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Today: 4/17/14
All Day: 5th Grade overnight science field trip/ Headlands Institute
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Message from Ms. Frank

We’ve had a busy first week back from Spring Break, enjoying the nice weather and experiencing learning opportunities that range from all students becoming reacquainted with the garden, to our 5th graders taking Smarter Balanced Field Tests (read all about it in this week’s Common Core-ner) and readying themselves for next week’s Science Camp!  It’s an exciting time of year.


Also, I am pleased to report that the Moraga School District Governing Board approved our plans to rebuild the Kindergarten Play structure this spring!  Be on the lookout for opportunities to participate in the “3-Day Help Build” project, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, May 30 – June 1.  More info on that coming home soon!


This Monday, we are looking forward to extending our “Opera” theme by being treated to a “Flute for Two” performance by the San Francisco Opera.  Two singers (soprano and tenor) will present the classic story, “The Magic Flute” while students learn about singing technique, stage presence, and character expression as they help act out and complete the story.  Many thanks to our PTA for funding this enriching experience.





Mindset Matters

Mindset Matters
March 28, 2014

Did you know that International Happiness Day was March 21st?   To celebrate, a new 8 minute film, “The Science of Character” was premiered around the world – and was also shown at the 3rd – 5th grade Spirit Assembly on Friday, March 28.  This entertaining film highlights the ways in which we can all shape our character and encourage positive character traits in others – through optimism, gratitude, and (yes) mindset!  Click HERE to view this inspiring film, which references the Lifeskill and Mindset work that has been an important focus at Rheem.

Click here to access previous Mindset Matters postings


Common Core-ner

Common Core-ner
April 11, 2014

This past week, Rheem 5th graders joined thousands of other students in California by participating in the Smarter Balanced Field Tests, designed to measure their understanding of the new common core requirements.  Again, this is a “test of the test” -- a unique opportunity for our students and staff to experience the new testing standards and format in order to best prepare us for the official test launch in spring 2015.

For Ms. Hillhouse and our 5th grade teachers, administering these new field tests required lots of scheduling adjustments to coordinate the use of technology (we are practicing on two platforms: desktops in the Computer Lab and Chromebooks in the classroom), and helping each other and the students problem-solve the computerized format.  A very unscientific survey of our 5th graders during lunch time revealed the following comments:

“It was kind of fun, but I couldn’t find the strike-out key.”

“It was hard to type in fractions and mixed numbers.”

“My computer wouldn’t work, so I used a Chromebook.”

 “I like pencil and paper better.”

“I like using the computer WAY better!”

“Sometimes it’s hard to remember where the highlighter and other tools are”

“The math was a bit challenging, and I didn’t like typing a paragraph.”

“They should make it so you could read it OR listen to it!”

“Chromebooks are fun!”

From both the teachers’ observations and students’ perspectives, we are getting a lot of important information on how to best meet the challenges of this new testing format.  Our 4th graders will be taking the Field Tests April 21 – May 2, and our 3rd graders will being the Field Tests on Monday, May 5th.   We will continue to rely on the lifeskills of patience, flexibility, cooperation, and perseverance to help us through!

For more information about the Smarter Balanced Field Tests including practice questions, please click here: Smarter Balanced

Click here to access "Common Core-ner" previous postings