Before break we had a test on area/perimeter.  Tests were handed back today for kids that took the test before break (there were quite a few absences), and quite a few kids will need to take a re-take next Friday, the 9th. If you haven't seen the test yet, please ask your student so you can help them prepare. The re-test will test area/perimeter only, not problem solving.  The most common mistakes with perimeter were miscalculations. The problems with area were that the formulas were not memorized, most specifically the formulas for triangles and parallelograms.  Please let me know if you have more questions.
Next Thursday we have a field trip to downtown Seattle. The Seattle Symphony puts on a show each year for 5th grade classes that is always amazing. The kids that are in band will find the experience truly inspiring.  While we are downtown we will also have a chance to walk through the Seattle Art Museum (sorry -- not the Gauguin exhibit!) as well as the Pike Street Market.  Kids will need clothes appropriate for the Symphony, but also for walking around outside, and, of course, a sack lunch.  Also, the kids are allowed to bring a few dollars to spend at the market if they wish -- we are telling the kids $5 is an appropriate amount. They shouldn't be coming with large amounts of cash -- please check with them! Chaperones are necessary, so let me know if you can make it.  There isn't always room for all the chaperones at the symphony, but there's coffee right there!  Anyway, let me know if you can make it. We will leave shortly after school begins and be back around 2.  
We are in desperate need of some wet wipes for our classroom. I opened our last container during a very muddy science lesson yesterday. If anyone can donate a container or two, that would be great!
Below is a letter from Mr. Bates describing upcoming lessons he will be delivering in all 5th grade classes.  Bothe Mr. Bates' email  end of the letter -- please let him (or me!) know if you have questions/concerns. Thank you!

February 7, 2012
Dear Parents,

I am participating in the evaluation of a brand new curriculum called “Riding the Waves” developed by the Washington State Youth Suicide Prevention Program (YSPP).

Starting this Friday, I will come into your child’s classroom and deliver the first of a series of four short lessons.  I will come every other Friday until the end of March. The focus of the lessons is on identifying sources of stress and learning healthy ways of coping.  These lessons are educational -- not therapeutic -- and will be done with the entire class. 

The lessons do not directly address suicide but were built on the premise that having healthy social and coping skills in one’s “toolbox” can help when life presents its challenges and hardships.  As you may already be experiencing at home, we are aware that many 5th and 6th grade children begin to describe more academic and social pressures in anticipation of their transition to middle school.  Occasionally they worry about their friends’ behavior and wonder what to do and who to talk with.  We believe these lessons will provide students with practical coping skills, like positive self-talk, progressive muscle relaxation, problem solving, and helping a friend by asking non-nosey questions.  A couple of lessons will emphasize how to be a supportive friend as well as the importance of asking an adult for help when your usual coping skills aren’t working. 

After each lesson you child will be given a handout to bring home, which provides a short summary of what was taught and suggestions for continuing the conversation about healthy coping and social skills at home.  As always, I welcome your feedback.

Because YSPP is trying to evaluate the effectiveness of the lessons, there will be a number of different activities YSPP staff and I will be carrying out.  I will be answering online surveys after each lesson I teach and at the end of my use of the curriculum.  I will never be asked to identify individual students by name or behavior. In addition, a YSPP staff person, with my permission, may come to observe some or all of the lessons I teach. The observer will not be taking any personal information about students. Her role will be strictly to gather information on how I am teaching the lessons and how students, as a group, are reacting to the content and activities.

It is also possible that a YSPP staff person would work with me to coordinate a focus group of students when I am done teaching the “Riding the Waves” lessons. If our school is chosen as a focus group site, you will receive another notification explaining the process and be given the choice to opt your child out.

If you would prefer that your child not participate in the Riding the Waves lessons, please contact me at 831-8319 or e-mail me at I am also available for any other individual questions or concerns.


Steve Bates