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Dec 7, 2018

December has arrived and with it comes the official start of cold weather (for South Florida anyway). We trust that everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving break. As usual at Kentwood, we had an action packed month!

Our Annual Thanksgiving Feast was not only a raving success, but was probably the most well organized meal with the tastiest food to date. Students were given a lesson on the history of Thanksgiving and a discussion ensued about all the components of our lives that we should be grateful for. The food line then began serving first, second, third and even fourth rounds until every student was beyond satisfied.

Field day was unfortunately rained out, and we had to improvise with other on campus activities. Pajama Day was another exciting event and prizes were awarded to students who went above and beyond expectations. It was a learning experience and an eye opener for the staff to see the types of pajamas that are currently being produced and sold. Bonanza prizes were awarded to students who brought in the correct answer, with the list of participants growing from month to month. Make sure to look for this month's "Bonanza Activity"!

December Action

  • Wed Dec 12th 2018 Lower School (Grades 2-5) Holiday Singing Performance
  • Thu Dec 13th 2018 Bonanza Day
  • Tue Dec 18th 2018 50's Day
  • Wed Dec 19th 2018 Last Day of regular classes before December Break
  • Thu Dec 20th 2018 Parent Conferences - No classes except for Clubs
  • Fri Dec 21st2 018 Parent Conferences - No classes except for Clubs

Bonanza Question

Each monthly newsletter will feature a Bonanza Question or activity for your child to answer, do, or engage in. Those children participating will be eligible for a prize or special activity. We encourage you to spend time with your child partaking in these activities as it is an excellent opportunity to bond and connect with them. In order to be eligible for a prize, the student has to write the answer in his/her agenda, and has to make sure the parents signs next to the answer.

December Bonanza Activity: What is the answer?

Deadline Day: Thursday December 13th, 2018

I weigh nothing, but you can still see me. If you put me in a bucket, I make the bucket lighter. What am I?

Info Bursts

  • If you did not make your scheduled conference for your second quarter teacher meeting, please contact the front office as soon as possible to do so.
  • The Grades 2-5 Holiday Sing Along is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. Please make sure that your children are dressed up for the performance. In addition, kindly notify the front office if you intend to take your child home immediately after the show.
  • The Upper School play will be scheduled after the break. Details to follow.
  • Please note that school is closed from the afternoon of Wed Dec 19th 2018 and will begin again on Jan 9th 2019.
  • As always, at Kentwood we are constantly striving to provide your child with the best possible teachers available. There are going to be times, however, when even excellent teachers get burned out, have family emergencies, or need a change in their lives. In the event that any teacher or staff member is unable to give your child the very best, transitions will have to occur.

In this vein, Mrs. Upmal will not be returning after the December break, in order to spend more time with her family - in particular her four young children. It is an amicable parting and we wish her the best of luck. After spending over a decade at Kentwood, we are sure we will see her visiting from time to time.

While we seek a replacement, rest assured that the administrative staff (including Mr. Lebo, Ms. Wiehl, and Mr. Fein) has been, and will continue to be involved in teaching and student interaction, thus ensuring a completely smooth transition. This means that your child will continue to be given the same procedures, methods, organizational skills and structure to the guidance and counseling program - in other words, the Kentwood Approach.

Director's Note

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about."

~ Angela Schwindt

This month I would like to discuss the importance of living in the moment with your child.

There's no one better at living in the moment than a child. I love to watch my four children play. They are not thinking about what happened to them yesterday, or what they are going to do later today. They pretend to be super heroes or a Disney princess or to fight the bad guys - and nothing else in the world exists. If they get mad about something, they overreact, and nothing else in the world matters but what has upset them. They cry about it, and then soon return to normal - happy again - the offending situation forgotten without a grudge. They have no cares about tomorrow, and for that, I love to watch them. I aspire to be like care free. We need to use children as inspiration, and try to be like them sometimes. When you add up all the time your kids spend at day care, in school, asleep, at friends' homes, with babysitters, at camps and with activities that don't include you, the remaining moments become very precious. There are only 940 Saturdays between a child's birth and him/her leaving for college, and as your kids get older, the busier their Saturdays are with friends and activities. Ditto for Sundays - and soon weekdays too!! Depending on your children's ages and whether you work outside the home, there may be as few as one or two hours a day during the week for you to spend with them.

