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Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of February 10, 2020

Dear Families,

Our librarian, Cheryl was recently quoted in the article, Reading Levels Unfairly Label Learners, Say Critics. And Then There’s the Research.  It describes why school library collections should not be organized by reading levels.  At TNS, reading levels are only one tool teachers use when guiding children to choose books. During a year, a child will read books that are too easy, just right, and too hard.  For example, a child who is interested in animals may be so motivated by that interest to read a book on animals that is at a higher level. Likewise, many strong readers also are drawn to graphic novels.  In fact, graphic novels are among the highest-circulating items in our library. 

Last year, families had a lot of questions about reading instruction at TNS. In response, our School Leadership Team (SLT) created a document for families that describes our philosophy and approach to reading and learning to read.  You can find in on our website in “Documents”.  It’s called, “Your Child’s Pathway to Learning to Read at TNS.”  If you have any questions about it or your child’s reading development, please let me or your classroom teacher(s) know.

This Week at TNS….

  • The Diversity Committee meets on Tuesday at drop-off in the PTA Room.

  • The Grants Committee meets on Tuesday at drop-off in the small cafeteria.

  • The PTA General Meeting is on Thursday at 8:30 AM in the PTA Room.

Looking Ahead

  • Midwinter Break is February 17th - 21st.  

Have a wonderful break.  We’ll see you on Monday, February 24.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of February 3, 2020

Dear Families,

Thank you, Erin, Dianne, Grace, and Alexis for sharing their assessment practices with families last Monday.  Each year, I ask different teachers who represent a range, both in terms of ages taught and classroom configurations, to share their experiences, so that families can get to know them better and see the consistent practices across classes and grades.  Teachers spoke about how formal assessments, looking at student work, the role of observation and working alongside children inform the next steps and allow us to know children well. They shared the many ways students reflect on their learning and work throughout the grades.  They discussed how Project/Work Time informs our work with children in ways that formal teacher-directed tasks and assessments do not. This is the first forum in a series co-sponsored by TNS and the Advocacy Committee leading up to the NY State tests. I hope you can join us for future conversations.  

This week at TNS...

  • It’s a new semester!  If your child has had Spanish with Mara, they will begin science with Emily and if they have had science, they will begin Spanish. 

  • P.E. with Teddy moves to the upstairs gym for the month.

  • SLT will meet Thursday at 8 AM in Room 314.  All are welcome!

  • Narrative Reports go home Thursday.

Looking Ahead...

  • Midwinter Break is February 17th - 21st.  

Have a great week,

Dyanthe

--

tnsny.org

DSpielberg@schools.nyc.gov

Preferred pronouns: she, her, hers

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 27, 2020

Dear Families,

There was a small group at my Morning Hour last week, but we had a rich conversation about play grounded in the article Play: The Foundation of Children’s Learning.  In addition to talking about navigating play with our own children, we talked about the many structures TNS has in place that support play in and outside of school.  One of the big ideas that emerged is that meaningful play takes time. One parent who joined our school this year, shared how much more time his son has to play after school because he has much less homework to complete each day.  I explained that 2 years ago when we reconfigured our grade bands, we also made recess longer for our older students. 2nd and 3rd graders have 50 minutes of recess and our 4th and 5th graders have 25 minutes of recess every day and three additional “morning recesses” with their class.  While there are often structured games like soccer, four square, and tag, they are organized by the children (with adults stepping in when necessary). Children of all ages engage in rich imaginative play of their own making during recess. The other day, while supervising 2nd/3rd grade recess, one child came up to give me a hug and then meowed happily away.  While I have observed that more conflicts emerge with a longer recess, it is an opportunity for children to learn to build skills for resolution including being able to communicate, compromise, collaborate and adjust. Finally, we connected Project Time and Work Time to play.  This is a favorite period in the school day when children have choice and agency about what they do, the materials they use and who they work with. 

Please join me and teachers for a discussion about what assessment look like at TNS on Tuesday after drop-off in the PTA Room.  Teachers share the ways they “measure” student growth and learning, make decisions about class instruction, and the place state testing plays in instruction and curriculum.  This is the first workshop in a series about assessment and learning leading up to the NY State tests for 3rd - 5th grades and is co-sponsored by the Advocacy Committee.

Finally, while of course graffiti is a no-no, this made me smile:

  

This Week at TNS…

  • There is no school for our Pre-K students on Wednesday.  

