December Cocoplum Newsletter

Hello Cocoplum Parents,

I’m excited to announce that I will be returning to the classroom in the afternoons to teach a second work cycle. Students will still enjoy PE, drama, and Spanish. Then have a lesson or recap/extension in: Math, Language, Science/STEM, Literature Circle, and Socratic Discussion. I do want to note that I have doctor appointments on the afternoon of December 2 and all day on December 9 so I will be out of the classroom those two days.

We are excited to bring in a famous author, Arlo Haskell, to help us with our Writer’s Workshop. Arlo will be coming in the afternoons the week of December 9 through the 13th to inspire us to write and publish our writing into a Cocoplum Book. I will help guide the class during the writing process and help them with their story.

We are also excited to have Huck and Lily joining the class on Wednesday, December 11 and 18th to share their musical passion.

Students have been working hard during the first half of the year on their ancient civilizations. Fifth and sixth years will complete their research on ancient Egypt and ancient Rome in December. Stay tuned for more information regarding the culminating projects on December 20.

We have been so blessed to work with Honest Eco to create a hands-on science curriculum. The students learned to graph their data that we collected about natural semi-permeable membranes. Our last trip of 2019 will be December 16.

October Enrichments:

Foreign Language

At the beginning of November, Ms. Ana came to talk to the class about Argentina and specifically, where she grew up in the city of Mar del Plata (which translates to Sea of Silver). She explained that Mar del Plata has one of the largest fishing ports in Argentina and that it exports fish to many countries, such as the United States, Saudi Arabia and Italy. The port is home to a large seal population and its climate is similar to California. Mar del Plata has a vibrant community and is a popular tourist destination. Its varied landscape and immediate proximity to the Atlantic ocean make it an ideal area to host the triathlon, “Ironman Argentina”. In this challenging triathlon, participants are required to swim for 3.8 km, cycle for 180 km, and run for 42.2 km. Ms. Ana showed the Cocoplums how to make the most popular cookies in Argentina, “Alfajores de Maicena”, of which six million are sold in the country on a daily basis! The week ended with students being shown a video of the Tango, which is the traditional dance of Argentina.

Ms. Ina, whose daughter Victoria attends the Children’s School, shared with the Cocoplums her knowledge and experiences of living in Bulgaria. She demonstrated how to make traditional Bulgarian yogurt, which is not strained like Greek yogurt, and therefore retains its healthy probiotics. The Cocoplums sold the yogurt they made in their bake sale.

Reef Relief

Ms. Alex from Reef Relief came to share her knowledge of sharks. She explained that sharks can adapt to their environment, whether it be saltwater or fresh water. They have the same five senses as humans – sight, taste, smell, hearing and touch – plus two additional senses, which are their lateral line plus their almost 360 degrees field of vision. Unfortunately, the shark population is in decline, with a hundred million killed each year, which is due in part to poor commercial fishing methods. She emphasized that the existence of sharks is important because they balance the ecosystem.

Eco Class

Ms. Joyce shared her knowledge and concerns regarding marine debris and global warning, and how this affects our planet as a whole, and on a local scale. She discussed with the Cocoplums the impact of the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease that is happening along the Florida Reef track, and about what we can all do to make a positive environmental difference in our community. These were some of the suggestions raised:- To wear protective clothing, in lieu of a lot of sunscreen, while outdoors; to reduce, reuse and recycle; to collect trash; to use less plastic and refuse straws when offered; to raise money for environmental awareness, and to use the services of environmentally friendly companies when possible.


Mr. Joe, whose daughters, Kaitlyn and Piper, are in the Gumbo Limbo classroom, talked to the Cocoplums about the fundamentals of finance. A class discussion evolved around the Cocoplums’ recent bake sale, regarding the profit that was made for the classroom and the cost of producing the goods. In summary, Mr. Joe explained the importance in business of providing a valuable service, and of doing so for a fair price. He also emphasized the importance of choosing a career based on what you love to do.

I want to end with the amazing fact that 9-12 year olds should be getting 10-11 hours of sleep each night! There are a lot of yawns and complains about being tired each day. We are starting a new rule in December of no laying down in class. Hopefully more sleep and a positive attitude for learning will help with our educational environment.

Ann and Ashleigh