Although we are not able to stop or bank time, as parents we are able to make each moment as memorable as possible. Slow down. Do not worry about homework that is due later, or their next Karate class. Take the time to live in the moment, to sit and talk with them, plan activities with them that they enjoy, or simply sit back and watch them play. Slow down! Try not to stress over the small things and try to focus on enjoying your children.

Lower School

Mrs. Pustaver

Happy December everyone! In My reading class we are finishing up Mr. Popper's Penguins. The children are really enjoying it, especially parts directly related to the penguins! In language arts we are working on answering questions based on documents. Lately, they have been focusing on civil rights. In math children are working at their own level in skills such as borrowing, word problems and estimating. In science, we learned about nature and different ecosystems and food chains. In social studies, we are learning about Florida's species, including the endangered ones, and what we can do to help. In skills, we have started practicing for our winter show. This month is going to be great!

Mrs. Richards

November has been an exciting month in our classroom! In Reading Class, we completed our novel, "Dear Mr. Henshaw", and began our next story, "Shiloh". We actually read around the campfire in our pajamas this week. Having compassion for animals and people is our theme.

During Social Studies, we learned that the colonists and the Indians walked in peace at first. We also traced our feet and made a "Walk in Peace" wall to celebrate the first Thanksgiving. We're continuing in our Language Arts class to work on vocabulary words and editing. Our essays describe the many reasons we have to be thankful.

Our Math groups continue to be split into smaller groups, allowing students to work at an individualized pace. In our Science class, we're discovering the importance of recycling plastics and keeping our waterways clean. As we continue towards the holidays, we are adding a positive, peaceful energy to the air - with our songs for the season and excitement growing for our upcoming production. You won't want to miss our talented team as we make way for the holidays and join in the spirit of giving.

Mrs. Steinberg

The students continue to do a very good job as we make our way into the month of December. We are nearing the conclusion of our novel, The Giver, in English. The students have been extremely interested in this unique piece of fiction. It is has been especially intriguing for the class to see how the main characters have dealt with both internal and external conflict. The numerous themes brought about in the story have led to many good skills talks also. Recent spelling lessons in language arts have focused on Latin and Greek forms. Learning this will not only help them to understand the meanings of the spelling words at hand, but it will also help them to understand similar words they encounter outside of school. Upcoming comprehension activities will continue to emphasize recalling details, comparing/contrasting, and making inferences. Around this time of year, I always spend extra time going over many "real life" math problems. For example, the students have had, and will continue to have, lessons relating to calculating discounts, sales tax, and new purchase price. Therefore, we are spending time adding, subtracting, and multiplying decimals. The class gets very interested in these lessons, for they see the clear connection to where they will use these skills in their own lives. The students recently wrapped up a unit on the Revolutionary War in social studies, and we are currently discussing how the colonies turned into a country. The amazing growth of the United States after the war will be emphasized in upcoming lessons. Sound niches and the vast array of sounds found in nature was the topic of recent science classes. As an example, we listened to different evening soundscapes that could be heard on any South Florida evening. From birds to toads, the students really liked listening to this. We have an upcoming lesson on the sequoia trees, and future labs focus on condensation, water vapor, molecules, density, and volume. Skills continues to be an incredibly important part of our schedule. If need be, we stop to process matters that arise throughout the day. In addition, skills class allows for us to focus on important topics. Recently, we spent time talking about how to properly handle situations when they call for a change of plans. In other words, we discussed how to be flexible, reasonable, and understanding. As always, we talk about the importance of applying the social skills to situations inside and outside of school. Overall, the class is doing well, and I am very proud of them!

