visit this semester so students will be noticing some similarites and differences as well. Our goal is for students to delve into questions about our water supply, hypothesize about human impact, wonder how to protect our water supply, and come up with some deeper questions to investigate.
Please make sure your child wears their Mid-Pacific t-shirt, comfortable pants or shorts, and sturdy walking shoes. Suncreen and bug repellent should be applied at home, and students are allowed to bring them in case they need to reapply. We are also allowing the students to carry either their school backpack or a light weight backpack to carry their water bottles, morning snacks, inquiry journals and iPads for documentation purposes. We will return to school in time for lunch.
On another note, I just calculated that we have just 15 instructional days of school before our parent/teacher/student conferences. This is crunch time as we are in the midst of creating brand-new portfolios, using a new format, with the focus being on our Mid-Pacific Learner Profile. While all classroom teachers and specialists maintain our schedules and expectations at this time of year, there will always be students who sometimes stress over the portfolio and even struggle with artifact selection to show their growth as a learner. We all try to keep the process as calm and stress-free as possible, but I'd like to offer a few suggestions to ensure your children are in their optimum learner mode as we enter this busy time of year.
While there are often weekday games, practices, and sometimes social functions, please try to have your child maintain his/her sleep schedule as much as possible. Adhering to strict sleep/wake times enable children to be alert, ready for thinking and learning and to have a sustained focus throughout the entire school day. It's not uncommon for me to hear, "Mrs. LeBlanc, I'm so tired, I stayed up too late last night." The child will typically tell me they had a late game or something to attend, so I always remind them to try to go back to their regular bedtime the next night. A question I am frequently asked, "Is it snack time yet? I'm so hungry!" With growth spurts happening, 3rd and 4th graders nutritional needs are increasing. Sometimes children tell me they skipped breakfast because they needed to get to school early for K-Kids or HUGGS duty. My suggestion to the child is ask if they can keep some breakfast bars or even a container of cereal in the car to eat on the way to school.
Please know that I as a parent can relate and empathize with you. My family frequently had late nights and rushed mornings when my son was an elementary student. I know firsthand how cranky my son could be when he was tired. When children arrive at school tired or cranky, they are not primed for learning or thinking and it can make their school day challenging. If possible, please provide nutritious snacks of fruit, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, etc. I try to model healthy snacking by bringing nutritious snacks daily so that I can enjoy the occasional sweet on class member's birthdays.
Each Thursday Mr. Kim and I supervise the lunchroom while the 3rd and 4th graders dine. Each week I'm quite taken aback by how much food is thrown away, mostly the school lunch. Clearly, we have some picky eaters who barely touch their school lunch, with only a handful of students heartlly eating every morsel. As I walk from table to table, when I see students not eating, I ask them what is the one item on their tray that they like, and then I encourage them to at least eat that 1 item and drink their beverage. It saddnes me to see so much food going to waste, and I worry as a teacher if the students are getting enough to eat. School lunch students are allowed to bring additional food to supplement their lunch. I often see one student bringing a sandwich on the days he doesn't care for the main dish, but he does eat the fruit and salad. The school menu is emailed each Sunday night in the Owl Newsletter. It might be helpful to print it out and go over it with your child. They can identify the lunches they don't care for and enlist their help in planning an alternative lunch that day. Third and fourth graders can make a sandwich and pack their own snacks, and it makes them feel empowered to do so. One 4th grade girl in particular (not in my class) was not eating any of her lunch but never told her parents that she didnʻt like it. I gave her some language to use at home so she could suggest what she did want to eat. Since then she has been making her own lunch and eating it. Each week I look forward to saying hello to her at lunch time, and she simply beams with pride about taking control over her food choices and is so proud to be making her lunch and packing her own snacks. That's a perfect example of the learner outcome of problem-solving!
I share this with you becasue I care very deeply for each and every student not just in my class, but our whole school. I want each child to reach his/her potential. With cold and flu season around the corner, we all need to be vigilant about our sleep, nutrition and hand-washing! Let's all be the healthiest we can be, but if your child is sick, has a fever, a bad cough, or cold, please keep them home. I know that's not easy either (my husband often stayed home without pay to do so), but we need your child 100% healthy so we can all learn and play together.