January 26, 2017

Hello Families,

Children have been working hard since coming back from the holiday break.

Word Study/Spelling

  • Spelling tests every other week.   (There is a test tomorrow January 27)
  • Word Sorts are from a book that provides “a practical, research-based, and classroom-proven way to study words with students.” [Words Their Way; Marcia Invernizzi, Francine Johnston and Donald R. Bear]  What we do with the word list given each week expands and enriches vocabulary and spelling within word pattern spellers (our 2nd graders!)
  • The Spelling Word list is from a 3rd grade book that has a scope and sequence that I follow.  Each day children have work to do on worksheets and their Word Study Books to help them with spelling and study strategies.
  • We do DLR  (Daily Language Review) each morning that has children learning/practicing punctuation and grammar, comprehension, vocabulary and word study, reference skills, and other language skills such as correct/incorrect spelling, letter writing, and identifying mistakes.
  • As of this week, I’m also having children read a short text on the back of the DLR to practice reading comprehension.  It too is a 3rd grade book.


I’m so proud of each child in this classroom.  They’re all working hard on sophisticated strategies to solve addition and subtraction into the thousands, multiplication and division.  It takes perseverance, stamina and a measure of self esteem.  Other mathematical strands we’ve been working on as well:

  • measurement
  • money

Coming up:

  • telling time
  • geometry

Critical Literacy and Writers’ Workshop

We’re still reading/listening to stories that are challenging ideas we have about stereotypical characters.  So far we’ve read, discussed and written about No David by David Shannon, Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor, Lionel and Amelia by Leone Peguero, and Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola.

Children have also been writing a non-fiction response piece on 2 Scholastic News articles we read, about how the Pilgrims from England and the native Wamponoag experienced the arrival of the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock in different ways.  We started by answering questions, completing a Venn Diagram, writing an introduction and a rough draft.  At this time, students are typing their pieces.  When the typed draft is printed, children will have the opportunity to edit and rewrite and complete a final draft.  WHEW!!


Children took the first of the 3 part test this morning.  Unfortunately, our little netbooks were NOT up to the task.  Very frustrating and disappointing. 😦     We’ll do it again next Thursday February 2nd.  At that time, we’ll be using computers from either Mr. Lee’s or Mr. Serafin’s classrooms.

Other Important Items

  • Walk-a-thon on Friday February 3rd
  • Valentine’s Day– We’ll have a fun day and exchange Valentine’s in the afternoon.  I’ll send home a class list if your child wishes to bring them in for the exchange, which I highly encourage!  And of course, if your child is bringing some in, they must have one for every student in the classroom.
  • February 17 and February 20 are holidays.

Here is a copy of the letter Susan Walsh one of our 2 room parents sent out the other day, in case you didn’t get to see it:

Dear Gillespie Parents,
We kicked off the Walk-A-Thon the first week after break.  Next Friday is the actual walk! There is not much time left to get to our goal of $55,000  (and 85% participation).  ALERT:  We have not had any volunteers sign up to help yet!  YIKES!  If you can help next Friday please signup here.
As of the beginning of the week our “Gillespie'” class leads the school in regards to the donation amount – with a bit over $1500.  GOOD JOB and THANK YOU!   However, if you looked at the charts posted on the class window or in the email blast that went out on Monday (attached below) you can see that our class participation rate is only at 45%.  This is a great event to get our friends and family to participate in …with our kids leading the way and playing a part in funding their school’s success. If you have not sat down with your child to create their W.A.T. website and send it to friends and families requesting donation support please think about doing so.
When you examine the W.A.T. e-blast’s charts closely you can see that there are just 4 classrooms with over 50% participation and only 4 which have contributed over $1000 for their combined classroom.  As a school, with 36% participation, we have raised $15,100 as of week 3. The W.A.T. is the third of 4 major fundraisers (Giving Campaign, LJ Art & Wine Festival, W.A.T. and Gala) we hold during the year.  The first two raised roughly $183K. Our overall fundraising goal is $325K …which would just cover the same programs we fund this year (not including any cost increases).  As you are aware from the Librarian email Ms. Ott sent out or from newspaper articles, the San Diego Unified School District is having financial problems.  Our Foundation is made up of ALL TPES parents/guardians wanting to provide funds to supplement programs, supplies, and teachers that the district does not fund. As a TPES parent, and thus a member of our Foundation, I wanted you to be aware of the information.
Don’t forget … tomorrow is the G.A.T.E. test for Mrs. Gillespie’s class.

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