Literacy

A D39 Love Letter

Thank you Maria! 

At the Friday coffee chat last week, Mindy Ahrens invited us parents to share what's going well at school this year. I've been blown away by what my kids have brought home or shared with me about their learning, and have been meaning to send a follow up to the D39 love letter I sent you in January, so she was my motivation to get this out sooner rather than later!

I love that Carter has rediscovered the distinct voice he gave to his writing back in Kindergarten, but lost the year before he started D39. His humor and personality again shine through informative writing about animal senses, the Kumeyaay and Spanish missionaries, the history of football, and narrative writing about what his favorite part of spring break was or what a quote from Ghandi about limited resources means to him. Thanks to Mrs Castillo and Mrs Johnson, he embeds this voice within the appropriate structure of writing as he incorporates catchy hooks, examples and evidence to support his claims, and conclusions.

I love that he enjoyed writing the history of football book so much, that he and his friends researched and wrote short books about spiders, praying mantis, and Tasmanian tigers in their free time at school. How many 9 year old boys do that?!

I love that he spent time in Mrs Gilles maths class learning about money, and working through complex real world scenarios involving purchases and change. I love that he and his friends researched and presented on the history of money, including ancient forms of currency. I love that he is exploring geometry and perimeter, again through examples that apply content to real life.

I also love that he continues to devise intricate football plays with his friends during every recess, got to experience a special Google virtual field trip, and most of all because of the confidence and articulation he has developed at D39, he continues to be his own advocate and make good choices in and out of school.

I love that Beckett built a working clock as part of his math unit with Ms Jacobs on telling time, and each student personalized their clock face with unique elements that reflected their interests. I love that in reading writing mash up, he not only learned the OREO (opinion, example, reason, opinion) strategy for persuasive writing, but Mrs Kasner also taught them elements of debate such as how to rebut an argument! In first grade. And I love that he identifies "OREO" opportunities while riding in the car when he hears what he thinks is the best song, or reading a book he thinks is the best.

I love that he is yet again engrossed in Kasner's Oceanography Deep Dive, researching animals in the deepest parts of the abyss with his friends,  and learning to write cursive and fun fonts in Awesome ABCs. 

I also love that Mrs Kasner took him to see the pizza-box-life-size-periodic-table that 5th graders created because she knows how interested he is in elements and their characteristics. Most of all, I love that his insatiable thirst for learning is only fueled more by the daily experiences he has at D39, and that he has the confidence to look for answers and create solutions at home as well as at school.

I love how warm and caring the Welcome Center and Wellness staff are; providing comfort to my kids when they are hurt or sick, facilitating early releases for appointments that cannot be scheduled after school, and always making me feel valued and not an imposition, even when I create more demands on their time.

Lastly, I love how receptive and open our principal is to meeting with us parents, hearing and empathizing with our concerns, and allowing us the chance to devise and try out solutions to these. I love how tirelessly everyone is working towards the common vision that D39 was born from, and I am excited to see the extraordinary things students create, achieve, and innovate next year.

A big fan always,
Maria

Literably.com

The B114 homeroom with Tyler Borek.

The B114 homeroom with Tyler Borek.

We had a special opportunity yesterday to meet with Tyler Borek, creator of Literably.  What is Literably? Literably is a classroom tool that helps elementary teachers monitor students’ progress in reading. The site administers and scores oral reading assessments (with a comprehension check), so teachers can spend less time assessing and more time teaching. 

The 2nd and 3rd grade span has been working closely with Literably for the last two years.  From in-person to video conferences to emails, our relationship is mutually beneficial. Yesterday we had a lunch meeting with Tyler.  We learned that La Mesa-Spring Valley and Mountain View schools are using Literably district wide (Wow!).  We also had a chance to ask questions and give suggestions for site improvement. 

(From left to right) Abby Robles, Carly Ciuffreda, Tyler Borek, Patrick Dela Cruz, Kate Stanley, Kriscia Cabral, Maureen Dunn, Brenda Gillies, Anna Johnson

(From left to right) Abby Robles, Carly Ciuffreda, Tyler Borek, Patrick Dela Cruz, Kate Stanley, Kriscia Cabral, Maureen Dunn, Brenda Gillies, Anna Johnson

And then.....

Tyler stayed after lunch to meet with students. My homeroom students had a question/answer opportunity. "What inspired you to create Literably?" "Who helped you create Literably?" "How did you come up with the name?" "Was it hard to rewrite the code for iOS?" 

Students in B114 asking Tyler about Literably.

Students in B114 asking Tyler about Literably.

 

After questions, the students gave Tyler suggestions to improve Literably.  

  • More variety with passages
  • More comprehension questions
  • Instant feedback after answering comprehension questions
Students offering suggestions to improve Literably.com 

Students offering suggestions to improve Literably.com 

After our chat, Tyler stayed to see the students as they completed their weekly Literably recordings.  When they came to me with Literably questions, as they sometimes do, I happily directed them to ask Tyler for help :) 

Kai, Gabriel and Lainey seeking help. 

Kai, Gabriel and Lainey seeking help. 

What a small moment filled with awesome memories for all involved! Tyler Borek is an inspiration, an innovator, a mentor, and a friend to us at Design39Campus.