Mr. Lebo

Hello and Happy Holidays! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I'm so proud of the kids! It can be a real challenge for anyone to stay focused and on task this time of year, and I have to say, the kids have been doing a fantastic job! We are on the last section of our 2nd novel of the year, "My Side of the Mountain", which we should be finishing up next week. Our final essay for this grading period will be focused on Personification, as the main character, Sam Gribley, spends his days with a falcon that he raised and a weasel that brings him great entertainment. Through Sam's changing interactions with these and other "non-human" characters, the reader is able to see relationships evolve that are more typically seen between a teen and friends/family. We have continued to place a heavy emphasis on vocabulary not only in Language Arts but in all academic areas, while focusing heavily on comprehension and analytic skills - particularly in Language Arts. In Math class, many students are full force into fractions and how they apply to both algebra and real life, taking great care to ensure that all prerequisite skills are mastered. Some students are working in small groups, while several other students are working at their own pace. Our discussions and notes on Economics has led to some really fantastic class discussions! This is usually my favorite part of the day. And last but not least, we have read and discussed several interesting topics in science. The one topic that the students had the most fun with was learning about circuits and what materials conduct electricity. They were given a battery, a light bulb, and different random materials - and then had to figure out how to get the light bulb to turn on. The next day, the kids made their own flashlights with the knowledge they created the day before. So, I guess now if they were on that mountain with Sam Gribley from our novel, they would be well equipped with the ability to create light. :)

Greetings from the Learning Lab!

It's almost impossible to believe that our wonderful Thanksgiving feast is behind us, and the Holidays are ahead! Where did November go? In spite of all the excitement and celebrations, our Learning Lab kids continue to make great strides in their work. Success in reading and vocabulary development is unfolding each day, with each child working at his own pace. Our novel, "The Yellow House Mystery", continues to surprise us, with new developments in each chapter, that lead us to the answer of "Why did Bill disappear, and where is he?" The children love guessing, and making predictions. Using inferences to make predictions is a key component in success with reading comprehension. We will have all our answers to the mystery by the time we have our Holiday break. Our study of marine mammals continues. The latest creatures added to our studies are the humpback whale and the narwhal. We look forward to seeing you all again at our December report card conferences, where we can share your child's work with you.

High School

After a short break for Thanksgiving the high school team is happy to be back to finish the first semester.

In the world of academics, we are moving along nicely. In Math classes (General Math through Pre-Calculus), the students are working independently within a group framework on the lessons, and getting one on one instruction when needed. We are also working on graphing and writing word problems as algebraic sentences and solving or simplifying them, reviewing multiplication and practicing spatial organization. In Logic and finance classes we are continuing to work on skills like analyzing and applying information; comparing and contrasting ideas; sequencing; selecting computational techniques or correct operations to solve problems; synthesizing information; understanding spatial relationships, congruency and symmetry; using visual discrimination; and using logic to solve a problem. In English the students are continuing to work on essay writing, vocabulary building, reading comprehension, sequencing, main idea, cause and effect relationship, etc. We are also continuing to work on essay writing and research papers in English class. Earth and Space science is getting much more interesting as we continue to explore the stars and galaxies. Recent work has focused on identifying the characteristics and life of stars, defining a light year, recognizing and understanding constellations, and understanding galaxies. In Spanish classes, we are practicing conjugation of -ar, -er, and -ir verbs to present, future and past tense. We had so much fun learning about Spanish speaking countries.

SAT or ACT information is available on or www.Act.Org Please check with the college of your choice to find out which test is preferred and accepted. Some colleges do not require either test or accept both. Parents are welcome to contact the school for more information or assistance with the college process. We are also planning on a tour to one of the local universities and will send home details once arrangements are made.

"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."

- John Dewey

We wish you all safe and Happy Holidays. As always, thank you for your continued support, and for giving us the opportunity to work with your child.

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