October Cocoplum Newsletter

Hello Cocoplum families,

SPECIAL NOTE: Cocoplum school photos will now be on Monday, October 7th.

School is in full swing and we are full steam ahead in the Cocoplum classroom. Although we had a soft start to the school year, we now do our best to head upstairs by 8:15 a.m. to enjoy our three-hour work cycle. A gentle reminder that if your child wants to be social and run around, please drop off by 8 a.m. (If arriving ready to work, 8:15 a.m. is fine.)

A definite highlight to our first month of school was a trip with Honest Eco. The environmental educators of Honest Eco are helping us take our science and dynamic geography curriculum outdoors all year long!  We focused on:

· Geography of the Florida Keys
· Reefs
· Changing ocean levels
· Ocean acidification

We performed many cool experiments on the boat, and even brought an experiment back to observe in the classroom. We have been using our scientific notebooks and our knowledge of the scientific process to study our propagules. The tentative date for our next trip with Honest Eco is Monday, October 28, when we will learn more about the mangroves.

Our new enrichment schedule has proved true to its name.. I’ve headed back several afternoons to enjoy some beautiful lessons from a variety of talented artists and musicians. We have also enjoyed cultural lessons during our foreign studies time. For the next two weeks we will be rehearsing for a play about the courageous Ruby Bridges. Performance date TBD. Starting October 1, Coach Paul will be teaching PE (thanks to Mr. Kevin, who filled in for the month of September). Coach Paul is known in Key West as an amazing tennis player, and is excited to share his expertise in many sports with the Cocoplums.

As Upper Elementary bodies are growing, students need extra sleep and a big, healthy breakfast to start the day. Snacks that are brought in should also be healthy and naturally sweetened.

As always, thank you for your generosity and support this school year.

Happy October!



Enrichment Updates:

We were delighted to kick off our foreign studies program with the amazing Ms. Diana from Bulgaria. Ms. Diana works in the Gumbo Limbo classroom but is also a professional dancer. We were introduced to a classical instrument called the gaida: which is a goat skin bagpipe. Ms. Diana taught us several dances and the students enjoyed learning and dancing as well!

Our second week of foreign studies, Ms. Iveta taught us about the Czech Republic. Ms. Iveta has a daughter so she was able to bring in books to read in the Czech language and also interesting materials to share with the students. We also learned how to read and write the numbers one through 10 in Czech.

During the third week of foreign studies, Ms. Karthi, who teaches in the Banyan classroom, came to share her memories of growing up in Sri Lanka. She spoke to the students in both English and in Tamil, which was her first language. On the last day, her daughters beautifully presented traditional dances for the class, wearing colorful silk dresses.

Last week, Ms. Valarie and Ms. Ann taught foreign studies. Ms Valerie is from Belarus where they speak Russian. She taught us about the interesting history about the flag in Belarus. Belarus currently has a dictator so the flag is different from the flag that she had growing up. She was hesitant to share the current flag with the class because she has strong feelings against this flag. She also brought in books from her home country to read to the class.

Ms. Ann shared with the class the history of the Union Jack, explaining how the flag of the United Kingdom embodies the emblems of three countries united under one Sovereign.  The emblems are the crosses of three patron saints – the red cross of St. George represents England and Wales, the saltire of St. Andrew for Scotland, and the red cross of St. Patrick for Northern Ireland. Ms. Ann also shared interesting facts about England and its rich history and culture.

Each week, students are adding rich and interesting information to their foreign studies portfolios. Feel free to stop in to the classroom to see them or look forward to seeing them during conference time.

Ms. Caroline wowed us each Wednesday with her love for acting during our month long Intro to Drama class. Students broke out of the mold of kids and played many complex characters.

Ms. Ann came back for music this past month to focus on Jazz and Blues. We received a music history lesson and also had plenty to time to learn new songs on the xylophone and glockenspiel.

As always, we enjoyed having Mr. Kevin for PE on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but are grateful to have Coach Paul joining us in October.

Because of Labor Day and our Boat trip, we have only had two Monday Literature Circles. Cocoplums have had a great start with passionate dialogue. Ms. Ann is excited to lead in-depth conversations and assist with new vocabulary from our Storyworks magazine.

A big thank you to all of these talented guests this month! We look forward to another exciting month in Enrichments including: Photography, Watercolor Painting, Health, Drama, Spanish and Polish during the month of October