  • The Garden Committee meets on Wednesday after drop-off in the small cafeteria.

  • The PTA is having Movie Night at 5:30 PM on Friday.

Looking Ahead...

  • Narrative Reports go home Thursday, February 6.

  • Midwinter Break is February 17th - 21st.

I love this school, too.

Have a great week,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 20, 2020

Dear Families,

My next Morning Hour is on Wednesday in the PTA Room after drop-off and will be about the value of play in school.  In preparation, please read the article Play is the Foundation of Children’s Learning (http://www.communityplaythings.com/resources/articles/2016/play-is-the-foundation-of-childrens-learning), think about your own memories of playing as a child and what you have observed about your children’s play.  

As we approach the mid-year point, most classes switch from science to Spanish and vice versa.  If your child has had Spanish with Mara, they will begin science with Emily and if they have had science, they will begin Spanish.  All classes continue to have physical education with Teddy!  Classes change over the week of February 3.  

This Week at TNS…

  • There is NO University Settlement after school programming on Thursday.

  • The first-ever TNS Art Day is next Saturday from 11 AM - 4 PM.  It is a community event, highlighting the importance of the arts to our kids and our school. There will be a range of art workshops and activities, and an exhibition of teacher/parent/alumni/community artists’ artwork, which will all be for sale. There will also be an ongoing arts activity center, information about how artmaking benefits kids and adults, a rummage sale for clothing AND art supplies, food, live music, and a raffle. 

Looking Ahead...

  • What Does Assessment Look Like at TNS?  On Tuesday, January 28th, teachers will share the ways they “measure” student growth and learning, make decisions about class instruction, and the place state testing plays in instruction and curriculum.  This is the first workshop in a series about assessments leading up to the NY State tests for 3rd - 5th grades.

Have a good week,

Dyanthe

Dyanthe’s Weekly Letters

Week of January 13, 2020

Dear Families

At our last PTA meeting, teachers shared a few requests about email protocol for families.  I am resharing our policy about email communication (you can also find it in the TNS Handbook, which your child brought home at the start of this school year):

Guidelines for Email Correspondence for TNS Families

Technology, in the form of email correspondence, has afforded us to have continual access to each other at any time of day and night.  However, it is important for us to establish some guidelines for the use of email correspondence so that families and school staff can attend to their respective responsibilities as thoroughly and as thoughtfully as possible. We hope that these guidelines will support us in mutually respectful correspondence with each other.

  • Families can expect communication from teachers on a regular basis about the following: trips, curriculum, snack, homework, etc. 

  • If you think that your child’s teacher may have already sent the information you are wondering about, check your inbox to see if it is there. If it is not, try asking another class parent if she might have the information. If you cannot get the information after these steps, email your child’s teacher.

  • Expect teachers to take at least 24-48 hours to reply to your email. Weekends and holidays will likely take longer.

  • For matters that are particular to a child and/or family the concerned party, whether the teacher or caregiver writes an email briefly describing the concern and requests either a phone or in-person meeting at each party’s convenience rather than delineate the concern via email.  Please expect a period of up to 48 hours before receiving a response. 

  • Please note that teachers do not regularly check email during the school day. If you have an urgent message (such as a change in pick-up), please call the school office 212-387-0195, in addition to emailing the teacher(s). The message will be delivered promptly.

  • Likewise, if something arises during the school day that requires your immediate attention, you will be contacted by someone in the school office.

Weekends, Holiday and Summer Guidelines

  • As families and staff may be on vacation or away from home, please anticipate that responses to emails sent over weekends and holidays will likely take longer and may not happen until we return to school.

  • Contact from your child’s teacher(s) and contact(s) made via email over the summer requires only a confirmation that you received that email. Please wait until the school year has begun to continue email correspondence with your child’s teacher(s). If there is an urgent message, you should contact the school directly.

An addendum:  If your child is sick, please also email Carmen (carmenm@tnsny.org) and Gladys (gladys@tnsny.org) in addition to emailing your child’s teacher (who may not see the email until later in the day).  Thank you!

This Week at TNS...

  • The Diversity Committee meets on Tuesday after drop-off in the small cafeteria.

  • The Advocacy Committee meets on Wednesday after drop-off in the small cafeteria.

  • The PTA meets Thursday at 8:35 AM in the PTA Room.

  • Friday is a TNS half-day.  Dismissal is at 11:45 AM.

Warmly,

Dyanthe

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