What’s New with the Beta Crew!

In Beta, we have a particular and deliberate way to begin the school day.

In our morning meeting, all classroom members- grown-ups and students- gather in a circle, greet each other, and listen and respond to each other’s news.  We take note of who is present, who is smiling and happy to be here, who is having a hard time smiling.  We practice academic skills, grapple with problems that are challenging our minds, and look forward to learning together.


Morning Meeting allows us to begin each day as a community of caring and respectful learners.


The components of Morning Meeting intentionally provide opportunities for kiddos to practice the skills of greeting one another, listening and responding, group problem-solving, and noticing and anticipating.  This daily practice gradually weaves a web that binds our class together!


Cool stuff, right!



We do many different group activities during our Morning Meeting. These are often short and inclusive, and reinforce learning and building class cohesion through active participation.


And one of this week’s activities was yoga with Kellen’s mom, Stacie. Ms. Stacie always knows how to get us moving and focused for the day!


Our Morning Message gives our kiddos lots of practice with academic skills and warms them up for the day ahead by reading (and fixing!) and discussing a daily note to the class by Ms. Courtney and Ms. Kelly.


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Over the last couple of weeks, we have been playing many Math Pentathlon activities to get us warmed up for our new game-

Par 55! 

For those of you unfamiliar with Math Pentathlon- read below!

“The Mathematics Pentathlon is a program of interactive problem-solving games, supportive curricular and instructional activities, and assessment tools for students in grades K-7. This motivational program strengthens basic math concepts and skills, aligns with National and State Mathematics Standards, and stimulates creative thinking while developing problem-solving skills. A focus on conceptual understanding and the integration of spatial, computational and logical reasoning are key attributes of Mathematics Pentathlon. By using specially designed games and activities that differentiate instruction, ALL students of varying abilities and learning styles are motivated to enjoy math and spend more time learning this subject matter. These factors are critical in improving students’ performance in math.”

And here are some of the AWESOME benefits of the program!

  • Differentiates Instruction
    uses specially-designed board games to motivate ALL students of varying abilities and learning styles to enjoy and spend more time learning math
  • Develops Active Problem Solving
    the ability to resolve problems that are continually undergoing change
  • Integrates 3 Types of Mathematical Reasoning
    spatial, computational, and logical
  • Stimulates “Right Brain” Thought
    creative thinking, spatial visualization and reasoning
  • Utilizes Mathematics Manipulative’s
    models to develop conceptual understanding

And do check out this link on Active Problem Solving!


Here, the kiddos are getting familiar with the pieces involved in Par 55.

Beta kiddos!  Tell your family about what you remember about these pieces you see below.  Do you remember the 4 attributes??? 

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This group is working hard creating an attribute train- where each piece must be one, and only one attribute different from the one before. This crew has it going on!!

And after all of our practice, we jumped into our first round of Par 55! It was exciting seeing the kiddos using their active problem solving skills in action.

Betas- Tell your family what is going on in these pictures.  What are Ella and Asher doing?

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Math Pentathlon isn’t the only math we have been doing this week!

We counted Sullivan’s Estimating Jar full of yummy peanuts! There were 291!

Betas- How many hundreds, tens and ones are in 291?  What is ten more?  10 less?  What two numbers could you add/subtract to get 291?  How many different ways can you show 291?

After all that counting…

We snacked!  MMMmath!

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We were so lucky to have Sullivan’s mom and grandparents come in and teach us all about music during the pioneer times.  We learned so much about life on the Oregon Trail, and ways families stayed positive, and had some fun, during those grueling months.

Often there was little room on the wagon for anything but necessities, so people got creative!  Using things you normally needed in your everyday life can be turned into something new and exciting if you use your imagination!

We used spoons, pots and even Ma’s wash board to create some interesting beats!


Did you know that many of the songs back then were really quite silly?  And did you know “doodle” meant “silly” back in the 1800’s?  We are going to bring that word back! ;)

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We danced!  Look at those square dancers move!


We sang!  Do you remember the silly song about all the clothes made of food?!

We listened to different instruments and guessed what they were and we even got to try out a real fiddle!

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Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! To Sullivan’s family for ending our quarter with our first ever Beta Jamboree!  We are truly humbled by your generosity in helping us end our first 6 weeks on such a high note! -Pun intended ;)


Thursday was a whirlwind of awesomeness!

First the Jamboree, then

Around the World!

We celebrated some amazing young people from East Africa by enjoying an East African feast, followed by some lovely conversations with our visitors.



The kiddos asked many interesting questions- What’s the temperature there? Do people have pets? What do you eat?  Do you have candy? What kind of wild animals are around? What was your school/home like?  How do you say “hi” in your language? etc.  Our speakers were open, honest, and so very sweet.

They talked a great deal about how they were raised to respect and love all in their communities, and the importance of families.  Now doesn’t that just warm your heart. :)

After filling our tummies with great food, and filling our minds with new and interesting things, it was time to move our bodies!

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And man, could our guests move!!!!!

What an absolute delight to watch and be a part of!

Thanks y’all for another wonderful, spectacular week!

Enjoy your Fall Break and see you in a week!


K & C


Coming up:

Oct. 20-24- Fall Break!!!

Oct. 27- Conferences

Oct. 31- Emil’s Birthday & Halloween!

Nov. 8- Ms. Courtney’s Birthday!!

Nov. 15- Austin Home Brew Festival!

Filed October 17th, 2014.