December greetings, Thomas Families!
We are now into our second trimester of the school year! With 13 solid school days left before winter break, students are in the thick of learning! Thank you for sending your children to school everyday eager to question, collaborate, create & innovate, persevere, think flexibly, and communicate with confidence! These are the six thinking practices we embrace in our culture of enrichment.
Thomas students utilize these practices daily throughout each curricular area. Teachers encourage students to question the “why” and “how.” Whereas, when I grew up we were asked not to question. Times have changed! Now, educators design challenges for students to support questioning, collaboration, and innovation. We have found that squelching questions depresses creativity. Students are inquisitive by nature, and fostering this will extend to growth in their passion and curiosity, which leads to deeper learning and perseverance during challenging timesJ My hope is that you are hearing more questioning at home and conversation around learning!
Weekly teacher newsletters will support you in starting conversations about learning. Mrs. Arcaro’s and Mr. Stoller’s blogs, thomasmusicroom.blogspot.com and Thomas Elementary Art Blog will spark insightful discussions and possible performances. Follow Mrs. Burton on Twitter @GTESPE or Mrs. Dimmerling @GTESLibrary for further creative ideas. Families are encouraged to ask their children everyday, “What did you learn today?” and “What can you tell me about that?” Open-ended questions will produce a richer conversation at home with the teacher resources for your support.
Here is another approach to learning, which is a new set of techniques for staff and students. We call this, “Thinking Routines.”You can learn more about thinking routines at http://www.visiblethinkingpz.org. Thinking routines are strategies used to make thinking visible. On the website you will find, “Visible Thinking is a flexible and systematic research-based approach to integrating the development of students' thinking with content learning across subject matters.” The goal is to cultivate students' thinking skills and deepen content learning. Teachers strive to develop students with a creative mindset, ready to take on new learning opportunities.
Take a moment with your family and try the thinking routine, “See, Think, Wonder.” Start with a picture, photo, or cove page of a book. “See,” by making thoughtful observations. “Think,” by stating interpretations and connections. “Wonder,” by asking questions. Use this as a way to get your family thinking about a topic, ignite curiosity, or bridge a connection.
Thomas eblasts will declare the majority of Thursdays as “Thinking Thursdays.” Activities will be shared for you and your family to try. Articles will offer insight into our culture of thinkers. Staff will also share their approaches to thinking about thinkingJ
Have you been thinking about colder temperatures? As the days are becoming cooler, please make sure children are dressed appropriately when they walk out your door in the morningJ Students will go outside for a 15-30 minute recess each day when the temperature is 26 degrees with wind chill and warmer. They need a coat and gloves or mittens. Hats and scarves are a good measure too! If children choose to wear shorts, please send long pants to wear over them. We want to protect children and ensure their good health through cold and flu season.
This is also a Season of Giving. Thank you for contributing to our collections in the last few months! You are a very generous community! Friday we celebrated giving to our PTO Fundraiser. Those who earned money by selling 15 items or more for our PTO fundraiser took part in a Build-An-Animal “stuffing party” during the morning. Our top winners were able to visit Get Air during their lunch/recess and celebrate their amazing efforts selling at least 25 items or more. It was a bouncing-good time! You can enjoy pictures of the event on our website. Much appreciation for all of your efforts, Thomas Families!
Thank you for your tremendous support, Thomas Families! We look forward to seeing you in the coming days! Visiting Winter Wonderland this coming weekend is a terrific way to practice Healthy Habit #7, Sharpen the Saw, to enjoy friends, relax, and bring balance to your life:-)